The TUV and Unionism’s options and opportunities (Part 4)

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. In the final part the conclusions are drawn.Previous thread


At the core of TUV’s critique of the St Andrew’s Agreement is its undemocratic nature and questions of civic morality of Sinn Fein in government. However, its immediate alternative has equal if not more undemocratic features while it does not have equal issues of immorality neither is it free from them. The presentation of ‘direct rule’ as a ‘pure’ form of governance or clearly in Unionism’s interests is a serious misrepresentation of it.

I would urge the TUV to reflect on the various arguments contained within Alienated and Unbowed to assess the course of action they presently advocate and reflect on the DUP’s and Unionism’s hard decisions. Decisions made in a situation that was not “simple or equitable”.

At the very least, I believe that the significant problems in their immediate alternative require the TUV to be explicit how and when they would achieve their preferred form of devolution. What risks and actions need to be taken? How will support be created to achieve the change they believe in? How long do they expect it to take and require ‘direct rule’ to operate?

The DUP’s difficult choice has made its answers clear. They prefer to work an imperfect form of devolution rather than the powerlessness of direct rule. They will take risks on the bona fides of the republican movement (Republicans I do not need reminded of what they did, I am fully conscious of that). They aim to use the opportunities of the process and access to power to achieve change. TUV should provide the Unionist community with its answers.

As for choosing devolution over direct rule I close this article with the final lines of Alienated but Unbowed:

“For most Unionists, however, the future after the Anglo-Irish Agreement must be more not less power into the hands of Ulstermen. Only by that means can Northern Ireland shape and control its own destiny and so guard against further Anglo-Irish catastrophes.” (Page 68)

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