Sunday, May 4, 2008

Irish call for pan-Unionist front?

Misleading headline of the week:
Unionists call for Irish pact in parliament

In my ideal world, this is how it would read:
Irish call for Unionist pact in parliament


But I suspect that’s not what Jeffrey and Gregory have in mind here:
Jeffrey Donaldson and Gregory Campbell said that it 'made more sense than ever' for a pan-unionist pact because of the increasing likelihood of a hung or tight parliament following the next general election.

But why not?
Ok, if it really bothers them, drop the "Irish".
But why does such a pan-Unionist pact have to be limited to Ulster?
There are unionist MPS all over the United Kingdom; why not widen horizons and start to develop the pan-Unionist front across all four countries of the Union?

2 comments:

The Aberdonian said...

Hope you are not meaning another Ulster Covenant. That was a disaster.

With reference to my posting concerning the USSR, a situation closer to home was of course Ireland. Irish unionists took up the cause to prevent Ireland becoming an autonomous part of the UK - i.e. devolution. Their activities such as the UVF, the Curragh Mutiny, the Larne Gun Running saga and Bonnar Law's speech about breaking any law got the reverse result than they were looking for.

Instead of keeping Ireland a wholly integral part of the UK the result was that most of the territory of Ireland became an independent state and the part that had taken up arms against devolution, um, er, embraced it for themselves.

Quite a result don't you think?

Anyway considering the unionist parties in Scotland and Wales are the mainstream non-Nationalist parties. There is the Scottish Unionist Party which is heavily linked with the Orange Order, anti-devolution and anti-Catholic schools (their two main policy platforms).

Labour, Lib Dems and even mainstream Tories will not form official pacts with parties linked with the sectarian organisations - Labour has a large Irish-Catholic vote in the western central belt. Supping openly with the Orange Sash crowd will not go down well with its members or indeed some former ministers and indeed senior ministers whose views on Northern Ireland shall we say are not exactly unionist.

John Reid - as pointed in several letters to the Herald at the time of his appointment as Defence Secretary pointed out - has shall we say certain views not conducive to protecting the present integrity of the UK vis a vis NI.

O'Neill said...

Hope you are not meaning another Ulster Covenant. That was a disaster.

In terms of achieving the least worse possible option, I don't think it was a disaster...but no, that's not what I had in mind.

Up to about 5 years ago there was a "Friends of the Union" group at Westminster- not friends of Ulster or friends of the Ulster Unionists, but friends of the Union full-stop.

There are MPs in all three main parties who are confirmed unionists, there's nothing to stop them from working together in certain areas pertaining to the Union. It would be nice to think that Ulster unionists could be proactive within such a group, but given their comparitively low numbers at Westminster, it wouldn't be essential.

Labour, Lib Dems and even mainstream Tories will not form official pacts with parties linked with the sectarian organisations -

I presume you mean here the Orange Order- individual members of the Unionist parties may be a part of the OO but there are no longer any formal links. Also, as I explained above, there doesn't need to be formal pacts.