Empey challenges Robinson in East Belfast…

SIR Reg Empey wraps himself in the Union flag and announces his intention to challenge Peter Robinson for the East Belfast seat in the next general election. The UUP reckons it has a chance of taking the seat, although Robinson has already dismissed his opponent’s chances.

  • Peter Brown

    Then 20% of UUC read The Agreement and the numbers changed….
    Anyway jonty what about the Devil comment….

  • jonty

    yes Peter, WHO did make that comment… i wonder?

  • Butterknife

    On a lighter note this debate is teaching us all how to use HTML tags:)

  • davidbrew

    A better role model than a man trying to get security forces out of South Armagh to placate the Provos; a better role model than a man who deceives his own negotiators;and a better role model than a man who actually abandoned the RUC without a backward glance.

    OK you win jonty. You’re such an irritant that occasionally I’m going to scratch. BTW you mightn’t be so keen on the Turtle if you remember some of his remarks/behaviour at the time the Paisley remark was made-1986. What was he in the Ulster Clubs again?

  • Butterknife

    David you tell us as you’re so knowledgeable.

  • willowfield

    Will

    You’re still concentrating on Trimble’s post-Agreement handling.

    Let me repeat:

    “Again I refer you to my objection to the DUP, which is their dishonesty and hypocrisy in opposing the Agreement itself. The DUP’s – and many in the UUP’s (including your own, I imagine) opposition was not based on Trimble’s handling of the post-Agreement negotiations, but on the Agreement itself.”

  • Will

    Willowfield,
    I agree that this is another post-Agreement issue. Its just that the flaws of the Agreement as were signed up are there in black and white – the post Agreement stuff is where there is more opportunity for debate.

    What is your opinion of Trimble asking for the removal of watchtowers though? I have given you what the book tells us is the background and also the views of an impartial observer to the situation.

    Has this changed your opinion even a little bit?

  • willowfield

    State what you consider to be the flaws.

    Re. watchtowers, I would oppose their removal if there was a security need for them. If there was no security need, I would support their removal. If Trimble wanted them removed while a security need remained, then obviously I would oppose that and criticise him for it.

  • Will

    Willowfield.
    Lack of accountability in Ministries was evident when the Agreement was signed. The outworking of the Agreement however proved this very clearly and that is why issues such as that became evident.

    You know the other issues like N-S unaccountability, setting up Gov Depts simply for political expediency etc, putting armed SF into Government. However you are dodging the issue.

    I agree that security installations should remain while there is a security threat. So why therefore was David Trimble asking for their removal? Did he not think that the Chief Constable and the GOC were capable of deciding? The fact remains that there obviously was still a threat because the installations wernt removed at Trimble’s demand. Is it the job of a UUP leader to be doing SF’s work for them?

  • Peter Brown

    yes Peter, WHO did make that comment… i wonder?

    I thought that was what I asked you Jonty? Don’t you know and if not why attribute it to a member of the DUP?

  • willowfield

    Will

    Lack of accountability in Ministries was evident when the Agreement was signed.

    Funny how nobody made a big deal out of it, then. I don’t recall anyone fussing about it. The main complaint was about early release prisoners. Other complaints were about cross-border bodies, the review of policing and power-sharing.

    You know the other issues like N-S unaccountability, setting up Gov Depts simply for political expediency etc, putting armed SF into Government.

    So early release prisoners, cross-border bodies themselves, the review of policing and power-sharing were not issues? Your opposition to the Agreement was based no accountability of ministers and of the N/S bodies, and setting up of departments (which, in any case, weren’t agreed until AFTER the Agreement)? You were quite happy with the early releases and the police reform?

    Sorry, but I simply don’t believe you.

    And I’m not dodging the issue. The issue is DUP hypocrisy over the Agreement itself. You’re dodging it by trying to discuss post-Agreement implementation.

  • Davros

    One interesting point is made by Brian Lennon S.J. in the excellent “Peace Comes Dropping Slow”.

    The British Government has already completely fulfilled it’s Belfast Agreement Obligations in respect of Policing.

    There was NO obligation to Implement Patten in the Belfast Agreement, the only obligation was to discuss implementing the recommendations.

    6.Implementation of the recommendations arising from both reviews will be discussed with the political parties and with the Irish Government.

  • davidbrew

    “Re. watchtowers, I would oppose their removal if there was a security need for them. If there was no security need, I would support their removal. If Trimble wanted them removed while a security need remained, then obviously I would oppose that and criticise him for it.” saith willow

    AND…….????

    If even Ken Maginnis choked at the suggestion
    then you have your answer. Ask Danny Kennedy, or Derek Hussey, or one of those Unionists in the world beyond Cherry Valley of which you seem to know nothing.

    Do you not think that sort of contemptible behaviour (recorded by a sympathetic biographer remember, and presumably related by DT or Ken) is worthy of something a tad stronger than your modest disapproval?
    Say John Kerry had asked the US chief of Staff to go easy on Osama so he could negotiate a better exit strategy, and outflank Bush- would that be a bit iffy too, or contrary to his duty as a US representative. What does this man have to do before you realise he’s a dud-join the Army Council?!!

    HOW would you oppose it, as you have stated? Perhaps you might find yourself in the position of many formerly loyal Ulster Unionists who opposed that policy…and as we recall you would advocate them being thrown out of the UUP. It’s interesting that his most vehement opponents are people who bought Trimble’s initial salespitch on the Agreement-Burnside voted yes for example. That’s precisely where the majority of those who left the UUP have come from-people who have had the grace to acknowledge the truth of those who said “I told you so”-it might be trite , but that doesn’t make it untrue.

  • Butterknife

    David should you not be concentrating on how the DUP are implementing their policies and your beliefs instead of dwelling on your past life?

  • Will

    Willowfield,
    I gave the reasons I did because they were some of the less publicised ones at the time of the Agreement but of course I opposed prisoner releases without any linkage to the removal of their paramilitary organisations. Of course I opposed the destruction of the RUC.

    Its just that some things are self-evident. I didnt think i needed to point those out again.

    However, I may have given you yet another chance to dodge the watchtower issue again. For that I am sorry.

  • Springvale

    Why Mr Brewster does Mr McFarland stand no chance of winning East Londonderry back for the UUP? Surely he realises, in his own words on this thread, that “There is no Divine right to any seat”.

    The seat is clearly a marginal with only 2000-3000 votes in it. The DUP in East Londonderry were virtually non-existant until the arrival of Gregory ‘fair-deal’ Campbell and are still relatively weak. ‘Fair-deal’ Campbell loves the PR stunts but from what I’m hearing does not work hard on the follow ups helping real people with real problems.

    With a bit of organisation and ‘on the ground work’, East Londodnerry is winnable.

  • willowfield

    DB

    If you read my post you’ll see I said I’d oppose Trimble if he wanted to remove watchtowers while there was still a security need. If you’re telling me there was a security need and Trimble wanted them removed, then surely it doesn’t take much in the way of reasoning skills to work out whether or not I would oppose him.

    Regarding actual opposition, since this fact has apparently only come to light since the publication of Godson’s book, I don’t see how it could have been the subject of opposition at the time.

    Again, though, you continue to focus on the post-Agreement implementation instead of the point I am making about the DUP’s dishonesty and hypocrisy.

    Will

    I gave the reasons I did because they were some of the less publicised ones at the time of the Agreement but of course I opposed prisoner releases without any linkage to the removal of their paramilitary organisations. Of course I opposed the destruction of the RUC.

    But you were happy with prisoner releases and cross-border bodies?

    If you opposed the “destruction” of the RUC, why are you supporting the DUP, whose policy is to accept its “destruction”?

    The DUP opposed the Agreement, promised to smash it and replace it, and have ended up entering negotiations to maintain most of those elements that they opposed.

    Dishonest. Hypocritical.

  • davidbrew

    “The DUP opposed the Agreement, promised to smash it and replace it, and have ended up entering negotiations to maintain most of those elements that they opposed.” saith Willow

    well , where is the Agreement at the moment? In limbo-because the Unionist electorate has ditched those who were working it!And its never coming back in the old form.
    “THis Agreement has ceased to be. it’s a stiff It’s gone to meet it’s maker. it’s not pining for the fjords”. Just because Blair and Ahern haven’t symbolically burned the treaty doesn’t alter that fact.
    It’s going to be replaced as it was built-steadily, even slowly reversing the concessions or builkding a superstructure to smother them. That’s basic negotiating, and no wonder a UUP supporter can’t understand that since they couldn’t practise it.

    Springvale
    Yes you’re quite right that it’s a marginal on paper- as is east Belfast. But East Londonderry is one of the strongest antiAgreement seats in NI. Even the Irish Times at the referendum recorded a narrow anti-vote there, and the Belfast telegraph polled greater support for anti UUP cvandidates than pro UUP in a poll in 2001.
    The candidates are McClarty and McFarland-the 118 and 118 of wet defeatism, and David Hoey, Burnside sidekick who won’t be selected precisely because the gerontocracy running the Association don’t trust the young whippersnapper (he’s only 42). The assocation used to be one of the strongest in NI; it’s now among the weakest, struggling to pay its quota or to find candidates for council elections-particularly in Coleraine.

    You’re also wrong about Campbell, who has a good record of constituency work, as have the councillors in both Coleraine and Limavady.

    Without presuming too much on the voters, it’s a shoo-in with a 5,000+ majority

  • willowfield

    DB

    well , where is the Agreement at the moment? In limbo-because the Unionist electorate has ditched those who were working it!And its never coming back in the old form.

    In limbo? Funny how the prisoners are still out, the police reforms are still happening and aren’t being reversed, the so-called “equality agenda” carries on, the Human Rights Commission is still working away …

    The only parts of the GFA in limbo are those relating to the Assembly – the bit unionists wanted.

    And the DUP – by all accounts – is happy to share power with PSF on condition of decommissioning (same policy as UUP: they’re not proposing to write this condition into the Agreement) – they just want to change accountability arrangements. The latter is the only significant point of difference between GFA 98 and what the DUP want in GFA 05.

    It’s simply not credible to pretend that this is a “new Agreement” in any significant way. It’s a slight change – and the option for change was built into the Agreement anyway.

    It’s going to be replaced as it was built-steadily, even slowly reversing the concessions or builkding a superstructure to smother them.

    So the prisoners will slowly return to jail? The RUC will slowly be put back in place?

    Yeah, whatever.

  • davidbrew

    you mean the north south bodies are still functioning Willow. I’m shocked. Didn’t Mr Trimble tell us they couldn’t operate without the Assembly? And we were ridiculed for pointing out how he was wrong! Now willow’s accepting the anti Trimble analysis he’s making progress. Pity he’s so quick to absolve the turtle over the watchtowers.
    So far as the equality agenda is concerned, the UUP’s only big idea was a college for the Ulster Scots, so don’t complain if you can’t come up with your own agenda. I remember the briefing that we weren’t to row in behind Burnside’s save the RUC campaign because that would only prove it WAS a Unionist force! How inventive Trimblies can be in making excuses, and how inept in inventing a strategy!

    Why not stop the old “You’re just as bad as us” argument, rewind, and focus on the “bad as us” bit-admit the mess your/my then party created, and remove those responsible. Even Bertie Vogts has finally gone, in spite of the reasonable argument that he had no talent in his team either.

    If you can’t see ther importance of accountability then look to the objections of SF who see a back door majoritarianism in the DUP proposals. Funny how they seem to recognise the DUP threat to the old Agreement far more than the UUP, which is desperate to defend it from no other motive than to conceal how many flaws it contains, and which were negotiated by them.

  • willowfield

    DB

    you mean the north south bodies are still functioning Willow. I’m shocked.

    So you accept that the GFA’s not in limbo. THank you.

    The prisoners are still out, the police reforms are still happening and aren’t being reversed, the so-called “equality agenda” carries on, the Human Rights Commission is still working away …

    The only parts of the GFA in limbo are those relating to the Assembly – the bit unionists wanted.

    If you can’t see ther importance of accountability

    As I’ve made clear numerous times, I’m more than happy to see improvements made.

    then look to the objections of SF who see a back door majoritarianism in the DUP proposals.

    They’re just posturing and trying to make life harder for the DUP. They don’t honestly believe it’s “majoritarianism”.

    Why won’t you admit that the DUP has swallowed the Agreement – their demands are diminished now to the fig-leaf of accountability improvements.

    A bit of honesty would be nice.

  • davidbrew

    Agreed. So stop wriggling over watchtowergate.

  • willowfield

    Er, I’m not wriggling! My views have been made clear. Go and read them.

    Nice to get you to finally accept that the DUP has swallowed the Agreement. Shouldn’t you resign? Or start undermining the leadership? You could maybe join up with Jeffrey.

  • Peter Brown

    Jonty you are posting on other threads but why are you not answering my question here?

  • willowfield

    Reconciled yourself to being an Agreement supporter yet, Peter?

  • Peter Brown

    Why?

  • Peter Brown

    Why has this thread suddenly gone quiet with so many unanswered questions? I wonder….

  • willowfield

    Why? Because I guess it’s better for your peace-of-mind/mental stability to be reconciled to things rather than be mentally tortured by them. You must be racked with self-doubt otherwise.

  • Peter Brown

    Reconciled yourself to being an Agreement supporter yet, Peter?

    Why do I have to reconcile myself with being something I am not though?

  • willowfield

    Sorry. I thought you supported the DUP.

  • Peter Brown

    Like Jonty where is the evidence for that allegation?

  • Moderate Unionist

    Peter
    Interesting, I don’t know alot about the ins and outs of your history, but I am interested in your current position. I do wonder if there are people who are unhappy with the UUP (or David Trimble) but not fully convinced by the DUP proposition.