Thursday, 22 November 2007

Sammy in cloud cuckoo land

No harm to Sammy Wilson, but whilst he may be considered the less obnoxious face of the DUP, no-one is going to seek from him penetrating analysis or cogent political theorising.

He has launched an abstruse attack on the UUP’s unionist credentials in the wake of a motion by the party calling for a Royal Commission to consider the future of the Union.

Wilson actually attacks the party for copper-fastening the principle of consent into the Good Friday Agreement! Can he truly believe that such an assurance, on which the British Government had explicitly predicated its continuing presence in Northern Ireland, was not necessary or weakened our link with the rest of the UK?

The UUP ensured that this principle, which the British Government had already accepted as the proviso for its interest here, became universally accepted by both governments and more importantly by republicans. Whilst Trimble’s negotiation of the GFA could be challenged in terms of strand 1, which ensured the early release of prisoners and effectively the abolition of the RUC, even the naysayers acknowledge that his attention to detail on the constitutional strands (2 & 3) was nothing short of impeccable.

Wilson’s own party have of course belatedly accepted the principles which the UUP managed to establish. His attack based on legislation thats fundamentals had already been superseded and undermined is woefully naïve. Does Wilson not remember the Anglo-Irish Agreement? Does he not recall the constitutional and status based changes that pertained when unionists excluded themselves from a process of negotiation?

The UUP took responsibility whilst Wilson’s party abdicated it and set about winning the best deal available for unionism to secure Northern Ireland’s constitutional status. In this the party undoubtedly succeeded despite paying the price in more emotional and symbolic issues. There are avenues through which the UUP can be attacked, but the constitutional issue is patently not one of them

Wilson claims that as a devolutionary party the DUP makes no apologies for fostering relationships with the other devolved regions, but I note he makes no allusion to his own leader terming the UK a “federation of states”. Creating relationships with other regional assemblies is one thing, cosying up with nationalists within those assemblies and attempting to form a joint lobby to harangue Westminster is nationalism, pure and simple. Wilson’s party is undermining the very basis of the United Kingdom.

Perhaps Wilson’s most bare-faced statement. Let us paraphrase his own contention and say he has a “brass neck”, runs as follows:

"We have enhanced the east-west axis which the UUP shamefully sidelined whilst they set up unaccountable North-South bodies. My colleagues and I are determined to strengthen Ulster's position within the Union."

Sammy – just because you say something does not make it true! Who established an east-west axis in the first place? And how exactly are the DUP enhancing such an axis with their woeful records of Westminster attendance and their insular derision for the political establishment?

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