Jim Nicholson MEP’s Euro 2009 Party Election Broadcast is due to be screened tonight, at 6.55pm, on BBC 1. It will be available to view, from the same time, on the ‘Vote for Change’ campaign website.
During the film, David Cameron will back Nicholson’s candidature. His endorsement will be highly significant. The future prime minister of the United Kingdom is publicly throwing his weight behind a pro-Union election candidate in Northern Ireland.
Clearly this represents a departure for a mainland political party and a major advance for unionism in the UK. The next British government will not be neutral on the constitutional question.
Whilst it will respect the aspirations of nationalists and will uphold the right of the people of Northern Ireland to determine its constitutional future, it will argue, strenuously, that it is in the province’s interests to remain part of the United Kingdom. And, just as importantly, that it is in the United Kingdom’s interests to remain intact and to include Northern Ireland.
The Conservative leader is seeking electoral backing for his party’s European policies from the people of Northern Ireland and next year he will ask voters here to vote for his prospective government. Rather than merely feeling the effects of politics at Westminster, Cameron wants people here to participate, on an equal footing with the other regions of Britain.
That is the prospectus on which Nicholson is standing, and other Conservatives and Unionists candidates will offer a similar agenda to voters in Westminster elections. No other pro-Union party can offer anything comparable.