Monday, March 12, 2018

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One Unionist Party

One party to represent the entire pro-Union community! Like it or lump it, the Unionist community in Ireland needs to understand that the only way forward to develop an all-island economy which will survive the financial challenges of Brexit is to form one single Unionist Party. That’s the case which controversial commentator, Dr John Coulter, argues today in his latest Fearless Flying Column.

Many people think the power of the original Unionist Party which ruled Northern Ireland for around half a century until Stormont was axed in 1972 was purely the numbers game - namely more Protestants came out to vote than Catholics.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The real power of The Unionist Party was that it was a single movement representing the broad spectrum of pro-Union thinking. If Unionism is to survive in a post-Brexit island of Ireland, it will have to return to its founding roots when the Ulster Unionist Council was launched in 1905.

That UUC evolved into The Unionist Party, and a single movement with a structure of pressure groups is what is needed for Northern Ireland’s pro-Union family.

For a start, the DUP needs to merge with the election-battered UUP before the latter is pushed off the political map. The pro-Union voting community has shown that it wants unity given the clear success of the DUP in a post Paisley era.

It is very clear, too, that the Unionist family has learned nothing from the fate of the once powerful Vanguard movement. Its influence was that it was a grassroots pressure group. Once Vanguard relaunched itself as a separate political party, its days were eventually numbered.

Okay, it had a brief flurry of electoral success in the mid Seventies, but by 1979, it was fully on the wane. Unionist parties tend to perform like squibs - a big blast for a while, then rapidly fade out.

The original Unionist Party built its success on the pressure group system, but at elections, there was generally just the one Unionist Party on the ballot paper.

The Loyal Orders played a major function in getting the pro-Union community out to vote. The Orange/Unionist relationship was very effective. The Order could select working class candidates to run in urban Protestant heartlands, but could also ensure middle class farmers and landed gentry were selected in aristocratic rural communities.

The UUP’s decision to turn its back on the Orange and formally break the link signalled the formal demise of Ulster Unionism. Orange delegates once held the balance of power in the party.

The equally influential Right-wing of the UUP was able to rally behind the Ulster Monday Club pressure group, which was aligned to the once powerful National Monday Club within the Conservative Party.

Left-leaning Unionists had their own pressure group - Unionist Labour, which was a major factor in ensuring the old Northern Ireland Labour Party never became a significant force in pro-Union politics.

The youth had the Young Unionists, the females the Women’s Unionist Council, and Unionists west of the River Bann enjoyed the success of the West Ulster Unionist Council.

Liberals were even tolerated within the Unionist Party before many of them left for the fledgling Alliance movement in the early Seventies. The Orange Order delegates also cemented the link between the Unionist Party and the Protestant Churches on one hand, and the Party and the marching band scene on the other.

The bitter medicine which Unionism must swallow is that the post Brexit all island political era will require a single pro-Union movement, simply known by its original title - The Unionist Party.

Direct Rule will signal the death knell of the existing UUP, unless it can rebuild a Right-wing grassroots movement in next year’s expected local government elections. Given the one-seat majority between the DUP and Sinn Fein in the current collapsed Assembly, another Stormont poll is the last thing the UUP wants or needs.

However, to suggest a merger in the near future between the DUP and UUP could be a step too far for many in the UUP who have been life-long Ulster Unionists. A lot of bitter words have been exchanged between the two factions in Unionism since the Rev Ian Paisley first contested the old Bannside constituency at Stormont as a Protestant Unionist candidate in the late 1960s.

After winning both Bannside and North Antrim in 1970, the DUP was formally launched the following year - and so began decades of internecine fighting. The danger for those who want Unionist unity and see a UUP/DUP merger as a key step in that process is that many UUP stalwarts may just stay at home and become ‘garden centre Prods’ by ignoring the ballot box.

What the DUP must also face is that a significant number of UUP voters still exist - so how does a new Unionist movement accommodate them? These UUP voters will not support a merged DUP/UUP, but they could back a new movement known as The Unionist Party. Perhaps what is left of the UUP should become an Ulster Unionist Association pressure group within a new look single Unionist Party.

This new look single movement will require a number of pressure groups to mobilise pro-Union opinion across Ireland. There will have to be a Loyal Order Group to re-engage with the Loyal Orders - Orange, Black and Apprentice Boys - and the marching band scene. The new Unionist Party will have to go back to its grassroots basis and forget the crazy liberalism which has bedevilled Unionism since 1998.

Mainstream Unionism must face the equally bitter reality that it has lost the liberal battle with the Alliance Party. Liberal Presbyterianism is in the ascendancy within Alliance as it recognises that political growth will come east of the Bann.

The relaunching of the Ulster Monday Club will ensure that those who back the Traditional Unionist Voice party will be brought into the new Unionist Party fold. More importantly, the new Unionist Party must rebuild its relationship with the Christian Churches.

Unionism’s trend to embrace secularism and pluralism has been seriously damaging. While the mainstream Protestant denominations may be witnessing a slip in the numbers in the pews on Sundays, Unionism cannot ignore the tens of thousands who belong to the two dozen and more smaller denominations and numerous other independent Christian churches, particularly in the Pentecostal movement.

It has been this recognition which led me to launch my Revolutionary Unionist ideology under the banner of ‘one faith, one party, one Commonwealth.’

The think-tank associated with this ideology is the Revolutionary Unionist Convention. This RUC will always remain a pressure group, urging Unionists to think on an all-island basis. If a single Unionist Party did emerge from these writings, it should also contest elections in the Republic.

I’m sure Fine Gael and Fianna Fail would rather do business and form a coalition government in Leinster House with half a dozen Unionist TDs from the border counties than any group from Sinn Fein, no matter how many SF TDs Mary Lou McDonald brings home following the next Dail general election.




John Coulter is a unionist political commentator and former Blanket columnist. 

John Coulter is also author of ‘An Sais Glas: (The Green Sash): The Road to National Republicanism’, which is available on Amazon Kindle.

Follow John Coulter on Twitter @JohnAHCoulter

1 comments :

Seamus Darcy said...

Its always great to read Dr Coulter's comments on the vagaries of Ireland's political landscape.In mentioning a possible alliance between Unionism and The Dublin Establishment Political Parties I wonder if he has read any of their latest prognostications, those contained in the latest pamphlet to emanate "Ireland 2040"? The implications of this are actually mind-boggling and constitute the greatest sellout by any Dublin government in the history of Dublin governments. And that's saying quite a lot.What it makes clear to any sane person is how vital it is that we construct, as rapidly as possible, a alliance between ALL the churches and 'patriotic' bodies of all shades to reaffirm our allegiance to our shared genomic and Christian heritage in the face of an absolutely toxic invasion of cultural values which are designed to enslave us even more than what we are already experiencing. Allow me to make it quite clear that Im not talking about peaceful entities such as Buddhism/Daoism or Hinduism which add value to our culture and with which we share a common Indo-European heritage. Unfortunately, we are heading rapidly into a disastrous situation where The Mandarins of the NWO and their Irish Understrappers are doing their best to destroy Christendom, and by extension Ireland's Christian heritage also. The methodology of these nihilists is characterized by their use of proxy fifth-column impact groups in Media (paid opinion-makers/political correctness/cultural marxist-based commentary/gender politics-cf 'Independent' Newspapers) and violent activism (fake 'left-wing' groups under the umbrella of Antifa,controlled by professional thugs paid for by front organizations funded by George Soros and friends) who will incite and harass anything that passes for civil discourse by painting it as 'fascist'. This is the modus operandi of what is, in fact, the face of true Neo-Nazism.And Varadkar, with his erstwhile friends Trudeau/Merkel/Macron, is the face of this new reality which now confronts the people of Ireland.The leftward tilt of Sinn Fein must be halted-abruptly. And the UNIFICATION OF ALL THE CHRISTIAN PEOPLE OF OUR ISLAND MUST BE PROMOTED. The greatest single barrier to this is the worst element in our historic legacy of 'divide-and-rule'-RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY. Dr. Coulter, the Protestant/Unionist Community must eradicate this blight before countenancing any dealings with the Dublin-based Fraud State. That's the 'detail' wherein we'll truly find-and defeat- The Devil.