‘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?

  • parcifal

    Gonzo yes, there is a certain irony in the “Brits Out” subliminal messages coming out of the DUP.
    A nationalist wet-dream too 😉

  • Frank Sinistra

    What a load of crap.

    A two second google will get a quote from the UUP MEP refering to the ‘British Government’

    Here

    or a ‘British minister’

    here

    What a bunch of idiotic amateurs.

  • Richard James

    In all fairness this is Rodney McCune’s opinion and there is nothing to indicate he is speaking for the UUP as a whole. While I don’t doubt there is a wing of the DUP that thinks in Ulster rather than British terms the whole party can be tarred with that brush, particularly with its attraction to former Ulster Unionists. Unless of course Mr McCune would have us believe two out of three Unionist voters are Ulster nationalists too.

    There is also a tendancy within the UUP to blame all our woes on direct rule too, for example Reg Empey on the Politics Show last year complained about rule by ‘British Ministers’.

  • Richard James

    I meant ‘the whole party cannot’ rather than can. Apologies.

  • Frank:
    “All three talk about British Labour ministers with a similar contemptuous intonation…”

    Sometimes one has to refer to “British Ministers” or use some other adjective (I would tend to use ‘Direct Rule’ myself) to distinguish, for example, Westminster ministers from from NI Executive ministers. Sometimes it’s not but it gets said anyway. The point is that the DUP seem to be developing (or is this not a new trend?) the same snarl nationalists often have when referring to British *spit* ministers.

    Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but this seems to have become more apparent since the DUP became the largest party and arguably stand to gain the most from devolution.

  • bertie

    The trouble is that I have seen and heard just this attitude within the UUP over the years and that includes the wee few that are still in it and didn’t cut loose and join the DUP.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Beano,

    Give me recent examples of the UUP commending ‘British ministers’ even at a lesser level than Paisley’s speech about Blair and I might buy this.

    The UUP don’t commend anyone. They are just complaining about others complaining like they complain.

    It’s pathetic.

  • DC

    Identity over Northern Ireland being a destinct region of the UK, distinct due to the large swathes of Irish nationalists, is acceptable and I believe is fair enough.

    With this in mind the option would be to advocate a more federal republic approach to governance vis-a-vis UK; but, as for Ulster Nationalism, this itself is a fallacy both politically and geographically – it just doesn’t exist.

  • cynic

    Rodney who?

  • Turgon

    This latest outing by the UUP has echos of the “Decent People Vote UUP” and such like. It was masterminded (if that is not a contradiction in terms) by Stephen King the so called unionist spin doctor / strategy wizard.

    What ever happened to him? If there is anyone about whom to have British intelligence conspiracy theories surely it is him. Was he not an English bloke with no connection to NI who dropped out of history at Oxford and went to Queen’s. Was an open homosexual (surely Oxford is more welcoming of homosexuals and although QUB is my almer mata I think for an English person Oxford is higher status than QUB). Then he became policy advisor to Taylor then Trimble, masterminded utterly useless election strategies and then vanished.

    Sorry I know I sound like Trowbridge at the moment but it is all a bit wierd. I could well be wrong on all of it, and am happy to be corrected.

  • willis

    Turgon

    I think you are on to something. Doesn’t he also write creepy horror books?

  • Turgon

    Back to thread.

    This seems to be part of an increasingly random attempt by the UUP to hit out at the DUP. What is their strategy; if any?

    We all remember that they went into a deal before the DUP, made even more consessions than the DUP and are just angry that they are loosing ground. As someone who regards the DUP as having sold out, do they think I am going to start voting UUP forgetting all their selling out?

    As to the DUP whinning about Direct Rule ministers, all parties (even Alliance) have done that for years. Whilst some in the unionist community complain about the Direct rule ministers I do not think that makes people less pro the union let alone more interested in a united Ireland which seems to be the unstated subtext to this UUP line.

  • willis

    This seems to be part of an increasingly random attempt by the UUP to hit out at the DUP. What is their strategy; if any?

    Indeed.

    If they want to just remain unionists they will always be at a disadvantage. David Trimble might have moved towards SF politically but the body language was always stand-offish and timid. The Doc has a deeper connection with the ordinary man and woman (I dare say on both sides). It can seem like nationalism but really it is just good politics.

  • mchinadog

    Ronnie who?????? You may indeed ask.

    This is the UUP trying to distant itself from the years it misruled this province, and yes, British Ministers i.e. Direct Rule Ministers have been maligned but by all the parties in Northern Ireland including the UUP for their part in the decline of Northern Ireland in all matters of Government. I think it is the silly season again for the UUP as they are no longer in the big picture and only making up the numbers. They are trying to regain territory from the DUP by making statements that should be really sending to themselves, do they really think that the voters of Northern Ireland will ever trust them again if they will not vote DUP next time around. “I say fool me once” you may “fool me twice” you might “fool me three times” never again so you will not get my vote. The British Ministers deserved all the criticism they received and I will be a cheerleader for that, but it does not make me want to be any less British.

  • jimboy2

    Are any of our politicians really pro Northern Ireland? They all seem to be very pro themselves at the expense of the rest of us.

  • mchinadog

    Sorry should have been Rodney who????????????

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Here’s a thought…

    In the last Assembly election, we saw quite a few previous UUP votes ‘return’ to Alliance. Arguably, those votes were ‘on loan’ previously, to see the UUP and Trimble get into a power sharing government at earlier times of crisis.

    But once the ‘crisis’ was over, and the votes had done their work, they returned back to the more moderate party.

    Could this happen to DUP votes? Will some go back to the more ‘moderate’ (and these days I use that term most cautiously to the UUP) party? Will this particular UUP argument work?

    I’m not convinced that the UUP are on the right road yet, meself. But this is an interesting approach anyway…

  • Liam

    The UUP, bless.

  • snakebrain

    Rodney McCune; I remember him when he was a spotty teenager. Actually, he wasn’t spotty at all.

    His father was a senior RUC officer if I recall rightly, and generally well respected. Rodney, I think, did a Law degree in London, then maybe a patch in NY, though I wouldn’t swear on that part. I also seem to remember him being involved in a tussle with a attempted mugger in London, or something like that, and speaking out very strongly afterwards. Google if you’re interested.

    He’s not the worst sort at all; as a representative of Unionism I’d say he’d be erudite and reasonable enough. Though I only vaguely knew him when I was a very spotty teenager…

  • snakebrain

    Something in what you say Gonzo..

    I predict in the mid to long term a general shift away from the current polarised situation. Not rocket science. Whether that shift takes the form of the current parties moving their positions, or the votes shifting inwards to the currently more central parties will very much depend on the footwork of all involved.

    This might not be a bad pawn to e4 move for the UUP.

  • Kevster

    It appears to me that the UUP have no choice but to find something to differentiate themselves from the DUP that most Unionists believe in.

    Is this it? That they are more British than the DUP?

    I’m always wrong predicting these things, but stranger things have happened.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Kevster

    Don’t think yer too far wrong; there’s always been a fault-line between Ulster nationalism and British unionism. But the lack of a militant republicanism has opened what was previously closed.

  • Kevster

    I suppose the question becomes, how large are the proportions of “Ulster Nationalists” and “British Unionists” in the overall Unionist voting public.

    One thing I’ve been watching for is what is going to replace the old boogeyman in Ulster politics. All the gas previously expelled in condemnation of Dublin and Republicans is going to have to be vented somewhere, isn’t it?

  • curious

    ‘ how large are the proportions of “Ulster Nationalists” and “British Unionists” in the overall Unionist voting public.’

    Belfast Gonzo, does it matter what DUP’ers or UUP’ers call themselves? They both stand steadfast together against the shinners ‘pipe dream’ of a UI before 2016.

    [i]’And the DUP has claimed hopes of a united Ireland are “a pipe dream” after a new study revealed that only 56 per cent of Catholics actually favour Irish unity.

    “There is little surprise that confidence in the maintenance of the Union is so high. A BBC Attitude Survey also showed that since the DUP assumed the pole position within unionism the percentage of unionists believing that Northern Ireland would be in the United Kingdom by 2020 rose from below two-thirds to 82 per cent.”

    Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott welcomed the findings of the Life and Times survey which he said, “truly illustrate that there is no appetite from the electors north or south of the border for a united Ireland”.[/i]

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news?articleid=2992860

  • Rory

    Torgon tells us that Stephen King was “an open homosexual”. What he doesn’t tell us is whether or not, in his opinion, this is more or less shameful than being a closet homosexual. But I suppose a textual analysis of his piece really gives us all the clues we need as to Torgon’s feelings on the matter. It would tend to portray him as a closet homophobic.

    Would my reading be correct?

  • curious

    Would my reading be correct?

    No Rory, Torgon is correct, Steven King was very OPEN about his homosexuality the whole time he was David Trimble’s advisor.

  • It was the former UDA Leader John McMichael who was most open about the potential future in what he saw as an Independant Ulster. Even at that stage, one sensed that there was a potential fault-line within Unionism. The violent situation however, has kept these differences under wraps for many years – until now.

    I have always sensed that there was a body of ‘Unionist’ opinion which did not necessarily regard full integration with Britain as a finite link. Perhaps within the core body of liberal Protestant opinion, lies some glimmer of hope for those Nationalists who are seeking to ‘persuade’ for some form of Irish Unity in the years ahead.

  • Sunningdale

    Ulster nationalism is hardly a new notion. What makes it sensible as an underlying belief is that the UK is becoming a something of a mutually beneficial association under devolution rather than a singular state. The UU position on this is, as usual, written for a past political situation that has already gone.

    The old Molyneaux analysis that direct rule from London was the best safeguard for the Union had an element of truth, however it also left our infrastructure subject to chronic underinvestment and a leaderless, rudderless civil service to struggling try to make the best of a bad job of running this place.

    btw I can’t see how Stephen King’s sexuality has anything to do with this post

  • Richard James

    “I have always sensed that there was a body of ‘Unionist’ opinion which did not necessarily regard full integration with Britain as a finite link. Perhaps within the core body of liberal Protestant opinion, lies some glimmer of hope for those Nationalists who are seeking to ‘persuade’ for some form of Irish Unity in the years ahead.”

    I think you’ll find that it is liberal Protestant opinion that is most in favour of intergration. Many of those who believe in devolution don’t trust Westminster and see it as giving them more control over their destiny. As for Ulster independance most Unionists see it as an option only in a doomsday situation when the alternative is a united Ireland.

    BTW how are you going to convince Unionists like me? By sending Martina Anderson to wax lyrical about how she admires those who spent 35 years slaughtering members of my community? You may find that one of the reasons people are Unionists is to stick up two fingers to the scum who tried to deny us the right to chose which state we lived in.

  • Porlock

    The UUP seem determined to learn absolutely nothing. One faction continues to hit the DUP for “selling out” by doing a deal with Sinn Fein: another section now claims that the DUP isn’t unionist enough anyway: and the Union Group argues in favour of engaging with Sinn Fein to reach some sort of consensus on an all-Ireland unionism.

    They have collectively lost the plot.

    Porlock

  • Perhaps within the core body of liberal Protestant opinion, lies some glimmer of hope for those Nationalists who are seeking to ‘persuade’ for some form of Irish Unity in the years ahead.

    Liberal of all denominations and none would see Westminster (rather than Paisley and the rest of the Prodiban) as the main guarantee of the social and cultural freedoms that they are entitled to expect in a modern western democracy.

  • willis

    “Ulster nationalism is hardly a new notion. What makes it sensible as an underlying belief is that the UK is becoming a something of a mutually beneficial association under devolution rather than a singular state. The UU position on this is, as usual, written for a past political situation that has already gone.”

    This is the Blair/Brown political masterstroke. The Tories will never again dominate the United Kingdom as they did under Thatcher. The Tories may eventually simply become the English National party.

  • Turgon

    Rory,

    No my post was pointing out that Stephen King appeared in Northern Ireland despite having no obvious reason to come here and several good reasons to feel happier staying in England at a university of higher status (for him) and one where homophobia is likely to be less common. The only thing I have against him is that he helped wreck the UUP which I was a member of.

    On the substatnive point could I suggest complaining about direct rule ministers is extremely common by everyone. Is it not in part the less politically and geographically remote areas complaining about “them lot in the centre”. You see this here. People outside Belfast often complain that those in Belfast have better roads, hospitals etc. Those in the Presbyterian Church in the country complain that it is too Belfast- centric. People in the north of England complain that London gets more. Dewi can correct me but I believe that people in North and West Wales complain about Cardiff. I suspect this sort of thing is extremely common and not that indicative of some split within unionism.

    Even if it is I adhere strongly to the view that none of the groups mentioned have any interest in a United Ireland, and those in favour of an Independent Ulster are really talking about a Doomsday secenario so I do not think the nationalists should dtart celebrating our imminent conversion to their views.

    By the way I am still waiting for someone to tell me what happened to King. I hope he got a good job because although I think he helped wreck the UUP I would not want to think he is unemployed, I am sure he had talent; just not as a unionist strategist.

  • Richard James

    Turgon, from what I understand Stephen King got a job as a researcher for the Conservative party.

  • Aquifer

    Paisley displaced the anglophile ‘toffs’ of the old UUP, making it less likely that the English would identify with unionism enough to see off the IRA.

    The setting up of the Scottish and Welsh administrations meant that Paisley Powell Molyneaux could no longer pretend that integration was on the cards, and also showed the IRA that the brits were disinterested oppressors.

    Call it Ulster nationalism, call it the end of political hyperinflation. 3000 dead is a big price to pay for anyone’s impossible dream.

  • Richard,

    When referring to “liberal Protestant opinion”, I was particularly referencing those sections of that community best represented within areas like North Down. ie financially secure middle-classes whose voting record is virtually non-existent. I believe that these sections are much-more prone to be swayed by economic arguments for any future All-Ireland scenario. ie many of them have no political affinity whatsoever with either of the main Unionist Parties, nor indeed the Alliance Party for that matter.

    As for your current political idealogy revolving around “sticking two fingers up to the scum”, I actually feel really sorry for you. It must be a sad life to have such a degree of hatred flowing through you…

  • Richard James

    “Paisley displaced the anglophile ‘toffs’ of the old UUP, making it less likely that the English would identify with unionism enough to see off the IRA.”

    I think you’ll find the big house Unionists were seen off in the early 1970s.

    “The setting up of the Scottish and Welsh administrations meant that Paisley Powell Molyneaux could no longer pretend that integration was on the cards, and also showed the IRA that the brits were disinterested oppressors.”

    Paisley isn’t an intergrationist, Powell was dead by the time the Welsh and Scottish devolved governments were set up and Molyneaux had stopped having an active role in politics.

    “Call it Ulster nationalism, call it the end of political hyperinflation. 3000 dead is a big price to pay for anyone’s impossible dream.”

    Hear, hear, one of the most damning inditements of Irish Republicanism I have come across.

  • Richard James

    “When referring to “liberal Protestant opinion”, I was particularly referencing those sections of that community best represented within areas like North Down. ie financially secure middle-classes whose voting record is virtually non-existent. I believe that these sections are much-more prone to be swayed by economic arguments for any future All-Ireland scenario. ie many of them have no political affinity whatsoever with either of the main Unionist Parties, nor indeed the Alliance Party for that matter.”

    Plenty of middle class Protestants in North Down vote Unionist. They voted for Bob McCartney’s vision of full intergration and when he was seen as a man of the right elected Sylvia Hermon. And if you are looking for a place that most resembles Finchley, look no further than Bangor.

    Many of them served in the RUC or had relatives that did so. They may not like that awfully vulgar Ian Paisley but don’t imagine for a second they have anytime for apologists for the IRAs squalid murder campaign.

    Although I find it a tad ironic that our revolutionary champions of the working class are going to go grovelling to the petite bourgeoisise.

    “As for your current political idealogy revolving around “sticking two fingers up to the scum”, I actually feel really sorry for you. It must be a sad life to have such a degree of hatred flowing through you…”

    Oh my political ideology doesn’t revolve around Republicans, don’t imagine I think so highly of them. The deaths of the hunger strikers, all those years wasted in prison by IRA members having been in vain is just a bonus.

    And I can assure you my life is quite a happy one, I get this nice warm feeling whenever I hear a Shinner whinge about occupation, the killing of IRA terrorists etc :o)

  • Richard,

    Unfortunately your response has only served to verify my initial point.

    As for your pathological hatred of Sinn Fein, how you must have squirmed when thay polled over 26% of the vote in the recent Assembly Elections. (Their biggest vote here since the partition of Ireland in 1921).

    How you must have squirmed still further when Dr Paisley (the erstwhile Dr. No) entered into a fully co-operational and cordial Government with Sinn Fein. Not too mention his new ‘sugar-sweet’ relationship with The Taoiseach and Dail Eireann.

    It would be interesting to know who would now be your ‘champions’ within political Unionism Richard, because you seem to be even further right-wing than the Jim Allister’s of this world.

    Unfortunately Richard, your views are effectively old-school sectarian Unionism and they are no longer represented by either of the main Unionist parties. The ongoing pace of unprecedented change on this island is leaving you far behind…

  • Richard James

    “As for your pathological hatred of Sinn Fein, how you must have squirmed when thay polled over 26% of the vote in the recent Assembly Elections. (Their biggest vote here since the partition of Ireland in 1921).”

    Nope, I was heartened once again the electorate prefered Unionist parties to Nationalist ones.

    “How you must have squirmed still further when Dr Paisley (the erstwhile Dr. No) entered into a fully co-operational and cordial Government with Sinn Fein. Not too mention his new ‘sugar-sweet’ relationship with The Taoiseach and Dail Eireann.”

    Quite the opposite. I was rather amused to see Sinn Fein begging to get back into Stormont after all those promises of not returning there. Only highlights the surrender of the Republican movement. And let us by under no illusions that the IRA was crushed, most defeaten “armies” get to keep their weapons. Only in the face of a total defeat can the victor impose the humilation of forcing the enemy to give up their arms. But hey, I’m sure those “undefeaten army” t-shirts Sinn Fein sells is a conciliation for that :o)

    As for the hammering Mr Ahern’s party gave Sinn Fein I’m sure Ian Paisley would be very pleased with him. Sinn Fein can’t really claim to speak for Irish Republicans, let alone the Irish people, after that can it?

    BTW I suspect you’ll find garden centre Prods will be as impressed with Sinn Fein’s economic arguments as the people in the RoI were :o)

    “Unfortunately Richard, your views are effectively old-school sectarian Unionism and they are no longer represented by either of the main Unionist parties.”

    What sectarian comments have I made? And if you can’t cite any we’ll take it you resorted to that slur as you can’t come up with a better argument than mine. Calling someone a bigot seems to be the Nationalist equivalent of waving a white flag in the face of superior opposition.

  • Richard,

    1. It was 13 years after the IRA Ceasefire before they VOLUNTARILY fully decommissioned their weapons.

    2. Two of the most Senior British Army personnel who served here during the troubles have made public statements in the past number of years stating quite categorically that the IRA had been undefeated by British Forces. They conceded that the IRA could have perpetrated a campaign for decades to come (had it been their choosing).

    Sorry to let those facts from your own military personnel get in the way of your little rant, Richard… 🙂

  • Richard James

    “It was 13 years after the IRA Ceasefire before they VOLUNTARILY fully decommissioned their weapons.”

    The IRA frequently stated it would not decommission because this would be a humiliation and mark its defeat. So the IRA was defeaten by the very definition given by P O’Neill.

    And it didn’t voluntarily decommission. It did so because the British government and the DUP insisted it do so.

    How does it feel knowing that the IRA obeyed Ian Paisley like a lap dog :o)

  • Hey Richard,

    You are clearly confused here…!

    You are now championing Dr Paisley, the guy who you earlier lambasted as being both “vulgar” and a a “non-integrationist”.

    The same guy who effectively sold you out by breaking every promise he ever made about not going into government with the people he called “Sinn Fein/IRA”.

    Have you written to him Richard to express your outrage…? Or have you just accepted that the last great bastion of Protestant Unionism has just sold you out in the same way as Trimble did…

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    As far as I know Steven King now works as a spokesperson for a right wing think tank, Policy Exchange. It’s the London equivalent of the US Project for a New American Century crowd as far as I can make out.

    The UUP is firmly in third place behind SF and the DUP in the north – and its future doesn’t look bright. It’s Simply British campaign was disastrous – as bad an advertisement for supposedly multi cultural Britain as it was for the UUP itself as the message it sent didn’t resonate at all with voters. It bombed as badly as the Decent People Vote UUP message.

    It really doesn’t matter much to me who unionists elect as their political representatives. The common agenda of Unionist parties is to continue to marginalise nationalists and to refuse to recognise the legitimacy of their political aspirations. It’s far from representing the “United Kingdom’ to being a good option for nationalists.

  • Richard James

    “You are now championing Dr Paisley, the guy who you earlier lambasted as being both “vulgar” and a a “non-integrationist”.”

    He isn’t an intergrationist and would tell you that himself. Nor did I call him vulgar, I simply remarked that the so-called garden centre Prod would have that opinion.

    As for Dr Paisley I haven’t got around to writing to him yet, although when I do I was congratulate him for standing his ground until the ultimate humilation was heaped on the IRA.

    BTW you didn’t get back to me regarding the IRA’s surrender. Presumably that is because you now accept it was defeaten by its own definition?

  • Richard,

    Actually re your definition of “surrender”, I quoted two British Army Generals who served here and effectively declared the IRA to be an undefeated army.

    God, but you are sensitive Richard. You are just going to have to accept that life for you and your brand of Unionism will never, ever be the same again.

    By the way I’m delighed you still support Paisley and his policies, because it means that you now fully support Martin McGuinness as your Deputy First Minister (as Paisley does).

    Also Richard you now fully accept the new Assembly with 4 Sinn Fein Ministers looking after many aspects of your daily life (as Paisley does.)

    Perhaps you are more confused than you previosuly imagined Richard…

  • Richard James

    “Actually re your definition of “surrender”, I quoted two British Army Generals who served here and effectively declared the IRA to be an undefeated army.”

    Saying the IRA could limp on isn’t the same as claiming it was undefeaten. And surely the IRA is better placed to define what its defeat would be?

    It failed to achieve its objective of a united Ireland and surrendered its weapons due to a demand from its enemy. By any definition that is total defeat. You remind me of those Germans who didn’t believe their country had lost the First World War in spite of the humilation of Versailles.

    As for my life I haven’t really noticed any changes in it since the resoration of the Assembly. NI is still part of the UK. So I’m afraid you are teh deluded one :o)

  • Richard,

    Off to watch the Gaelic now, so I’ll leave you to dwell over the “victory” that never actually took place…!

    You seem to live in some sort of alternative universe to the rest of us, but hey, as long as you are happy…

    Who do you reckon will win today then? Cork or Kerry…?

  • IJP

    Going back to the topic: the issue Gonzo raises is very interesting.

    I have long believed that, essentially, the DUP was for people who saw their identity primarily in “Ulster” terms, whereas Ulster Unionists saw it primarily in “British” terms. Of course there is some overlap, hence the shift in votes from one to the other. Additionally, the devolved settlement almost requires a national identity (“Scottish”, “Welsh”, “Ulster”) in addition to “British” – in some ways, therefore, Ulster Unionists are living in a world that no longer exists.

    From an analytical perspective, however, I think there is something in this for the Ulster Unionists. But there are three problems:
    1. as identified, they have to sell this “British” angle in a devolved settlement (not easy);
    2. if they are so “British”, why do they insist on standing outside the British political system (i.e. why are they not just the NI branch of the Tories)
    3. actually, are there really very many people in NI who do see the White Cliffs and think they’re home?

    If I may be so bold, it would be helpful to leave out of this debate the Ulster Unionists’ capacity or otherwise to sell a coherent message – that’s another subject. The question is: is there a division “Ulster” vs “British” from which the UUP can regain votes from the DUP?

  • Turgon

    IJP,

    I understand your argument but I am just not convienced that many people make this distinction on a continual basis. I suspect they shift depending on a given issue.

    I know analogies are always flawed but how about someone who works for say Tesco in a local store. They may be loyal to their local store and loyal to Tesco and the differentation is different in different contexts. Or say a health worker who is very proud of say the Royal and also proud of being an NHS nurse or whatever. We all identify at multiple levels. I fear that trying to split an Ulster Nationalist from an Ulster British position is extremely abstract and does not chime with the way the vast majority of people think.

    Could it in part be that the UUP are so incoherent in this precisely because it is an incoherent position.

    Also it is like I said earlier about people always moaning about places seen as more central.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with Rodney in this instance. Although I’m aware that opinion within the party on his comments isn’t exactly undivided,

  • IJP

    Turgon

    All you say is true (and good news for me, by the way, as one who competes with the UUP for votes!), but it doesn’t quite answer my point.

    I do believe there is a distinction – albeit a blurred one – between the Northern Irelander who sees the White Cliffs of Dover and thinks “I’m home”, and those who don’t; between those who (primarily) listen to Radio 4 and who talk about “the Telegraph” to mean the Daily Telegraph and those who listen to Radio Ulster and mean the Belfast Telegraph; between those who complain about the number of “local” programmes on the BBC and those who complain about the nature of them. There is a clear difference in emphasis, albeit along a spectrum. Into the former camp, generally, fall the “decent people”; into the latter camp, generally, fall the “people of Ulster”.

    Thus it could be argued that, as the UK has become more devolved and the EU more powerful, so it has become more beneficial to emphasize the “regional” over the “national”, to the detriment of the former (and therefore of the UUP politically).

    I am certain the division exists, albeit along a spectrum. My follow-up thesis, of which I’m not so certain, is that the UUP has identified the division correctly – but they’re on the wrong side of that division. But perhaps I’m mistaken?

  • Richard James

    To begin with I don’t believe Unionists can be neatly seperated into Jennifer Todd’s two categories. For the vast majority the two identities co-exist, the difference would be one of emphasis put on each.

    Secondly I think the British identity is stronger. Most Unionists who wouldn’t describe themselves as Irish would say they are British rather than an Ulsterman.

    Regarding the white cliffs I don’t think Unionists feel other parts of the UK are drastically different from their own. Most would have family connections with other parts of the UK and many have lived and/or studied in other parts of it. The Unionist community doesn’t have the same ties with the RoI.

    These are nothing more than my own experiences, I can’t provide empirical data to back them up.

  • DC

    “2. if they are so “British”, why do they insist on standing outside the British political system (i.e. why are they not just the NI branch of the Tories)”

    Very well put IJP, when I speak to people from within the Unionist circumference they often raise the point about why doesn’t the UUP just merge with the Tories if that is what they seem to be advocating. It seems to be one of Integration vs Devolution and the problems that come from that in terms of voter recognition with the newly devolved mini regional-state and its powers.

    I think in respect of Ulster Nationalism, is it not the case that it comprises some of the worst segments of Northern Ireland life namely inflated loyalism, driven by the delusion that Northern Ireland is Ulster and at that is without a large Irish Nationalist citizenship.

    Paisley, when he talks about Ulster in a geopolitical sense, always gives me a good hearty chuckle, as if he wants to have a say over matters regarding Donegal etc, then perhaps its a federal Ireland that he wants? It is about one of the only things I agree with Sinn Fein with when they mention Ulster in Paisley’s view is non-existent.

    But Gonzo raises a good point about votes being on loan as I think the public have placated the political agitators to get them interwined in democracy in order to get them off the streets.

    Could there be a new opening for a truly Northern Ireland party that overides the old divisions and draws in a unified centre ground. A centre ground that operates devolved institutions yet maintains ethno-cultural security by integrating policy with Ireland using the British-Irish Treaty/NSMC.

  • Turgon

    IJP,

    I do indeed see your point but I still think it is more interchangable than that.

    Just regarding myself, using your analogies. I listen to Radio 4 most of the time but switch to Radio Ulster (or radio 3 OK stop laughing at the back) often enough. I buy both the Daily Telegraph and Belfast Telegraph. I know which one I want on each occassion but I do not really think about it. I largely prefer the local programmes. I am sure I am odd but is this inter changablility not typical?

    Maybe it does relate to where in NI you live. I have never lived in Bangor but maybe there is a more Ulster British view there than elsewhere.

    In terms of splits in voting I suspect the loan to the DUP is becomming pretty permanent especially considering the UUPs lack of good people (a bit of a vicious circle). I still suspect a place will gradually open up for a party to the right of the DUP. OK start calling me Prod Taliban.

  • Dewi

    Turgon
    I wonder what is the unionist view on serving in a “nationalist” led assembly. Whatever the likliehood of a UI it does look from election results and demographics that farly soon – i.e within the next 20 years nationalist parties will have more assembly sits that Unionists.
    Does that worry you ?

  • kensei

    “Liberal of all denominations and none would see Westminster (rather than Paisley and the rest of the Prodiban) as the main guarantee of the social and cultural freedoms that they are entitled to expect in a modern western democracy.”

    What? Are you high? Why do I feel like the world has gone to hell in a fucking hand basket and I’m the only one that’s noticed?

    Identity Cards. 90-day detention without trial. DNA Databases – maintained if you are arrested, even if you are not convicted. Security cameras everywhere. We are currently on greeny-blue alert, or whatever they are calling it. Restrictions on trial by jury.

    Seriously. What?

  • Turgon

    Dewi,

    Good question deserving of more time and thought than I can muster at the moment. Off hand three answers.

    1). I am not sure about whether or not it will happen. I do not know the demographics that well. Also I suspect the fear of it might increase the unionist vote. Furthermore with the current arrangements nationalists may become less likely to vote. I could be wrong so on to answer 2

    2). Probably would be OK. The current arrangements prevent one side gaining much power over the other lot so I do not think it would have a vast effect. I accept the symbolism would be disturbing for people like me.

    3). The paranoid answer. When I was at QUB the student’s union was run by a pretty hardline nationalist clique. They did many things which greatly antagonised unionists like having honorary life members who were IRA prisoners, sending Christmas greetings to them. Having black flag demonstrations when the IRA members were shot in Gibraltar. Bilingual signs which they would not as a compromise make multilingual.

    Would a nationalist run executive behave like that. Probably not they would not have enough power, the UK government would not let them, most of their voters are not that biggoted (the QUB SU was run by a tiny minority). Also of course eventually their bias got the better of them, Queen’s had to get outside consultants in and there was significant reform. Still if it all went wrong I might make it to the last boat from Larne, though we may be moving house soon further away from Larne. Then I guess we could make a stand on Devenish (not serious see Trowbridge etc).

    As I say not a full or good answer, I have not even had time to check it. I need to go and amuse children.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>I accept the symbolism would be disturbing for people like me.< >I might make it to the last boat from Larne<

  • lib2016

    The problem for the UUP is that they think of Britain as ‘the mainland’ so that has been where their offspring (or a good proportion of them)have gone for their education and where they have subsequently stayed. Taken together with the fact that they have been dominated by an increasingly elderly central council they have reached the same position as the post-Thatcher Conservative Party and the post-Hume SDLP.

    A party for old folk who haven’t got over the past and who don’t have the resources to begin again.

    The UUP think of themselves as exiles from the mainland – they’re finished. Now even the detestable FAIR realises that the only place they can receive a hearing is the DAIL……way to go!

  • lib2016

    Turgon,

    re: ‘Bilingual signs’

    Ever been to Wales and the Isle of Man? You will find bilingual signs in both places. All the so-called ‘hardline’ students were asking for was ‘British’ rights for ‘British’ students.

    If you remember it was the refusal of British Civil Rights which started this round of resistance off forty years ago. Nothing changes, nor could it while unionists have a veto.

  • Observer

    Sure Rodney McClune doesn’t even live in Northern Ireland. So whose he to tell us what we should think!

  • Observer

    “The Ulster nationalism of the DUP demands a reduction of corporation tax in Northern Ireland but fails to make any argument for a UK-wide reduction.

    “The DUP demand money from the treasury in language shared with the Scots and Welsh nationalists, caring not if they offend elsewhere in the UK.

    “They, like the other nationalist and republican parties in Northern Ireland, attribute all problems to direct rule or attribute problems to British ministers.”

    This is bull crap…the UUP have given off about direct rule ministers in the past. Look at McGimpsey and Empey.

    And tell me…where does the UUP stand on the corportation tax issue?

  • WindsorRocker

    “Paisley, when he talks about Ulster in a geopolitical sense, always gives me a good hearty chuckle, as if he wants to have a say over matters regarding Donegal etc, then perhaps its a federal Ireland that he wants?”

    DC
    It’s just a term that has come to be used over the years.
    Bit like people calling the “republic of Ireland” by the name of “Ireland”, when we all know there are two countries on this island of Ireland.

  • “Liberal of all denominations and none would see Westminster (rather than Paisley and the rest of the Prodiban) etc etc

    What? Are you high? etc etc

    Kensei
    Key phrase in my original post is that “rather than”.

    I’ve lived in a DUP-controlled local government fiefdom for far too long, so I know exactly their attitude towards “fun” and people “that aren’t quite like us”.

    Westminster is by no means perfect, but, to my knowledge, no one there has ever told me that on a Sunday I can’t have my pint whilst having a swing and watching the Gay Pride parade go by.

  • Turgon

    Lib 2016,

    If the signs were so inoffensive why did the university make the union take them down. Also why did the SU executive block the idea of multi lingual signs. I remember proposing this myself as a rather niave 19 year old and being shot down. I remember it quite well as informative in making my political views.

    Prince Eoghan.
    I do not like debating controvertial issues with you as I find you far too charming and reasonable and do not like fighting with you. Also calling your name after your son is genuninely touching (and less sad than using a Tolkein one). I actually was quite involved in UUP politics at Queen’s but stopped soon afterwards as I did not like annoying people (and I wanted a decent degree). I even do not like annoying cyber people. I do, however, like debating with people like you especially on fairly harmless things and do really hope you will not hate me for what I said on the South Londonderry OO thread.

    By the way I love the flight of the intolerant. I imagine us crying on the P+O ferry and singing the sash to the tune of Roddy McCrory (which it fits perfectly and is a better tune, also fits 23rd psalm and was once sung in our church, I think I was the only one who knew).

  • kensei

    “I’ve lived in a DUP-controlled local government fiefdom for far too long, so I know exactly their attitude towards “fun” and people “that aren’t quite like us”.

    Westminster is by no means perfect, but, to my knowledge, no one there has ever told me that on a Sunday I can’t have my pint whilst having a swing and watching the Gay Pride parade go by. ”

    Mutual veto – you think SF would buy any of that? And the difference is we have some control of who gets in, unlike Westminster. For all that it matters about any of that stuff, though.

  • Turgon

    Kensei,

    Back to your comments on 90 day detention DNA database etc. I am afraid I support you on this. Please do not commit suicide because a Prodiban supports you.

    I am uncomfortable about all these changes. I fly a lot with work (yes I know it is immoral and destroys the enviroment, I am sorry). I feel we all get traeted like cattle and I am not completely convinced the measures have much effect. I obviously will not comment on a number of security flaws as I see them.

    I do not like DNA databases of the unconvicted and am very anti iris scans etc on passports, irises change for a whole number of reasons over time and the technology seems very poor. I know some smart alec will point out that an Irish passport will not have one. As a matter of principle I use my driving licence as ID as I object to needing a passport to travel in my own country.

    There is also a significant problem that if we all are made to have ID cards how can Irish citizens in GB be made to have. They also do not need to have passports, this could be a significant block to the whole idea. I will find an amusing irony if the Irish save me from needing an ID card.

  • PaddyReilly

    There is also a significant problem that if we all are made to have ID cards how can Irish citizens in GB be made to have.

    The current updating of passports to include iridic information and introduction of I.D. cards is due to an EU directive. Basically, you won’t be able to get out of your EU country without having a passport or I.D. bearing iridic information. So all ROI residents will need an ID or passport before they can get into the UK. What the UK is doing that is silly is requiring people who already have passports to acquire IDs as well. The EU practice is that you can travel from one EU country to another on an ID. I have met Albanians who have taken up residence in the UK using a forged Italian ID card. The EU directive is designed to make all EU countries supply cards which are much harder to forge.

  • kensei

    Paddy

    “The EU directive is designed to make all EU countries supply cards which are much harder to forge.”

    I’m not entirely convinced that will work either; forgers tend to find ways around these things – wasn’t there something on the BBC about a proof of concept on tackling the ID Cards? Plus unless we start DNA tagging from birth, it doesn’t actually stop you getting into the system by nicking someone’s identity and putting your photo/DNA on it.

    And a system which everyone thinks is full proof but has holes? Sounds worse to me.

    Turgon

    “Back to your comments on 90 day detention DNA database etc. I am afraid I support you on this. Please do not commit suicide because a Prodiban supports you.”

    Why would I? Today support on civil liberties, tomorrow on destroying the Union 😉

    “I do not like DNA databases of the unconvicted and am very anti iris scans etc on passports, irises change for a whole number of reasons over time and the technology seems very poor. I know some smart alec will point out that an Irish passport will not have one. As a matter of principle I use my driving licence as ID as I object to needing a passport to travel in my own country.”

    If it was only passports I’d not be too worried. The real power these systems does not come from any particular form of identity. The power of the system is how easily the government keeps information on you, and how easily it can unify this information. So if it was just passport, information would be kept on entering and exiting the countries; they do that anyway.

    An ID Card, on the other hand? Well, they might link your passport information on it. Criminal (and arrest, of course) records. Taxation and employment history. They might keep you medical records linked to it. How many traffic tickets you’ve got. Census Data. Hell, why not use it for the libraries too? And on and on.

    Suddenly the State has a volume of information on you with an easy way of indexing it all. And they’ll say “Oh we won’t link it all up”, but the temptation to centralise it all would be much too great, and there are a pile of ways around it anyway. The application of that information can be used in all sorts of ways. And as well as the obvious sinister ones, there are all sorts of subtle ways they can used too – heck why not sell a pile of the information to marketers for a couple of billion?

  • Prince Eoghan

    Turgon.

    >>hope you will not hate me for what I said on the South Londonderry OO thread.<

  • Turgon

    Kensei,

    Okay this is really really mad and whilst you lot will probably not hate me for this you will think I am mad.

    Remember I am actually a pretty fundementalist Prod.

    I do actually have very similar worries about the ID card with all that data. Then since people (like me) are always forgetting them some smart alec will suggest they are implanted. Why not have credit card data etc as well.

    I know this is mad but I do then believe you are very, very close to the number of the beast thing in Revelation and having a mark to allow you to transact business. Then of course if you do not want one you must be a terrorist.

    Okay that is beyond Trowbridge level of paranoia but you can construct such a scneraio quite easily.

    If that were the case then all the stuff we were told about as kids at church events about the end of the world being nigh would be very true.

  • Dewi

    Turgon

    “Prince Eoghan.
    I do not like debating controvertial issues with you as I find you far too charming and reasonable and do not like fighting with you. Also calling your name after your son is genuninely touching (and less sad than using a Tolkein one)”

    Turgon – he’s really a sarky philistine who has no appreciation of culture at all !!!!

  • Turgon

    Dewi,

    That may or may not be true but it is difficult to be as unpleasent to people when you try at least at times to complement them. Call me naive or very devious. Incidentally I think you are a great singer and Elenwe fancies you.

  • Dewi

    Turgon – Elenwe knows I’m ready to follow her from Larne to Vladivostock !

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Call me naive or very devious<