Manifestos: Traditional Unionist Voice

28 Apr 2022 Nick Garbutt    Last updated: 28 Apr 2022

Next up in Scope’s series on election manifestos is the TUV, which wants to reform Stormont so it’s more like the EU.

The TUV manifesto is called: Principle Strength Integrity No Sea Border

It claims: “You have seen in Jim Allister what one determined TUV voice can achieve in the Assembly. Just think of the potential of multiple TUV MLAs.”

But before we even get to that, it addresses the protocol which it describes as “colonisation” which “is intolerable and cannot be borne by any self-respecting democrat.”

So therefore, if we have to have it there will be no Stormont. “This Protocol is irredeemable. It must go.”

Next is the cost-of-living crisis where the manifesto states: “TUV will not pretend that the Stormont Assembly can do much in face of a global rise in energy prices or international inflation trends”

This is clearly not the view of either Sinn Fein or the SDLP who have developed policy responses.

But the TUV states that its supposed inability to act in response to the cost-of-living issue is not a reason “to lavish money on such absurdities as translation services in Stormont and a supercharged Irish language commissioner.”

It claims that Stormont is condemned to “perpetual failure” thanks to an unworkable system and Sinn Fein not being in government to make Northern Ireland work. The party proposes two solutions. The first is voluntary coalition, arguing that some form of it is inevitable given that no party is big enough to govern on its own.

The other option is legislative devolution whereby the elected Assembly would be preserved as the legislature for transferred Northern Ireland matters, along with its important scrutiny function, but without a local executive. Executive functions would be exercised by British ministers, but with the vital distinction that they would be accountable to the Assembly and their legislative programme would pass, not through Westminster, but through the Stormont Assembly.

Ironically the inspiration for that comes from the European Union where “a similar model has existed for years in the EU between the Parliament and the Council of Ministers. In Northern Ireland, the Chair of the relevant committee could act as rapporteur for the Assembly in any negotiations with the minister, with both sides statutorily bound to make determined efforts to reach consensus.”

Whatever the solution it will not involve a Sinn Fein First Minister. “Remember, even if Sinn Fein was the biggest party, because it is a joint office, they can only ever be First Minister if they can find a stooge Unionist party to act as deputy. TUV is clear: we will never empower Sinn Fein. Will others likewise commit not to be Sinn Féin’s bridesmaid, or will they meekly nominate a deputy First Minister.”

The Irish language debate gets more than its fair share of attention in the document we’re told for instance that “the £11 million per year cost of the proposed Irish language legislation and related provision could employ at least 275 additional band-five nurses.”

A Nursing Reserve Service should be created that is “somewhat akin to the Army Reserve - whereby retired and former nurses could be enlisted, required to keep up with relevant training, modestly remunerated as reserves and available to be called upon in emergency.”

Furthermore, whilst the primary focus of the NHS is the saving of lives, some want it to become an “agency for death” through the full commissioning of abortion services.

And “the TUV’s moral compass means we are resolute in opposing terrorists in government, amnesty, destruction of the unborn and the dilution of marriage and gender identity as determined at birth.”

The manifesto runs to 39 pages.

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