Sunday, April 02, 2006

Time for whole hearted central support

Over on conservativehome.com there's a good piece by Northern Ireland based Conservative Neil Johnston on "Time for a better beginning, calling for the party to make a renewed and whole-hearted effort in the province.

Galling enough considering what this tax, spend and deceitful administration has turned into. But how would you feel if as someone paying the same stealth taxes as you, sees the same senior citizens lying on hospital trolleys, doesn't have enough money for heating (let alone a peerage) and weren't even asked to support the great 'master plan' of the New Labour Dual-Monarchy?

Not one vote was cast for any candidate presenting Labour's manifesto in this part of the United Kingdom – not one. No one stood giving those who wanted to the opportunity to vote for or against the Government that governs and taxes them. Voters in Zimbabwe and Belarus have more choice.

Surely in the 21st Century this cannot be right? No citizen of any nation should have to suffer a Government that did not first seek permission to govern? People do actually want to vote Labour here.
The failure of Labour to be party for the entire country is a subject I've blogged about before, but let's be honest - the Conservative effort has been almost solely driven by local members (an opportunity the central committee of Labour denies their equivalents) and what is also needed is a fullscale Conservative effort. Now is the time for that effort. By a quirk of coincidence, the next general, European and local elections in Northern Ireland are all likely to take place in 2009. And, unless something breaks Groundhog Day in the current talks, there may not be an Assembly election until then. That offers three years for all Conservatives to get fully behind the party in Northern Ireland.

If Nouvelle Conservatism is good enough for Notting Hill, then it's good enough for Newry and Newtownards. ... It is time for a better beginning for Northern Ireland. If we want to be a genuine party of the entire nation, and for all who share our values, we can't ignore the needs of communities in Antrim or Armagh, just as we don’t ignore the needs of those who live in Aberdeen, St Albans or Aberystwyth.
Let's give it a full effort. Let's run candidates for not just a few constituencies around the Belfast-Bangor corridor but let's run in every single constituency. Our Party aspires to govern the entire country. It must offer all the country the opportunity to vote for or against us. Let's see candidates in North, East & South Antrim, Belfast North, East, South & West, North & South Down, Strangford, Newry & Armagh, Upper Bann, Lagan Valley, East Londonderry, Foyle, Mid Ulster, West Tyrone and Fermanagh & South Tyrone.

And let's see the Labour Party come and make labour.org.uk a true statement.

The Conservatives in Northern Ireland can be contacted through their website.

2 comments:

Richard said...

The political landscape of Northern Ireland is rather different than that in Great Britain. However, the Social Democratic and Labour Party held 3 seats in the 2005 election. The SDLP has strong ties with the Parliamentary Labour Party. So, really, the Northern Irish people had an oppurtunity to vote for Labour-like MPs who were adjusted for their constituencies. Meanwhile, the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland did dismally, as usual.

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

A lot is made of the SDLP supposedly being a Labour Party in the context of the British Labour Party's lack of organisation in Northern Ireland. Far less is made of it in other contexts.

The SDLP only has "Labour" in the title as a sop to Gerry Fitt and Paddy Devlin back in 1970 and the party has never really been a Labour Party in any true sense. If it were, why have Labour activists in Northern Ireland repeatedly looked elsewhere and why is much of the talk about the SDLP merging with a party in the Republic focused on Fianna Fáil rather than the Republic's Labour Party? Time and again the SDLP has proven itself to be a nationalist or "post nationalist" party, not a Labour Party. Yes their MPs may take the Labour whip but that is not the same thing as the "UK" Labour Party allowing organisation in the province.

With the recent collapse of the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP only just staving off electoral armageddon there is an opening that both Conservatives and Labour could fill, given decent organisation and wholehearted support from the centre.

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