Speech by Arthur Aughey
August 31, 2010 • 5:26 pm 0
August 31, 2010 • 11:45 am 0
Norman, who had been touted as a potential unity candidate at the recent general election, said that heeding the calls for unionist unity could be the latest mistake made by unionist leaders since Northern Ireland’s creation.
He went on to say:
Pleas for unionist unity emerge and evaporate; almost in tandem with the rise and fall of the electoral fortunes of unionist political parties. This is political code for ‘we have no real policies so it is time to relapse into the constitutional quagmire’.
The principle is based on the premise that he who shouts the loudest for unity will garner additional votes. The Fermanagh and South Tyrone Westminster result is proof that this electoral strategy is extinct.
During my engagement with the leaders of all the parties (including the current secretary of state), I found it impossible to reconcile the competing narrow self interest of each party.
Political posturing and bartering to achieve an acceptable ‘unity’ candidate, crystallised in the anointing of a candidate constrained in a political straight jacket; with no policy platform.
‘Unity’ candidates chosen through the ‘lowest common denominator’ theory will not enhance unionism.
The pro Union electorate are no longer tribal.
This is extremely damning. Undoubtedly Norman Baxter would identify the same policy vacuum and relapse occurring right now in relation to debate over a Sinn Fein First Minister.
His view is well-presented and considered – but is he right?
August 29, 2010 • 12:00 pm 1
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the death of Edward Carson and his burial in St. Anne’s Cathedral. His statue still stands in front of the Stormont Parliament and his name still resonates through Unionist and Loyalist folklore. Both main Unionist parties lay claim to his mantle. This session will examine the legacy of Carson for today’s Northern Ireland as well as aspects of his remarkable career.
Venue :Elmwood Hall
Times : 25 Oct 2010 6:30PM – 25 Oct 2010 8:03PM
Follow this link to book places…
August 28, 2010 • 1:31 pm 1
Here’s some links from the week in politics:
Responding to Fred Cobain’s article, Ian Parsley says on his blog:’In short, recent pronouncements from senior Ulster Unionists have all been about technicalities, not values; about politicians’ quality of life, not the public’s.’ (Ian Parsley’s blog)
NB. If there are any links / stories which you think would be of interest, do email them in and I’ll post them up.
PS. Interesting message from the DUP in the ‘unity’ links. Looks to me like the DUP are nimbly making their ‘unity’ appear broad and pluralist, while branding the UUP’s ‘unity’ as narrow and sectarian. How will the UUP (and Tom Elliott’s campaign) respond? In my opinion, the DUP has managed to appear big and generous throughout the ‘unity’ debate. The UUP on the other hand seem to have fallen into the trap of largely selling ‘unity’ on an anti-nationalist (sectarian) platform. The DUP’s strategy is clear – but what strategy has the UUP been following?
August 26, 2010 • 7:12 am 3
Tom Elliott has launched his bid for the leadership of the UUP. Here’s an article he wrote for the News Letter this week, plus links to his webpage and to Mike Nesbitt’s blog (who seems to be the media operator behind Tom’s campaign). I’ve asked for a copy of his launch speech and I’ll post that up here asap.
Basil McCrea has also launched his leadership bid. Here’s the BBC report (with video) on his launch, the News Letter’s splash on his candidacy and another piece from the News Letter taking views from his supporters. Is he planning a media set piece? If he does a press conference, I’ll post speeches etc.
How should each candidate position themselves? What does the UUP need in from its next leader? Here’s the Belfast Telegraph’s take.
I’ve asked supporters of both Elliott and McCrea to submit short posts as to why they think their man deserves the top job. I’ll post those up asap.
As a concluding comment, both campaigns are now underway but I am finding it difficult to get my hands on content (launch materials / text / pics / video / audio). As far as I can see, Basil hasn’t tweeted in 41 days or updated his personal webpage in 10 months.
The news section on Tom’s website hasn’t caught up with the fact that Tom is a leadership contender. On the other hand, both Basil and Tom are making good use of Facebook.
It’s early days – but as soon as other stuff appears I’ll signpost it here.
PS. There was talk of a ‘third man‘. But after a bit of checking up today, I suspect the ‘third man’ is in fact the ‘invisible man’. Nothing substantial uncovered as yet, though I’ll post up if anyone materialises.
PPS. Apologies to Tom. As Fair Deal rightly points out in the comments section, Tom is of course constrained by OCA rules over what he can put on his website. Apologies.
August 24, 2010 • 1:21 pm 0
Northern Ireland should not merely crawl across the centenary line in 2021…
By Lee Reynolds
1) What do you think Northern Ireland’s Union with Great Britain will look like in 2021?
It will look like whatever unionism puts its mind to and spends the next decade working for. It would be complacent to expect a better future to fall into unionism’s lap regardless of how good the economics or other factors look. If unionism is lazy it could be surprised how dissatisfactory a Northern Ireland of 2021 could look.
August 23, 2010 • 6:05 pm 0
Unionism needs to radically focus on youth, targeting those who have just received A-level results, as unionist frontline representatives of 2021
By Geoff McGimpsey
Unionism can reasonably assert that it’s got a lot to be proud of. Northern Ireland’s constitutional status has been dealt with; Northern Ireland is a more inclusive and stable society; power sharing is bringing power closer to communities and individuals; and all sections of society support the rule of law.
Unionism has played a central role in effecting political change that makes this a better, more productive and rewarding society to be part of. Yes, the system is still imperfect but it’s working more perfectly than it ever did.
What do unionists have to fear? Is a United Ireland detectable on the horizon? Not to my eye. Should Unionists fear the notion of Martin McGuinness becoming First Minister? Emphatically not.
August 23, 2010 • 3:04 am 1
The fact that the Union is safe is not enough. If unionists can make Northern Ireland work economically, it will work politically
By Owen Polley
No contributor to Union 2021 so far, with Jim Allister the conspicuous exception, believes that Northern Ireland’s position within the United Kingdom is under immediate threat.
I agree with the majority view. Our constitutional status is safe.
The important question is not whether we will be part of the UK in 2021 (we will). Instead, we should consider how we can start to participate fully in the UK at a political level and broaden acceptance of our British status, locally and nationally.
These goals are within the grasp of unionists in Northern Ireland like never before. The key to their realisation is outward-looking politics, plugged into the UK mainstream.
The biggest threat to their achievement is a possible retreat to the trenches of identity politics, under the guise of “unionist unity”.