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Conspiracy claim over Home Rule insults unionists

Published 21/12/2015

In commenting on Liam Kennedy's article on the Ulster Covenant (Write Back, December 11), CDC Armstrong goes out of his way to "understand" why Ulster unionists thought the Home Rule movement was a "conspiracy".

He forgets that support for Home Rule had been the policy of British Liberals for decades and, arguably, they had paid a high electoral price for it.

Interestingly, Mr Armstrong does not dispute this, but argues that "one of the historian's first duties is to understand the minds of those of whom he writes".

So, his position appears to be that Home Rule was a conspiracy, because the Covenanters regarded it as a conspiracy. Really?

But it gets worse: part of the "conspiracy" seems to be that "the Liberals had limited the veto power of the House of Lords for party advantage".

Did having an unelected hereditary chamber of parliament not also work to the advantage of one party: the Conservative party? Was this desirable in 20th century democracy?

Perversely, Mr Armstrong ends up claiming that "the unionist audiences were being assured by leading English politicians that the Liberals would back down" on the Home Rule question.

So, the poor unionist dupes so lacked resolve that they ended up being pawns in someone else's game? This insults the Ulster unionists of the time.

KARIN KANE

Ballyshannon, Co Donegal

Belfast Telegraph

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