18 FEBRUARY 1949, Page 3

Ulster's Decision

While the Ulster elections resulted in the expected sweeping victory for the Unionist Government, some of the results provide rather inflammable material for Eire propagandists. A record vote was registered, some record majorities were secured and the Govern- ment strengthened its position by gaining three seats from Labour in Belfast. Taking Northern Ireland as a whole, Sir Basil Brooke's party has emerged stronger than ever both in seats and in aggregate votes. Even in Tyrone and Fermanagh it is better off than before. At the same time, as Mr. Sheehy Skeffington claims in a letter to The Times, in Tyrone, Fermanagh and Armagh, though the majority of seats go to the Unionists, the aggregate vote gives a Nationalist majority in each county. (This, however, takes no account of the unopposed returns.) There is room here for infinite cross-talk about the gerrymandering of constituency boundaries, though it is a pity that the High Commissioner's Office in London should have led the way in charges of this kind. The fact is that Ireland is like a series of Chinese boxes, with always a minority within a minority, at any rate in the north. The separation of the Ulster minority from the rest of Ireland was decided nearly thirty years ago, and no case has been made for any change except by agreement. Whatever case there was has on the whole been weakened by the result of last week's election. Eire has gone out of the Commonwealth ; Ulster is resolved to stay within it. So long as she is of that mind Ulster is entitled to all the advantages which membership of the Commonwealth entails.