Monday 31 May 2010

A Unity of Added Potential

Peter Robinson has called for a Unity of Added Potential, not a Unity of Necessity, at the North Tyrone DUP Branch annual.

The joke implicit in that statement is compounded by Robinson’s assertion that:

"For the DUP the concept of closer co-operation and the ideal of unity with fellow unionists is not a new one. Our willingness to work closely with other unionists, particularly the Ulster Unionist Party, was evident for all to see in past decades. "
And the basis for unity is:
“Any examination should be based upon common values, realism and a vision for Unionist renewal.”
So what are the common values that we are held between the UUP and DUP?

“A common belief in the maintenance and the development of the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”
(OK, so you’re both unionists. We got that – it’s in the ‘U’ in your names!)

“Identification with the institutions of the state and the over-arching British identity”
(Um, is that now what you just said?)

(Sorry? Are you pulling our legs? How many Catholic members have you? How often have you set foot in a Catholic Church?)

“Making the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Executive work”
(By trying to block every nationalist interest? This is Orwellian!)

“Upholding power-sharing with nationalists”
(By pushing for ‘voluntary coalition? How does that work? Do you truly think that people are stupid?)

“Transformation of the Northern Ireland economy”
(Tell us how. Tell us which public sector cuts you will push for, in order to reduce the burden on the private sector, and in order to minimise the out-bidding by the public sector that robs the private sector of talent)

“Many a harsh word has been exchanged between our parties. This has led to mistrust and will take time to overcome.”

Well, at least he admits that.

“Minority ethnic communities are growing and new ones being established in Northern Ireland that have little linkages with politics in general and Unionism in particular.”
So the DUP is worried that its negative and xenophobic tendencies are losing it the ‘migrant’ vote.

“…we must be honest in this debate by recognising that the immediate prospect of a single Party is unrealistic. We must crawl before we can run.”
But no single party means no first-grabs at the First Minister post next year. Is Robinson giving up on that already?

Having successfully sabotaged the prospects of unionist unity in 2010, the DUP is pretending to be keen on it for the future! But why? Simply because ‘unionist unity’ is a necessity for the DUP in order for it to retain its ‘top dog’ position – and the all-important First Minister post. What the DUP is proposing is, of course, a Unity of Necessity, not a Unity of Added Potential – the contrary of what Robinson is claiming.

A Unity of Added Potential is a contradiction. For the full potential of unionism, or nationalism, to be achieved, there must be a variety of alternatives. One single option is like one flavour of ice-cream – some people will be happy, some will make do with it, but some simply won’t like the flavour.

Robinson’s call smells of a mixture of desperation and opportunism. Desperation to hold on to its leading position, and opportunism concerning the chances of eating up the UUP. But if the DUP succeeds, and ends up as the core of a single unionist party, this can only lead to a long-term weakening of unionism, as it becomes simply a single-issue campaign, rather than a full political spectrum. For that reason, this blog supports the concept of ‘unionist unity’ – gathered up in one single conflicted party, unionism would quickly become like a bag full of cats – and would decend into strife and schism, to its detriment.


Anonymous said...

Now and then the relentless schadenfreude is a little wearying. A little wit, some mirror-imaging, some humour, even outright absurdity would be refreshing.

It would be worthwhile for its own sake. It would be magnanimous and non-triumphalist and thereby help, or least do no harm to, the cause of reunification. Getting people's backs up won't get them onside.

I'd have enjoyed reading a spoof proposal for a unity of added potential, of a different sort. Why is unionism always about the British? Let's have some Irish unionism! And a few quotes suggesting that this might confuse some orange unionists into voting green, followed by fulminations of the Paisley sort.

A little Onion-style humour perhaps?

Just a suggestion (not a complaint).

Horseman said...


Point taken. I don't think that I have the ability to write Onion-style humour (or even Newton Emerson-style), but I understand what you're saying.

Seymour Major said...

Well, the subliminal message is quite clear, isn't it?

Peter Robinson might just as well have said:

"There is no daylight between us and the UUP. We are the stronger party so what is the point of giving your first preference vote to them"

Another line he could have chosen is this:

"A vote for the UUP is a vote for Martin McGuinness to be your first minister"

It seems that the 2011 Assembly election campaign is truly underway.