DUP figure calls for boycott of News Letter over RHI revelations

As more RHI revelations make their way into the public domain, there are signs that the political temperature in the Executive is heading northwards. Today, the Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, reiterated his party’s call for Arlene Foster to step aside as First Minister over the issue. Whilst a non-attributed DUP statement appeared to rule this out in recent days (to the joy of at least one DUP councillor- see tweet below), there are indications that the heat is certainly getting to some linked with the First Minister.

One of the leading journalists associated with reporting the RHI story, the News Letter’s Sam McBride, noted yesterday that a DUP worker in Arlene Foster’s office, Brian Haslett, had attacked him for “bias tripe” in reporting the RHI story before apparently calling for a boycott of the News Letter paper over the issue:

The idea of anyone associated with the most vociferously unionist political party calling for a boycott of the stridently unionist daily newspaper is quite remarkable, never mind someone, as noted by Sam McBride, who works in Arlene Foster’s office.

The heat sure can do strange things to some people…..

  • J D

    “Three wheels on my wagon,
    And I’m still rolling along
    The Cherokees are chasing me
    Arrows fly, right on by
    But I’m singing a happy song”

  • grumpy oul man

    Staggeringly a DUP member ( its reasonable to assume this is with AFs knowledge) call for a boycott of the newsletter.
    If the BEL TEL actally decided to be a newspaper and reported on RHI then who would the average duper go to for news.

  • Ernekid
  • articles

    Brian Haslett is an anagramist’s dream. Among the more printable anagrams is Barn Heat List.

  • notimetoshine

    Someone at the DUP has obviously lost the plot. What next? Boycott the BBC? Maybe the assembly? They aren’t going to make this go away, regardless of how much they huff and puff…

  • Nevin

    “One of the leading journalists associated with reporting the RHI story, the News Letter’s Sam McBride”

    Sam seems to have upset a number of parties in his role as a political journalist:

    https://twitter.com/SJAMcBride/status/815286665988239365

    I first encountered him when he covered the Rathlin ferry contract debacle back in 2008:

    Is there a case for the Minister, me or Anne writing to the editor in an effort to untangle the issues or should we have Sam McBride in for a briefing to try and build his understanding, or are we better to say nothing?

    It didn’t work then and I expect it wouldn’t work now.

  • Zorin001

    To be fair i’ve noticed a move from the Newsletter from an unquestoning Unionist stance to a sceptical Unionist stance recently.

  • Zorin001

    The BT has more stock with sub Daily Express scandal headlines than with real news nowadays.

    Falling revenue numbers will do that to you

  • Ryan A

    Sam was onto the NI21 farce long before they finally imploded. I could be wrong but Stephen Hillis was on the executive of NI21 at one point if I recall correctly.

  • Dan

    Half a billion quid.
    Half a fkn billion quid and Foster was in charge.

    Get out.
    Shameless incompetent.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Lundies!!!!

  • Zorin001

    Have my first “Thumbs Up” of 2017.

  • Ernekid

    The demise of the BelTel would be one potential loss I wouldn’t mourn in 2017

  • 1729torus

    I wonder if the more liberal Unionists are slowly starting to get sick of the hardliners?

    Arlene has being going out of her way to be as rude as possible to Nationalists all year, stuck her fingers up at the tax payer, and is stalling efforts to deal with Brexit. I see around five years of poverty from 2020 to 2025 before the nationalists and the liberals decide to liquidate the place.

    This is before we go into the fact that the Protestant population is shrinking and number of deaths per annum will increase as the population ages. The possibility of Scotland leaving. Lack of confidence in the union’s future and visible demographic shifts are apparently causing “white flight” amongst young Protestants. An Ireland in the EU will demand concessions for making representations on behalf of London or Belfast (did Gavin Robinson consider the possibility of a Sinn Fein Foreign Minister when suggesting that Ireland could be NI’s voice in the EU?). The UK is slowly fragmenting, declining, and retreating from its internal periphery. The SDLP is dying off and will likely be replaced by FF.

    Unionism hasn’t really addressed any of this as far as I can tell. Maybe the more cosmopolitan types are finally growing a pair and standing up to their nutty compatriots before they can cause more damage to the union? A counter-coup?

  • Granni Trixie

    Now why would that be – go figure.
    Could it be that a journalist was jUst doing his job plus there is no way you can dress this one up other than where the chips fall. I.e. Show DUP and its leader in a bad light. Also, I always did thInk that the pro unionist angle on stories in Newsletter usually depended on which reporter was writing it.

  • Ryan

    The Arrogance of the DUP is outstanding. Almost literally burn £500 MILLION of NI taxpayers money (because Westminster certainly wont pick up the tab) and Arlene thinks she has the right still to be in the job. This isn’t an Orange v Green issue, this is an issue that effects all of us. For members of a Unionist political party to call a boycott of a Unionist newspaper for daring to report on half a BILLION of taxpayers money going up in smoke really is quite remarkable. Does the “D” in DUP really stand for “Democratic”?….

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Thank ‘ee kindly.

  • J D

    Unsurprisingly there are a lot of grey hairs in these here parts.

  • Saint Etienne

    “Brian Haslett, had attacked him for “bias tripe” in reporting the RHI story before apparently calling for a boycott of the News Letter paper over the issue”

    Does Donnelly have any evidence of this or is he just making stuff up?

    Post-truth 2017? It’s here already folks, and before it was fashionable.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    The BT is controlled by Independent News and Media (irish indo and Sindo) who are sinisterly rabidly anti SF. They will never diss on a SF opponent even if it was a matter of life or death.

  • grumpy oul man

    Well there is the twitter thing and it does seem to come from Sam McBride and if chriss has made this up he will be. exposed pretty quickly.
    And i think we can assume that if it wasnt true the DUP would be all over it.
    What grounds do you have for doubting it.

  • Saint Etienne

    The title, followed up by a complete lack of evidence of a call for boycott in the text would be the obvious starting point for an inquiring mind.

    Not that any of the commemtariat seem to have realised that yet…

  • grumpy oul man

    Well we will know tomorrow if Chris is making this up.
    The DUPs do love to play the victim and i imagine that anything to distract from the incompetence (being generous here) of AF would be very welcome at the moment.
    For example accusing Chris of making it up.

  • Saint Etienne

    How predictably uncritical.

    I usually wait until sources are shown before giving partisan commentators the benefit of the doubt.

    Though the circlejerk wouldn’t really be a circlejerk if it started being consistent and all.

  • grumpy oul man

    And a circljerk is what?

  • Saint Etienne

    I am reading now that Donnelly’s “call for boycott” was the ‘#boycott’ appended to the tweet concerned.

    Usually, wondering when the school holidays is over is a quip reserved for the school children but in this case…

  • grumpy oul man

    What waiting for evidence is uncritical?
    And it is reasonable to suppose that since this post has been up for 6 hours and nobody in the DUP has been on frothing at the mouth would indicate something.
    Of course there is the predictable responce of those who are willing to give the DUP much more of the benefit of the dpubt than they deserve.
    Im all for a fair hearing but if Mr Hazlett or the DUP do not offer a defence its very hard to give it a fair hearing.
    Is that predictable enough for you or wpuld you like to make up a defence for them.

  • grumpy oul man

    Any idea who added this addition.
    And would #boycott not imply a request for a boycott.
    By the way will ypu be able to drop the patronizing attitude ( very teenager) ans apologize to Chriss if you are wrong.

  • Brendan Heading

    It’s not just Chris – Newton Emerson had the same interpretation.

    It is pretty clear that the intent of the tweet was a call for a boycott. Why else put the hashtag there ?

  • grumpy oul man

    It would seem that SE has his own agenda on this.

  • Saint Etienne

    I have a theory that the moment a hashtag interpretation becomes headline news, is the moment an issue ceases to be.

    On a related note, anyone know who Matt McCarthy is? Neither do I.

  • grumpy oul man

    Nobody from the DUP is denying this,it would appear your “theory” is not even a concept.
    It fall apart in this case by no defence being offered by Hazlett or the DUP.
    However tomorrow will tell tbe tale.
    Wpuld you consider changing your handle to Kevin and Perry.

  • mac tire

    Oh dear…

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/news-letter-boycott-is-not-the-dup-position-1-7754499

    “The DUP has said that individuals should “make their own decisions” about which newspapers they purchase after a party aide called for a boycott of the News Letter due to its coverage of the RHI scandal.”

  • ted hagan

    That and coffin chasing.

  • ted hagan

    Indeed, an impressive and worthy stance but unfortunately the newspaper can’t afford to lose further circulation, and I fear it might.

  • ted hagan

    Unfortunately newspaper circulation in Northern Ireland is still drawn on sectarian lines.

  • AntrimGael

    The Belfast Telegraph seems to have grown very close to the DUP in recent times and their perceived reluctance to criticise them and Foster for scenarios like the RHI scandal appear to verify that. Furthermore what credible newspaper would give a weekly column to such a discredited figure like Nelson McCausland whose behaviour in public office was highlighted by the BBC Spotlight programme AND a committee of his fellow MLA’s??

  • Fidellum

    A callow youth as far as I can see. Begs the question: has the DUP lost control of their members if they are now distancing themselves from the remark ? Will BrIan suffer similar disciplinary procedures to Jonathan?

  • Fidellum

    It is true. I saw the tweet from Haslett’s account but am now blocked seeing his tweets. This is being accurately reported by both Chris and Sam.

  • Fidellum

    It was tweeted by Brian Haslett exactly as Sam Mcbride reported. Why the disbelief. He has the screens shots. Irrefutable. Undeniable,

  • T.E.Lawrence

    The DUP have to date circled the wagons well around AF but how long can they maintain the unsustainable ? No Person is Bigger than the Party …….. ? I am sure a few of their Spin Doctors are working on a Damage Limitation Plan Now !

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thanks JD for bringing to mind my old friend Russell Murch’s punk “Deadwood Stage” seven inch cover with his band “the Avant Gardeners”!!!!!

    http://punkygibbon.co.uk/bands/a/avantgardeners_deadwood.html

    “Chart placings–none”………..

  • Neonlights

    The Protestant Unionist Party, which became the Democratic Unionist Party, has never been one to champion the freedom of the press. That said, this remark comes from somebody I have never heard of through the medium of Twitter. Not something that would be seen in my eyes as party policy. In any case, well done to Sam McBride for his continued accurate and fair coverage of the RHI narrative.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Liberal Unionists have been getting sick of the hardliners since at least 1959 when Sir Clarence Graham and Brian Maginnes tried to get Unionism to support the entirely common sense proposal to admit Roman Catholics as members, only to be confronted with Ulster Protestant Action’s call for their dismisal. Now that is what I’d call slow…….

    But yes, Unionism has always had dissenters, but Unionism itself has almost defined itself by how it marginalises them in order to chase the hard-core vote they alienate. Captain O’Neill’s attempts in the 1960s to “lie on his back while facing the ground” on this very issue shows just how impossible it appears to be for Unionism to even begin to evolve without some profound element of equivocation being required.

  • Neonlights

    I don’t think it is actually outstanding, it is a depressingly normal reaction from parties which are in power.

  • Look. I am a journalist and obviously don’t support any boycott. But i want to suggest we call off the dogs from Brian. The lad has said some daft things. He reported on Twitter about a flood of calls backing Arlene when I know that the office was dark and the phone wasn’t answered when we called!

    Having said that, he’s a young fella who owes his job to Arlene and he’s inexperienced. I’d cut him some slack. Focus the fire on Arlene and the big boys and girls circling the wagons.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Standing order”……

  • grumpy oul man

    Sure we cut him some slack.
    I dont mind being deliberately lied to (he claimed a nonexistant flood of phone calls to support his boss)
    Nobody is taking the fire of Arlene but letting another incompetent who has a loose attachment to the truth go uncommented is a pretty strange request.
    If he doesnt have the moral fibre to be truthful or the wit to keep his mouth shut, well we have enough of those in poltics.
    Perhaps he should consider a new career. Can he say the following phrase
    ” would you like fries with that sir”

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    OBVIOUSLY he was referring to the great Captain Boycott, a man who was chastised by the subversive-commie-papes of his day, whose death has its 120th anniversary is this year.

    Any one who thinks he was calling for a boycott of a newspaper is obviously a commie-libtard-lundy who hates freedom…

    #FACTSFORFREEDOM

  • lizmcneill

    I’m sure there are loads of public jobs that could get him answering some real phones, too. How about rate collection, or the council about lifting the bins?

  • Fidellum

    Are you calling the DUP press office commie-libtard-lundies : When the party’s press office was asked if it endorsed the message from Mr Haslett, a spokesman responded: “The views posted on Twitter by one individual do not represent the party’s position. “People should make their own decisions about how they receive their news.”
    ?
    Read more at: http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/news-letter-boycott-is-not-the-dup-position-1-7754499

    As a matter of interest in what ways did Captain Boycott’s greatness manifest Itself?

  • Fidellum

    He works in Arlene’s office in Enniskillen or he did. It was interesting to see other DUP Mlas liking the tweet.

  • 1729torus

    The deaths amongst Protestants and emigration means that sooner or later the Unionist designation will lose its majority even if the nationalist votes sits still at its current level. The loss of 2 unionist MLAs would be sufficient. However, once the six-seaters are reduced to five-seaters most people expect 45 out of 90 seats for Unionism if the election were run tomorrow, leaving a margin of just one.

    By 2026 at the very latest DUP/UUP/TUV will need the support of Steve Agnew or Naomi Long if they want to avoid the nationalists. The same people they’ve being stirring up violence against.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Fidellum

    I’m afraid I don’t have the wit or talent to make my previous statement any more flippant or tongue-in-cheek.

    Note to self: Must. Try. Harder.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    This was the core problem in the 1960s and directly contributed to where we are now. Faced with the development of cross community voting for Labour, where the old NILP and Republican Labour netted one quarter of all votes cast, although only getting 7% of the seats due to FPTP, Unionism reverted to a campaign of vilification which was personally directed by Captain O’Neill. Those very developments which would have complimented his intended economic reformism with a genuine shift to more normalised politics were crudely aborted to meet the electoral needs of Unionism itself, and ensured that the only recourse for those of us looking to a non-sectarian future necessitated action on the streets as electoral redress was pointedly closed to us. It is significant that the “Peoples Democracy” developed out of the old constitutionalist NILP Young Socialists.

    As a “Green” supporter myself, I simply cannot see Steve (or any Alliance member for that matter) shoring up our “revenant” Unionism. As you say, sooner or later the “50 + 1” will finally decide an issue which, with some sane and honest discussion in 1912 (and a little less “Ulsteria”), would almost certainly have saved us all from a century of acrimonious conflict.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    So, poor Captain Boycott died in vain………

  • Neonlights

    Yes it is, but we’d be lazy to assume that meant that they completely agreed with the sentiment. They might for instance agree with the Tripe remark but not the #boycott. That’s E-Sentiment for you.

  • Fidellum

    I see now. It was the “great” that threw me.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    As I’ve said once before, I’m old enough to even remember when the BelTel was newspaper…………

  • Fidellum

    Maybe we should ask them?😂

  • Dreary Steeple

    ‘consider a new career’ maybe that’s why he flipped in the first place, no Arlene no job

  • grumpy oul man

    I wonder did he go through a interview process.
    Does every party have these posts are they in the gift of the MLA or Minister and how much do they get paid.

  • 1729torus

    Yet again stirring up violence as a last resort would be a terrible mistake, this DUP intransigence is bad enough. It’s an invitation for angry republicans to force a reappraisal of the situation by more violent means on the grounds that democracy clearly isn’t working.

    I don’t know what the British would do if things heated up again. Pursuing 75 year old veterans over actions during the troubles suggests a genuine vindictive anger at the Security Forces over their actions in Ireland over the past century. Ordinary British probably think that they wouldn’t be dealing with a bad reputation, Gerry Adams, the Irish republic, or Scottish secession right now if the forces had acted lawfully. If this how the Tories would allow ex-soldiers to be treated, I wonder if they wouldn’t mind getting revenge on UUP/DUP for all the trouble they’ve caused.

    Alliance/Greens wielding power would just be laying the groundwork for a slow and gradual unification even if they’re pro-Union themselves. All of their likely policies: strengthening democracy, reining in paramilitaries, more powers to supercouncils, facilitating Gaelic culture, scepticism over Iraq, maximising access to the Single Market, regional devolution in England…

  • grumpy oul man

    SE it would appear that your ignoring what was in front of your nose was the wrong move.

  • grumpy oul man

    Let us hope that some unionists will see this for what it is.
    However the usual Suspects have already started shouting “THEMMUNS”
    jollyraj has went so far to say that call for AF to go is a shinner plot to get rid of a great unionist leader.
    so i wouldn’t get my hopes up.

  • austin mcclafferty

    When the RHI dust settles Mr Haslett will realise he cast himself as a fish into the fishermans net, along with the for a while the revered Mrs Foster. One wonders how many will find themselves part of the catch. Politicians and cheerleaders such as MrHaslett at some point, must engage with the reality of multiple modern media sounding the death of information control.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Hi Ted

    I went out this morning and bought the News Letter. The first time in about 5 years. I’ll be recommending it to my friends and family.

  • ted hagan

    Well that’s good. I support you fully. My concerns remain the same, knowing its readership.

  • babyface finlayson

    Or perhaps it was an exhortation for Arlene to emulate the great defensive feats of another stubborn Boycott when on a sticky wicket?

  • murdockp

    it is an orange v green issue. time will show wealthy unionist farmers are the greatest recipients which is common sense really given they took / own most of the farmlands of NI.

  • Jag

    Haslett, a fascist enemy of free speech trying to muzzle the media, unlike the noble SF and SDLPers who used council time last September to draft, debate and PASS a motion to ban The Sun.

  • Granni Trixie

    Could be. But any evidence?

  • murdockp

    the banks between 2008 and present in the main granted loans to farmers, convenience food retailers such as you local mace / spar and doctors and dentists.

    it is likely therfore that farmers will appear high up on the list

  • Granni Trixie

    I do not altogether grasp your logic but time will tell.

  • grumpy oul man

    Telling lies about the dead at Hillsborough is a bit different from telling the truth about RHI

  • Jag

    The Sun got it dreadfully wrong and apologised, said its reporting was the worst in its entire history. It specifically apologised to the people of Liverpool. That was in 2004. What more can it do as a newspaper?

    Fine, don’t forgive The Sun and personally, I’d never buy the rag, mostly because it is an agenda-driven rag, and, possibly because of its reporting on Hillsborough. But using council time, for elected reps to call for a ban in 2016 is the work of clowns who’ve forgotten what they were elected to do.

  • grumpy oul man

    A fine bit of whataboutry,
    Did Liverpool council not also ban the sun and did it admission of guilt not have to be dragged out of it.
    But you are right of course any action by a unionist no matter haw stupid can be explained and excused by a completely inrelevent comparison to something done by a nationalist.

  • Jag

    I think whataboutery gets a very bad press! It’s criticised for diverting attention, and avoiding exclusive focus on the issue at hand, but comparison/contrast between the issue at hand and precedent is utterly logical. Haslett was a clown to call for a boycott of the News Letter, that position was disowned by the DUP party. The question now is, how many Hasletts, Derry SFers and SDLPers could you fit in a Mini?

  • grumpy oul man

    Sure the question is not how daft hazlett is but instead how bad themmuns are?
    This seem to be a theme among unionist on the whole RHI thing.
    It is uderstandable after all. A known sign of maturity to blame others on everything.
    Next time your in Liverpool mention to the locals that you think Hillbourgh is comparable to RHI and a paper lying about it and insulting the dead is the same as a paper pointing out the incompetence of a politician who wasted the guts of 500million in public money , i would make sure i was wearing my best running shoes when i done it as the people of Liverpool might take offence for some reason.