Latest Issue

A bitter consensus

Because the violence is over, Northern Irish voters feel free to back the hardliners

By Richard Bourke   June 2005

The 2005 election in Northern Ireland has wiped out the centre ground. Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist party trounced the Ulster Unionists, who had dominated the politics of the province since 1920. When the Good Friday agreement was signed in 1998, supported by a narrow majority of unionists, the UUP held ten of the 18 Westminster seats allotted to Northern Ireland, while the DUP held two. Today, the DUP has nine MPs while the UUP has just one.

Every other vehicle of electoral moderation on the Protestant side seems equally stalled or bust: the moderate Alliance party barely made a showing…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect