“So let nobody speak of a progressive or anti-Brexit pact either…”

In Saturday’s Irish News, Newton Emerson with some impertinent points about electoral pacts in the forthcoming General Election on June 8.  From the Irish News

Sinn Féin has ordered the SDLP to stand down, although sadly not to dump arms, in North Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Let nobody call this a nationalist pact, as that would involve reciprocation and Sinn Féin has not offered to stand down anywhere.  Sinn Féin’s stance is doubly impressive when it risks handing an SDLP seat to the DUP by running in South Belfast and keeping a DUP seat from Alliance in East Belfast.  So let nobody speak of a progressive or anti-Brexit pact either.  Meanwhile, the DUP and UUP are standing aside for each other “unilaterally” in two constituencies, which means they do not need to call it a pact.  It is a non-pact pact.

With Alliance now narrowly favoured to win in East Belfast, some interesting arithmetic arises.  Instead  of a majority of seats, unionism could win only a plurality – nine versus nationalism’s eight, with Alliance in the middle.  Furthermore, because North Down unionist Lady Sylvia Hermon is a committed Remainer, this would mean a minority of pro-Brexit MPs from Northern Ireland.  The latter outcome would be particularly devastating for unionism, as the union may depend on some idea of a ‘mandate for Brexit’.  Of course this makes it all the more striking that Sinn Féin will not sacrifice its 2.1 per cent vote share in East Belfast to the cause.  That could be enough to swing the result.

Indeed.

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  • Pete

    Seriously, I really do not see the importance of the views of the Northern Irish MPs on Brexit.

    There are too few Northern Irish MPs to make a difference. Obviously in a close hung parliament scenario, it would matter. But we’re almost certainly going to see a reasonably sized Tory majority.

    Anyway, unionists vary on their support for Brexit. The UUP wanted to remain.

  • Granni Trixie

    No. Surely the UUP reps expressed various positions on brexit?

  • aquifer

    “I really do not see the importance of the views of the Northern Irish MPs on Brexit”

    Think of it as Russian Roulette with a monster revolver with about 50 loaded chambers, and you are given a chance to take one bullet out.

    Is it worth doing?

  • Pete

    I had thought the party was formally in favour of it, but that individual reps were free to decide themselves?

    I could be wrong though.

  • Pete

    Eh, I don’t see it making any difference. The fact is, Brexit is a UK-wide issue, so they won’t overly care about the views of the Northern Irish MPs. I think it could be different in a hung parliament, but with a large Tory majority, they won’t care what the Northern Ireland MPs think.

    It is a shame, but I don’t think Brexit can be stopped.

  • ted hagan

    Heard Mr Emerson on the BBC Radio 4 this morning telling a UK audience how well-paid nurses were as well as advocating charging patients for GP visits in Northern Ireland, as happens down South. . Disappointed.in him.
    Wonder how much he gets paid?

  • aquifer

    I don’t expect that Br-exit can be stopped either, but voting for progressive Remainers makes it more likely that Br-exit is soft, or even reversed in a few years after major political change in the UK. The UK may crash out of the EU hard, because the Tories will not pay the severance payment and because there is no time to negotiate anything more sensible.

    “Progressive” Remainers have to ensure that the blame for the economic distress that follows lands with the Tory right and their local undertakers in this matter, the DUP. An essential part of this is to elect local MPs who are clearly identified as Remainers, ideally without being seen as chronic DUP-baters.

  • ted hagan

    Why pinpoint the Tories? Corbyn and co are going along with the Brexit decision full throttle.

  • ted hagan

    The UUP officially supported Remain but did not impose a whip.

  • aquifer

    Good point, but our inability to elect GB Labour MPs here works for us, as we can vote for progressive Remainers without colluding in Brexit. It will also help any political realignment away from a two party system that Labour is implicated in a Brexit economic collapse.

  • Backbencher

    Could someone please explain what is progressive about Remaining in the dying, disfunctional EU?

  • aquifer

    Unionists used to get their progressive politics on the cheap by remaining in the UK, but that may not work any more.

  • Skibo

    Ted I think you are being a bit harsh on Corbyn. He has to accept the decision of the British people until thy say different. He has said he would negotiate differently and I don’t believe we would have the hard Brexit that Theresa offers.

  • Skibo

    Tom Elliot is a proven Brexiter. Danny Kinihan supported remain.

  • Gavin Crowley

    Free at the point of access is the central flaw of the NHS. It’s insane.

  • Granni Trixie

    It’s democracy – the people have spoken.

  • aquifer

    And what is the point in a party like that?

    Br-exit is hardly a matter of conscience, and is utterly destructive of the Unionist position.

  • Jim M

    That’s Newton’s schtick, unfortunately…while I generally agree with him on constitutional issues he is far to the right economically. In fairness though, was this a response to the whole ‘food bank’ row? While nurses don’t get paid enough, obviously there are many nurses not using food banks and so May’s ‘complex personal circumstances’ line was just stating the obvious…

  • WolfeTone1798

    Surely the 2.1% SF vote and the SDLP cohort in EB should lend their support to Naomi? This, unlike the Assembly, is not an election where the total number of votes cast for each party is of any particular relevance.

  • ted hagan

    I’m not quite sure where Corbyn stands on the future of Brexit because he appears to dodge the subject.

  • ted hagan

    Emerson was on the a ‘what the papers say’ panel and was adding his own views to various news stories, including the food banks issue.

  • Jim M

    If one’s aim was ‘kick out the DUP’ then yes, that would make sense…

  • Jim M

    He’s a long record of taking that kind of position. While I’m not averse to economic realism, I imagine he has never done a health/social care job in his life and has no understanding of how arduous it can be.

  • ted hagan

    Nothing to do with me.

  • Skibo

    Fair point Ted but i believe that Corbyn will be more pragmatic and will want to hold on to access to the free trade area at all costs. perhaps he can work something on free movement. Merkel may do a deal with him quicker than with Theresa. labour have always been more approachable on the EU

  • aquifer

    Possibly with some billionaire’s wrist up their back passage, it seems.

  • Reader

    Skibo: Merkel may do a deal with him quicker than with Theresa.
    The practicalities would take 5 minutes. Merkel writes out a deal and then waits for as long as it takes for Corbyn to accept it, because he has committed to not walking away. There would be no negotiation.

  • Skibo

    Look back at all the votes that were taken in Westminster where Corbyn stood by his principles and time proved he was right. Theresa May has no principles other than protecting the type of people who prop up the Tory party.
    She went into the home office promising to lower emigration into the UK to around 100,000. It didn’t lower, it went up. She put the blame on those around her.
    Now she raises the same figure again. In the six years as Home secretary she could not achieve it, what makes her think she can do it now?
    By the way, Merkel will right out the deal for May also and wait till she accepts i t too.

  • The manifesto would indicate otherwise. The dash for public ownership would be illegal under the terms of the free trade area. The manifesto is premised on hard brexit.

  • Skibo

    The French German and Dutch all have public trains. They are very efficient and supply a service much lower than the British service. They actually have some of the contracts to run the trains in GB.