A timely Alliance to beat Shinners: Unionist fact will have major PUL if steered right
(John Coulter, Irish Daily Star)
The Shinners need to box clever and back off from loyalists as we get deeper into the Marching Season.
Many Protestants firmly believe Sinn Féin is waging a cultural war on their Britishness, but republicans should not take heart from the political splits in Unionism.
Known as the ‘PULs’ (Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist), the Union flag protest has merely awakened a giant and many loyalist leaders believe the PULs should stamp their feet in the same way Catholics did in the Sixties over civil rights.
The Shinners’ cultural war against the PULs is simply to deflect attention away from them not achieving their united Ireland by 2016, the centenary of the failed Easter Rising.
Sinn Féin and its pals in the Stoops and Alliance need to realise that while the PULs may not speak with one voice, they are now thinking with one mind.
The PULs now see themselves as the Sixties Southern American Blacks. They have concluded that politics is war without bloodshed and the message is going out via the Unionist Forum meetings that it’s time to take this passive resistance to the Shinners and Stoops.
The PULs now have a new target in their sights because of the Belfast City Hall flag debacle, and their strategy is simple – register to vote, go out to vote and get rid of Alliance.
Maybe that’s why former UUP MLAs Basil McCrea and John McCallister didn’t jump ship to Alliance. Maybe they knew the restless PUL giant will stomp Alliance out of existence at the next elections, and their new pluralist liberal party could steal Alliance’s thunder?
There is a perception among PULs that whatever Sinn Féin wants, Sinn Féin gets. The PSNI are rounding up dozens of PULs over the flag protests, but the police attitude to republicans is one of appeasement and concession, with the IRA enjoying an amnesty about its terrorist past.
Many PULs who voted Yes in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement referendum, would vote No if such a poll was held today.
The PULs have reached the conclusion that the Belfast Agreement was to stop the Provos bombing mainland Britain. In signing the Agreement, the Provos effectively tore up their Green Book, the republican movement’s Bible of commands.
Numerous PULs have had the political confidence sucked out of them since the DUP sucked up to Sinn Féin during the 2006 St Andrews Agreement.
At many Unionist Forum shindigs, it is the DUP enduring the verbal wrath of ordinary PULs in a re-run of how the No camp slabbered at Trimble and his Yes camp UUP in the early 2000s.
Given the collapse of the Celtic Tiger in the South, the Union may be safe in a border poll, but is the Union safe within the UK?
Could ‘Loyal Ulster’ become a mini republic within an increasingly fragmented UK, especially if the Scots plump for independence?
There is no doubt the PULs have become demoralised because of republicans’ cultural war on British heritage in the North.
The PUL leadership has a moral duty to ensure loyalists re-engage with the ballot box. But before the PULs can take on the Shinners and Stoops at the polls, they must get rid of Alliance.
Many Alliance politicians rely on Unionist transfers for their seats. If PULs snub Alliance, the party is over for the middle of the road, fur coat, wine and cheese movement.
May 14, 2013________________
This article appeared in the May 13, 2013 edition of the Irish Daily Star.