Open Unionism

Icon

A forum to discuss new ideas and perspectives on Unionism…

Thoughts on Civic Unionism

By Turgon

Civic unionism has been a concept much discussed recently: one of the major problems has been the definition of civic unionism. It can be seen as everyone who is not defined as a non civic unionist. Non civic unionists are often pejoratively labelled tribal, ethnic or otherwise “bad” unionists.

Let me throw out an exemplar of a civic unionist: lets say late 30s, university educated, married with children, fairly well paid job, has worked outside Northern Ireland, travels widely with work, attends mainstream Protestant church; brought up outside Belfast but has spend most of their adult life there, some relatives originally not from NI and others who have moved away; not a member of any loyal order.

The civic unionist has been pursued by the liberal wing of the UUP for many years. In the UUP’s Trimblesque guise the civic unionist was “the decent person” or was “simply British” both utterly nonsensical concepts but ones which the civic wing of the UUP (egged on by Stephen King, whilst himself a decent bloke, holder of the award for world’s worst spin doctor) were convinced would lead them to political power. Under Reg Empey the civic unionist at first seemed defined by being more pro agreement than the DUP before beginning the ultimate civic unionist experiment: the Conservative link up.

Here the concept of civic unionism seemed to change a bit from being essentially a liberal unionist analysis of the constitutional position along with some socially liberal views to a right of centre economic analysis. This position was again socially liberal but somewhat confused about the constitutional question which of course remains the main differentiator of political affiliation in Northern Ireland. It was suggested by some that having Conservative and Unionist MPs, MLAs etc. would strengthen the union. Others claimed that the constitutional issue should be parked and within that latter group some suggested this parking to be union neutral whilst others regarded it as union secured.

The downfall of the CU pact has been chewed over in exhaustive detail. The civic unionists cannot agree on why this failure occurred: some regard it as because the NI electorate are not that Conservative minded; others that the CUs still had too much of the UUP about them. The only consistent position was that there are actually loads of voters itching to vote for civic unionists: almost all non voting prods and indeed many Catholics are, without being asked, co-opted into being civic unionists.

After the failure of the CU pact, civic unionism (or at least the UUP part) seemed to unite around Basil McCrea. It has largely turned its back on the right of centre largely, economic analysis of civic unionism and has concentrated mainly on being internally civic within Northern Ireland.

As alluded to above, within this concept of civic or liberal unionism there are enormous variations and indeed contradictions. There are considerable differences between economic liberalism, social liberalism and liberalism regarding the union and unionism. There seems to be a tendency to conflate these concepts in a fashion which is wholly illogical and indeed nonsensical.

What unites all forms of civic unionism, however, is the desire to gain votes from non voting Protestant unionists and pro union Catholics. It seems to be an article of faith that the non voting Prods, the garden centre unionists, are predominantly middle class and overwhelmingly liberal in terms of their unionism. The only election where there is any evidence of these unionists being liberal seems to be the referendum on the Belfast Agreement where the turnout was significantly up on the recent trend. Even in that election, however, most now accept that the majority of unionists actually voted No.

When anyone questions the liberal or middle class nature of these civic unionists, or points to the lack of empirical evidence for their existence assorted assertions are made recycling the same tired rhetoric that the only way back for the UUP is civic unionism and that anything else will prove disastrous.

A number of commentators have questioned the basic assumptions about the garden centre unionists: Ed Curran has recently characterised main stream unionism in a fashion far from the liberal stereotype beloved of the civic unionists. Furthermore those who have looked at the voting figures against the electoral register have tended to come to the conclusion that the non voting Protestants are predominantly working and not middle class: this has been consistent to my knowledge across Northern Ireland and applies to Belfast as to Enniskillen. Far from being garden centre unionists the non voting prods are more likely to be shell suit unionists.

There will no doubt be some non voting middle class unionists: again, however there are problems in ascribing liberal values (especially on the union) to these people One of the problems is that those who support liberal unionism tend to project liberalism onto those of their colleagues and friends who report not voting in elections. There is a severe danger of less liberal types doing the same thing in reverse but in my experience the non voting middle class unionists with whom I am friendly tend to report anything but liberal views. A number indeed are non voters because they are not on the electoral register due to being in senior positions within the security forces and, hence, wanting to avoid as much as possible any public record of their home addresses. Most of these people (of whom I know a few) are unsurprisingly very hard line in their constitutional views.

Even amongst non security force related middle class unionists liberal views are by no means uniform. Many middle class unionists are actually very hard line. Far from being the unicorns of civic unionist fantasy they are at least as likely to be DUP, hard line UUP (or even TUV) voting ogres. Most of these people do vote but some have stopped feeling that the whole enterprise is utterly corrupt and incompetent and that unionism’s leaders are failing them by being not illiberal but too liberal on the union. The fact that they may find the DUP’s stridency a little embarrassing does not mean that they are actually looking for a liberal form of unionism: rather they desire maybe a more subtly presented but equally hard line unionist position.

The next problem is of course the well known tendency of people to tell untruths about their voting patterns. In F/ST in mixed company claiming one does not vote is absolutely routine especially in the work place in order to avoid unpleasantness between colleagues. This tendency, whilst maybe heightened in F/ST, is unlikely to be confined to west of the Bann (or west of Lough Erne where everyone claims not to vote: given the lie by the turn out figures). Not only may people tell untruths about not voting but they may also lie about whom they would vote for and indeed in the liberalism of their attitudes. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the assorted Northern Ireland Life and Times Surveys which are frequently trumpeted to show that most people in Northern Ireland want integrated education, would be delighted to see their children to marry “the other side”; that they do not care about the union / united Ireland and that they are all going to vote for Alliance, the UUP or SDLP. Then of course comes the election and all these liberal majorities vanish into thin air. This problem was well recognised especially during the late 1980s and early 1990s in GB with the underestimation of the Conservative vote: pollsters created correction factors to account for the embarrassment which prevented people from admitting they voted Tory. As far as I know no one has created a similar correction factor to take account of the similar tendency in Northern Ireland.

Focus group research is usually somewhat more accurate than opinion polling and if professionally done can avoid many of the problems attendant in surveys. I ask as a genuine question whether any focus group work has been done investigating the non voting unionists and their garden centre vs shell suited characteristics? The DUP are well known to use professionally designed focus groups but I have heard no reports of similarly conducted work by the champions of civic unionism.

Of course the Holy Grail for the Civic Unionists is the unionist Catholic. There is no doubt that this unicorn does exist and in a referendum on a united Ireland it is more than likely that these unicorns will ride to Ulster’s rescue. However, like Welsh dragons, which will only arise at Wales’s darkest hour of need, these Catholic unicorns will only appear when the union is threatened: then the sun may indeed glint on their horns as they charge us to victory in the border poll. However, until then they seem disinclined to answer civic unionism’s call.

It may be that those pro union Catholics who have come of voting age since the troubles ended will one day vote for a unionist party. However, I would submit that that day is at least half a generation away. Again an honest question: is there proper focus group work with this social demographic to see whether they would vote unionist and what the impediments are to this? Alternatively are the unicorn tamers actually simply dreaming up what they think might attract unicorns? The unicorn tamers need to remember that they themselves are not these fabled beasts and anthropomorphism is a common mistake. Again it is not enough to read the NI Life and Times survey and talk to a few Catholic friends to establish the level of potential Catholic support for a unionist party: that would require very prolonged focus group research. There is also a danger that in order to attract the unionist Catholics (and liberal Protestants) the changes any civic unionist party made would result in the votes gained being well more than surpassed by the number of Protestant unionist votes they lost.

This is the bind the UUP finds itself in: the evidence the unicorns exist is actually limited: there are some no doubt but the shell suit unionists (if we want to continue fantasy creature analogies maybe orc unionists) and the middle class ogres along with the west of the Bann unionists (let us call them trolls) seem much more numerous. Pursuing those members who vote DUP but might return looks a more favourable strategy than the unicorns’ pursuit. However, the ideal might be to try having a party which contained both civic unionists and non civic unionists. Now may be the time for the civic unionists to swallow their pride and work with Tom: alternatively if they really believe they can create a political earthquake maybe they should set up a civic unionist party or even a right of centre (and left of centre) union neutral party: that has been tried before but if they truly have the courage of their convictions then maybe they should.

A final illustration of the problem re civic unionists: At the start of the article I mentioned an archetype civic unionist: it is in the second paragraph; take a look at it. That is me: in view of my know views I would not fit into the new civic unionist party. Those liberal unionists now wrapping themselves in the “civic” flag need to stop looking at all their middle class friends (Protestant and Catholic) and imagining that politically speaking they are looking in the mirror.

Advertisements

Filed under: Uncategorized

20 Responses

  1. slug says:

    “Let me throw out an exemplar of a civic unionist: lets say late 30s, university educated, married with children, fairly well paid job, has worked outside Northern Ireland, travels widely with work, attends mainstream Protestant church; brought up outside Belfast but has spend most of their adult life there, some relatives originally not from NI and others who have moved away; not a member of any loyal order.”

    It strikes me that you don’t really have much idea what civic unionism is about if you say this.

  2. slug says:

    “Even in that election, however, most now accept that the majority of unionists actually voted No. ”

    Evidence?

  3. bobballs says:

    Interested to hear your perspective Slug – how do define civic unionism? If you’d like a full blog post to develop your thoughts, let me know… happy to post something up.

    • slug says:

      Thanks – if I pen anything I will send you it. Civic unionism isn’t about niceness or about a specific point on the left-right scale. You can be nice, nasty, left, or right and be civic unionist. It’s not a type of person, either.

  4. Progressive Unionist says:

    “the civic wing of the UUP (egged on by Stephen King, whilst himself a decent bloke, holder of the award for world’s worst spin doctor)”

    Stephen may have his strengths and faults, but you should give the guy his due – the election results of Empey’s UUP have fallen far short of the elections in which SK played a key part.

    “the Conservative link up: Here the concept of civic unionism seemed to change a bit from being essentially a liberal unionist analysis of the constitutional position along with some socially liberal views to a right of centre economic analysis”

    That’s true Turgon. The weakness of the ill-fated Tory linkup was (in my view) that it created an unnecessary and unpropitious split between moderate/progresssive unionists – right and centre-right unionists liked it, but many centrist and centre-left moderate unionists simply couldn’t identify with the Tories, even at a time when the Tories were on a roll.

    British Unionism in Northern Ireland reflects political Britishness on the Mainland – unionists are Tory/Labour/Liberal or neither.

    —-

    As for your views on the supposed non-existence of moderate unionist voters, you have expressed these at great lengths here and on Slugger.

    You describe moderate pro-Union voters as Unicorns – non-existent mythical creatures.

    But there are tens and tens of thousands (and more) of pro-Union voters disillusioned with what unionism now has to offer – a sterile choice between the DUP, Tom’s back-to-the-50s idea of the UUP, and the dead-end TUV.

    I reckon, Turgon, that you will see many, many unicorns making their voice heard next May.

    (and unless unionism gets it’s act together [that means you Tom Elliott!!] those tens of thousands of ‘unicorns’ are going to end up voting for non-unionist parties)

  5. slug says:

    Some other flailing attempts to discuss the concept:

    “In the UUP’s Trimblesque guise the civic unionist was “the decent person” or was “simply British” both utterly nonsensical concepts ”

    No, that’s not civic unionism.

    “civic unionism seemed to change a bit from being essentially a liberal unionist analysis of the constitutional position along with some socially liberal views to a right of centre economic analysis.”

    No. That either.

  6. Turgon says:

    slug,
    I am afraid you are not defining civic unionism. You are simply saying all the things it is not. Now that may be fair enough and you may have a definition or actually you may simply be claiming that it is not the assorted things which have failed so far. Therefore one might conclude that your civic unionism is the magic formula which will be popular. I fear you are searching for a Sangria La or El Dorado.

    • slug says:

      Turgon

      Sorry-I guess I was getting frustrated that you were talking about civic unionism without really defining the term. I am not owner of the concept, or do I especially use it a lot.

      To the extent that a definition exists, as far as I understand it, I would loosely describe “civic unionism” as a unionism that is based not on promoting the well being of any particular ethnic, cultural, or religious group, but on the well being of the entirety of Northern Ireland’s people in all its diversity.

      You can in principle have civic nationalism and you could describe the SNP in Scotland as a civic nationalist party, as it does not appear to appeal to sectional or ethnic interest promotion over and abover other interests.

      Civic unionism leaves open the full range of positions on the left-right scale; no party could use civic unionism as a selling point.

      It is more useful in ruling certain approaches out – e.g. civic unionism would not be there to promote the interests of the Orange Order over and above the interests of other groups, but rather would aim to work out what is best overall. Nor would civic unionism have any concept of “the unionist people” as it sees unionism as a political rather than an ethnic definition.

      Ethnic-nationalist parties that seek to promote a particular culture or language are the opposite of civic parties.

      At least the above is how I understand the term. I am open to correction from others who use the term or are more into it.

      • slug says:

        “no party could use civic unionism as a selling point” needs further comment. No party could use it as a selling point on its own, it requires further values and left-right positioning to make it operational as something one can sell, otherwise it is too empty.

  7. turgonni says:

    slug,
    No offence taken and perverse as it may seem I am in many ways extremely in favour of civic unionism in that I do not like the ethnic divide. However, I am genuinely at a loss to see how we can, in practical political terms, get round the problem. I know all the explanations which are proffered but they just seem to fail and I am very suspicious that the move to civic unionism will achieve less than is lost by ethnic unionism if you see what I mean.

    I do hope that my half generation (I am trying to claim I am still part of the younger generation: and largely failing) will be the last to have the current somewhat ethnic analysis but I do not know.

    Anyhow I agree with Bobballs I do think that sensible people like you should have a go at defining it in more positive terms than I have. If you can make me a complete dinosaur I will in no way mind: I will just adapt what I write: it is one of the great advantages of being an amateur political analyst rather than a politician.

  8. oneill says:

    The Godfather of Civic Unionism, I suppose, would be Norman Porter and interestingly enough he distinguished between it and Liberal Unionism (with Cultural Unionism being the third element of the Unionist trinity).

    Liberal Unionism is one “which fixes on the idea of the Union, emphasises a modern concept of the state, claims cultural blindness in political affairs, celebrates plurality…” An integrationist approach, looking to pull our politics and culture closer to that of the rest of the UK.

    Civic Unionism:
    …does not start from the conviction that the ‘Union, the whole Union and nothing but the Union’ is what matters most; it does not regard the Union as a sufficient end in itself but as one amongst other ends. And if working with some hierarchy of ends is inevitable, which I think it is, then the ultimate end for civic unionism is not the Union per se but the quality of social and political life in Northern Ireland – a Northern Ireland that includes not just unionists but also nationalists and non-unionists of other descriptions. This is a shocking inversion of unionist priorities. And that is why civic unionism lies beyond the horizons of most unionists

    In other words, building a Unionism internal to the demands and conditions of NI .

    Using those definitions, my own Unionism would be better described as “liberal”, whereas, for example, Basil McCrea’s would be best described as a “civic unionist”, so to put us in the same basket as Turgon has done here is lazy stereotyping.

    Turgon futher argues that we (civic/liberal Unionists) are chasing Unicorns but I think that misses the most fundamental point. We actually believe in a Union built on civic and liberal values, irrespective of how successful we are in attracting those unicorns into the fold- it’s not some kind of Realpolitik cunning plan to lure unsuspecting nationalists and backsliding prods into the Unionist fold.

    Is there an electorate out there thinking along the same civic/liberal lines? It’s certainly not apparent so far but I’d still argue that we should give them that choice at the ballot box. And if we give more pro-Union choice at election time is that going to increase or decrease the pro-Union vote?

    I’m not an Orangeman, I’m not a protestant, don’t even support Rangers and I won’t be voting or encouraging others to vote for those whose Unionism is based on such “community” factors. If a conviction Unionist is saying that, then what will the wider “constitutionally agnostic” electorate be thinking?

    • slug says:

      ONeill if one goes by Porter’s definition then one does not put the union above all else. Of course, one should probably not put the union above all else. For instance, it it hard to be a uninoist in the maximalist sense that one believes the union should be maintained even if a majority were to vote against it or if it turned out that it was clearly not the best option from economic and social point of view. However the Alliance party style in which one tries not to refer to being British is to me an unattractive way of proceeding, given my strong bond with my country.

      Basil McCrea described his main difference with Alliance as being that he believed in Britishness and the importance of it. As such I think he could be liberal unionist albeit of a devolutionist variety.

      .

  9. Turgon says:

    oneill,
    I am sorry for supposedly lazy stereotyping: I do not think that is remotely fair. I do not think there is a stereotype. I offered an archetype and pointed out it was flawed. Everyone exists on a spectrum on most things and politics is no different. I think these false distinctions between civic, tribal, liberal etc. unionist are exactly that: variations on a spectrum; not absolutes. in addition they can change and evolve.

    All I can do is speak for myself. My opposition to the current agreement is more than anything predicated on my views on criminality of both sides. Also I believe in proper accountable democracy not what we have currently. I have never taken any public position on issues such as Gay rights, the place of religion in public life, schooling etc. My socio economic analysis is probably significantly to the left of many who read and post here. I am in many ways a supporter of Keyensianism but I do not blog much about it because I do not regard myself as sufficiently competent on economics to do so.

    Some of my views may be surprisingly civic: others are quite tribal (or whatever other pejorative word one wishes to use. This variability is probably the case for many people.

    Far from me stereotyping unionists, I feel that many who promote civic unionism are the worst offenders.

    Indeed my major issue with them is that I have seen little sign of a coherent position from that form of unionism: it seems to jump between right wing and liberal economically; unified to a limited extent by relatively liberal social values. I am afraid one of its main unifying characteristic seems to be contempt for other unionists and a believe in the fact that vast numbers of like minded people will come to vote for this (civic) position. That belief is held to in spite of the lack of empirical evidence at elections and again I challenge those who hold this position to explain to me their focus group work which confirms the existence of this voting dynamic. The NI Life and Times surveys in my view do not cut it.

    In place of such evidence we have assertions that the voting dynamic is about the appear from the likes of Progressive Unionist or in your case a denial that electoral success is necessary. I am not being difficult but remember the objective of a political party is to gain votes and hence, advance its agenda. As such offering a party without at least thinking about the pool of voters and looking at it s the height of foolishness. Yes the same applies to hard line unionism: I agree entirely.

  10. Progressive Unionist says:

    The Godfather of Civic Unionism, I suppose, would be Norman Porter and interestingly enough he distinguished between it and Liberal Unionism…

    Norman Porter: “[Civic Unionism]… does not regard the Union as a sufficient end in itself but as one amongst other ends.

    Hmmm… well this definition makes me a Liberal Unionist, because I think securing the Union is very important (because of what we all have in common on these British Isles) and is not something to be set lightly aside among other political ends.

    That said, I would give Norman Porter due credit, because there are very few thinkers within Unionism who seem to be challenging the status quo, or the intellectual basis of the traditionalists… we need more Norman Porters not fewer.

    And, if Unionism is a continuum between Civic -> Liberal -> Tradtiional we probably need more thinkers like Norman Porter on all points of that continuum.

    “Is there an electorate out there thinking along the same civic/liberal lines? It’s certainly not apparent so far”

    Hmmm… well I think it was rather apparent in 2007 and 2010 if you were east of the Bann but I’m sure it will announce itself in even more vociferously in next May’s Assembly election…

    “Basil McCrea described his main difference with Alliance as being that he believed in Britishness and the importance of it. As such I think he could be liberal unionist albeit of a devolutionist variety.

    Yes, under Norman Porter’s definitions, Basil’s a Liberal not Civic Unionist. I believe in Britishness too – and, like Basil and Trevor Ringland and Paula Bradshaw etc, I believe in the Britishness of 2010, not that of 1950.

    Turgon – I respect where you are coming from, and I’m sorry if you feel I stereotyped more traditional unionists like yourself. That wasn’t my intention, you’re quite right in saying the Civic -> Liberal -> Traditional continuum is a lot more complex than that.

    It’s interesting you say your main reasons for opposition to the current agreement(s) is the criminality on both sides – I almost voted against the Good Friday Agreement when I saw the republican and loyalist prisoners released and celebrated at those rallies in the weeks beforehand.

    At the end of the day and after a (helluva) lot of thought I voted Yes because I decided that however disturbing it was to see prisoners released, what was most important was peace and stability for the next generations, (and also, less nobly, because I thought the constitutional structures of the Agreement didn’t threaten Unionism, and gave Unionism the space to live and grow) –

    (that said, I didn’t lose a close friend/relative in the Troubles and if I had, I don’t know if I would have voted Yes). I hope I would have but I can’t tell, to be honest….

    You’re right that NI Life & Times surveys dont cut it for empirical evidence (though they are interesting in many other ways)… but you know, neither liberals or traditionalists have much empirical evidence other than election results – there’s a total paucity of electoral polling in NI. On the mainland YouGov conduct polls each and every day (check out ukpollingreport.co.uk) – but in NI we’re lucky to get a poll a year. It sucks…

    PS I’m also a supporter of Keynesianism – and I have a funny feeling that after the CSR in a couple of weeks almost everybody in NI politics will discover they are too 😉

  11. Reactionary Unionist says:

    As usual, Turgon has got it right. I’d also go on to say that I’m struck by the arrogance and foolishness of those who blog as self-proclaimed civic unionists (and sadly most blogging unionists are in this “civic” category).

    Arrogance because they parade their own self-righteousness to ridiculous extent, not wishing to work with other unionists even in areas of mutual benefit such as electing an ultra moderate unionist like Connor. Also, at least one will not give PR transfers to the DUP even if Sinn Fein might gain as a result.

    Foolishness because they misconstrue the DUP as the Paisleyite party of old and as somehow “Ulster nationalist” when it is neither of those things.

    No wonder they are so bad at the practical bits of politics – you know, like winning seats.

  12. oneill says:

    Turgon,

    I didn’t say the winning of seats was unimportant, I’m saying that the fact that civic unionism is electorally weak doesn’t change my own political beliefs. I would suspect that you, as a TUV supporter would think the same about your own principles.

    Regarding a lack of coherence, unlike cultural unionism which now has three parties expressing it’s point of views, civic unionism is merely a minority opinion (although it still does seem to raise dangerously the blood pressure of certain culturalists, witness Reactionary’s outbust above)with no influence, no political presence.

    That being the case, why is there a need for “coherence” anyway? One of the advantages of not being an apparachnik for one of the 2 main parties is that you can think and say what zou believe without worrying about what the Elite taking the hump. No “coherence” in this case also means not having to compromise your beliefs.

  13. realunionism says:

    Turgeon is right, let’s face it this new brand of unionism is nothing but the New Ulster Movement updated from 1969 to 2010, it was chewed up and spat out by unionists then and it will be again. Even now plans are afoot for a night of the long knives against the unicorn chasing unionists… bradshaw and ringland are gone already. The UUp must listen to what the people want not just the univeristy crowd and if the majority voted for tom elliot then why give childish insults to your own party leader? Basil didn’t win? Boo Hoo that’s politics now grown up and get used to it!

  14. Progressive Unionist says:

    Realunionism – wait till next May’s election, then you will see precisely how many supposed “unicorns” have been alienated by Tom’s back-to-the-50s style of politics.

    I’d also underline the fact that alienating vast swathes of liberal and civic unionists is a recipe for utter disaster in any referendum on whether NI should stay in the UK or not. Never mind appealing to pro-Union Catholics – the pro-Union cause will need it’s liberal elements to get over 40% in such a poll.

    Tom Elliott’s idea of unionism is analagous to the De Valera Irish nationalism of the 1930s – with “traditional” marches substituted for dancing-at-the-crossroads – let’s sit deep back in the cave, shut out the realities of the world and talk among ourselves. That’s a recipe of disaster for unionism, plain and simple.

  15. realunionism says:

    Tom cannot be expected to turn the parties fortunes around by May! It will be the following elections before we see the effect of Elliot’s leadership… coem May time the party will still only be in the early stages of internal recovery after the UCUNF fiasco.

    “I’d underline the fact that alienating vast swathes of liberal and civic unionists” blah blah blah… as worried as i’m sure Tom and the majority of UUP members are about alienating 10 or so young unionists from Belfast and the North West I think he will be able to survive. Once again with the pro-union catholics which are about as mythical as bigfoot…. yea he exists and we have had sightings but we just don’t have conclusive evidence but frig it we shall all sit out in the woods looking for him anyway. Maybe if the progressives actually tried to win unionist voters instead of imaginary ones they would have a bit more influence. What may I ask is wrong with traditional marches? Oh and have you brought your concerns before your leader?

  16. Progressive Unionist says:

    “Tom cannot be expected to turn the parties fortunes around by May!”

    Well that’s his job. He shouldn’t have applied for it if he’s not up to it.

    The NI Assembly elections are the most important ones going in terms of affecting the lives of people in Northern Ireland.

    “alienating 10 or so young unionists”…

    You’ll get a better handle on how many are alienated next May. (hint – it’ll be rather more than 10)

    “What may I ask is wrong with traditional marches?” – nothing whatsoever, but it’s a minority pursuit, just like GAA games. What, may I ask, is so wrong with GAA games that the new supposed leader of British Unionism in the province won’t attend them?

    “Oh and have you brought your concerns before your leader?”

    Trevor Ringland did, and his concerns were ignored to the extent that Trevor – one of the most principled and honest politicians in Unionism- felt he had to leave the Party.

    When he was elected leader Tom said he didn’t want a cold house for Progressives – but he’s done nothing since to follow through, it just seems like empty words.

    Next May – the voters will have their say.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 24 other followers

Open Unionism On Twitter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

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

President of Colombia with former First Minister of Northern Ireland

Lord Speaker statement of thanks

Wide shot of audience

President Santos giving address

Mr Speaker welcome speech

More Photos
%d bloggers like this: