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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Coulter's Pre-Election Report

Political journalist Dr John Coulter maintains the biggest pressure is on the DUP to produce a result in Wednesday's crucial and historic Stormont election


Dr John Coulter • 6 March 2007

On Wednesday, Paisleyism will be given the best opportunity in a generation to deliver the constructive, devolved government for the North it always boasted about – assuming Unionist voters keep the DUP as the leading voice for Protestantism.

Protestants of whatever view on the Scottish deal should remember this year marks the 30th anniversary of one of the biggest disasters in Unionist politics – the failed United Unionist Action Council strike of May 1977.

And what were those Unionists attempting to bring down? Only the same direct rule from London we still have today.

But those three decades ago, the loyalist working class generally lacked the stomach for another 1974-style crippling Ulster Workers' Council strike which brought the North to its knees.

The UWC strike smashed the power-sharing Sunningdale Executive. Had Unionist possessed the foresight in 1974 to enter power-sharing with the moderate SDLP, they would never be facing the dilemma 30 plus years later of trying to share power with the Shinners.

Only six years after its formation by the Big Man in 1971, the DUP was to the fore in pushing the UUAC strike. Paisley was joined in the strike leadership by Ernest Baird of the fringe United Ulster Unionist Party as well as UUAC chairman, the former Unionist MP Joseph Burns.

As with many DUP-inspired plots over the years, the paramilitaries lurked in the background. The UUAC included representatives of the UWC, UDA, the Orange Volunteers and the equally shadowy Down Orange Welfare.

The supposed stoppage fizzled out after 10 days in May '77, principally because the Ballylumford power station workers remained at their posts.

The two other main Unionist parties of the era, the Ulster and Vanguard unionists refused to give the strike their blessing and the British Government effectively told Paisley to 'bog off', despite Paisleyite farmers blocking North Antrim roads with their tractors.

The main reason the Brits stood firm was because they knew the Paisley camp lacked a workable alternative to direct rule.

This Wednesday – polling day – the Paisleyites need to know the Brits have a workable alternative to direct rule if the Big Man refuses to use his mandate to set up the power-sharing Executive with the Shinners by the 26th.

Indeed, by the end of this week, both Unionism and Nationalism need to have answered 'Yes' to the most historic questions ever posed in an election since the Northern state was formed in the 1920s.

Yes, the majority of Protestant voters have returned a majority of Unionist MLAs who are totally committed to establishing the Northern Executive.

Yes, the overwhelming majority of voters who care about future prosperity in the North will have come out and voted for pro-progress candidates rather than pro-polarisation runners.

Yes, Republicanism will have forsaken its outdated notion of hatred for all things British and will work with pro-Brit MLAs to make this part of the island one of the most self-sufficient and affluent in the Celtic nations.

2008 will also mark major 90th anniversary commemorations for both Republicanism and Unionism. For Unionists, they can celebrate the ending of the Great War in 1918 in which so many Northern Protestants played a huge role. Armistice Sunday will be especially poignant next November.

For Republicans, 1918 celebrates its greatest ever electoral triumph when the Michael Collins-inspired Sinn Fein captured over 70 of the 100 plus Irish seats at Westminster when the island was entirely under the thumb of the British Empire.

But the worst catastrophe for the Northern population on Wednesday would be voter apathy and the result is a significant number of anti-deal Unionists or anti-policing Republicans elected.

The Executive will go down the tubes, and the new British Emperor-in-waiting, Brown the Blackmouth, will wield his tight-fisted Scottish Presbyterian financial axe like a Sword of Damocles.

Brown will effectively tax the Northern population until every green and orange pip is squeezed dry, making leaving the Union a totally unviable cash option.

And if you want a foretaste of how horrible life will become in the North without an Assembly, just watch how a Prime Minister Brown will punish his native Scots if nationalists win the Scottish parliamentary elections in May.



















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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

6 March 2007

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RSF Campaign Reports
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Only the Beginning
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St Bore's Day
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Election Guarantees Nothing
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Coulter's Pre-Election Report
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The Curse of the Caudillo Complex
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Rest, Do Not Surrender
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Super Six Dictator
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Anyone Up for a Serious Alternative?
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The View from Outside
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Boom to Bust?
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Tyre Trees
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Fred A. Wilcox

The Critical History of (Irish pop) Noise
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No Clean Hands
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