Wednesday 3 February 2010

United unionist party "a generation away"

UUP leader Reg Empey has said that a united unionist party was "a generation away".

Why Empey thinks that there should even be such a thing as a ‘unionist’ party in 25 years is hard to comprehend. He clearly thinks that the constitutional question will still remain the dominating issue in Northern Irish politics. He obviously lacks confidence in the basic ‘civic unionist’ premise – that politics should move away from disagreement about the constitutional future, and should be based upon issues. If, in a generation, there is still a party with ‘unionist’ in its title then civic unionism will clearly have failed.

This blog certainly understands why Empey would see the need for such a united unionist party in a generation. By then (say, roughly, 2035) unionists will be in a clear minority in the six counties, and will probably be looking to maximise their influence in Dáil Eireann, so a single party would make sense.

However, this blog would prefer if Mr Empey and his party lost their obsession with symbolism over rationality, and adopted political positions based upon socio-economic preferences, so that, in the new Ireland of 2035, citizens – Protestant, Catholic, Dissenter and atheist – would combine and debate on the basis of philosophy rather than prejudice.


Anonymous said...

Whta's this guy smoking? The Unionist community will be a Union-less community in 25 years.

Anonymous said...

'By then (say, roughly, 2035) unionists will be in a clear minority in the six counties, and will probably be looking to maximise their influence in Dáil Eireann.'

The delusion only grows (LOL).

nixtuff said...

I find it a bit funny that TUV has said they want a return to a majoritarian system, where you just do a straight vote, one member per district, and whoever wins the most seats wins the election; especially when you consider that if we had such a system and had an election right now, Sinn Fein would form a majority government.

Yet, at the same time, unionists as a whole are trying to do anything to prevent just that from happening.

Unrepentant British Nationalist said...

I think you're very mistaken in believing there will be a united Ireland. Many Irish people I have spoken to do not think it is likely or desirable. Unionists won't stand for it, and there would be one hell of a civil war. Besides, the Irish state's broke.

Ulster will remain British.

Anonymous said...

Who is Mr Hammond?

Anon, pray tell why are his speculations more
believable than those of Horsemans?

Any thoughts, Horseman.

Horseman said...

Concerning the Hammond paper, I was quite interested to read it, and am going to do a blog on it quite soon (i.e. as soon as time permits).

I have no idea who Hammond is, or whether his MA thesis was successful. He seems to have dropped off the radar since 2006.

Anonymous said...

' going to do a blog on it quite soon (i.e. as soon as time permits).'

In other words, when I can manipulate the statistics and the findings of the submission to fit in with my sectarian triumphalist analysis.

Anonymous said...

Have polls been taken in the republic on how many seek to unify with the north? UBN poster raises some interesting points...

Paddy Canuck said...

I thought the comment "By then (say, roughly, 2035) unionists will... probably be looking to maximise their influence in Dáil Eireann" was interesting. Do you really feel that there will be an official united Ireland? I'd be curious to hear the reasons in support. Of course, I'm no expert, but... I used to feel this would happen one day, but increasingly, I don't believe it will. It seems to me there's a large kernel of soft unionism in the Catholic community that isn't bothered enough to make an issue of it and take on change just for the sake of change. If they can have the same rights as Protestants, the same jobs, same education, same opportunities, same representation, and can come and go as though the border didn't exist at all, then what would compel them to force the issue, stir things up, just to make it official? I'm skeptical that this will occur de jure when a de facto united Ireland will probably satisfy most people. I mean, if you can move from Newry to Dundalk to change flags but keep working in Newry anyway, why go to all the trouble? To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Six Counties still part of the UK in a century... I'd be slightly less surprised to learn that the United Kingdom had become a United Republc of GB & NI in the interim. :)

But again, I'm curious to hear your thoughts. You've obviously invested much more of your mind and soul in this than someone like me, and I'd like to hear what you think...

Horseman said...

Paddy Canuck,

The future is as foreign a country as the past. Who knows what 2035 will look like? I think it will be very different - none of today's politicos (and trouble-makers) will still be here, and the population of NI will be majority Catholic. Will there still be a UK? Will England be browner and more muslim? Will this matter? The EU - bigger, stronger, more relevant - who knows?

Why anyone would chose to stay in the UK when they share a small island with their fellow-country(wo)men is a mystery to me. But Ireland too will be very different, and we cannot know in what way. Perhaps all EU countries will have become effectively regions of a super-state so the question of 'national' sovereignty might be meaningless.

But this is 2010, so I (and most of us) will continue to work according to today's paradigms. History will show that many of us were wasting our time, but which of us? If you look at the Empire Loyalists of your own (adopted?) country, they were probably wasting their time too, but at the time they never knew it.

I just hope that history shows us that it was the unionists who were wasting their time, not me!


Anonymous said...

And so say all of us!

Paddy Canuck said...

"If you look at the Empire Loyalists of your own (adopted?) country, they were probably wasting their time too, but at the time they never knew it."

I'm Irish by foreign births registration -- ironically, via Northern Ireland. So, yes, I'd like to see the country my grandmother hailed from one day officially part of the republic that's blessed me with its citizenship. :)

Oddly enough, I used to sympathize with the "Loyalists" of NI largely because of the similarity of terms. But loyalism in Canada was about maintaining something that was changing in revolution. And it meant leaving, not staying. And it wasn't exclusionary... United Empire Loyalists were Protestant, Catholic; English, Scottish, Irish, German, Dutch, Polish, First Nation (entire tribes moved north), African... it took me a while to realize our "loyalism" was not to be associated with that in Northern Ireland.

Loyalism here is less about being British (though the Queen is still on the money) as much as it is being separate from the US. Even so, there are still people even today who'd like Canada to be part of the United States (I would not, especially lately). Of course, I realize the dimensions of the Irish dynamic are not strictly the same. Still, I think we all agree that NI has the right to remain in the UK until such time as the majority of its people can be persuaded to complete Ireland. I personally would favour a federal Ireland where Ulster (and, preferably, the other provinces) have their own legislatures for local affairs. With regard to Gaelic, I think Connaught having its own legislature would immensely strengthen that hand.