Unionist realignment: A Conservative view…

Peter McCann, has a guest post at Jeff Peel’s site:

UCUNF could and should have brought a realignment within Unionism. Something that would have been welcomed by a sizeable number of voters. Realignment is not, as has been portrayed by some, Unionist Unity. Unionist Unity is simply ‘them and us’ politics that is devoid of any mature or rational thinking. The realignment that is needed is something that redefines what it means to be pro-union.

Pro-union is celebrating our links with and contribution to the UK. It must stand for civil and religious freedom, where all sections of society can participate – regardless of sex or sexual orientation; whatever religion or non-religion; it should not matter if you are able bodied or disabled – we must build a forgiving and tolerant society of equals.

Any election campaign based on Conservative principles such as these would and should have been extremely uncomfortable for some within the UUP. It could well have prompted the defection of those not in favour of inclusive and non-tribal politics. Would that have been a bad thing? I don’t think so.

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  • David Cather

    As far as I can see UCUNF were just the latest in a the long line who have tried and failed to sell the idea of integrationism to the NI electorate. When you boil down the pro-UCUNF argument’s I’ve heard from UUP members integrationism is what they’re arguing for. Moving on from this they’ve sought to re-define Unionism as being integrationalist calling the DUP “Ulster-Nationalists.” A term I’m not entirely uncomfortable with anyway.

    Technically speaking in the dictionary sense of the word ‘unionist’ they are correct, integrationaism would be truer to the dictionary defination of ‘unionist. In the Northern Ireland context, however, Unionism has never been true to the dictionary sense. Or at least it hasn’t been since 1921, when we asked for a “Home Rule” parliament for Ulster.

  • Anon
  • David Cather

    I’m just trying to draw out here what the topics are for a discussion of the future of Unionism that needs to take place.

    Taking the arguments in favour of UcUNF to their conclusion they are integrationist an ideology in the past which has always involved NI interests being represented directly at Westminster without a devolved assembly. Is this something people would advocate, is there a half-way house between this and full devolution?

    Is integrationism vrs “Ulster-nationalism” a debate that should take place?

  • Framer

    Devolution, as was often stated, is at odds with electoral integration because it forces politicians to look inwards but more because it creates a supplicant political class to be bought off, rather than one eager to get involved in Westminster and global politics.

    That’s what did for the Campaign for Equal Citizenship, for the Conservative Party locally with its pitiful vote after 1987, and the recent failure of UCUNF.

    The continued DUP success last month says it all, despite double jobbing. People follow the money and the powerful unless it is tainted.

    Watching a united OFMDFM in Downing Street on Tuesday said it all. Devolution pits you against London.

    Yet the Conservatives are now committed to devolution in the long term and not just here.

    The answer is not Unionist unity (excepting better arrangements for Westminster elections) but for the parties to encourage participatory options for those interested in UK and wider affairs. And for individuals to offer themselves. As in the 1950s when there were two breeds of unionist politicians – stay at homes and young unmarried barristers in London.

    Watching Doddsy being the second leader of the opposition at Westminster proves that assistance is needed from beyond the sect and the dynasties.

    The local Conservatives’ value was that they had an in with the party and thus did participate in UK politics and policy making. UCUNF was no substitute for that. However the NI Conservatives cannot take off electorally with devolution being the policy of the Conservatives for Northern Ireland (as it has been since 1921 and 1972) and nationally, any more than the Scots Tories can break back into Westminster.

    The SNP are the DUP there.

  • Ultonian

    long and short, unionism is a much misunderstood ideology and must abused term. If truth be told the current DUP are closer to the Redmonite nationalists of 1912 than they are to Carsonite unionists.

    But time has moved on and the electorate don’t want a 1912 unionism, they want a ulster nationalism with a begging bowl twist, all decisions or at least those they are brave enough to take at a local level paid for by UK taxes – simple!

    UCUNF will not take off unless/until the current unionist leadership (really ulster nationalist leadership) screws up so much that they are rejected as incompetent but in the short term this may lead to further voter apathy and a pertetualtion of the stagmnation we currently see.

  • Driftwood

    The truth is that a large chunk of evangelical christian unionism is not comfortable with modern Britain and wants to keep it at arms length. The DUP espouses this openly.
    Yes it likes the monarchy, and the flag etc. And of course HM Treasury.

    But a secular, multicultural, socially liberal society is alien to them. I suspect they would not feel any affinity with large chunks of London or cities in Yorkshire with their large ‘ethnic’ communities. Even in the Tory shires hardly anyone goes to church!! They even have legal abortion ‘over there’ horrors!
    Name one secretary of state for here that Paisley didn’t despise. until he followed the money.

    The rest just leave (like most mainland university graduates) or rely on their civil service jobs here too much to care.

  • Ultonian

    Not sure the religious thing is as big an issue as we sometimes see it. Evangelicals are not the same as fundamentalist unionist and this later group is actually very small. Evangelicals are increasingly apolitical trying to avoid being politically labelled and probably fit into the large non voting sector. As for the fundamentalists in the DUP their loyalty has always been conditional – or they may say covenantal and therefore particularly if the next monarch is multi faith then they have noting to hold to.

    Ultimately this will not change much in Northern Ireland – the Union is now largely a financial arrangement with certain social benefits, it came under some pressure during the romp of the celtic tiger but now that is rotting away the opportunity for change has gone.

  • Eire32

    Unionist Unity in my view seems to be completely pointless, will it
    not just inevitably lead to Nationalist Unity? Making NI politics
    even more tribal and therefore reducing their changes of getting
    any Cath/Nats on board. not to mention restricting Unionist voters’ choice and possibly driving more of them down the ‘Garden Centre’/’Bowling green thing’ on polling day.

    As for UCUNF, i think a party like the UUP, who i would assume have Members of both labour and conservative attitudes in socio/eco terms, to align to the conservative Party was always going to be risky from a Members’ point of view.

    And as for the electorate, in a ‘not so rich’ place like NI, there’s bound to be a lot of Pro-Unionist people who would never vote for the Torys, particularly as they were already promising big cuts.
    just look at the less wealthy places in Britain like Wales, Scotland and the North East, all pretty much sown up by labourites and the
    Liberators

    What the Unionist Parties probably could do is have a United Unionist Party for the Westminsters and the euros and the status quo for the Assemblys, their by keeping their probably cherised Party identities – DUP/UUP/PUP/ALL – Only joking about the last one [Smiley face here].

    In general though i just think unionists and NI in general need more time to settle in and keep moving away from our fecked up past, but don’t worry you’ll always be welcome over here on the green camp, we’ll even change it to Orange if “ye want lik.” [Ulster Scots]

  • Henry94

    It must stand for civil and religious freedom, where all sections of society can participate – regardless of sex or sexual orientation; whatever religion or non-religion; it should not matter if you are able bodied or disabled – we must build a forgiving and tolerant society of equals.

    That’s not Unionism. There is nothing there that wouldn’t be passed unanimously at a Sinn Fein Ard Fheis or an SDLP Annual Conference.

    It might not get past the DUP however. The whole sexual orientation issue is still a big deal for them.

  • Eire32

    That’s a very good point, that quote looks like it’s been stolen from the Sinn Fein Website ha ha.

  • That’s not Unionism. There is nothing there that wouldn’t be passed unanimously at a Sinn Fein Ard Fheis or an SDLP Annual Conference.

    There’s nothing there that would be controversial in any mainstream western European political party. There’s nothing there that is incompatible with Unionism as a philosophy either, but sometimes it seems otherwise…

  • Brian Walker

    If the aim is/was? to redefine “what it means to be pro-Union,” surely it would/will? take just a bit longer?

  • UCUNF is dead thats for sure

  • oneill

    There’s nothing there that is incompatible with Unionism as a philosophy either, but sometimes it seems otherwise…

    Is the Union necessary to guarantee (or even bring about) those principles outlined by McCann? No. But the fact that too wide swathe of NI political Unionism would have a problem with those principles ultimately (obviously) weakens our link with the rest of the UK. So to fight for those principles within Unionism is as much a pragmatic as an idealistic decision.

    And with hindsight, looking at the UUP pragmatically, there would certainly be too many in the party with problems with those principles for the UCUNF to have evolved the way it should have done; those people aren’t going to go away and will be in the vanguard for the push for unity, in some shape and form with the DUP. Where then will that leave those who in the UUP who still believe in the original declared goal behind the link up with the Conservatives?

    Owen Polley’s article in tonight’s Tele is worth reading in that regard:

    http://tinyurl.com/33q7nqc

    But there is a strong alternative view, which argues that the existing party should press ahead with its Conservative and Unionist branding – with or without the UUP.

    The New Force tag should be dropped and much of the baggage for which UCUNF was ridiculed could be shed with it.

    By embracing this approach the Northern Ireland Conservatives would also be ideally placed to attract disillusioned Ulster Unionists, if the UUP decides to go down the ‘unionist unity’ route.

    Indeed, the Northern Ireland Tories could emerge strengthened from a realignment in unionism.

    Stiff resistance within the UUP to any DUP link is likely and there remains an influential section of the party convinced that the Conservative pact was a positive strategy.
    Indeed, a Northern Ireland Conservative and Unionist party would make a natural vehicle for secular unionism, without Orange trappings and an ideal partner for David Cameron’s Government.

  • There’s nothing there that is incompatible with Unionism as a philosophy either, but sometimes it seems otherwise…

    Is the Union necessary to guarantee (or even bring about) those principles outlined by McCann? No. But the fact that too wide swathe of NI political Unionism would have a problem with those principles ultimately (obviously) weakens our link with the rest of the UK. So to fight for those principles within Unionism is as much a pragmatic as an idealistic decision.

    And with hindsight, looking at the UUP pragmatically, there would certainly be too many in the party with problems with those principles for the UCUNF to have evolved the way it should have done; those people aren’t going to go away and will be in the vanguard for the push for unity, in some shape and form with the DUP. Where then will that leave those who in the UUP who still believe in the original declared goal behind the link up with the Conservatives?

    Owen Polley’s article in tonight’s Tele is worth reading in that regard:

    http://tinyurl.com/33q7nqc

    But there is a strong alternative view, which argues that the existing party should press ahead with its Conservative and Unionist branding – with or without the UUP.

    The New Force tag should be dropped and much of the baggage for which UCUNF was ridiculed could be shed with it.

    By embracing this approach the Northern Ireland Conservatives would also be ideally placed to attract disillusioned Ulster Unionists, if the UUP decides to go down the ‘unionist unity’ route.

    Indeed, the Northern Ireland Tories could emerge strengthened from a realignment in unionism.

    Stiff resistance within the UUP to any DUP link is likely and there remains an influential section of the party convinced that the Conservative pact was a positive strategy.
    Indeed, a Northern Ireland Conservative and Unionist party would make a natural vehicle for secular unionism, without Orange trappings and an ideal partner for David Cameron’s Government.

  • madraj55

    Ultonian The phrase ‘Unionist Leadership’ is a contradiction in terms as shown, at least by the two main parties here.
    The politicians should logically be voting for their electorate, as it is the voters who are the only ones doing the leading.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Youd have to have a heart of stone not to find the whole Unionist-Tory link up to be a disaster of hilarious proportions.
    Unionism is…..in the best sense of the word a “REASONABLE ” view to take.
    As indeed is Republicanism.
    Many of the finest adherents of both philosophies are Men of Reason…..products of the Reformation, Glorious Revolution, the Enlightenment.
    Despite the Whiggish (a compromise between democracy, religion and monarchy) nature of much of Unionism, they are still wedded to too much that is “unreasonable”…..sectarianism obviously and monarchy of course.
    Unionist Unity is about finding the lowest common denominator and that naturally includes sectarianism and excludes the men of reason.
    What way do the men of Reason jump?
    To preserve the Union they must either go along with Unionist Unity (and rather unpleasant people) or be semi deatched from these unreasonable people……or reach out to Catholics which Belfast Telegraph editorials tell them are just yearning to become unionist but every election, changing demographic and the mood music tells them is nonsense.
    Meanwhile Garden Centre (non voting) “unionists” and Belmont bowling Club (alliance voters it seems) “unionists” seem unlikely to be won back by anything happening in unionism.
    Who next……Basil McCrea, Danny Kennedy or David McNarry.
    Hilarious.

  • I think the UUP not just the term UCUNF is finished the UUP are all over the place.some in the UUP want links with the tories some want links with other unionists some want god only knows.The UUP are a complete shambles and will never be taken seriouly again.

  • One of the major problems with the UUP as an organisation is that it is essentially the rump of a big tent party, but without a big tent. Policy fudges worked well when it was the main party of unionism and it only had one issue to fight on. Political fragmentation should encourage specialisation, but the UUP doesn’t know which way to turn. They know that they should be moving towards normal politics, but any attempt to pick a position on the left-right spectrum holds the danger of further splitting the party. Unionist unity holds out the prospect of a return to big-tent politics, but the DUP has entrenched itself in that space.

  • Driftwood

    The simple fact is that, for many people, Northern Ireland is in a reasonably safe place. within the Union. That’s unlikely to change this generation and they are comfortable with the rest of Ireland.
    Jobs, economics, property, anti-social behaviour tend to predominate thinking. The Republic seems comfortable with this and many Irish nationalists accept the status quo.

    We have become comfortably numb and accept Irish and British identities,
    HM Treasury foots the bill. Stormont talking shop is expensive and useless but relatively harmless.

    What is there to vote for?
    What is there to vote for

  • Driftwood

    or even What is there to vote against?

  • There is a view at http://www.thedissenter.co.uk/2010/06/looking-forward-part-1/
    Peter & Jeff can talk all they like, but without the Ulster Unionist Party there would have been how many votes for Conservatives? It will be telling in the Assembly elections where there is no agreement between the UUP and the Conservatives. Peter has his chance in South Belfast to prove himself. How do these views fit with the comments David Cameron made on his whistle stop trip after the election?

  • Big Bad Bob

    Is this the same McCann who also thought introducing abortion should be fundamental to Unionism and spent most of the campaign attacking his own colleagues? Does he not think he himself could have done rather more to help?

    As for Owen’s new party idea, his best bet would be to join the UUP and make it happen from within If the Conservatives can’t do it, why would the I-can’t-believe-they’re-not-the-Conservatives be any different? And why would anyone with any any ambition join a party which can’t get elected?!

  • Driftwood

    But what does it matter?
    The NI Assembly is just a secondary school (not Grammar) debating society. It makes no legislation of any importance, relies totally on the REAL authority at Westminster for handouts.
    Even then, it remains in stasis, relying on direct rule hangovers on allocation of funding from London. And it is impotent on the cuts in public expenditure because it cannot bite the hand that feeds.
    The DUP and SF are mirror images of each other in a debate on who manages the Tuck Shop.
    Now that the previous incumbents (UUP/SDLP) have been elbowed aside, it’s important who appears to be in charge. While ignoring the fact that those really in charge are in the Westminster staffroom and find it of no interest, any petulence can be dealt with by Prefect Paterson.

  • Driftwood

    The voter apathy will continue, apart from the fundie fringes.

    The Vicar of Dibley ‘assembly’ is not even worthy of criticism.

    But the upside is that we have gone back to being a rural UK backwater. maybe even see David McNarry and Barry McElduff discuss the World Cup in total blandness to show this someday shortly.

    hey ho.

  • As for Owen’s new party idea, his best bet would be to join the UUP and make it happen from within

    AFAIK he is already a member of the UUP and he’s not suggesting a new party:

    By embracing this approach the Northern Ireland Conservatives would also be ideally placed to attract disillusioned Ulster Unionists, if the UUP decides to go down the ‘unionist unity’ route.

    Indeed, the Northern Ireland Tories could emerge strengthened from a realignment in unionism.

  • Progressive Unionist

    That’s not Unionism.

    That’s inaccurate and totally unfair – plenty of Unionists and Nationalists believe in these kind of civic, pluralist, liberal shared values.

    You’ll also find many people (both unionist and nationalist) who disagree, who are racist or homophobic or sectarian but this isn’t a problem unique to either tradition.

    Instead of bashing Unionism why not focus on the shared, pluralist values that can unite forward-looking voters from both communities?

  • Progressive Unionist

    Sympathise with Owen Polley on the need for non-sectarian Unionism – but the problem is that the idea of a separate Tory party won’t have the potential appeal to be able to fly.

    A progressive, non-sectarian Unionist party could fly and compete with the DUP for the hearts and minds of Unionism. But it couldn’t be linked with the Tories – as a huge chunk of “progressive, anti-sectarian Unionists” oppose the Tories.

    You could still go ahead without this chunk but you wouldn’t get critical mass in terms of creating a party that could compete with the DUPs.

    Alex Kane (who’s pretty on the money) says there’s a cabal of senior UUP folks (yes the same senior UUP folks who’ve brought you the last ten years of glorious UUP success) who are in private talks with the DUP aimed at some kind of weird, humungous DUP-UUP-Tory “united unionist” pact.

    That’s not going to fly at all and will lead to an ‘equal but opposite’ nationalist reaction. There’ll be lots of folks in each of DUP, UUP and NI Tories who won’t identify with the kind of bizarre political entity that would result from such a ‘united unionist pact’.

    Only way forward is a progressive, non-sectarian Unionist party embracing left-right-centre in socio/economic terms – friendly with all the UK-wide parties but formally linked to none.

    Yes this may be sacrilege to the right-wing McNarry-esque elements of the UUP, yes they’ll prob defect to DUP – but hey they’re going to do so anyway, and right now they’re trying to sell the entire UUP down the drain to the DUP. So choices need to be made!

    UUP grassroots should seize control of this whole decision-making process – decision-by-cabal was a disaster with the UCUNF project and it’ll be another disaster with this ‘united unionism’ thing.

  • Tomagaddy

    ‘Only way forward is a progressive, non-sectarian Unionist party embracing left-right-centre in socio/economic terms – friendly with all the UK-wide parties but formally linked to none.’

    Superfically attractive but in reality keeps NI at arms length from the UK. The only way forward is to build the Conservative Party in NI and get Labour involved

    Suspect UUP will lose seats at next Assembly election due to lackof direction and continued weak leadrship

  • Progressive Unionist

    Doubt that separate “progressive Unionist” parties, divided between Tory and Labour, would work. Neither would have necessary critical mass to take on the non-progressive, more sectarian elements.

    This whole debate at times seems like a replay of the old “integration or devolution” debate of the 80s and 90s. I doubt this replay will get us very far. As a Province NI is not so much out of the woods yet for this.

    Progressive-minded Unionists – i.e. forward-looking, non-racist, non-homophobic, non-sectarian – could, if united, challenge the DUP and regressive types for leadership of Unionism.

    But that’ll be a tough-but-doable fight even if united. If divided there just aren’t the numbers – there’s not the luxury for progressive U’s to divide into Lab/Lib/Tory.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Please stop repeating this boring and discredited single transferable argument. Devolution is popular in NI, as well as in Scotland and Wales. People voted strongly for parties who favour improving and strengthening it.

    All this talk of unionist unity and so on is missing the point. The Ulster Unionist/Conservatives failed to win any seats because they didn’t run any decent candidates. I keep saying this, and I will say it again, that the DUP put the hours in both during and outside of the elections. The UUP are nowhere to be seen.

    Furthermore, most of the DUP (and indeed SDLP/SF) Westminster seats are held by people who are household names, and who have spent time and effort working their way up through council and regional politics. It takes time to build up a public profile, especially a positive one, and their realization of this is probably a factor in their reluctance to drop double jobbing in a hurry. But compare this with the UUP, who chose to ran people the public had mostly never heard of. People aren’t stupid and will ask what the point is in voting for a politician they don’t know to do the important job of MP when they haven’t yet taken the time to cut their teeth on the council or local assembly. To pretend that people should vote for such candidates on the back of the specious arguments that they are young, new, or are sporting a newly-minted “Conservative Party” badge descends into being patronizing.

    Rightly or wrongly, I don’t think there is much room in politics for people like Mike Nesbitt or Peter McCann, who give the impression of “now that I’ve made my way in my professional career and have plenty of money, maybe I’ll give politics a shot”. It seems too much like opportunism.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Progressive-minded Unionists – i.e. forward-looking, non-racist, non-homophobic, non-sectarian – could, if united, challenge the DUP and regressive types for leadership of Unionism.

    It’s a shame they don’t exist.

  • Progressive Unionist

    Well, I understand you trying to convince people of that, seeing as it’ll be Alliance’s worst nightmare if progressive unionists do unite around a non-sectarian, pro-Union platform. 😉

  • CS

    All Unionists are reactionary, racist, homophobic, sectarian bigots?

  • Comrade Stalin

    That’s a nightmare that’s not going to happen.

    Don’t forget the Alliance Party’s origins. If you strip away the intolerance, bigotry (spoken or unspoken), misgivings on homosexuals, support for people closely connected with loyalist paramilitaries (like good old Tommy Kirkham in Newtownabbey council recently), what’s the difference between what you end up with, and Alliance ? What you have left isn’t unionism anymore.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s none of my business if you choose to keep the company you keep.

  • “It’s a shame they don’t exist”

  • Progressive Unionist

    what’s the difference between what you end up with, and Alliance ?

    The difference is support for the Union and belief in Northern Ireland’s future within the modern United Kingdom (which, for all it’s challenges, is increasingly a non-racist, non-homophobic, forward-looking kind of place with a diversity of socio/econ views from left, right and centre)

  • Progressive Unionist

    It’s none of my business if you choose to tar all Unionists with such a sweeping and intolerant derogatory stereotype.

    It is unsettling to hear such a stereotype coming from an Alliance supporter though. Alliance are a party I largely respect (while disagreeing on the constitutional issue).

    I’ve met Sinn Feiners with more tolerant and realistic attitudes to Unionism than what you’ve expressed here though.

  • Progressive Unionist

    I mean the post-Agreement UUP attracted a wide range of members: Protestant, Catholic, agnostic, atheist, straight, gay, ethnic minority, Socialist, Tory, Liberal etc etc…

    Before the disastrous UCUNF diversion the UUP was slowly (albeit in baby steps) looking more and more like a reflection of the wider United Kingdom. That’s what the UUP needs. That’s what Unionism needs and that’s what Northern Ireland needs.

  • PaddyReilly

    For heaven’s sake

    Unionism is a movement which grew up among Protestant policemen, jailers, civil servants and politicians in Ireland to ensure that the emerging Irish Nationalist movement did not endanger their state jobs and position in society. It resulted in the creation of a province which is somewhat artificial and thus requires greater subsidising than would otherwise be the case.

    Conservatism, as currently operating, is a movement directed from the stockbroker belt of Southern English cities among persons who are not state employees, but in fact major contributors to the Exchequer through their earnings, which aims to reduce and minimise such contributions. It is primarily interested in saving money and as such has no prejudices about sexuality, religion, etc.

    The two movements are totally incompatible. The richest constituency in NI is the so called “gold coast” of North Down, but so few of the voters here are rich self-employed businessmen independent of state subsidies that the sitting MP has aligned herself with the Labour Party and experienced resounding success as a result of doing so. And the Tory candidate who opposed her- remind me how he makes his money? Is he a rich self-employed businessman, perchance?

    The Conservatives in the 2005 General Election won 2,718 votes in NI (0.4%), which is about the extent of their support. By bribing the moribund UUP they may have hoped to gain a foothold in the province, an important factor for a minority party with little support outside of rural England, but all they succeeded in doing was reducing the number of UUP MPs from one to zero, and taking 2% from the UUP vote. Unionists are subsidy junkies, Tories are state-spending Scrooges. The marriage will never work. You are doomed.

    In a Stormont type Assembly there is room for up to four flavours of Unionism. Totally-uninterested-in-state-employment Unionist is not one of them.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I don’t think it’s possible to separate this cultural devotion to the union under any circumstances, to the exclusion of all other possibilities (no matter how well argued). Why would people have such views in the first place ? Scotland and Wales don’t see the union in those terms. Why do some of us here ?

    I’m not against the UK, I think it’s a cool place. I don’t mind being part of the union. But why do you need it to define your politics ? That’s the essence of why Unionism can never be “normal”. If you make capital-U Unionists “normal” they’re not Unionists anymore.

    The other problem being that the UK is a somewhat more liberal and diverse place than Northern Ireland itself is. Try to have a sensible discussion about abortion with any of the four largest parties and see how far you get. We can’t even properly debate the appropriate role of religion.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I don’t see the sense in joining the party of the UWC strike, systemic discrimination, anti-agreement rallies, and resistance to reasonable reform (until it was too late) and then trying to make it moderate. It’s like joining the BNP with the objective of turning it into a centre-right fluffy One Nation Tory entity.

    The Ulster Unionist Party still, right now, puts up resistance to electing certain figures in councils which are Unionist-controlled, because they are Catholics. Newtownabbey is one of the worst examples of this and there’s a real danger that their antics there will lead to them being sued.

    You may not personally agree with that, but as you countenance that kind of behaviour from your fellow party members without even speaking out against it, how can any reasonable person conclude that you’re serious about wanting proper cross-community politics ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I mean the post-Agreement UUP attracted a wide range of members: Protestant, Catholic, agnostic, atheist, straight, gay, ethnic minority, Socialist, Tory, Liberal etc etc…

    Bollocks. How many of them got elected ? When did the UUP ever run a Catholic, ethnic minority, or out gay candidate in anything other than a no-hope seat ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    anti-agreement rallies

    I should clarify this – I meant siding with extremist unionism following the signing of the AIA

  • The NI tories were and are the problem for the UUP they simply wanted there cake and eat it.Jeffery peel offers nothing his comments about certain people were a disgrace hes left the tories now anyway the only option now is to disband the NI tories who are now irrelevant.

  • I would urge the Conservative central command to wind up the NI tory party.

  • I certainty would not advice anybody to follow you or seymour major on your crazy idea of forming a new party.utter madness which would fail before you even register it

  • you are entirely right but you and the likes of seymour major calling for a new centre right party well you are not living in the real world.your name the peoples party lmao sounds like a new labour gimmick.