Should unionists be entitled to vote?

That is the logical question arising from what the UUP candidate claims SF have said in their literature in West Belfast.

Mr Manwaring said; “Gerry Adams says that moves to secure a Unionist Assembly seat “represents the old unionist agenda of resisting equality and denying nationalists’ representation.”

The message in this is that “old unionism” equates to anything so bold as seeking to put a nationalist out of the Assembly through legitimate electioneering.  To me, that is an outrageous statement. It represents the very worst of the nationalist victim complex, perhaps even fetish. It debases not only the entire concept of equality, but also any genuine grievance that Nationalism ever had over Unionism.  It is an entirely self defeating argument.

More importantly perhaps it represents a horrible sense of entitlement.  Are Nationalists more deserving of winning elections in West Belfast than anyone else? Should Unionists be allowed to participate in any way in this election?

So perhaps we could discuss the fundamental issue at question here.  What is unequal about idea that a Unionist be elected in West Belfast thorough the fair due process of lawful universal suffrage?

UPDATE: O’Neill provides a link to the leaflet in question.  My reaction having seen it is in the comments.

  • john

    Not sure what Gerry Adams has or has not said. Obviously if Unionists get enough votes In West Belfast then they will have their seat and will fully deserve it but cetainly looking at previous elections the numbers just arent there.

  • tacapall

    “The message in this is that “old unionism” equates to anything so bold as seeking to put a nationalist out of the Assembly through legitimate electioneering. To me, that is an outrageous statement. It represents the very worst of the nationalist victim complex, perhaps even fetish. It debases not only the entire concept of equality, but also any genuine grievance that Nationalism ever had over Unionism. It is an entirely self defeating argument”.

    Im sure Bill must have forgotten statements such as below

    “The Nationalist majority in the county, i.e., Fermanagh, notwithstanding a reduction of 336 in the year, stands at 3,684. We must ultimately reduce and liquidate that majority. This county, I think it can be safely said, is a Unionist county. The atmosphere is Unionist. The Boards and properties are nearly all controlled by Unionists. But there is still this millstone [the Nationalist majority] around our necks.”
    E.C. Ferguson, Unionist Party, then Stormont MP, April 1948

  • Maybe I’m just having an off day, but I’m finding it hard to get my head around the whole “He says that he says that this is…”

    Then again, that often is the hallmark of Stormount politics.

  • OK, judge for yourselves, here is the offending piece (courtesy of of Kateyo(http://twitter.com/#!/kateyo):

    http://yfrog.com/h8cwbskj

  • joeCanuck

    tacappal,
    Interesting but what relevance is something offensive said in 1948 got today?

  • john

    To be honest I dont know why Mr Adams is bothered the chances of losing a seat in W.Belfast are very slim he should be focussing all his efforts on any possible gains

  • pippakin

    It is the unionist type politics of old but SF always insisted they were above that sort of thing. I wonder why its considered fair play now, very few waverers and moderates would agree.

  • Mark McGregor

    What’s Slugger without some unapologetic political hackery at election times?

    Defending legitimate (Unionist) electioneering by a total whingefest about legitimate (Sinn Féin) electioneering?

    This is of interest to anyone outside an internal UUP email distribution list?

  • tacapall

    “It debases not only the entire concept of equality, but also any genuine grievance that Nationalism ever had over Unionism”.

    Its called playing to the gallery by Manwaring Joe, if he’s going to come off with statements like this to the Unionist electorate then he’d be better off reading up on his history.

  • separatesix

    I admire the Spanish government for banning extreme Basque parties linked to violence, shame it didn’t happen in NI as well, regardless of the consequences.

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    A self-perceived perpetual victimhood is the Irish Republican USP. Gerry is simply pushing the one-and-only button that he has on his West Belfast Control Panel. Btw I thought he had fecked-off to the Lost26?

    Puncture the surface of the average Irish Republican and like oil welling-up on the Arabian peninsula out will flow dates, names, numbers when those rascally Brits did them wrong.

    Of course to the casual observer it may appear strange that the poor croppies transmute being the Always Downtrodden into a Continuing Expectation of Entitlement but that’s just how it is. To question it will only result in the above mentioned outpouring of everything since Strongbow first put boots on Sacred Ireland’s soil.

  • separatesix

    Adams dosen’t want a Brit about the place!
    What’s new!

  • separatesix

    What self-respecting person in the Shankill would vote for a weak wooly watered-down unionist like Manwaring anyway?

  • Comrade Stalin

    This leaflet is nonsensical. There is no electoral pact between the DUP and UUP, indeed electoral pacts under PR/STV seldom make sense.

    The UUP campaign is brazenly sectarian in its approach, though, it has to be said. Last year the candidate was saying “end tribal politics”, this year it’s “the Prods need one of their own for West Belfast”.

  • Michael Shilliday

    CS,

    Having seen the leaflet I think it has a slightly different slant. I wrote this purely off the back of seeing Bill’s statement on Facebook without seeing the leaflet, although I did wonder if that was the angle it would hang on.

    There was certainly an attempt at a grubby deal in north and west. It clearly didn’t happen as there is open competition for seats between the two unionist parties, and long may it continue.

    However thinking about it, while the argument is weakened slightly by the “pact” that isn’t, the point still stands. The entire thrust of the leaflet smacks of winning the battle and not caring about losing the war. Keeping nationalism steeped in a victim mentality adds nothing to nationalism and does nothing to move it forward.

    It is worth pointing out that I shock myself that I’m even close to surprised, but it is still worth making the point.

    Down with this kind of thing.

  • joeCanuck

    seperatesix,

    If your preference is to live in a country that limits free political expression there are lots of places you can emigrate to. Try Zimbabwe or Belarus.
    Also, you might take up tacappal’s advice to Manwaring and brush up on your history before spouting.

  • Mark McGregor

    It didn’t take much spin from Adams to get the content for a ‘get out the vote’ leaflet:

    North Belfast Unionist Parties forge new pact

    Slugger covered it too

    Unionist parties agree to greater co-operation

    You expect them to look that gift horse in the mouth? They are fighting hard to retain a seat and they may as well use material given by the Unionist press with a bit of chutzpah.

    And let us remember, British judges have made it clear absolute integrity is not a requirement of British elections.

  • I agree that this is a rather unexciting story. Of course the Unionists are unlikely to take a seat in West Belfast, but that was also true in 2003 when that unlikely event happened. SF’s comments are as unremarkable as Peter Robinson saying on Twitter that voting DUP should be compulsory.

    I suppose there is a broader issue in the continuing messaging problems of the UUP. The fact is that historically the UUP were indeed at one time the party of resisting equality and denying Nationalists representation, and I don’t really think it is very sensible of Mr Manwaring to repeat SF’s reminder of this fact to their voters. (Unless, for some bizarre reason, he thinks it was never the case?)

  • separatesix

    I didn’t say people can’t vote Manwaring it was Gerry who said that!

  • Barry the Blender

    Am I the only one who remembers Alex Maskey making these comments?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11560421

  • Hopping The Border

    “I admire the Spanish government for banning extreme Basque parties linked to violence, shame it didn’t happen in NI as well, regardless of the consequences.”

    So that would ban Sinn Fein, PUP, DUP, UUP?

    Or maybe you just mean Sinn Fein, in which case you disenfranchise a significant portion of the nationalist (and predominantly catholic) citizens.

    Ah the fabled unionist mindset – you will vote for who we say, now that we have allowed you the vote.

  • orly

    Just SF and the PUP would do nicely Hopping.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Manwaring is standing for the UUP and Brian Kingston in standing for the DUP in West Belfast. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of pact.

    Regardless, I seriously doubt there’ll be a unionist seat come May 5th. This is probably just a bit of scaremongering from Sinn Féin to try to shore up their own vote.

  • dwatch

    So that would ban Sinn Fein, PUP, DUP, UUP?

    ‘Working-class unionists have a right to be heard’

    The PUP will give a voice to the old, the sick, the jobless and the poor, says Brian Ervine

    Wednesday, 27 April 2011

    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/news-analysis/workingclass-unionists-have-a-right-to-be-heard-15147347.html#ixzz1Khn6wQN2

  • separatesix

    Rather than any unionist party stand in West Belfast they should have chosen a unity candidate, like a protestant community worker or someone from civic society, Provisional Sinn Fein would be in no position to complain as they themselves wanted a sectarian pact with the SDLP in Upper Bann.

  • vanhelsing

    Lord Ardoyne [is he still Lord Ardoyne] doing what he does best [and that’s not economics] playing to the cornerstone electorate. No one who votes SF will care anyway even if it’s not true..

    It’s no different that the ‘orange card’ that Gildernew played in their election broadcast.

  • I have to say that I find the headline question of this post completely unconnected with the leaflet referred to in the body of the post. It is rather misleading, except to the minds of those vulnerable to twisted logic.

    Meanwhile, Gerry Adams does what we always expect him to do – play the sectarian card to maximise the Sinn Fein vote. Why should unionists be in the slightest bit excited about that?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Michael

    “Should unionists be entitled to vote?”

    Having thought long and hard about your question, I have decided that no, they should not.

  • quality

    Alex Maskey. South Belfast. 2010.

    Adams continues to annoy. While McGuinness’ tone has become increasingly moderate and conciliatory, the bearded one continues to antagonise for (what appears to be) little benefit.

    Sinn Féin could return five planks of wood in west Belfast, and Dunmurray and transfers would carry Attwood home; if Diane Dodds was unsuccessful, its hard to see how Manwaring has a chance. It’s a shame as, while I don’t necessarily agree with his politics, he seems to be one of the few UUs who is actually grounded in the real world (I believe he worked for the Simon community/on a cross-community basis?)

  • Reader

    Mark McGregor: It didn’t take much spin from Adams to get the content for a ‘get out the vote’ leaflet:
    Do you think that what you found amounts to a “pact of electoral cooperation”, as Adams described it? So; surely Adams’ ‘spin’ is actually a ‘lie’?

  • separatesix

    More to the point Billypilgrim why should nationalists be allowed to claim benefits, housing and dla from the UK. They are Irish citizens why should they be allowed to vote in UK elections or claim pensions NI

  • RyanAdams

    Easy to see why Maskey was so quick of the mark about fewer MLAs.

    Take one seat off South Belfast and its his.

  • joeCanuck

    Aren’t all people living on the Ireland British (British Isles) with only a large subset being Great British?

  • joeCanuck

    Island not Ireland

  • Hopping The Border

    “Just SF and the PUP would do nicely Hopping.”

    Why leave out the other two parties when they also were associated with violence?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Separatesix

    “More to the point Billypilgrim why should nationalists be allowed to claim benefits, housing and dla from the UK.”

    LOL! Good question!

    The Germans have a great word for which we have no equivalent in English: fremdschamen. Check it out.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Fremdsch%C3%A4men

    Joe

    “Aren’t all people living on the Ireland British (British Isles) with only a large subset being Great British?”

    No. Don’t be silly.

  • PaulT

    I’m disappointed with Bill Manwaring, yes it is a bit of electioneering from Adams, but not only should he not have bitten on it he also seems to be a very different individual than the one who use to post on Slugger.

    Back then he was a committed Tory, if I recall, even reflected in his user name.

    He wrote strongly about removing tribalism from politics and was an alround nice guy.

    If I recall he was also the first on the scene when a man was murdered in a feud on the Shankill.

    He always struck me a good person and in politics for the right reason.

    What is he doing stuck in ‘enemy territory’ is that the best opportunity the UUP will give him.

    He’d be forgiven for getting bitter seeing some of the numpties from all the parties who reside in safe seats or get co-opted.

    Personally I think he deserves better and should return to his old politics and run as an independent

  • Comrade Stalin

    There is no doubt that Bill is a committed community worker. I don’t think he’s cut from the old unionist cloth, and I’m sure he’d be there to fight the corner for anyone who turned up at his door. If I was in West Belfast I’d probably give him my #2, behind the token Alliance candidate.

    However, you wouldn’t know any of this, to read his election literature which talks about “representing the pro-union community” and so on – if I lived in WB I’d take that to mean that Bill would have no intention of representing me and that I therefore shouldn’t transfer to him. I am quite sure there are soft nationalist transfers available for the right kind of unionist in West Belfast – those who, like Robin Livingstone, believe that Gerry Adams and his contemporaries have allowed the neighbourhood to simply slide. But there are no signs of trying to court this vote in the UUP literature.

    I suspect that Bill is being advised to go down this path by higher ups in the party. They still haven’t figured out that they can’t play this game anywhere near as well as the DUP. The DUP leadership are busy trying to soften their tone which surely means that they no longer believe that electoral success comes from repeating the same tired old unionist platitudes.

  • AGlassOfHine

    Why would the opinions of Southern Gerry have any relevance here in The Kingdom ?

  • JR

    “Why would the opinions of Southern Gerry have any relevance here in The Kingdom ?”

    Probibly for the same reasons your opinion and my opinion should have relivance.