Open Unionism


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The DUP learns its political lessons: Dodds

The DUP conference on Saturday was filled to capacity with around 500 delegates. The agenda captured a wide spread of activities:

  • the economy
  • rural communities
  • local government
  • social media
  • victims
  • public services
  • churches and communities.

Early in the schedule, a mea culpa from the Deputy Leader. Nigel Dodds’s speech was brimming with confidence but not so bombastic as to fail to concede that the DUP can get it wrong. To those voters who stayed at home / voted TUV at the Euro election, Dodds said:

To those pro-Union voters, I say simply this, message received and understood. The DUP learns its political lessons.

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Filed under: conferences, DUP

DUP’s conference PPB

Filed under: conferences, DUP

YU chair and ‘Celtic Conservatives’…

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The Young Unionists chairman Michael Shilliday has been in Edinburgh addressing the Conservative Future conference.

Chekov has the full text of the speech here. But I’m reproducing only a few paragraphs which I feel contain his core message. The following is aimed at the Conservative-minded in devolved regions:

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Filed under: conferences

New Bing search engine and the DUP…

Bing is Microsoft’s new search engine and it looks pretty good. Really sleek. Though, if you’re a DUP activist, it may not be your search engine of choice.

We thought we’d try out its search results with some local news. As the DUP had their conference on Saturday we inserted the simple search string:


We got this back.

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Filed under: conferences, DUP

The UKIP and the TUV?

On the morning of the DUP conference, this intriguing story from The Newletter:

THE chairman of the UK Independence Party has said the party will consider an alliance with Jim Allister’s TUV in future elections.

Paul Nuttall, UKIP MEP for the North West of England, was speaking to the News Letter yesterday after a low-key exploratory visit to the Province.

UKIP has only one politician in Northern Ireland at present — Kilkeel councillor Henry Reilly, who defected from the UUP.

Mr Nuttall described TUV leader Jim Allister as “a good guy” who worked closely with UKIP in Europe when an MEP.”

And Jim seems happy enough to at least consider the prospect:

Mr Allister told the News Letter that his party would not be “slamming any doors” on the suggestion.

“I have a track record of working with them at a tactical level. We haven’t had discussions with them of that nature (about an alliance) but undoubtedly, on European issues, there is a fair degree of consensus between our parties.”

“Obviously I knew quite a lot of UKIP MEPs in Europe and had good working relationships with them on the big issues,” he said.

There is a logic to such a link-up, at least certainly from the TUV’s point of view, providing very handy finance and logistical support and perhaps a dose of extra credibility, but I wonder what’s in it for the UKIP?

Mr Nuttal apparently believes there are concrete electoral possibilities:

“We think there is a huge gap for a non-sectarian, pro-British party in Northern Ireland that believes in independence from the European Union,” he said, adding that the DUP have not voted on an EU referendum and are “not performing” in government while slating the Tories for backing out of promises for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty 

Has he really done his research on this one?

Filed under: Uncategorized

Some links…

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A Pint of Unionist Lite reflects on our first Remembrance Sunday to occcur without Great War veterans.

Mr Ulster considers the implications of ethnic v civic nationalism in Scotland.

Jason Walsh from Spiked Online offers some excellent insight into militant republicanism.

Jeff Peel wonders if local Conservatives have gone native.

Conall McDevitt looks at the question of renewal within the SDLP, and reveals: ‘I will be asking members whether they think I am the sort of person they would like to see succeeding Carmel. So far the feedback has been very positive.’

Filed under: some links

Promoting political engagement…

I thought there was something of interest in the comments section of a previous post. The original post was on the UUP conference but it expanded out into a wider discussion on policy engagement by political parties generally.  Some points were made which I think are worth developing further.

I’ve paraphrased some comments as below, then followed those with action points:

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Filed under: Uncategorized

My first TUV conference…

The TUV are a surprisingly animated bunch. Someone rocked up with the kind of clacker you’d see at a football match.  Laughter was free-flowing and genuinely felt.

These aren’t stern-faced refuseniks – these are people who’re enjoying their politics.

The TUV are criticised for not having a solution or an alternative to the present devolved structures. They are mocked for having no vision to offer. But it might be easy to deride the TUV as going nowhere. Heck, maybe they’re not going anywhere – but the only great certainty, to my eyes, is that they’re not going away.

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Filed under: TUV

Kelly Report puts DUP on double jobbing hook

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The report which Sir Christopher Kelly’s Committee on Standards in Public Life published on MPs’ expenses and allowances on Wednesday, as yet, only comprises recommendations. Nick Robinson, on his blog, has set out the likely process for its implementation, during which MPs might, he contends, attempt to ‘smooth off the sharpest edges’ of the proposed reforms. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: DUP

How to innovate party conferences?

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How do you innovate the conference structure? How can political parties challenge their routines and ask what really works best for their members?

One journalist I spoke to at the recent UUP event said it was too well stage-managed. When I put that to a UUP guy, he simply said: ‘I take that as a compliment.’

I understand why both would say that. But party organisers should consider all types of feedback and ask – are we providing an event which is effective and easily digestible (for media & members)?

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Filed under: conferences

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