Unionist unity a short rather than a long term project?

Well, just heard Ken Reid on the Hatfield House talks (these were day long talks, not just for a few hours grabbed on the Sabbath)… It seems the pretence that this was nothing more than soundings on the current impasse, is slowly giving way to the sense that Unionist unity was nearer the mark… He’s saying now that there are some people involved in those talks for whom the framework has to be forged in a matter of weeks not months… So some questions for the Tories:- Did the fabled issue of community confidence emerge in the talks?

– If they did, is there now a shared understanding between the Conservatives and the two local Unionist parties on what that means?

– And considering that the current position of the two governments is that there are already the conditions necessary for a deal, are they preparing to break with that current consensus?

We may not get the answers to those questions, but they are stirring around in the background regardless…


  • Pete Baker


    I think the ‘unionist unity’ question was asked by Ken towards the end of the video clip here.

  • Drumlins Rock

    slugger is slipping, the BBC has beat us to the Conservatives candidates withdrawing.

  • danielmoran

    Mick, Robinson said on the news earlier, that he wanted to see a single unionist party. Does that mean it’;s the end for the DUP or UUP. [I think we can dismiss the TUV until we see some sign of impact on the DUP] Even if this comes about, and in thirty five years it’s only been possible for brief periods, surely this gives the cue to nationalists to do the same or crush SDLP totally, since they have elected to become effectively an older party.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    So much for the risible nonsense that there would be 18 Tory/Unionist candidates.
    Hate to say “I told you so”

  • Drumlins Rock

    umm james I think its actually hinting all the unionist could take the tory whip, but could be wrong there…

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    An early Assembly and Westminister election would be helpful to see if this Unionist Unity thingy is popular with the electorate.

    It would also put it to the test so that we can be sure its not some sort of short term gimmick.

  • Framer

    Well that’s UCUNF scuppered by their own hand and just when the system was going to give them a winnable seat in South Belfast.

  • mastermcgrath

    Would this unionist unity under the conservative umbrella be similar to the unionists prior to the DUP coming into the frame? If so then what was the point of the DUP if not just to satisfy the ego of big Ian the destroyer. Hope they go for it because at least they will be able to make deals and stick to them because of their electoral power but I do think that a great many modern thinking UUP members and backward thinking DUP members would find it much too difficult and it would also be good for the left leaning former paramilitary PUPs who could fill the gap the Rightwing unionist monolith would leave.

  • Hearing echoes of the Feudalist Manifesto: “backwards into the future, forwards into the past”

  • DisgustedinDERRY



    The TUV vote at the Euro election is the same amount the DUP vote was down on the last election, don’t rule them out, that would be a mistake. There are too many Gregory Campbell’s out there.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Reply to no.8

    That could be an interesting outcome of this Unionist unity (I will believe it when I see it).

    A real left believing Unionist party may emerge. This could of course be the PUP.

    The present Unionist parties have had an easy ride with regard to left/right politics down through the years.

  • mastermcgrath

    perhaps panic others such as Lady Sylvia and Basil (nobody told me about the meeting) Mc Crea who would find the DUP alliance to gut wrenching to stomach could join with Dawn in a new Unionist Labour Party. The prospects are just toooo exciting.

  • granni trixie

    If unionists unite under the Tory banner, they will have to answer in NI for Tory policies formed acriss the water and which may not suit local sensibilities. Plus,what happens to unionists/MLAs who identify with Labour(McGimpseys ?), leaving aside Lady H.

    The noises that are coming out also make a nonsense of their “new,non tribal politics” blah,blah rhetoric). In all,they may have created more problems then they have solved.

  • danielmoran

    Panic msg 6 The unionist voters might just take umbrage at being told to vote for someone they can’tstand, and there’s a lot of emnity built up over the years after the ’80s attempt at this sectarian carve up. This UCUNf caper is coming apart at the seams already. You would swear it would be the UUP who would want to get revenge on DUP for 2002, and get their seats back in commons. This is playing the DUP game to lessen the impact of their expected hammering.

  • danielmoran

    DiD thanks for that. I’m hoping there is a big TUV vote also. One Campbell is too many already.

  • Comrade Stalin

    umm james I think its actually hinting all the unionist could take the tory whip, but could be wrong there…

    You make it sound like it’s some sort of privilege. If unionists wanted the Tory whip why haven’t they taken it already ? I don’t think that’s likely.

  • LabourNIman

    hmm, this could also be a way for the Torys to make a deal, come the assembly election, to let some of their folk have a clear shot at a seat which would help with the bruised egos at being made to stand down at the westminster election.

  • Cynic2

    “they may have created more problems then they have solved.”

    ….or not as the case may be. It appears that the plan in trhis was to create a centre block of conservative / unionist supporters that would support devolution of P&J and allow unionsuta nd nationalists to get oin with the deal. SOme within the DUP are furiously spinning this as a full merger but I suspect they are a long way off that. The DUP would have to purge quite a number of its more ‘traditional’ supporters to get candidates past selection.

    Now that could yet happen. Politics is a brutal business and Unionism has to decide where its strategic future lies. If we eventually – say in 3 or 4 years time- end up with a much larger, moderate centerist unionist party and the right wing of unionism consigned to a TUV rump on the fringe, that could be a very good thing for all of us

  • Stephen Ferguson

    Reg should really be doing this deal once the UUP take over as the largest Unionist party again. Robinson knows the DUP are going to get hammered for lying to their voters about going into government with Sinn Fein and the Iris/Kirk/Developers story.

    Just sit tight Reg until after the next Westminster, Assembly and Supercouncil elections and then soak up what’s left of the DUP then.

    As for the PUP, unfortunately I can’t see them having any seats left after the next Assembly election. Dawn Purvis got a large sympathy vote after the death of David Ervine and still only got in on the last count in 2007. I think the UUP’s Michael Copeland will return in east Belfast and the PUP will be no more. It’s a shame the working class Unionists on the Newtownards/Woodstock Roads don’t vote in larger numbers.

  • danielmoran

    Panic. I don’t believe this ‘one size fits all’ stitch up’ will work, and for more than one reason. Diane Dodds tried it at the euros,you may say that isn’t the same, but if you were a unionist voter and asked to go like a sheep where you’re told by a bunch of freeloaders as shown by the expenses scandal, you would surely say ‘never, never, never. It amounts to an admission that your obsessed with denying ‘themmuns’ and effectively accepting the label bigot. What the unionist parties don’t seem to have worked out that the ‘garden centre prod’ is staying home for a reason, and unionist apathy hasn’t gone away you know. If the DUP and UUP haven’t managed to coax them out by persusaion till now, denying them a choice isn’t going to do it. The words HORSE WATER and DRINK apply.