Unionist parties should consider standing for election in Scottish constituencies
May I openly put the question of why none of the various unionist parties have looked to win Westminster seats in Scottish constituencies?
Could the reason be that the parties would then have to confront realpolitik in Great Britain, which would mean marching to a different drum?
Let’s imagine that the Ulster Unionist Party was the first mover into Scotland. The party would have to re-brand itself to attract Scottish voters.
Let’s now consider the DUP brand. Could it be extended into Scotland? The party has ‘Democratic’ in its name, so that’s OK, but as Scotland wanted to oppose Brexit, the canny Scots may perceive a conflict in policy towards the EU.
Then there’s the PUP, which has ‘Progressive’ in its name. Are they capable of setting up legally-constituted associations in Scotland?
For council elections only perhaps, in a few selected council areas — but it seems they lack funding.
The TUV would seem unlikely to succeed in Ayrshire or anywhere else in Scotland, due to the ‘T’ which is unlikely to appeal to a younger generation.
The Orange Institution prides itself on having Scottish bandsmen parading in Belfast each year.
Some bandsmen recently paraded their music in Belfast City Hall. If all Scottish bandsmen supporting loyalism were to campaign for a unionist party in certain areas of Scotland, where grass-roots sympathies could be converted into active supporters and voters, then that would be a better use for such marching men.
After the 1974 Ulster Workers’ Council strike, working-class loyalists realised that some individual leaders had led them up the hill and down again — recalling the song ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’. Hence a new party, the PUP was formed.
However, after the number of seats in the Stormont assembly was reduced (unnecessary, but beneficial only to the two main parties), it left the PUP unable to gain more political influence in Northern Ireland.
A long-term goal of any revived Northern Ireland assembly should be to have itself replaced by an enlarged body renamed the Parliament of Northern Ireland, one in which members do not have a designation of their community affiliation.
This, along with a strategy for representation in Great Britain could (gradually, over decades) allow people in NI to come around to a wider, pluralist view of who they are.
Davy Bustard, North Down