Kane wakes to "living nightmare"…

NOT mincing his words, Alex Kane says “the last few years have represented a living nightmare” for the UUP. In a typically stark analysis, the UUP man said: “Survival depends on how we address our problems and respond to our new and unpleasant circumstances.” If the amended constitution isn’t the answer to the party’s problems, is the UUP up to the challenge?

  • Moderate Unionist

    I agree with Alex Kane. The party seems to be more conservative than its electorate. There appears to be a solid pro agreement vote although this is under pressure due to the lack of a common message (internal conflict) and the failure of the IRA to decommission.

    The Ulster Unionist Party under took a courageous initiative to establish SF’s real intentions. Unfortunately, this was not understood by the Donaldson camp leading to internal conflict and confusion. The people voted (with reservations) for a release of prisoners in return for peace and decommisioning. In an attempt to break the log jam, latitude was given to SF/IRA, giving them time and space to organise decommissioning. Unfortunately, this latitude was exploited by SF/IRA rather than utilised, but this has lead to the situation where “No Guns, No Governent” is now demanded not only by all the political parties(save SF) but is publicly and emphatically endorsed by the Government of the Republic of Ireland and all democratic states.

    The Ulster Unionist party have played an important role in achieving this position. They should be proud of this achievement and sophisticated strategy they followed to achieve it. Obviously, decommissioning must and will occur before any return to Government but this a UUP (and other pro agreement parties) achievement and not the DUP.

    Adaptability is a key attribute of any successful organism. The concept does not seem to resonate with the DUP, but it will soon. It is not a sign of weakness but of strength, vision and courage.

  • davidbrew

    I was there. I saw . I understood. IT WAS WEAKNESS, topped up with ambition, and incompetence.
    As for the DUP,let me cite a parallel-
    If the Dutch had simply chosen to ignore the great floods when the dams burst after theb last war, not much repair work could have been done. They had to assess and recognise the damage, and carry out emergency repairs before long term reconstruction.I’m sure the Dutch would have much preferred that none of this had beeen necessary, but the lived in the real world. When a Unionist leader tries to get the Chief Constable to lean on the GOC to remove military posts in S Armagh (Godson P542) because it will help Sinn fein, he has lost his moral and political compass, and should be discarded -even by moderates.

  • Moderate Unionist

    That was then, this is now. A pluarastic society which seeks to work in co-operation for the better good of everybody is surely an aim that we can all subscribe to. How to we get there?

    Not easy, but first you have to stop the violence, then you have to remove the threat of violence, then you have to build trust, then you have to build co-operation. This takes time, but even the longest journey starts with the first step.

    Progress requires a mixture of flexibility and steadfastness. This is real leadership. Who do we trust to guide us through troubled times?

  • yer_man

    “Progress requires a mixture of flexibility and steadfastness. This is real leadership. Who do we trust to guide us through troubled times?”

    Remember, you need both of those qualities – your glorious leader was found a llittle wanting in the steadfastness department.

    As for the last part your post, the clue, as they say, is in the question. The people are showing more and more clearly who they trust to guide us. Or did you miss the last couple of elections?

  • Trad UU

    I’ve got to reappear, in one guise or another, however futile the cause of poeple like me (ie the *majority* Tory end of the UUP membership and electorate – as distinct from the pseudo-APNI cultists who masquerade as the leadership, and are currently wrecking the party from above) seems.

    Alex Kane is, to be Eamon McCannish about this, part of the problem until he starts being part of the solution. In other words, it’s been the propping up of Trimble by flacks like him outside, and numpties inside like Empey, Randy Jim, MEP, and Beggars belief, MP, who have brought the party to its current state. Trimble IS the problem. He’s now, thanks to the efforts of the above, destined to lead us into the general eelction, and once he does that there isn’t going to be a UUP afterwards.

    Happy Alex? If not, then drop the code, quit the act that you’re a realist or some sort of UU hardcase and come out and say what needs to be said: if the UUP is to stand any faint chance of surviving it needs, as soon as possible, to be led by ANYONE other than David Trimble. And if you don’t think that, enlighten us as to how we’re going to prosper under the man you, in your own way, have helped keep disastrously in place?

    Tom

  • North Antrim Realist

    I have a question for DUP supporters, in particular David Brewster; a simple yes or no answer will suffice.

    Will the DUP talk to terrorists, or their elected representatives, before they have decommissioned completely and stood down from all of their activities criminal or terrorist?

    This single point is the now only difference bewteen the DUP and the UUP and unless I am far mistaken it will soon disappear like all the other DUP promises have done already.

    Where is all the talk of bringing down and smashing the GFA and having a NEW agreement, where is all the talk of SF having to disband, where is all talk of removing cross border bodies, all hot air and rhetoric from the DUP.

    The electorate were not prepared for this ‘volte face’ from the DUP and will not forget.

    David Brewster spends most of his time on this site railing against his former party and very little trying to explain the actions and contortions of his new party as they wend their way through a ritualistic courtship to a short engagement and eventual marriage with SF in Government.

  • North Antrim Realist

    To save the UUP the members need to ditch ‘the old farts’ in control and bring in a progressive and dynamic younger leadership who can bring the party into the 21st century. They appointed a Chief Executive and dismissed him after 3 months why? Was it because he wanted real change and the existing people didn’t want to give up their positions and privileges; just like the ones in the IFA who tried to block prgress as it meant they lost their positions.

    David Trimble is past his sell by date as are most of the others, at least KMcG and JT had the decency to step back from the front line.

    Are the grass roots members going to actually do anything to effect this change, I very much doubt it as they are a completely disorganised and disparate bunch of people with no power or leadership. Those members who are actually elected will not do anything as they need to have their nominations approved at HQ and they put money ahead of party.

    The UUP empire is crumbling and who is actually going to make the changes that are necessary …… before it is replaced by a new and more representative party. For DT and his cohorts read Nero’s life story …………………the parallels are interesting e.g Aggripina and Octavia

  • Moderate Unionist

    Yer_man
    I don’t believe people should be chastised for taking risks. DT took risks, a large number of people followed him. Things didn’t work out as he hoped (I guess). The question for the people is “What now?” Give up, Retrench, Try Again and if so with whom. Can the DUP deliver what they have promised? More dissappointment on the way, I fear.

    TradUU,
    What should the Ulster Unionist party stand for? How should it differentiate itself from the DUP?

    North Antrim Realist
    I agree with you, but why don’t you take the lead. The key question is, would people listen to a new voice? Are all politicians tarred with the same brush?

  • willowfield

    If the UUP was wrong, why is the DUP now pursuing UUP strategy?

  • ShayPaul

    WF :

    Maybe because the UUP where not strong enough to take the extra step?

    In my opinion this cannot only be placed at Trimbles feet, but he should have gone the extra step, that would have been a courageous thing to do and I believe many in NI would have rewarded him had he done so.

    Agree with NRA when he talks about Leadership, that is the big issue for me.

    I would like to believe that the DUP have the same strategy as the UUP, but I am afraid that their fundamental strategy is the destruction of the Agreement –> hoping to be wrong there.

    They have it much harder now, not being able to sit on the fence and criticize for free, but they haven’t shown the courage to take any decisions either.

    Now the UUP are sitting on the fence and that is understandable to some extent as they need to regroup, but when and what will the UUP do, to retake the initiative ?

  • willowfield

    ShayPaul

    What extra step? And how does the UUP’s failure to take it mean that the DUP is following the UUP strategy?

  • ShayPaul

    Extra step :

    They should have called SF’s bluff and pushed them to the limit. I think that they would have obtained more with a bolder approach. problem is Jeffrey and his cronies weakened the UUP and Trimbles focus with the continual back stabbing.

    He should have kicked them out earlier.

    The DUP are playing the same game, but as I point out I am afraid their strategy is destruction, so I am more negative than you there.

  • willowfield

    Extra step : They should have called SF’s bluff and pushed them to the limit.

    They did! Twice!

    He should have kicked them out earlier.

    Agree.

    How does the UUP’s failure to take the extra step mean that the DUP is following the UUP strategy?

  • Moderate Unionist

    Agree entirely with ShayPaul. The problem was Donaldson. Trimble wasn’t given a chance to take the extra step. The question for the UUP is what to do now? The strategy was correct(IMHO) but implementation and communication was poor.

  • davidbrew

    “For DT and his cohorts read Nero’s life story …………………the parallels are interesting e.g Aggripina and Octavia”

    and the UUP Assembly party are Tiberius’ minnows!

  • davidbrew

    NAR and AGAIN we explain
    either you can’t or won’t read anything the DUP says with open eyes. Have the DUP talked to SF yet? NO. Why not? Because they haven’t moved enough.Any movement the DUP are gaining/have gained is objective proof that the UUP moved too soon. As Robinson says, whatever they achieve it will be more than the UUP did -which is of course the real reason for the vitriol from the UUP and its supporters like you.All changes to the Agreement are a vindication of the DUP line that it is possible to roll back some of the concessions. SF have done ok for their ends by means of an incremental approach, and so can the DUP.
    If you suffer the death of 1000 cuts you’re just as dead as if you’re shot in the heart, and who really doubts that the DUP will use all its talents to neutralise those parts of the Agreement which it opposes? For years we bemoaned the lack of articulate and clever Unionist politicians,; now you’ve got them you want to give Dermot and Reg another chance?!

    Why on earth would the DUP repeat the mistakes of the UUP of making promises and then throwing them away immediately after an election? Its brand recognition is trust- to throw that away would be suicidal, and they know it.

    And as for all you “moderate Unionists” posting-now you’ve got control of a moderate party what’s stopping you from forging a brave new future from the centre? Where are all those garden centre prods you aspire to reach? The truth is that they know the UUP is in terminal decline, precisely because it smothered all of the talent it had-even Alex Kane conceded this on tv last night. And still it dare not become UPNI mk2, because it would disappear off the radar.

  • Moderate Unionist

    Hi davidbrew.

    Progress does not develop in a linear fashion. It is usually a case of two steps forward, one step back, at other times there is a great leap forward. Without the Ulster Unionist initiatives, I doubt if we would be in the position where the DUP would even consider that they could get an acceptable deal. Surely not everything the Ulster Unionist did was “wrong”? What bits (if any) do you accept as having made a positive contribution?

    Regarding moderate Unionist position
    I do believe that the language used by the DUP is a significant turn off for many people, and I also accept that the Ulster Unionist Party as divided party was unable to communicate any message (even to its core voters).

    I think the Unionist electorate is more united than the political parties. We do want peace but not at anyprice, having SF in office whilst the IRA are not stood down is unreasonable, and all political institutions should be fully accountable to the will of the people.

    The question is how to achieve this? Is it a series of steps or one big bang. Personally, I believe the Ulster Unionist position was a brave attempt and a necessary step along the road. Is it the final solution? I don’t know.

    As for a centre party, I do believe that rational discussion for mutual benefit is the most productive form of government, but the agreement does seem to have produced a polarisation of views. Were a credible candidate (or party) with clear policies concentrating on the issues that were important to me(primarily the economy, education and personal security)rather than constitutional issues and who gets what at Stormont then I think I and others would be more enthused about supporting them.

  • North Antrim Realist

    DB

    Why don’t you answer my question?

    Will the DUP talk to terrorists, or their elected representatives, before they have decommissioned completely and stood down from all of their activities criminal or terrorist?

    All it needs is yes or no; no equivocation about moving enough which is almost like yes but not yet; is that what you meant?.

  • davidbrew

    NAR
    what don’t you understand about my lengthy and boring answer? It’s always pointless- and frankly juvenile- coming up with a multiple clause “question” which is really an assertion of opinion and demanding an answer “yes or no” so the framer of the question can assert-with all the maturity of a seven year old “You aren’t answering”. What next for debate? nah nah nahnah nah?
    careful-you’re starting to sound like Jonty

  • North Antrim Realist

    DB

    Attacking me in frustration at my repeating a question you obvioulsy don’t want to answer is not a means of avoiding the question; I said yes or no will suffice, a more detailed answer is welcome, as long as it not more smoke and mirrors and obfuscation with lots of ifs, ands or buts.

    It is a very simple question that is easy to answer, I can of course understand there are reasons why you don’t want to answer it, for example

    1 You don’t know the answer.
    2. You know the answer but it will be unpopular with the electorate.
    3. You know the answer but although it will be popular with your electorate it won’t be with some of your bosses.
    4. Your bosses haven’t decided yet.
    5. Your bosses are in total disagreement over the answer.

    If you don’t want to answer the question just say so, we will all understand your predicament.

    BTW. Attacking me is a welcome change from your attacks the UUP

  • Moderate Unionist

    DB

    NAR does ask a relevant question. It is probably THE question of Northern Ireland politics over the last 10 years. I am really interested on your thoughts on this one.

  • willowfield

    If the UUP was wrong, why is the DUP now pursuing UUP strategy?

    Ironic that Brewster et al left the UUP over the Agreement and are now in a party trying to patch it back together again!

  • ShayPaul

    How does the UUP’s failure to take the extra step mean that the DUP is following the UUP strategy?
    Posted by: willowfield at October 17, 2004 10:22 PM

    My point was that had UUP taken the step, then I believe they would still be the major unionist party, and the DUP would be left to play the guy on the fence criticising everyone else.

    That role being denied to them they are effectively applying the same strategy (at least superficially). I however am more negative than you and feel their instincts are fundamentally much more destructive.

    Time will tell ….

    On a positive note, as the man said :

    “You make peace with your enemies not your friends … so maybe this is the real end-game ?”

  • davidbrew

    NAR
    You’re boring me now. You aren’t asking a question-you’re making an assertion based on your partial analysis of media assessment-in other words , you’re guessing what the DUP are doing. I have told you that I don’t accept any of the hypotheses upon which you base this position , and I don’t answer “when did you stop beating your wife” type questions. By the way, I don’t have a “boss” ( unless my wife is reading this)

    I have no more idea what the DUP is presently negotiating than you, but I do know the persons involved well enough not to be conned by scare stories from the pro-Agreement media. I was involved in talks to achieve a workable agreement , and the UUP failed. Why shouldn’t the DUP succeed with better negotiators and better proposals in improving the agreement? That’s what really sacres the UUP and its supporter-hence the increasing noise from them .

    Willow, for instance, is simply bleating regurgitated McGimpsey press statements to claim the DUP is following UUP strategy- the DUP haven’t even spoken to the Provos, never mind sit down for long Sunday lunches with them like Reg and trimble-and they certainly haven’t lobbied to remove watchtowers in S Armagh to help Adams. They have talked to the Southern government and we were told this was groundbreaking. Well only if you forget 1996-7 when they did so at Castle Buildings. People should actually study the DUIP position in 1996 to realise that they were prepared to deal. They weren’t prepared to surrender. Look at Leeds castle where they stood up to HMG and compare it with the shambles of Weston Park. Martin McGuiness isn’t deputy first minister and Unionism isn’t being blamed- two key objectives I should have thought. “The hand of history” hasn’t cornered them yet.

    NOBODY has been able to lay a glove on the DUP yet to prove they have changed policy. There have been numerous attempts to seize on any nuance of any statement to demonstrate seismic shifts in DUP policy, but no concrete evidence of actual change. Remember all the spin of “seismic shifts” by the provos in the past which turned outto be nonsense? Don’t believe the hype.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Why shouldn’t the DUP succeed with better negotiators and better proposals in improving the agreement?

    Because that is NOT the platorm the DUP stood for election on. Not improving the agreement, it was getting a new agreement. I think your DUP masters are lying to me again David……

    I want my fair deal, the agreement was negioated by push over unionists (presumably that includes yourself) – I want a new one!

  • Belfast Gonzo

    David

    If, as Robinson hints, the DUP talks to the political reps of the UDA and UVF, should it then talk to the political reps of the IRA?

    After all, the IRA has gone much further than the UVF and UDA put together to ‘go out of business’.

    In fact, how can the DUP – right now – rule out talking to ‘armed SF’ and specifically NOT rule out talking to ‘armed PUP/UPRG’?

    I suspect that talking to the PUP and UPRG is the fig leaf for later talks with SF, but at the moment, can you see the double standard?

    …especially as the UVF and UDA are much bigger threats to ordinary unionists than the IRA is.

  • Michael Shilliday

    You forget, to the DUP there are good terrorists and bad terrorists. Then again, I remember one Christopher “Cordiner” criticising David McNarry for sitting on the Loyalist Commission! “…should have no truck with such gangsterism”

    Never mind Chris.

  • willowfield

    davidbrew

    Willow, for instance, is simply bleating regurgitated McGimpsey press statements to claim the DUP is following UUP strategy- the DUP haven’t even spoken to the Provos, never mind sit down for long Sunday lunches with them like Reg and trimble-and they certainly haven’t lobbied to remove watchtowers in S Armagh to help Adams. They have talked to the Southern government and we were told this was groundbreaking. Well only if you forget 1996-7 when they did so at Castle Buildings.

    Who they

  • Moderate Unionist

    Yep, we have no idea what (if anything) is being negoitated by the DUP, but I am sure that their brilliant negoitators will get the deal that they require and on that basis I look forward to the quick restoration of the assembly.

    Both extremes will be in the accendancy and therefore fully committed. This will be a great day for Northern Ireland because now that these implacable enemies have made peace and agreed to work together they can tackle the problems of Northern Ireland together.

    The ministers will be the same clever people who negoitated a deal where the amateurs failed, and of course the assembly guided by such people will work like a well oiled machine. Naturally, with commanding electoral mandates they won’t need any input from the Ulster Unionist’s (they were pretty useless at politics anyway) nor the Alliance party (lucky to have any seats at all) nor the SDLP (bit like the Ulster Unionists too much talking not enough affirmative action). So it’s all looking pretty good. What will we all talk about?

  • davidbrew

    Dear me aren’t we all gewtting in a state in case the DUP manage a better deal-aka a fair deal for slow learners.
    As for Michael Sillyboy- as such well known apologists for the DUP as Eamon Mallie have pointed out, the pushover Unionists were negotiating one thing while telling people like me another.
    BTW the UUP MLAs have such confidence in a deal that they’re scrabbling for nominations for Westminster-watch this space for David McClarty versus Alan “the tank commander” McFarland!

  • willowfield

    Never realised the DUP’s idea of a “fair deal” included the police reform they’ve been complaining about, the early release scheme, cross-border bodies, etc.

    They stayed quiet about that!

  • Michael Shilliday

    the pushover Unionists were negotiating one thing while telling people like me another.

    and there was me thinkg you were doing some negotiating yourself! I am sorry, your hands are clean.

  • davidbrew

    Don’t get carried away with thinking too much until you get the hang of it Michael. But to start you off with an easy one-if Trimble was dissembling to his own talks team in 1998, whay trust should you be placing in his leadership now?

    As for willow- you know only too well that the DUP can’t lock up terrorists again, nor undo the attacks on the police. Seems a bit strange to me that you correctly identify these issues as defeats for Unionism, yet don’t want to attribute blame to those Unionists who signed up to them. Typical UUP policy-the Homer Simpson school of statecraft-“It wasn’t me/ It was someone else/It was like that when I found it”

    Moderate Unionist-be careful you don’t get the thing you wish for, as they say in China. Though I’ve seen nothing to suggest the SF transformation which is required.

  • Rebecca Black

    Interesting you should bring up the police david….remind me again, exactly how many amendments to the policing bill did the DUP table?

    None wasn’t it? Do the DUP actually care about the police or are they merely a tool?

  • Michael Shilliday

    tell me david, what exactally was so wrong about the agreement? what was wrong with no guns no government (remembering that there is no government because there were no guns)? What is right with the corporate assembly?

  • George

    That’s the Bart Simpson school you’re citing there Davidbrew.

    If anything it’s the DUP who follow the Homer Simpson school of statecraft:

    “I’ll tell people what to think. Now you tell me what to think.”

  • Mike

    David –

    “Typical UUP policy-the Homer Simpson school of statecraft-“It wasn’t me/ It was someone else/It was like that when I found it” “

    Hang on, isn’t that EXACTLY what the DUP is preparing to do?

    That is, simply concede an amnesty for on the run terrorists, moves on the RIR etc and simply throw their hands up and say “Nothing to do with us guv, this all happened on Trimble’s watch, honest”.

    Then after this Pontius Pilate act, they’ll trumpet the IRA decomissioning as a great DUP achievement, copmveniently ignoring the concessions that bought it…

  • Michael Shilliday

    dont be so synical! Rev Paisley and Mr Robinson would never lie to me!

  • willowfield

    davidbrew

    As for willow- you know only too well that the DUP can’t lock up terrorists again, nor undo the attacks on the police.

    Really? I thought they were top negotiators – as Peter Robinson reminded us on the Politics Show, he used to be an estate agent, you know. I would have thought it would have been a top priority to renegotiate the early release scheme and policing parts of the Agreement? After all, those were the parts of most concern to unionists, weren’t they?

    Maybe they’re not such good negotiators after all?

    Seems a bit strange to me that you correctly identify these issues as defeats for Unionism, yet don’t want to attribute blame to those Unionists who signed up to them.

    I’m more than happy to attribute “blame” to those who signed up to them. I voted for the Agreement in full knowledge of those provisions and I don’t pretend otherwise. Nor does the UUP.

    I am now, however, pointing out that the DUP is now signing up to them after spending the last six years saying they opposed them.

    Typical UUP policy-the Homer Simpson school of statecraft-“It wasn’t me/ It was someone else/It was like that when I found it”

    Sorry? Who’s claiming the UUP didn’t sign up to the Agreement? Not me.

    The point is about the DUP’s U-turn:

    1998-2003 – opposed to GFA. 2003 to date – trying to salvage it.

    1998-2003 – opposed to early release prisoners, police reform. 2003 to date – trying to renegotiate an Agreement which includes early release prisoners and police reform.

    How do you reconcile your switch of party allegiance, DB? Surely you didn’t join the DUP in order to finish off that which you opposed?

  • davidbrew

    And remind me Rebecca, how many amendments did the UUP actually achieve? But let Mr Godson’s book be the epitaph for the RUC-“killed by the incompetence of David Trimble” would seem apt. I recall Burnside and Donaldson holding a rally at the Ulster Hall. Trimble came, had a look round the door and saw a hostile crowd of peelers and families…and buggered off.

    Ah yes , Michael, a good question …What WAS wrong with no guns no government? You’ll have to ask your great leader that one given his eagerness to dump that pledge.

    I defer to you young whippersnappers, but I thought Bart was taught these eternal truths by his dad. SOMEONE’S got to have been responsible, and since the DUP weren’t given houseroom by respectable people until this year it cannot logically be them… so why don’t you blame Jeffrey (again).

    Good grief…has none of you even read what Alex Kane is saying? What’s his agenda for pointing out the bleeding obvious? How many more failures do they have to make to convince you? Trimble makes Bertie Vogts look successful

  • davidbrew

    willow
    “Surely you didn’t join the DUP in order to finish off that which you opposed?”
    I AM trying to finish it off :-}

  • willowfield

    So you’re in a dissident minority in the DUP now, too?

  • George

    Davidbrew,
    there are some who would argue that the DUP weren’t given houseroom until this year because they weren’t “housetrained” yet. No they are behaving themselves, everyone is happy to pet them.

    As for Berti Vogts and Trimble, both can only work with the resources available to them and to be honest with you, unionism has hardly set the world alight on the political playing field in recent years.

    The DUP believes the British Championship is the only show in town and is wallowing in the fact that Northern Ireland are defending champions of a defunct event.

    It seems immune to the fact that football has changed since 1984, ironically the last year when “the southern government” didn’t have “a direct say in the running of Northern Ireland”.

    To quote the venerable Homer, You’d be surprised how much you can learn if you listen once in a while.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Rebecca

    As sharp as a beach-ball, as cunning as a frog, the YU’s jump into action…

    “None wasn’t it? Do the DUP actually care about the police or are they merely a tool?”

    Perhaps they proposed no amendments because they voted against the bill in its entirety having recognised the threat it posed to the future of the RUC. It’s very easy to propose amendments that you know will fail due to a massive government majority – it was a face saving exercise nothing more, nothing less.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Here’s a question that is asked in all seriousness – why would anyone WANT to vote for the UUP at election time?

    The main thrust of the argument coming from leading UUP members seems to be “don’t vote DUP they’re just as bad as we were”!

  • Moderate Unionist

    David,
    What do you think I was wishing for? If things do work out for the best I will be extremely happy. It is true there was a touch of irony in my post, but this was only in response to your colourful style. As for the DUP’s negoitation strategy, whether of benefit or not the UUP initiative did start the ball rolling and I think that they deserve credit for that.

    BTW, I don’t think that personal attacks and ridicule help anybody’s cause. Christopher’s post to Rebbeca and your post to Michael is unneccessarily personal and just makes me cringe. I can assure you that this is why significant numbers of the Unionist electorate have stopped voting.

    Christopher;

    As to why anybody would vote UUP? I am still waiting for a clear message myself, but I think we should respect the fact that (despite the undoubted success of the DUP in the last elections) a lot of decent Unionist people still vote for them. At some time in the future it may be necessarily to put on a united front. Least said soonest mended.

  • Michael Shilliday

    david,

    as i mentioned above, there were no guns hence there is no government!

    and chris, you imply that the UUP voted for the Police bill – only one DUP MP turned up to vote!

  • jonty

    Rebecca
    I wouldnt pay too much to wee chris stalford, this is the guy on the DUP executive who wasnt told 3 days before teh launch of the Dupes Devolution Now , that the party were proposing a corporate government that would propel shinners into a power sharing assembly without any need for any decommissioning.
    He probaly hasnt been told taht they are not readying themselves to put martin McGuinnes in as Deputy first Minister and Gerry Adams/Kelly in as Minister for Justice and policing, Chris only learns about these things when the UUP tell him

  • jonty

    So brewster
    would you have any objections to your party having talks to terrorist groups or their political fronts before these groups have totally decommissioned.

    Please try and answer the question.

  • jonty

    For those who say the DUpes havent changed policy can they answer the following
    why in your manifesto 03 did you claim that you didnt want to see Gerry Kelly as minister for justice and policing without telling the people you would be willing to accept Pat doherty or Gerry adams?

    why in the same manifesto did you say that NIs Nightmare would be to see Gerry Adams as Deputy first mInister, why didnt you tell people you are willing to put Martin McGuinness in that post without a problem?

  • yer_man

    Michael
    “there were no guns hence there is no government”

    Anyone who has to call the words of a Sam Foster letter to the paper in their defence really is scraping the barrel. That statement might actually carry some water were it not for two facts:

    1) It was the UUP who jumped straight into government with SF without guns, not once, but three times and remained there each time. If this was all about testing the Provos then why did you have to test them 3 times?

    2) The UUP did absolutely nothing to bring about the lack of Government. The Assembly collapsed and was suspended with the UUP Ministers firmly wedged in their Ministerial Chairs – not surprising really, given that you couldnt have got Reg Empey out with a tyre iron.

    Jonty,
    Its a little rich of you to pose questions to anyone given your singular failure ever to have answered a question posed to you.

  • Moderate Unionist

    yer_man

    It is still THE question defining Northern Ireland politics for the last 10 years! With acknowledgement to NAR

    “Will the DUP talk to terrorists, or their elected representatives, before they have decommissioned completely and stood down from all of their activities criminal or terrorist?”
    (Obviously, you could substitute the DUP for any political party but it is most relevant to them)

    Is talking via intermediaries any different to talking face to face?

    My belief is, that direct talking is appropriate because there has been a substantial reduction in paramilitary activity (not complete – we know about the cigs). A deal will be done, it is just a question of when. Why not get on with it?

  • davidbrew

    Jonty, my hyperactive, sclerotic, and just-a-touch-this-side-of-certifiably-juvenile chum:
    If you are asking do I want to be as thoroughly shameless and gutless as the UUP leadership then the answer is NO. Remind me exactly where the DUP proposed Martin McGuinness for DFM.

    I have always had the good fortune to belong to a party (OK 2 parties) which represented the core values of Unionism and enjoy the support of most Unionists as a result. It has been my experience that the smaller Unionist party often diverted much of its energy into pointless attempts to savage the party to which I belong(ed).
    But it is particularly vicious and unproductive at present , because the roles have reversed, and partly from guilt, I hope, this knaws away at those Ulster Unionists still capable of thought.How many more times can you trot out an argument best summarized as “You’re just as bad as we are” as serious political argument ?

    MU
    -ugh your nom de guerre even reminds me of M*****ster U****d. Many Unionists east of the Bann don’t vote because they are either urban working class-alienated from both main parties yet not in the grip of a SF style political movement -or middle class, who are not unreasonably not fooled by UUP representatives who have a pretty poor constituency record. Better candidates and better organisation will reverse this trend- and guess who’s the leading party in that regard-here’s a clue.Cecil Walker or Nigel Dodds-which would you choose? Quod erat demonstrandum.

  • willowfield

    davidbrew

    The DUP are not proposing to do away with the post of DFM, nor that it should not be allocated to the second largest party. Therefore they are prepared to accept a Provo as DFM.

    Don’t you feel embarrassed at joining a party that is pursuing the very policies you left the UUP over?

  • jonty

    david brew
    if Martin Mcguiness is nominated for DFM in any new DUP/Sinn Fein coalition government will you oppose your party taking the FM postion
    And will you answer the question,

    are YOU opposed to your party talking to terrorists before they have fully decommissioned.

  • willowfield

    This “not talking to terrorists” thing is a joke. The DUP took part in political negotiations with the Provos at Leeds Castle and Stormont. What does it matter whether they talked directly to them or through intermediaries? Doesn’t make any difference.

  • Rebecca Black

    “Rebecca
    I wouldnt pay too much to wee chris stalford,”

    don’t worry, I haven’t ever since I met the boy in the flesh, I don’t think anyone whose met him could take him seriously.

    “or middle class, who are not unreasonably not fooled by UUP representatives who have a pretty poor constituency record”

    not exactly – what about those middle class catholics who are unionist with a small “u” but who don’t vote for the UUP because of the orange link? I know several of them from mid ulster and west tyrone who are at college with me.

    Also, if you are talking about UUP representatives west of the bann, they do not have a “poor record”, the one which immediately springs to mind is Billy Armstrong MLA, one of the few UUP representatives whose has actually held on to his voter base from 1998 – that is due to sheer hard work.

  • North Antrim Realist

    DB

    I am not expressing any opinion only asking a question about DUP policy!

    From what you say it seems your only function here is to berate your former collaegues in the UUP not let us know current DUP thinking as the leadership don

  • davidbrew

    “what about those middle class catholics who are unionist with a small “u” but who don’t vote for the UUP because of the orange link? I know several of them from mid ulster and west tyrone who are at college with me”

    Rebcca -what about all the other Unionist parties they could vote for, if the Orange was such an obstacle. From Alliance to the DUP, they have a whole range to choose from , but don’t …because they aren’t Unionist at all.
    And if Billy the potato is the acme of Ulster Unionism ( and ..whisper it ..the candidate for Westminster) no wonder they’re in terminal decline West of the Bann. Today Londonderry, tomorrow..well just about everywhere. Who’s the UUP standard bearer in Strangford BTW?

  • Moderate Unionist

    Davidbrew;
    Why must you start everything with a fight. My nom de guerre as call it, was chosen because I don’t know the rest of you. I wasn’t intending to make multiple posts (but just seem to have got into it). Anyway it sort of lets people know where I am coming. So stop lashing out at everybody and answer a reasonable question.

    Should the DUP in your opinion be negoitating with SF before a complete session of military activities and finessing the point. Is talking via third parties any different to talking directly?

  • Rebecca Black

    “Rebcca -what about all the other Unionist parties they could vote for,”

    first of all, theres two e’s in rebecca!

    second of all, if unionists with a small u are put off voting for the UUP because of the orange link which they seem as extreme, then they are hardly likely to want to vote for the DUP now are they? They wouldn’t vote for the PUP and UDP because they are associated with terrorists and Alliance is just a waste of a vote – even hardcore alliance voters will admit that!

    As for your extreme disdain for Billy Armstrong…what on earth do you have against the man, he works hard for his constituents and is a good party worker also. This wouldn’t be some sort of personal gripe would it? Or bias against people from the country?

  • Rebecca Black

    if by standard bearer you mean the candidate for westminster, we don’t know yet, the selection meeting has yet to take place.

  • jonty

    Will David Brewster ever answer the question:

    Do you support your party talking to terrorist groups before they fully decommission.

    Are you afraid to cross the DUP taliban???

  • davidbrew

    Rbcca-there’s also no “m” in see!

    I’m from the country, as are the people from Mid Ulster Unionist Association, who-it seems -know Billy the Potato better than you-and yes he is the candidate, because your party is now dependant on leadership ratification, and Billy’s the only one with the money to blow on pushing up the UUP province wide vote.
    Abe Lincoln he ain’t. The man who says he’s anti-Agreement until elected, and then fights valiantly to preserve h, is seat deserves contempt-like Beggs Sr and Jr.

    Why don’t your middle class Unionist chums set up a society at Trinity, or within the UUP? How can they be intimidated by an organisation which has 122 delegates in a body which normally meets once a year -but not in any constituency or branch? When the Orange finally dumps the UUP you don’t think Trimble, Empey et al are going to resign, do you? If they are seriously concerned by the link, what’s stopping them leaving on a point of principle? Who’s forcing UUP branches to use our halls? Many branches are now so small they could meet in the chairman’s front hall! I fear your friends have raised a large red(orange) herring to conceal the truth from you. They don’t like the Orange because ….it’s full of common people!
    (steps back in horror). Oh the horror of having to sit on a wooden bench in a pokey hall in the country and listen to Willie John the binman actually be allowed to express his political views, when one could be in the rugby club having a snifter.

    Jonty, Jonty, Jonty-
    I’ve typed your name three times to help you get started with this reading stuff, which you obviously find confusing. I have (big words coming up now-you might want a dictionary)comprehensively, categorically, exhaustively, and indupitably answered your question, and it’s not my fault if you can’t understand it.

    MU-what’s the point of blogging if you can’t use your semi-anonymity to bang a few heads together? If we met socially you’d find me the perfect gentleman: I’d probably nod politely as you put your point of view whilst handing you another G&T, all the time thinking “Aaaargh!”: but that’s the real world, where fortunately I don’t have to meet Jonty (although since he won’t tell us who he is, perhaps I already have-you’re not Hugh Orde J?)so surely we can lower the tone of debate in cyberspace.

    I mean, you wouldn’t get hooked on worthy, respectful and earnest contributions from wannabes-it’d be like Corrymeela without the interminable cups of weak coffee.

  • George

    “They don’t like the Orange because ….it’s full of common people!”

    Are you Pontius Pilate Davidbrew?
    Less than two weeks ago you washed your hands of those who burn the Irish national flag on an annual basis saying it was “the Protestant working class” and now you’re a champion of the common people.

    Which is it?

  • jonty

    David when did you answer this question

    Do YOU support the DUP meeting terrorists before they fully decommission and disband,
    yes or no , its really not that hard as your girlfriend has im sure has said to you on many occasions

  • George

    Also, Davidbrew from what I can see the “when did you stop beating your wife” analogy is incorrect and a little weasely.

    You are being asked the equivalent of “do you beat your wife” to which a yes or no answer would be appropriate.

  • jonty

    Here is what peter robinson said in the Queens hall sept 2003
    “On this occasion, it is being trailed, the IRA will permit General de Chastelain to give some details of an inventory of the weapons put beyond use but no filming will be allowed.

    “Naturally in exchange for their efforts they will be given a list of concessions. The government is providing them with a timetable of security reductions and giving a free pass to on-the-run murderers.

    “They are to be guaranteed that no matter what they do in the future the Assembly will not be suspended again and moves will be outlined to devolve policing and justice powers to Stormont on a shared basis that will likely ensure that Gerry Kelly is the new Policing and Justice Minister for Northern Ireland.”

    This is now DUP policy!!
    They, and they alone, are proposing NEVER to bring down devoultuion again
    It is they who are going to accept a timetable for the devoultion of Jusicte and policing
    AS for on-the-runs- did anyoen notice how they have constantly igonored this issue as a sop to the IRA

  • davidbrew

    George-no I don’t beat my wife; no I didn’t wash my hands of anyone-the burning of flags isn’t carried out by the Orange Institution nor approved of by it; and no Jonty I don’t propose singlehandedly to help you through the early stages of evolution , particularly given your attempts at abuse which are even more lame than your political anal-ysis. Your little world is all your own now.

  • Rebecca Black

    David

    I actually did set up a unionist association at Trinity 2 years ago but I suffered alot of intimidation and also didn’t really have the time for it – I am involved in lots of other stuff. Although officially it is still a society, its still listed on the Students Union website as a society.

    It wasn’t a UUP society, it was independant. The are few enough unionists in the republic who are willing to be vocal and active without putting some off because of party affiliation.

    “I fear your friends have raised a large red(orange) herring to conceal the truth from you. They don’t like the Orange because ….it’s full of common people!”

    oh don’t be so pathetic and stoop to that sort of comment David. There are plenty of middle class people in the orange order and there are also plenty of working class people who don’t like the orange order. Furthermore my friends don’t like the orange order because they have little experience of it, living as they do in West Tyrone. What they do see is footage on the TV of things like Drumcree where its not orange men but the hangers on rioting. I know that the orange is not like that, goodness knows I have been dragged to enough of their parades to know that it is harmless, just people celebrating their tradition, but thats not the image most people see. The Orange Order needs to do alot of work on its PR, I know there is work being done in this area but more needs to be done. Things like all the money that some of the local lodges raise for charities etc should be more widely known.

    So please don’t insult myself or yourself with that weak argument again.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    david brew

    Maybe you answered this already, so if you did, just cut and paste your answer. I’m a lazy sort. But I want to know…

    How can the DUP – right now – rule out talking to ‘armed SF’ and specifically NOT rule out talking to ‘armed PUP/UPRG’?

  • Michael Shilliday

    he won’t answer because thats questioning peter robinson and that’s against the rules of DUP membership.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    The opposite seems to be true in the UUP… no-one seems to get anywhere until question the leader or stab him in the back!

    Et tu, Shilladay?

    (…sorry, couldn’t resist!)

  • Michael Shilliday

    says more about the back stabbers than the party though don’t it?

  • Davros

    It’s interesting to compare the active debate among Unionists and the dearth of debate amongst republicans on this site. Bodes well for the future.

  • jonty

    Does anyone know where david brewster actually stands on the issue of the DUpes talking to terrorists before they decommission

    Sounds like hes oppossed to this. wonder which party he`ll run too when they do? the ukup need a few extra members

  • davidbrew

    gonzo-
    I personally don’t believe in talking to any terrorist until he is made amenable for his crimes. If that puts me in a minority of 1 I don’t care. I didn’t agree with Jeffrey doing it as an Ulster Unionist and told him so.

    To the best of my knowledge noone in the DUP is doing this, but of course all political parties-except the UUP, include different viewpoints, which is why they have a manifesto agreed as a bottom line among all members-except again the UUP where people like me loyally supoported the Assembly 1998 election manifesto only to find the leadership breaking their own commitments.

    In fact the funny thing since Novemebr has been the wholr role reversal within Unionism’s mindset. The mighty UUP used to claim the DUP was governed by a demagogue who allowed no individual expression of opinion; that it took no risks and only criticised the party that ws at the coalface;and that the DUP was prepared to risk losing seats to nationalists in the cause of self interest. HOist with their own petard, I’d say.

    And what’s even MORE noticable is that not ONE of the hyper critical UUP posters on this site is prepared to stand over any point of UUP policy-assuming there is one. What are they for? Having been suckered into an unworkable agreement they are so bankrupted politically that like the SDLP, they can only cling to it without a single positive suggestion to replace or reform it.

    At least the SDLP are willing prisoners, but just as most UUP people want rid of Trimble but can’t find a replacement because they’ve all been neutralised, so they have nothing better to come up with than the Agreement-and that’s the real reason for their hatred of the DUP-pure and simple jealousy.

    The UUP can’t elucidate a single proposal to overhaul the agreement-McGimski even criticises the DUP for wanting accountability, as leting the Provos off the decommissioning hook! Where are his proposals on accountability? Has Jonty ever come up with a positive contribution or even a point of view here? The boy’s a juvenile attentionseeker-with his immature sniping he’ll go far in the UUP but he won’t be defending the Union

  • davidbrew

    and as for Rebecca’s friends… As I am sure you’re not a baby-eating Orange ogre like myself, you can easily disabuse them of their bigotry. Our PR isn’t intended to get people to join your party after all.

    If you can’t get through to them then surely you should be be in the Vanguard (oops -sorry- forbidden word) of moves to kick us out, move meetings out of our halls, and get Trimble, Reg et al to resign from this frankly backward organisation which is so ofputting to the Tarquins of Tyrone. Who knows , in five years you might even have the Duke of Abercorn back as your parliamentary candidate, giving tours of Baronscourt to the party workers-that ought to excite your chums

  • Belfast Gonzo

    David

    Can I take it from your answer that you are not entirely happy with the fact that the DUP refused to rule out talks with the political representatives of armed loyalism?

  • willowfield

    DB

    I personally don’t believe in talking to any terrorist until he is made amenable for his crimes.

    But you’re happy to talk to them through intermediaries? What’s the difference?!

  • jonty

    david brewster, will you, o0n a point of principle, leave the DUp when they talk to terrorist groups who have not fully decommissioned ?

  • Michael Shilliday

    I hope for your sake yerman and the rest of DUP HQ miss your comments. Not quite so much freedom of speech where you are now.

  • Moderate Unionist

    DB:

    Hi, Sorry it took so long to reply. Of enjoying the weekend.

    Still don’t have an answer to the question “Should the DUP be talking to the terriorists before a complete end to military/terrorist/criminal activities?” and just for clarity “Is there any difference between talking directly or talking through intermediaries?” Just want to understand your perspective in all of this.

    Politics is a dynamic activity. I would like more analysis (preferably constructive) of the different parties positions. I believe this would be more effective than “knocking heads together”. For every action there is an equal an opposite reaction.

    The current electoral situation reflects inter alia voter fatigue, poor presentation of good policy, good presentation of bad policy, honestly held differences of opinion. Over time, the picture will clear. (Hindsight is always 20:20) and of course positions may change. I do think that there is a process of change in the political environment. The old certainties of the DUP, the UUP, the Orange Order seem less secure. As you point out the UUP have had their problems but are probably through the worst of it, the DUP may be about to enter an uncomfortable phase. It is much easier to sit in the stand and call foul, than it is to get down on the pitch and play. The DUP have promised the electorate alot. If they don’t deliver in full, they will suffer a severe electoral backlash and I for one think (can’t be sure) they have already changed their perspective to one that is “more realistic”. Which is why I would like an answer to the question repeatedly posed by North Antrim Realist, Jonty, George, Michael, Rebecca, ShayPaul, Willowfield and me.

    BTW I can’t help thinking that hurling abuse at people does little to advance your point of view. It suggests a lack of intellectual ability or perhaps a defensive posture. I’m sure neither are true and if I met you in the pub no doubt “I would think that you were a perfect gentleman” but people can confuse perception with reality.

  • willowfield

    MU

    The current electoral situation reflects inter alia voter fatigue, poor presentation of good policy, good presentation of bad policy, honestly held differences of opinion.

    You’re forgetting cynical manipulation of voters’ fears and prejudices.

  • North Antrim Realist

    Don’t bother asking DB anymore questions about DUP policy; it is evident that the ‘Control Freakery’ department at the DUP has silenced any personal viewpoints among the flock.

    At least in the UUP members and workers can say what they think and freqently do, pity DB and his other ex UUP colleagues hadn’t stayed where freedom of thought is still allowed.

    Wait for answers (and personal opinions) until they are published in the press, you won’t get them anywhere else and certainly not from the DUP posters here. The DUP CF department seems to have decided that their function is to berate the UUP as often and as loudly as possible to distract attention from what the DUP are really doing with SF/IRA.