Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Opinion Letters

Break the mould in Upper Bann and South Antrim

Published 06/05/2015

This election gives unionist voters a chance to broaden our representation at Westminster, particularly by changes of personnel in the two marginal seats of Upper Bann and South Antrim.

At present the only unionist party in the House of Commons is the DUP. Its MPs are of one mind on those many areas where electors have a multiplicity of views.

Indeed, most unionist voters are not much different from their equivalents in England or Scotland - fair-minded and tolerant of difference. They are accepting of diversity on the big issues that concern so many of our citizens.

Those DUP MPs, up to now, have not displayed any such characteristics, only a uniformity of view that is incomprehensible to many in Britain. However, because the DUP is an organised and disciplined group, it can get MPs elected.

In consequence, they have a range of views that is exceptionally narrow, in both senses of the word. There are straws in the wind that monolithic view is changing, but without the spur of losing a couple of seats to the Ulster Unionist Party in a fair and even fight, they will continue to put party unity before the modernising world.

Unionism has historically been a movement which allowed a breadth of views at Westminster, which included, for example, the North Belfast MP Montgomery Hyde, who was a fearless campaigner in the 1950s for homosexual law reform and an end to capital punishment. The needless intervention by the First Minister in the discussion on the proposed legislative change regarding fatal foetal abnormality is indicative of the uphill struggle in our dominant unionist party to get alternative views mainstreamed.

Electing Jo-Anne Dobson and Danny Kinahan will break the mould as nothing else can.

JEFFREY DUDGEON

Belfast

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph