Two incompatible objectives

Ian Parsley was not expected to beat Lady Sylvia Hermon in North Down at the General election.  However, it was also expected that he and any other candidate who represented UCUNF would be standing as candidates in their respective constituencies at the forthcoming Assembly elections. 

Earlier this week, the North Down Conservative Association held their annual general meeting.  Mr. Parsley published some of the details of that meeting, emphasising the preference of the North Down Association to renew a deal with the Ulster Unionists.

Mr. Parsley also said:

“I think it is important for Northern Ireland, to normalise our politics and move from identity-based campaigns to issue-based campaigns…. “

But he made it clear that he also wants to throw in his lot with the Ulster Unionists

“Naturally, I remain open to cooperation with the many Ulster Unionists ….. who share our values and goals – since the majority of people who aspire to those values and goals are Ulster Unionists, it would be rather foolish not to be!”

On one level, I have a lot of empathy for the view taken by members of the North Down Association.  Their best chance of getting a Conservative into the Assembly is if the UUP decide to adopt Mr. Parsley as one of their candidates.   However, it is fatuous to suggest that this is a route towards normal politics.

To be fair to Conservatives in Northern Ireland, there is a lot of opposition amongst the membership to entering into any further arrangement with the Ulster Unionists.   I expect that opposition to become stronger as more and more members come to terms with the problems faced by continued association with the UUP.

Sharing politics with the Ulster Unionists might satisfy the objective of bringing political representation for the Conservatives in Northern Ireland.  It may also satisfy personal ambitions.  However, as I have previously argued, and will continue to argue, that is completely incompatible with the objective of normalising politics.

This entry was posted in Conservative Party, General Election, Ian Parsley, North Down, Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Centre-Right, Northern Ireland politics, Uncategorized, Unionism, UUP and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Two incompatible objectives

  1. paul says:

    It would seem the link is far from over and Ian parsley could well be the UCUNF candidate for the assembly elections for ND.Thats how I read it whats your opinion seymour.?

    • Seymour Major says:


      Predicting what will happen in North Down is extremely difficult at this stage.

      Opinion in the Conservative Party is split at the moment. I know that some Conservatives are interested in doing a deal with the UUP on assembly elections whereas others are not. Some Conservatives see the UUP as a “piggy back” to get their representatives into the Assembly. The plan there is for the Conservatives to infiltrate and eventually grab the support base of the UUP. That was certainly how Mr. Parsley was thinking when he said this in one of his responding comments on his post

      “The mood at the meeting was that if you had one option which delivered 2,000 votes in one election and another which delivered 102,500 votes in the equivalent 5 years later, it’s probably better to move forward on the latter basis than the former.…..”

      The UUP is also split. I understand that David McNarry is in favour of some sort of deal but Basil McCrea is not. At the moment, McCrea looks like the front runner in the leadership contest. I could be wrong about that.

      Even if the UUP do a deal with the Conservatives, there is still no certainty that Parsley will be accepted as a candidate because of his very outspoken views on academic selection and grammar schools uttered in public when he was in the Alliance Party. Of course, it is possible that he has changed his views since he joined the Conservatives but that would leave him open to accusations that he has sold out on his principles for no other reason other than to gain power. Add to that the fact that there will be ambitious, eager and able people in the UUP who will be chasing those candidate slots and you have a lethal recipe for “blood on the carpet” in UUP committe rooms.

      It seems to me that we could be waiting for about 4 months from now before we find out if IJP is going to be a candidate.

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