Open Unionism


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An open letter to Owen Paterson: Where now for the *UK* Conservative Party?

Three weeks ago, myself and another pro-Union blogger contacted Owen Paterson’s office. To date, we have had no reply from Mr. Paterson or his staff to our email and we are sending it this morning in the form of an open letter in hope of some kind of response:

Dear Mr. Paterson,

We are writing to you concerning the position of the Conservative Party vis-à-vis its activity in Northern Ireland. As Conservative and Unionist bloggers we have been firm supporters of Mr. Cameron’s policy of political engagement in the province, and we hope to be able to continue to facilitate in our small way the efforts of the party there. In recent weeks there has been some confusion about the future of the party in Northern Ireland, and if you were able to clarify that position for us, we would then be able to pass it to our readership.

Kind Regards,

Dilettante, oneill

In interests of transparency: Dilettante is a full member of the Conservative party; whilst I have been a member of both the Friends of the Conservatives and the UUP previously, I no longer have any official connection with either party.

Our real, “off-line names” have been used in the communication to Owen Paterson.

Why did we write it?

As enthusiastic supporters of the original premise behind the Conservative and UUP link-up three years ago, we had been bemused at the turn of events pre-Christmas when the backroom deal between officials of the two parties effectively isolated Northern Ireland once again from the mainstream of United Kingdom politics.

At the time the Conservative leadership gave no public explanation for this retreat; it was also unclear as to whether they saw any future for the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland or indeed for the concept of a genuinely UK-wide pro-Union party.

They shouldn’t be that difficult questions to address but they are ones Owen Paterson and others remain reluctant, well over a month later, to publicly answer.

And with the news of an *arrangement* being reached between the DUP and UUP in North and West Belfast, can we now also assume that the UK Conservative party is an integral part of what is obviously an ongoing “Unionist Unity” project?

Cross-posted at:  Dilettante, Slugger OToole, Unionist Lite

Filed under: Conservatives, unionist unity?, ,

5 Responses

  1. DR says:


    If you want a reply, write a proper letter man, and should it not go to the party chairman?

  2. Dilettante says:

    This was originally sent as an informal email, it is hardly a difficult one to reply too.

  3. Conquistador says:

    The Northern Ireland Conservative Party surely does amuse.

    Up in arms when disbarred from fighting futile Assembly elections, yet offered a very real chance of some councillors on UUP transfers, and no sign of anyone coming forward.

    If they had sense they’d be looking to get some people into the local government chamber whence-from they could build a base to become a credible local party.

  4. thedissenter says:

    This should be sent to the Chairman of the voluntary association. Lot of general disquiet among other constituency associations, who may feel common cause at central oppression. It was the grassroots in the first instance that was bold enough to embrace organisation in Northern Ireland and force it through Party conference when the Conservative Party had conferences where policy and politics actually found a way onto the agenda.

  5. oneill says:


    The question is not just the Assembly candidates as I am sure you are aware. There is not much point sorting anything our for a future campaign if the hierarchy see no need-future for the party here. That’s what needs clarifying.


    Thanks, we’re sorting that out.

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