From monoglotal towards polyglotal politics?

My first thoughts on the Cameron gig on Saturday with the Ulster Unionists… And why I think the attempt to appeal to Catholics makes good sense in the longer term, even if it will likely yield few returns in the short term…

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  • Dewi

    “Can he attract Catholics into what still remains (despite the shift of emphasis) a unionist party? Well, yes they are there already. But in token numbers. One thing that may dislodge a few more is failing to fulfill another of his promises and refusing to engage in sectarian carve-ups.

    The most famous of these have taken place regularly in areas where splitting the Unionist vote with two candidates to let a nationalist in. And there are two out of the 18 constitutencies where such a pact would guarantee returns for both the new party and the DUP in the next election.

    Sticking to his guns on this could allow one and maybe two Nationalist incumbents to retain their seat(s). That will no doubt prove: one, he means what he says; and two that party activists on the ground will have bought the message that the sectarian deals of the past are over.”

    Read that a couple of times now Mick. Really can’t see the logic. If these token Catholics are Unionists surely they would like to see Unionist victories in FST and SB? Are you saying that Cameron should prove himself to Catholic Unionists by facilitating Nationalist victories in these two seats? Sorry – Lost you somewhere…

  • slug

    An attempt to appeal to all religions is good not just for attracting Catholics but also in terms of attracting those who would be put off absent a pluralist and respectable image.

  • Mick I am sorry but his message in Belfast was anything but post sectarian. His language was loaded: ‘I have and selfish strategic interest’ and ‘I am no neutral’, is hardly a new beginning for unionism but a return to pre Peter Brooke Tory politics.

    His comments also run contrary to the Good Friday Agreement as it commits the British government to a neutral role in NI.

    Had he come with a new conservative message then maybe some right of centre catholics might have applied but he came in the words of former UUP adviser Stephen King on BBC to be ‘red, white and blue’. This will leave him in the old guard – no change camp.

    I could be wrong.

  • Paddy Matthews

    Things to check against delivery:

    “I will have failed if we cannot attract Catholics; it’s not about the Union; it’s about values…”

    Surely for a lot of the Unionist posters salivating here over the last few days, it is precisely about the Union. We had one particularly enthusiastic Northern Ireland Tory looking forward not only to the reincorporation of the Republic into the Motherland, but apparently also the return of the North American colonies into the empire.

    I think one problem with the logic of this new, improved, supposedly non-sectarian Conservative/Unionism is that it assumes that the difference between “Protestants” and “Catholics” is about religious identification, whereas it’s actually about perceived national identity.

    Protestants don’t speak Catholic. And generally Catholics do not understand a word of Protestant. At the time of writing this is still a profoundly monoglot project. Much will hinge on their choice of candidates and their capacity to communicate across that divide.

    Ironically, there seems to be a willingness in some quarters to get shot of one of the few Unionist politicians who is able to convey some empathy across the divide, and who runs well ahead of her party in terms of support, because she isn’t particularly enthusiastic about the link with the Tories.

  • frustrated democrat

    For all the discussion here one point is missed, this project was conceived and born in Northern Ireland by NI Conservatives and NI Ulster Unionists.

    It was been assisted by Owen Patterson and David Cameron who have given it their blessing and now are fully supportive and involved with the pact.

    It will either succeed or fail due to the efforts of the people in NI, London can only assist and provide the infrastructure they can’t make it happen.

    So I hope enough people here can see the opportunity to move to a new politcal era, only time will tell if the message will reach the electorate and if they will then accept and believe it.

    There will be plenty of naysayers and detractors in the DUP, Alliance and the SDLP, it is already obvious they see it as a threat to them. For example the SDLP are asking unionists to vote for the DUP an odd position to take, but external threats to the status quo create strange bedfellows.

    In the end as always the voters will decide if it is the right step to have taken.

  • Nomad

    Mick,

    Sticking to his guns on this could allow one and maybe two Nationalist incumbents to retain their seat(s). That will no doubt prove: one, he means what he says; and two that party activists on the ground will have bought the message that the sectarian deals of the past are over.

    I must agree with Dewi above. This makes no sense to me. The only thing I take from it is that you, as writer of that piece believe the UUP to be against Catholics in principle from taking NI seats? I’m purely interested in whether this is correct. I’ve never thought about this before, and when I do think of it it is not an assumption I would make. But it is an interesting point to air.

    Conall McDevitt,

    ‘I am no neutral’, is hardly a new beginning for unionism but a return to pre Peter Brooke Tory politics.

    Why should political parties with an interest in Northern Ireland voters remain neutral? I certainly wish there was more interest in Northern Ireland’s electorate from both the Conservatives/Labour/Lib Dems to Fianna Fail/Labour/Fianna Gael.

    Democracy in NI has long been stifled so a little competition is no bad thing. I would also suggest it is unwise to assume Catholics should be anti-union and Protestants pro-union. A little more thought and competition will do the world of good. F**k neutrality, Conall! 🙂

  • Michael Shilliday

    Ok Conal, let’s have a look.

    Mick I am sorry but his message in Belfast was anything but post sectarian. His language was loaded: ‘I have and selfish strategic interest’ and ‘I am no neutral’, is hardly a new beginning for unionism but a return to pre Peter Brooke Tory politics.

    What, you mean Unionist? You wouldn’t be guilty of the lazy sectarian stereotyping by equating Catholics with Nationalism would you? Because if you’re not, it seems you don’t understand what Unionism is at all.

    His comments also run contrary to the Good Friday Agreement as it commits the British government to a neutral role in NI.

    Where does it do that?

    Had he come with a new conservative message then maybe some right of centre catholics might have applied but he came in the words of former UUP adviser Stephen King on BBC to be ‘red, white and blue’. This will leave him in the old guard – no change camp.

    Again, you mean he dared to come over here, with his Unionism. The bloody cheek of it! Or maybe you’re happy with the uneven playing field we had before, and are unwilling to let that go.

  • dunreavynomore

    interesting story in the south Armagh paper ‘the examiner’ today headed ‘Fianna Fáil in historic move to south Armagh.’
    According to the examiner a high powered delegation including justice minister Dermot Ahern, general secretary Sean Dorgan, Seamus Kirk party chairman and Rory O’Hanlon will be in south Armagh tonight to meet with people who have been organising for Fianna fail in the area. Fianna Fail said “This move can unite many disparate and fragmented groups here under the one, single Irish republican banner…” http://www.crossexaminer.co.uk

  • picador

    The main question should be: can the Ulster Unionists / Conservatives attract Protestant votes?

    We should find out at the next Euro elections. I wonder whether the inspirational John Nicholson will hold his seat? Or whether that voting arrangement with Jim Allister will go ahead?

  • Damian O’Loan

    Some of my own thoughts are over at Our Kingdom:

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom

  • Mick Fealty

    Nomad/Dewi,

    “The only thing I take from it is that you, as writer of that piece believe the UUP to be against Catholics in principle from taking NI seats?”

    Okay, this is almost right. But let me repeat an important qualification before proceeding further. Neither Unionism or Nationalism is inherently sectarian. But the way they have conducted their politics has been.

    That’s the McCoys and Hatfield stuff that has affected most of us at one time or another.

    Unionists were not wrong when they talked about a pan Nationalist front. But there has always been a fairly rigid pan Unionist front too. Publicly ending Unionist electoral pacts also firmly signals your willing acceptance of the principle of consent under the GFA; and more importantly allows you to compete/differentiate with your primary political target: ie, your unionist opponent.

    Whatever the pro Union sentiment behind such pacts in the past, they are invariable seen as a ‘keeping the Taigs out of politics and power’ stroke amongst Catholics. Just stopping that (possibly forcefully in some cases perhaps) and making a virtue of it, communicates to those Catholics that you value their mandatory power in a fair electoral fight. That may not be immediate or obvious at first, but if communicated often and consistently enough it may well get through in the longer term.

    If I have a concern about how sound all this is, it arises from a suspicion that whilst the Ulster Tories understand this proposition; and many of those inside the negotiation team in the UUs may understand it too, that this powerful but culturally difficult proposition is not sufficiently understood by party activists.

    Decontaminating the brand is what this is about first. Then engaging Catholics (which nearly all Unionists have consistently failed to do) on shared vlaues (IDS – whose ideas on Social Justice are borrowed directly from his Catholic faith – was over at Barnardos last week were he made an impression). Then, if they can manage both of those; maybe more than the token few will consider it safe enough to vote Tory in areas where it will make a difference.

    But all of this is dependent on the Party learning to speak another political language. Not just ‘Catholic’ but the language of values rather than nationality.

    They may still be odds on the fail. But it is a whole lot better than the political oblivion they were facing before ‘new liberal Tories’ turned on their doorstep.

    As I’ve said on previous threads, all this should be urgent food for thought amongst Northern nationalism; who similarly need to develop a capacity to speak to those beyond ‘the people of the tribe’ if their ambitions to realise an all island Republic is ever to amount to anything other than empty rhetoric.

  • 6countyprod

    They may not actually be English words, but I assume that monoglotal towards polyglotal = monolingual towards multilingual.

    Are we implying that there is double talk, speaking out of both sides of the mouth or maybe speaking with a forked tongue?

  • Mick Fealty

    No. The opposite in fact.

    Ulster double speak has been a characteristic of both sides from the year dot. But I can quite why see my clumsy wording may have led you there.

    Doing something clear, like ditching the pan Unionist electoral pact, communicates very clearly what you mean to do in both directions.

    Narrative is not what you say; it arises in the minds of others over what you actually do. People aren’t stupid even if our politicians sometimes treat them as though they were.

    That’s the advice that comes with the prisoner’s dilemma: judge your opponent on what they do, not what they say.

  • OC

    “We had one particularly enthusiastic Northern Ireland Tory looking forward not only to the reincorporation of the Republic into the Motherland, but apparently also the return of the North American colonies into the empire.”

    Posted by Paddy Matthews on Dec 08, 2008 @ 08:40 PM

    Surely, you don’t fear an aspiration?

  • Nomad

    Mick,

    I have always or often felt that any pacts (partiuclarly those discussed recently) came about because it was felt that seats were best kept as “unionist” seats as least-worst alternative. Not “protestant” seats, or even “anti-Catholic” seats- just not Irish republican seats.

    If true this wouldn’t be sectarian, or even tribal per se, even if it seems to ipso-facto tribal?

  • frustrated democrat

    Damian

    I think you have missed the point, the GFA settled the question of the border. It is for the people of Northern Ireland to decide and at the moment and for the foreseeable future their will is to stay in the UK.

    A UI may be a very reasonable non sectarian aspiration for many but to make something central to policy that is currently unattainable is not what politics should be about. It should be about the day to day things that matter to people here and now.

    Cameron has said plainly he will promote the union becase he believes in it, the Irish government clearly will promote a UI and that is also a reasonable position.

    It is up to voters from all sections of the community as to whether the union is upper most in their minds or the things that bring wealth and happiness to them and their families. The choice is theirs.

    The only thing I can tell you is that the pact will seek votes in all sections of the community and that the religion convictions of its voters will play NO part in its policies.

  • Paddy Matthews

    OC:

    “We had one particularly enthusiastic Northern Ireland Tory looking forward not only to the reincorporation of the Republic into the Motherland, but apparently also the return of the North American colonies into the empire.”

    Posted by Paddy Matthews on Dec 08, 2008 @ 08:40 PM

    Surely, you don’t fear an aspiration?

    Me? Not in the least…

    The Yanks might take a different view though – they may not have forgotten about 1812 😉

    I was just commenting on the fact that certain Conservative posters were getting ever-so-slightly ahead of themselves as to the powers of the Messiah Cameron 🙂

  • Mick Fealty

    Nomad,

    That’s a perfect illustration of how something that’s purely pragmatic and sensible in Protestant, stinks in Catholic. In unionist terms, the Irish Catholic world view has absolutely no provenance. And I don’t have to tell any Unionist here on Slugger just how much utter contempt Northern Irish nationalists feel for the Ulster Irish Protestant world view.

    The genius in Cameron’s pitch is in saying to his own people that you have to leave that behind – painful as it may be – and engage your Catholic neighbours with your core political values rather than your nationality.

    That said, Paddy M has a point. Saying it doesn’t mean it is already happening. And the party starts from a woeful state of ignorance about who Catholics are; never mind what they want.

    But you do at least get a sense of where they might be headed. And they have a purpose (which is more than nationalism has at the moment). That purpose will serve them well; if they can live up the challenge. If they don’t and they fall back into old habits, they’ll be as good as dead in the water.

  • I don’t get this idea that democracy has been stifled here, or we haven’t had rael politics. Democracy in the sense of the voters being able to express their wishes has been functioning since the NICRA-inspired reforms. All it has proven is that we are a shower of bigoted sectarian fuckwits, and David Cameron won’t be changing that. Nor, really, does he expect to.

  • kensei

    Mick

    The genius in Cameron’s pitch is in saying to his own people that you have to leave that behind – painful as it may be – and engage your Catholic neighbours with your core political values rather than your nationality.

    Did you miss the bits where he went on about how greta the Union is? Or the dog whistle “strategic and selfish interest stuff”? Or the interview with Reg after where he went on about how this cements the Union? This is not “talking Catholic”, Mick. And it is also simply false to suggest we haven’t heard similar sentiemnts before, or line sof “working for all the people” excetera. Come back to me when they have followed it up.

    fd

    Once again fd, it is perfectly possible to combine Nationalist politics and day-to-day politics. they are not mutually exclusive. Nor is the Union set in stone, nor does what you want politics to be mean that is the way it should be.

    Please ditch the STP.

  • Mick Fealty

    ken,

    “This is not “talking Catholic””

    Of course it’s not.

    Mick

  • michael

    The wording of the UUP/Tory/IRA motion at their conference makes it clear it is only United Kingdom citizens who live in Northern Ireland they wish to appeal to (see below). It is apparent that, according to this motion, the “best economic and social” interests of non-UK citizens in Northern Ireland (or elsewhere in the Uk, for taht matter though less relevantly) are of no interest to the UUP/Tory/IRA nexus. In other words, they wish to return us to pre-troubles Northern Ireland – anyone for a UUP Northern Ireland Secretary in a Ccameron administration? I don’t know what the statistics are, but surely if this was a genuine attempt to appeal to catholics (not to mention other minorities in NI), lip service at least would be paid to thsoe residents in Northern Ireland who are not UK citizens.

    “This conference believes that sustaining and promoting the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom is in the best economic and social interest of all its citizens, especially against the background of the rise of Scottish, Irish, Welsh and Ulster nationalism.”

  • How are Unionists going to set about this engagement, speaking in the language of ‘Catholic’?

    I dislike the labels given by Mick to the languages supposedly spoken by the protagonists and antagonists – there is no such language as Protestant, Catholic. Then again I appreciate that he is speaking figuratively.

    But how can unionists show that they are serious about engaging Catholics on the issue of values? Does this include, for instance, appreciating that the British quality of tolerating and encouraging diversity means that the UUP will have to ditch its primitive attitude to the Irish language? After all it was during Tory government in the UK that the Welsh Language Act was enacted and, also, when S4C was established with generous funding to ensure that Welsh language broadcasting would flourish.

    So there’s a challenge to the UUP, a party which refused to recognise the Irish language when it published greetings to other minorities in NI on its website. Can it set aside whatever ill feeling it harbours towards Irishness to make a space for that culture, which comprises the Irish language and more, within its ‘for all of us’ slogan. Or was that merely an election slogan, with no actual intent to live up to it?

  • kensei

    Mick

    What exaxctly I am missing here, then? This has been no different to say, one of Peter Robinson’s better speeches – filled with some okayish lines designed towards acknowledging Nationalism but none the less very firmly focused on the Union, and how great it is but this time down by that nice posh English fella. What’s the difference here?

    The site appears to have went mad.

  • Mick Fealty

    You’re not paying attention. That’s all.

  • kensei

    Mick

    You’re not paying attention. That’s all.

    No, I really am, and that’s not a nearly a good enough answer. Now I accpet I have particular blindspots when it comes to Tories and English people coming over here and telling us how they’ll fix all our problems, but I’m seriously at a loss here.

    Cameron’s speech gave three reaosns – the Union, democratic commitment, and repsecting the UUP. He found time to say how great the Armed Forces are; dropped in a few references to victims of the IRA (no loyalists mentioned here) and how relations with the Republic are just like any two countries having a land border. There was absolutely nothing there for current nationalists, even if thery are right wing ones.

    They have, as yet, got not one single extra vote from any quarter, not set up or announced any infrastructure in Nationalist areas, or gained any traction on any issue that might appeal to Nationalism. They haven’t announced one policy that might cross the divide. They haven’t had one vote where they’ve went against the expect grain. In terms of the Assembly rather than Westminster there is actually little practical difference wheher it is Tory or UUP running things.

    Apparently, this means we should have about 18 threads on the front page on the issue and be delighted we can now vote Tory. So why exactly is everyone going mad? Perhaps you might want to explain it to those of the MYV generation, Mick.

  • Mick Fealty

    If you want good answers you have to frame good questions.

  • kensei

    Mick

    I’d be quite content with an answer, Mick.

  • Mick Fealty

    What’s the question again?

  • Clady cowboy

    Mick

    “The genius in Cameron’s pitch is in saying to his own people that you have to leave that behind – painful as it may be – and engage your Catholic neighbours with your core political values rather than your nationality.”

    The genius? Stating the bleeding obvious morelike.

    We’ll see how much he pushes his new political partners into accepting and promoting the Irish Language Act to its base. That would be a move towards the tolerant ‘British’ set of values.

    As regards Davey boy on bread and butter issues, you’d have to be insane or foolish or naive,and quite possibly all three to trust him with your working-class vote. He despises them. No amount of cuddly talk speeches can or will disguise that.

  • kensei

    Mick

    What am I missing that is causing people to go mental. I suppose you could reformulate that as, given as I highlighted how this checked just about every standard Unionist checkbox, how si this special?

    Or approximate close enough in your head. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you right.

  • Mick Fealty

    Do you have a serious question or not? Or are you asking me to write another blog post?

  • DC

    “His comments also run contrary to the Good Friday Agreement as it commits the British government to a neutral role in NI.”

    Conall take some joy from the fact that David Cameron isn’t the British Government. He may well be but even that still shouldn’t be taken as a given at all.

  • kensei

    Mick

    A blog post would do, yes.

    I don’t know why you think I am on some sort of wind up. I literally do not understand why people have went nuts over this, given the actual content of the speech. I can see there is perhaps some potential in it, but I haven’t seen one thing I could class as a serious chnage or a serious commitment. The rhetoric certainly hasn’t changed. Here’s a classic:

    As Churchill affirmed, ‘the bonds of affection between Great Britain and the people of Northern Ireland have been tempered by fire’.

    So I’m looking at money, infrastructure, policy, something that actual represents a change that migth impact at an election. Can’t see it. The reaction mystifies me. But then is par for the course with Cameron for me.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m not the giant Elysian fount of all knowledge. Why don’t write it yourself then?

  • kensei

    Mick

    I’m not the giant Elysian fount of all knowledge. Why don’t write it yourself then?

    Perhaps not, but you appea to have drunk the Kool Aid, whereas I am left wondering why the world has went mad.

    I can’t atually answer the question I am asking. I could I suppose, put a question up. But believe it or not I’m working at the moment.

  • Oilifear

    “I will have failed if we cannot attract Catholics; it’s not about the Union; it’s about values…”

    To which I reply, it’s not about winning Northern Ireland, it’s about winning England.

    We can do without this cynicism, Mick. It exploits the vocabulary of one language to speak to another that is a world and a sea away and doesn’t give a second thought to what those words mean to either language group in Northern Ireland or (where I am writing from) in the Republic.

    The Scots aren’t listening. He dare not step a foot inside Wales. He may be able to get one language group in Northern Ireland all worked up with these words, but England is where they are directed and with them he is saying, “Vote for Me, England – Forget that Devious Scot, I am the True-Britain Kid”. There is one thing only you can trust about this when you hear it, his presence in Northern Ireland is all about “selfish and strategic interests”.

    Damian O’Loan is closer to the money on this, IMHO, Mick. Sorry.

  • Mick

    Ken,

    “I’m working at the moment”.

    Ditto. All time is precious. Try not to waste others’ with fatuous remarks.

  • kensei

    Mick

    Ditto. All time is precious. Try not to waste others’ with fatuous remarks./i>

    You could have typed out an answer in the time it’s taken you to muck about and I would have avoided whatever remarks. I honestly don’t “get it”. Why you are being short over this is another thing I’ll have to add to the list of things I don’t get.

  • Mick

    Two reasons for being short: one, I’m working hard on something else; and two, I think about what I write before I do anything else. Not thinking saves time; but it’s waste of everyone else’s.

  • Garibaldy

    Interesting that he quotes Churchill in the way Kensei cites above. Hardly an uncontroversial figure in Irish history. It seems to me that if he wanted to speak Catholic, Gladstone might have been a more suitable figure, even if he was not a Tory himself, it’s so long ago it doesn’t matter. Or he could have picked up some of the stuff in Paul Bew’s recent book, on what he describes as William Pitt’s Burkean vision for the Union – a true harmony of interest, affection and equality within a UK state. Even if it never materialised. I suspect this might say something about the depth of attention to Ireland. Hardly like he couldn’t have asked Lord Bew to recommend something in Westminster.

  • Glencoppagagh

    Olifear
    “He dare not step a foot inside Wales”
    Not even in one of the party’s three seats in Wales?
    Or maybe they’re not really Welsh if they vote Conservative which would be consistent with the theme running through nationalist argument in this thread which appears to be that you can’t be Irish and unionist.
    I don’t think anyone, least of all Cameron, expects that Irish/Catholic people will rush to support this project in large numbers but there are some who will.
    Admittedly, the natural consituency is small, probably confined to businesspeople (like Lord Ballyedmond/Haughey). The dependent middl class (doctors, lawyers etc) will probably be distrustful of the Conservatives’ willingness to top up the public sector trough.

  • dub

    “I will have failed if we cannot attract Catholics; it’s not about the Union; it’s about values…”

    This bit is NOT as far as I am aware in Cameron’s speech to the UUP conference.

    Mick,

    The project itself of bringing a “mainland” british party into northern ireland is unquestionably bold and imaginative. But the speech delivered by Cameron to the UUP conference was quite extraordinary. I would actually characterise Kensei’s reaction as quite mild. This speech basically was a complete apologia for Stormont, British Rule, and Ulster Unionism. Terrorism was defined as purely that of Republicans. And the victims of terrorism purely unionists. The Republic was acknowledged in the tersest and most cursory terms. The physical existence of northern nationalists was not acknowledged at all, unless you count his promise to recognise any future majority for constitutional change. How nice of him to promise to do something, as if it is some kind of favour, when this is a very basic requirement of the GFA. Not surprising when his whole speech was essentially a repudiation of that document and a harking back to pre-1968 “Ulster”. AS for his crass adulation of British military power…

    This was a speech which could not possibly have been more offensive to Irish nationalists..

    His express derogation from Peter Brooke’s dictum was remarkable.

    The speech was almost a declaration of war on Irish nationalism.

  • edward

    dub

    not according to Mick he seems to see it as some kind of a freindly gesture

  • dub

    Edward,

    Yes… like Kensei I realise that i must be missing something!!!!!!!

  • dub

    Mick also seems to have missed Dave’s barely concealed apology for the Conservatives having signed the AIA in 1985.

    Now that’s what i call real friendly!

    The dissidents incidentally have just been given one hell of a shot in the arm.

  • PaddyReilly

    So why exactly is everyone going mad?

    I think, Kensei, you are witnessing the phenomenon called hype. Possibly some parties are being paid for their contribution.

    The boring fact is that the UUP represents the Protestant upper crust and no-one else. The Conservative party represents the wealthy people of rural and suburban England, though these may be Protestant, Catholic or Jewish, Hindu or Muslim.

    The UUP is master of circa 20% of the vote in a number of NI constituencies. Even in North Down, the combined Conservative and UUP vote at the last Assembly election was little more than 25%.

    Given a six way split, this might translate into a couple of Westminster seats, given the alleged current unpopularity of the DUP, but it is unlikely to be anything dramatic or irreversable.

  • Mick

    No dub. It’s from Cameron Direct in the morning. It’s from my live blog at the time.

    At which point I have to ask what exactly am I being picked up on here?

    O’Neill certainly did not miss the reference to the Irish Republic: http://url.ie/zbg.

    The point has been made over and over again that Nationalist parties cannot make overtures towards Unionists, because it would demand that they stop being Nationalist. Well, you don’t.

    Mr Cameron is just showing you how it is done folks!! Go and get after ’em!!!

  • bob wilson

    Kensai, dub abd edward et al are all just too close to politics in NI and I suspect (forgive me) probably too old to see the significance of this.

    Cameron is challenging the UUP to become part of the UK centre right and he is reaching out to the electorate – regardless of their religion – and seeking their support.

    Non voters, SDLP voters and Alliance voters are all targets.

    It’s redefining unionism as outward looking and inclusive. For many people esp. the post Troubles young including those of an Irish Catholic heritage he does have the potnetial to appeal. Particualrly when compared with the alternatives

  • Oilifear

    Oilifear: “He dare not step a foot inside Wales”
    Glencoppagagh: “Not even in one of the party’s three seats in Wales?”

    Wow! A whole 3 out of 40. Clearly a dominant force. Mind you, that is up 3 on the previous decade (the Conservatives didn’t win a single seat in Wales between 1992 and 2005) and I suppose a veritable stronghold compared the sole Conservative seat in Scotland.

    What I was also hinting at was that there has been no visit to Wales by “Cameron Direct”. (It has visited Scotland.)

    “Or maybe they’re not really Welsh if they vote Conservative …”

    I suppose there are many reasons why they don’t vote Conservative, but I would hazard a guess that a diminished sense of self would not be among them. Elsewhere in these isles people don’t vote by tribe, you know?

    “…which would be consistent with the theme running through nationalist argument in this thread which appears to be that you can’t be Irish and unionist.”

    I can’t see where anyone has said anything so preposterous anywhere on this thread. Indeed, I remember a recent thread where mainstream Nationalist sentiment was exactly the opposite.

    “I don’t think anyone, least of all Cameron, expects that Irish/Catholic people …”

    Whoa! Hold on there! See what you did? You tied “Irish” to “Catholic”. Can one not be Irish and Protestant in your opinion?

    dub,

    The quote was from Mick’s piece (see link above). I don’t know where he got it from, but you can exchange it with almost any other quote from Cameron’s recent tour in the North. We’re on the same page. Where you write that it was offensive to Nationalist sensibilities, I mean only to add that it was also a careless exploitation of Unionist sensibilities and that Cameron could not care less about either.

  • dub

    Mick,

    Sorry to be so blunt but you are being picked up on delusion on a scale so vast that is it is almost impossible to know where to start. Have you read Cameron’s speech to the UUP conference?

    ” Mr Cameron is just showing you how it is done folks!! ”

    What on earth are you talking about? He could not have gone more out of his way to drive any Irish nationslist listening to his speech into the hands of the Real IRA.. for about a second (i am joking here). But seriously Mick do you think that apologising for signing the AIA, endless references to the British Military, stating his pride in the PAST of the UUP, inferring that terrorism was only a republican thing and that only unionists were victims, never once mentioning an Irish nationalist component to “Ulster” (the word he used throughout) culture and politics, and deliberately making fun of and overturning what is regarded as the seminal phrase which kick started the peace process… you think this is “Cameron showing you how it (presumably, reaching out to nationalists) is done?

    Have you lost the plot completely????

    So if FF want to go up north and appeal to unionists they should presumably stress complete and undying admiration for the provisional IRA, infer that the only victims of the troubles were nationalists, apologise for signing the AIA (for the opposite reasons!), deliberately make fun of and overturn, oh i dont know, John Hume’s statement that the problem in Ireland is a divided people not a divided territory, and never once mentioning a british/unionist and/or protestant component to Irish identity… yes that would be the way to win over unionists would it not??? and only old people to close to NI would not understand the subtlety of what they are trying to do which would be to bring northern nationalism onto a national stage and reach out to young unionists…

    YEAH RIGHT

  • Oilifear

    Mick, dub is right.

    “The relationship with the Irish Republic is of the kind one would expect of two neighbours that share a land border.”

    “As Prime Minister I will always honour Britain’s international obligations.”

    Those two lines infuriate me. With them he dismantles the North-South dimension of the peace process. But what really get my goat is that I don’t believe he cares a toss about any of it. I only see him exploiting Unionism for the benefit of nationalism in England.

    You talk about monoglots and polyglots, well here is a man speaking Protestant but not having a clue or caring less about what he is saying because he is talking to somebody else. It is colonialism again – she speaks Ireland, but he talks England.

  • George

    David Cameron may indeed have come to Belfast and shown us how it’s done, building a bridge between NI unionism and GB unionism I mean, not a bridge between GB and Irish nationalists. I really don’t know how anyone could think Cameron’s speech was a bridge-builder to Irish nationalism. As for the UUP, their declared objective is still to protect the rights of British citizens.

    In the meantime, I think the Republic is also showing how its done in its equivalent arena, namely building bridges between northern and southern nationalism.

    400,000 people from Northern Ireland have become Irish citizens since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement with the number rising by the day.

    The UUP is for all except a quarter of the population of course.

  • Mick Fealty

    Here’s from the original on Brassneck:

    Can he attract Catholics into what still remains (despite the shift of emphasis) a unionist party? Well, yes they are there already. But in token numbers. One thing that may dislodge a few more is failing to fulfill another of his promises and refusing to engage in sectarian carve-ups.

    The most famous of these have taken place regularly in areas where splitting the Unionist vote with two candidates to let a nationalist in. And there are two out of the 18 constitutencies where such a pact would guarantee returns for both the new party and the DUP in the next election.

    Sticking to his guns on this could allow one and maybe two Nationalist incumbents to retain their seat(s). That will no doubt prove: one, he means what he says; and two that party activists on the ground will have bought the message that the sectarian deals of the past are over.

    In short, to win the iterative Prisoner’s dilemma you have to change the game… And pick your fights…

  • OC

    “Can it set aside whatever ill feeling it harbours towards Irishness to make a space for that culture, which comprises the Irish language and more, within its ‘for all of us’ slogan. Or was that merely an election slogan, with no actual intent to live up to it?”

    Posted by Concubhar O Liathain on Dec 09, 2008 @ 10:05 AM

    Does the use of “sluaghghairm” count towards an ILA?

  • frustrated democrat

    It seems nationalists / republicans have had their illusions shattered, in that they thought NI was on a one way track out of the UK with the assistance of the British government. It isn’t.

    Cameron wasn’t in NI to talk to them he was here to talk to unionists of whatever persuasion to tell them he believed in the union and wanted to persuade people in NI it was in their best interests to belong within the union.

    He was also here to say he respected the GFA and the right of NI people to decide their future, but retained the right to persuade for the union.

    The thought that by saying what he believed in is an insult to nationalists / republicans is a ridiculous idea. It may not be what they wanted to hear but he has the absolute right to say it.

    Nationalists/republicans may not vote for the new pact but they should repect the right of one of its leaders to present his convictions in the way he wants to and not slanted to meet what they want. Just as they will not be expected to change their convictions to suit unionists nor the leader of Ireland his.

  • Kensei

    Mick

    In short, to win the iterative Prisoner’s dilemma you have to change the game… And pick your fights…

    I presume you mean “change the rules”. In which case, this is a bad example. But changing the rules of the Prisoners Dilemma only affects whether sides with potentially opposing interests should cooperative. What you need to do is either not play, or abandon it and play something else.

    That is most definitely not the road the Conservatives have went down.

  • dub

    Frustrated Democrat,

    You are wrong. If this smarmy tory git wants to bring national british style non tribal politics into ni, then siding with every myth and indulging every wet dream of extreme right wing unionists who still think that the Anglo Irish Agreement was a betrayal is NOT what one would expect. The National Party in South Africa changed its discourse after the end of Apartheid. (I am not making simplistic comparisons, just a useful pointer to how you would expect a party in a post conflict situation to move beyond irs original rhetoric). Apart from all that i have said above, what is most fundamentally shocking about Tory Boy’s speech is the way he presents the last 30 years purely as a fight against evil terrorism waged by the plucky unionists with the help of their dashing friends in GB. The only logical conclusion is that Irish nationalism is the enemy. This is extreme unreconstucted old fashioned paisley style unionism, the one that paisley himself ditched, if you remember. Paisley’s collected sayings over the last couple of years show thinking unionism and an openness to Irishness as well as Britishness for all of people of the north. Tory Boy does not even mention irishness once.

    The more i think about it, the more disgusted i am by this speech.. it really is stupefying, and dangerous. I agree also with Olifear that what is even more sickening is the sheer brazen opportunism of it. Its just the old trick of playing the orange card for political gain in GB. It really is nauseating. I never thought we would this kind of crap again. I hope we don’t get any more unwelcome reminders of the past from this demagogue.

    And Mick, your seeming “boner” for this speech .. easily the most disgraceful speech in years from a major politician in relation to the North… well words fail me. The most charitable explanation… actually there is no charitable explanation.

  • frustrated democrat

    DUB

    As I said Cameron is a unionist and has the right to be so, you aren’t and that is your right. Cameron isn’t a republican or even a nationalist so in political terms they are an enemy of the union.

    You anger seems to be caused by the fact that he doesn’t want to promote a UI or be a neutral mediator, only to stand by the GFA. There is no orange card no matter how much you would like there to be and the UUP no longer have links with the OO. Cameron doesn’t have to pay lip service to what nationalists or republicans want that is for them to promote and secure for themselves not him, that is not to say he would not protect their rights as with any other section of the community; he will however promote the union as that is his stated passionate belief.

    Politics isn’t a fixed dogmatism it is a fluid and rapidly moving stream of thinking. In NI it isn’t what it was 10, 5 or even 1 year ago the voters are moving away from the politics of division and concentration on the old sectarian viewpoints and 400 years of history and the border. I believe they are now ready and want to move on to real politics which are relevant here and now, which somewhat removes the ‘raison d’être’ for several parties here.

    We are truly in a time of change in the world not only in the USA but also here and we need to look forward to the future not to the past and accept the new realities.

  • Mick Fealty

    Right. For a start, what I actually said was a good deal more temperate and measured than is being thrown up here. And ‘Seeming “boner” for this speech’ is definitely playing the (straw) man.

    Second, why on earth should this not be a Unionist speech? It was made to the Ulster Unionist Party. And, where pray tell, have I suggested this was appealing to Catholics?

    In fact, if you care to read the original; you will see that I have declared that they cannot speak what I have figuratively Catholic. But that the intention is right.

    In the medium term no one gets what they want out of NI. LIke it or not, we fit the Prisoners dilemma scenario perfectly. Keep ratting on the other and both are diminished by it.

    More sectionally, I don’t how you get constitutional change or keep the status quo unless you grow your provenance into ‘de udder side’. It’s not easy; and it means disruption in the short term.

    One reason why I used the terms Catholic and Protestant (which outside Marriage and/or conversion, people have little choice over) to separate them from the terms Unionist and Nationalist (which may not be)…

    In any the changes will be at the margins..

  • runciter

    Second, why on earth should this not be a Unionist speech? It was made to the Ulster Unionist Party. And, where pray tell, have I suggested this was appealing to Catholics?

    Wasn’t only a few minutes ago we were being told that the English were riding in to save us from “sectarian” politics, that the constitutional question was “settled”, and that the “new” UUP would appeal to voters on both sides of the traditional division.

    And Mick, weren’t you telling us that if we weren’t careful the nationalist vote would be under threat from this “new force”?

    But sure, what does consistency or substance matter when all you’re interested is the “story”?

    Personally, I think dub nailed it.

  • kensei

    Second, why on earth should this not be a Unionist speech? It was made to the Ulster Unionist Party. And, where pray tell, have I suggested this was appealing to Catholics?

    More sectionally, I don’t how you get constitutional change or keep the status quo unless you grow your provenance into ‘de udder side’. It’s not easy; and it means disruption in the short term.

    Do you not see the dicotomy here? You need to disrupt from the launch, to set expectations.

  • Mick

    If I have one criticism of the critics (from all sides) of this deal is it that it is too soon to tell)…

    Now you may suspect that this is skin deep and I will not argue with that. It’s a hunch (and a fairly educated one that) that deserves airing.

    And I won’t read over much into the excitment of the UUs, since for them this is big. But the price they have to pay is to dump the old sectarian rules of keeping to their own.

    Are they capable of doing that? Frankly, I don’t rightly know. But neither does anyone else.

    I suspect it is a bigger challenge than those in the party yet know; as William’s apparent expectation that this will reset the clock back to the 70s.

    Thus the line about how ‘Britishness’ has served well in the past, but must renew itself if it is to fit the multicultural future.

    Fundamentally, you’d be an idiot to begin by disrupting the already most disrupted party in Northern Ireland. First he/they have to get themselves fit to actually go out and knock on doors and speak to people; and in doing so dump the cultural cringe that still surrounds it. And then get on with disrupting their opponents.

    It is for Nationalists to disrupt Unionists, not to expect them to do it to themselves as some kind of public penance for ‘past sins’. That’s on a par with that odd plea from some Unionists that now the Belfast Agreement is settled; that somehow nationalists should make themselves at home and stop being nationalists. I don’t buy either politically fraudulent proposition.

  • Mick

    Run & Dub:

    See my remarks about a politically fraudulent proposition….

  • kensei

    Mick

    It is for Nationalists to disrupt Unionists, not to expect them to do it to themselves as some kind of public penance for ‘past sins’.

    They need to do it if they want Natioanlist votes. I’m looking for underlying things (see point on investemnt / infrastrutcure ion other thread) but I don’t see it.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m looking too Ken. I’m looking too.

  • Oilifear

    “Cameron wasn’t in NI to talk to [Nationalists] he was here to talk to unionists of whatever persuasion to tell them he believed in the union and wanted to persuade people in NI it was in their best interests to belong within the union.”

    “…why on earth should this not be a Unionist speech? It was made to the Ulster Unionist Party.”

    Finally some honesty. This was not (at best) some third way, redefining politics in Northern Ireland away from tribalism. It was (at best) primordial Unionism. From that perspective alone, I cannot understand why you are so happy-clappy about it, Mick?

    The unfortunate thing is that I don’t believe he meant a word of it – at least not in terms of what those words mean in Northern Ireland/Ireland. He was, I believe, speaking to England, not Ulster Unionism. I think Ulster Unionism is being taken for a ride here. I think it is being exploited for its nationalist value at home. I think it is a return to colonialism and an English colonial mindset. I think it is utterly reprehensible.

    What is it that you see as being so positive? (And, please, bear in mind that if Northern Ireland was a “normal” society, we could expect Conservative voting patterns along the lines of Wales and Scotland and the Conservatives would be lucky to win one seat in Westminster for Northern Ireland.)

  • Mick Fealty

    Does anyone hear actually read what I write. Go and read the Telegraph piece; or the quotation on the Tory NI blog taken from something I wrote somewhere on these threads.

    Then, while you are at it go and read the Long Peace Report that kicked slugger off in the first place: esp the bit about the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

    You think it might not work. I think so too. But, where we differ is I think someone has to go in this direction; because what we have is a bunch of politicians still trying (unconvincingly IMHO) to recycle their histories for fear of facing a challenging future.

    Forget that it is the Tories. Take their name out and out your own prefered party’s name in instead. It could have been Fianna Fail or even SF. The break for open ground is the thing. To do that you have work it out of where you are and what you are.

    Which is just one reason why I am not going anywhere that ‘British as Finchley’ nonsense you are clearly trying to box me in with. That’s – to trade a sixties hippie thing- just not my bag man…

  • kensei

    Mick

    Forget that it is the Tories. Take their name out and out your own prefered party’s name in instead. It could have been Fianna Fail or even SF. The break for open ground is the thing. To do that you have work it out of where you are and what you are.

    I think you are missing the point somewhat spectacularly. People are getting irate because they can’t see how is this a break for open ground.

    This looks more or less as cack handed as SF’s last go, at this point. But you are making several assumptions about th Tories and Unionism that seems to be displaying some innate biases. Then moaning about everyone else not listening.

  • Mick Fealty

    Details?

  • kensei

    What more is there to say that hasn’t been already?

  • Mick

    What about stating what you mean here?

    “…you are making several assumptions about th Tories and Unionism”…

  • dub

    But, where we differ is I think someone has to go in this direction; because what we have is a bunch of politicians still trying (unconvincingly IMHO) to recycle their histories for fear of facing a challenging future.

    Mick. I do not believe that anybody here differs with you on that.(although i cannot actually speak for others, so suffice to say i do not differ with you on that and i believe that to be the case of others here who are vigourously taking issue with you).

    I think you are missing the point somewhat spectacularly. People are getting irate because they can’t see how is this a break for open ground.

    This is what i have been trying to say (thank you Kensei).

    Its not as if others have not been trying this. Innumerous demarches by the Dublin govt and President McAleese have sought to show that britishness and irishness need not be mutually irreconciable. And sf too have done much both in private and sometimes in public too. If FF were ever to come up here (and there is something about them coming into South Armagh) they would do the same.

    What is puzzling here is not that Cameron gave a speech in favour of the Union (Blair did that at the beginning of the peace preocess). What is jaw dropping is that he did so in purely Ulster unionist terms, without making any attempt to show that Irishness too could co exist with Britishness as per the GFA whilst Britiain is the sovereign power. That is very hard to understand and makes your enthusiasm for the project hard to understand. If you were really into this project one would expect bitter disappointment from you at this stage not this garbled, but you don’t listen stuff. I am listening very carefully and what i hear from Cameron is almost entirely the opposite of what i expected to hear. Put it this way, if FF came up here with similar rhetoric to Cameron, i.e. giving a chance for real national politics and saying that they wish to appeal with a modern civic nationalism to all of the people of the north, and then they gave a tub thumping republican speech replete with references to welll known martyrs etc… do you not think you would be criticising them acerbically??

    So why the double standard?

  • kensei

    Mick

    I mean you are a dirty great Tory. Or to put it another way you display enthuisaism for this while you display scepticism for SF’s previous moves. It’s all in the tone.

    Sorry I can’t be more detailed – machine to install.

  • dub

    Mick,

    By the way, I regret if i appeared to be playing the man and i do acknowledge that you have sought to address many of my points and those of others in some of your more recent posts.

    The general puzzlement over your specific enthusiasm for this particular attempt to move beyond the trenches (which i am all in favour of) remains, however.

    One final point i would make is that due to what is see as this spectacular failure to move beyond the trenches and in fact the digging of a much deeper one on the unionist side, i regret to say that i believe that this may lead to similarly regrettable reactions on the nationalist/republican side.

  • Mick

    So it is tone, assumption, or party affliation?

    dub,

    No problem. This is interesting territory. Nothing is gained from holding back. It’s just that people are ascribing a level of certainty to my view that’s simply not borne out in what I say.

    I’ve long taken the view that you have to find some sympathy with any political creed or individual figure if you are going to stand the least chance of understanding it.

    The reason I see this as a move out of the trenches is that for me the status quo is that everyone is currently in the trenches.

    First movers aren’t always guaranteed of success; which is one reason why I’ve struggled to make clear it’s the move I’m applauding; not the party.

    Both sides are struggling to make a viable future for themselves. I’ve long taken the view that complaints from Unionists about the over investment and under investment in the East West pole is a form of self criticism.

    Irish Nationalist parties similarly need to make that relationship actually work in the way they do their own business; rather than endlessly tell us how important it is.

    There are clearly some people who think the census will deliver us all into an Irish Republic. In Kathleen you have one Irish voter saying: boys, that ain’t enough.

    Instead of rounding on the messenger, Irish nationalism would do better to recognise the challenge and raise Mr Cameron rather than praise him!!

    😉

  • Mick

    Sorry I meant to say the North South relationship in relation to Nationalism,

  • Oilifear

    I can only cheer at dub’s and kensei’s remarks. This was not a break for open ground. This was a photo-op with the men in the trenches for the benefit of the folks back home. And what I despair at is that Cameron doesn’t care a fig for either the men in the trenches or their presumed enemies across the line – just so long as the folks back home can see him waving the flag.

    In contrast to the changes in Fianna Fáil’s (puke!) stance – McAleese’s remarks a few weeks ago, funding for “Orange” cultural occasions (even Aughrim, which until the 19th century was the preferred focus of Orange celebration rather than the Boyne) – the Conservative’s approach is genuinely primordial. Contrast changes in attitudes in the Republic – such as the public funeral for the young Mayo soldier killed in service of the British army – and Cameron looks like a flashback to the past!

    I have greater faith in Fianna Fáil’s (puke again!) South Armagh moves. Don’t hold out for any change in voting patterns, though. If Fianna Fáil did merge with the SDLP or contest elections without them, I would not expect Unionist voters to flock to them in any numbers. The difference I would expect is that Fianna Fáil would take themselves out of the tribalism and work (even in ham-fisted ways) for the benefit “other side” – thereby releasing themselves from the prisoners dilemma.

    Cameron was nowhere near there. Not by an Irish mile.

  • Oilifear

    Just read your post above Mick @ 05:50 PM, and just have one further comment.

    This is not a “first mover”. This is a return to the pre 1973 position. Now following a hiatus the Ulster Unionists have accepted the Conservative whip again. I see no difference between Mk1 and Mk2. Not that there should need to be one – only that I hear a lot of people saying that there is – but were we really so far out of the trenches in ’73 that if we return to that position we will find ourselves in open ground??

  • Seymour Major

    Mick,

    Your words tell of tiredness and exasperation.

    I am a conservative. I am English but proud of my Irish roots. I have noticed how tired and exasperated you are. It may therefore please you to know that I agree with most of what you have said.

    One thing a lot of people need to accept is that We are genuinely seeking to have normal politics and just because you make a speech to a party declaring your unionism, that should not mean that you can not have normal politics, as some of the bloggers seem to imply.

    The Conservative party has always been a unionist party but it is not unio-centric in the way policy is promoted. My political persuasion is centre-right. If I was living in the Republic of Ireland, I would vote for either Fine Gael of Fianna Fail. I would not have a problem with the fact that they are republican parties. I would not vote Sinn Fein, purely because they are a party of the far left.

    An opinion poll commissioned by the Conservatives in June 2008 showed that 54% would welcome more representation by UK wide political parties and 45% would be very likely to vote conservative at the next election, given the opportunity (Source You Gov). Of course, that was before it became known that there were UUP/Con negotiations but people ought not to rush to judgment as to how things will pan out.

    My way of looking at politics is the way we want others to look at it, even if they do not agree with centre-right policies. As for being a unionist party, our message to Nationalists is that our Unionism should be treated as just a framework for an operating political party within the UK. It is not a threat to anybody being a Nationalist or a Republican. I dont accept earlier blogger’s views that a few people will be able to put Unionism or Nationalism to one side and vote on the basis of left/right, as I would do in the South. Conversely, if the SDLP wanted to model itself as the cross-community party of the left and if it had some talented politicians, I believe it could, with hard work, eventually attract socialist unionists. Sinn Fein might have more difficulty achieving this because of their pastassociation with the IRA. That said, I have noticed that they are making an effort to represent “working class unionists”. Nobody should rule this out as a possibility. Stranger things have happened.

    Our success or failure may well boil down to how hard we work. We are working hard to change attitudes. We know they wont change overnight. You have to start somewhere and the way to start is to make people ask questions.

    Speeches have to be looked at in the context in which they were made and their primary audience. Contrary to what an earlier blogger has said, we do promote cultural inclusiveness. That is within the scope of the wording of anti discrimination section of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Conservatives and the UUP (I have seen the document at a presentation). As an activist, I have already insisted that we want cultural inclusivity to my local newspapers. I have had a bit of difficulty with what I have said and Mick is absolutely right about the need for de-contamination. It will take a while before everybody in the two oranisations understands just how far, radical and visionary is our new political brand.

    Contrary to what some believe, we want to promote all strands of Irish Heritage for the greater good of Northern Ireland. We know that there is bigotry within some of those cultures. So long as we are patient and those elements are handled with firm sensitivity, tolerance will prevail. Note that the Irish Government actually gives grants to its Orange Lodges in the South. There is no reason why we should not adopt a similar approach in relation to all forms of Irish Heritage, including the Irish Language, Gaelic Sports, music, dancing etc. I would stop short of saying there should be a law for the Irish Language but I would listen to the arguments. Any decision about that should be in the best interest of Northern Ireland.

    We ultimately want the people in Northern Ireland of all traditions to blend together and evolve to form a third, distincly Northern-Irish identity that everybody can embrace. For the sake of everybody here, we need tolerance and respect. Life is just too short!

  • dub

    Seymour,

    Some good points. None of your and i mean not one of your nuances were present in Cameron’s rabble rousing uber Brit speech.

    Why would that be? He is a leader, isn’t he? Or would he be afraid of the reaction in the audience if he used words like Irish heritage? Paisley was able to do it. And why did he not do a little reseach and use some nice code language.. like quoting Edmund Burke or something… to make some of his points? 2 reasons spring to mind: 1: everything you say above is untrue 2: He doesn’t care and is just whipping up brit fervour for his own gb purposes.

    As to your last point, what “we” would like… do you not think it is time that you English stopped wanting things in Ireland? Why are you still looking to socially engineer the place? Why can’t being the sovereign power for the time being be sufficient and support whatever the locals mangage to agree between themselves? That was the gfa remember, the new definition of british withdrawal, or have you never heard of that? Why the fuck are you guys intent on destroying the one agreement that has brought peace in the north? just so you can win the next election?

  • Joan Major

    Cameron’s speech only served to endorse the ‘tribal’ voting. It reminded people that the focus was on the union…..not on approach to education, health, economy etc etc. It served to put off any potential catolic voter …who would be prepaared to vote in favour of the selceiton system, in retaining excellence etc.