Durko’s big idea

Couple of rum developments worth remarking on regarding the smaller two of our four main parties. Firstly, the Official Unionists and their mooted re-establishment of their historic link with the Tories. This has been touted about regularly down the years, but it could actually happen. Lord Trimble is on the case, and Sir Reggie is said to have shown some interest.

But the project has run into some opposition in the shape of Chris McGimpsey, who has arrestingly warned that such a move would leave the working class without a voice. Gimpo, you see, is a leftwinger, at least in his own mind. He may in fact be the only leftwinger in the Unionist Party. And as such, he’s long been waging a one-man campaign to re-establish the Labour Unionism of the 1920s. I’m not sure that 1920s Labour Unionism can be revived, or even should be, but you have to salute the guy’s indefatigability.

Passing over to the SDLP, isn’t it remarkable how they seem to have rediscovered Humean post-nationalism? This has even involved bigging up the European Union as a bulwark of social Catholicism, which may have been the case fifty years ago but isn’t so apparent today.

More to the point is Mark Durkan’s big idea for the abolition of compulsory power-sharing. You can sort of see what Mark is getting at, in that even the Provos are starting to chafe at the DUP veto, and it must be tempting for the SDLP to cut their losses and go into opposition. It doesn’t seem to have done Alliance much harm.

But still, for a nationalist politician to be advocating majority rule, even tempered by a Bill of Rights, is a bit odd. After all, under the old Stormont everyone was equal before the law. You also had a Bill of Rights, namely Magna Carta. Of course, you also had the Special Powers Act…

What may concentrate Mark’s mind more is that back in the 1980s majority rule plus Bill of Rights was the policy of the Workers Party. And it really proved a vote-winner for them, didn’t it?

9 Comments

  1. yourcousin said,

    September 9, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Or maybe he was thinking that when you combine SF, SDLP and Alliance you get a majority. Pan nationalist front extra, extra light and all that. Or maybe like most other things the SDLP do they just weren’t thinking at all.

  2. Johnny said,

    September 9, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    “What may concentrate Mark’s mind more is that back in the 1980s majority rule plus Bill of Rights was the policy of the Workers Party. And it really proved a vote-winner for them, didn’t it?”

    True, but times change. Compulsory power-sharing has to go. It would be interesting to see what sort of coalition would be formed if this advice is taken. Still, even if nothing comes out of it I doubt Durkan’s remarks will lead to an even greater collapse in the SDLP. Unless of course they get caught printing counterfeit $100 bills with some North Korean agents down at their Ormeau HQ.

  3. WorldbyStorm said,

    September 9, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Yeah, weirdly in your penultimate paragraph I was thinking… ‘…but that was our policy back in the day… and a pretty bloody stupid one too…’ 🙂

  4. September 10, 2008 at 8:14 am

    Workers Party … are they still alive outside Waterford?

  5. splinteredsunrise said,

    September 10, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    You see them about Belfast from time to time… undead might be closer.

  6. ejh said,

    September 10, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    That’s the goths, surely?

  7. Ciarán said,

    September 11, 2008 at 8:50 am

    If it came to simple majority rule, then no party is likely to get a clean majority on its own so we’re talking about coalition – DUP and the UUP being the most likely. Of course, both of these parties are opposed to a Bill of Rights for the Six Counties (it’s nothing but a republican conspiracy apparently, just like the Irish language) so how will what you get really differ from the heyday of the Orange State?

    And the Sticks as Undead. Plausible. There’s definitely a paranormal aspect to them. I mean, you very rarely see them in public but there’s always able to get their election posters up everywhere. Or they just haven’t touched their posters in ten years and their candidates change their names to ‘John Lowry’ by deed poll. Nah, I like the vampire thing better.

  8. splinteredsunrise said,

    September 11, 2008 at 9:11 am

    They’re definitely a distinct tribe from the goths. The goths hang out at City Hall. The Sticks are usually to be found in Twinbrook.

  9. ejh said,

    September 11, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Not that separate, though, since the only time I was ever at City Hall, one of the goths (who I assume are a permanent and constitutional fixture, like Brian Haw or the Privy Chamber) was the daughter of a friend whose family were Sticks.


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