Robinson and the DUP’s anti power sharing past: revision or transformation?

It was only in seeing Peter Robinson on Hearts and Minds that I realised how little he’s been in public evidence recently. There seems to be a principle here that like the Queen, the less you see of him the greater the impact when he does speak. For my money not enough of the 18 minutes of his very last Hearts and Minds interview was devoted to the party’s relationship with the past. And in particular his recently expressed view …

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Sinn Fein’s idea of rapprochement “is a brick-cold exercise in reinvention, re-positioning and re-writing of the past”

Alex Kane has a very spirited piece on Eamonn’s site this evening. Let’s just say he’s rather unimpressed with nationalism’s idea of outreach on the subject of politically unifying the two parts of an island sundered with partition. His core challenge to the lack of thinking within nationalism is here: We are not talking about the reunification of East and West Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This would involve the coming together of two countries on the …

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For Unionists Only: What would you relish in a United Ireland?

Okay, so we’ve heard from Nationalists what they value about the United Kingdom. This thread is solely for unionists. Nationalist and unaligned commenters should bite their lips, and hould yer whist! This is a collective thought experiment suggested by Wendy Austin on Twitter a few days back. So try to stick to the task at hand, which is: what would you value in a united Ireland? No conditions, buts or erms. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has …

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Robinson: “Only those who can adapt to changing circumstances remain standing”

The following is the body of a speech given this evening in Dublin by Northern Ireland’s First Minister and leader of the DUP, Peter Robinson… The Edward Carson Lecture, “Reflections on Irish Unionism” in Iveagh House in Dublin… Though a statue of Lord Carson takes pride of place in front of Parliament Buildings at Stormont, a Northern Ireland Parliament was an institution he had not sought. Though he did so much for unionism and Northern Ireland, he regarded the failure …

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How ‘conservative’ Unionism lost its footing in Scotland?

Graham Walker’s been reading beyond the reported remarks of Reg Empey in the Lords recently: Indeed, the part of his comments given less attention concerned the need for Unionists to get the ‘tone’ of their contributions right, and to avoid appearing to ‘bully’ or ‘hector’ the Scots. Amen to that. And, yes, people in Northern Ireland should certainly concern themselves with the Scottish issue and its broader effects on the UK as a whole. It behoves pro-Union political players in …

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The UK comprises four nations not two and its history is a lot more complicated than many seem to appreciate

Nice piece from David Torrence at the Steamie (H/T Phil) Is any of this important? I think it is, not only because the history of any state is important, but also because the story of the United Kingdom gave rise to much of the political terminology we still use today. For example the term “Unionist”, in party political terms, refers not to those wishing to preserve the Union between Scotland and England, but those who want to retain the Union …

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Unionist unity is a debate worth having rather than a ‘fate accompli’…

Nope, not Scottish Unionism. Lee Reynolds writes in the News Letter this morning laying out some keen, existential reasons for at least considering some form of Unionist unity: As we look forward to the centenary of Northern Ireland in 2021, would focusing our efforts on these challenges and changes not produce greater benefits for the Union and unionism than finding arguments for the sake of them? Unionist unity could be an opportunity to create something new and better. This is …

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UUP must get over its permanent identity crisis…

Alex Kane’s column from the News Letter today in which he tells the UUP (and the Tories) more than a few uncomfortable truths: Putting it bluntly, the UUP needs a convincing answer to one simple question: what is the point in voting for the UUP rather than the DUP? If they don’t have a convincing answer to that question then the DUP vote will remain steady, non-voters won’t be attracted and some of the UUP’s own voters may choose to …

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Unionist cause in Scotland should fight from a position of strength

Grasping defeat? The Unionist cause in Scotland fighting an independence referendum campaign should be doing so from a position of inherent strength.  Support for the Union has consistently outpolled support for independence.  In more recent years any spikes in the support for independence have been just that, unsustained for any significant period of time.  Also the natural conservatism of voters about change is on Unionism’s side. So that’s that then we can all go home? Regrettably, no.  These two factors …

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Unionists too distanced from the future of the Union debate?

One of the reasons I argued that making the proposed marriage between the Conservatives and the Ulster Unionists would work well for both parties was that it would shore up Cameron’s party colleague’s woeful lack of understanding of the constitution of their own country. Something at Reg Empey shows a residual grasp of: “I feel that there is a real danger of the UK sleepwalking itself into a major constitutional crisis unless there is a proper and open debate on …

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Unionist relations with Nationalists: “They don’t have to love us, but…”

Alex Kane argues that whilst (if we are to believe the latest NILT survey) Sinn Fein’s pitch for united Ireland is firmly in the top level percentile of the population’s 80% of optimists (this disunited kingdom is likely to remain united for some time to come), Unionist should not get complacent over their own latent forms of optimism… The next decade is littered with all sorts of anniversaries for unionism, starting next year with the centenary of the 1912 covenant …

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Robinson: we are prepared to invest in the future

Yesterday in New York Peter Robinson spoke at a lunch time seminar at the National Committee on American Foreign Policy. He remembers his friend 23 year old Harry Beggs, who died on 25 August 1971, in an IRA bomb attack on the Electricity Board’s headquarters. He notes, “the murder made me angry, left me wanting retribution and very bitter. Over the years, as the grey hairs formed, I have observed from life that bitterness consumes the vessel that contains it …

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Danny Morrison interviews David Ervine

This is a conversation between two men who both share a very direct style of communication. It’s interesting too because it represents countless other conversations that have abounded since the Belfast Agreement. He talks about the proposed exclusion of Sinn Fein from the Executive “When I view the potential for January I’’m saying to myself, ‘”what is it Trimble wants”? How many hoops have people to jump through?’ What I am clear on is what the Republican Movement and loyalists need …

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Unionist backroom

Public insults are part of the stock in trade of all NI political parties, with the possible exception of the SDLP the Alliance party, and the Women’s Coalition. Steven King’s extraordinary headline in last night’s Belfast Telegraph, Scumbaggery feeling squeeze, should be read within that context. In fact the message within the article is much more outreaching than the headline implies. He quotes from a recent book by Henry Patterson, to warn Unionists of the dangers of ‘hoping that the …

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Adams: let’s hear it for the Union

Gerry Adams calls for dialogue on the advantages of the Union. It’s hard to gauge how well such a proposal has gone down with Unionists themselves, though some have suggested that this is part of a ‘good cop – bad cop’ strategy, with Adams being good and others playing it tough. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and …

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