A new blog has been set up called Unionists not Conservatives at http://unionistsnotconservatives.wordpress.com/
The blogger introduces himself as follows:
"I am a UUP supporter but not a Tory. I am rather left leaning in my politics.
But that is not why I am doing this. Over the last few days, since the formal announcement of agreement the Conservatives have acted in a reprehensible manner, trying their best to obiliterate the UUP from existance and treat us as if we are some sort of scum."
Over the weekend it looked like there were a few teething problems between the Tories and the UUP, but rather than going away these seem to be escalating. Ulster Unionists are accusing the Tories of trying to control the relationship and for their part the Tories are accusing the Ulster Unionists of not getting with the program.
As a member of the DUP I have mixed feelings about this, there is a natural Schadenfreude at the self-destruct instinct that has plagued the UUP for over a decade. DUP voters do, however, have a transfer when they vote in June. The natural home for that transfer is with Mr Nicholson. Indeed, in European elections this transfer is vital for ensuring the election of 2 Unionists. The first 2 seats in the Northern Ireland constituency will go to the DUP and Sinn Fein, hopefully in that order. The third seat ought to go to Jim Nicholson, but with a 3-way Unionist split the risk of the SDLP's Alban Maginnis slipping in can't be ruled out. A lot will depend on the campaign within nationalism; if the Sinn Fein vote holds up then the SDLP will be left too far behind to catch Nicholson. On the other hand Sinn Fein's political impotence in recent months may help the SDLP. Sinn Fein have failed to deliver for their constituency on Policing & Justice and the Irish Language, not to mention Caitrina Ruane's performance as Education Minister. If this happens the race for the third seat could tighten up considerably.
DUP voters are, however going to be alienated by some of the language emminating from the "New Front." The following quote was posted on Slugger O'Toole by a NI Conservative, Seymour Major:
"The OO and the UUP severed official ties in 2005 but with OO politicians still there, this is a problem,I want to make it clear that I dont think of OO members as being sectarian-minded against Catholics just because they are members of that organisation. This may be hard for some Catholics to understand but I speak as a Catholic who has made friendships with Orangemen. I also want to make it clear that there are many Orangemen who genuinely dont have a sectarian bone in their body.
I acknowledge, however, that the presence of so many OO politicians is an obstacle to us making inroads as a cross-community party. My preference would be that they were not allowed to stand as candidates. Those members of the OO who have the party’s interest at heart would understand and appreciate this. "
These types of anti-orange comments have been emanating from the Northern Ireland Conservatives for some time, remember the "history ossessed parish pump society" comments. Traditional Ulster Unionists may not "get the program," but clearly the Tories haven't a clue about the Unionist electorate. Added to this there are the objections they have raised to Ulster-British names and iconography in recent days. Sinn Fein have spent years trying to remove emblems and names that are associated with Ulster's Britishness, are the Conservatives and Unionists now going to join them? Altogether it makes them a pretty unpalatable second preference.
I am an Orangeman and a Unionist, I want 2 Unionists to be returned to Europe, it is important and it crosses party boundaries. Moreover, coming from a farming background I appreciate the work Jim Nicholson does at Brussels, but he has to distance himself from these people. If UUP is to expect to get transfers automatically from other Unionist parties they have to make clear that they do not support these attacks on our culture and our identity.
Anyway I've added the Unionists not Conservatives blog to the blog list so you'll be updated on posts here at Euroblog'09