Thursday, February 26, 2009

Watch out Donegal, here come the Tories. And Unionists.

The Ulster Unionist party's ruling executive is due to meet to give its verdict on proposals for a partnership with the Conservative Party.

The most difficult issue has been which name the new grouping will take, as most assembly members opposed Tory plans to drop the word "Ulster".

It is understood the new name will be the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists but the word "party" will not appear.

A joint committee from the two parties has finalised the proposals.

Ulster is a 9 county province and unless the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists are intending to start organising in Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan, then the proposed new name is a geo-political inaccuracy.
However........if that's what it takes to finally get the show properly on the road, then fair enough.
Still, The Northern Ireland Conservative and Unionist Party has, for me anyway, a much more modern and, dare I say, inclusive ring about it.



Reactions also from Ignited and Chekov.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

From the Tory perspective, Ulster Unionist have to admit that the Orange brand has suffered, post Glenburn and post Drumcree. We have what, in sensible countries, is know as a 'toxic brand' - a brand name associated with negatives by the public at large. Name reorientation and re packaging would be effective tools in helping to offload the stigma.The Brand Israel initiative offers useful precedence.

From the UU perspective, I fear certain eloement's reasoning may go no deeper than "auch sure we are Ulster Unionists and if no one likes us, we don't care. Now lets go and march up and down the road and bang drums so everyone knows it, hi boy." in other words a sub-elementary understanding of what constitutes purpose and the bumpkin like reasoning that outward appearance and purpose must be synonymous.

Timothy Belmont said...

I imagine it would have been a bridge too far, to simply merge with the existent NI Conservatives; so the title would have been similar to the Scottish Conservatives. It wouldn't have been saleable to the UUP membership and would, perhaps, have smacked of being a takeover rather than a merger!

BTW, I'll be glued to the telly tonight for homage to the Great Lady.

Tim

fair_deal said...

I thought it had the ring of a decent compromise. Ulster gets kept and is resonant of the other regional brandings of the conservatives elsewhere in the UK.

Northern Ireland is not free from the charge of geographical inaccuracy either. Hello Malin Head in Donegal or all of Donegal for that matter depending on how broadly you sih to define northern.

You'll also be aware Ulster is a half-Celtic and half-Germanic in its origins, suitably inclusive ;)

Rory said...

Well if Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan were included in N.I elections, it would spell trouble for unionists of all shades!

O'Neill said...

FD you're mixing up your small and your big "n"s! More seriously, using Northern Ireland would have kept the regional branding as well as Ulster. It's not of crucial importance, but perhaps just makes the overall package a slightly harder sell.

fair_deal said...

I think the inclusion of 'New Force' is made it the harder sell.

fair_deal said...

It seems the situation is even more confusing with two names agreed - a long name and campaigning name.

A comment from the Editor on the ConservativesNI website answering a commentor who wanted clarification of the name:

"Mark it has been agreed that the long name is the one that will be registered with the Electoral office but that the short form (campaigning) name will be simply Conservatives and Unionists. So that’s the name that will appear in all election materials, posters etc. The media has latched on to the long form of the name but it will rarely if ever be used."

O'Neill said...

It seems a bit of clarification is needed here...

http://redemptionsson.blogspot.com/2009/02/ni-tories-are-setting-unnecessary-fires.html

Mr Ulster said...

I like your point about 9-county Ulster. Two comments:

1. Ulster Historical Foundation. When I was interviewed for the post, I asked whether UHF was a nefarious paramilitary organisation... no, no, what an unfortunate acronym! No, what I really asked was whether it covered the 9 counties or just NI. Answer: started as the later, updated to the former, and evidenced by collaboration with genealogy research centres in the wider province. (And this perspective proves useful in all its work, and home and abroad.)

2. For me, if "Ulster" Unionists want to truly be a "new force", then they should develop their links with organisations in the wider province. This need not be with formal political parties, but they do need to be demonstrated.

Likewise, while I'm happy for the UUP and Conservatives to sort out/update their historical relationship, I still feel a bit underwhelmed.

Croydonian said...

Stranger things have been known. The sadly missed Connor Cruise O'Brien made /serious/ preparations to run as a Conservative and Unionist candidate in Cork (I *think* - I cannot lay hands on the reference, but it was deep in the Republic, not a border area) in the 80s or 90s, and only withdrew on grounds of ill-health or somesuch. He wrote about it in The Spectator, and noted he was getting a positive response on the doorstep to his initial canvassing.

O'Neill said...

Croydonian

Cruise O'Brien was exactly the kind of (in a positive way) maverick that I was talking about Unionism needing to accomodate.

Croydonian said...

O'Neill - I believe we are on the same page.

Anonymous said...

The sadly missed Connor Cruise O'Brien made /serious/ preparations to run as a Conservative and Unionist candidate in Cork (I *think* - I cannot lay hands on the reference, but it was deep in the Republic, not a border area) in the 80s or 90s, and only withdrew on grounds of ill-health or somesuch. He wrote about it in The Spectator, and noted he was getting a positive response on the doorstep to his initial canvassing.

1. It was Stan Gebler Davies.
2. It was Cork South West in the 1987 election.
3. He got 136 votes out of 33,000.
4. A Unionist candidate stood in the Dublin North by-election in 1998.
5. He got 107 votes out of 33,000.
6. If Unionists wish to waste resources testing the belief that the inhabitants of the Republic are really British, by all means go ahead - it will provide endless amusement.

O'Neill said...

If Unionists wish to waste resources testing the belief that the inhabitants of the Republic are really British, by all means go ahead - it will provide endless amusement.

The original suggestion was tongue in cheek, I think it's highly unlikely to happen, as Fianna Fail's tactical retreat from Northern Irish politics implies cross-national parties very rarely are successful in Western Europe. But I'm interested in the last part of your statement which seems to suggest that you believe it's impossible to be both Irish and British, am I reading your correctly there.