Three Tribes

Three years ago I started using a term on a well know political discussion board. The term was (all together now) ….LETSGETALONGERISM.

I ventured to suggest that there are three communities in Norn Ireland. Irish/Republican/Catholic and British/Unionist/Protestand….and a third community LetsGetAlongerists….which included a golden halo of folks in the over-blown cross community field and politicians such as the Alliance Party who have no actual policy other than their personal advancement.

For some peculiar reason my analysis did not/does not go down well with tthe Golden Halo, Conflict Resolutionists, the Alliance Party and their apologists in the media, discussion boards and lobbying firms.

The great achievement of Satan (Lucifer, the Devil, Old Nick) has been to convince the worlds that he and Evil do not actually exist. The great achievement of LetsGetAlongerists has been to convince Norn Iron that they don’t actually exist. Rather like thebDevil, they prefer to work in the shadows. I don’t think I am being judgemental….am I?

So I confess to being a little surprised to read the blog of Ian Parsley, small business man and politician (per Wikipedia) that he believes the year 2015 could be the year of the “three tribes” (nationalists, unionists and…..”progressives”. Alas I cannot comment on Mr Parsleys blog. This dates back a couple of years when he wrote a blog noting the importance of party loyalty and I made a comment supporting him and acknowledging his expertise….having been loyal to more than one political party. I understand he is now back with the Alliance Party. Anyway Mr Parsley interpreted my comment as not being supportive and suggested that I was “playing the man”. A bit over-sensitive.Anyway “progressives” sounds a very positive  third tribe. I dunno….does LetsGetAlongerist seem a bit…negative? Either way, the progressive Mr Bullick of the Alliance Party….last week he got 1.3% of the votes in Mid Ulster….iws doesn’t seem to be a particuarly good year for him.

But who are these progressive voices? Clearly Mr Parsley has his own current party (Alliance) in mind. But a tip of the hat surely to the McUnionists (McCrea and McCallister).

There seems to me to be a lack of energy with Basil and John. They took years to leave the UUP and seem to be taking as long to actually launch a new party.

All of a sudden LetsGetAlongerism seems a crowded field. Alliance apologists openly regret that Basil and John did not sign up to Alliance….as there is so little difference between them….which seems to come close to suggesting Alliance  is a liberal unionist party….but surely not cos Alliance is ya know “agnostic”.

Curiously Ian Parsley (currently in the Alliance Party….it’s hard to keep up isn’t it.?) ridicules the Conservative Party (never a member apparently) for their inability to attract Basil and John intotheir Party even though it already has a Party structure. Surely Alliance also failed to attract them.

What are we to make off all this? A crowded middle ground is not good news for the Alliance Party and their apologists. The experience competing against the Women’s Coalition haunts Alliance and the spectre of Greens, Conservatives and McUnionists looms large. Naomi Long will lose East Belfast to an agreed unionist. The Greens already hold a key middle ground seat in North Down and at least one Alliance Assembly seat will go in East Belfast.

Happy Days!

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16 Responses to Three Tribes

  1. hoboroad says:

    I think the APNI will really lose out to the Greens amongst young people. They have a simple message save the planet but it is a potent one. And in places like North Down they will do well. The McUnionist party we will have to wait and see it could all go well or it could sink without trace. It all depends on the type of person Basil manages to attract to his new party. I guess his targets would be women and Catholics. Lady Hermon would be a bit of a coup if they could persuade her to join up.

    • factual says:

      Greens are not single issue north of the border as far as I can see – Stephen Agnew seems to be promoting a left of centre agenda which makes it more like a sort of labour-left position on most issues. Abortion, gay marriage, for example, but and many many other issues that have nothing to do with the environment. I think they are targeting East and South Belfast as well as to retain North Down. I think it will actually expand the centre, rather than just take votes from Alliance – after all Alliance are not really the same kind of politics as Greens.

    • They need Lady S more than she needs them.
      If the McUnionists actually manage to get a party up and running before Europe, then that scuppers Alliance. Likewise in Assembly.
      And a Sylvia endorsed candidate in North Down would run well…at UUP and Alliance expense.
      With Flegs still hovering over them…no pun intended…Alliance goose is cooked.
      They are in position of saving seats rather than gaining new ones. They NEED McCrea and McCallister.

  2. hoboroad says:

    The Greens are a one issue party. Abortion and Gay marriage have everything to do with the Green agenda. Population control is the Greens objective if women have less children and Gays get married to each other having no ability to have children naturally that will reduce the population.

    • factual says:

      Well ok if you want to put it that way, but it seems to allow them to speak to a wide range of policy matters such as income inequality, poverty, reduction of inequality, education, tax, childrens rights, measurement of economic welfare etc (see their key policies page). Quite different in focus from Alliance who are defined by the unionist-nationalist divide

  3. hoboroad says:

    Just set up a opinion poll on my own Blog about Scottish Independence feel free to vote everyone.

    http://hoboroadpoliticalhighway.blogspot.co.uk/

    • I voted as Too Close To Call…but I’m not sure the vote was registered.
      Of course I hope Scotland goes for Independence but frankly I think Westminster will introduce enough scare tactics to frighten the Scots. It will be dirty.
      And crucially the Media are Unionist

  4. hoboroad says:

    It was recorded thanks for your vote.

  5. FJH, you do know how I love the term letsgetalongerist, the right amount of contempt should always be used when it parses one’s lips.

    Where to start. Greens, I like them though they do have some whacky folks in there who I’ve had a lot of disagreements with simply because they use the usual ‘your language is sectarian’ and when challenged to actually confirm how they come back with APNI like nonsense and decide not to answer the question or we discuss economics and they simply haven’t a clue what they’re on about. This will prove a problem for them in the long run, the lack of concrete or believable answers.

    That aside, I do like their conviction and the stands the likes of Agnew and Bailey have taken in relation to marriage equality. I think the former will retain his North Down seat and they will always have a chance of something in say South Belfast, but that’s kind of the problem for them isn’t it, they would be picking up seats in places people would expect them to and no where else, much like APNI. Would they ever pick up a seat in Doire or Newry? I don’t see it happening IMHO.

    APNI do have something of a problem, they pumped some £90k into getting 1 extra seat at Stormont and they look to be in trouble elsewhere. I am certain they’ll lose one MLA in East Belfast whether it is because of the flegs debacle or the likes of Cochrane simply going walkies whenever the marriage equality debate was up for the vote and they now have some competition in that civil unionist arena. I know for instance that a lot of liberal minded folk were insanely annoyed with Cochrane and Lyttle and had an online petition asking them to answer some questions in relation to their abstention (http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/east-belfast-alliance-mlas-judith-cochrane-and-chris-lyttle-explain-to-constituents-why-they-didn-t-vote-in-the-equal-marriage-debate) but flegs has passed that by and that’s yesterday’s news, better the enemy you know than the cripto fundamentalist alternative, right?

    Basil and John, I’m really surprised they’ve taken so long to get something out there, up and running. Basil’s a business man after all, he should know that you need some kind of heat, enthusiasm and energy behind a project to gain momentum. It begs a number of questions; were they really surprised with the unity candidate? Were they not preparing at all for the eventuality of leaving the UUP and setting up shop? In many ways, they are right not to show their hands too early but they’re in danger of passing into irrelevance if they don’t make some waves pretty soon.

    • 1 The Greens will always come across as a bit naive. I’m surprised they are so upfront on Abortion but ultimately that Feminist vote is limited. As is the Enviromental one. Maybe they are becoming a TWO issue Party.
      2 The Conservatives. Young Huston, son of Felicity will prolly be a runner along with Ringland but they are the only real “names”. And they won’t break out of a South Belfast/east Belfast/ North Down ghetto….but they will take Alliance votes.

      3 McUnionists. I think they’ve lost momentum. They’ve dallied too long. Mid Ulster showed that liberal unionism is a dead duck. like Alliance it is a Belfast suburban issue…and that’s where the middle ground war will be fought.

      4 I certainly like to wind up the Alliance Party….mainly because they are so easy to wind up. I genuinely believe Alliance COULD be in trouble.They have put all of that £97,000 to use to just win the one Assembly seat. ..which in turn got them the second Executive seat. They…or more likely…their handlers…played a blinder but that only works once.
      What they have effectively done is limit their own horizons because the prize was so great. There is a cluttered and confused middle ground with seemingly overlapping ideas.
      Alliance thrives when it’s under the radar….but they have been forced into the open ground over the Flegs. I thought they would at least take 3.5% in Mid Ulster which they would spin as a breakthrough. but their vote of 1.3% was derisory…they could at least have expected some “pity” and there is none. and unlikely to be so in East Belfast…Naomi and one of the MLAs is toast…and I just don’t think that in their heartlands they can negotiate their way thru the minefield of Conservative/McUnionist/Green.
      The thought does occur that there might be negotiations between the McUnionists and Alliance. This MIGHT be the reason that the momentum for a new party has stalled.
      If the McUnionists DO join Alliance, there will be an audible sigh of relief in Alliance HQ, Slugger HQ and their handlers…and the whole Golden Halo, cross community, conflict resolution, integrated education, think tank industry…and of course the NIO.
      Alliance just don’t do well when their in the spotlight.
      Their big idea…LetsGetAlongerism …is not about taking stands on political issues.
      Alliance despite their self congratulatory rhetoric is all about NOT DOING ANYTHING.
      They scored a spectacular own goal over the Flegs. They simply screwed up.
      dare they actually take a stand on Abortion. …or try and talk three sides….pro choice (Lo) pro life (mcCarthy) and fence sitting.

  6. factual says:

    By the way some people who would have joined Labour had it been allowed to participate have moved to Greens, so an important point is that Greens seem to be positioning themselves to appeal to Labour-minded people, with much focus on poverty reduction and left wing values. They tend to show up at the anti-austerity protests that Unions organise etc.

  7. Are you giving them credit for the flags decision FH? I hope not. I do not. They did nationalists no favours. They delivered a unionist outcome. Why be nice to them for that?

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