Windbag of the Week: Empey rhetoric…

DON’T know if this is a good idea or not, but sure. ‘Windbag of the Week’ is YOUR chance to put the spotlight on someone who has been expelling hot air. Just cut and paste your favourite quote and add your (non libellous!) comments. I’ll kick things off with a fisking of Sir Reg Empey’s press release from earlier today…

Sir Reg said today: “The IMC, whose creation was our idea, is proving to be the useful instrument that we predicted and anticipated it would be. It is a pressure point on paramilitarism.”

Not true.

The idea originated with a respected Washington-based lobbyist called Michael McDowell, who consulted with Alliance before Trimble became involved.

A ‘ceasefire watchdog’ was first proposed by Alliance to the two governments on 4 July two years ago at Hillsborough. A rather arrogant John Reid was not keen on the idea, as he believed that his judgement was sound on whether a ceasefire had been broken or not (though few believed him), so Alliance pursued it with Number 10, where Jonathan Powell was more receptive.

The UUP certainly didn’t run with the IMC ball, and they made few if any public statements on the subject at the time.

Dean Godson’s well-researched biography of David Trimble is categorical: “The [ceasefire] auditor had originally been the idea of Trimble’s informal adviser in Washington, Michael McDowell, in consultation with his friends in the Alliance Party.”

It was Alliance and McDowell that pursued the setting up of the IMC. The UUP did not, contrary to Sir Reg’s statement, come up with the idea and did little of the ‘heavy lifting’ to get things in place.

The UUP was more concerned with the make-up of the Commission, and how it was going to keep the Irish Government from making any appointments to it. In addition, the UUP left it to Alliance to defend the IMC in relative isolation afterwards. Indeed, Trimble has criticised the IMC.

In my opinion, Sir Reg’s statement suggests a degree of desperation to be seen to be associated with something that is having an effect on the activities of paramilitary groups. It also appears to be a rather feeble attempt to get ‘one up’ on the DUP, whose attitude to the IMC has shifted remarkably from its ‘toothless tiger’ description of the body after its inception.

Credit (or criticism) where it’s due Sir Reg, eh?

  • Davros

    What is an “Independent Retailer”?

  • peteb

    Good start, Gonzo.. but I have a feeling this could get ugly ;o)

  • Belfast Gonzo


    Eh? Did I make a reference to Del Boy somewhere without realising it?


    True… and I am ugly enough.

  • Davros

    From Sir Reg’s Biog linked :

    Occupation and brief outline of career: Independent Retailer

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Oh, OK.

    Dunno what he does. Sell second-hand policies maybe?


  • peteb

    Does he drive Robin Reliant as well? :o)

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I doubt it…

    The person who recently bought the Trotters Independent Traders famous yellow Reliant van is (really!) from West Belfast.

    Reg is strictly an East man.

  • peteb

    That’s a pity.. I had a mental image of Reg pulling up outside Stormont and flogging those second-hand policies from the back of a yellow Reliant.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Wait a minute… didn’t I see Peter Robinson flogging an old UUP policy down out of the back of a battle bus down at Nutts Corner the other Sunday?

  • peteb

    Do you reckon someone sold him a job lot with ‘out-of-date’ stamped on them?… now, who could have done that?…… Jeffrey!?!

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Now when I think about it, it couldn’t have been Robinson. He wouldn’t be working on a Sunday.

  • D’Oracle

    I nominate Bertie Ahern’s recent leg-endary classic
    “We can`t go on indefinitely but we`re not at the stage of calling it just yet. We made a lot of progress in a lot of weeks but not enough. Where we are at, it`s ongoing work, and it`s quite difficult, we`re trying to make progress and it`s true to say we are in some difficult areas.”

  • North Antrim Realist

    I don’t belieeeve it!

    Somebody listened to something the Alliance Party had to say, this remarkable revelation deserves headlines.

  • Davros

    Now Now NAR 🙂

  • Warm Storage

    I posted this on another thread earlier on in the week, but, IMHO, it remains the most ridiculous statement of the week. I give you Gregory Campbell:

    “It cannot be the case on an ongoing basis that those who live near the border with the Irish Republic – 80% of whom are nationalists – get the advantages of cheaper fuel for domestic and commercial vehicles while those who live further away from the border – mostly unionists – have to pay more for theirs.”

    He didn’t continue: “And s’not fair that Ryanair operate the best cheap flight deals, but they only fly out of Dublin, and we couldn’t possibly boost the Republic’s economy by availing ourselves of them, not that I wasn’t averse to paying for a few suits in punts when you got more for your sterling… They should move the border to to include the city side of Londonderry so I can get cheap fuel too. Hold on, that can’t be right…”

    Pity he made those ludicrous comments — they completely obscured some sensible remarks on 50/50 policing.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Pat McElroy (SDLP) and Terry Hearty (SF) deserve mentions in dispatches for their stirling efforts in the Irish News today.

    Hearty: “Academic and medical reports provide compelling evidence about the impact of British army watchtowers and surveillance equipment on this community. For those of us living in south Armagh, we are in essence being fried 24-hours a day, seven days a week.”


    So when republicans put up skull and crossbone signs as a ‘warning’ about phone masts, the SDLP man decalred it would cause a crisis similar to “Edwina Currie’s infamous salmonella outburst”.


    Wish I could find it online, but I can’t let David Burnside go without mentioning his appearance on the front of the Belfast Tele last week.

    After an attack on Randalstown PSNI station, Burnside made a bizarre remark about walking into the police station AND NOT BEING RECOGNISED!

    “I could’ve been anyone,” was the basic jist of his statement.

    The fact that the PSNI in his own constituency don’t recognise their MP says more about the lesser-spotted Burnside I suspect… Not a someone, but obviously a nobody to the Randalstown plods.

  • Davros

    Why are people so mean about poor Gregory, the only Jekyll in the DUP ? 😉

  • J Kelly

    Alex Attwood on UTV last night said ” the report said that the police were at times at fault and we have to HOPE they are not at fault in the future”. This is how the SDLP hold the police to account they live in hope.

  • North Antrim Realist

    Leave poor Reggie alone, he has had enough bad press this year – wanted to be a rebel but bottled it at the last minute…… past, no future where does he go……….’back to the furniture’?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Headline on the SDLP website today:



  • Davros

    Anyone who goes out with a knife in their pocket, goes out with the intent to cause serious damage to property or worse injury to life.

    Fishermen, farmers, gardeners, pipe-smokers, joiners, carpet-layers ….