Unionist parties agree to greater co-operation…

Not a pact exactly, (and it’s only in north and west Belfast) but could the new agreement between the UUP and the DUP lead to a much vaunted, but little in evidence realignment of Unionism in Northern Ireland. The News Letter reports:

“Unionist co-operation is not so much about voting pacts and electoral arrangements; rather, it is about unionist elected representatives committing themselves to engaging and working together, in continuing partnership with the community, in order to ensure co-operation takes place in a real and meaningful way.

“This is by no means short-term in nature. It will involve developing long-term strategic positions in relation to social, economic, educational and cultural issues impacting on north and west Belfast communities.”

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  • Cynic2

    Why doesn’t Tom just merge with the DUP? he’d fit right in to its right wing

  • Mick, the quotation reads like a Nigel Dodds press release.

    The initial motivation appears to be a move to limit the advancement of Gerry Kelly in North Belfast, even to stop the north bank of the Lagan becoming more like the west bank of the Foyle.

    It could lead to a measure of reconciliation within the pan-Unionist family and this might increase the Unionist share of the vote.

    Responses to the various commemorations during the course of the next decade will also have their own and fairly unpredictable effects.

  • dwatch

    Cynic2 : ‘Why doesn’t Tom just merge with the DUP? he’d fit right in to its right wing’

    I doubt it, Tom would lose his leadership title and become just another MLA small fish along with other UUP MLA’s in a much bigger DUP pond.

  • Valenciano

    For all the panic, Dodds probably doesn’t have anything to worry about. With Northern Ireland very likely to be reduced to 15 MPs next time, boundary changes should make him safe. I crunched the numbers and the only outcome I can see that makes sense involves North Belfast gaining Mallusk, Burnthill, Carnmoney, Mossley, Hawthorne and Ballyduff while losing one ward to West Belfast. That would boost Dodds majority by a good few thousand.

  • Cynic2

    Dwatch

    Naw … given the evidence of his talents since his election, I am sure he could negotiate a suitable post in the DUPs

    PR Strategy Co-ordinator?

    Special Spokesman for the Chicken Cage Industry?

    Portfolio for Outreach to Under Represented Groups eg Fermanagh Young Farmers Club Members, Boy George Appreciation Society Members, etc etc

  • 241934 john brennan

    SF/SDLP electoral pacts in Fermanagh! DUP/UUP pacts in west and north Belfast!

    To achieve what? Increased tribalism, with an end of hopes for a shared society in the North, or any form of unity, or agreement, with the South?

    When unionists formed an electoral pact in Fermanagh, Sinn Fein condemned it as ‘sectarian’ – and then called for a similar pact with the SDLP!

    However, on the same day as that call was made, SF and DUP concocted a deal to prevent any nationalist getting the post of Justice Minister. No matter how you cut it, with an increase in the Stormont departments from 10 to 11, the SDLP were entitled to an additional post. The Executive now has a 7:4 unionist/split, instead of a more equitable 6:5 split.

    Sinn Fein has yet to account for selling out nationalism.

    As things presently stand, sectarian electoral pacts are irrelevant – except for promoting the DUP and SF. Likewise voting for one bogey man, just to keep the other bogey man out of the First Minister’s job. That suits the electoral aims of DUP/SF, but apart from increased sectarian head counts in each conflicting camp, it neither achieves nor delivers anything for the people.

    After the evident failure of the present sf/DUP DUOPOLY to produce any credible government, or to form any credible economic plans, is it not time for real democratic government? Our as John Hume put it: “learn to trust each other by working our common ground together”

    The alternative to the logic of Hume is to continue as we are with the DUP/SF, whose past 4-year record shows their belief that Barnum’s logic is also wrong – and you can actually “fool all of the people all of the time.”

  • tacapall

    “Voters in staunch loyalist areas such as the Shankill Road are switching to Sinn Féin because republicans are seen to be active for working-class communities, unionist and nationalist, senior UDA members have told the unionist daily, the News Letter.

    UDA leader Jackie McDonald explained that the switch to Sinn Féin is happening because unionist politicians have abandoned their working-class support”.

    Working class loyalists seem to have much in common with their republican counterparts is this an attempt by the DUP and UUP to reach out.

  • lamhdearg

    what ward to west belfast?.

  • madraj55

    I was watching Alex Kane on H&M tonight going off at the deep end about democracy in NI as it is traduced at Stormont. He ‘s not talking about democracy as practised in the rest of the UK. This means he’s implying that there was a time here when democracy WAS practised. Clearly suggesting that this was so at Stormont until 1972. Alex Kane needs to end the head staggers episode he’s clearly going through. Either that or he needs to decide that there’s a conflict between gerrymandering and democracy. and quick.

  • dennis the menace

    UDA leader Jackie McDonald explained that the switch to Sinn Féin is happening because unionist politicians have abandoned their working-class support”………

    if the UDA say it, then it must be true

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    Madraj55

    I couldn’t agree more. I’m a moderate Nationalist and I agree that the current situation in Stormont is a million miles from proper democracy. However, the reason it’s there is down to the disgraceful behaviour of Unionists for over 50 years.

    It’s certainly not democratic now but it’s a lot better than it ever was under the UU.

    Even for those who cry out for an end to mandatory coalition – have a look at the behaviour of Unionist majority councils (particularly in the north-east). There is still a marked reluctance – in many cases downright refusal to allocate council offices to Catholics.

    Look at the behaviour of Belfast CC and the Mayor’s office for decades (in marked contrast to Nationalist behaviour in Derry).

    The truth is that the poor system we currently have is the deserved reward that Unionists have got for dcecades of misrule. The vast majority of Nationalists and the British Govt know that Unionists can’t be trusted with power – they still have a lot to prove.

    Anway, if Unionists think it’s bad now – they have equal rights and are not mistreated in any way – that’s a hell of a lot more than they offered their Catholic “neighbours” for over 50 years.

  • madraj55

    MDW…. If Fred Cobain’s recent assertion that ‘Belfast is a Unionist city’ is shared by most others in his party, [and I’m certain it is] that shows he and they have learned nothing from their diminishing returns since their junta ended. He clearly believes Belfast boundaries should be constantly adjusted to defy demographics. Some democrat.

  • liam charles

    Does ths mean that Dodds McCausland and Humphries will support the UUP council candidate for North Belfast.

    The candidate in question murdered 2 people, and if I remember correctly one of them was a councillor.

    DUP supporting loyalist murderers – Unionist Unity is not about sectarianism!

  • madraj55

    Unionist unity seems to have been adopted as a useful euphemism for stitch up in unionist parties parlance. There are plenty more Sundays available for hotel meetings in England for these ‘strict Sabbatarians’ I expect.