The origins of the Northern Ireland conservatives

Coulter, Colin (2001) The origins of the Northern Ireland conservatives. Irish Political Studies, 16 (1). pp. 29-48. ISSN 0790-7184

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This article sets out to tell the story of the Conservative associations that appeared in parts of Northern Ireland in the late nineteen eighties. Ironically, the emergence of the Ulster Tories may be attributed largely to the activities of a small leftist sect. Throughout the seventies and eighties the British & Irish Communist Organisation (B&ICO) developed and advanced an ideological programme of ‘electoral integrationism’. While the case for electoral integration attracted little attention initially, the advent of the Anglo‐Irish Agreement enabled it to reach a wider and more receptive audience. The principal achievement of the electoral integrationist movement was perhaps to persuade the British Conservative Party to establish constituency organisations in Northern Ireland. Although opinion polls often suggested a bright future for Conservative politics in the region, the early nineties saw the Ulster Tories suffer humiliation in a sequence of elections. The swift and ignominious decline of the Northern Ireland Conservatives is instructive not least because it casts light upon the troubled relationship between Ulster unionists and the British state.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: origins; Northern Ireland; conservatives; electoral integrationism; Ulster Tories; politics;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
Item ID: 8992
Identification Number: 10.1080/07907180108406631
Depositing User: Colin Coulter
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2017 15:08
Journal or Publication Title: Irish Political Studies
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Refereed: Yes

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