East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has posted his New Year’s message via Facebook.
He has urged caution in Unionism’s approach to Sinn Fein arguing that whilst they may have given up violence their aims remain the same: a United Ireland. He says: “Unionists now need to be clear that republicans are still wedded to the notion of trying to achieve a United Ireland.”
He has said that Sinn Fein are on the charm offensive to Unionists and that we must beware. He argues that a means of ensuring that we build a better Northern Ireland free from Republican bigotry is situated at Stormont with devolution. Without it Republicans would have the freedom to push their ideology and idea of a United Ireland. Having the structures in place Unionism can keep Republicans in check but Unionism must not allow itself to dilute its message.
REMAIN STEADFAST FOR 2011 – CAMPBELL
“There is a need to review progress on the political front as we enter another New Year.
There has been considerable speculation regarding the forthcoming Assembly elections. Sinn Fein has begun what I termed some time ago the charm offensive on the wider Unionist community. Having realized the hopelessness of the bombing offensive and seen that Internationally the terror campaign was leading them nowhere they decided as they usually do to try and turn a closed door into an opportunity. Now having divested themselves of their unacceptable past they seek to portray themselves as peacemakers.
It is 13 years since the IRA restored it’s ceasefire. Unionists now need to be clear that republicans are still wedded to the notion of trying to achieve a United Ireland. The difference is that for most of them the means of trying to achieve it are now different as a result of the decision in the mid 1990’s to forego the violence tactic. There are three categories of Unionist approach to this scenario, the first is the one of ‘nothing has changed’ and all future tactics in how to deal with republicans are based on the premise that republicans not only still want a United Ireland but still use the same violent methods to achieve it. This is not just living in the past but allowing republicans to portray Unionists as being unable to deal with post violence republicanism. Another attitude by some Unionists who, having watched republicans move away from violence, now totally accept their bona fides in virtually every aspect of politics, forgetting their past, treating them as they would every other democratic opponent and leaving some of their unionist supporters wondering what the 30 years of terror was about if SF are simply a darker green version of the SDLP. The position that the vast majority of Unionists are in is the sensible and consistent one, we recognise that the Provisional IRA have now finally accepted that their campaign has failed. What republicans will do when the current strategy also fails is anyone’s guess. The key for mainstream Unionism is that as we move forward we must not forget the past. Just as we must never surrender we must also never forget what the terrorists did to this Country for so long.
Sinn Fein have no possibility of achieving their objective, they have for some time been trying to assure Unionists of their benign intentions towards us. Unionists must not fall into the trap of believing that it was the violence, the intolerance, the naked sectarianism of republican demands alone that makes us determined never to concede. Their Irishness, whether bathed in the blood of innocent victims in the past or covered in kindness now, can never encompass us, nor will we allow it to.
The current structures at Stormont are such that we must keep pressing to ensure a better future for all our children. Sinn Fein having sufficient votes to get into Government must not mean that we become blunted in our campaigning style. No Programme for Government or System of Government can be allowed to offer comfort zones for us to operate in, there must be no diluting of our message as we strive to give positive direction to the people of Northern Ireland. 2011 can offer hope for a better future.”