The origins of distrust between unionists and the Tories…

I know some senior Tories are finding it difficult to take the raw aggression being shown them by certain commentators (not to mention commenters on this site)… Eric Waugh has useful historic context for the distrust between ‘unionist’ parties and GB based parties of the union, with which he concludes:

Carson knew the Stormont set-up was merely a device to keep the unruly statelet at arm’s length in the thinly-disguised hope that union with it would soon be broken. The depth of the unionist chagrin over the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985 confirmed how slowly the truth of Carson’s prognosis dawned.

That agreement — giving Dublin governments a toe in the door for the first time — is important at this moment because it was a Tory Prime Minister, a |self-confessed unionist, who signed it. One heard the old Arab adage quoted that it was better to be an enemy of the British because then they would buy you. If you were merely a friend, they would sell you.

To this day, the unionist people are to be heard referring to this territory as ‘this country’. Of course, it is not a ‘country’ in any sense — but the label is revealing of that historic detachment which lies at the heart of the current difficulty dividing the Ulster Unionist Party.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty