Open Unionism


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TUV Westminster Candidate for East Belfast David Vance sets out his Party’s position on Caitriona Ruane’s proposal to remove funding for pupils in preparatory departments. The issue, he says, is further evidence of dysfunctionality at the heart of the Executive and reinforces his Party’s demand for voluntary coalition…

TUV Leader Jim Allister during last year's Euro election

A lesson in dysfunctionality…

By David Vance

Education Minister Caitriona Ruane is ideologically driven to dismantle Northern Ireland’s academic system. She follows in the tradition of Martin McGuinness who started the ball rolling and her latest attack on the funding of Prep Schools demonstrates the utter dysfunctionality that lies with the currentform of devolved Government.

TUV, like our fellow Unionist Parties in the DUP and UUP, advocates the primacy of respecting parental choice. Ruane has no such interest and is determined to impose her will on parents who wish to send their children to Prep schools. She does this by financially undermining the Prep Schools and this may well lead to the closure of some. This would be in line with Sinn Fein dogma about limiting choice and creating a monstrous system which removes academic selection from academia. Naturally she can count on the support of radical egalitarians in the education system whose leftist values coincide with her nihilistic republicanism.

The core issue is the fact that Ms Ruane can impose her will despite the fact that the majority of other political parties have grave concerns on the direction she is taking. This is a crunch issue for TUV since it illuminates the failure of the current model for government. This is not coherent government. The little Ministerial private fiefdoms within the Executive enable those such as Ruane to ruin our Education system, humiliate the Prep Schools, punish the Grammar Schools, and cause misery and anxiety to parents, teachers and above all children.

TUV calls for an end to the mandatory coalition system and encourages other Unionist Parties to recognise that what we have doesn’t work nor can it work. We have to tear it up and start again. That’s where voluntary coalition scores. In this model, parties must agree a shared platform for government and then other parties can rigorously oppose them. This lends to a robust form of democratic government where the electorate is empowered and able to throw out of government those who introduce policies it does not like. In this regard, Ruane’s vicious attack on the Prep Schools should act as a lesson of what is to come unless we make a change for the better.

For more information on Traditional  Unionist Voice (TUV) visit the Party’s website at David Vance also blogs over at A Tangled Web.


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4 Responses

  1. St Etienne says:

    On education and the system of ‘government’ in general, all very valid points.

  2. St Etienne says:

    …but please try to contain your politicking over football. The brow-beating is not appreciated.

  3. DAVID VANCE says:

    Thanks St Etienne – I wish unionism could unite on key issues and drive forward an effective agenda. Ruane is ruinous and for the sake of all children it would behove us to come together to stop her assault on the virtues of what we have. No Education system is perfect but ours is better than most. However, as I say in the article, the system is profoundly flawed and so if we want to make progress we also have to agree on changing the essence of it to that found elsewhere in the democratic world.

  4. Jonathan Scott says:

    You seem completely unaware of the elitism which prep schools create within education. Their pupils have an unfair advantage when it comes to post primary selection over those who cannot afford the fees of a prep school. I think the only “monstrous system” is the one that we currently have when it comes to prep schools: those that can afford to pay more for their education are given preference when it comes to so-called ‘academic selection.’ The whole idea of prep-schools and their pupils’ precedence undermines the point of academic selection and you calling Ms Ruane “nihilistic” is disappointing as you fail to realise the reasons for which she has made these changes: namely equality and opportunity.

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