Definitions and opportunities

We’ve seen the reaction to one comment in Sir Reg Empey’s opinion piece in today’s newsletter. It is to an extent quite predictable, but perhaps not as reflective as it could have been given the excellent work of Iain Duncan Smith, work which to a large extent defies traditional assumptions about what it is to be on the left or right. The talk of the “nasty party” is gone and the Centre for Social Justice must take some of the credit for that. And when one takes Sir Reg’s paragraph in it’s context, is there really much to be disagreed with? What are Labour doing for working class communities in London, Manchester and Belfast?

However, as Chekov has pointed out in the comments, that remark is a very small aspect of the piece, and the piece deserves consideration as a whole.

Again, critics of the relationship ask the question: how do we overcome the Conservative “legacy” on Northern Ireland? …It is very likely that the Conservative Party will win the next general election. The cold hard fact is that David Cameron probably doesn’t need a single UUP vote or seat to get him into Number 10. He didn’t need to come to the UUP conference last December. He didn’t need to distance himself from the “no selfish, strategic or economic interest” doctrine of British government neutrality on the Union. He didn’t need to embroil himself in Northern Ireland politics and risk shattering the bi-partisan approach that has dominated Westminster for thirty years. That being the case, it is a reasonable assumption that he is personally serious about our place within the United Kingdom.

Legacy issues were a potential problem for this project, however seem to have been dealt with well. Thatcher stopped short, but only just, of stating that she regretted the Anglo Irish Agreement in her memoirs. Peter Brooke’s speech in 1990, borne out of the AIA, was directly contradicted by Cameron at the UUP Conference last year. The good faith of the Conservative Party at this stage can only be taken at face value, they have gone out of their way to make that so. The Anglo Irish Agreement is dead and regretted, Government neutrality on Northern Ireland seems to be going the same way.

Ultimately, though, it won’t be the self-serving criticism of our political opponents which will determine the future of the UUP-Conservative pact. While the DUP have chosen to concentrate on building their relationship with Sinn Fein, we have chosen to concentrate on building our relationship with a pro Union Conservative party. And when the electorate begins to realize that the Conservative Party is solidly and unambiguously committed to the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom: and that a manifesto from Conservatives and Unionists is offering deliverable policies rather than vague promises—then I believe that they will be prepared to cast their vote for something new and tremendously exciting in Northern Ireland and UK politics.

This is the vision for the future on which the pact should be judged upon. Electoral politics is about making things better, and with a real opportunity to change the lives of Northern Ireland’s people for the better, the UUP has positioned itself at the heart of Northern Ireland’s future.

  • ??

    What are Labour doing for working class communities in London, Manchester and Belfast?

    here two things:
    Minimum wage: opposed by the Tories
    Tax Credits: Opposed by the Tories

  • Bill.M

    ??

    That is what Labour did some time ago for working class communities.

    What are they doing now?

  • ??

    theyve also increased child benefit, offered more time off for parents – working families are better off now than undter the last tory government.
    More jobs created in the last 10 years thant the previous 10 under the Tories

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    ??

    Apart from child benefit, offered more time off for parents – working families are better off now than undter the last tory government, the Minimum wage, Tax Credits, increasing expendiure on the NHS and schools what have the Labout party done for the working classes?

  • BIll.M

    They have also created a social housing crisis unlike anything since WWII, allowed the banks to run riot by relaxing controls and helped unemployment reach levels last achieved by….. the previous Labour Government.

    It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it – Nice Python reference!

  • ??

    and helped unemployment reach levels last achieved by….. the previous Labour Government. …..

    oh i think youll find the Tory 3 million + unemployed was more than a match for labours 1 million

    allowed the banks to run riot by relaxing controls ……………

    the tories started this and wanted GREATER deregulation…go ask william hague….

  • Bill.M

    Did you accidently forget about the Social Housing Crisis, or are Labour helping the working class communities by pushing them into homeless hostels – allowing Charities to do they work that they should be doing?

    But I’m sure you can blame the Tories on that as well…..

  • “Some fun has already been poked at the term “New Force.” So be it. That is the nature of politics”
    So be it?
    Don’t they realise that image is one aspect that dictates the success of a party?

    How do you think the average voter feels after the confusion over the alliance with the tories.

  • borderline

    Linking up with the Tories, even reformed ones, will not save the UUP. They are deeply unfashionable inbred hicks with zilch electoral appeal to the iPod generation.

    Compare and contrast things in the vibrant, dynamic Republic where a new internet-savvy young generation of politicians are about to break through using podcasting, twitter and

  • iprod*

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Shillers

    What was Wee Reggie referring to with his Tory ‘legacy’. The GFA the Anglo Irish Agreement?

    In the para below – this must be the first time a political party has admitted it has absolutely no chance of getting elected. 10 out of 10 honesty , 0 out of 10 for political nous.

    “As a stand alone party the UUP can have as much vision and socio-economic plans as it likes. But stuck in a toothless “opposition” role, we can deliver absolutely nothing other than talk and soundbite.”

    He also says that vote splitting is “opportunistic bluster” and then says ” Seats are being lost, not simply because the UUP and DUP are fighting each other”.

    And you have to really love the “While the DUP have chosen to concentrate on building their relationship with Sinn Fein, we have chosen to concentrate on building our relationship with a pro Union Conservative party”.

    You would never guess they arrived at this position after having their arses severly kicked at the polls.

    And of course he does not deal with the big Orange elephant in the living room – sectarianism – and with the exception of Seymour Major on Slugger I have not heard any Tories address this issue properly. So never mind the mythical left wing working class UU voters what about those the Tories are supposed to be now trying to attract – Catholics. However unattractive the Tories were previously to Catholics the fact that they are aligned with a party that cheishes its relationship with the OO means any Catholic would need his head examined to support a party that holds large scale, provocative anti-catholic demonstations.

    The Orange issue is just not going to go away for Cameron and one can just imagine the scene in the Cameron household, having invited his new-touchey-feely-moderate-Tory friends around for a dinner party and he has to explain that those chaps talking the 17th century anti-catholic talk are in fact good eggs beloniging to the Tory party.

  • What are Labour doing for working class communities in London, Manchester and Belfast?

    Obviously, for the last decade young Master Shilliday hasn’t been in London or Manchester and near a school or hospital or doctor’s surgery or on public transport or … etc, etc. The devolved arrangements in NI may well have different mileages; but since the rest of the UK subsidizes them so lavishly, he can hardly complain on that basis of the effectiveness of the dispositions.

    But, of course, we may yet live to see fully restored Thatcherite standards of public squalor and private affluence, once the promised Tory cuts and tax breaks are delivered by that hypothetical Cameroonie government.

  • Gregory

    “The Orange issue is just not going to go away for Cameron and one can just imagine the scene in the Cameron household, having invited his new-touchey-feely-moderate-Tory friends around for a dinner party and he has to explain that those chaps talking the 17th century anti-catholic talk are in fact good eggs beloniging to the Tory party.”

    I think you are confusing the OO with Amnesty international.

    The OO are generally very polite and favourably disposed to Catholics these days.

    As are the UUP, my problem with Labor s it is with SF, is that I am made to pay the price for knowing trhat Harriet Harman’s career is over if she repeats the claim her office gave to the Daily Telegraph.

    http://www.ipce.info/library_3/files/sap/sap_text.htm

    The pedophiles, may be perverts, but they tend to get their dates right.

    “The spokesman added: “PIE had been excluded from the NCCL before she became legal officer.””

    I defy her to say that in the commons. The problem with Labor, is that one can’t trust a word they say.

    Gregory

  • bob Wilson

    ‘What are Labour doing for working class communities in London, Manchester and Belfast’

    Absolutely nothing – the number of children in poverty is higher than when they came to office.

    And to answer you question directly – Making them unemployed. The consequence of a massive bust made much worse by a decade of Govt sponsored asset inflation and personal debt explosion. They have created no real jobs in the last decade just 1m taxpayer financed pretend jobs that will have to be shed as the UK economy struggles to become competitive again.

    Thank God they never managed to trick the country into the Euro

  • fair_deal

    This ‘mini-relaunch’ article is a reasonable enough effort but with two core problems. The leftwing tory comment irked the tories and demonstrating again the lack of minds meeting in all this.

    “Seats are being lost, not simply because the UUP and DUP are fighting each other—but because a very large section of the pro-Union vote isn’t coming out at all.”

    Nice dance but Westminster seats are not being lost to Unionism because of turnout. However, two are going begging because of a split vote. The loss of seats because of turnout is at Assembly and Council level. He is trying to mix issues.