For over a century the rallying cry of “No Surrender!” has been a feature of British separatist politics and violence in the north-east of Ireland. Taken up by pro-union leaders in the province of Ulster during the 1890s, the slogan has featured in the election publications of extremist parties and the propaganda of fanatical terrorists for decades. People on this island – and its neighbour to the east – know the bloody history of the phrase and the overt threat it represents. So it was interesting to watch yesterday’s pointed use of the term by Ian Paisley Jr. of the Democratic Unionist Party during a verbal attack on the European Union in the British parliament. To loud cheers from members of the governing Conservative Party, currently in a parliamentary coalition with the hard-right DUP, the MP for North Antrim shouted across the chamber:
Does the minister agree with me that it’s about time the Government demonstrated a no surrender attitude to the EU bureaucrats?! Who try to blackmail us, bully us, over air flights, passenger duty and everything else?
Stand up to them, man! Stand up to the EU! And let’s get on with leaving the EU.
The blackmailing burghers from Brussels and the cheap political opportunists in Dublin must meet a tough UK Government response. In these negotiations, if the gloves are off, it is time we went into the fray with a no surrender attitude.
The views above expose yet again the real attitude of the Democratic Unionists to harmonious and cooperative relations between Europe and the United Kingdom. In the eyes of the party, Brexit primarily represents another political, socio-economic and cultural front in an ongoing cold war to maintain the UK’s “putrid little statelet” across the Irish Sea. Nothing more, nothing less.