A Tory landslide may prove bitter-sweet for Unionists

On the eve of what has been a disastrous Westminster election campaign for the Tories it seems that the Conservatives are set to be returned as the main political party in Britain once again.

The election here in the north has been somewhat dull, certainly in comparison to the Assembly poll in March  so hopefully we will have some dramatic results in the wee small hours of Friday morning to make up for that.

By the weekend the DUP should emerge as the largest party, in terms of seats if not votes, starting this campaign with 7 relatively safe seats.

The Unionist parties here will no doubt want to see Theresa May returned as PM but a comfortable majority for the Conservatives will probably lead to a significantly worse outcome for them come the subsequent General Election.

If the Tories are returned with a landslide the planned reduction from 18 to 17 seats here in the north should proceed without hindrance. It would be set in stone late next year when the Boundary Commission concludes its work.

The Tories will be keen to proceed with the changes to better their own political outlook and unionist protests here will be ignored if there is a landslide that washes away unionist leverage.

Faha has already looked at the proposed constituencies in detail here and notes the fact that large unionist constituencies in the east will have to expand significantly because they are already below the average quota.

All in all it points to a changed landscape in which the majority of MPs being returned (based on recent results) will be nationalist / republican and the number of clearly safe Unionist seats will drop from 10 to 7. Bar unionist electoral pacts the number of nationalist / republican seats should rise from 7 to 9 and the Alliance Party should gain the new seat of Belfast South East.

Such an outcome within the next 5 years could coincide with the centenary of partition and would confirm a significant political change in the north that we first got a glimpse of on 2nd March.

A Tory victory on Friday would be well received by Unionists. But in the longer term it may prove bitter-sweet.

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  • nilehenri

    why don’t i? because it’s not my political philosophy that’s falling apart in front our eyes.

  • Obelisk

    Are you sure Unionism can win every single time on the matter of the Union?

    Unionism must always win. Nationalism can regroup and try again later. At some point the circumstances will be in our favour and that will that.

    Time is on our side. And perpetual Tory government will help focus minds.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Seriously, I’d imagine they’d create their own Northern League and barter influence in the Dáil, but far less effectively than they would have down in a 1914 Home Rule parliament, which they could have tilted easily, had they not become so fanatical about partition instead. But regarding “re-partition”, where to? Rathlain? No that song’s over with the 50+1% coming into play, just as Home Rule in its 1914 form died with partition.

    And if one strips off all the crusting of one-idea ideologies of the last century, and simply looks at politics as the usual political interests (as in most other countries) then it is compelling to see the UUP entirely merged with Fine Gael, and the bitterness of FF’s approach to Sinn Féin offers some very interesting community of interest possibilities, not to mention a common generality of values. Poor T.E. is of course wrong, as for most career politicians even within hard core Unionism there is a growing “sauve-qui-peut” atmosphere as the notion that re-unification is decades away withers. The unspoken thing (of course) is a few “special conditions” for to secure their political futures. The people fighting in the last ditch for the Union will be few and far between, and will have t pay for their hobby themselves, without the strong funding soured which underpinned PIRA.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    “And that will be that” Any ideas of what year that will be ?

  • Obelisk

    Before the second centenary. So make the most out of your parties for the first one. There won’t be a repeat.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Ffs stop trying to depress me and am staying up all night to watch the results and have the champers in the ice bucket ready to unpop call round if you want a glass ? Same stuff I used when they said my wee football team would win FA this season ! We done the Irish League Football Treble !

  • Obelisk

    Sadly I have work tomorrow but thank you for the offer.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    T.E., “republican mobs coming down the street to burn us out of our houses”? Where did that come from? I have family on the south Armagh border and in south Fermanagh who rode out even the Troubles with no such terrors shadowing their doors.

    As with Unionisms odd and irrational Pogrom fears in 1911-14, this is highly unlikely. It was the Unionist tradition in the north east to riot and drive out Catholics, a pattern repeated in 1969, not the other way round, as endless historical sources attest. Of course the ‘ra reacted to the Unionist mobs of the Belfast Pogroms of 1920-22 by burning out the big houses in the south in retaliation, but even in “Rebel Cork” most Protestants were untouched. I discussed this once with the late Peter Hart, and agree with some of his points, but even he saw what occurred as a developing pattern set in motion by the BElfast Pogroms. Nothing like the Belfast Pogroms, as an act of “themuns”, actually occurred in the other provinces in any meaningful way. So don’t waste your money on political disaster insurance.

  • whatif1984true

    You hit the nail on the head “The foundation of this place” created 2 tribes politically. Time, education and the changes brought about by the Civil Rights movement will all help the 2 tribes disengage, assuming the DUP/SF weaken their rhetoric.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    That’s their culture, not their politics T.E. I have cousins in south Dublin, “survivors” of being ditched by their fellow Unionist in the north, who are as British as the Home Counties boyos still. Mind you, they are all “Paddy” the moment they step of the Heathrow shuttle….. but their Unionist ancestors were just as much “Paddy”, remember at all those English jokes about poor Colonel Eddie Saunderson’s speeches in the commons in the 1880s.

  • whatif1984true

    I meant to upvote you. LOL.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    How do you know Seaan ? I was their on the coal Lorries evacuating people ? And fighting like FK for survival ! Where were you ? Having a party up at the Students Union !

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Sit in the road until what happens, T.E.? The British create a tiny reservation in south Antrim and north Down? Or squeeze everyone still holding out unto Rathlin or the Copelands? Or what? Political Unionism is dead in the water, and has no real future. They have a culture they can reconfigure to build their place in an Ireland which Westminster simply cannot wait to offload them onto. Our people had their own identity before 1914 and will have still be themselves after re-unification of the Island. The British thing was just an alliance for contingent ends, we weren’t like the people over the Irish sea a century ago and we aren’t at all like them now. It is what this core identity will mean, and how it will develop in the changing situation which is the important thing, not these temporary labels or last ditch hyperbolies. Come on now, are you not secretly looking forward to finding out what the dissenter tradition of the north-east will cough out into a future Dáil?

  • nilehenri

    strictly speaking that would be suicide.

  • Neonlights

    I imagine that the Conservatives increasingly regard Northern Ireland as a parochial backwater, devoid of any real interest for them, and merely an unwelcome financial burden. Whilst there more readily Pro Union line is uttered in public, it contrasts entirely with the private feeling toward the province. In contrast, Labour are something more of the opposite. In any case, the failure to do anything but collapse the Local Assembly will ensure the standing of the province is only lowered further, which will in turn increase economic hardship for its population. Woe and misery all round.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The important thing is to note how the events of 1969 developed. Unionism started the burnings and drivings out and as with the 1912 recourse to arms, others picked up the tune and took it further. The same thing happened a little in the 1920s when Unionism destroyed the old IPP constitutionalist base with the Pogroms, and helped build up the IRA. In 1969, I know, there was a much bigger reaction to what the Unionist mobs started.

    No, personally I was not partying but I was in nice middle class leafy east Belfast enraged that my wider family thought that working class Unionist mobs “teaching the Catholics their place” alongside a few out of control Specials was ever going to work in a NI grown flaccid in the easy world its automatic Unionist majorities. There was a real, solid opportunity for cross community thinking and normal politics just prior to then, with the growth of Labour in the early 1960s, but Unionism aborted that and strengthened the polarised politics we enjoy today.

    But without Unionism’s own recklessly inceptive moves, the idea that the Protestants of the north were ever going to be open (in King James II’s memorable sarcasm) “for another ’41, Gentlemen” has always been a myth.

  • james

    His ‘John the Baptist’ role??

    But I thought honest Tony was the second coming…..

    So a### about face as usual for the Left, then.

  • james

    Hey, i think you forgot to insert the phrase ‘pavlovian response’ into this post.

    You’re slipping 🙂

  • Skibo

    If labour voters were lost from New labour to Tory, they were never true labour in the first place, just Tories blinded by the bluff of Tony Blair.

  • Skibo

    Are you serious? Security and defence of the Nation? The wars that the UK has fought so far on the behest of oil driven USA have done more to effect the security and the defence of the nation.
    Who would you rather have with their finger on the big red button, someone who is prepared to action a first strike or someone who believes it is the last option after all else has been tried?

  • Skibo

    Mr Corbyn was ahead of his time. The Tories only talked to the IRA behind closed doors and denied it.

  • Skibo

    If you are toasting John F winning ND, I would love to be there to see that. Fingers, toes and anything else i can cross will be crossed.

  • GS

    They’re goosed

  • Lex.Butler

    They don’t vote and eventually emigrate.

  • John Collins

    Brian
    Whether NI stays in UK, which it will for many years anyway, or whether it eventually joins a UI, are points for discussion. However re partition will never happen. It is not even mentioned in the GFA and has been a disaster first time round.

  • grumpy oul man

    James your sounding very like a certain troll called jollyraj.
    And i know you would like us to pretend that the UDA isn’t killing people whilst working closely with the DUP, which of course makes everybody who votes for the DUP, voying for a party that is inextricably linked to terrorism.
    I know you would ( seems like a unionist trend)perfer to talk about what happenned 20/30 years ago instead of what is happening and you would rather make wild claims about SF and run away when asked to prove any of them.
    But im sorry nationlists arn’t playing.
    While people like yourself, runnymede and of course MU want to pretend that both unionism terrorist past and present dont exist and use dead cat politics you simply wont be allowed.
    By the way the “Pavlovian response” fitted jollyraj so well, the man rarely read a post before he responded so much so i had to put “read this twice” at the bottom of every post.

  • John Collins

    How do any of us KNOW what our grandchildren be or will there be a World worth living in by then?

  • grumpy oul man

    When did this mob thing happen.
    I wonder was it round the same ime a unionist mob burnt me out of my home.
    Was your accompanied by armed B Specail and a RUC armoured vehicle.
    TE nobdy is going to burn you out. We have no intention of turning the new UI into NI 2.0.

  • grumpy oul man

    Fighting for surival. BS.
    I remember unionists burning farrington and valsheda park then but what other house burnings were there.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    But surely Snarlene deserves more kicking yet? She hasn’t really changed any of the words in her tunes.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    ‘Bourach” would have been even better – and Gaelic too.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    “In charge” – you mean “creating”.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Rubbish – they’ll still be Irish. But not Ukanian any more. Robert Musil would applaud.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    In Scotland we have more than ‘a fistful’ of Nationalist MP’s. The Scottish National Party have the vast majority of Scottish MP’s and will have still after these elections. Independence is a certainty within the next (to be wildly pessimistic) ten years. Latest polls show that if the tories win the election two thirds of Scots will support independence.

    NI similarly will have a majority Nationalist vote within ten years, and a border poll which they will win.

    The UK will cease to exist, and become merely ‘England and Wales” – although maybe by then even the Welsh will have had enough!

  • hgreen

    He met loyalists as well, as I’ve pointed out to you before.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    One of many things you can say in Slugger’s favour.

  • Sure but that won’t some from asking for it. Unless (and I wouldn’t rule it out) the UK parties makes it very clear they will not take a small rump back into the UK.

  • TheHorse

    No different than British elections then Madra. What policies has Theresa May promoted other than keep themuns (labour) out at all costs and give the Tories a blank cheque to take any action that they believe will make the City great again.

    How is it sectarian to oppose either a United Ireland or to promote a United Ireland and that would obviously include rallying around and supporting parties that share your political beliefs.

  • Madra Uisce

    Catch yourself on the civil rights changes were over 40 years ago. Today the sectarian electors will come out in record numbers to vote for the bigots. Normal politics will only take hold when this place is consigned to the dustbin of history

  • Madra Uisce

    Its plenty different. IN britian there is a chance of convincing people to vote for either of the main parties and hence change the govt. In NI the vast majority put their x beside a flag without a thought for policies. This election is not going to change the constitutional position of NI any more than every other election.

  • Madra Uisce

    Really? Loyalists have no history of fighting anyone with the ability to shoot back as they specialised in murdering unarmed civilians and besides the loyalist terrorists are too busy dealing drugs to working class protestant kids.

  • Georfe Jungle

    I agree, N Ireland politicians should be lobbying Dublin NOW for 5 Billion a year say for starters to take the burden of The UK.

    This figure can be ramped up over x no. of years

  • whatif1984true

    We never needed IRA or SF is the point and SF just stopped killing us and little else since. DUp and UVF/UDA/LVF etc. are the same.
    Hope is with us.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    I think that Dissenter tradition has declared its hand at the ballot box today – They are British Unionists !

  • SeaanUiNeill

    But what does it actually mean in the real world, T.E.? Ten MPs with little publicly outside of the dreary old constitutional issue in their heads, now in a position to help a lame duck PM remain in office for a few months? Early this morning at the end of Radio 4’s Election 2017 Special, a commentator accused Teresa of lacking the skill sets to govern. How much truer is this of the DUP who we have sent to Westminster to tell the world that Unionism effectively means a rejection of the values of virtually everyone else in the UK except the most flakey of neo-Victorean cranks, literalist evangelicals and British Israelites.

    With every respect, that is not the “dissenter tradition” which blazed Democratic demands and equality for all in the Great Volunteer conventions of the 1780s, and which made the north the very torch of Irish Liberalism (which is after all what “Dissent” was all about for three centuries) for a full century, until the 1880s, and the alliance of Presbyterians with the Landlords to ensure an inequitable treatment of our Catholic fellow citizens. The “Me First” mentality which this mendacious alliance fostered on a previously generous tradition has brought us all to this highly polarised situation, which was always gong to be a zero sum game in a world where 50+1% is an inevitability which will utterly alter its terms.

    Just one last thought. This result is still the product of the effective “gerrymandering” of our current irregular electoral areas which favour a higher Unionist vote. Teresa’s gamble over the water was to get the maximum advantage of the old boundaries over there before the new constituency boundaries of 2018 Review come into play, and ensure a more balanced result all round. So any suggestion of meaning here must take into account the entirely contingent nature of this vote. Remember Pyrrhus of Epirus’s concerns at his own victories in Italy………

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Me, too, T.E. the coffee still dripping in my coffee maker at 5.00 am. But despite the 10/7/1 result, its still just Unionism awaiting a real life version of R.C. Sheriff’s “Journey’s End” which dramatised the Great German “Kaiserschlacht” Offensive of 1918 destroying a small group of British soldiers holding a front line position at Saint-Quentin.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey%27s_End

    My grandfather (who was gassed and captured in the advance) used to (darkly) joke about the NI of the 1950s being stuck in that redoubt.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Did he meet anyone from UUP? It was the main party negotiating for unionism in the period he claims to have been involved in reaching out to the other side. We know Republicans love to big up Loyalists as they like to present them as typical unionists – and I’m sure Corbyn is no exception. But Loyalists get very few unionist votes. What Corbyn et al have never wanted to deal with is unionism’s elected representatives. Talking to paramilitaries in lieu of talking to our elected representatives is a snub not lost on ordinary unionists.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You’re confusing talking to people on your own side – which Corbyn was doing, as ever – with talking to your adversaries, which the government was quite rightly doing.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I wouldn’t put the red button in the control of Corbyn, that’s for sure. It gives up our independent nuclear deterrent and makes us dependent on Trump’s US for our nuclear security. No thank you.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    But Labour came nowhere near winning, despite outperforming expectations. Reality is they need to win over more people who vote Tory if they want to be in government next time.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Can you explain? Not sure what you think my political philosophy is …

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Yes I was forgetting his central role in masterminding and delivering the GFA, he was all over it was Corbyn. Really the dominant figure of 90s Northern Ireland politics 😉

  • nilehenri

    i couldn’t give a toss what it is. you asked why i don’t input to the discussion. i answered that unionism crumbling into a dusty heap suits me right down to the ground.

  • nilehenri

    chortle. no man is an island.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Tell that to Thomas Mann. Old Cooper Clarke gag I think.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    you’re seeing unionism crumbling … did you see what happened in Scotland, or indeed N Ireland, in this election?

    My comment was just flagging up the irony of someone talking of unionists’ “best interests” being served by N Ireland leaving the UK then berating others for not offering something new to the discussion. Old shibboleths exist in nationalism too, not just unionism.

  • nilehenri

    yeah, i saw scotland come to a more coherent position as regards it’s political make-up, everyone knew the snp map wasn’t going to last forever. now is the time for informed and equal conversation. however scotland decides is fine by me, it’s not my horse race.
    as regards the north, i saw an ever decreasing pool of voters rally around their last few men who jettisoned any pretence of sensible unionism by completely obliterating the uup and temporarily sidelining alliance.
    nb is john’s for the taking next time round, and sb won’t stomach dup for long. sf went up three seats, and i believe the vote share was up in every constituency.
    the dup are being fed a line by the tories, promising things which aren’t within their power to gift. and the followers have already published their wish lists full of demands for having supported them, just how long do you think it will be before the house of cards comes falling down?
    as for ‘us’ offering something new, everytime an outreach is made it is rebuffed, belittled or patronised. for the ‘other’ side that means meaningful engagement or the ghettos.