Hearts and Minds: a changing tone in Unionism…

With the appointment of Rena Shepherd as chair of the Parades Commission, and no sign of that review yet, perhaps it will last a little longer than the end of the year… The programme looks at its future… And they talk to Jim Allister and a much calmer (chastened?) Nelson McCausland than last time they crossed angry swords… does this change in tone presage onset of Ministerial responsibility (tomorrow, if Sammy’s to make that vote legal AND ethical by tomorrow night)?

  • politico

    the more things change the more they stay the same, would appear you still have to be a member or former member of the Women’s Coalition to get appointed to anything, suppose it makes a change from Alliance members

  • Rory Carr

    “…if Sammy’s to make that vote legal AND ethical by tomorrow night)? “

    Now there I find is a good example of where a hyperlink (why hyper? I ask myself) fails to be illuminating for if we track back to the link we find this:

    “I was struck [by] Sammy Wilson’s remark about him not being able to vote in last night’s incinerator vote in Belfast City Council chamber,…”

    which loses not only any impact but any sense, since the reader, unless he was already cogniscant of of the particular remark of Sammy Wilson to which the author refers, has no idea of what the hell’s going on much less why this remark might reflect upon the moral tensions** between between what might be legal and what might be ethical.

    ** There are no such tensions. The law is amoral and reflects only an expression of the power (including the tactical understanding of existing limitations of that power) of a particular ruling class at any given time).

  • Comrade Stalin

    politico:

    the more things change the more they stay the same, would appear you still have to be a member or former member of the Women’s Coalition to get appointed to anything, suppose it makes a change from Alliance members

    Is it Alliance’s fault (or indeed the WCs) that they get appointed to things because they are likely to command cross-community consensus ? Well, I suppose it is their “fault” for being non-tribal…

  • “The programme looks at its future”

    Julia Paul also looked back and pointed out that both sides blamed the RUC for decisions taken on some parades. Now the BBC archives presumably has a copy of the Dick Spring briefing from 1996 where it’s quite clear that the RUC Chief Constable made neither decision re. Drumcree; he merely announced them. Perhaps Julia should have a look in the archives before she next comments on this theme.

  • Wrong thread Rory…

  • Tim Berners-Lee

    Hypertext means more than just text.
    A Hyperlink therefore means a link that is more than a link in the current document.

  • TBL:

    Apologies if you landed on the wrong thread: http://url.ie/1ptw

  • Nevin, where does that briefing suggest anything but that the chief constable made the decision?

  • Ciarán, Spring suggested to the British government that the contentious parade should be rerouted, the British government took advice from the security forces (army and police) and more-or-less rubber-stamped the Spring proposal. The British government subsequently reversed the decision and the Irish government wasn’t best pleased that the Spring proposal had been overturned.

  • “tomorrow, if Sammy’s”

    Sammy is scheduled to visit Bushmills tomorrow as DOE Minister.

  • Whe for Nev? He’s said he will be in Belfast for the vote tomorrow. He must have some reason for thinking he is free to vote tomorrow when he wasn’t before.

    And we also know that Arlene is slated to answer questions on Finance on Monday.

  • It’s a morning visit, Mick.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Good performance by Nelson McCausland – the DUP can only go in one direction now and that is to make Stormo work – Jimbo may have inadvertently helped to ensure SF stay in government by cutting off the DUPs escape route as the TUV are now occupying the anti-agreement space.

  • Mick Fealty

    Before 11?

  • Vision Razor

    Did you see the same Hearts and Minds as I did Sammy? Nelson McCausland looked many things on that show, good was not one of them.

    I’d have used the term out of his league. He seemed more than a little uncomfortable facing the rhetoric his own party used so well against the UUP.

  • cut the bull

    Nelson looked nervous and quite uncormfortable during the interview.
    Jim kept feeding him the DUP’s lines of yesteryear and he seemed to be folding under the pressure of distant memories that were coming back to haunt him.

  • Nomad

    Any links to this interview anywhere for those of us not in Europe?

  • frustrated democrat

    The splitting of the DUP vote has left an interesting situation where Allister roughly represents the DUP voters from 10 years ago and the rump left behind in fact represents UUP voters who transferred to the DUP.

    This means the current DUP and the CU’s will be putting forward policies that are in local terms now almost the same and will be looking to attract the same voters. This is of couse unless the DUP lurch towards the TUV and leave themselves open to hemorrhaging more voters to the CU’s pro UK and national policies.

    I can see the CU’s targetting those voters with a strong pro UK message and the opportunity to get a foothold for NI MP’s in the potential Cameron government where they can effect real change in Northern Ireland. They will also be targetting the TUV’s 40,000 voters who placed them second on the ballot paper and the Alliance/Green/SDLP voters who also placed them second.

    The newly branded CU’s in a first past the post election will look to attract voters across a wide spectrum of NI opinion. They will in the areas where they performed well in the EU election, such as ND SA EB LV UB ST give the DUP major cause for concern as will the TUV in NA. The 6,000 lead over the CU’s the DUP had in the EU election was concentrated in 2 or 3 constituencies e.g NB, EL and EA.

    The DUP have some interesting choices to make as their relevance in NI is beginning to look somewhat tarnished and as the UUP know to their cost when the slide starts it is hard to stop. They needed the Conservative alliance to reverse their fortunes, this is not open to the DUP at this stage; in the future who knows what alliances may happen?

  • oracle

    Jim Allisters face-off with the Nelson McCausland on Hearts and minds was another striking example of DUP stupidity.

    Firstly they wrapped Dianne Dodds in cotton wool refusing open debates and running from a candidate head to head on camera or radio or for that matter any meeting in public.
    Eventually when they were dragged screaming and kicking to Queens debating chamber for a debate on Europe and local political direction which was screened on regional BBC, their candidate appeared to be hell bent on committing electoral sucicide and the support team that the DUP brought to Queens sounded more like the remenants of a drunken stage night grotesquely bellowing in womens faces than a supposedly intelligent gathering of political activists.
    However this was not the worst news for the DUP, the worst was yet to come and it happened every time Allister opened his mouth because he showed himself to be determined, measured, articulate and knowledgeable, Oh! and every time he opened his mouth he just Showed Dodds up!

    So now the DUP while hiding their party leaders away from the claws of Allisters lengthening political arm, the focus of his political mind and the bite of his political teeth decided to throw Nelson up against Allister.
    Dressed in a new suit, coached in a new manner, and promoted to a new ministery, McCausland was coaxed into facing Allister in the belief that he could take him this time… and he fell for it… well… like Nelson.
    Allister annihialated him from start to finish, Allister was all over McCausland like a cheap suit, proved that controlled volume is no substitute for a controlled mind and that there was only one cultured individual on display.

    The DUP only have one candidate able for Jim Allister and it isn’t Nigel Dodds or Peter Robinson it’s a woman called Arlene Foster, articulate with a legal mind and an extremely pleasant manner on TV she wiould be a difficult nut for Allister to crack without looking brutish to the electorate.
    However the question therefore remains will Peter come out and face Allister or forever be accused hiding behind the skirts of women

  • Quagmire

    Both of them kept banging on about voluntary coalition. It’s never going to happen folks. Get over it! N.I. will be governed via mandatory coalition ad infinitum, unless of course there is a vote for re-unification which will break the cycle. Until that day however, Unionism and Nationalism/Republicanism are joined at the hip on the basis of equality. Unionism has still to wake up to this fact.

  • Conquistador

    The bang on about voluntary coalition almost as much as you do about a United Ireland Quagmire. You should get over that, it’s not going to happen.

  • SM

    Quagmire

    I disagree – over time, with society becoming more normal, the deep distrust on both sides of “themmuns” will fade. Couple that with the inherently dysfunctional nature of “government” by mandatory coalitions and the electorate will be demanding changes to the system, regardless of supposed tribe.

    The moves by the UUP to transform into the Conservatives & Unionists by partnering with the Tories are aimed at shedding the tribal baggage and promoting instead a purely civic unionism, which is UK-wide and does not threaten the culture, religion or language of those Irish who identify themselves also as British. Moves like that will hasten the process of change.

    In the long term mandatory coalition will go because the people will be happy for it to go.

  • Quagmire

    “The bang on about voluntary coalition almost as much as you do about a United Ireland Quagmire. You should get over that, it’s not going to happen.”
    Posted by Conquistador on Jun 12, 2009 @ 03:54 PM

    A united Ireland is provided for under International law, voluntary coalition is not. This is the case because Irish unity is a real prospect whereas the latter is a pipe dream.

    “Quagmire

    I disagree – over time, with society becoming more normal, the deep distrust on both sides of “themmuns” will fade. Couple that with the inherently dysfunctional nature of “government” by mandatory coalitions and the electorate will be demanding changes to the system, regardless of supposed tribe.

    The moves by the UUP to transform into the Conservatives & Unionists by partnering with the Tories are aimed at shedding the tribal baggage and promoting instead a purely civic unionism, which is UK-wide and does not threaten the culture, religion or language of those Irish who identify themselves also as British. Moves like that will hasten the process of change.

    In the long term mandatory coalition will go because the people will be happy for it to go.”
    Posted by SM on Jun 12, 2009 @ 03:57 PM

    Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas SM. There may be a desire for voluntary coalition in some Unionist quarters, but let me tell you there is absolutely no appetite for it in the nationalist community. Unionism had its chance to govern fairly from 1922 to 1972 and it failed miserably and this is not lost on nationalist voters. Mandatory coalition may seem abnormal and undemocratic to some, but then again this place is not normal and democracy left the building with the imposition of an artificial border against the expressed wishes of a majority on this Island after the 1918 General Election. Unionism has a forked tongue when it comes to democracy.

  • SM

    Quagmire

    Yes the old Unionists got up to all sorts of gerrymandering, and general skulduggery but that is ancient history now. Change is coming slowly but surely and I hope that the time will come not too far from now when mandatory coalition is no longer necessary – it does not benefit the union to treat a large % of the population badly, and moderate pro-union politics recognizes that.

  • Paddy Matthews

    The moves by the UUP to transform into the Conservatives & Unionists by partnering with the Tories are aimed at shedding the tribal baggage and promoting instead a purely civic unionism, which is UK-wide and does not threaten the culture, religion or language of those Irish who identify themselves also as British.

    What about the large number of Irish within Northern Ireland who don’t “identify themselves also as British” and don’t wish to be coerced into doing so?

  • Quagmire

    “Quagmire

    Yes the old Unionists got up to all sorts of gerrymandering, and general skulduggery but that is ancient history now. Change is coming slowly but surely and I hope that the time will come not too far from now when mandatory coalition is no longer necessary – it does not benefit the union to treat a large % of the population badly, and moderate pro-union politics recognizes that.”
    Posted by SM on Jun 12, 2009 @ 04:56 PM

    Your motivations are questionable SM. The logic of your statement suggests that Unionism is only motivated to do the right thing now because to do otherwise would be detrimental to its existence due to the large nationalist presence here in the north. By extension you suggest that Unionism did what it did in the past because it could get away with it due to a smaller dis-enfranchised nationalist population. Your answer should have read that what Unionism did in the past was wrong and we profoundly apologise for it. Moreover, if found to be in a position of power in the future we promise to govern fairly for all the people, because it is morally the right thing to do and not because of our self serving interests in maintaining the Union. Your basically saying that there are too many fenians here in the north nowadays, they now all have a vote, the demographics are coming close to parity hence we better treat them well otherwise we’re fooked! Your motivations don’t really instill me with confidence SM, but what you say or indeed I say for that matter is irrelevant. The fact is nationalism has come a long way over the past 40 years. We now find ourselves at the heart of government on the basis of equality and we are not going to throw away our hard fought gains in order to usher in a new era of the unionist wet dream of majority (Mis)rule, and indeed nor are we legally or morally required to do so. As I said before Mandatory coalition is the only show in town.

  • SM

    Quagmire

    I am young and was never involved in politics, so I have nothing to apologise for.

    My motivation IS based on fairness not the political calculation – I did not say that calculation was my motivation merely that even on the grounds of political calculation there is no reason not to ensure fairness.

    Paddy

    They can vote however they wish – I might suggest if they are in favour of CU policies vote for them, and vote as they see fit in any putative border poll.

  • SM

    Quagmire

    And just to be completely clear:

    (1) Lots of wrong things were done in the past
    (2) Any government elected must govern fairly because it is morally right to do so

    I should perhaps read my posts more carefully first so I don’t end up being smeared like #2 above because I left myself open for it.

  • Paddy Matthews

    They can vote however they wish – I might suggest if they are in favour of CU policies vote for them, and vote as they see fit in any putative border poll.

    Although of course if they were to vote CU, it would be taken as evidence of the lack of need for there ever to be a border poll.

    The basic problem with the whole CU strategy – at least as it’s being presented here – is that it (unknowingly or otherwise) fails to recognise that the cleavage in Northern Ireland is differing national identity and that 40%+ of the electorate vote for parties which express an identity which is Irish and not British.

    Trying to create a 21st century version of the Achill Mission to bring the light of Britishness to the benighted Gael won’t have any more success than the original version.

    Imagining that the “Roman Catholics” will flock to UCUNF if only it can find some tame Ampleforth- or Downside-educated RC to stand for election is deluded. It’s also insulting – “Roman Catholics” have been happy to vote for Protestant SDLP candidates down the years. Religion is not the barrier. It’s national identity – and the failure of Unionism down the years to show any tolerance towards a non-British Irish identity – that is the barrier.

    If the CU genuinely wants to be “non-sectarian”, then it would have to be explicitly agnostic as to the preferred constitutional future of Northern Ireland. Essentially a more right-wing version of the Alliance Party.

    But it clearly doesn’t want any such thing. It wants to convert enough “Roman Catholics” (or at least convey the appearance of having done so) to make itself plausible as being “non-sectarian” and then do away with mandatory coalition a.k.a. power-sharing so that Northern Ireland can once again become as British as Sussex.

    As far as genuine recognition of the legitimacy of the other national identity goes, it’s about as far on as Fianna Fáil circa 1984, and if anything, it’s regressing rather than moving forward.

  • Alan – Newtownards

    Quagmire
    I love the way nationlists are always ready to condemn unionists as being anti catholic because of way they governed in the past. I admit that many things which happened were wrong. Some of these people were useless and some indeed bigoted. Of that there can be no doubt. As a unionist I have no problem admitting that.

    Yet you fail to see the inperfections of the regime in the 26 so called free counties of Ireland. This is the paradise, where everyone was supposed to equal, where the elected goverment handed over power to the “state church” and turned a blind eye to the sickening abuse of young children by members of the “state church”. This the state that elects a protestant president, in fact the first irish president, yet when he dies only one goverment minister dares to attend his furneral, as the goverment of the day don’t want to offend the “state church” which does not recognise protestant churches as equal.

    Do you agree with the way “paradise” was governed in the past?

    Was it right and proper that Archbishop McQuaid and the other catholic bishops were allowed to have so much power as they were ambassadors of a foreign state – the Vatiacan?

  • Quagmire

    “Quagmire
    I love the way nationlists are always ready to condemn unionists as being anti catholic because of way they governed in the past. I admit that many things which happened were wrong. Some of these people were useless and some indeed bigoted. Of that there can be no doubt. As a unionist I have no problem admitting that.

    Yet you fail to see the inperfections of the regime in the 26 so called free counties of Ireland. This is the paradise, where everyone was supposed to equal, where the elected goverment handed over power to the “state church” and turned a blind eye to the sickening abuse of young children by members of the “state church”. This the state that elects a protestant president, in fact the first irish president, yet when he dies only one goverment minister dares to attend his furneral, as the goverment of the day don’t want to offend the “state church” which does not recognise protestant churches as equal.

    Do you agree with the way “paradise” was governed in the past?

    Was it right and proper that Archbishop McQuaid and the other catholic bishops were allowed to have so much power as they were ambassadors of a foreign state – the Vatiacan?”
    Posted by Alan – Newtownards on Jun 12, 2009 @ 08:14 PM

    I couldn’t agree with you more Alan. The southern state was and is to a certain extent an absolute joke! The Catholic Church should never have been given so much power and sectarianism against Protestants in the south, which did happen, is to be utterly condemned. I have no love or allegiance to the 26 County State. My allegiance is to the flag and to the proclamation. I do not believe in an Ireland which is exclusively Catholic and Gaelic. I want to see a new democracy formed on the Island with a new constitution which can be given allegiance to by all. I want to see the right to hold a British and/or Irish passport extended right through all 32 Counties. I want to see Federal Parliaments in each province. The Anthem would potentially needed to be changed also. You get the drift?

  • SM

    I want to see a new democracy formed on the Island with a new constitution which can be given allegiance to by all. I want to see the right to hold a British and/or Irish passport extended right through all 32 Counties. I want to see Federal Parliaments in each province. The Anthem would potentially needed to be changed also. You get the drift?
    Posted by Quagmire on Jun 12, 2009 @ 08:31 PM

    How about the old idea of Home Rule then? United Ireland as a devolved region of the UK of GB & Ire… Unionists get a British passport and Queen as head of state, nationalists get a UI and their own parliament controlling internal affairs.

    I know that is a bit tongue in cheek but I’m also genuinely interested in how you react to that idea. Would make the least 90 odd years look a bit pointless mind!

    Also you said:

    I have no love or allegiance to the 26 County State

    I don’t understand why a pro-UI person is pro-UI with thoughts like that – do you dislike the UK even more? Again I’m interested in your view of the world.

  • Paddy Matthews

    How about the old idea of Home Rule then? United Ireland as a devolved region of the UK of GB & Ire… Unionists get a British passport and Queen as head of state, nationalists get a UI and their own parliament controlling internal affairs.

    That particular ship sailed in the early 20th century when the then Unionist and Conservative leadership (Carson, Craig, Bonar Law et al) threatened civil war rather than agree to it.

    It ain’t coming back.

  • David H

    Poor old Nelson fell again,Jim Allister left him dizzy looking for answers. Is it any wonder when you look at Nelson’s track record. Ulster Unionist Councillor. Independent Ulster member and lately DUP. Not much more left for him to join.

  • skullion

    David H

    Perhaps the Peoples Popular Front or in Nelson’s case probably not.

  • Kuddly Ken

    and sectarianism against Catholics in the north, which did happen, is to be utterly condemned.