New Tories, old Tories, what’s the difference?

Everyone seems to be talking about the headline of Lord Feldman’s press release today, and no one is talking about what he actually said.

Let’s be clear, there is to be no “new party” in Northern Ireland. They are not farming off their existing branch, they are attempting to tart it up a bit. And what are these momentous changes? They MIGHT get a seat on the Conservative Party board (hardly a sign of a new party is it?), they MIGHT be allowed to elect a leader, and they will be allowed to have a Chairman (so what has Irwin Armstrong been doing all this time?)

It all begs the question, what is the point? It sounds a bit like they will attract a few failed UUP candidates, but is that together with some semantic dressing up really going to turn an electorally insignificant and utterly failed group into the vanguard for liberal Unionism?

The Conservative Party has no hope in Northern Ireland without an existing local base, the best fit being the UUP. The UUP is visionless and increasingly rudderless without the Conservative Party (the real one that is, not what passes for it in Northern Ireland). Seems obvious what to do really.

  • dennis the menace

    Oh dear, and you all used to be such good friends, especially when they were paying for everything

  • Old Mortality

    This is just so much political navel gazing. How many times does it need to be said: NO RIGHT OF CENTRE POLITICAL PARTY HAS ANY PROSPECT OF SUCCESS IN NORTHERN IRELAND UNTIL SUCH TIMES AS THE PROPORTION OF THE POPULATION RELIANT ON THE STATE FOR A LIVING IS MASSIVELY REDUCED. That’s why such a large chunk of the UUP recoiled from UCUNF in the first place.
    There is, however, a place for a pressure group to promote an anti-statist agenda and cause as much embarrassment as possible to the village idiots at Stormont.

  • john

    This is surely the best solution. The UUP/Tory link up was never going to work. Any UUP candidates who is a closet Tory can now go to the party to where he/she belongs and both parties can take part in all elections. The Tories will probably get next to no votes but who cares better to be a non-entity on their own rather than piggyback riding on the UUP who are soon to be a non-entity. The real problem for UUP is the Alliance party and DUP who will take all their votes not the Tories.

  • New Blue

    If any new political movement is to be successful it must ensure that it provides a voice for the needs of ordinary people, that must be reflected by the level of work such a group do ‘on the ground’. I look forward to this opportunity and hope that it attracts people who cannot find a natural home in existing political parties.

  • emanonon

    M.Shilladay

    You appear to be trying to cover up our insecurities, the Tories can fail miserably and they will still destroy the UUP. A few votes here and there would be enough to cost several MLA’s.

    I also would not underestimate the will of the Tories, a seat at the board shows considerable influence being given to the new party and with influence comes money and a massive electoral machine. So maybe the current Chairman has been very busy.

    The next two years will be interesting, my bet is the Tories will do better than many imagine.

  • Zig70

    The uup/ con wouldn’t work because the unionists are more Irish than English. There are not enough naïve souls here who would trust the English tories to make a NICon party popular.

  • jthree

    *claps hands* These Tory/UCUNF/UUP/whatever-you’re-having-yourself are the funnest threads on Slugger. The bile produced by these folk who are still angry at a) each other and b) the voters who delivered an electoral kicking provide hours of entertainment for all the family.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Emanon, you don’t understand STV I take it? they could actually help the UUP, a few extra votes here and there might come out vote Tory 1 and UUP 2, ( I know don’t take it for granted but its likely enough) their only hope is a “big hitter” or two, and to be honest that type of person probably stands a better chance as an independant rather than under the Conservative banner for Stormont at least. STV is a completely different game, shred the vote a to a million pieces, so long as your not the bottom one at each stage your usually home.

  • OneNI

    UCUNF showed that over 100,000 people were happy to vote Conservative. Seats could have been won if only the old guard of the UUP werent so determined to keep the best chance seats for themselves – Reg was selected 6 weeks before the election your Gads sake!
    Shilllers shouldnt be so keen to burn his bridges.

  • Michael Shilliday

    OneNI,

    Open your eyes. 100k votes is what the UUP have been getting at every election since 2004. Even in the isolated DEA’s Tories were standing in in 2011 they were only getting 2% of the vote. The UUP and Tories can only hope for success together, it’s about time both sides came to terms with that.

  • alan56

    There probably is an opportunity here for the UUP if they could only see it. The UUp are a right of centre party and it would be hard to find a great divergence in their social and economic policies from the Conservatives. How many votes are the UUP going to shed by admitting that they are ‘right of centre’? With the current divisions in the UUP its hard to know exactly what way this may all pan out. Perhaps some of the bloggers could shine some light on this?

  • Comrade Stalin

    emanon:

    You appear to be trying to cover up our insecurities, the Tories can fail miserably and they will still destroy the UUP. A few votes here and there would be enough to cost several MLA’s.

    Please enlighten us with your predictions of how many votes the Tories will take in the 16 constituencies at the next assembly election. I could do with a laugh, I recall having so much fun a few years ago when Tory/UCUNF supporters would come on here to tell the rest of us how they were going to sweep the board so convincingly that we should just give up. I particularly remember laughing at how, after a successful electoral result in NI, the new Tory/UUP entity might even seek to reorganize across the border.

    I mean, if the Tory party felt itself able to command votes and support in its own right why did it feel the need to form a relationship with the UUP in the first place ?

  • GoldenFleece

    Shilliday, to be fair the UUP got less votes in 2011 than the alliance with the Cons got in 2010. Lets not rewrite history here.

  • Michael Shilliday

    That’s hardly a surprise. But the Tory council candidates didn’t make up the difference either. Hence my statement ” The UUP and Tories can only hope for success together, it’s about time both sides came to terms with that.”

  • GoldenFleece

    Shilliday, your party has rejected it outright and seems more keen to explore its relationship with the DUP. Fair enough, nothing wrong with that per se.

    Who knows maybe the NI Tories will actually finally provide an alternative to the DUP – something that has been lacking in recent years. They have a hell of a lot of work to do though.

  • jthree

    Keep it up lads *munches popcorn*

  • New Blue

    Let’s be realistic here, a newly formed Northern Irish Conservative movement cannot expect any electoral success just becuase it opens up shop.

    It needs to build a support structure in target areas, select candidates who are electable and prove through hard work that it is not an extension of the South of England.

  • aquifer

    Joining the Tories was far too slick for the UUP. Being in government in London and in charge would not have sat well with their well groomed sense of loyal victimhood. It is obviously more fun dressing up in sashes and being misunderstood than having to re-write EU directives for local consumption. Who wants to share the Westminster subvention with Sinn Fein while apologising for welfare cuts anyhow?

  • I welcome the fact that the Tories have now decided to seriously engage in NI politics.However I doubt if their right wing policies will have significant support among the people of NI.
    I speak as the Leader of the Alliance group on North Down Council in 1989 when we lost 3 seats and the Conservatives won 6 becoming the largest party on the council.
    They were a serious political force at that time and in the 1992 Westminster elections they polled over 44,000 with the party leader Laurence Kennedy polling over14000 in North Down.
    We decided to attack the Tories not on their Unionist/sectarian policies but on their Thatcherite policies.In truth they were genuinely nonsectarian.They did promote right wing policies on privatisation, benefits and cuts in public services.
    .We were successful in linking the local Tories with those in Westminster and by 1997 Alliance was restored as the largest party on North Down council and the Conservatives reduced to 2 Seats.They now have none.

    While I welcome the Tories decision to set up in NI i Ido not believe thet the extreme right polies of Cameron will have any attraction to NI voters and that NI like Scotland will remaina TORY free zone.

  • emanonon

    Drumlins

    As many have found to their cost STV does not follow standard patterns. Typically the top 5 in the first count are eventually elected with only the sixth seat up for contention. How many of our members were elected on the last count last year?

    I would also suspect many Tory transfers will go to Alliance and even SDLP or even die.

    Remember the DUP and SF started with no machine or votes.

  • cynic2

    Would I join it? yes I would.

    Why? Because I am sick of the one dimensional sectarian meme that underpins all political discussions here.

    The sham DUP / SF fight at Stormont is just the continuation of war by other means – a vehicle for convincing the sheep that they are fighting their corner against themuns.

    We need to build a future for our children free from this nonsense and the shackles of having to follow the patterns set by their parents, grandparents and so back to 1690 or whatever date suits your political perspectives,.

    And as a conservative unionist, where else do I go? Every single party here – including Alliance – is wedded to the state teat. They all suckle on the idea that NI has to be dependent and pander to voters who see that as making a living. The DUP has people in it you wouldn’t be seen dead with. So, sadly, does the UUP with the added frisson of a leader who isn’t. If anyone can tell me what the SDLP is for, please do so.

    This whole dependency culture cannot go on. Its also part of the culture that allows us all to wallow in the swamp of poverty and poor opportunities, blaming our neighbours for our situation.

    We have some great resources in NI and above all a well educated and reliable workforce. Countries not much bigger than us and sometimes a lot smaller have achieved huge living standards with that pool of talent. But in NI we waste it, sent it away to work elsewhere and just wallow, Its time for a change.

    Now I am not naiive and stupid enough believe that the new Conservative move can achieve that. But its a start.

  • cynic2

    “Open your eyes”

    Michael

    I have and when I see the UUP it makes me cringe. The myopic, past-it hangers-on who bemoan the loss of past glories infest the UUP party structures. I often tease it here as the Fermanagh Unionist Party – but that hurts because its true. Any ounce of forward looking thought is squeezed out and those thinking it vilified.

  • cynic2

    “I doubt if their right wing policies will have significant support”

    Well we will see. Perhaps a vision of a non-sectarian centrist party may!

  • Mike the First

    Brian Wilson

    “the extreme right polies of Cameron”

    Oh for God’s sake grow up. This is worthy of little more than student common room posing.

  • OneNI

    To Brian Wilson. Less than two years ago a candidate standing on a Conservative mainfesto closely associated with David Cameron won 20% of the vote!
    Your delight in defeating Tories is evident but what does the Alliance stand for? Who knows. At least the Greens have some integrity. We need left/right politics.

    Shillers. Oh Michael
    “The UUP and Tories can only hope for success together, it’s about time both sides came to terms with that”
    Your Leader not only rejected a deal with Cameron but has now been exposed as duplictiously being involved in trying (along with McNarry, Campbell and Kennedy) of stitiching up a deal with the DUP at the very same time they were continuing to make overtures to the conservatives.

  • Michael Shilliday

    What’s your point? Are you expecting me to disagree with you? Other than to say that the offer he rejected wasn’t really an offer at all, but we all know why it was so disingenuous.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Give them a few years and the party will split into meaningless subgroups:

    Traditional Conservative Party of Northern Ireland
    Democratic Conservative Party of Northern Ireland
    Conservative Democratic Party of Northern Ireland
    Conservative Democratic Party in Northern Ireland
    Ulster Conservative Party
    United Kingdom Democratic Conservative Party of Northern Ireland
    Ulster Conservative Alliance
    Páirtí Coimeádach i dTuaisceart Éireann
    Fine Páirtithe Coimeádach i dTuaisceart Éireann.

    … and they’ll all be saying “they’re against the politics of division”.

  • OneNI

    Michael why was it so disingenuous? honestly I dont know.
    Do you think it was because the Conservatives found out about Elliott’s duplicity?

  • GoldenFleece

    “Let’s be realistic here, a newly formed Northern Irish Conservative movement cannot expect any electoral success just becuase it opens up shop.

    It needs to build a support structure in target areas, select candidates who are electable and prove through hard work that it is not an extension of the South of England.”

    True Blue. Exactly. The NI Cons are going to have to win their seats the old fashioned way, with hard graft on the ground, building of bases etc. There is no quick fixes to electoral sucess. For how long was the DUP in the shadows?

  • GoldenFleece

    “Would I join it? yes I would.

    Why? Because I am sick of the one dimensional sectarian meme that underpins all political discussions here.

    The sham DUP / SF fight at Stormont is just the continuation of war by other means – a vehicle for convincing the sheep that they are fighting their corner against themuns.

    We need to build a future for our children free from this nonsense and the shackles of having to follow the patterns set by their parents, grandparents and so back to 1690 or whatever date suits your political perspectives.”

    Exactly cynic, many people here may be satisifed by the political status quo for themselves, their children and their grandchildren.

    I for one, want a better future for tmy children, better than what we have now.

  • Glory Glory Arsene Wenger

    Ah, the smell of the same old vitriol. How refreshing!

    Bottom line is simple. Conservatives are unionists, not all Ulster Unionists are Conservatives.

    Michael, does seem to me you have enough to be worrying to be getting on with re the dysfunctionality of the UUP rather than what anyone else is up to.

  • plainly speaking

    It seems increasingly obvious that what is now emerging are two threads of unionism – one led by the ‘Democratic Orange Party’ and the other representing genuine non-sectarian, centre-right sentiment. The NI Conservatives have all the credentials to lead this strand and the resources to make a serious impact. The UUP have neither.

  • FuturePhysicist

    … and what of the non-Orange left unionists? or the non-Orange liberals? or the non-Orange far right?

    ‘Plainly speaking’, may I interject as an outside party, the claims the Tories have over the “genuine non-sectarian, centre right, pro-Union” people over the North of Ireland are completely unfounded … it would be the GB equivalent of a UUP member saying the majority of England would vote for UUP politics over Tory politics.

    Thirty years of Enoch Powell envy and no grass-root politics does not a major party make. The conservative party don’t seem to have the logic or humility to work at building a supporter base because they’re too busy judging everyone else.

  • plainly speaking

    … clearly, non-Orange left unionists, non-Orange liberals and non-Orange far right factions will seek a political voice elsewhere (if the rump UUP, Alliance and BNP respectively don’t do it for them).
    Making a pitch to speak for genuine non-sectarian, centre right, pro-union minded people is a legitimate position to present to the electorate.
    The fallacy persists that this is yet another attempt by English Tories to dip a toe into Northern Irish politics. The reality is that NI Conservative activists are local people genuinely seeking to move beyond the politics of the peace process.

  • Drumlins Rock

    A quick question for the “New Tories”, as an active member of the Orange Institution and other Loyal Orders would I be welcome in your new party, free to hold office and put my name forwards as a candidate without any disadvantage or impediment?

  • cynic2

    Drumlins Rock

    There is a range of opinion within the OO on many issues.

    In my view the answer to that should depend on your ability to commit to the values the party espouses including no sectarianism, an inclusive pluralist society and fairness and equality. If you feel that some of those conflict with your OO values then you wont be happy in the party.

  • Comrade Stalin

    plainly speaking :

    (plainly speaking bollocks, more like)

    It seems increasingly obvious that what is now emerging are two threads of unionism – one led by the ‘Democratic Orange Party’

    This comment belies a failure to recognize the general change in politics here. The Orange Order is nothing like as influential as it once was, and it’s about ten years now since Unionism was led by an Orangeman.

    and the other representing genuine non-sectarian, centre-right sentiment.

    Who is that ?

    The NI Conservatives have all the credentials to lead this strand and the resources to make a serious impact. The UUP have neither.

    Exactly what credentials do the NI Conservatives have ? What election victories have they scored so far ?

    … clearly, non-Orange left unionists, non-Orange liberals and non-Orange far right factions will seek a political voice elsewhere (if the rump UUP, Alliance and BNP respectively don’t do it for them).

    What evidence do you have that there is an untapped market for these votes ?

    Making a pitch to speak for genuine non-sectarian, centre right, pro-union minded people is a legitimate position to present to the electorate.

    How many votes are you expecting to attract ?

    The fallacy persists that this is yet another attempt by English Tories to dip a toe into Northern Irish politics.

    Isn’t it ?

    The reality is that NI Conservative activists are local people genuinely seeking to move beyond the politics of the peace process.

    So why align to the UK Tories ?

  • FuturePhysicist

    cynic2 (profile) 1 February 2012 at 7:58 pm
    Drumlins Rock

    There is a range of opinion within the OO on many issues.

    In my view the answer to that should depend on your ability to commit to the values the party espouses including no sectarianism, an inclusive pluralist society and fairness and equality. If you feel that some of those conflict with your OO values then you wont be happy in the party
    —————————————————————————————
    Another question … does pulling out of Fermanagh South Tyrone to ensure a Republican-Nationalist/Loyalist-Unionist head count, count as sectarian?

  • FuturePhysicist

    his comment belies a failure to recognize the general change in politics here. The Orange Order is nothing like as influential as it once was, and it’s about ten years now since Unionism was led by an Orangeman.

    Indeed there was even one jumping to the SDLP and Sinn Féin. Very pluralist.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I wouldn’t call the Orange Order “pluralist”. I don’t think it has changed much itself, at least not in terms of the face it shows to the world (I’ll only believe there is a change when it voluntarily re-routes a couple of key marches); but its influence nothing like what it once was.

    Back to the topic, re-reading the thread above from “plain speaking” and others I’m getting serious deja vu back to the time when UCUNF got set up and all the clueless fanboys came on here to talk about how this cool new thing was going to change politics. When I pointed out the fact that this was all bullshit they said that I was living in fear because Alliance’s days were numbered.

  • New Blue

    Comrade, some of us said how important such change is to the future of Northern Ireland. Some of us also said it would be a slow process, requiring a committment to working FOR the people.

  • plainly speaking

    Comrade:
    The argumentum ad hominem – how very Stalinist of you!
    The OO might have declined numerically, but you wouldn’t think it reading through the profiles of DUP candidates at every election when Orange credentials are prominently displayed in almost every biog. Nothing wrong with that of course, but it’s just never going to attract the voter looking for a candidate who can rise above the sectarian fray.
    It’s blindingly obvious there’s a reservoir of untapped votes when we’re fast approaching the point where half the electorate doesn’t vote – that’s over 500,000 fellow citizens who decided there was no suitable option at the last Assembly election.
    Why not align with the Conservative & Unionist Party? If I believe in political conservatism and I live in the UK, it seems to make sense. Maybe you’re not happy with that, but as you identify yourself with a man whose callous disregard for human life was matched only by his consuming paranoia, we shouldn’t be surprised.

  • Comrade Stalin

    argumentum ad hominem – how very Stalinist of you!

    It is a bit ad hominem alright.

    The OO might have declined numerically, but you wouldn’t think it reading through the profiles of DUP candidates at every election when Orange credentials are prominently displayed in almost every biog. Nothing wrong with that of course, but it’s just never going to attract the voter looking for a candidate who can rise above the sectarian fray.

    I mean, what’s so hilarious about all this crap is, poor wretched creature that you are, you’re blissfully unaware that by putting the word “Unionist” in the title of your party you’re not rising above the sectarian fray; you’re simply putting a tribal marker out there in the hope of attracting Unionist votes.

    Nobody anywhere else in the UK puts the word “Unionist” on the ballot paper except here. You want it on there because you want unionist votes, and because when it comes down to it, you believe that inside every middle class Catholic there’s a unionist struggling to get out.

    So you’ve basically strangled the whole non-sectarian thing at birth.

    It’s blindingly obvious there’s a reservoir of untapped votes when we’re fast approaching the point where half the electorate doesn’t vote – that’s over 500,000 fellow citizens who decided there was no suitable option at the last Assembly election.

    Indeed not. So what is it that you are going to offer which neither the UUP nor Alliance presently offer ?

    Why not align with the Conservative & Unionist Party?

    Um, maybe because they have no base here and have been subjected to two humiliating defeats at the ballot box within the past 15 years ? Or, failing that, perhaps because you might fear that there is a contradiction between being non-tribal and being unionist ?

    If I believe in political conservatism and I live in the UK, it seems to make sense.

    It might make sense to you, but it doesn’t make sense to anyone else, which you will soon painfully discover when you attempt to run for an election and find yourself a participant in the third of a series of serious electoral defeats for a party with the word “Conservative” in the title.

    Maybe you’re not happy with that, but as you identify yourself with a man whose callous disregard for human life was matched only by his consuming paranoia, we shouldn’t be surprised.

    No sense of humour either. Sad.

  • Drumlins Rock

    “In my view the answer to that should depend on your ability to commit to the values the party espouses including no sectarianism, an inclusive pluralist society and fairness and equality. If you feel that some of those conflict with your OO values then you wont be happy in the party.”

    Cynic, I have no problem committing to these value as they are basically the same as those of the Orange Order.

  • GoldenFleece

    “Um, maybe because they have no base here and have been subjected to two humiliating defeats at the ballot box within the past 15 years ? Or, failing that, perhaps because you might fear that there is a contradiction between being non-tribal and being unionist ?”

    ComradeStalin. Wait…so people should only vote and join parties only if they are established and successful.

    That’s an odd concept of democracy.

    FYI, unionism as a concept is not tribal as unionism is about the union of many tribes.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Cynic, I have no problem committing to these value as they are basically the same as those of the Orange Order.

    DR, it would be a hell of a lot easier to accept that if the OO would once in a while act with a bit of civic responsibility and leadership. It could stop the Ardoyne riots at a stroke, for example, and generate a great deal of goodwill in the process – not necessarily from the locals but from wider afield.

  • Comrade Stalin

    ComradeStalin. Wait…so people should only vote and join parties only if they are established and successful.

    That’s an odd concept of democracy.

    No, I was making the prediction that NICUP would fail because it is (a) an imported concept and (b) it is attempting to dress up unionist mutton as lamb.

    FYI, unionism as a concept is not tribal as unionism is about the union of many tribes.

    Ah, so basically you want to redefine what the word “unionist” means and hope that nobody notices. The master plan is starting to come together. I can see that victory is inevitable.

  • GoldenFleece

    “No, I was making the prediction that NICUP would fail because it is (a) an imported concept and (b) it is attempting to dress up unionist mutton as lamb.”

    a) most political idealogies and parties are imported concepts

    b) unionists are for the union, pretty straight forward, Im sure there are some in the Alliance as well.

    “Ah, so basically you want to redefine what the word “unionist” means and hope that nobody notices. The master plan is starting to come together. I can see that victory is inevitable”

    No need to be so antagonistic ComradeStalin, I’m not sure what I have done online here to offend you.

    I’m not redefining anything, unionism is the union of nationalities, check the political dictionary.

    But I think you are confusing the Ulster/British nationalism of “unionist” parties of the past in NI who had no interest in the unity of nationalities with civic unionism that is displayed in Britain.

  • Comrade Stalin

    a) most political idealogies and parties are imported concepts

    Every single political party in the Assembly was started on this island by people who lived here. The Conservative Party was not, neither was the Labour Party.

    This NICUP effort, according to the Tory website, is being operated and directed out of London by an establishment Tory peer. It is an import.

    b) unionists are for the union, pretty straight forward, Im sure there are some in the Alliance as well.

    Unionism is a tribal identity and by using the term you are identifying with it.

    No need to be so antagonistic ComradeStalin, I’m not sure what I have done online here to offend you.

    Bullshit winds me up.

    But I think you are confusing the Ulster/British nationalism of “unionist” parties of the past in NI who had no interest in the unity of nationalities with civic unionism that is displayed in Britain.

    The Tories had no problem with Ulster/British nationalism when they set up an alliance with it and collaborated with it to form a sectarian pact in Fermanagh South Tyrone. I don’t see how I’m the one who is confused.

  • Manfarang

    Comrade
    The Belfast Labour Party founded in 1892 was one of the earliest socialist parties in the UK was not really an import.
    Socialism is now of course almost dead.
    The Conservative and Unionist Party was the name of the Tory party in England until 1965 so in that sense it is an import but think of it as Lord Feldman’s Laugh-In show.
    The (Marty) Feldman show used to end with a man speaking in a mock German accent saying- “very interesting but stupid”.

  • john

    For a party that is going to get next to no votes they are certainly creating a bit of a stir here!

  • OneNI

    ‘New Tories, old Tories, what’s the difference’
    I guess the chief difference is that the cabal that now control the UUP are determined to cut a deal with the DUP – perhaps leaving an opening for the New Tories?

  • b) unionists are for the union, pretty straight forward, Im sure there are some in the Alliance as well.

    Unionism is a tribal identity and by using the term you are identifying with it.

    You are both correct. “Unionist” is both a political stance and a tribal label (ditto for “Nationalist”). I’ve tried to argue that we need new un-loaded terms for such things, but didn’t get much traction. Aren’t we sick of these semantic debates yet?

  • plainly speaking

    Comrade:
    In your world then, no political parties would be formed or reformed because they wouldn’t have a history of electoral success and they wouldn’t have links to other parties? No doubt you planned to vent your spleen over the People Before Profit crowd for having the temerity to put up candidates at the last election without a snowballs chance in hell of winning a seat or for their not so tenuous connection to the Socialist Workers Party.
    This NICUP effort, according to the Tory website, is being operated and directed out of London by an establishment Tory peer.
    Oh this is what is meant by ‘significant autonomy’ – thanks for the clarification.
    It is an import.
    A re-import – if you regard Burke as the philosophical founder of conservatism.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Manfarang:

    The Belfast Labour Party founded in 1892 was one of the earliest socialist parties in the UK was not really an import.

    I didn’t say it was, but given that it is not around it is hardly germane to my point.

    NICUP’s existence reflects the point of view of people who think the UK either is, or should be, homogeneous, when it is in fact heterogeneous. There are many sets of regional identities in this country (which do not necessarily correspond directly with the UK’s internal borders), politics grows out of those. It does not grow out of this wannabe notion that people over here really want to be the same as people over there.

    The Conservative and Unionist Party was the name of the Tory party in England until 1965 so in that sense it is an import but think of it as Lord Feldman’s Laugh-In show.

    In the mainland it is of course still formally called “Unionist” but I never hear this term used in public except on the rare occasions where they are talking about the union. But yes, Feldman is a joke.

    plainly speaking :

    In your world then, no political parties would be formed or reformed because they wouldn’t have a history of electoral success

    No, in my world political parties are derived, ultimately, from the grassroots which is where their electoral success ultimately comes from. I’m reasonably reassured in that point of view, since you haven’t attempted to counter it with anything substantive.

    and they wouldn’t have links to other parties?

    I don’t see how this is relevant, NICUP is not a link with another party, it is part of the Conservative Party. It is directed by a Tory peer from London who reports back Central Office.

    No doubt you planned to vent your spleen over the People Before Profit crowd for having the temerity to put up candidates at the last election without a snowballs chance in hell of winning a seat or for their not so tenuous connection to the Socialist Workers Party.

    Actually, I said precisely that, it’s just the Trots standing again under another name. They even used the same phone number. As with the Tories, the electorate saw through their bullshit, even though they tried rather harder than the Tories did to cover up their imported roots.

    A re-import – if you regard Burke as the philosophical founder of conservatism.

    Is that what you’re planning to say to people on the doorsteps, that you want to help them rediscover their 19th century Whig roots ? I mean what sort of a bullshitter are you ?

    Look, I can’t stop you if you want to ignore reality, but the fact is that the Conservatism professed by the Tory party is alien to voters here. It is far more alien than it is to Scotland, which the Conservatives are apparently actively considering abandoning even though, unlike Northern Ireland, they won millions of votes there and have a considerable number of seats in the Scottish Parliament.

  • Comrade Stalin

    unlike Northern Ireland, they won millions of votes there

    Oops, the Conservatives won a total of about half a million votes in Scotland at the last Scottish parliamentary election. Oops.

    Still, though, it’s a lot better than the last time they ran in their own right in Northern Ireland elections. Every time the Tories ran for a seat here within the past 20 years since Lawrence Kennedy’s last stand in April 1992 they’ve lost their deposit.

  • New Blue

    Comrade

    “but the fact is that the Conservatism professed by the Tory party is alien to voters here”

    Could you please define what this ‘different’ Conservatism professed by the ‘Tory party’ is?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Could you please define what this ‘different’ Conservatism professed by the ‘Tory party’ is?

    That usual odd combination of distinctly South of England culture, established wealth and right wing populism, united by an intense dislike of poor people.

  • New Blue

    Comrade, I’m hoping you are going to be pleasently surprised. As you know me and you know my position on these things, I am sure you will agree that I don’t fit that definition. Any work I do in building this brand will be coming from a very different direction.