John McCallister: An end to shouting ‘partition’ everytime the economy is raised?

Interesting address by Rathfriland Ulster Unionist MLA John McCallister to Sinn Fein Newry at the weekend is well worth listening to in full… well constructed and thoughtful he condemns what he calls ‘the economics of the playground’… ie the idea that Britain and Ireland’s economic destiny can be considered in isolation from one another…

He doesn’t reisle from tough messages to Sinn Fein, saying that ‘you cannot go on shouting partition each time the question of economics is raised’… He gently chides them for neglecting to mention that Britain is Ireland’s top trading partner, and Ireland, Britain’s fifth largest…

…it is frankly incredible that Sinn Fein’s recent document “Uniting Ireland – The Only Way Forward” does not mention that Britain is Ireland’s largest export market. And that Ireland is the UK’s 5th largest export market.

The economic destiny of these Islands points not to an isolationist, ‘ourselves alone’ ideology… But to partnership and interdependence.

For Unionists, that partnership and interdependence is the foundation of the Union. And it is as close economic neighbours – whose economic well-being is mutually dependent – that London, Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin need to be co-operating. Building economic prosperity across these Islands, then, is in the interests of all of us.

Later he notes that what unionism can bring to Sinn Fein ‘is a shared Northern Ireland, but this means confronting our past…’ This is the line that’s been picked up most attention in the mainstream press… Gerry Adams’ response was both familiar and predictable:

“Of course, as John McCallister has reminded us, to plan for the future we have to deal with the past. Sinn Fein has never shied away from this whether on the issue of victims or on other matters. Dealing with the past is not easy and there is little agreement at a political level about how we do this. But that should not be an obstacle to the future.”

As Denis Bradley observed in an extended interview with Will Crawley a few years back:

…you have Sinn Féin running around the place talking about an international tribunal, [an] international independent truth commission.

“Now, first of all, they’re told truth commissions are very difficult and they’re very… they’re not really the stuff [of] which our culture lives and survives and has its being.

“On the other hand are they talking about this international independent [commission] being set up by the United Nations? Fair enough, except the United Nations doesn’t do this type of stuff.

“So who’s going to set it up, and who’s going to be independent, and who’s going to pay for it?

In rough translation then, ‘there’s no fear of that John’.

  • Little James

    SF want an independent truth commission as much as the man on the moon, it would never be allowed to happen due to what would undoubtedly come out of it. Cant jeopardise the “peace process” now can we.

  • Skinner

    Slightly more informative account of the speech than the Bel Tel have today! They have resorted to using Willie Frazer as their sound board.

    As I have said on here before, confronting the less proud moments in Unionist history will strengthen the Union ultimately.

    (Though I don’t know if that is the same point John McA was making)

  • Yes, the BEL Tel resorts to one of its favourite headline words – fury.

  • JR

    I am sorry I missed that. I was actually next door at the time where Imeall Geal was being filmed.

  • sherdy

    Can the unionists teach us anything apart from bigotry?
    That’s the only thing they taught us during their 50 years in power.

  • RyanAdams

    Bigotry? Look in the mirror.

    “Can the unionists teach us anything apart from bigotry?”
    Yes, because all the unionists currently in power now were in Stormot then. Oh yeah wait the DUP didn’t even exist then until 1971.

  • PaulT

    “gently chides them for neglecting to mention that Britain is Ireland’s top trading partner”

    Haven’t watched it, but thats a really dodgy line to base an arguement on, a 5 second google search will bring up the CSO balance of trade for 2010, Britain is Irelands only trading partner were imports are greater than exports, I would think suggest that the USA is Irelands biggest trading partner.

    http://www.cso.ie/statistics/botmaintrpartners.htm

  • Greenflag

    ‘it is frankly incredible that Sinn Fein’s recent document “Uniting Ireland – The Only Way Forward” does not mention that Britain is Ireland’s largest export market. And that Ireland is the UK’s 5th largest export market.’

    I would’nt say ‘incredible ‘ . They just don’t mention it . but then they did’nt mention back in 1969 either when iirc Britain accounted for 85% of Irish exports and most of that would have been agriculture related instead of the 25 or 30% today .

    Adam’s response btw was in this case in addition to being familiar , predictable also very much practical . Other countries and conflict torn regions have recovered from much worse ‘obstacles ‘ to forge a better future .

    Still credit to McCallister and he is correct in pointing out the obvious for those of course who might be unaware of it -although there can scarcely be anybody left who would demand a return to Dev’s isolationism .

  • Into the west

    at least McAllister revealed the unionist “tell ” ( poker term)
    when he said they fell short of treating nationalists well
    adding its hard for unionists to face that.
    being as it is politically risky ie suicidal .
    if you revealed too much you’d be named lundy or alliance!

  • Mary Anna

    you have Sinn Féin running around the place talking about an international tribunal, [an] international independent truth commission. Sin/f Stalling for time.The reason for that is because the sociopaths – the sinners know that it will never happen – also they live in hope wishing – by the time there is some kind of truth commission – we will be all dead International independent truth commission this is a joke. Their hope and dreams is that it will all go away ye know.

  • Into the west

    I wonder what it would take for you mary anna to move beyond bitterness .
    John McAllister has ( accepting the invitation )
    Newry SF have ( inviting J McA for debate )
    Which leaves you and others outside railing and ranting.
    Hmmm? I know who I think is making a postive contribution

  • JoeBryce

    Very impressive.

  • Haven’t watched it, but thats a really dodgy line to base an arguement on, a 5 second google search will bring up the CSO balance of trade for 2010, Britain is Irelands only trading partner were imports are greater than exports, I would think suggest that the USA is Irelands biggest trading partner.

    Paul T,

    If you care to take the time to check what John McCallister actually said it was:

    “Britain is Ireland’s largest export market.”

    Going on the figures you have supplies it is Ireland’s second largest export market after the US. Which makes it a rather important trading partner and does not invalidate in any way the argument that:

    “The economic destiny of these Islands points not to an isolationist, ‘ourselves alone’ ideology… But to partnership and interdependence”.

  • Mary Anna

    @ into the west my hands are clean- how positive is that! Now get a life. they do the crimes t now hey do the time how positive is that ? The sinners will reap what they sow ! God is watching them.I am a free spirit. and I never harmed and hurt anyone for a job power money and control British Stormont ministers have blood on their hands – dirty deals evil control over most vulnerable for power and moneys talks.

  • PaulT

    O’Neill, look at the figures again and go find a Guardian report from a few years ago which shows the trade between both countries, lots of the trade is made up from both countries buying the same products from each other ie the UK buys a lot of pork from Ireland, Ireland buys a lot of pork from the UK. This is repeated for lots of stuff, strip the like for like stuff out of the equation and the trading relationship is not overly impressive.

    A better conversation is to highlight that NI costs the UK 4Billion PA while Ireland has a 70Billion trade surplus, a UI would enlarge the Irish economy by almost 50% eg add 30billion to the trade surplus, and remove 4billion of spending for HMG.

    The queens visit and Daves warm words show that the master is finally prepared to accept the slave as an equal, and indeed sees the potential in the relationship.

    The next step will be recognising how much better an all Ireland economy would be for both countries

    Just to add, neither NI, Scotland or Wales has an economy of any note but Ireland has, any idea why?

  • From the Bel Tel:

    Fury over UUP deputy’s ‘apology’

    Since when has a factual comment merited a yellow card?
    (I am using Mick’s right of appeal as per the rules but don’t want to bother him.)

  • The yokel

    An interesting post Mr T. It’s good to know that Ireland is up there with Germany and China as an industrial powerhouse. What I find strange is that government bond traders don’t know this (rates >7% – ECB, IMF bailout etc) maybe they can’t Google.

  • “O’Neill, look at the figures again and go find a Guardian report from a few years ago which shows the trade between both countries, lots of the trade is made up from both
    countries buying the same products from each other…”

    I have just spent several minutes trying to find this report to no avail- perhaps it would help if you posted a link.

    Why do they buy the same products from each other, that is the question needing answered.

    “A better conversation is to highlight that NI costs the UK 4Billion PA while Ireland has a 70Billion trade surplus, a UI would enlarge the Irish economy by almost 50%…”

    Whoah a minute there… you are missing proof that a “United Ireland” would enlarge the Irish economy by 5o%- evidence please.

    “The queens visit and Daves warm words show that the master is finally prepared to accept the slave as an equal, and indeed sees the potential in the relationship.”

    Ridiculous MOPEry which adds nothing to your argument.

    “The next step will be recognising how much better an all Ireland economy would be for both countries”

    Tell you what, get SF to employ an independent bean-counter and get them to produce an independent cost-benefit analysis of us separating from the rest of the UK. Or ask yourself the question why they have not done so already.

    “Just to add, neither NI, Scotland or Wales has an economy of any note but Ireland has, any idea why”

    That will be disappointing news for Mr Salmond to hear. Guess they will have to cancel their referendum.

  • Johnny Boy

    UUP MLA’s Sense-Talking Shame.

  • Old Mortality

    PaulT
    ‘a UI would enlarge the Irish economy by almost 50% eg add 30billion to the trade surplus, and remove 4billion of spending for HMG.’

    This is utterly facile nonsense. The productive part of the NI economy (ie the private sector) is nothing like 50% of the RoI and it’s exports are even lower proportionately.

  • Greenflag

    @old mortality .

    Whatever about adding to the trade surplus it would most definitely increase the public sector as a percentage of overall GDP and thus in present circumstances not feasible economically never mind politically.

    The two major economic issues facing the island are

    a) How can the Republic extricate itself from it’s self brought upon ‘debt’

    And

    b) How can Northern Ireland ‘revive’ it’s private sector so as to become less dependent economically on it’s public sector and thus the UK connection and UK taxpayer .

    For the Republic much will depend on the outcome of what is happening /will happen in the Eurozone in which any influence or power the Republic might have had several years ago has now been ‘discredited’ by it’s governmental and financial sector performance over most of the past decade.

    For Northern Ireland the problem is IMO a tougher nut to crack as to some extent continuing ‘dependence ‘ on the UK link enhances the ‘unionist ‘ position whereas having a much stronger local private sector could ironically in weakening that ‘dependence ‘ be inimical to the ‘unionist ‘ political interest . The ‘belief ‘ that Northern Ireland is too small an area and too remote to be anything other than what it is -is ironically the same kind of view that was prevalent in the Republic during De Valera’s time in the 1950’s -a time when the Republic looked into it’s economic performance mirror and found it wanting.

    While Northern Ireland’s politcal set up is for now and some time to come as good as it gets, the Republic’s as Mick Fealty and others have been stating for some time – is badly in need of reform . The proposed ‘abolishing ‘ of the Senate was just a distraction and fulfilled a perceived need to be seen to do something at a time when and they still are the highest paid ‘politicians ‘ with the worst political performance between Jerusalem and Washington DC bar perhaps those in Athens and Rome .

  • USA

    I didn’t see the foul either. Joe got the ball, Ronaldo took a dive and seemingly the ref has fallen for it 🙁

  • IrelandNorth

    The preferential loan conferred on Ireland by the British Exchequer was a case of investing in shareholder sovereignty, in an Incorporated Ireland. The IMF/ECB loan likewise, where an Irish government was economically compromised into remortgaging the state to international loan sharkes, after the economy was bankrupted by the unanimous gambling of the Irish capitalist class, quite probablly with government complicity. It’s all just a global monopoly game by international capitol. A case of virtual imperialism.