British Rights for British Citizens’: The Campaign for ‘Equal Citizenship’ for Northern Ireland

Coulter, Colin (2015) British Rights for British Citizens’: The Campaign for ‘Equal Citizenship’ for Northern Ireland. Contemporary British History, 29 (4). pp. 486-507. ISSN 1361-9462

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This essay traces the evolution of the demand that the principal British political parties should extend organisation to Northern Ireland. Although originally nurtured by a small Stalinist sect of the far left, the ideal of electoral integration or ‘equal citizenship’ would in time come to exercise considerable appeal among middle-class unionists disorientated by the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement. This unlikely political alliance would give rise to a vibrant pressure group—the Campaign for Equal Citizenship (CEC)—which played a vocal role in Northern Irish political life in the late 1980s. While often vaunted as its essential attribute, the political diversity of the CEC would foster divisions that would ensure its swift demise. The paper concludes that the decline of electoral integrationism in the early 1990s represented perhaps a prerequisite of a nascent peace process that envisaged a very different political future for Northern Ireland.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: British and Irish Communist Organisation; Ulster Unionism; Anglo-Irish Agreement; Direct Rule; Electoral Integrationism;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
Item ID: 8987
Identification Number: 10.1080/13619462.2014.1002774
Depositing User: Colin Coulter
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2017 15:04
Journal or Publication Title: Contemporary British History
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Refereed: Yes

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