Thursday, February 25, 2010

I've never voted Conservative before, but I'm a progressive, liberal unionist

A few months ago, the self-styled 'liberal unionist' Northern Ireland blogger Chekov went off on one about the DUP, on an issue that any liberal ought to be proud to do so, namely the elements within that party still supportive of the death penalty. However, I think I mentioned at the time my bemusement at Chekov's apparent incredulity over the issue, as if he was revealing the reason why the DUP could be regarded as the most neanderthal party in the western world. Sadly, support for capital punishment remains considerably more mainstream than we might wish on the right of politics in the United Kingdom - if not, ironically, in the Republic of Ireland!

But there's another irony - or to be more blunt, a gaping hole of illogicality - in Chekov's position. For the other thing that regularly gets his goat up is even the slightest suggestion that the new link-up between the Ulster Unionist Party and the Conservatives may not be the most exciting development in politics since the advent of universal suffrage. Whenever it's pointed out that the UUP is an ideologically-mixed party, and that there are many left-of-centre party members who can only feel naturally at home in a moderate unionist rather than conservative party, Chekov simply repeats the rather jaw-dropping mantra that everyone knows the Conservatives are now the most 'progressive' party in UK politics, and any argument to the contrary is simply not 'sustainable'. Really? Even when you consider the new survey findings that twenty per cent of Conservative prospective parliamentary candidates favour the restoration of the death penalty? Given Chekov's claimed astonishment that anyone at all could hold such views in the modern world, I'd suggest a true progressive could only really feel comfortable in a party that doesn't put up candidates who do. But if Chekov really does have his heart set on a British mainland party, there are thankfully many that fit the bill for him to choose from - Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, the Greens...but not the Tories. Categorically not the Tories.

And a small postscript. After the industrial quantities of bile he's heaped on Sylvia Hermon for daring to disrupt - by perfectly democratic means - the carefully laid plans to install a Tory/UUP MP for North Down, it's also rather startling to see Chekov suddenly do a complete about-turn now that there's a vague (and not very plausible) suggestion that she could stand as a Labour candidate, rather than as an independent. It would be the 'honourable' thing for Hermon to do, he tells us.

Words fail me. You can have any colour you like, as long as it's black. In Chekov-world, any political stand is a principled stand - just so long as it's a UK integrationist political stand.

No comments:

Post a Comment