It's been far too long, but the good news can now ring out - self-styled 'liberal unionist' Northern Ireland blogger Owen Polley (aka Chekov) is firmly back on Broken Record Duty, railing against unionists in the Northern Ireland Executive for making common cause with the Evil Nats in Scotland and Wales against the just and benevolent cuts being handed down by our masters in London -
"Certainly, by a nationalist analysis, the current government draws its strongest endorsement to cut spending from England. Even the most nominal unionist, however, will respect that its mandate to tackle the deficit encompasses the entire United Kingdom...The government has to look at the UK economy as a whole, it cannot sacrifice the greater good to the needs of the periphery.
No-one would seriously suggest that politicians from Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales should not put their regions’ respective cases forcibly. However self-styled unionists should, at the very least, refrain from undermining the very basis of Westminster’s sovereignty over the United Kingdom. Allying with nationalists, against the national interest, is a fundamentally anti-Union act."
Hmmm. I think what Owen is really trying to tell us here is that it's OK for the devolved governments to make their "regions'" case, just so long as they have the decency to do it ineffectively. Heaven forbid that they should come up with a strategy that actually has a chance of making an impact. But small hint - if such a common cause strategy really were so apocalyptic in its potential effects as to "undermine the very basis of Westminster's sovereignty over the United Kingdom", I have a feeling there might just be a law against it or something.
As I've mentioned before, I never cease to be entertained by Owen's apparent belief that he can vanquish the Evil Nats on the linguistic battlefield, by relentlessly putting Scotland in its place as a mere 'region'. His fellow unionists in Scotland gave up the ghost on that one years ago - did no-one send Owen the memo? Ah well, the sheer loneliness of the fight makes it all the more plucky, I suppose. But I'd gently suggest that the logical consistency of some of his terminology still needs a fair bit of work. For instance, how can people called "nationalists" be working against the "national interest"? If what they're doing is working for a regional interest against the national interest, doesn't that instead make them "regionalists"? Come on, Owen, get it sorted - the "nation" is relying on you.