Monday 1 February 2010

Kane out, how many will follow?

The news that Alex Kane, the UUP's director of communications, has resigned from his post is hardly earth-shattering, but it indicates the depth of feeling within the UUP at the recent behind-the-scenes dealing between the UUP and the DUP.

Kane represents the civic wing of the UUP – he had been a member of the UUP between 1973 and 1987, but then joined the Tories. He left the Tory Party in 1996 after becoming convinced me that the "preservation, protection and promotion of the Union was not regarded as either a government or party priority".

He returned to the UUP, as a Trimblite. He emphasises that:

"… there is not a sectarian bone in my body. I am an atheist. I don't belong to the Orange or any other Loyalist Order. I don't even support the monarchy". [Comments on Slugger O'Toole website, June 4, 2004 11:37 AM]

As such he is exactly the sort of person the new-look UUP (re-branded as UCUNF) should be trying to attract – instead it has succeeded in repelling him! A job well done, by Empey and his band of dundering fools. It seems that unionism is splintering into three equally unpalatable factions – the Neanderthals of the TUV, the orange bigots of the DUP, and the equally orange, but less professional, UUP.

As for the civic unionists? Well, by default, they are going to have to vote for the Tories – but if UCUNF seems to be too UUP-tinged, then many of them may not even vote for UCUNF. In constituencies where the UCUNF 'agreed candidate' is an unreformed UUPer, the civic unionists may turn out in smaller numbers, or even vote for Alliance.

So, as unionism shrinks, it is also splintering. This is good news for nationalism, of course, and the greater the splits, the bitterer the rivalry, and the greater the disillusionment amongst unionist voters, the better. It will be interesting to see who else quits the UUP or UCUNF between now and the election.

12 comments:

hoboroad said...

http://www.newsletter.co.uk/columnists/Why-should-the-UUP-realign.6029927.jp?articlepage=2

Above are Alex Kanes reasons for quitting as laid out in his weekly Newsletter column. Some sort of merger between the UUP and the DUP seems to be on the cards.

peteram79 said...

Traditional unionists can become as disenchanted as they like by their political representatives, there would still be close to 100pc turnout of the Protestant-Unionist-Loyalist should the big question be put to the people of Northern Ireland, and their decision would be almost entirely unanimous.

The same cannot be, and indeed likely will never be, said for the Catholic-Nationalist-Republican community.

That's one of the reason's why your blog is so mistitled.

Anonymous said...

Dont think so but if it helps you sleep at night, what the hell!

Unionism/Loyalism needs to wake up, smell the roses,negotiate with its neighbour and do a deal from a position of relative strength.

We will be magnanimous in the deliberations.

Actually, the title is brilliant.

Time is running out...........

paul said...

peteram79 said...The same cannot be, and indeed likely will never be, said for the Catholic-Nationalist-Republican community....

dream on lad..

paul said...

pete... have a juke at this

http://www.scottishunionistvoice.net/2009/11/billy-leonard-sinn-fein.html

This has been going on throughout our history, and can only increase with peace.

Protestants have always fought for there country, not many Catholics fighting for someone else's though.

peteram79 said...

It would be in part funny and in part a tactical masterstroke if unionism did indeed approach the Republic of Ireland and offer their terms for unification.

The Republic's outright rejection of an outcome that would quicken their bankruptcy and threaten their monocultural social cohesion through the addition of Northern Irish malcontents on both sides of the community might finally serve as a wake-up call to northern Republicans - the south don't want you almost as much as they don't want northern unionists, they don't want Sinn Fein, they don't want to pay (and can't pay) your huge welfare bill and frankly they find you an embarrassment.

peteram79 said...

dream on lad..

Yes, Paul, it's me that's dreaming that a middle class Catholic living in a leafy south Belfast suburb with a good job with, sayy, the NICS and sending their kids to Methody or Rathmore would, if a referendum slip dropped through their door tomorrow, think, "sod my current comfortable lifestyle and the prospects for my children, I'll vote to throw everything into total uncertainty and leave one of Europe's largest economies for one of its weakest, in a move that will inevitably bankrupt sia country, and also risk the outbreak of fullscale civil war, just to fulfil some romantic fantasy of a united Ireland.

Try meeting some of these people, get a better idea of how they think and what motivates them. They're very nice, much nicer than your average diehard Republican I can assure you.

Anonymous said...

Ah--the missing RC Unionists!

Sorry pal, they call their children Oisín and Saoirse while sending them out at the weekend to play Gaelic Football, Camogie and Hurling.

This Blog has demonstrated many times the link between the RC proportion of the electorate and the voting strength of nationalist community.

peteram79 said...

So again the frustrated nationalist/Republicans point to some cultural attachment to the romantic ideal as a counter to the uncomfortable truth that hard economics ensures that vast swathes of the middle-class Catholic population of Northern Ireland remain, if they were forced to vote in a referendum, small u unionists, or at least abstentionists. A vote for the SDLP in a council election isn't the same as a vote for a UI in a referendum.

Middle-class Catholic families with kids called after the heroes of the Fianna and immersed in GAA may exist. But so do families with Stevens and Claires calling rugby and hockey. I know because I've met them. The latter families are not going to vote for a UI. And I'd suspect a significant minority (at the very least) of the former wouldn't either. People tend not to vote for things that make then financially and materially worse off, no matter what the heartstrings might tell them.

Anonymous said...

"The latter families are not going to vote for a UI. And I'd suspect a significant minority (at the very least) of the former wouldn't either."

Got a cristal ball then.

Dont put your house on it!

Less exagerated claims and more hard facts, please.

Wiz said...

It makes Unionists sleep at night believing this nonsense. It really is there last hope, Nationalists voting for the status quo, that Unionist are now so desperate for Nationalist voting for the status quo certainly shows how much the demographics have changed. Tell me this, why would Nationalist vote on economic reasons when this place will never attract investment like the Republic. An all-Ireland economy would certainly improve Ulster economically. Can anyone remember the BBC1 programme a few years back on what would be best for N. Ireland economically? Status quo, NI independence, or reunification. Guess what the economist all choose?

Anonymous said...

I'm one of these "middle class Catholics", educated at St Columb's College in Derry and Queen's Belfast afterwards. I've spent my whole life around middle class Catholics. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but when they say to their Unionist friends they "couldn't care less" about politics, they're telling you what you want to hear. They almost all go into the polling booth and put a tick beside the SDLP or SF on polling day, and they do it for a reason.