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The DUP and UUP… April 28, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Newton Emerson has an interesting point in the IT this week in relation to the UK General Election and the effects of that upon Northern Irish politics. He writes;

One thing the DUP seems guaranteed to lose in June is its leverage in a finely balanced Westminster.

The party has cherished a belief it will not be betrayed at Stormont by a Conservative government with a narrow working majority and Brexit rebels of both the Remain and Leave persuasion.

Whether that belief has been warranted – and the evidence has been scant – DUP morale will plummet once its seats are clearly surplus to Tory requirements.

That could end up being a surprisingly potent effect of this election.

Indeed. But what of this?

The first-past-the-post voting system produces blunt majorities. If the DUP and the UUP hold their current 10 out of 18 seats, they will present this result as a mandate for leaving the European Union.

Has the UUP changed its stance on Brexit in the last month or so?

 

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Comments»

1. bjg - April 28, 2017
GW - April 28, 2017

Fair point. Quite possibly.

We’ll see.

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bjg - April 28, 2017

This way of putting it may not help: https://www.rt.com/uk/386473-northern-ireland-eu-membership/

bjg

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shea - April 28, 2017

best thing to do to stop unionists getting offended is never mention anything that alludes to about half the population of the north only recognizing the northern state begrudgingly.

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WorldbyStorm - April 28, 2017

Agreed shea, but that RT piece does frame it in a particularly incorrect way. Stirring shit I’d think.

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2. roddy - April 28, 2017

People ,several leading UUP members including ex UDR Fermanagh MP Tom Eliott campaigned for Brexit..He and Kinehan supported article 50 in Westminster and the party has dropped any pretence of being anti or even neutral on Brexit.They are currently forming pacts in several constiuencies with the DUP and are at the forefront of the “don’t prosecute our boys” campaign.One of their MLAs boasts of “bayoniting” “rebels” in British imperialist wars of recent times Whilst several of their councillors have made outrageous comments about equal marriage and similar issues.They are every bit as right wing as the DUP and it amazes me to hear journalists and commentators lable them “middle ground”.

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irishelectionliterature - April 28, 2017

I think that ‘nice’ Mike Nesbitt led many to think they were middle ground.

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shea - April 28, 2017

think that is correct. there people in Westminster seem to be supporting british government line on it.

They didn’t take part in all ireland forum on brexit, followed dup line on the matter.

they or english nationalists have a bit of a cheek if they jump up and down about eu statement. All it is is potentially removing an obstacle to a possible outworking of the GFA in the event of a hard brexit.

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WorldbyStorm - April 28, 2017

There was an entertaining column by Emerson a while back talking about the ‘moderate’ middle… i.e. SDLP and UUP and the usual stuff about how they’d lost out in the peace process yada yada yada. Problem was he had to admit halfway through that the latter had ‘backwoodsmen’ and so on etc who were a problem. Which sort of took the gloss off the idea that they were ‘middle ground’.

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3. Aengus Millen - April 28, 2017

I think the UUP retaining Fermanagh South Tyrone at least looks unlikely. That would make it an even 9-9 split. There’s even an outside chance of Naomi Long taking back east belfast. That increases if SF-SDLP-Green parties take the unilateral decision not to stand which they still could do despite there being no pact. that would leave it nationalist 8 unionists 8 no preference 1 which would be the best result possible. Also on assembly numbers SF would take Foyle and South Down. While south belfast is as finely balanced as ever.

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4. roddy - April 28, 2017

This “middle ground” shite has been spouted for decades even when John Taylor of the UUP was sitting in the European group of John Marie Le Pen.

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WorldbyStorm - April 28, 2017

+1 I used to hate it when the WP cosied up to Maginnis and the McGimpsey’s. There was no point to the exercise given the UUP wouldn’t even share power with the SDLP at the time.

One thing about SF that has impressed me have been some much more solid efforts to reach out to unionists.

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5. sonofstan - April 28, 2017

Regarding the UI statement I think it may finally begin to dawn on the British public, as presumably the CS and the political class knew straight away, that all the demanding is going to happen on the EU side, and even little old us will have big and important allies whereas Britain seems to have offended even the commonwealth with their Empire 2.0 approach.

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Aengus Millen - April 28, 2017

That’s interesting I guess we’ve already seen that with Gibraltar and this is just a continuation in that same vein.

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Aengus Millen - April 28, 2017

I guess the real question is how this effects sf’s call for special status and whether the eu negotiating team and the Irish government gets behind that

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sonofstan - April 28, 2017

The EU are actually beginning to act like the big, bad singular entity of Mail/ Express fantasy. For the Brits, it’s like being the away fans, who have been roaring abuse in the stadium for 90 minutes, protected by the security, but then ….. after the game, it’s getting dark, they’re a long was from the train station and there’s a lot more of the them

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6. ivorthorne - April 29, 2017

There are two distinct traditions within Ireland (generally speaking) and engagement between those traditions is something that Nationalist progressives consider desirable. What makes it difficult for progressive nationalists is that there is little within the unionist tradition that progressives value. The things that mainstream​ political unionists value are militaristic, triumphalist and sectarian. It generally glorifies monarchy and elitism. Can there ever be a 12th celebration that a nationalist feels comfortable at? The version that of Britishness that unionism adopts and celebrates is the worst version on offer.

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sonofstan - April 29, 2017

I don’t think that’s fair; I know quite a few people from PUL backgrounds and who would remain unionists in the sense of wishing NI to continue as part of the UK, who are neither militaristic, triumphalist or sectarian

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fergal - April 29, 2017

So do I- but I don’t know how representative they are. The thing that has always got me about unionism is…its core and only belief- to be an unionist you have to believe in the union- full stop. It’s the smallest belief system that I know of. It’s a single issue party writ large.

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Joe - April 30, 2017

Smallest belief system – really? So your average unionist, that’s all they believe, in the union. No beliefs or opinions about anything else apparently.
But guess what, your average unionist believes in loads of other stuff. A lot of them believe in God, some don’t; some believe the UK should stay in the EU, more believe that it shouldn’t; some believe that free market tory government and economics is the best sort, fewer probably believe in old Labour social democracy for the UK. And so on and on.
Yep, your average unionist believes in all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff – just like you and me.

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Michael Carley - April 30, 2017

Arlene Foster and Sylvia Hermon, compare and contrast.

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fergal - April 30, 2017

Joe- in order to be a unionist..you need to believe in the union- everything else is secondary- it doesn’t matter- it really doesn’t bit like any form of nationalism really

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Joe - May 2, 2017

Fergal, unionists are nationalists – British nationalists. Nationalists are nationalists – Irish nationalists.
And my new slogan, courtesy of GW, is Ni patrie, ni patron.

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yourcousin - May 2, 2017

Joe,
But wouldn’t the British nation be marked as the empire with a hereditary Monarchy still intact? So comparing a monarchy and unionist support for said empire would fundamentally put it on a different sphere than Irish nationalism which developed in opposition to that empire.

Also if I recall you wrote on here quite eloquently a number of years ago about your sorrow for the Irish students who died when they balcony they were on collapsed. So it strikes me that if you truly were opposed to the nation then that wouldn’t of been the case as obviously all lifes are equal and to mourn Irish lives over others would be a sign of chauvinism.

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Joe - May 2, 2017

Well, yc. Of course every nationalism is different in that it’s about its own place and history – so British nationalism is different from French nationalism is different from Irish nationalism and on and on. But they are all nationalisms.
And of course I am full of contradictions. I mourn Irish students who died tragically because I relate them to my own kids who are around the same age and going to the same colleges. And I read about it in the local papers here and so on – so I relate to it more than to all the other deaths of kids of a similar age around the world.
And I have a great interest in the Irish language and folklore and I follow the Irish soccer team.
But these days, I fall back easily on good slogans. I like COYBIG and ni dieu ni maitre and ni patrie ni patron and Sectarianism kills workers and War What is it Good For – Absolutely nothing and One Love, One Heart, One Destiny. Slogans are easier than thinking things through.

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shea - May 3, 2017

A lot of people were pissed of with how last year the state marked the whole 1916 thing, but the state did not interfere in the grass roots reclaim event around the 24th.

Though another bank holiday would be nice. don’t know if the state should or can co opt it..

Had a look at a few orange marches, when they get to the field they tend to split into a crowd that go off for a drink and hours of religious people making speeches on current events using analogies from the bible. it can re reinforce itself, will be a while yet before it is all encomacing.

In terms of accommodating i suggest that its in non interference of rights of expression that a hypothetical ui can best accommodate orange culture and the bank holiday obviously.

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yourcousin - May 2, 2017

Joe,
Saying that nationalisms are all the same except for local flavor is kind of like saying that that the model T and a Prius are just cars. Not wrong, but so lacking in context as to be almost meaningless. Contradictions are fine, we’ve all got them.

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ivorthorne - April 30, 2017

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that there are not people from unionist backgrounds that have progressive values. There are some progressive politicians and a good chunk of the centrist Alliance vote comes from those who come from a unionist background.

But looking in general at unionism as a tradition and set of cultural practices, I struggle to see much that is positive. The Irish nationalist tradition, while far from universally positive or progressive, has an anti-imperial orientation and has tended to be more open, less sectarian and more concerned about analysing history from the perspective of victims rather than rulers in comparison to the unionist tradition.

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RosencrantzisDead - May 2, 2017

This reminds of a question I often put to people when discussing NI politics: if you are left-wing and a unionist, who do you vote for in NI? Or are ‘left-wing’ and ‘unionism’ mutually exclusive?

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WorldbyStorm - May 2, 2017

That’s a key question or questions you have RiD. Just on the general discussion I’ve a few thoughts I’ll put in a comment later but on the specific you raise there is a real issue as to why unionism has only offered few left aspects across the last century and into this one. Those that have existed have been marginal and rudimentary, and really hardly any further left than mainstream social demicracy.

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WorldbyStorm - May 2, 2017

By the way I don’t think the two terms are mutually exclusive but in actual practice they appear even in the context of and by Unionism’s own lights to be worlds apart.

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WorldbyStorm - May 3, 2017

I’m fascinated by this discussion. And perhaps as someone with both Irish and English roots and Catholic and Protestant (both Irish and English in the latter instance) connections, direct connections, I feel I’ve some skin in the game.

I’m deeply uncomfortable with the idea that there is no Unionist culture worth its name, that comes perilously close to arguments which deny agency and self-awareness and an internal life to the working class – I think that one can view Unionism as an offshoot of English and Scottish culture with its own aspects but also shared aspects with those others and those are its. We would never argue that an English person in Liverpool or Bognor Regis has no identity or culture. Why would we think that a unionist in Belfast or Larne hasn’t either when for them significant parts of their self identity is much the same as that of someone in Liverpool or Bognor Regis.

I do agree though that there are militaristic aspects that are less clearly evident in Republican/Nationalism – at least at church and state level. For example an awareness of military service and so on that is quite alien to Irish Catholicism and Nationalism at church services etc. There’s the whole weight of the superstructure of monarchy, aristocracy and very specific class divisions, which while not necessarily impinging directly are linked into a broader sense of identity.

And though I’m loath to say it I think that those inflect English nationalism and Unionism too in ways that can be very pernicious. I never much liked the PD line that Unionism and Loyalists were colons – way too much of a sense of otherness in that argument that can lead to very very damaging outcomes there IMO. But I do think that there are more and less progressive versions of nationalism and I’m unconvinced that unionist nationalism is at the same stage as Irish nationalism in that regard.

However, there’s a problem here. Whatever my view on that it doesn’t do to operate as if that is the case if only because parity of esteem requires parity in both directions. So in an executive role…

Of course there’s another issue here – that perhaps we’re confusing nationalism and culture when the two are distinct. Is it possible that at some point Orange festivals will be genuinely inclusive festivals? I think it is. But that requires in some way the nationalism side of the equation being dealt with in such a way that we accept there are two valid nationalisms (as distinct from two nations which I don’t think there are because of the sheer impossibility of – and undesirability too of – untangling the admixture of Nationalist and Unionist in the North) but because there are two whatever happens in the short to medium term requires both expression and in the longer term if a UI occurs that the cultural aspects of both will need expression. I look forward to a UI wrestling successfully with the question of how to offer full respect to the 12th and doing so in such a way as to satisfy those for whom the Orange is a key pillar of their identity.

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yourcousin - May 3, 2017

“I look forward to a UI wrestling successfully with the question of how to offer full respect to the 12th and doing so in such a way as to satisfy those for whom the Orange is a key pillar of their identity”.

But doesn’t that suppose that the 12th can be viewed in historical isolation? Much like the confederate flag which many state governments started flying during the early civil rights era it was used as a stand in historical supremacy far beyond the original event. I understand that precept of a UI supposes a settlement but I’m not sure it still squares the circle of an Krajinaesque mentality which the Ulster unionist identity seems to encapsulate.

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WorldbyStorm - May 3, 2017

Yeah, I know, it’s a real problem. I wonder could it be like Bonfire night in the UK where the historical/sectarian aspects are broadly irrelevant?

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yourcousin - May 3, 2017

But the irrelevance of what bonfire night symbolizes is largely due to the settled natured of the debate. Prods won, papists lost AND lots of water under the bridge. The unfinished nature of the north and the compromised nature of any long term solution (say joint control) will only harden revanchist tendencies, not soften them (thinking of say Bosnia).

I mean we’re both futuring here so no harm in being positive rather than needlessly cynical.

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irishelectionliterature - May 3, 2017

I would expect that were there to be a United Ireland, the 12th “celebrations” in certain quarters would be even more extreme than they are now .

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oconnorlysaght - May 2, 2017

Nationalism per se is a barrier to analysis. The problem is that, apart from struggles between imperial metropoles, such fights are usually between oppressor and oppressed nations, and for socialists to avoid the issue in the name of ‘internationalism’ (actually a purely negative anti-nationalism) is to strengthen one of the non-socialist competing forces. The grim fate of Irish Labour after 1916 is an object lesson. As internationalists socialists have to dirty their hands by participating in struggles for aims of a democratic nationalist nature. As Lenin declared and Trotsky agreed, the struggle of an oppressed nation has a progressive content not possessed by the struggle of the oppressor.
A belated Mayday greetings.

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oconnorlysaght - May 3, 2017

By the bye, I don’t remember PD describing the unionists of Ulster as ‘colons’. That was certainly not the line after I joined (C.1978). If I were to indulge in that sort of definition, I would term them ‘Cossacks’, but a/ that tends to have a restricted militarist meaning and b/ it can only be a code term anyway. Better accept that,as has been said, (and as too many of them see themselves, they are the vanguard of an oppressive composite nationalism.

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7. roddy - April 29, 2017

Who do they vote for then?The UUP, DUP and TUV account for about 96% of the Unionist vote and are “militaristic triumphalist and sectarian”.

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paulculloty82 - April 30, 2017

Alliance is strongest East of the Bann largely because of the Protestant liberal vote, even if they’re attempting to expand in South Down and the west of NI.

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