Opinion: Ulster Unionists 'Have Displayed Incompetence' PLATFORM: Robert McCartney MP, MLA, Leader of the UK Unionist Party

By McCartney, Robert | The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), September 20, 2000 | Go to article overview

Opinion: Ulster Unionists 'Have Displayed Incompetence' PLATFORM: Robert McCartney MP, MLA, Leader of the UK Unionist Party


McCartney, Robert, The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland)


A short time ago I wrote ''the truth cannot be suppressed indefinitely for time and circumstance will inevitably expose it''. In its serialisation of Mo Mowlam's biography, The Mail on Sunday reveals that Lord Mayhew, that epitome of English good manners, described the Mitchell Report as ''a load of b******s". It would be unfair to dismiss David Trimble's recent article in this newspaper in such terms without submitting it to some detailed analysis.

WE HAVE SECURED THE UNION:

The Ulster Unionist leadership suggests it has secured the Union by enshrining the consent principle in international law. The only consent that is required from the pro-Union majority is to the legal transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to the Republic of Ireland. Sinn Fein has never subscribed to even this. Who in their right mind will believe that the SDLP and Sinn Fein would have considered endorsing the Belfast Agreement in any form, unless they believed it offered the transitional institutions to obtain Irish unity? The Agreement which John Major described as ''The Frameworks Document with knobs on'' is specifically designed to create an economically and functionally United Ireland, that will render majority consent to the formal legal transfer of Northern Irelands' title deeds either inevitable, or unnecessary. Sinn Fein correctly describe the Agreement's full implementation as a ''transitional phase'' en route to a United Ireland. This view accords completely with New Labour's detailed policy statement entitled, ''Towards a United Ireland - reform and harmonisation, a dual strategy for Irish Unification''.

David Trimble asserts that ''Northern Ireland politicians are plugged into a very dynamic and modern system of United Kingdom government''. The question is, what has this dynamic government done for the ordinary citizens of Northern Ireland? Punitive fuel tax is destroying our haulage industry and agricultural base. Failure to support our farmers, who are facing ruin, because of central government's incompetence, is eroding the entire foundation of our major industry, textile workers are losing their jobs and Harland and Wolff is on the brink of insolvency. Southern Irish companies are buying up large sections of our commercial enterprises. David Trimble's Assembly has proven totally powerless to offer anything but debate and words of sympathy.

DELIVERING BRITISH GOVERNMENT:

The claim that the Assembly is delivering British government is equally hollow. To allege that public policy is being set by Ulster men and women is completely fake. The Assembly is operating strictly within the limitations dictated by Westminster. These in turn are largely shaped by the requirements of the SDLP, Sinn Fein/IRA and the Irish government. To claim, as David Trimble does, that the inspection by two foreign politicians of two arms dumps selected and controlled by the IRA and containing a tiny fraction of their arsenal, justifies working in a government with Sinn Fein, is to accept a form of British government that no mainland citizen would tolerate. The Irish Government is involved directly through its British counterpart and indirectly via the SDLP and Sinn Fein in every aspect of government in Northern Ireland. It dictates policy over a wide range of constitutional aspects, from the selection of our judges, to the composition of our police force and the flying of the national flag. Officers of the Garda Siochana are now present in the RUC headquarters. So much for British Government.

POLICING AND ENDING TERRORISM FOR GOOD:

David Trimble's policy on the RUC has been calamitous from day one. …

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