Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Kane rejects DUP's overtures

The News Letter today reports Alex Kane’s comments on Peter Robinson’s unionist ‘unity’ overtures, delivered to South Down Ulster Unionist Constituency Association, last night. His objections to ‘cuddling up’ with the DUP are twofold. Firstly Kane doubts the bona fides of the Democratic Unionists and secondly he does not agree that the pro-Union vote would necessarily be strengthened by a pact or a merger.

The tactical cynicism of Robinson’s approach has already been discussed on Three Thousand Versts. In a succession of pieces it has also been pointed out that the idea of unionism gaining strength through unity is fallacious. "In my own view the best way of increasing and maximising the pro-Union vote is for the DUP and UUP to do their own thing," is Alex Kane’s view and it also summates accurately the opinion professed on this blog.

Unionism is not, and should not aspire to be, a monolith. Monolithic unionism would succeed, not only in disenfranchising a substantial proportion of unionists, but also in exacerbating a communal /sectarian political division which weakens the Union. As I have previously argued, sectarianising and communalising politics in Northern Ireland, only serves to promulgate an atmosphere whereby the constitutional arrangements are not seen as permanent. Communal politics ensure that the constitutional issue remains the central battleground here.

The DUP’s brand of ‘unionism’ is incompatible with many of the core beliefs which the Ulster Unionist Party has been moving to promote. The politics which the DUP describe as unionism are equivocal about the Union itself. As a unionist party, which puts the Union at the heart of its politics, the UUP does not need to move closer to a party which has described the UK Prime Minister as ‘the enemy’, stated that the British government was responsible for the retardation of Northern Ireland’s economy and whose erstwhile leader described British government ministers in the NIO as ‘squatters’.

I have repeated this mantra many times before, but the UUP’s business must be to delineate its unionism clearly from that of the DUP. I am speaking of a unionism which is not merely a cultural or communal label, but which genuinely values the benefits of remaining in the United Kingdom and our ties to its institutions.

3 comments:

Ignited said...

In the same edition of the Newsletter does it not also have a story on Sir Reg and the UUP set to meet Robinson and the DUP?

Has Reg accepted the overtures that Kane has warned? I think Robbo has a better strategic mind than Reg so I would be worried. Also within the parameters set it appears to be focusing on the Assembly. I think Reg could have widened these parameters and as a pre-condition brought the TUV to the table.

Just a though, i'm in a rambling non-sensical mood today.

Chekov said...

The meeting you're referring to is a normal cross-party meeting to discuss business in the Assembly.

Anonymous said...

A merger with the Conservatives? UUP might get a good deal from Cameron at the moment!