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UUAC supports British Tory Party

(March 1975)

From Militant Irish Monthly, Issue 33, March–April 1975.
Transcribed and marked up by Ciaran Crossey.

How many times has the sentiment been expressed by Protestant workers in Northern Ireland that if they lived in England they would, without doubt vote Labour?

Yet in election after election Protestant workers have returned to office members who represent the interests of the wealthy. They have put into power right wing politicians who have differed from the British Tories only, in that they have sought to hide their anti-working class venom with a canopy of phrases about loyalty.

In Britain the Tory party has proven itself to be the enemy of the working, class. It is the party of the rich, financed by the monopolies with policies designed to serve the interest of their backers. For some time relationships between the British Tories and their Northern Ireland counterparts have been strained.

Many of the English variety, in their efforts to appear respectable have been embarrassed at the thought of the new form and ideologies of Unionism ever mushrooming in the Northern Ireland situation. Hence the latter part of the Conservative and Unionist parties title has tended to be forgotten.

Now with the triumph of Mrs Thatcher the hope has arisen in right wing Unionist ranks in the North that the new image Tory party might be more prepared to align itself with its Unionist “brothers”.

Monday Club

Unionist leader Harry West wasted no time in offering Mrs. Thatcher his congratulations. A few days later on February 14th the Monday Club, a right wing Conservative grouping opened a new Ulster branch. Ex-Tory MP Harold Sorel was the guest speaker and in his address he “hoped that the Conservative party would once again become the Conservative and Unionist Party” and he argued for a much closer liaison between the Tories of Britain and those of Northern Ireland.

Elected as chairman of the new Monday club branch, Sir James Molyneaux leader of the United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC), who was returned in South Antrim by a massive majority in both recent elections. Among the other leading UUUC figures who attended was well known Loyalist leader, Rev Martin Smyth.

Another leader of the UUUC the Rev. Robert Bradford MP, for South Belfast has also recently unveiled his colours. At the recent conference at the Corrymeela community centre in Co. Antrim he said (Belfast Telegraph, 1st February) that “the problems of Northern Ireland, and the world were the result of three things the Roman Catholic church, International Marxism and ecumenical confusion”. He went on “violent elements whose purpose is to destroy must be dealt with and if this involves killing then that is got to be”.

The same Bradford speaking in a debate in the House of Commons on the Labour Government’s new Industry Bill, opposed this measure and instead upheld the view of Northern Ireland’s industrialists, who he said “to the state ownership and absolute control implicit in the Bill. There were cases”, he said, “when state intervention was needed to stabilise an industry, but that was very different from a socialist policy of ownership and ’dictatorship’ in industry”. In other words, they will be quite prepared to accept state handouts, money taken from the taxes of workers, provided there is no Government control over how that money is spent. Such statements, when coupled with the past record of reactionaries such as Enoch, Powell and William Craig, and with such calls as that of Vanguard politicians have the army break the recent milk workers strike, expose the true anti-working class nature of this grouping.

The determination of the UUUC leaders not to endorse leaders of the Belfast based Protestant para military groups for elections shows the fear that these elements have of losing control of the Protestant areas.

In a situation of big strikes against attacks on workers’ wages the UUUC leaders want to be sure that their elected members would not support the strikers. Vanguard condemned the lorry drivers strike in which some of its own supporters were involved as “republican inspired”.


The two paramilitary leaders who have been endorsed recently as part of the UUUC panel to fight the coming elections are Colonel Edward Brush and George Greene. Brush is leader of the Down Orange Welfare and Greene leader of the B Specials Association, both overwhelmingly rural based organisations.

Brush when asked on Ulster TV why he wanted a private army said he wanted to “support democracy”. Asked who he thought was attacking democracy he replied: “All those striking workers and who knows we might get a call from across the water. 𔄙 (Britain). His preparations are clearly made so that he will be able to play a part in future attacks on the working class movement. Brush is also a personal friend of Neave the new Tory spokesman on the North. This shows the close ties between the UUUC leaders, Brush and Greene and the right wing of the Tories. What unites them is their common opposition to the Trade Union and Labour movement and their realisation of the need for the representatives of big business to prepare an armed strike breaking force for the future.


The British Tory party is the party of capital. To workers their policies mean unemployment, squalid housing, low wages and the dominance of wealth and privilege. The Unionist bloc from Enoch Powell right through to the new style of Brian Faulkner and the Alliance party are Tories through and through. It can only be hoped that their alignment with the “right wing of British politics” will help remove the blinkers from the eyes of those workers who supported them in the past. The emergence of a Labour party fighting on socialist policies would accelerate this process and be capable of preventing such reactionaries from ever again leading workers into sectarianism.

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Last updated: 24 June 2018