Monday, 2 February 2009

What's in a name? Unionist, Conservative and standing in Northern Ireland.

Sir Reg Empey has given a careful response to suggestions that the Conservative and Ulster Unionist electoral force will campaign under a name which does not include the word ‘Ulster’.

Quite reasonably the UUP leader points out that his party’s title is not up for debate,

“The name of the party is not going to change, nor is any part of its constitution which defines it as the Ulster Unionist Party. What we might put on a ballot paper is one thing, but the name of the party is not going to change.”


I have argued that Ulster Unionists have to be phlegmatic about nomenclature. Northern Ireland is geographically a more accurate term and as long as the link between Ulster Unionism and the new entity is made quite explicit there is no reason why a word with largely historical significance needs to be included.

The UUP’s continued existence and its identity is secure. It has additionally acquired a sense of renewed vitality and purpose by forming a pan-UK unionist movement with Conservatives. It is vital that Ulster Unionist voters are clear about their favoured party’s involvement in the new force. It is equally important to reflect a sense of offering something new and exciting which has not been available on previous ballot papers.

The terms ’Unionist’ and ’Conservative’ define the shared values and policies which joint candidates will espouse. ’Ulster’ does not describe anything particularly pertinent to the new arrangement. There is enough room to emphasise continuity between the UUP and the Conservative and Unionist electoral arrangement within campaign literature without needless dogmatism over a name.

9 comments:

fair_deal said...

Is this not meant as a distraction story as the working group not meeting the target of an initial report by the end of January?
http://conservativehome.blogs.com/torydiary/2009/01/full-membership.html

fair_deal said...

Sorry should read "the working group has not met"

Anonymous said...

"’Conservative’ define the shared values"

Therein lies the rub. Does Bobby Stoker, Michael McGimpsey, Davy Browne, Ken Robinson and the various UUP folks who stand to the left-of-centre on the political spectrum really share "Conservative" values?

Chekov said...

Insofar as the Cameron Conservatives are outlining a bold communitarian form of conservatism, there is no reason why the members you mention cannot share the values which the modern party espouse.

Anonymous said...

The problem with thee UUP is that it has no identity now apart from being a Unionist party. Now that the border is not really an issue it needs a left, centre or right identity. That will mean that some historically held together with the glue of the union may need to seek a different party or look afresh at 21st century politics.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the reason they initally set the deadline of January was the prospect that the DUP might select a candidate and get a head start

O'Neill said...

My understanding is that the reason they initally set the deadline of January was the prospect that the DUP might select a candidate and get a head start

Not much to worry about on that score then!

fair_deal said...

"My understanding is that the reason they initally set the deadline of January was the prospect that the DUP might select a candidate and get a head start"

Err the ConUUP already have their candidate for Europe, Jim Nicholson.

"Not much to worry about on that score then!
02 February 2009 22:18"

Not really as the person gets selected tonight, three weeks sooner than they did the last time

fair_deal said...

"My understanding is that the reason they initally set the deadline of January was the prospect that the DUP might select a candidate and get a head start"

Double err, the rationale doesn't work as if the DUP had stuck to the first time table then they would have had a candidate mid-late January so the aim of getting the report out before the DUP had a candidate wouldn't have been achieved.