A strange and unfortunate event occurred during the past week. It calls itself ’The 2010 group’, met ‘in secret’, and immediately let Mr Mallie of the press corps in on the ‘secret’.
Let it be said again – the UUP is the only show in town for the liberal core of unionism. Mr Mallie’s likely source is a well-known vendor of poison and piffle, but his politics is somewhat closer to my own than I am altogether comfortable with. As a result the author has a decent idea of who was present, what they discussed, and in what direction they wish to go. They are wrong.
Mr Elliott may not have been their choice of leader, but he is the leader that the party chose by a rather large margin, unswayed by any complaints of geographic bias. The period of drift and inaction since that evening has been notable and unfortunate, but comparatively short for a political leader. To summarise, give the guy a break, let him bed down, and let’s see what he does. Were we to find ourselves in the same position come Christmas, then start plotting, but perhaps allow some grown-ups in on the ‘secret’.
Secondly these individuals refuse to take history lessons, preferring to blindly follow whatever nonsensical version of history they prefer at the time.
The Alliance Party is the bastard child of Unionism, borne out of well-meaning O’Neill disciples, who took their own rhetoric too seriously too quickly, without adequately surveying the ground around them. That it failed to be killed at birth is an accident of history, and mostly down to, who else, the Lord Bannside. This narrative is explored in more detail in the author’s Open Unionism back catalogue.
The Conservative Party in Northern Ireland is and always has been a loose collection of politically naive zealots, who occasionally come together of an evening to satisfy their hunger. They will never achieve anything, and even with a packing of half the liberal UUP, will always struggle to supplant the UUP, not least due to the unfortunate necessity of pulling against a remote CCHQ who, entirely innocently, cannot ever understand Ulster. The fact that the heretofore zealots have been pulling themselves towards England (politically speaking) only proves the point. Mr Cameron did not need the UUP to colonise Northern Ireland quickly, he needed us to establish a meaningful presence at all.
For liberal Unionists, the idea of forming a new party on the premise that the Alliance worked, and the Tories are loosely the right idea, is unworkable and hopelessly optimistic, not to mention the historical ignorance underpinning the entire enterprise.
Mr Mallie’s reporting of this group seemingly suggests that they desire to become a party operating in Northern Ireland, of the Conservative Party but not in it, is essentially a desire to become a child’s mini-UCUNF. One does not find it necessary to make any further argument m’Lud.
W B Maginess Esq