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.

  • Framer

    The level of ‘raw aggression’ is probably a measure of the type of people who read Slugger who might at most be 4% UUP and 1% Conservative.

    This means 95% want to do the Tories down for nationalist, liberal, leftist or Ulsterist reasons.

    And the integrationists who regard UCUNF as a distortion of a principled position join in as well.

  • Mick,

    ..as I just mentioned on the other thread I think that Parsley’s Slugger comments were mentioned in Parliament.

    “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)… ”

    Surely this is simply a further example of the Tories naivety in jumping into a liaison without having given the matter proper consideration.

  • Framer @ 05:37 PM:

    95% of Slugger commenters want to do the Tories down for nationalist, liberal, leftist or Ulsterist reasons.

    Were that true, it would still be grossly flattering to any previous electoral share for the Tories.

    Alternatively, it might adequately reflect the on-going disasters that Westminster Tories unfailingly wish on Northern Ireland. The only question is whether it’s conspiracist or just cock-up.

  • Mick Fealty

    Framer,

    As if to prove your point… MU is a nationalist posing as a unionist… and MR writes for Labour Home…

    However, that UUs and Cons are participating, should not obscure the point that Waugh makes above. There is a real (as opposed to fabricated by opponents) tension there.

  • ….distrust between unionists and the Tories….

    could this perhaps be because they are both untrustworthy?

  • joeCanuck

    MU is a nationalist posing as a unionist

    Mick,
    I’ve seen that mentioned previously and even a nom-de-plume attached. Are you confirming it?
    Some of his/her posts have seemed distinctly “un-unionist”.

  • Mick,

    Were the remarks by Parsley on Slugger mentioned in parliament?

    “MU is a nationalist posing as a unionist”

    Surely you should encourage people to debate on the issues rather than on the basis of politcal backgrounds? Man Playing? People post on here under a number of weird and wonderful names – are you suggesting I am doing something that is not in keeping with the rules of Slugger? If it is a problem for you please let me know and I can change my name?

    Also, what exactly do you mean by “There is a real (as opposed to fabricated by opponents) tension there. ” Aren’t you simply dissisng the commenters here without actually putting forward an arguement to back it up?

    You seem to think in both instances above that arguements should not be judged/based on their merit but on the background of those who are saying them?

  • borden

    Any word yet on South Antrim?

  • Reader

    Moderate Unionist: Surely you should encourage people to debate on the issues rather than on the basis of politcal backgrounds?
    Soon after the internet struggled into existence, came the saying: “on the internet, no-one knows you’re a dog” That sort of anonymity is precious – and I avail of it myself. Some posters use their real identity, hoping to gain some authority, or at least credibility, or boost their profiles in real life. Others tag some element of their political position or identity.
    But what about someone who pretends to be a “Moderate Unionist”, but spends his time slagging off the most moderate unionist party? Do you really want people to accept your arguments on their merits, or do you want them to pick up extra weight because of your assumed background?
    As for me, well, clearly I’m a nationalist, and when I accuse fellow nationalists of MOPEry, distortion or double standards it’s obviously only because I have your interests at heart.

  • Comrade Stalin

    But what about someone who pretends to be a “Moderate Unionist”, but spends his time slagging off the most moderate unionist party?

    The UUP is anti-agreement, Orange Order dominated, and nominates homophobes to run in elections. Its party leader also said that it would be unacceptable for a non-unionist to be a justice minister. That’s moderate ?

  • Impartial Reporter

    This stupid argument that the UUP is non-agreement is the last hiding place of the Alliance Party, who will do anything to please the DUP so that they can stop a non-Unionist qualified Minsiter from taking the Justice Ministry and their own befuddled and not even slightly qualified leader can stop being in opposition.

    If the Alliance party had any sense of decency they would withdraw their selection for Justice Minister and support a much better candidate in the SDLP’s choice.

    That would show political maturity, something that the Alliance party have never got a grasp on.

  • Alias

    Good comment, Reader. Good faith is assumed (which is the point of not playing the man) but MU’s (AKA It Was Sammy Wot Done It) bad faith is confirmed by posing as something that he not, and so he fouls himself every time he posts.

    Sammy was well known for sycophantic support for the Shinners. And the point of posing as a moderate unionist who thinks the Shinners are the bee’s knees is to create the bogus impression that the Shinners are capable of winning over moderate unionists to their position, thereby making it look like they have even the faintest chance of progressing with their “republican strategy.” He used his ruse to good effect during the P&J debacle when he supported the Shinner position and claimed that those powers should be devolved at this time.

    Incidentally, Eric Waugh wasn’t the only person crying sell-out about the Anglo Irish Agreement. The Shiners were crying it too. Why? Because it was the first acknowledgement by the Irish government in a treaty that Northern Ireland had its own right to self-determination. They accepted that in the GFA, and I imagine that you’d be hard pressed to find their old press releases condemning acceptance of the PoC as a sell-out of Irish nationalism. The problem with some unionists is that they couldn’t see when the British government made substantial progress on their behalf, being blinded then by their dislike of the Dublin government.

  • alan56

    CS
    Interesting comment. Who then do you think are the moderate unionist party and why?

  • Reader

    Comrade Stalin: The UUP is anti-agreement…
    That would only be using a definition where the Alliance party was also anti-agreement up until the instant they were bribed to back a stitch up between the DUP and SF.
    Or are you saying that Alliance would have backed the deal even if they hadn’t been bought off?

  • [i]Interesting comment. Who then do you think are the moderate unionist party and why?[/i]

    Not the UUP, DUP or TUV anyway. Does that question really require a positive answer?

  • alan56

    1967
    Of course the answer can be positive or negative, just trying to follow the logic that makes uup least moderate.

  • You fecking Northern Paddies are obsessed with pigeon holing people – get a grip on your sectarian knickers.

    Reader

    “Or are you saying that Alliance would have backed the deal even if they hadn’t been bought off? ”

    The handsome and dashing, oft times moderate, but always astute Mr What Done it put this very point to Comrade Stalin many many times. The answer is Yes

    If you try and crash a painstakingly put together agreement you are anti-agreement the UUP were absolutely torn apart by all sides includung their own MP in parliament today they are a complete embarassment to themselves and the Tories.

  • Comrade Stalin

    IR,

    This stupid argument that the UUP is non-agreement is the last hiding place of the Alliance Party, who will do anything to please the DUP so that they can stop a non-Unionist qualified Minsiter from taking the Justice Ministry and their own befuddled and not even slightly qualified leader can stop being in opposition.

    Alban Maginness is not qualified in the way that counts, namely that it is unlikely that he possesses cross-community support in the assembly.

    If the Alliance party had any sense of decency they would withdraw their selection for Justice Minister and support a much better candidate in the SDLP’s choice.

    There are plenty of doctors in the assembly. Why isn’t the Health Minister a doctor ?

    Why isn’t the education minister a teacher ?

    Why isn’t the finance minister an economist ?

    Why isn’t the agriculture minister a farmer ? Plenty of MLAs who have experience running farms.

    That would show political maturity, something that the Alliance party have never got a grasp on.

    You’ve got some funny ideas about decency that mean that a political party should sacrifice itself for the other parties for no readily apparent reason. Alliance stands up for it’s own electorate and will pursue its own agenda using whatever means are available. The DUP and SF appear to be offering to (albeit via their own strategic interest) help Alliance pursue the Shared Future agenda. Why turn that opportunity down ?

    There have been plenty of opportunities for the SDLP and UUP to form a strategic linkup with Alliance to try to build a common, moderate platform. I would have been very happy to support Alliance staying in opposition, working with both of those parties to robustly oppose the carve-up approach in the executive. But both the SDLP and UUP decided instead that they would rather take the ministerial salaries while participating in their own race toward the extremes. They’re not interested in pushing forward the Shared Future strategy, and they’re not interested in helping Alliance.

    Case closed.

    alan56:

    Neither of the unionist parties are “moderate”, but, comparing the two, I can see one party robustly defending the case for power sharing, and one party which isn’t. The DUP also benefit from being competent both as political leaders, and in their ministerial roles, and highly visible and effective community representatives. These are qualities the UUP lack.

    If the UUP continued along the road it seemed to be on when Trimble was leader (defending agreement; progress on cutting the Orange Order links; etc) then it would be possible to describe them as moderate.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Reader:

    That would only be using a definition where the Alliance party was also anti-agreement up until the instant they were bribed to back a stitch up between the DUP and SF.

    Name the occasions during the past 15 years when Alliance publicly opposed any of the agreement documents produced which had obtained cross-community consensus.

  • granni trixie

    Thanks everybody – have had a good laf – the above posts are so absurd (but then maybe that is the intention..I hope so).

    Gives a new light to “identity politics”.

  • alan56

    MU
    You seem so determined to attack uup that it makes me wonder if you think they are a potential threat to your political friends. Who knows they may well be an ’embarassment’ and percieved as ‘anti aggreement’ but there is no doubt that their alliance with Tories is certainly causing a stir. If they have made themselves irrelevent then why are they being talked about so much on here and in other media?

  • Impartial Reporter

    Well Mr. Stalin?

    Will you ask your party to do the decent thing and withdraw their selected candidate, endorsing the SDLP candidate.

    By qualified I meant that the SDLP nominee HAS a mandate to take this position, without having to ack like a lap dog waiting for the crumbs off the masters table.

    The SDLP could never form an alliance with the Alliance Party, as the Alliance reason for existence is to sit on the fence and shout from the cheap seats.

    Even the UUP, who would partner with just about anyone, won’t even consider such a stupid idea.

    The smugness of the Alliance party, acting like they have morals, whilst chasing after the DUP for a puppet ministry and having no position of their own on anything other than ‘we don’t agree with them’never ceases to bring a smile to my face.

    Case barely opened.

  • CS,

    “Neither of the unionist parties are “moderate”, but, comparing the two, I can see one party robustly defending the case for power sharing, and one party which isn’t”

    In the NI Justice debate we had Peter Robinson (corectly) critisizing the UUP for zero-sum-politics – quoting one UUP ‘moderate’ who said if SF were in favour of Hisllborough then Unionists shold be against it.

    UCUNF, new politics? me big fat arse.

  • alan56

    MU
    Not politically correct to call people fat….(even your own backside) !!

  • ordinary joe

    ‘Moderate Unionist’ is not a nom de plume, more a nom de guerre – like for instance Joseph Stalin, but only if Uncle Joe had called himself something like Peace Loving White Guard. In other words he’s a false-flag troll, who’s been posing on this site for some months, and it’s been painful to watch. He recently outed himself in case anyone had failed to notice how clever he’d been. Why do we have to put up with his endless posturing, vanity and bad faith? It’s a call for the site administrators. Perhaps the UU’s Tory allies might be reassured to know that harsh criticism of the ‘anti-agreement’ Ulster Unionists on this site stems in part from a black operation. However for me the presence of such an operation does nothing to maintain confidence in the general veracity of this site and its commenters.

  • granni trixie

    “reason for existence is to sit on the fence and shout from the cheap seats”:

    Although I am proud to have been a member of Alliance since 1972 (activated by Bloody Sunday) it is not a picnic – the easier option would have been to join a party with an easily identifiable identiy which fits into 2 tribes.

    Even so, I saw Alliance as representing my POV.
    What you called sitting on the fence in practice means listening, to work through to consensus, povs with which you do not tend to agree.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Will you ask your party to do the decent thing and withdraw their selected candidate, endorsing the SDLP candidate.

    Absolutely not, because I think David Ford will do a better job.

    By qualified I meant that the SDLP nominee HAS a mandate to take this position, without having to ack like a lap dog waiting for the crumbs off the masters table.

    If the SDLP has a mandate, via a cross-community vote in the Assembly, to take the position then of course Alban Maginness will enjoy my full support with the tough job he is taking on.

    The SDLP could never form an alliance with the Alliance Party, as the Alliance reason for existence is to sit on the fence and shout from the cheap seats.

    We agree. So why the hell did you propose the silly idea in the first place ?

    Even the UUP, who would partner with just about anyone, won’t even consider such a stupid idea.

    The UUP would never, of course, consider a stupid idea. The UCUNF hookup was a stroke of unparalleled genius and we are reminded on a daily basis of the remarkable success of the alliance.

    The smugness of the Alliance party, acting like they have morals, whilst chasing after the DUP for a puppet ministry and having no position of their own on anything other than ‘we don’t agree with them’never ceases to bring a smile to my face.

    Moan, moan, Alliance fence sitters, moan moan no policies, moan moan all things to all people, moan bitch rant. Are 30 year old soundbites about Alliance the best you can do ? Alliance taking the justice ministry role would be far from fence sitting. It’s a risky move which could well destroy David Ford and the party along with it. That’s bold leadership, and I don’t see how the usual anti-Alliance cliches apply.

    In other words he’s a false-flag troll, who’s been posing on this site for some months, and it’s been painful to watch. He recently outed himself in case anyone had failed to notice how clever he’d been.

    Well, Clifford, I’ve been commenting on Slugger for, ohh, must be about five years. I think it’s been reasonably obvious the whole way along that I’m an Alliance bigot. I hope you’re not looking for some sort of medal for figuring that out.

    Perhaps the UU’s Tory allies might be reassured to know that harsh criticism of the ‘anti-agreement’ Ulster Unionists on this site stems in part from a black operation.

    The UUP just can’t take a slagging, that’s what their problem is.

    However for me the presence of such an operation does nothing to maintain confidence in the general veracity of this site and its commenters.

    Did that horrid, beastly Comrade Stalin say something bad to the poor wee unionists to hurt their feelings ? Aww, I’m so vewwy vewwy sowwy. How can I make it up to you ? Please don’t censor me or report me to the administrators, I beg you.

  • ordinary joe,

    play the fecking ball.

    alan56,

    “that it makes me wonder if you think they are a potential threat to your political friends”

    The only arguement that I have seen advanced in defence of the embaraasment that the UCUNF has become can be paraphrased as “if so many people are talking about us/laughing at us then we must be doing something right”. Eh No. You must be doing something particulalry worth of ridicule.

    Here’s the list of negative events since Project UCUNF was launched – please supply me with a list of actual achivements.

    1) Severlely embaraased Cameron by having him ticked off publically by the Yankee president’s administration.

    2) Found and lost a bunch of Catholics.

    3) Had a previuously moderate Mr Parsley (now a Tory) held up in parliament as an exmaple of an anti-agreement ideologue.

    4) The UUP publically had to back track from tribal unity talks with the DUP.

    5) The UUP – OO links have been further highlighted at Stormont.

    6) The UUP voted against the Hillborough agreement and have been criticised by all mainland parties – including (implicitly) by the fecking Tories.

    7) The DUP have been able to sell themselves as ‘moderate’ to the Unionist electorate by contrasting themselves with the anti-agreement UUP.

    8) They have lost their own sitting MP because of the project UCUNF.

    By any fair assesment Project UNCUNF is a complete pig’s mickey

  • Impartial Reporter

    I think you have gone off message here Mr. Stalin, the second part of your rant is responding to comments that were not made about you.

    But that’s not an unusual response from Alliance fence sitters – sure every comments about you.

    As for the 30 year-old soundbites – maybe they are still in circulation because they are still true.

    Granni

    I recognise your posts as ones of (normally) logic and sense.

    I am glad you can find something to identify with in the Alliance Party. Could I ask you a question, and I mean this seriously and in no way as a piss-take. Could you outline exactly what is is about the Alliance Party that you feel represents your point of View?

    I do not personally see a reason for the existence of the Alliance Party and would like to understand what it is that those who have obvious sense get from this party.

  • alan56

    MU
    Still can’t understand why they seem to annoy you so much. Is it possible that some very nice middle class alliance voters might be tempted to ‘come out’ as conservative. I do not petend to know, but it is not beyond the bounds of possibility. Often in politics the most vitriol is reserved for those who are close to you and therfore an electoral threat.

  • Comrade Stalin

    IR, so when you opened your previous contribution with “Well, Mr Stalin?” you were addressing someone else called Stalin and not me ? I’m glad that’s cleared up.

    Let me ask you a question. What attributes does a party have to possess for it to be worth existing in your view ?

  • alan56,

    Why cant you list the achievments of project UCUNF .

    You do that and I’ll tell you why they get on my big fat mamary glands.

  • granni trixie

    Imperial Reporter: I suppose that finding a home within APNI is connected to living in the cockpit of the troubles,West Belfast where I felt that the IRA were immoral. I then worked to support Bob Cooper who represented W. Belfast and he became my hero. I find that DF is in that mould, someone interested in justice as part of the jigsaw of a society which everyone can support.

  • joeCanuck

    some senior Tories are finding it difficult to take the raw aggression

    If they are that thin-skinned, then they’re obviously in the wrong business.

  • ordinary joe

    Precisely, Impartial. In my earlier post I was referring to the historical Joseph Stalin, nom de guerre of Josif Dzugashvili, and not to the ‘Joseph Stalin’ who posts on this site. I was going to point this out but thought I’d be insulting his intelligence. My criticisms were made about the troll ‘Moderate Unionist’. All clear now? Oh dear, first substantive comment on Slugger and monstered by the Alliance party. (Locks drawing room door, reaches for revolver).

  • Reader

    Comrade Stalin: Name the occasions during the past 15 years when Alliance publicly opposed any of the agreement documents produced which had obtained cross-community consensus.
    Are you really calling the two party P&J deal an agreement with cross-community consensus? This was the deal where you boasted of the shopping list Alliance had secured in return for its – highly conditional – support! How about the parades deal – was that part of the cross-community consensus too?

  • alan56

    MU
    Of course I can’t list the achievemnts of C&U alliance. There are none I can think of….but who knows until the votes are counted.. Oh mabe one achievement is to get the APNI worked up!!

  • Impartial Reporter

    Mr. Stalin

    your earlier response In other words he’s a false-flag troll, who’s been posing on this site for some months, and it’s been painful to watch. He recently outed himself in case anyone had failed to notice how clever he’d been.

    Well, Clifford, I’ve been commenting on Slugger for, ohh, must be about five years. I think it’s been reasonably obvious the whole way along that I’m an Alliance bigot. I hope you’re not looking for some sort of medal for figuring that out.

    Perhaps the UU’s Tory allies might be reassured to know that harsh criticism of the ‘anti-agreement’ Ulster Unionists on this site stems in part from a black operation.

    The UUP just can’t take a slagging, that’s what their problem is.

    However for me the presence of such an operation does nothing to maintain confidence in the general veracity of this site and its commenters.

    Did that horrid, beastly Comrade Stalin say something bad to the poor wee unionists to hurt their feelings ? Aww, I’m so vewwy vewwy sowwy. How can I make it up to you ? Please don’t censor me or report me to the administrators, I beg you.

    the comments you were responding to were not aimed at you.

    Hope you can get a grasp on this

    As for your question;

    I think a political party sohuld exist to further the idealogical or social agenda for an electorate or constituant part of an electorate.

    Now, my turn.

    What are the Alliance party for?

    Granni

    Noble sentiments, but I would respond by asking if you feel that the Alliance Party have given you hope that they can be ‘leaders of men’ (or women)?

    Maybe a new political structure will emerge in the coming years, one which is non sectarian but prepared to take a stand on serious issues.

    Hopefully we are breeding ‘real’ politicians somewhere, ones that can get us past the past.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see any party offering us that at the moment.

  • Moderate Unionist brings to mind the image of a Sinner MUppet 😉

  • granni trixie

    Reader: forcing a shared future policy onto an agenda for action is great progress in my book.

  • The notion of ‘Comrade’ Ford facing down a paramilitary godfather is, er, hilarious. He makes Reg Empey look almost competent 🙂

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think a political party sohuld exist to further the idealogical or social agenda for an electorate or constituant part of an electorate.

    Alliance ideology is built around diversity, pluralism, sharing and tolerance. The social agenda is fairly classical centre-left; viable public services geared towards those who need them underpinned by a vibrant, well-regulated private sector.

    What are the Alliance party for?

    Creating a pluralist, non-sectarian society free of intolerance and bigotry.

    Does that answer your question ?

  • Brian Walker

    God love the UUs’ cotton socks Mick! If this is
    ” raw agression” it’s a wonder how they survived the last 30 years. Come to think of it maybe they didn’t. This latest bout of whingeing from Unionists is a symptom of what’s wrong with them. It’s always someone else’s fault. Join the club and blame the Brits. They don’t know in what direction to turn. Love them or loathe them, how poorly they compare with the early Craigavon and Brooke who got on and founded the State, and Trimble who steered it through essential change. But Trimble in office was an aberration and they’ve lapsed back into confusion. Too much can be made of Eric’s point. In 1916 after the Rising, in 1917 after the Convention, in 1920 in the GIA and after the 1921 Treaty, partition always looked long term, if not formally permament. The consent principle never really changed from 1920 despite everything. The evidence? Look around you. The cyncial phrase is a good half truth: “Unionists were too stupid to see they’ve won.” But they have a genius for turning victory into defeat. Generosity across the divide and self confident leadership inside the tribe is the name of the game. S/he who has it, wins. There are two essentials for Unionist success: the basic fact of the Union and impeccable behaviour. There is the germ of a good idea in a Cons link, but the UUS not the Cons should have led with terms. Instead, the tail wagged the dog. Were they too grateful for the money? For their own good, they should have failed to select in some constituencies and allowed a genuine unity candidate to emerge. Are they really telling us that Cameron and Paterson would have refused the chance a couple of seats? All they’ve done is to put Parsley in pole position for 2014/15 in north Down. A poor return or what?

  • joeCanuck

    Creating a pluralist, non-sectarian society free of intolerance and bigotry.

    Many of us want exactly that. Unfortunately both “sides” seem to be more comfortable wearing their sectarian cloaks.
    Bah.

  • Brian,

    the only way the UCUNF project can be understood is naivety of the Tories married to to the desperation of the UUP.

    Cameron’s (probably) genuine desire to run in each constituency led him to make an offer to the UUP who were flattered and duly oversold themselves as ‘moderate’ and forward lookling. Due dilligence was not carried out by the Tories and we are now in the present mess.

    The idea that the UUP could dictate the terms of any agreement does not really hold water, Cameron would have simply told them to feck off unless he believed them to be consistent with his objective of painting the Tory party as modern and tolerant.

  • Mick Fealty @ 06:28 PM:

    So, the clincher is :

    and MR writes for Labour Home…

    … and posts to Iain Dale, ConHome, LibDemVoice, politics.ie, Slugger O’Toole, and even on his own blogs, when the spirit takes him.

    To return to the starting point, Eric Waugh’s piece was effective, well-written, and — even though it said little that hasn’t been repeatedly said here (even, at prolix length, by “MR”) — was promptly denounced by “Fair Deal” (another moniker I recognise) as:

    This vitriolic, hate spitting, blindly anti Catholic and blindly anti Irish journalist has written an article here that might well have been written by some staunch Nationalist/Republican. And right well he knows it.

    Surely, the UCUNF stitch-up (now unravelling) was misconceived and reactionary. When Cameron spoke to the UUP (8 December 2008) he emphasised:

    It comes down to three things.

    A deep commitment to the Union.

    A strong belief in democracy.

    And a great respect for the Ulster Unionist Party.

    An interesting conflation there of three disparate elements: the Union, democracy, and the UUP. He expanded:

    I’ve never been a little Englander.

    I passionately believe in the Union and the future of the whole United Kingdom.

    We’re better off together – England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland – because we all bring our strengths to the mix.

    Again, the confusion of the parts and the whole: what he omits is how the different elements are reconciled, except by central coertion. Then:

    For as long as anyone can remember, politics here has been dominated by constitutional issues – the Union, or the latest developments in the peace process.

    Many people have been put off from participating in a politics based on division…

    The semi-detached status of Northern Ireland politics needs to end.

    It’s time for Northern Ireland to be brought back into the mainstream of British politics.

    Northern Ireland needs MPs who have a real prospect of holding office as ministers in a Westminster government.

    I note there the implication that participation is not, and in Cameron’s world, never could be inclusive, that it is to be exclusively through UCUNF MPs. Then, in a confusing confirmation of that factionalism (which Waugh’s piece effectively answers):

    … let me pay a particular tribute to the Ulster Unionist Party, to Reg Empey’s leadership and to other leaders of the past.

    It is largely through your efforts that Northern Ireland’s constitutional position is settled.

    The consent principle is paramount, enshrined in national and international law.

    Nationalists and republicans now work with Unionists in a shared administration at Stormont.

    The territorial claim in the Irish constitution is gone.

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

    So much for all the agreements of the last three decades: now it’s separate but equal neighbourliness. Nothing there speaks to the vast majority alienated from the UUP. Yet Cameron did not, or would not, or could not see such a glaring truth. He concluded, let us remember:

    Devolution has been restored.

    For the first time in over a generation we can all look forward to a shared future underpinned by democracy and the rule of law.

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

    I will continue to work closely and constructively with our nearest neighbours in the Republic of Ireland and I will always uphold the democratic wishes of people here in respect of their constitutional future.

    But I will never be neutral when it comes to expressing my support for the Union.

    There are so many inherent contradictions in there, they speak of a man who cannot go beyond boiler-plate clichés attuned to a partial audience, cannot raise his rhetoric above the partisan barricade. Yet he is hailed by Vernon Bogdanor, no less, as “one of my ablest pupils”.

    And then to compound it with the Hatfield folly!

  • joeCanuck

    and MR writes for Labour Home…

    … and posts to Iain Dale, ConHome, LibDemVoice, politics.ie, Slugger O’Toole, and even on his own blogs, when the spirit takes him.

    Faithless slut; shame on you! ;o)

  • the.digger.notes

    The Digger Notes that many posts on Slugger end up in a sectarian bun fight.
    The fireside generals who sit back and comment on Slugger and other blogs could be missing a crucial point with regards to Mr Adrian Watson’s selection as the final candidate for UCUNF in South Antrim.
    It could be that despite some of his faux pas with regards to the liberal element in our society, Mr Watson could be regarded in a similar vein as the ‘John Prescott’ of Ulster politics.
    He certainly knows how to create a tabloid headline or two in the local media, as did ‘Prezza’. Mr Watson may not be politically correct and says what a large number of South Antrim constituents say in the comfort of their own homes and in private conservation with their own friends – irrespective of what religious category that they may be labelled with.
    The Irish, north, south, west and east are, in liberal terms,
    ‘loose cannons’ when it comes to political correctness – ‘We Are The People’ – only in our own eyes certainly!
    But consider this, one of Mr Watson’s predecessors was ‘the quiet man’ of Ulster politics, Clifford Forsythe, the South Antrim MP for 17 years (elected in1983 – who died in 2000 aged 70).
    While strong on the union, Mr Forsythe was probably more ‘Labour Light’ unlike his High Tory associates in the Official Unionist/Ulster Unionist hierarchy and kept his parliamentary profile on a lower level to avoid Conservative tongues wagging.
    Forsythe could be termed a ‘lowlander labourite’ who would have fitted right in with the Labour Party set-up that existed in Dumfries, Ayrshire and Galloway at the time (an area of Scotland not unknown for its sectarian squabbles – with MP hopefuls playing the ‘Orange Card’).
    Mr Watson may not be ‘the quiet man’ of Ulster politics but he probably knows that he has to create headlines to keep in the public eye if he is to stand a chance against the sitting DUP MP William McCrea.
    One has to speculate that Mr Watson, a young unionist during Mr Forsythe’s term of office, is probably ‘Labour Light’ and this is recognised within the new Tory circle of friends (inside knowledge of the prospective candidate supplied by a well-known anti trade unionist ex colleague). But Tory HQ are meeting some resistance in paratrooping in a candidate from London.
    If, according to BBC political reporter Martina Purdy, he will stand as in independent if he is not selected then he needs to find allies pretty damned quick.
    The natural course of events for Mr Watson is to find friends in the trade union movement – he has a few already but they remain under the radar and exist within the Orange and Black fraternity.
    A private meeting with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and women’s section of the trade union and labour movement in the north maybe needed to secure some semblance of support or at least a promise to back off and not make the pitch unplayable in his battle with McCrea.
    His earlier comments in 2006 with regards to his wife’s B&B venture where he courted ‘homophobe’ allegations could be seen as a ‘Garryowen ball’ – a defensive move in rugby where you launch a high up-and-under to his possible opponent McCrea in order for him to launch a possible and faltering counterattack – spectacularly backfired.
    Mr Watson’s attempt to ‘soften his line’ on those earlier remarks in February 2010 where he says he supports gay equality may prove a starter to the left leaning activists in trade union circles – but he cannot afford to lose the ‘small c’ trade unionist members vote either. And let’s not forget the quiet ‘pink uns’ in Mr Watson’s own party.
    Libertarian Tories and Conservative/Ulster Unionist MPs acting as bankers’ molls may not be to Mr Watson’s choice as a circle of friends.
    A sturdily built man, just like ‘Prezza’, that needs the working class vote in South Antrim if he is to stand a chance to take the seat from McCrea, means this is a rugby match where Mr Watson has to firmly scrum down in the hooker’s position, while taking on McCrea with a pack of forwards made up from a number of team mates that have historically been in vitriolic opposition with each other.
    If this unlikely scenario becomes a possibility then this supposedly ‘Barbarian’ made up team may yet offer the voters something of an unexpected ‘rainbow nation surprise!’
    But remember this – the world will still turn irrespective of what happens on election days -the workers will only want one thing – the earth!

  • John K Lund / Lllamedos / Suchard

    The Ulster Unionists are like the old Jew who prayed every night to Jehovah for a muti million pound win on the Lottery. One night after many months of prayer, there was a flash of lightning and smoke in the room and a voice was heard to say “Look here Eichie, you’ve got to meet half way; Firstly you got to buy a ticket”. This is where all the Ulster No Surrender Natioalis Home Rulers are. They have to buy tickets to Westminster and play the UK Team Game as Conservatives and stop selling themselves to the highest bidder. Stand up and be Britsh and stop behaving like Paranoid Sponges.

  • Driftwood

    probable candidate:

    http://www.cllrdannykinahan.com/

    Be good to see Col.Collins take on the singing bigot in South Antrim, although Alliance are now in support of ‘Dr’ McCrea and his liberal outlook.
    But I doubt he will go for it unless the injunction is lifted.

    Comrade Stalin claims all the Tory/UUP candidates are evil bigots, like in East Londonderry:

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Lesley-Macaulay-for-Parliament-Time-for-A-Fresh-Start/473284600706?ref=nf

    And Mike Nesbitt, Trevor Ringland, Ian Parsley, Paula Bradshaw etc etc are all renowned bigots with a shameful legacy of hatred.

    Perhaps Comrade, you can shame all the CU candidates with their legacy of hate, unlike Gregory or Willie-your new mates?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Are you really calling the two party P&J deal an agreement with cross-community consensus?

    I wouldn’t call the process perfect, but the deal received the “yes” from everyone except the minority Unionist party. If you’ve got a better definition of cross-community consensus, I’d love to hear it.

    This was the deal where you boasted of the shopping list Alliance had secured in return for its – highly conditional – support!

    Had the Shared Future strategy not been agreed, Alliance would have been unlikely to participate in the executive, but that does not mean it would have tried to vote the deal down.

    There was nothing in, for example, St Andrews for Alliance, but the party didn’t come out and tell all it’s supporters to oppose it. Alliance had a lot of problems with the GFA too (an agreement pretty much designed to rope Alliance out of power at a point where it’s vote share may have approached being enough to gain it an executive seat) but supported that. There is a trend here – these agreements are not perfect (in many cases far from perfect) but we have to soldier on, improving them bit by bit as we go.

    There is a world of difference between that and the “no” approach hitherto taken by the DUP and now taken by the UUP.

    How about the parades deal – was that part of the cross-community consensus too?

    As far as I am aware, there is good progress on a parades deal but no result yet. Unless I’ve missed something.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Drify old boy, Alliance won’t be supporting McCrea and will be standing against him in the election.

    And Mike Nesbitt, Trevor Ringland, Ian Parsley, Paula Bradshaw etc etc are all renowned bigots with a shameful legacy of hatred.

    You should be ashamed of yourself, making ad-hominem and unsubstantiated comments like that. I’ve stuck solely to the facts that I’m aware of. It’s the Tories themselves, according to the stories, who objected to the South Antrim candidate that was proposed by the UUP.

    Perhaps Comrade, you can shame all the CU candidates with their legacy of hate, unlike Gregory or Willie-your new mates?

    Sure. What about your Tory friends in the EU parliament who Jim Nicholson sits with ? Let’s see. The Latvian “For fatherland” party whose members think the Waffen SS are gallant for their stance against the soviets ? Or the Law and Justice party (anti-gay, anti-German – not something Parsley, a fluent German speaker, could be pleased about) ?

  • Driftwood

    Come off it Comrade
    The EU parties are off the scale and Labour have their own balloons. No-one in this election is concerned about a Latvian SS reunion, they have jobs to think about.
    You made the allegation that the Tory/UU candidates were all bigots. Well, when you meet Lesley etc you might find her slightly different to ‘Dr’ McCrea.
    I do not particularly think Reg and Co. are natural leaders (far from it)but you have to admit the CU candidates are a breath of fresh air.

  • Driftwood

    And Comrade
    Why do you think Trevor Ringland is a poor candidate in East Belfast? I don’t think Naomi is, I’d rather either than Peter, but think Robinson will win it easily. pity.

  • I’m going to change my pseudonym to Diehard Republican, as it will, at least, be as honest as “Moderate Unionist”‘s.

    Our “honest” alliance commentator, Comrade Stalin, seems to be doing a pretty good job of showing the Alliance Party’s republican credentials though. Perhaps he will rescind some of the remarks he has made in this post, though, I fear he will stand by them by disappearing as per usual. Like many other readers I’m still waiting on some evidence to support his previous libelous post.

  • Alias

    “The consent principle never really changed from 1920 despite everything. The evidence? Look around you. The cyncial phrase is a good half truth: “Unionists were too stupid to see they’ve won.” But they have a genius for turning victory into defeat. Generosity across the divide and self confident leadership inside the tribe is the name of the game. S/he who has it, wins. There are two essentials for Unionist success: the basic fact of the Union and impeccable behaviour.” – Brian Walker

    That’s the convoluted past, ambiguous present, and uncertain future in a nutshell. In the four changes that the Principle of Consent (or the less grandiosely named ‘Unionist Veto’) underwent since partition, it only alternated between declaring that the consent must be given by the devolved parliament and declaring that it must be given by plebiscite. But the substantial change is that all of the players now accept that which they previously rejected. The key to the kingdom, as you say, is to recognise that consent doesn’t only apply to unionists. The other tribe has given its consent to live within a British state, and the unionists must build on that consent. It means, of course, that the Ulster nationalists can no longer have their de facto nation-state, and must learn to live instead as British people with British values, e.g. parity of esteem between non-sovereign nations and all that.

  • PACE Parent

    the.digger.notes on Mar 22, 2010 @ 10:47 PM seems to have been written by one of Adrian Watson’s children.
    Unionists in South Antrim tolerated Watson for his puppy dog allegiance to David Burnside, the absentee MP and MLA. Watson’s ambitions to carve out a political career should be measured against the actual vote count in his home town in the 2003 Assembly elections – Adrian Cochrane-Watson (UUP) 953 (2.5%). From councillor to MP is proving too much weight to carry.

    To solve the embarrassing problem for the UCUNF Danny Kinahan should be invited and encouraged to stand for Westminster. Many unionists, including those who lent the DUP a vote in the last election, would be happy to support him.

  • granni trixie

    Surprising that in analysing the genesis of UCUNF, Trimble’s name has not come up – only a guess but the BIg Plan gone wrong seems to have his self interested mitts all over it.
    But how can we know? Speak up Sir Reg.

  • Mike

    “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 ”

    Perhaps Eric might want to argue this point with the United Kingdom government, which defines Northern Ireland as a constituent country of the UK.

  • Reader

    granni trixie: forcing a shared future policy onto an agenda for action is great progress in my book.
    Maybe so, though bringing in a bit of real politics from outside may be a better use for party supporters’ energies in the long run.
    However – even you used the word “forcing” – which was my point. Alliance sold their support in exchange for a deal, the UUP were not offered a deal, because SF/DUP didn’t need them. There isn’t a moral distinction between the UUP and Alliance based on that vote in the Assembly.

  • granni trixie

    There are many differences between the UUP and Alliance, a significant one being that the latter has a value base which encourages diversity.

    Our support for P&J is based on conviction that it is the right thing to do. What you call ‘the deal’ consisted of
    (a) a framework for a prog. of work for the new ministry
    (b) agreement to take action to impliment a shared future policy.

    Which sounds only sensible to me.

    As regards the UUP reasons for voting as they did – seems like an own goal, a plain lack of strategic know how.

  • Harry J

    And Mike Nesbitt..supports paying “compensation” to terrorists and their families.

    Trevor Ringland, Ian Parsley, Paula Bradshaw support the belfast agreement which under reg and trimble let convicted murderous out of jail free

  • Hey up! You lot are nearer the action!

    What’s this about the fragrant Lady Hermon announcing her independent candidature, and the DUP not standing against her?

    If so, she’s surely a shoo-in.

    And … AND … it’d be proof positive of a functioning political brain-cell somewhere in the DUP. UCUNF wipeout? Result!

  • Harry J

    And … AND … it’d be proof positive of a functioning political brain-cell somewhere in the DUP. UCUNF wipeout? Result!………

    the DUP displaying unionist unity while the tories rip it to shreds , nice move

  • Comrade Stalin

    There isn’t a moral distinction between the UUP and Alliance based on that vote in the Assembly.

    Your logic is all over the place. If you’re arguing that Alliance’s vote in the assembly was bought and paid for, then why did the SDLP vote in favour of it as well ? The only party which didn’t vote for it were the UUP.

    Shared Future was Alliance’s precondition for participation in the executive. Not for broader support of progress in the talks.

  • Impartial Reporter

    Can you tell us exactly what movement has taken place in relation to Shared Future?

    A document that outlines exactly what the Alliance Party have been promised in return for supporting (and then joining) the dysfunctional executive?

    A few lines of text that sets out a timeline for real engagement of a shared future strategy?

    Anything?

  • Reader

    Comrade Stalin: If you’re arguing that Alliance’s vote in the assembly was bought and paid for, then why did the SDLP vote in favour of it as well ?
    But I hadn’t said anything at all about the SDLP! We had been comparing Alliance and the UUP. But here’s a comment now: John Hume sacrificed his party to SF and to the GFA. He has moved on, but the SDLP have not finished paying the price. Their vote for P&J devolution was as stupid as the UUP’s vote against.
    Comrade Stalin: Shared Future was Alliance’s precondition for participation in the executive. Not for broader support of progress in the talks.
    No Alliance P&J minister == No SF/DUP deal. You know that, Alliance knew that. The vote didn’t even take place before Alliance had been bought.

  • Comrade Stalin

    But I hadn’t said anything at all about the SDLP! We had been comparing Alliance and the UUP.

    There’s an inconsistency in your argument if you are saying that Alliance only voted for the deal because it was told to or bribed by the DUP, since it ignores the fact that all the parties in the assembly except the UUP voted for it.

    But here’s a comment now: John Hume sacrificed his party to SF and to the GFA. He has moved on, but the SDLP have not finished paying the price. Their vote for P&J devolution was as stupid as the UUP’s vote against.

    What’s stupid about it ? They knew that their voters wouldn’t tolerate them trying to block progress and a deal. That’s why principle argument about the UUP’s decision being such a mistake.

    No Alliance P&J minister == No SF/DUP deal. You know that, Alliance knew that.

    I suspect I’m slow on the uptake here, but I don’t see where you are going with this. You’re right, the deal wouldn’t exist if Alliance didn’t support it by nominating for the justice minister post. So what, what’s your point ?

    If the cards fell differently, and a different minister was deemed acceptable to and agreed by DUP/SF, then Alliance would still be supporting the devolution of those powers. As I think I’ve made clear, that’s because Alliance consistently supports agreements which have broad cross-community support.

    If the cards fell even more differently, and the UUP/SDLP followed up on the principles they claim to hold dear and walked out of the executive to establish a robust opposition, I would support the party joining that opposition and not the executive.

    The vote didn’t even take place before Alliance had been bought.

    I’m not aware of Alliance being “bought” except requesting a progress in the form of Shared Future, and receiving a down payment with the promise of further instalments. It’s a good deal from my point of view, considering how elusive progress on this matter has been.

  • Impartial Reporter

    Mr. Stalin

    Maaybe you missed my above post, here it is again

    16.Can you tell us exactly what movement has taken place in relation to Shared Future?

    A document that outlines exactly what the Alliance Party have been promised in return for supporting (and then joining) the dysfunctional executive?

    A few lines of text that sets out a timeline for real engagement of a shared future strategy?

    Anything?