Monday, June 25, 2007


What are the real values of unionism?

I recently discovered a new blog thanks to my good friends the Young Unionists called Three Thousand Versts of Loneliness, which is written by a UUP follower called 'Chekist', who describes himself as someone "with a civic unionist flavour naturally". I've found his posts interesting and articulate so I reckon he's off to a fine start but - believe it or not - I find myself at odds with some of his views.

In a post about the role of the NI Secretary, Chekov lays into the DUP and specifically the DUP leader Ian Paisley, accusing him of neglecting the values of the Union. He writes:

"In forming an alliance of convenience with Alex Salmond he has already shown that he has no regard for the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. He is prepared to undermine the Union in order to consolidate his own personal fiefdom. For Paisley the parliament at Westminster is a golden teat to be suckled on for all he is worth, rather than an institution to which he feels any real allegiance.

"Those in the DUP who retain any pretence of being unionists and who in any way attribute an intrinsic value to the Union (rather than merely viewing it as a marriage of convenience to be exploited) should look seriously at the fissures in their own party, and the route the present leader is taking them."

Now then, as someone with a keen interest in Irish history I find Chekov's opinions, to quote Mr Spock, "highly illogical". It would seem to me that the NI First Minister Ian Paisley is simply following the path once trodden by the first Prime Minister of NI James Craig. Not many unionists seem to know this fact which I've discussed on United Irelander before, but during the Treaty talks between Lloyd George's delegation and Michael Collins' delegation, James Craig actually requested dominion status for NI. A request which outraged the British. As Professor of History Michael Laffan outlined in his book 'The Partition of Ireland: 1911-1925'...

"The British cabinet was infuriated by the proposal. Lloyd George derided the idea of the north obtaining dominion status and ascribed financial reasons for Craig's request ; he wanted 'a six bob tax as against three bob'.

"Craig's suggestion of dominion status for Northern Ireland made the unionists intensely unpopular and the British cabinet resented their sabotage of its plans for a settlement with Irish nationalists."

So you see there's nothing new about unionists viewing Westminster as a "golden teat to be suckled on". In fact, Craig was willing to go several steps further than Paisley by requesting independence from Westminster just like the Irish Free State!

So with that being said perhaps some of United Irelander's readers can explain to me what this so-called "intrinsic value to the Union" involves? Because to me, looking at it from a historical standpoint, it just makes no sense.

James Craig sought dominion status. Edward Carson meanwhile opposed the partition of Ireland. Yet we have unionists like Chekov questioning the route Paisley is taking! What route are YOU and your fellow unionists taking, hmm?

Could somebody please explain to me what the real values of unionism are in 2007? What's it all about?


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

© 2008 United Irelander.