The TUV and Unionism’s options and opportunities (Part 2)

These threads try to engage TUV thinking around Unionism’s options and its future opportunities. In particular, it focuses upon the ‘Direct Rule’ alternative to the present devolutionary system. It aims to examine its morality and suitability for the interests of the Union and Unionist community. Part 2 examines whether direct rule is good rule and whether direct rule would be British rule.Previous thread

Direct rule = Good rule?

In the publication, there is a deep distrust of the Government. He comments positively on DUP wariness:

“The DUP, never a party to trust the British government…” (Page 13)

It directly questions the legitimacy of the government to rule Northern Ireland:

“It can no more be said that the Irish government represents northern nationalists than it can be said that an unmandated British government represents northern Unionists. It patently does not, rather it delights in sneering at the Unionist case.” (Page 21)

“By so deliberately setting its face against accepting the express will of the people, the Government not only lost all moral authority to govern in Northern Ireland…” (Page 61)
Government ministers are attacked:

“Ministers’ “economy with the truth” did nothing to enhance the reputation of perfidious albion” (Page 25)

The weakness of the government in its attitudes and approaches to Irish government demands is railed against:

“…All the appearance of being the supreme sucker the British government continues unaffected to dole out concession after concession. Whitehall seems incapable of realising, or perhaps, more likely it doesn’t care, that as far as Dublin is concerned the Anglo-Irish Agreement is all give and no take.” (Page 52

It expressly states that it has lost its moral right to govern:

“By so deliberately setting its face against accepting the express will of the people, the Government not only lost all moral authority to govern in Northern Ireland…” (Page 61)

Unworthy of trust. Unmandated. Without moral authority. Deceitful. Perfidious. Weak. Openly antagonistic to Unionist interests. Post-AIA this is what direct rule from London meant.

Direct Rule = British Rule?

In Alienated but Unbowed, the argument stresses time and time again that the joint nature of rule conceded by the Anglo-Irish Agreement and even before. It explains that the Inter-governmental conferences and Joint Studies groups of the early 1980’s were:

“The embryo of joint authority” (Page 14)

These arrangements led to:

“…the effective Joint Authority which would emerge through the Hillsborough summit just four years later.” (Page 14).

It is clear about the impact of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement upon Northern Ireland again and again:

“…the status of Northern Ireland has been changed by the Hillsborough Agreement.” (Publication’s emphasis Page 45)
“…they rob the British Government of its independence and freedom to govern Northern Ireland as it alone thinks fit.” (page 29/30)
“…the enormity of the role afforded to the Dublin government in the internal affairs of Northern Ireland.” (Page 43)
“Even decisions on the demolition of Divis flats in West Belfast have been shaped by the Anglo-Irish Conference and claimed as victories by its nationalist participants.” (Page 43)

The dangers and direction of a joint governmental hegemony over Northern Ireland are made clear:

“…If Unionists can come to terms with the Anglo-Irish Agreement then equally they could come to terms with the full Irish Unity to which it is inevitably leading…”(Backcover)

The partner in this joint relationship, the Irish government, also comes under scrutiny:

“The Dublin Government can represent no one in Northern Ireland. It has no mandate. It receives not so much as a single vote North of the border.” (Page 21)

The lack of morality in the Irish government’s behaviour is highlighted:

“…which provided effective sanctuary to wanted IRA terrorists…” (Page 21)
“Unionists have never had any confidence in the Republic’s will to fight terrorism afflicting Ulster particularly since the PIRA – as Charlie Haughey well knows – received its initial tranche of finance out of Government coffers in 1969.” (Page 48)
“The politics of extortion” (Page 51)

It is argued repeatedly in the booklet how Unionists were systematically excluded while Nationalists were being included through the Irish government.
It also recognises that changes in the Irish government can have an impact on the nature of Joint Rule:

“The exit of ‘Gentle Garrett’ and the entry of ‘Coercive Charlie’ is guaranteed to speed the concession rate.” (Page 52)

Republicans are in government under the DUP’s choice. The government which funded them and harboured them would be in control under the TUV’s choice and it would be listening to republican demands as well. What would the rate of concessions be like if SF’s southern electoral fortunes changed?

Post-AIA, Alienated but Unbowed is emphatic, direct rule means joint rule.

Next thread