Friday, 16 January 2009

David McNarry. Remembering those cool heads I mentioned below?

Why don’t I pre-empt the DUP press office, no doubt beavering away at a press release to attribute to one of its representatives, and react to comments made by David McNarry to the UUP Women’s Council?

His speech will be interpreted as an attack on the inclusive agenda adopted by the UUP / Conservative coalition. In particular it is already being reported as a warning not to sideline the Orange Order as an important ‘stakeholder’ (to adopt that horrible term) in unionist politics.

Mr McNarry urges the UUP, “keep a distance from the wide-boy liberalistos but do not shut out the Orange Order”. Additionally he warned David Cameron that there would be considerable opposition, particularly within the Order, to removing the Act of Settlement.

Whatever a ‘liberalisto’ might be (and I’d imagine I might be bordering on that description), I’m sure most parties contain both members and representatives counselling against their influence. No doubt there are Conservative MPs who would offer similar advice to that party’s leadership. McNarry offers a hard-line perspective, but it would be wrong to attribute it too much weight.

As for ‘shutting out’ the Orange Order, as Assistant Grand Master, the MLA is naturally defensive of the interests of that constituency. The UUP should not ‘shut out’ the OO, in the sense that members of the party who are also members of Loyal Orders are entitled to play a full role within the new force. And as an important cultural institution in Northern Ireland, Orangeism deserves to be supported, as long as it is not to the exclusion of other, similar pursuits.

I am not McNarry’s biggest fan. I’m in disagreement with his remarks on the Act of Settlement. Although it was an important foundational constitutional document, I believe that certain of its provisions are anachronistic. The monarch should no longer be bound to a particular faith.

He is entitled to his position, which is certainly approaching the harder edge of right wing, and his particular cultural interests, which are Orange. No doubt he can be accommodated within a broad, centre right party, but neither should his apprehension be allowed to distract from the main goal which the new electoral force must strive toward.

6 comments:

O'Neill said...

I presume there are internal lines of communication within the party?

If he's genuinely bothered about the future of the OO why does he not use those channels instead of the foghorn approach?

Anonymous said...

Maybe he's being ignored/sidelined?

Anonymous said...

McNarry is a dinosaur from the past and should not play a part in the future of NI, he should join the others who have gone to graze in the retirment pasture.

The OO should have nothing to do with politics and that is the postion of the organisation and the UUP.

Members are very welcome in UUP politics as long as the organisation stays that way as soon as the OO starts to have political opinions then its' members must decide which organisation to be in.

O'Neill said...

Maybe he's being ignored/sidelined?

Reading the text of his speech, I would paraphrase it as reading:

"I'm very happy to link up with the Conservative Party, I'm just not happy about actually having to work with them, can't we just have their dosh and continue how we've always done?"

Perhaps the solution would be for him to set up a one-committee to vet which conservatives he determines prod enough to work with?

Staff at Bobballs said...

Classic McNarry. While almost completely unintelligible, I'm sure he thinks, even now, that this was a good speech... that he really socked it to 'em.

But I'm really confused about who he thinks he's telling off. Latent liberalistos looking at life from the bottom of a cocktail glass?? Seriously, who knows of anyone answering this description?

Or if you bump into this guy, tell him McNarry says bugger aff.

For me, this buffoon has generated a number of great comedy moments over the years. But follow this URL http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/
record/reports2007/070612.htm and scroll to about a third down the page.

It's his greatest moment... and the low water mark of public oratory in Western Europe.

Anonymous said...

I must say I thought his response to Weir's praise for his comments was hilarious. "Just wait till I see him on Monday at Stormont - I'll be giving him a piece of my mind"