The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Destined for the Dustbin of History

Looks like it will be peace in our time come 8 May. Political journalist Dr John Coulter analyses where Unionism's traditional Hardline Right Wing goes from now.
Spare a thought and quite a few prayers for the poor old Unionist Right wing – no home, no policies, no votes, very few members, and looking destined for the dustbin of history.


Dr John Coulter • 9 April 2007

With Big Ian about to assume the mantel of First Minister, why would the DUP boss worry about a few resignations in Ballymena council when within a couple of years, that borough will cease to exist?

But a word of caution – don’t completely write off the political beast known as Hardline Right-wing Unionism as, like the Biblical Lazarus, it has a nasty habit of coming back from the dead when you least expect it.

On paper, Unionism’s ‘Never power-share with Provies’ brigade should be a political corpse after the firm hammering Big Bob McCartney’s UK Unionists suffered in last month’s Stormont poll.

Paisley Senior now dominates the Centre Right stage and bar any disruptive sex allegations in the Unionist family, the Executive is a dead cert for 8 May, so let the good times roll.

The problem for those who still consider themselves as being on the Unionist Hard Right is where they go from 8 May.

What will traditional Right-wingers do if the power-sharing DUP/Sinn Fein Executive ushers in a time of economic prosperity, job creation, a boost in tourism and community calm?

What exactly has the mooted new ultra Right-wing alliance of ex-Paisleyites got to offer modern 'Loyal Ulster'?

What is there for them to either protest about, or yell ‘No Surrender’ or ‘Never, never, never’, to? Again, there is no rational reason for the continued existence of the Unionist Right-wing.

But history has an awful habit of repeating itself in the North. In the Depression days of the 1930s, many urban militant working class Loyalists banded themselves together to form the fascist Ulster Protestant League.

The League briefly re-appeared again in the late 1980s under the leadership of the notorious ex-DUP Assembly member George Seawright, who was booted out of the Paisley camp because of his ‘burn Catholics’ jibe.

Seawright, a committed UVF supporter, also formed his own hardline Protestant Unionist Party before being murdered by the republican splinter group, the IPLO.

Paisley Senior shot to political fame in the late 1960s by chucking snowballs at the car taking Southern Premier Sean Lemass to Stormont for a chat with his Northern counterpart, Terence O’Neill.

That chat brought chants of ‘O’Neill Must Go’ from the Paisley camp. Yet Paisley has gone considerably further than O’Neill, or even Brian Faulkner – Paisley has formed a power-sharing government with the IRA’s political wing, Sinn Fein.

So it stands to reason, it is only a matter of time before the Unionist Right wing launches yet another hardline party – possibly in time for the 2009 super council or European elections.

What the Unionist Right presently lacks is an iconic firebrand. Just as Big Ian was the saviour of the Right in the late 1960s with his fledgling Protestant Unionist movement, who will be the new Paisley?

Will the Unionist Right re-emerge as a religious fundamentalist front like the old Protestant Reformation Party; as an anti-European group like the UK Independence Party in Britain, or an anti-migrant movement more akin to the Far Right British National Party, or maybe even a combination of all three?

And don’t assume the Orange Order will once again take up the cudgels and brollies of militant Protestantism.

The parades debacle and the Spirit of Drumcree pressure group effectively castrated the organisation which dominated the Unionist majority rule Stormont government.

Orangeism needs to radically re-organise itself into hosting a series of non-contentious Rossnowlagh-style annual danders. No more Portadown confrontations.

Edward Carson, James Craig, Brookeborough and even Paisley are heroes of the political Hard Right of Unionism who eventually settled into the role of accommodating leaders.

Unionism will always have its Hard Right. It’s muted at the moment, maybe even dumb founded – but re-emerge it will. Rumours are, the rumblings are just beginning again.

















Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
- Frank Zappa

Index: Current Articles

9 April 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Alternative Ulster
Gerard Gallagher

Back to the Old RUC Ways
Martin Galvin

Cross Border Co-Operation
John Kennedy

Statement from the Morley Family
The Morley Family

Time for Truth is Now
Mick Hall

Revising the Uprising?
Paul Maguire

Easter 2007 Oration
Francis Mackey

Stormont an Obstacle to Realising Ideals of 1916
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

Destined for the Dustbin of History
Dr John Coulter

A Beginning Must Be Made
Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh

Vision for Northern Ireland
Ian Eggleston

House Trained At Last
Brian Mór

Bullies Top the List
Dr John Coulter

Niall Griffiths' antidote to the 'Vomit Novel'
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Two Looks Back in Time
Dr John Coulter

Blame It On The Shinners, Bono & That Freak Sir Bob
Brian Mór

Levi's Law
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain

Facing Up to Reality of Holocaust
David Adams

The Big Bribe
John Kennedy

Everywhere The Past
Anthony McIntyre

27 March 2007

Paisley and Adams: The Ghosts of Politics Past
Brendan O'Neill

Democractically Elected Musical Chairs
Mick Hall

John Kennedy

Bun Fights & Good Salaries
Dolours Price

No New Era Yet
Republican Sinn Fein

The Cul de Sac called 'Futility'
Anthony McIntyre

Pathetic Claims
Joe McDaid

Gerry McGeough
Martin Galvin

Gerry McGeough & Political Policing
Anthony McIntyre

Miscarriage of Justice
Helen McClafferty

Racism Bridging the Sectarian Divide
Dr John Coulter

The Prince of Darkness
Anthony McIntyre

What's All the Fuss About the Veil?
Maryam Namazie



The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices