Open Unionism


A forum to discuss new ideas and perspectives on Unionism…

Cameron gaffe will hurt marriage

A marriage is about partnership however the UUP – Tory marriage seems to have been anything but it. In fact one could say that it has entered a rocky course less than two weeks before an election.

David Cameron’s comments with Jeremy Paxman on Friday night have caused quite a storm but are not exactly surprising.

In December of 2005 I, working for a small student newspaper, was invited to go and meet the new Tory leader on his first visit to Northern Ireland. At this show of strength at Lagan College, Belfast I overheard Mr Cameron ask his advisor: “We want devolution here, yes?”

His latest gaffe does not surprise me to be honest. He is a man with a lot on his mind but when it comes to Northern Ireland he has really put his foot in it this time which the local UCUNF will find hard to defend.

Some blame the media, others say his interpretation was an accurate one. Eamon Maillie has described it as similar to Harold Wilson’s infamous ‘Sponger’ speech – directed at the people of N.I. protesting against the 1974 Sunningdale Agreement. The day after these comments people ran round protesting with sponge lapel badges. It was a classic two finger salute to the late Prime Minister. We should remember of course that Reg Empey, David Trimble and Co. were part of this protest against Sunningdale under the banner of Vanguard led by Bill Craig.

Cameron’s comments therefore represent a major gaffe on his part. His comparison of N.I. to a former communist state was damaging. His point was of course about the large public sector we have here in N.I. but why single out N.I.? Why not other parts of the UK?

Much of the population around London funds the entire UK given the concentration of private enterprise there. After Thatcher dismantled the machine of what was left of British Industry back in the 1980’s Britain was left with high unemployment. Thatcher created a vacuum in parts of Britain as people hit the dole queue  and the easiest thing for Government was to give them public sector jobs as the service industry couldn’t sustain those who were left unemployed. Many young professionals left for London to find work, including many from N.I.

Cameron’s comments therefore highlight the unbalance of private investment across the UK. Much of this is down to the individual companies who having the choice want to be where the epicenter of business is.

His comments highlight the problems we face in the UK and something other N.I. parties have argued. However it is unsure what he meant by this: is he suggesting cutting the public sector in N.I. and slashing the budget? Or is he simply stating a well known fact? But then why single out N.I?

These comments will only go to dispel the feeling: can we trust the Tories?


Filed under: Uncategorized

8 Responses

  1. st etienne says:

    His comparison of N.I. to a former communist state was damaging.

    Alliance made this comparison – I’m not aware of Cameron doing so yet. Do you have a source for this?

    but why single out N.I.? Why not other parts of the UK?

    He didn’t ‘single out NI’ – he said both NI and NE England. He is correct in both cases.

    I welcome one of our potential leader’s telling it how it is, and making particular reference to our over-dependence on the public sector here. The other two are living on a different planet or plain just lying if they say public sector cuts (or tax increases) are not on the way. The ‘storm’ brewed by anti-Tories in NI shows their complete disconnection with wider economic conditions:

    The next government will have to cut public sector pay, freeze benefits, slash jobs, abolish a range of welfare entitlements and take the axe to programmes such as school building and road maintenance – or make a set of equally politically perilous choices, according to an analysis by the Financial Times.

  2. GUBU says:

    Saying that Northern Ireland is overly dependent on the public sector is a bit like saying that bears do the proverbial in the woods, so I don’t quite see how this is the gaffe that some are making it out to be. It’s hardly comparable with Wilson’s ‘Spongers’ remark, much as you (and others) would dearly like it to be.

    I don’t think Cameron’s remarks in any way implied that those areas he identified were being specifically targeted for cuts. The Tories at least seem to be offering some positive ideas for rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy to promote private sector growth. In the short term, however, there will be cuts in public expenditure, which will be hard for those politicians here who want to keep Northern Ireland firmly wedded to the giant teat of taxpayer’s largesse for fear of actually having to take difficult decisions and be held accountable for them.

    Your own economic analysis of the last thirty years is balls, by the way.

  3. James Broadhurst says:

    This is not a gaffe. It is simply the truth. Cameron did not single out NI for disproportion cuts, he said no such thing. That is pure DUP spin. This is nothing more than a politician telling the absolute truth, but during an election campaign.

    There is no surprise here, there is no new story here.

  4. Andrew Charles says:

    Gaffe or truth?

    Why did he single out N.I.?

    Why not anywhere else outside of London?

    This was a clear attack on N.I. in order to please the nationalists of the South of England.

    N.I. is a place of economic need and Cameron attacked us. What will Reg do if he is elected and asked to go through the lobbies to cut the N.I. Block Grant?

    • st etienne says:

      Why not anywhere else outside of London?

      This was a clear attack on N.I. in order to please the nationalists of the South of England.

      Hysterical & laughable. Ok, I get the fact you support the DUP. But this is mindless propaganda even they’d be embarrassed about surely?

  5. GUBU says:


    It’s not just your economic analysis that’s balls then…

    Cameron cited both the North East of ENGLAND and Northern Ireland as regions which were overly dependent on the public sector – so he didn’t single us out, and the last time I looked at a map the North East is nowhere near London.

    Stating what is obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together hardly constitutes an attack. Any part of the UK which has the kind of dependence that we have on public sector spending is going to be left exposed by the train wreck that was Gordon Brown’s management of our public finances. At least the Tories have some constructive ideas for encouraging the growth of the private sector here, and they might be in a position to deliver on some of those ideas come 7 May.

    Did you actually watch the interview? I’m beginning to think you didn’t…

    • Andrew Charles says:

      I know he mentioned the North-East of England – not in London!

      What about Tories finances 1979 to 1997 Labour inherited a debt.

      There needs to be a balance in public expenditure not a full on assult as Tories seem to propose

      Sent from my iPhone

  6. James Broadhurst says:

    Full on assualt?! The tories didnt propose that.

    Are you not capable of reading exactly what has been said?!

    Please stop jumping to conclusions. You are clearly paranoid.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 25 other followers

Open Unionism On Twitter

Open Unionism bookmarks

Our facebook group page

Party histories

Here's the history of the UUP.

Here's the history of the DUP.

Slideshow app for UUP & DUP flickrstreams

Follow this link for a great slideshow from the UUP flickrstream.

Follow this link for a great slideshow from the DUP flickrstream.

UK Parliament on flickr

%d bloggers like this: