“…let them experience an election or two to reinforce the point.”

Amidst the somewhat giddy (misplaced?)optimism of some, Norman Hamill has provided a timely assessment of the likely consequences of the British Conservative Party’s marriage with the Ulster Unionist Party.
Correctly, Hamill notes how the Conservatives have already been uncermoniously dumped from the 6 counties by unionists in their previous foray into electoral politics here. But Hamill also highlights the contradiction of the Tories presenting themselves as a ‘modern, pluralist party’ yet cosying up to a party who recently sought an electoral alliance (of sorts) with Jim Allister’s Traditional Unionist Voice. What’s that Santayana said about history?

  • aleks

    “only last month we had the unedifying spectacle of [the UUP] cosying up to Jim Allister’s stuck-in-a-timewarp Traditional Unionist Voice outfit. They say it’s to maximise the pro-union vote in next year’s European election. But their almost exclusively Protestant support is their only common bond.”

    Aside from the fact that they are both Unionist …
    And one of the new members who spoke at the UUP Conference to-day was a great-great-nephew of Wee Joe Devlin’s right-hand man, from West Belfast.

  • William

    Norman Hamill, the ex RUC Press office hack knows little about politics and his views are of little relevance….the fact that the Derry Journal use him now that he is retired, is more to do with his ‘Protestant’ Nationalism than any journalistic brillance.

    Suffice to say, he’s got it wrong….no pact was envisaged with the TUV other than what we always have had …. voting for other Unionist candidates.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    It is not just that the UU are/have been cosying up to the TUV – their leaders have seen it necessary to identify themselves closely with the OO – a deeply sectarian organisation – that soft right wing middle England, which is Cameron terrain, would not been seen dead identifying with.

    It will be tremendous fun seeing the DUP – the largest Unionist party – now having to go to electoral war with (probably) the UK’s elected government. Nationalists will have also been amused that Posh Dave is trying to pretend that Norn Iron is a normal part of the UK – did anybody believe that malarkey?

    ps Did he hint at tax harmonisation with ROI?

  • frustrated democrat

    Sammy

    Wrong, wrong and wrong

    Not bad for one post.

    Do more work next time

  • The reality of our situation is that we need parties to try to appeal across the religious divide.

    And who does Hamill think is capable of presently doing that- SF, the Dupes or even the SDLP? If that is what he really wants, then it ties in what both Cameron and Empey have said that they want. Why not give them the opportunity to prove it? If nothing else, it’s been amusing to see pundits like Hamill being pushed out of their sectarian comfort-zone.

    We need to try to sort out our big constitutional question on more rational grounds than religion.

    It’s sorted. Everyone, including the irish governement, SF, SDLP agrees we remain a part of the UK until the electorate of NI decide otherwise.

    The bottom line is that English Tories can’t help us to do that and they can’t help themselves by getting sucked into our squalid little sectarian tussle.

    No, the British Conservative party can’t achieve the de-contamination of politics here on their own. It’ll be up to the members of the UUP and more importantly the electorate of NI to decide how far they’re prepared to run with this thing.

    Frustrated Democrat,

    Do more work next time

    You have to make allowances for the likes of Sammy- he’s another one that’s been pushed way, way outside the normal sectarian comfort-zone with this project; give him have the time to get over the shock to the system.

  • Jimmy Sands

    True,

    Those urging British parties to run candidates do so on the premise that NI has hitherto suffered from a shortage of non-sectarian candidates. It hasn’t. The problem has always been the shortage of non-sectarian voters.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    frustrated democrat

    Wrong, Wrong, Wrong?

    So you think that

    Middle-England likes nothing more than Unionists marching up and down in areas where they are not wanted and engaging in anti-Catholic sloganising?

    The DUP are going to be on very friendly terms with the Tories even though they are figting for the same votes?.

    Are you saying he didnt hint at tax harmonisation?

    Oneill,

    “of Sammy- he’s another one that’s been pushed way, way outside the normal sectarian comfort-zone with this project”

    Let me give this ‘project’ my full support – I look forward to the both the splitting of the Unionist vote and the undoubted embarassment this alliance will cause the Tories because of the deep-seated sectarianism that prevades Unionist politics. Two birds with the one stone and all that.

    Let me ask you one question – do you think Cameron or any mainland Tory will go on an Orange march with his new UU colleagues?

  • Ri Na Deise

    Jaysus lads if ye think the Tories are the party to ‘cross the sectarian divide’ I really dont know. Weird. Very weird.

  • Let me give this ‘project’ my full support – I look forward to the both the splitting of the Unionist vote and the undoubted embarassment this alliance will cause the Tories because of the deep-seated sectarianism that prevades Unionist politics. Two birds with the one stone and all that.

    Then why are you bothered so much about it, surely you should be shutting up, sitting back and watch the *fun*?

    No, the reason you won;t is because having seen your disgusting and deeply bigotted reference to nationalist “Uncle Toms” on another thread, I guess you’re worried because there’s a chance that all the sectarian certainties that you base your political beliefs on just might be starting to be threatened.

    Let me ask you one question – do you think Cameron or any mainland Tory will go on an Orange march with his new UU colleagues?

    What an inane question. I doubt Cameron spends much of his spare time joining any of his colleagues on their time off outside politics. The OO is not really my cup of tea, but as long as it remains a legal organisation and as long as it doesn’t affect the politics or policies offered by the UUP, I can’t see Cameron or any of the mainland boys being too bothered about it.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Oneill

    “Then why are you bothered so much about it”

    Well funny enough it happens to be topical and people often post about things they are looking forward to as well as things they are not. I see only disdavantages for both sides which I heartily welcome. I happen to think this is shocking strategic decision by Unionism. It is ludicrous for the Tories to say they want to end Orange and Green politics and then form an Aliance with an Orange party.

    re. “sectarian certainties”

    You are, like many Unionists do, confusing Sectarian and National.

    ” as it doesn’t affect the politics or policies offered by the UUP”

    Is that a joke ? Why did Trimle (one of the most moderate Unionists on offer) jig his way down the Garvaghey Road? Do you not understand that the vast majority of people on the mainland view Orange Marches ( which leading Ulster Unionists are members of) as deeply sectarian?

    re. Nationalist Uncle Tomery(Nuty) behaviour. I wouldnt get too precious or self righteous about a light hearted reference to those who turn their back on their Irish background. Get a grip on your union jack knickers.

  • It is ludicrous for the Tories to say they want to end Orange and Green politics and then form an Aliance with an Orange party.

    re. “sectarian certainties”

    You are, like many Unionists do, confusing Sectarian and National.

    Do you not see the irony in those two comments?

    re. Nationalist Uncle Tomery(Nuty) behaviour. I wouldnt get too precious or self righteous about a light hearted reference to those who turn their back on their Irish background.

    So, you’re the sole authority of what Irish people are permitted to believe? And sorry, a bigoted comment is a bigoted comment, whether you’ve unilaterally decided it’s light-hearted or not.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    oneill,

    answer me this question – which would be better for Unionism an alliance between the UU and the DUP or the proposed funny one between Wee Reggie and Posh Boy Dave Cameron?

    …and I mean an honest answer.

  • answer me this question – which would be better for Unionism an alliance between the UU and the DUP or the proposed funny one between Wee Reggie and Posh Boy Dave Cameron?

    Long-term? The DUP and its brand of (for want of a better word) “cultural” Unionism can never increase the number of folk voting for the Union, it’s a party of communal consolidation; personally, my conscience would never permit me to vote for the DUP in its present form and that would be true, whether I lived in S Belfast, Fermanagh/S Tyrone, or one of their “safe” seats.

    If the UUP and Tories are serious about what they’re promising, then they will offer an alternative that we presently don’t have, a home for civic unionism. There are elements within the Tory party on the mainland that are as unpalatable to me as certain sectarian connections/history of the UUP, but I think they should be given a chance to at least prove that they are genuine about pushing NI Unionism into a more pluralist and sustainable future.

    If it doesn’t succeed, then collectively we’ve lost absolutley nothing on our present position; if they do succeed then we’re moving into completely uncharted and much more positive territory.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    oneill,

    For secular/moderate Unionists then it looks an appealing option – I would not dispute that. What I would dispute is your contention “If it doesn’t succeed, then collectively we’ve lost absolutley nothing on our present position”. A fragmented Unionist vote (ie a 50/50 split or thereabouts) – which the success of this adventure could easily lead to may well mean serious gains for SF which in turn is likley to lead to a deepening of Unionist divisions.

    Of course this is an outcome I welcome but is not an arguement of convienence but rather I think what a fair analyis would suggest is the most likley.

    Surely you must see the danger in this for Unionism?

  • A fragmented Unionist vote (ie a 50/50 split or thereabouts) – which the success of this adventure could easily lead to may well mean serious gains for SF which in turn is likley to lead to a deepening of Unionist divisions.

    If they don’t put up a canditate in every constituency, then they are continuing to play the same old stale game and quite frankly, it invalidates the whole point (which I hope) is behind the exercise. Unionism to survive must move beyond the short-termism “what we have, we hold” mentality with measures success entirely in whether or not SF is kept out of Westminster/local government/Stormont/Brussels.

    If this takes off, then I’m willing to bet that a very, very small % of present DUP votes will defect over to the UUP/Tories- to put it bluntly, you don’t vote DUP if you already believe in the pluralist vision of the UK and what it means to be British that Cameron says he believes in. If it succeeds, then it will be because new or previously pissed-off voters have decided to vote for them.

    If it succeeds, then the overall vote for the Union will increase and that’s what any true Unionist should be looking for, not a bigger slice of a diminishing pie for his particular party. The DUP, of course, have a different definition of what success for Unionism means, Sammy Wilson’s latest outburst is particularly illuminating in that respect.

  • EagleEyes

    @It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Do you not understand that the vast majority of people on the mainland view Orange Marches ( which leading Ulster Unionists are members of) as deeply sectarian?

    If they do then it’s because of the same kind of bias of sensation in the media that means that people think that everyone who suffers from schizophrenia is an axe murderer who they should never go near or befriend or that any child left alone with a pit bull will automatically be killed.

    Shouldn’t we be promoting realism and true understanding and rising above these things rather than pandering to someone’s particular prejudices.

  • EagleEyes

    By which I mean that people on the mainland only hear about the Orange Order in situations where something is contentious, just like they only hear about schizophrenics when they kill someone and not when they do something admirable. Hence the media distorts the picture of reality.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Hence the media distorts the picture of reality.

    We’re talking about the organization which censured one of it’s members for attending the funeral of three young boys who were murdered in a sectarian attack on their home. Yes, I guess we should try to look past acts like that and content ourselves with cuddly fluffy pictures of Orangemen playing with rabbits and kittens to remind ourselves that they’re people just like the rest of us.

    It’s time to get real. The Orange Order are an anachronism. Most people don’t want anything to do with them, and I don’t think that people throughout the UK have anything in common with their view of the world. I’m sure senior Conservative Catholics like Ann Widdicombe and Chris Patten might have something to say about that.

  • Dec

    Do you not understand that the vast majority of people on the mainland view Orange Marches ( which leading Ulster Unionists are members of) as deeply sectarian?

    For me the rub will come not at Assembley level (and I’ll not hold my breath for a deluge of local Tory/UUP MPs at the next British General Election – though listening to some here you’d think the votes were already in) but rather at council level when David Cameron is asked to explain why elected members of his new ‘Alliance’ are setting fire to paramilitary bonfires with effigies of elected Nationalist politicians on them, blurting out sectarian claptrap or complaining about Mosques.

    It’s also still to be satisfactorily explained how this new Alliance will work come election time – people might think that Boris Johnson will be their new MP but the sad reality is the candidates will be the usual motley bunch: McCrea, McFarland, Burnside et al. (I’ll be particularly interested in how David Burnside is going to epouse a non-sectarian pluralist Union for all(if he’s not too busy having Mass being taken off the airwaves).