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A forum to discuss new ideas and perspectives on Unionism…

A Union For All – it’s time to repeal the Act of Settlement and separate Church and State

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The US Supreme Court began its new term recently with consideration of an interesting case – Salazar v. Buono – that goes to the heart of separation of church and state in the United States of America.

In 1934, the US Veterans of Foreign Wars erected a Christian cross on public land in the Mojave National Preserve near San Bernadino, California. The cross became a gathering place for local Christians who have celebrated Easter services there since the mid-thirties. Now this was on publicly-owned land – and the US Constitution stipulates strict separation of church and state. A decade ago, a request to build a Buddhist shrine near the location of the cross was denied by the National Parks Service.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Review of Tom Gallagher’s ‘The Illusion of Freedom – Scotland Under Nationalism’.

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Tom Gallagher is not by temperament or inclination a unionist. His book, ‘The Illusion of Freedom’, questions the effectiveness of the SNP’s leadership of Scottish nationalism, but does not reject, explicitly, the legitimacy of the party’s aim of independence.

The author is critical of the personality cult surrounding Alex Salmond, his party’s cronyism and clientelism, its confused economic policies, the Anglophobia associated with its chauvinist doctrines, but Gallagher treats as axiomatic the assumption that Scotland, as a nation, must enjoy a high degree of political self-expression in order to flourish.

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Filed under: Scottish independence

Independent Scotland: not ‘if’, but ‘when’…

Open Unionism invited leading Scottish blogger Scots Subrosa to reprise a recent post on own her site where she considered the issue of Scottish independence – and she warns that supporters of independence ‘will not be intimidated by unionist scaremongering’… (this post will be counterpointed later with a review of Tony Gallagher’s book ‘The Illusion of Freedom’)

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By Subrosa

This is part of a post I wrote for my own blog recently and I thought it may be of interest to those who wonder about Scotland and its future.

Often I am asked my opinion about independence for Scotland, be it ‘if it will happen’ or ‘when it will happen’.

My answer is yes it will happen and I live in the hope it will happen in my lifetime, assuming I live another 20 years.

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Filed under: Scottish independence

Guest Blog 3: UUP are a ‘sell out’… but in a good way

By Harry HamiltonProspective UUP general election candidate

It’s funny how humour can make a point in one sentence that it would normally take a hundred words to convey.

UUP South Belfast member Bill White made a very acute observation on Saturday at the UUP party conference. He joked that the UUP were a “sell out”… in reference to how the Party can more than fill out set piece events. In truth it was standing room only – you’ve got to leave for these things earlier and earlier nowadays if you want to be assured of getting a seat.

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Filed under: UUP conference

The treatment of the BNP – a macrocosm of NI…?

The following looks into the commonalities between the nationalism of the BNP and Sinn Fein – specifically the shared rhetoric of disadvantage as a tactic to create support. The blogger also considers the reaction of mainstream politics and how a more progressive approach could be the best tactic…

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By St Etienne

Last week, the far right appeared on a national platform for the first time.  The BBC has been widely criticised for being both too soft in allowing Nick Griffin on the the 1st instance, and for allowing the format of the programme to be tweaked to allow a ‘witch hunt’ to develop. Critics say that the result of both helps the BNP win support amongst the politically disaffected in this country.

The BNP espouses a nationalism that has been successfully white-labelled (no pun intended) and rebranded across many European regions.  Similar ethnicity-based policies can be found closer to home – in the guise of the current leaders of Irish nationalism in NI, Sinn Fein.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Guest Blog 2: UUP Conference – all in all, a good day’s work…

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By Councillor Stephen Nicholl

A few weeks ago I was listening to William Hague at the Conservative conference and on Saturday I had the opportunity to listen to him again at the Ulster Unionist Party conference. A seasoned performer Hague perhaps took on the leadership too early in his career but he will provide the backbone of Conservative Governments for many years. His attendance on Saturday continued the process of developing the partnership between the Conservatives and Ulster Unionists despite the attempts of other parties to introduce friction.

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Filed under: UUP conference

McGimpsey’s Brother Attacks UUP-Tory Pact

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Four Ulster Unionists, including Health Minister Michael McGimpsey’s brother Chris, have written to Reg Empey opposing the UUP’s link up with the Tory Party. The four accuse Reg of a lack of vision in seeking a short-term fix to the party’s problems.

Whilst none of the 4 are in themselves big hitters, it is undeniably embarrassing for the Health Minister that his brother is among the critics of the parties direction.  Especially since anyone who knows anything about Michael McGimpsey’s political background will know that he is no Tory.  Are his brother Chris’s views representative of his own?  Did Michael have foreknowledge of his brother’s party conference day attack on the party leader?

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , ,

Unionists unite for ‘Ulster Covenant’ commemorations…

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Anyone remember Dr Ian Adamson (former MLA & presently Belfast City councillor)?

Ian took to the stage at about 3 o’clock on Saturday to talk about something called the ‘Grand Centenary Committee’. This committee, in the words of Ian Adamson, will ‘promote the ideals of unionist unity’.

Great – so what is it?

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Filed under: grand centenary committee, unionist unity?, UUP

Basil McCrea’s speech on education…

Caitríona Ruane has forced our education system into utter chaos. Children, parents and teachers have been placed in a ridiculous circumstances that no decent, properly functioning government should ever have forced upon them.

The pressure to teach to the curriculum, the pressure to prepare children for multiple tests and the pressure of not knowing how the transfer process will pan-out is immense.  All of us in politics owe an apology to children, parents and teachers.  Some of us have tried our best in the Assembly to end the chaos.

The Minister of Education, however, isn’t listening.

The Minister doesn’t want to listen.

The Minister’s right, everyone else is wrong.

The Minister has no interest in partnership or powersharing – just in her own private ideological crusade.

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Filed under: UUP conference

Sir Reg Empey’s 2009 UUP Conference leader’s speech

Ladies and Gentlemen: Thank you for coming.

I am delighted that so many of you are here today, demonstrating your commitment to the Party and the Union. As I have said on other occasions the grassroots of the UUP are the backbone of the party.

I’m also very pleased that William Hague agreed to be our guest speaker …

and I am grateful to him for taking time out of a very busy schedule to fly over for this conference.

And can I also welcome Owen Paterson and other members from the Conservative Party locally.

Thank you, too, to our Conference Committee, chaired by Terry Wright.

And especially to Hazel Legge, our staff at HQ, our public relations and research teams who did so much of the background preparation.

I wish to thank also all our public representatives; Lady Hermon MP and her colleagues in the Upper House who keep the Ulster Unionist flag flying in Parliament;

our MLAs and Councillors, who represent this Party so well across the Province.

More below the fold:

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Filed under: UUP, UUP conference

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