Thursday, November 4, 2010

Labour, the only "Progressive and Pro-Union" party?

Owen Smith, Labour MP for Pontypridd, lets rip:
No, what is new is that despite the prejudices that may have prevailed in earlier times, the Tory Party still maintained an electoral interest in ‘the Celtic fringe’ and still cast itself as a defender of the constitution, and of the Union. This modern Tory Party has abandoned any such pretention to be a Unionist Party, just as the Liberals have abandoned theirs to be progressive. The only Progressive and Pro-Union Party left standing is Labour and we will continue to fight both for economic justice and constitutional equilibrium in Wales, and throughout our still United Kingdom.
Stirring stuff but still nonsense:

1. The Conservatives have the second highest number of MPs in Wales, does that not qualify as an electoral "interest"?
2. Labour refuses to give proper backing to its supporters and members in Northern Ireland, is that the stance of a truly "Progressive and Pro-Union" party?
3. Labour has ran away from the inherent dysfunctionalities and unfairness of the Devolution experiment- they have not came with even a hint of answer for the West Lothian Question. Their cowardice in this respect has weakened not strengthened the Union.

I could go on...


Toque said...

There's a language barrier between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, which is the fault of the British rather than the Northern Irish. People on the mainland have a different understanding of what the Union and unionism is. Gordon Brown can talk of Britishness and the Union without Northern Ireland ever entering his brain, and I rather suspect that it hasn't even crossed Owen Smith's mind to consider Northern Ireland. Beyond the threat of violence Northern Ireland is extremely peripheral when it comes to British politics.

To be fair this isn't confined only to Labour politicians, when I talk of Britain I don't factor in Northern Ireland either. There was a poll a few years back that showed that the northern Irish are regarded as 'most foreign' by the English, Welsh and Scots alike.

Anyway, on the mainland Left there're a hell of a lot of people who describe themselves as Unionists and would rather that Ireland was united.

Dilettante said...

The only progressive pro-union party left? Nonsense, has the man not heard of the Progressive Unionist Party? ;)

O'Neill said...


"There's a language barrier between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, which is the fault of the British rather than the Northern Irish."

A large part of it is the fault of those N.Irish Unionists who have adopted an "Ourselves Alone" policy for far too long. I don't know if us playing a bigger role in UK-wide politics would change mainland attitudes (and I think, having worked and lived there, it's much more a case of apathy than any latent antipathy)but it would certainly widen attitudes here a lot more and for at least that, it's a target worth pursuing.

Re Labour attitudes: the Labour of my youth are a much different Labour to the party of today. Certainly during the late 80s and early 90s I can remember the ultra-leftists such as Benn, Livingstone and Corbyn and the ethno sect/nats like Clare Short and more than a few of the W.Scottish Labour mob being square full behind the provos.

Today, where are their modern counterparts? Two of the leadership candidates Burnham and the other Miliband were very supportive of the N.Irish branch of their party and it's very difficult to imagine the typical modern-day Lab apparachnik standing behind the modern-day provos the way their predecessors disgracefully did.


Yep, good one;)