Wednesday 3 February 2010

Jim Allister's Churchill moment

In 1940 Winston Churchill, who had spent the previous decade as isolated and in the political wilderness, was appointed as British Prime Minister. He had, throughout his wilderness years, sought to portray himself as an isolated voice warning of the need to rearm against Germany, and his appointment in 1940 was, to him and his supporters, a vindication of everything that he had stood for.

Fast-forward 70 years.

Jim Allister, who like Churchill had had an earlier career in his party, departed for the political wilderness on the issue of power-sharing (or, in translation: 'to be an isolated voice warning of the need to rearm against Sinn Féin').

As in 1940, in 2010 the country is in crisis – now, though, 'the country' is only the unionist community. Robinson is Chamberlain, and appeasement of Sinn Féin is the risk. So far Robinson's party, the DUP, are just about supporting him, but there are at least 14 MLAs (out of 36) who are not. Things are looking bad.

It would only take a small additional push for the majority of the DUP to go over to the anti-Robinson camp, and then, like Chamberlain, he would be forced out.

At that point, faced with the fruition of everything that Churchill Allister had warned about, what better course of action for the newly cleansed DUP than to re-unite with its lost brethren (and their 13% of the vote) under the vindicated leadership of Allister?

The DUP, shorn of its appeasers and returned to its anti-agreement roots, would easily merge with the TUV to form a large block of negative backward-looking unionism. It would be a return to its situation pre-St Andrews and pre-power-sharing. Allister could provide the kind of backbone that such a party needs and loves.

Churchill, of course, was rejected by the voters at the very first opportunity that they had, in 1945. Allister would fare no better.

1 comment:

hoboroad said...

Peter Robinson is back as First Minister according to Eamonn Mallie.