‘You’re not real unionists, you’re Ulster nationalists’, UUP tells DUP…

IN its continuing efforts to differentiate itself from the DUP, the UUP has accused Paisley’s party of being “Ulster nationalist” rather than “British unionist” – something we’ve explored on Slugger recently. Ulster Unionist Rodney McCune said: ” I see Ulster Unionists as the only Northern Ireland party continuing to use the language of British Unionism. That is set against the Irish nationalism and republicanism of the SDLP and Sinn Fein and what I see as the Ulster nationalism of the DUP. All three talk about British Labour ministers with a similar contemptuous intonation… They [the DUP], like the other nationalist and republican parties in Northern Ireland, attribute all problems to direct rule or attribute problems to British ministers. Yet as a party the DUP don’t contribute to important national debates such as the future of nuclear power or our national approach to rising crime and prison overcrowding. In my view they are not authentic unionists.” Or perhaps the DUP now recognises the reality that Northern Ireland, while still part of the UK, has its own particular needs and must find its own unique answers to deal with its situation?