The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Broad Church for Unionism

Unionist commentator Dr John Coulter puts the case for Rev Ian Paisley converting the DUP into a 'broad church for Unionism'


Dr John Coulter • 12 March 2007

Free Presbyterian Moderator Ian Paisley Senior needs to return Northern Protestantism to the days of former Premier Terence O'Neill and start the formal process to create a single group, simply called The Unionist Party.

Paisley also needs to follow the advice given by a former rival Ulster Unionist boss, wee Jimmy Molyneaux, and convert the DUP into a “broad church for Unionism”.

For the past generation, Paisley has been branded a vote splitter and party wrecker within the Unionist family.

With the UUP sliding into electoral meltdown, now is the time for common sense between Paisley and under-fire Ulster Unionist boss Reg Empey.

Rather than gloating over the tragic electoral demise of the UUP, Paisley must make his DUP a warm house for traditional Ulster Unionists.

The collapse in UUP fortunes has ruled out the formation of a United Unionist Coalition. There's just not enough UUP MLAs to make the venture worthwhile politically. Bob McCartney's dissident UK Unionists are now electoral history.

The UUP has a stark choice – merge with the Paisley camp, or end up being defunct within a few years.

At almost aged 82, as Paisley enters the twilight years, he can make amends for all the cries of Judas and traitor he has heaped on rival Unionist bosses from O'Neill onwards.

His legacy to the Unionist community is to leave them with a single, united party. For Unionism, turning the clock back to the mid 1960s would become a future electoral blessing. Its simple sums for Unionism – one party, one seat, one candidate.

Besides, Paisley may need the support of the so-called Rump – what's left of the UUP Assembly team who are all pro-deal – to push ahead with setting up the power-sharing Executive with Sinn Fein.

Today, under the political dance routine carved out by the Scottish Agreement, the Paisley camp and the Shinners have to provide their nominations for First and Deputy First Minister.

SF is certainly a united party having effectively silenced the dissidents in the polls. But the DUP contains a fairly significant sprinkling of anti-deal MLAs loyal to North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds and MEP Jim Allister.

Gone are the days when the DUP's ruling executive merely rubber stamped the decrees of Big Ian. Its very clear from the DUP's manifesto that Dodds and Allister are the king pins of the Paisley camp.

That being the case, Big Ian may need to come cap in hand to the UUP Rump to ensure the power-sharing Executive is up and running by the 26 March deadline.

Or should it be the case a UUP Rump, eventually led by Lagan Valley's Basil McCrea, comes rather tattered cap in hand to the DUP looking for a new political home – especially now the supposedly written off Alliance seems to have regained the Northern centre ground.

And talking of mergers, surely Mark Durkan's SDLP must now get the message that if moderate nationalism is to have any realistic voice in a Northern Assembly, it must develop its all-island identity by formally teaming up with Bertie Ahern's Fianna Fail.

Gerry and the Shinners must be really getting up auld Bertie's nose with their all-island power taunts.

Indeed, given the slide in the SDLP vote, FF needs to come north and save Durkan's ass, otherwise the party founded by the late Fitt the Brit will have as much influence in the Assembly as the old opposition Nationalist Party in the original Stormont parliament – and the NP is now defunct, too.

Now that the DUP has firmly swallowed up the UUP, its time for Big Ian to truly follow the words of Jesus when our Lord said: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Its not the bitter medicine of sharing power with Shinners the DUP needs to swallow; its a large dose of common sense Biblical meekness – and then the Paisleyites will inherit devolved power which the Northern people so disparately crave for.























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Index: Current Articles

14 March 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Legal Aid Wrangle Continues
Michael McKevitt Justice Campaign

Statements on the Arrest of Gerry McGeough

Campaign for Noel Maguire
TJ O Conchúir

Paisleyites & Peelers
Anthony McIntyre

Equating Spectacle at Stormont with United Irishmen is Perverse
Tommy Gorman

Seacht mbuicéad caca go dtite ar a gcinn
Michael Gillespie

Nothing But the Truth
John Kennedy

Snapshot, 1993: Voters' Rights, MI5 Wrongs
Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh

Broad Church for Unionism
Dr John Coulter

The Man Without the Mask
Anthony McIntyre

The New Boyne Harriers
Brian Mór

UUP Possibilities
Dr John Coulter

Blinkered Vision
Anthony McIntyre

Damned by Debt Relief
Pauline Hadaway

6 March 2007

Irish Republican Ex-POWs Against the RUC/PSNI & MI5

Whispering Past the Graveyard
John Kennedy

RSF Campaign Reports
Tony McPhillips – Election Agent

Save Derry
Brian Mór

Support Peggy O Hara
Ex-POWs and Concerned Republicans Against RUC/PSNI & MI5

Only the Beginning
Mick Hall

St Bore's Day
Anthony McIntyre

SS Sinn Fein
John Kennedy

Election Guarantees Nothing
David Adams

Coulter's Pre-Election Report
Dr John Coulter

Others Promise...
Brian Mór

The Curse of the Caudillo Complex
Mick Hall

Rest, Do Not Surrender
Dolours Price

...We Deliver
Brian Mór

Super Six Dictator
Dr John Coulter

Anyone Up for a Serious Alternative?
Philip Ferguson

The View from Outside
Jerry Pepin

Boom to Bust?
Dr John Coulter

Tyre Trees
Anthony McIntyre

Cleanliness Not Next to Godliness in the Shankill
Marty Egan

Leadership Needed
Stephen Hughes

Where Does the State of the Union Leave the Rest of Us?
Richard O'Rawe



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