Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Coulter C.
Irish Studies Review
Peering in from the window ledge of the Union: The Anglo-Irish Agreement and the attempt to bring British Conservatism to Northern Ireland
Optional Fields
Anglo-Irish Agreement British and Irish Communist Organisation Conservative Party direct rule Ulster Unionism
In this article I examine one particular way in which the Anglo-Irish Agreement redefined unionist politics in the late 1980s. While the operation of "direct rule" had drawn the unionist middle classes ever closer to Britain in economic and cultural terms, it had also left them in a precarious position politically. The nature and scale of this political subservience was brought home dramatically in 1985 when the British government signed an international agreement giving the Dublin government the right to be consulted on Northern Irish affairs. In the period of political flux summoned by the Hillsborough Accord, elements of the unionist middle classes were drawn to the previously marginal ideas of a small leftist organisation that argued for the British political parties to organise in the region. Given the material interests and social conservatism of those attracted to it, the call for "equal citizenship" would inevitably take the form primarily of a movement seeking to bring British Conservatism to Northern Ireland. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.
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