Friday, 11 September 2009

Parsley Goes Blue

News from back home is that Alliance Euro Candidate and North Down* Councillor has joined the Conservatives (not quite merged with the Ulster Unionists yet).

I'd been following the news on the Northern Irish blogs when I could during the day, held out a little hope when one story pointed to substantial inaccuracies in a report in the Mirror that he had defected to the Ulster Unionists. Something he refuted on his blog. The only inaccuracy appears to be that it's not the UUs he has joined but their soon to be bride Cameron's Tories. The move comes with speculation that Lady Silvia Hermon upset with the UU and Tory wedding will not be seeking re-selection under that ticket.

Announcing his reasons for the shift to the press Parsley said he saw it as:

"the best means of delivering a shared future and a genuinely new type of politics would be through David Cameron’s Conservative Party."

Personally I don't see Conservative politics as being a new type of politics, especially not one I'd want to see take over in the land, or constituency of my birth. Speaking later on his blog he said:

"With a heavy heart, today I left the Alliance Party. I was, however, delighted to join David Cameron’s Conservative Party, and to become involved in politics at a UK level."

He goes on to say:

"Far from negating my commitment to the causes the Alliance Party believes, my move should be seen as an attempt to drive forward those values. Without the party’s work, in which I have played a small part, on the promotion of issues such as integrated education, costs of division and shared neighbourhoods, it is unlikely the prospective next UK Government would be making any of these issues a priority. I understand that many in the Alliance Party will not share my preference for a Conservative Government after the next General Election, but I trust they will recognise the value of having many core Alliance issues placed high on its agenda for Northern Ireland after it."
It is not just members of the Alliance Party that would look at such a statement with bemusement. I've lived in an council that had Alliance as the largest party (North Down) and in two one by majority one largest party being Conservative (Kingston and again North Down). You know something I don't see how anyone could put core Alliance issues into the heart of a Conservative Government. My views are shared by Alliance leader David Ford:

"There are huge contradictions between the delusions of some Conservatives that think they are anti-sectarian, and the 1950s-style bigotry still coming from Ulster Unionist elements.

"I fear Ian will find this contradiction more and more difficult to live with as time goes on."

As I speculated earlier this year is the time right for the Northern Irish branch of the Liberal Democrats and the Alliance to officially become one. Bring UK-wide Lib Dem politics to Northern Ireland. The Tories are doing it, Labour are considering it. You know if that does happen I'd be tempted to seek selection as the Lib Dem candidate for North Down and show Mr Parsley just what new politics on an United Kingdom wide level really does entail.

*So literally back home.

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