Friday, March 18, 2005

Unionist Unity?

Today sees the meeting of delegations from the UUP and DUP hosted by the Orange Order at Schomberg House.

This meeting seems to have come about after pressure put upon the parties, particularly on Trimble after the last meeting of Grand Lodge. In my book its a very welcome development that after breaking their links with the UUP, the Orange Order is now using its influence as an independent body within unionism. Its also good to see that the pressure put upon David Trimble and the UUP has now meant they have u-turned on their initial rejection of these talks.

I am a little sceptical though of the story that 81% of Orangemen want actually to see a merger between the UUP and DUP. Unionist unity is a very laudable aim in places like Fermanagh & South Tyrone where is holds the possibility of defeating Sinn Fein/IRA. But surely the competition between parties is healthy in places like North Down, East Belfast etc. I would be very interested to know exactly how that question was posed.

Anyway, unionism is uniting more towards one party these days anyway. The drift away from the Ulster Unionist Party is leaving the DUP as the increasingly dominant partner within unionism.

2 Comments:

Blogger Beano said...

Pity there was No Unionist Electoral Pact to come out of this. Living in S Belfast I'd quite happily let the DUP have fermanagh/s tyrone if they were more popular there in return for us having McGimpsey in. However, I heard that when the DUP said pact they meant "UUP roll over and let us have both seats". That was some time ago, but I haven't heard of a change in this position.

3:42 pm  
Blogger fonda said...

Beano,
I dont recall the DUP telling the UUP to 'roll over' in both seats. In fact it has been quite the reverse.

The DUP proposal was that the UUP pick the seat out of those two which they wanted to run in - putting them in the stronger position as to which one they want to run in. The DUP would then run in the other.

Its not helpful in trying to get agreed candidates when one party demands that they run in both. Yes its a sad day for unionism and I would have loved to see someone like Michelle Gildernew booted out on her rump. I believe Arlene Foster is the person to do that, and in return I dont think its too much to ask DUP supporters in somewhere like South Belfast to vote for the UUP, even for someone like Michael McGimpsey would is clearly a Trimble loyalist and not the DUP's favourite person.

10:03 pm  

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