Thursday, 13 November 2008

Burnside leads with realignment message

With detail of the Conservative / UUP merger to go before the Northern Ireland party’s executive on 20 November, David Burnside is the latest Ulster Unionist representative to try his hand speaking the language of realignment.

Burnside attacked Alex Salmond’s SNP and its DUP allies. Reflecting on the impotence of regional assemblies and the primacy of Westminster, in light of the economic crisis, he commented,

“The power over taxation, over the pound in your pocket remains in Westminster. That is what makes the Ulster Unionist alliance with the Conservative Party so significant and important for people in Northern Ireland. As part of a national administration after the next election, they will be a voice at the heart of power speaking up for Northern Ireland and for more finance. The DUP are an isolated rump at Westminster, with no friends.”


Speaking about the defence of the whole Union, opposing nationalists in Scotland, emphasising the pre-eminence of Westminster, highlighting the isolation of the DUP. This is good stuff from Burnside.

9 comments:

fair_deal said...

"opposing nationalists in Scotland"

As long as it doesn't include electoral pacts of course.

fair_deal said...

"As part of a national administration after the next election, they will be a voice at the heart of power speaking up for Northern Ireland and for more finance."

On the actual topic, this is description of the "best hope scenario" not a statement of fact on who will win the next election. The last Times poll has a hung parliament, they are certainly not as positive for the Tories as they were when UUP/Tory discussions began.

If by the next election it is a Tory win scenario it'll boost the UUP some if it is a hung parliament it'll boost the DUP but neither will be the silver bullet for either of them.

Burnside's statement is out of step with Tory economic thinking. Conservatives are now actively opposing any increases in public expenditure, going strongly for the financial rectitude position and if they win they will not have the resources for a splurge especially with the mountain of debt that Brown will leave them with.

Thirdly this comment undermines the claimed and precious pan-Uk Unionist narrative, Burnside presents the alliance as the best means of advancing regional interest ie "a voice at the heart of power speaking up for Northern Ireland and for more finance." The alliance is presented not in national interest terms or the interest of the Union but purely regional interest which he defines in monetary terms.

'Ulster nationalism' meets Trotskyite entrism perhaps ;)

Chekov said...

No doubt all regional MPs argue for their region to an extent. That certainly doesn't preclude pursuing the national interest as a prime objective.

fair_deal said...

"No doubt all regional MPs argue for their region to an extent."

Yet when the DUP do it they are parochial ulster particularists and ulster nationalists?

He did not argue for some extent he put it forward as a central premise "a voice at the heart of power speaking up for Northern Ireland" and what would this voice be seeking changes to the UK devolutionary settlement, constitutional changes no "for more finance."

Chekov said...

"Yet when the DUP do it they are parochial ulster particularists and ulster nationalists?"

The DUP are both those things. They pursue Northern Ireland's interests at the expense of the national good.

Timothy Belmont said...

I have a lot of time for David Burnside. He has been quiet, in a political sense, for a considerable period. I have always thought that Mr Burnside possesses excellent leadership qualities, striking me as being a solid, sensible, eloquent Ulsterman who is well attuned to many in the Province.

Tim

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Burnside who was proposing linking up with the DUP not so long ago?

He was right when he said he could never be a leader, he blows with the wind.

Ignited said...

1. David Burnside has been consistent with his call for greater conservative - UUP relations and I am sure he feels vindicated that Sir Reg has finally taken a step in that direction

2. DB is also starting to bring the issue down to specific benefits that Northern Ireland can gain.

Burnside is usually quite blunt in his speaking and hopefully this is him starting to re-emerge to some extent.

fair_deal said...

"They pursue Northern Ireland's interests at the expense of the national good."

But when a UUP person says/advocates the same things it isn't at the expense of the national good? Hmmmm