The Conservatives and the Ulster Unionists are now locked in dialogue over what happens next with logo and colours for the new website. As we wait for the outcome of those discussions, it is worth reminding ourselves what has brought us here and what we all want.
Normal politics has been our goal since long before agreement with the UUP was reached. It was also a UUP objective before the agreement. The UUP may not have done what was necessary to achieve that but it is worth reflecting upon the sacrifices that they have made.
The fact that we are presently talking about normal politics owes much to the fact that the Good Friday Agreement was negotiated and sealed the principle of consent. Much of credit has to go to Mr. Trimble and the UUP for taking the risks that they did for lasting peace. They were successful politically. Electorally they paid a very heavy price. David Cameron said “I salute you for that”. So indeed do I.
Those electoral losses were milestones on a long journey which will eventually end with normal politics and electoral success. I believe that will happen. There are positive signs that other changes are happening within the UUP that are necessary to bring about normal politics. For example, in a response to my last post, a blogger from the UUP has admitted that he was too far to the left to be a Conservative. That should not be viewed negatively. This is a painful but necessary side effect of the link-up. Before and during these negotiations began, all involved knew that the UUP would have to lose their left-leaning members. We also know that their numbers are very small.
Even if – as I have argued in the previous two posts – the UUP is not ready to make the changes necessary for normal politics now, somebody or some people in that party will pick up the ball and bring about the necessary progress.
The Conservative Party itself can not afford to make concessions which will result in intoxication of the new brand or indeed, the Conservative brand itself. If it can not reach agreement over essential matters, then it is right that the agreement should be broken off for now. In those circumstances, it would also be right to keep a seat warm for the UUP.
Meanwhile, the words left on the new website are the lonely untended wounds of the disagreement following the launch of the website last Friday. The words read:
“This is a site produced by the Conservative Party for Northern Ireland election campaigns. The site was used to coincide with the Conservatives and UUP media announcements last week but is now suspended.”
It is not now possible to resolve the differences on this issue without some individuals “eating humble pie”. One can only hope that an agreement can be reached very quickly which the vast majority of members of both parties can buy into.
Filed under: Conservative Party, Conservative Party Policy, Normal Politics, Northern ireland, Northern Ireland politics, UUP | Tagged: Conservative Party, Conservative Party Policy, Normal Politics, Northern ireland, Northern Ireland politics, Political Ideology, Tory-UUP linkup, Unionism, UUP | Leave a Comment »