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.
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.
what were those Unionists attempting to bring
down? Only the same direct rule from London we
still have today.
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.
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
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.
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
supposed stoppage fizzled out after 10 days in
May '77, principally because the Ballylumford
power station workers remained at their posts.
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.
main reason the Brits stood firm was because they
knew the Paisley camp lacked a workable alternative
to direct rule.
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.
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.
the majority of Protestant voters have returned
a majority of Unionist MLAs who are totally committed
to establishing the Northern Executive.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
will effectively tax the Northern population until
every green and orange pip is squeezed dry, making
leaving the Union a totally unviable cash option.
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.