Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

The Tories in Ulster and the social policy trap..

Thu 1 April 2010, 2:38pm

Our sometimes guest contributor The Watchman offers this analysis on why, when the Tory project may be righting itself just in time for the general election in Britain, it has seemed to go so badly wrong for them in Northern Ireland. He offers a number of reasons why it has all gone wrong for them, amongst them, he argues, “lethal damage could be inflicted on the whole CU alliance if candidates had to sign up to Dave’s liberal metropolitan obsessions.”The Watchman

The sudden arrival of snow has made this a good week for the UUP to bury bad news, namely the first occasion when an Ulster Unionist candidate has been removed on the say-so of a Tory leader. Yes, it’s South Antrim.

From the start, I foresaw three crucial problems with the CU alliance. (I hate “UCUNF”.) Firstly, the Tories instantly put their new allies on a hook by pledging that the CUs would contest every single seat.

Secondly, the cumbersome process of selection seemed a recipe for trouble. The UUP could select someone and have that candidature overridden by the London Tory machine. What UU activist would be prepared to work for someone who had displaced their freely chosen nominee? Would such a person not owe their loyalty to those who had really chosen them?

The name of Margaret McVeigh, an Ulster-born Tory activist in the Cities of London and Westminster, was mooted as the CCHQ candidate. (I ran her name past a Tory insider and he had never heard of her). Whatever Ms McVeigh’s attributes, it was stupid even to consider parachuting a leader’s favourite from SW1 into a constituency at the expense of the local mayor. Rigged Tory selection processes might work in the Home Counties but they are a recipe for disaster in Ulster.

Thirdly, social policy could be a key fault line. There always seemed potential for a cultural clash between the politically correct Cameroons and the more socially conservative unionist electorate. Lethal damage could be inflicted on the whole CU alliance if candidates had to sign up to Dave’s liberal metropolitan obsessions.

When I posted on the Watson subject previously, I found the bungling of South Antrim mystifying. Few unionists give a hoot about what Watson said 4 years ago. His candidature for the CUs would have prompted criticism from The Guardian and bile from the usual suspects who post on Slugger, but that’s it. Why was there so much hostility to Watson in Tory ranks?

Here’s a possible answer. Consider the Cameroons: after the election, there will be (they hope) either a small Tory majority government or a minority one. Such a government will become unpopular very quickly. In such circumstances, the composition of the Parliamentary Party will be very important. From his election as leader in 2005, Cameron and his clique have used candidate selection to shape the future Tory Parliamentary Party in their own image. They want a tame pliable grouping for obvious reasons. Did they come to view Watson as a probable factional enemy, one best blackballed? Even if a UUP/Tory lost South Antrim in May, the re-election of Willie McCrea would be no big problem – after all the DUP will want to do a deal with the Tories in a hung Parliament.

Of course Watson’s blackballing gives the DUP a great narrative at an otherwise difficult time. It can portray itself as a party that isn’t in a Tory leader’s pocket, that is not dependent on Tory money and which is not obsessed with faddish political correctness. That could shore up its vote and damage the CUs far beyond Newtownabbey.

Meanwhile, watch what Adrian Watson does now. After having been treated abominably, he would be fully entitled to resign and take public revenge on those who blackballed him. But there may be a way out that makes everyone happy. The UUP selects Danny Kinahan as its Westminster candidate. Kinahan unseats Willie McCrea and then resigns his Assembly seat. Would it be a surprise if Watson was nominated to fill it? At least Dave Cameron’s permission wouldn’t be necessary.

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Comments (63)

  1. Nevin (profile) says:

    I think Watson has already resigned from the UUP. I’d already heard that another successful UUP candidate wasn’t told about why he wasn’t chosen in the ‘carve-up’.

    The UUP’s need for money led it unthinkingly into this impossible alliance.

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  2. Garza (profile) says:

    In last 6 months 200 people have joined up because of the link up with the Tories, but that won’t make the news of course.

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  3. forwardthinkingunionist (profile) says:

    I’m despairing as an Ulster Unionist member. I’m proud of the Party and I voted in favour of the link-up with the Conservatives – however the manner in which business between the parties has been conducted is shameful.

    In terms of South Antrim – we could (and I believe would) have won that seat with Watson. The Constituency Association unanimously backed Watson as their choice (at the vote it was Watson 90, Robinson 58 and Hill 52) in doing so he had managed to attract the votes of even the more Conservative minded voters amongst the association but immediately faced an orchestrated and shameful campaign by those who backed Robinson.

    I’m currently considering my own membership of the Party but what’s my alternative in politics? The DUP are standing on the ground that a traditional ulster unionist would have occupied but I could never join that Party because I simply could never trust them, whilst the TUV are stuck solely in the past.

    The resignations have only begun, a second MLA is expected today and is certainly imminent.

    The one thing I would add is that I was in favour of the Conservative link, but on Ulster Unionist terms, that has never materialised – I am not a roleover Unionist, and I didn’t believe the Ulster Unionist Party were either, how wrong I was.

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  4. Finn Mc Cool (profile) says:

    I would find it hard to believe that Watson would resign from the party. If he did resign I have no doubt that he would retain his council seat at the next election. He has a lot of support in the housing estates and band culture in the Antrim area which should not be underestimated.

    It is my opinion that Watson has bigger ambitions that local council, he has been Mayor a couple of times and would dearly love a chance to perform on the bigger stage at S

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  5. Finn Mc Cool (profile) says:

    I would find it hard to believe that Watson would resign from the party. If he did resign I have no doubt that he would retain his council seat at the next election. He has a lot of support in the housing estates and band culture in the Antrim area which should not be underestimated.

    It is my opinion that Watson has bigger ambitions that local council, he has been Mayor a couple of times and would dearly love a chance to perform on the bigger stage at S

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  6. Garza (profile) says:

    “The resignations have only begun, a second MLA is expected today and is certainly imminent.”

    Please let it be McNarry :-)

    There were always going to be resignations sooner or later. It is evitbale in a transition process of a party and new alliance.

    I personally found Watson’s views on homosexuals to be repugnent. How can he represent the whole community if he wouldn’t let a homosexual into his own house?

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  7. Garza @ 09:17 AM:

    In last 6 months 200 people have joined up because of the link up with the Tories…

    All of one a day! Wowza! the UCUNF project is fairly racing along (unlike The Watchman, I find that near-obscenity quite appropriate).

    By the way, was this post from The Watchman Slugger’s April Fool? If so, it seems a rather dreary repeat of a previous thread. And, really, he needs to speak to the right sort of Tory to recognise the true worth of

    Margaret McVeigh, an Ulster-born Tory activist in the Cities of London and Westminster…

    What knows he of Anglicanism and educational charity works over at least three decades who knows only homophobic and sectarian Mayors of Antrim? So much for the Grand Cross-channel Unionist Initiative: it didn’t get beyond the old Orange narrowness and parochialism.

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  8. Finn Mc Cool (profile) says:

    Sorry, made a mistake on the buttons,

    I was going on to say that the possible outcome put forward by Mick would appeal to Watson as a satisfactory outcome to what has been a disaster for the UUP membership in SA.

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  9. forwardthinkingunionist (profile) says:

    [I]Please let it be McNarry :-)[/I]

    It’s not.

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  10. pinni (profile) black spot says:

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.

    They thought the alliance was a cash cow but the UU’s have, I suppose unwittingly – seeing that Empey was involved – been swallowed up by the Tories.

    Every self-respecting Ulster Unionist should take his stand right now, today and express his or her outrage at this usurpation.

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  11. oneill (profile) says:

    “Lethal damage could be inflicted on the whole CU alliance if candidates had to sign up to Dave’s liberal metropolitan obsessions.”

    I’ve seen this thrown at the CU alliance before…what exactly are those “liberal metropolitan obsessions” that candidates here would find so upsetting? The fact that the modern Conservative party is trying to leave behind and exclude the bigots for whom the odd bit of homophobia, racism and sexism was always seen as a bit of harmless fun or more disturbingly, a “part of our cultural tradition”?

    If that’s the case, then fxxk the likes of Watson, I’m with the those liberal, metropolitan heathens.

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  12. union mack (profile) says:

    whilst the UUP have been encouraged into this by the financial opportunity, i’d rather vote for that than a party funded by dishonest, dodgy and corrupt developers and planning decisions.

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  13. Paddy Matthews (profile) says:

    @Malcolm:

    If one of the perceived problems with McCrea is that he:

    “is not too popular in the area (basically because you can’t dig him out of Magherafelt and get him to visit South Antrim)”

    (http://splinteredsunrise.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/orangemen-are-not-the-only-fruits/)

    then choosing a candidate based in London may not be a smart move.

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  14. Dec (profile) says:

    From his election as leader in 2005, Cameron and his clique have used candidate selection to shape the future Tory Parliamentary Party in their own image. They want a tame pliable grouping for obvious reasons. Did they come to view Watson as a probable factional enemy, one best blackballed?

    Yeah, I can just imagine the late night summits held by David Cameron and George Osborne agonizing over how to deal with the threat posed by the Mayor of Antrim.

    Incredibly it still doesn’t seem to occured to Watchmen that,at least part of, the reason Watson was blackballed was that the Conservative party now has a lesbian vice-chairwoman and two out gay men in the shadow cabinet.

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  15. pinni (profile) black spot says:

    I reckon the future of Unionism is best served by continued support for the main unionist party. It’s obvious that the UUP has run its course, and no amount of funds and control by the Cons will succeed in reviving its former glory. We need to look to the future and stop beating a dead horse.

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  16. pinni (profile) black spot says:

    Dec,

    You are not suggesting that the Conservatives have been taken over by a bunch of heterophobes, are you?

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  17. abc123 (profile) says:

    The Conservative link up will be of benefit to everyone over time. But there are bound to be problems.

    The whole process of selecting candidates has not been handled very well and allowing a member of Provisional Sinn Fein to get elected in FST will not be popular. It’s not sectarian to want a Unionist full time member of parliament to be elected in every constituency in NI.

    The CUs should say that they will put up a candidate in every part of the UK with the proviso that the sitting MP actually attends Parliament in order to represent the people of that area. In such cases, local arrangements should be put in place.

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  18. Dec (profile) says:

    Pinni

    No, I’m suggesting that when the UUP is at ‘the heart of Government’, their colleagues in the Conservatives probably aren’t that keen on the likes of Watson liberally quoting from the Book of Deuteronomy during cabinet meetings.

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  19. Dec (profile) says:

    The whole process of selecting candidates has not been handled very well and allowing a member of Provisional Sinn Fein to get elected in FST will not be popular.

    Presumably it will be popular in FST.

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  20. RepublicanStones (profile) says:

    Interesting video on Hermon and the potential of the CU’s.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2010/apr/01/northern-ireland-conservatives-ulster-unionist-party#start-of-comments

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  21. While Sir Reg pines the huckster’s shop on the hill, his own local joint venture enterprise is hardly a fine example of organisation. To date, the only example provided of a ‘new’ politics is that there is the link up – nothing of policy national/local etc. On the back of all this kerfuffle, what is the offer? Meanwhile in Fermanagh South Tyrone…

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  22. Driftwood (profile) black spot says:

    South Antrim, and South Down are no different than South Kensington.
    People should have the same choice ie to vote for a National party of government.

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  23. forwardthinkingunionist (profile) says:

    “People should have the same choice ie to vote for a National party of government.”

    Not at the expense of a once proud and established party

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  24. pinni (profile) black spot says:

    Dec: ‘when the UUP is at ‘the heart of Government’’

    LOL! That’s hilarious. Heart of government? Sure the UU’s do not even have one MP at the present time, let alone anyone who would remotely qualify to have a seat on a future Con. cabinet. Aren’t we counting chickens a little early?

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  25. dodrade (profile) says:

    I can see the South Antrim election literature already:

    Vote for your local UCUNF third choice candidate!

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  26. abc123 (profile) says:

    Driftwood – “People should have the same choice ie to vote for a National party of government”.

    I agree that this is the objective. But people should get real.

    If we take FST, last time SF got 38% of the vote at the General Election. That means 62% didn’t vote for SF. People who want a full time member of parliament representing them at Westminster. The CUs don’t owe SF any favours given that the Provos murdered a number of CU politicians – both UUP and Conservative members. They should do a deal in FST – for the sake of the majority of people there, Protestant, Roman Catholic and others.

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  27. Dec (profile) says:

    Pinni

    I was being sarcastic.

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  28. someone (profile) says:

    It is a bit ironic that members of both the UUP and Conservatives have declared themselves disgruntled on Slugger with how things turned out, with each accusing their own leadership of having “rolled over” for the other…

    In any case politics is always messy, especially a risky-but-potentially-very-rewarding move like the CUs. It still offers what is important – equal citizenship for NI residents who can now have their vote counted in choosing who forms the next government, for the first time in decades! That alone is worth the fall-out.

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  29. IJP (profile) says:

    RepublicanStones

    Just to come in quickly to correct a lie in the Guardian’s video about which I have been notifed.

    Mr Rea in Kilcooley says that “the Prospective UUP-Conservative candidate” visited the Centre the previous week. This is utter nonsense, no such visit took place (although I look forward to visiting later this month).

    He then made up some claptrap about that candidate not knowing what legal highs were. Only this week I organised a conference in East Belfast on the subject of addiction and policy interventions designed to tackle it, including what can reasonably be done about legal highs. 50 were in attendance on an appalling day weather-wise.

    Disagree with me on the subject if you wish, but don’t pretend I take no interest in it. On the contrary, the very reason I joined the Conservative/UUP ticket was in the hope that I could influence to UK Government on issues just like this as they apply to Northern Ireland.

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  30. oneill (profile) says:

    IJP,

    No mention of your phantom visit on Mr Rea’s Kilcooley Community site (unless he’s including you under the “Beware of Bogus Callers” heading;)):

    http://tinyurl.com/ya7fgtp

    Either his memory is struggling itself under the influence of legal highs or this is the beginning of the dirty tricks campaign…

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  31. Garza (profile) says:

    [quote]I reckon the future of Unionism is best served by continued support for the main unionist party. It’s obvious that the UUP has run its course, and no amount of funds and control by the Cons will succeed in reviving its former glory. We need to look to the future and stop beating a dead horse.[/quote]

    You mean the party that lied to its electorate, treated it with disdain and is up to its eyeballs in dodgy backhand land dealings? The same party that is against civil liberties? The same party that tried to get a programme banned on tv because it had nudity. The same party that is trying to get creationism in science classes? That party? No f**king way!

    Unionism will never be best served with a single unionist party – ever.

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  32. RepublicanStones (profile) says:

    IJP lie seems a bit strong, could it have been a CU canvasser or someone? I don’t think he’d have simply fabricated such a story…do you?

    For those interested Mr Rea makes the claim at about 05.20 mins in.

    And as someone else said on the link, twas a nice bit of editing to portray Posh Boys local support coming from a Porsche driver. Good old Guardian.

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  33. Greenflag (profile) says:

    GARZA,

    ‘Unionism will never be best served with a single unionist party – ever.’

    Very perceptive . And no truer words have been written re the UUP/DUP/TUV/AP etc etc in a while .

    The same can be said of the other side of the constitutional divide.

    Despite Driftwood’s assertion that South Antrim, and South Down are no different than South Kensington I can assure him they are very different . The Tories will be elected in South Kensington and Chelsea and Tunbridge Wells .

    ‘People should have the same choice ie to vote for a National party of government.’

    On the face of it a not unreasonable request however ‘unionism’ throughout it’s long single party reign 1920-1972 preferred to go it alone in NI with minimal oversight or regulatory control from London.
    The ‘well planned and far sighted ‘policy ‘ of the political copulation of Elephant and Mouse has ended with the mouse not unsurprisingly being squashed by the elephant . And to make matters worse said mouse has simultaneously been russian fronted by the TUV and DUP and the malcontents formerly under it’s party roof :(

    The Darwin Awards will be looking closely at the UCUNFers for their politics section ;)?

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  34. Procrasnow (profile) says:

    Few unionists might not have cared about what Mr Watson said 4 years ago. And that is probably correct. A few years ago during the Belfast Pride Week when all the political parties were Invited to send a spokesperson to a discussion forum, No one officially turned up from the UU as they did not then have a LGBT policy.

    But irrespective of whether unionists cared what was said 4 years ago, the Tory’s Certainly did care. And I for one made sure they could view the television interview. http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/northernireland/realmedia/newsline/oktobegay290108?size=16×9&bgc=C0C0C0&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1
    I included the link in my lobbying contacts to Mr Cameron & co. And also to The Pink Paper, other gay publications and National Newspapers.

    You see, the Tories know that its not just about putting up someone that gay unionist people can vote for (the DUP is not an option ) Its about putting up someone that the families, Parents Brothers , sisters, cousins etc of gay people can vote for.

    The Problem with Mr Watson and that interview in which he says ‘He would not allow that’ in his family home, (view it in the link) is that he linked his opposition not to homophobia but to an issue of his wife’s faith.

    But in my opinion that excuse just does not hold water. If it would be against their family and faith values to provide a room to 2 sharing gay men obviosly giving the facilities to allow gay sin to take place, then it would equally have been against their family and Faith values to allow 2 unmarried heterosexuals to share a room, providing the facilities for these to commit the 1st sin of Sodom and Gommorah Jude v7 (KJV) the sin of Fornication.

    Now maybe they did check the marriage licences etc or other valid proof of marriage of all heterosexual couples checking in, but he never made that clear in the interview. Their website does not specify marrieds or singles only. Somehow I suspect that if heterosexual guest couples were being asked to prove they are man and wife, the media would have highlighted that long ago. Maybe Nolan would have carried it. Media spotlight in the same way as a guest house in the Republic of Ireland got the publicity when the land lady starting asking for proof of marriage to be given

    So the faith issue does not hold water.

    Unionist voters need non judgemental non prejudiced and just ‘an ordinary sinner’ like the rest of us, to vote for, me thinks that is the reason he was colouredballed.

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  35. Harry J (profile) says:

    I joined the Conservative/UUP ticket was in the hope that I could influence to UK Government on issues just like this as they apply to Northern Ireland. ……

    so the Tories giving you a job had nothing to do with it?

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  36. oneill (profile) says:

    RS

    7.IJP lie seems a bit strong, could it have been a CU canvasser or someone?

    Nope, Rea said “prospective” “candidate”, so either he or IJP is lying.

    BTW isn’t Rea something to do with the PUP? Is his glowing tribute to Lady H an indication that the UVF’s political wing are joining with the DUP in giving her their support?

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  37. pinni (profile) black spot says:

    Or maybe IJP has become so popular in the area that he already has an good impersonator.

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  38. joeCanuck (profile) says:

    Not at the expense of a once proud and established party

    J’accuse. You stole that line from H. H. Asquith, the UK Liberal Party leader back in the 1920s, as he presided over the demise of a once proud and established party.

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  39. Now, here’s something I didn’t recognise. According to Tim Montgomerie’s ever up-beat ConHome, it’s:

    A very good week for the Conservatives …

    … while we know it’s been a totally lousy one for the UCUNF alliance:

    — Lady Hermon opted out;
    — Adrian Watson declared himself “totally against” the UCUNF alliance;
    — Alan McFarland MLA resigned from the Ulster Unionist Party.

    However, the ever-present Mr Parsley is as happy as Larry, hoping to bring:

    influence to UK Government on issues … as they apply to Northern Ireland.

    Mr Parsley, get real. Much as I despise some of his attitudes, Mayor Watson has a point when he complains that recent literature in Antrim couldn’t offer the word “Ulster”. After all, Annabel Goldie properly insists we acknowledge the identity of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. Then recall that a previous Tory leader could casually dismiss “that faraway country of which we know little” (and it wasn’t NI).

    Get out of the obsession with the Westminster loop. South Kensington isn’t West Hampstead, nor anything like it, let alone like South Down or South Belfast. UCUNF wannabes ape the Party of the leafy London suburbs and rustic huntin’ ‘n’ shootin’ shires. Even though that metropolitan Party berates and bullies the “turnip Taliban” a few miles down the road from Tory HQ.

    The result: UCUNF remains a laughing-stock, and (I’m delighted to say) a downer for the Tory brand image. The Montgomerie rooster-boosters must fear that the London commentators spot the weakness and import that view.

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  40. granni trixie (profile) says:

    Adrian Watson said today on radio that Conservatives have clout because they gave 25000K
    to UU to use in the election campaign.
    Bit off isnt it?

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  41. joeCanuck (profile) says:

    “clout” or “doubt”?

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  42. Bob Wilson (profile) says:

    —Lady Hermon opted out;
    —Adrian Watson declared himself “totally against” the UCUNF alliance;
    —Alan McFarland MLA resigned from the Ulster Unionist Party.

    Truely a good week for the Conservatives

    BTW Mr Watson is wrong when he says the word Ulster doesnt feature in the literature.

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  43. Dec (profile) says:

    BTW Mr Watson is wrong when he says the word Ulster doesnt feature in the literature.

    Have UCUNF selected a candidate for Donegal East yet?

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  44. abc123 (profile) says:

    They should use the full title: Ulster Conservatives and Unionists.

    To Dec – The Government of the Republic of Ireland continues to use the term ‘Ireland’ when referring to just the 26 counties.

    Ulster has changed size over the centuries and it’s common to interchangeably use Ulster and Northern Ireland.

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  45. Prionsa Eoghann (profile) says:

    RS @ 01:06 PM

    Excellent reporting in that video!

    Harmon comes across very well and IJP’s accent seems to be gearing up for Westminster.

    The funny part though was when Harmon was describing Parsley switching parties and how the UUP had left her not the other way around, then immediately goes onto interview a DUP councilor who is ex-UUP. The life of Brian immediately sprang to mind.

    Oneil

    Excellent first comment btw, but the black and whiteness of liegate doesn’t wash.

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  46. Prionsa Eoghann (profile) says:

    Incidently the interviewer made a telling point from a British perspective, in that trying to win a safe seat for the tories. Cameron may well have handed a seat to labour, considering Harmons sympathies.

    Does anyone live in the constituency?

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  47. Reader (profile) says:

    Prionsa Eoghann: Does anyone live in the constituency?
    I do. Sylvia is popular here, and should do well. Whether she, or the seat, will be of any benefit to Labour is another matter. The issues in the next parliament will be different from the times when she loyally followed labour for the ID card and 42 days detention votes – public finance, not the centralising of power, will be the issues.
    The labour party might prefer to woo the SDLP instead of her.

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  48. oneill (profile) says:

    PE

    “Excellent first comment btw,”

    Yet still no one has detailed what exactly those “liberal metropolitan obsessions” are and why they’re so upsetting for a section of Unionist opinion in NI.

    “but the black and whiteness of liegate doesn’t wash.”

    Someone makes an allegation about what a candidate said to him; candidate alleges he wasn’t even there…if we call it Amnesia-Gate instead, does that have a more genteel North Down ring to it?;)

    liberal metropolitan obsessions

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  49. RepublicanStones (profile) says:

    This claim is interesting. I wonder if IJP has been in contact with Mr Rea to question him on Amnesia-Gate

    And fair do’s to Sylvia for sticking. Still interested on Fred Cobain’s enthusiasm (or otherwise) for the CU link-up.

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  50. Harry J (profile) says:

    Yet still no one has detailed what exactly those “liberal metropolitan obsessions”

    how about those people like Mr Watsons wife who have strong objections to homosexuality? arent they allowed an opinion? where is the tolerance that they must show to gays for their views?

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  51. Driftwood (profile) black spot says:

    Harry J
    I understand your candidate for this constituency is Rev William McCrea. It would be good to hear his opinion on 2 males sharing the same bed.

    Doncha think so?

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  52. oneill (profile) says:

    how about those people like Mr Watsons wife who have strong objections to homosexuality?

    Harry J,

    OK, so opposition to homophobia seems to be one of the Watsons’ and your problems with the Cameron’s “liberal metropolitan obsessions”, care to name a few more?

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  53. pippakin (profile) says:

    The problem for both Unionists and DUP is they would not find a comfortable home in any major UK party. The UK is liberal, whether that is liberal socialist or liberal conservative makes very little difference. It is as fundamental to the UK as ‘conservatism’ is to the protestants.

    The major parties in the UK would find Rev McRea a serious embarrassment, and a major vote loser. As for the sermonising and hymn singing, the Brits, no matter how religious some of them are would, when they had finished laughing, bounce the fool from London back to the north.

    If the northern Protestants needed proof of how far removed they are from the UK this debacle with the UC should show them. There is no home for them within the UK. It may be a hard and painful lesson to learn, but learn it they must.

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  54. Driftwood (profile) black spot says:

    The major parties in the UK would find Rev McRea a serious embarrassment

    No disagreement with you there pippakin from this non-protestant unionist.

    But i think Trevor Ringland would make an excellent Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in our National government.

    Northern Ireland is simply a UK region in the same way as The West Country or Tyne and Wear.

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  55. pippakin (profile) says:

    Driftwood

    Of ‘dont be smart, Pippakin’ fame? You realise I had to switch off broadband to hear the quote. Im getting the Sky point moved.

    I do understand the attachment, I just doubt most have really thought it through. The UK has changed the north has not. It is not just a question of regional differences.

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  56. Harry J (profile) says:

    OK, so opposition to homophobia seems to be one of the Watsons’ and your problems with the Cameron’s “liberal metropolitan obsessions”, care to name a few more?
    Posted by oneill on Apr 02, 2010 @ 04:21 PM

    cameron is also a liar

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  57. Harry J (profile) says:

    The UK has changed the north has not. It is not just a question of regional differences.
    Posted by pippakin on Apr 02, 2010 @ 05:49 PM

    arent you aware that there are millions of UK muslim citizens who are just as opposed to homosexuality as many in NI are?

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  58. pippakin (profile) says:

    Harry J

    I am very aware of Muslims everywhere. It is not about homophobia. It is a great deal more than that. Too much to list.

    I know Cameron is a liar, but be fair, name one politician who isnt, and that includes those north and south of this border. Mind you Im not suggesting some have not told, bigger, more outrageous and blatant lies than others.

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  59. oneill (profile) says:

    Harry J

    “cameron is also a liar”

    OK, I’ll deliberately avoid the open goal offered by a DUP apparachnik accusing another party’s leader of being fact-allergic.

    Now, you claim that (along with Islamic fundamentalists) you, the Watsons and “many in NI” have problems with Cameron’s anti-homophobia stance. It’s a question Watchman, the author of these piece, and the other DUP contributors of a slightly more intellectual bent than yourself have studiously avoided:

    What other of Dave’s “liberal metropolitan obsessions” offend a section of Unionist opinion here?

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  60. pinni (profile) black spot says:

    So, not only were they stupid in disallowing Watson, the Tories were also being a bunch of hypocrites!

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  61. Procrasnow (profile) says:

    What I cannot understand is if Mr Watson is so anti-tory and the UUP in bed with the tories so to speak, why did he ever put his name forward in the 1st place.

    Had he been selected as candidate and expressed the views that he has as candidate, that would have caused immense problems for the rest of the UUP selected candidates making them pretty much unelectable.

    I think they did the right thing in not selecting him

    in any event he seems like a devoted family man, whose family comes first, being away in Westminster would have been hard on his family life I think. Maybe its a blessing for his family, and him, that he was not selected

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  62. Garza (profile) says:

    [quote]So, not only were they stupid in disallowing Watson, the Tories were also being a bunch of hypocrites![/quote]

    A DUPer accusing another party of hypocriscy lol lol, how cute.

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  63. While there’s little chance of bringing this thread back from the dead, it might be worth a look across the narrow seas.

    There would seem to be problems, not wholly dissimilar from the South Antrim/North Down fusses, in Glasgow. This from today’s Herald:

    A leading Scottish Conservative has quit as a general election candidate amid claims that senior party members were like a “nest of vipers”.

    Heather MacLeod, who resigned after a “bitter and bloody” feud with fellow Tories, said she felt “complete and utter disgust” with a section of the Scottish Conservatives.

    She also accused the Scottish party of failing to match leader David Cameron’s progress and said she had concerns about an allegedly inappropriate relationship between two senior Tories.

    There is yet another angle. Mrs MacLeod is under intra-Party attack because:

    … some Tories raised questions about Mrs MacLeod’s financial background.

    According to Companies House, Mrs MacLeod has been a director of companies that have gone into liquidation.

    Perhaps stirred by the latest issue of Private Eye, in deepest East Surrey, there is similar discontent:

    David Cameron was hit by a Tory race row last night amid claims that up to 100 activists have signed a petition demanding the deselection of one of his leading black candidates.

    Party sources say Sam Gyimah, a 33-year-old entrepreneur chosen to fight the safe seat of Surrey East, has faced smears over his business interests.

    Allies of Mr Gyimah, a member of Mr Cameron’s ‘A-List’ of preferred candidates, claim the campaign to throw him out is racially motivated.

    David Cameron’s “nasty Party” seems to be a somewhat “broken society”. And that’s before Mr Grayling salts the wounds.

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