Open Unionism


A forum to discuss new ideas and perspectives on Unionism…

Migrating Open Unionism…

I’ve nearly finished the new blog site (more explanation here too). This wasn’t a ‘plug in and play’ type of theme by any means so it’s taken me a while longer than I thought it would. Admittedly there are still a few odds and ends to get right but I think we’re nearly there.

I’m going to map the domains together so anyone typing in this address should get sent the new site. However, my main concern is that the RSS feeds won’t transfer so I’ve registered the new blog on feedburner. Paste this url into your reader to get all the new updates.

I’ll aim to make the switch on Wednesday afternoon. And as before, please do let me know if any feedback on the new site. All comments welcomed…


Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

NIO let DUP pick its own leader?

The Daily Telegraph  has been running the next chapter of WikiLeaks, this one detailing a cable from the US Embassy in London to Washington deals with the NIO’s analysis of Ian Paisley’s resignation in 2008.

 It doesn’t supply us with that much we didn’t know before. The NIO reckoned Paisley’s departure wouldn’t “destabilize Northern Ireland” and that his “final, grand gesture”, his attendance at the Investment Conference, would probably stimulate interest in the event as invitees would be curious to see the old boy deliver his swansong. 

This section did read a bit strange though:

It would be up to the DUP to pick its new leader, said Todd (John Todd, Political Advisor in the Northern Ireland Office). Both Peter Robinson and Nigel Dodds were names being considered for the leadership, according to Todd, with many suggesting Robinson may become the successor in a “Blair to Brown-type” deal. Todd said the choice was up to the DUP; the NIO was uninvolved and agnostic as to who should lead the party.

So, the NIO would play no part in choosing the leader, they were leaving it entirely up to the DUP.  

Why was it felt necessary to point that (what I would have thought) rather obvious fact out twice?

Were the Americans under the impression that HMG was running the DUP?

Filed under: Uncategorized

Migrating Open Unionism…

I’m going to migrate Open Unionism to a self-hosted wordpress site over the next day or two. I also felt it was right to step away from the wordpress url and establish this blog as a standalone .com

So here’s the link to the new site. It’s a work in progress – I’m still adding to it and do the polishing job (eg. on the post excerpts on the frontpage need work), but I’d really appreciate feedback on it. Being free to edit the CSS means I can incorporate comment and change the site to make it work better for users.

I really felt this blog needed a facelift and a refocus on the content. I recently revamped bobballs and have been impressed by the capacity of the self-hosted version to better organise and deliver dynamic content.

For example, is driven through widgets. As you can see this blog is now getting very widget-heavy and my feeling is that this is crowding out the posted content. The new theme I’m adapting should really showcase the insight that bloggers here are producing whilst also making it more presentable / accessible for the user.

The range of plugins I can use on a self-hosted site means I can tailor and discretely arrange additional functionality. Take the bobballs blog – I can more easily embed podcasts / pics / audio than is presently the case with

I’ll aim to put a redirection in place by Wednesday of this week, so you’ll automatically be sent to the new blog site.  If you subscribe to this blog via a reader you may need to update the RSS.

Appreciate your patience while this occurs, and of course all feedback is welcome.

Filed under: Uncategorized,

Lord Empey, should he be finding the time to also be a MLA?

 While I’m sure most of the readers here have been enjoying the recent constitutional trials and tribulations of West Belfast’s very own Green Baron, there have been interesting developments on the other side of the city regarding the status of (a real) Lord.

Lord Empey a Conservative, Cross-Bencher or UUP peer?

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Reflections on the Anglo Irish Agreement

Last month saw the twenty fifth anniversary of the Anglo Irish Agreement. Brain Walker had a far from unionist friendly analysis (unsurprisingly) of it over on Slugger. The same month in 1985 as the agreement was signed, the UUP and DUP mobilised one of the largest mass protests Belfast has ever seen against the Agreement; memorably including Dr. Paisley’s iconic Never, never, never, never” speech. The News Letter has reflections from a number of different people on that day of protest and Jim Allister has his thoughts on his website.

The long term effect on unionists in general is probably difficult to gauge and no doubt differs between different unionists.

by Turgon
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Filed under: Uncategorized, , ,

We’ve started up a facebook group page…

We’ve started up an Open Unionism group page on facebook. Follow the link and join up!

Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

Tonight’s Conservative PPB

PPBs fascinate me. On a general note though, I dislike the straight piece to camera – nothing televisual in it. Always seems to be a waste of the opportunity provided by the medium.

Overall, this has more than a hint of ‘Labour isn’t working’ about it. They need to be careful about this – lest the Tories connive to invite broader comparisons with the ‘Winter of Discontent’. Any other thoughts?

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Filed under: Coalition Government, conferences, Conservatives, Uncategorized,

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.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Sinn Fein Non-Economics

Fair Deal over on Ultonia translated Sinn Fein’s postion on the budget crisis into a photo of a monkey with his fingers in his (or her) ears.

Responding to the First Minister’s comments on the issue, Sinn Fein’s economic genius Mitchell McLaughlin said: “It’s incredible that Peter Robinson is inviting ministers to anticipate the cuts before we even get the budget statement on 20 October.”

He added that cuts “proposed or imposed by the British government must be challenged and resisted”.

It is a well known fact from when the Coalition Government was formed that cuts, cuts and more cuts were going to be the focus of Government. Sinn Fein’s non-economics is a typical response from a party that believes that our own Government should be paying for what thirty years of violence and murder orchastrated by the IRA cost this region in economic terms. Sinn Fein should be working to develop Northern Ireland and repair the damage that they created.

The first thing that they should be doing is sitting down with all parties on the Executive and working to resolve the situation in order to manage it as effectively as possible. However instead they are behaving like monkeys out to blame the ‘British’ Government for the situation we have found ourselves in. How responsible, eh? Nevertheless how is this new given the fact that they have blamed the same Government for oppression dating back centuries.

Filed under: devolution, finances, power sharing, Sinn Fein, This week, Uncategorized

New Sinn Fein oath

The Secretary of State has revealed that he has asked Sinn Fein to write their own oath acceptable enough for them to enter Parliament.

He has told them to write an acceptable oath or give up their expenses.

Filed under: political reform, Uncategorized

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