UUP must swing to the radical right

DR JOHN COULTER is a political columnist and Unionist revisionist. Here he flies a controversial kite and argues that the Ulster Unionist Party should swing to the Radical Right if it is to have any meaningful future in Ulster politics.

By John Coutler

The badly bruised Ulster Unionist Party can take its first tentative steps on the long road to recovery by re-launching itself as a Radical Right-wing movement with a positive ultra-conservative agenda … but first it has to elect a Right-wing, tough-talking, no-nonsense leader at the end of June.

The essential problem for the leaderless UUP is that in terms of a realistic policy, it is also rudderless. The Paisleyites have stolen the UUP’s clothes, policies, place on the political spectrum and ultimately its voters in the General and local elections.

Morale at the party executive meetings, branch meetings and general conversations amongst ranks and file members has been temporarily lifted a little by trying to write off the election meltdown as a massive vote of no confidence in David Trimble himself, not the party as a whole.

Whilst this may be true to some extent, it does not explain the total collapse in the UUP vote in many constituencies. The Ulster Unionists must face the bitter medicine that they have lost their way as a party and are stuck in the political equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle.

The essential question which any prospective new leader must answer in late June is – what is the difference between the DUP and the UUP? If it’s only a name, then the best path is either to wind up the UUP – as if it was the late Brian Faulkner’s UPNI – and let members join whatever party they want, or formally merge with the Paisleyites to form a single movement.

At this point in time, neither option is realistic – that would be akin to taking the political suicide pill. That leaves only one choice for the humbled and humiliated Ulster Unionists – they must re-position themselves so that the electorate can see clear blue sky between the party and the Paisleyites.

Again, the UUP has two options – the Centre or the Radical Right, given that the DUP has control over the unionist family’s entire Centre Right. A move towards the liberal unionism of sole MP Lady Sylvia Hermon, or former Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Ken Maginnis is a non-starter for the time being.

If the UUP re-positions on the Centre, it might as well merge with the Alliance Party. Whilst that would certainly suit Lady Hermon in ensuring North Down remains an Ulster Unionist Westminster seat, it would spell disaster for the remainder of elected representatives in the Ulster Unionist Councillors’ Association, and more significantly, the UUP’s Assembly group.

The real danger for the Ulster Unionists is that if the DUP – as seems likely in spite of Paisley’s fundamentalist rhetoric – cuts a deal with Sinn Fein and gets Stormont back to legislative mode. In this scenario, the Paisleyites may well call for a Spring 2006 Assembly election to supposedly copper-fasten the new agreement.

If the May General Election results were applied to the 24 UUP MLAs, up to 15 of them would lose their seats to the DUP, leaving the Ulster Unionists no more than a glorified Alliance Assembly group, which has six seats.

To survive in the short-term, the UUP has got to return to its traditional Right-wing roots and effectively become an official Opposition party to the pending DUP/Sinn Fein government at Stormont.

And even if Tony Blair – or Gordon Brown – does decide to activate the Assembly without Sinn Fein, the DUP will still be in the driving seat in terms of First Minister. However, given the way in which the DUP controlled the Hard Right since its inception in 1971, there is a false perception that being Radical Right is akin to the 1980s Ulster Says No campaign.

The new-look Radical Right UUP must become a 21st century brand of ultra-conservative Thatcherism. It must offer Northern Ireland middle class – and especially unionism’s sizeable non-voting middle class – an open invitation to re-engage in Ulster politics.

In short, the Right-wing UUP has got to put pride back into politics. It can do so by adopting radical policies on health, education, the re-organisation of bureaucracy, joy-riding, immigration, and even European federalism.

What a radical Right-wing UUP certainly cannot do is hope that those who deserted the UUP to vote DUP simply to rid the party of Trimble will drift back to Ulster Unionism in future elections. The SDLP ‘lent’ voters to Sinn Fein in a bid to encourage the republican movement to follow the democratic path – and they stayed with Sinn Fein!

The onus is now on the DUP, a traditionally devolutionist movement, to deliver a fully legislative Stormont Assembly with Ian Paisley as First Minister and Gerry Adams as Deputy First Minister.

The DUP also has an ace card which it previously never owned in the political pack – a significantly increased Westminster team with the possibility of two more seats in another four years’ time if there are agreed DUP candidates in South Belfast and Fermanagh South Tyrone.

The Paisleyites also want their fair share of peers in the House of Lords. A Blair Government may continue to staff the NIO with mainland Labour MPs whilst Paisley is still DUP boss.

However, if the Assembly collapses permanently beyond mere suspension, a Brown Government in a post Paisley era may well be tempted to staff the NIO with Ulster MPs from the DUP and SDLP. This is assuming the DUP cannot move ahead with Sinn Fein because of the issue of IRA decommissioning and criminality.

Even in this scenario, Sinn Fein could toss a spanner in the works by deciding to take the oath of allegiance and take its Westminster seats. Martin McGuinness may well become education minister again, not in a Stormont Executive, but as an NIO minister with portfolio.

However, whether the DUP is in government at Stormont or through the NIO, the Ulster Unionists must still become the voice of radical opposition, holding the Paisleyites to account on their decisions. The Radical Right UUP will have to remain there until the passing of Paisley senior when the dogfight for his successor begins.

Through his powerful persona, Paisley has managed to keep the rival wings of his party in toe. Without his physical presence, however, the modernisers who want to cut a deal with Sinn Fein, will go head-to-head with the religious fundamentalists who traditionally view the Pope as being part of the empire of the Anti Christ.

At some point, a post Paisley DUP will split, with the outcome likely to be the fundamentalists forming their own version of the Protestant Reformation Party. At this point, the Ulster Unionists must be prepared to form a pact with the DUP modernisers to fend off the influence of the fundamentalists.

Eventually, the UUP will have to formally merge with the DUP to form one organisation, known simply as The Unionist Party. It is in the immediate post Paisley era that Ulster Unionism’s liberal wing will come to the fore as a vital tool in the negotiations to merge the two parties.

In the meantime, Ulster Unionism must content itself with having to do the unthinkable compared to 1998 when its brand of far-reaching New Unionism helped bring about the Good Friday Agreement. The UUP must, in its centenary year, reach back to its hardline roots in the anti-Home Rule period.

It has forced out Trimble, the man who spent a significant section of his political career in the Radical Right-wing Vanguard movement. Ironically, to survive, Ulster Unionism must again follow Trimble’s example and adopt a Vanguard mentality in the coming months.

In late June, no matter who the Ulster Unionist Council decides is the new boss, he or she must become a Carsonite figurehead with a Thatcherite agenda based on a youthful Trimbleite structure.

Bitter medicine it may be, but its better than the total isolation of the political cemetery where the UPNI, Vanguard Unionist Party, Ulster Democratic Party, United Ulster Unionist Party, United Unionist Assembly Party, and the Northern Ireland Unionist Party now rest insignificantly.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    In think peope will know my general response to this article. but Just to be a pedant. “If the May General Election results were applied to the 24 UUP MLAs, up to 15 of them would lose their seats to the DUP, leaving the Ulster Unionists no more than a glorified Alliance Assembly group, which has six seats.” WTF?

    1.If they lose 15 they have 8 left thats more than 6.
    2.If you apply the 2005 election results you dont get 8 seats. On the Westminster numbers you get a potential 20 rounding up a few quotas and making a couple of educated guesses. If you llok to the Local Goverment elction which might be a better indicator in some places it is below this but I reckon more like 15 myself. But i cant get all the results yet as not all councils seem to have published them (Newtownabbey I am talking about you here!)

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    opps damn my typing incompetence 24 – 15 = 9 !! My maths is as bad as his it seems. Still right on the 20 seats though as I did that in excel!

    What the hell does:”It is in the immediate post Paisley era that Ulster Unionism’s liberal wing will come to the fore as a vital tool in the negotiations to merge the two parties” mean?

    Some interesting points but not sold at this point.

  • fair_deal

    The image of a radical right wing party hasn’t done the Conservatives much good on the mainland so why would it present a positve boon to the UUP to actually become it?

    DSD

    The horse is dead so why shouldn’t I flog it again.

    No serious research has been conducted on why a section of the Unionist community is not voting. No conclusion should be made on what will motivate them to vote (if anything).

    I agree his figures are plain wrong.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Fairdeal. LOL. No research was ever done to my knowledge, although I asked the leadership to do it repeatedly and it fell on stony ground. My own instincts are based on my anecdotal experience but they are not empircally evidenced in any way. So yep you are right we just dont know one way or the other. Like a lot of politcs it comes down to personal instinct or belief. I have one, others have a different one, the joys of democracy I suppose.

    His numbers just dont make sense though so at least we can agree on something.

  • DCB

    They don’t add up and I think it’s mad for the UUP to go towards a Vanguard style movement.

    But very interesting point re the DUP post-paisley.

  • vespasian

    The opinions expressed by Mr Coulter show a distinct lack of imagination and forethought.

    The DUP now cover the right and right centre at the same time there is no space for the UUP in that direction.

    The only direction they can take is to become a cross community party of the centre right (as opposed to right centre) very closely allied to the Conservatives.

    The figures presented are complete rubbish on a par with the rest of this piece of waste paper.

  • Roger

    The UUP becomming a cross community party would see the ultimate loss of more votes such as the situation in NI.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    It’s strange you said that Roger for many of your fellow DUP supporters often like to state that even the big man himself gets some Catholics votes in North Antrim. Remember the UUP’s main aim is to maintain the union, not to just Protestants.

  • Roger

    I’m not argueing agains the scheme I’m pointing out the facts.

    As Burnside said there is no point in going down a wishy washy liberal road.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Burnside will not be around for much longer though (hopefully)

  • aquifer

    An economically thatcherite non-sectarian socially authoritarian party. Sure why not. Get the garden centre prods out of their big gardens and into the polling booths, along with some neuveaux riche roman catholics who can do sums and like the union anyhow. Less Das Capital, more Social Capital, less whinging welfarism, more self help and we keep what we’ve got thanks very much. Match the low corporation tax in the Republic, let the economy rip, keep the grammar schools, and zero tolerance for the riff raff?

  • andy

    “As Burnside said there is no point in going down a wishy washy liberal road.”

    This from the man who was suspended from the udr for writing an article in a uda magazine.

  • Roger

    I dont agree with Burnisde in general I am not even a fan of his but his ‘wishy washy’ statement was accurate and many agreed with him.

  • andy

    but his ‘wishy washy’ statement was accurate and many agreed with him.

    So past connections with ‘unionist’ paramilitarism is not a hindrance in people supporting him ?

  • Roger

    Actually its these paramilitaries neither represent loyalists or unionists.

    I dont think so he was an MP for a while and he is also an MLA I think his problem was and is the UUP.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Thankfully Unionist politicians have no problem in condemning violence and those who use it as an ends to try and bring about their objectives. While the pan-nationalist front of roman catholocism/PIRA/SF continue their brutal attacks upon members of their own community they cannot expect to highlight loyalist attacks upon the same. Statistics have proven that more roman catholics have been murdured by the pan-nationalist front than by Police Officers, Soldiers and Loyalists combined.

  • Henry94

    aquifer

    i Match the low corporation tax in the Republic

    Thank you for provding an actual policy proposal because there wasn’t a single one in the article.

    Would there be widespread unionist support for tax-harmonisation with the south. Because it would make a lot of sense. Indeed it’s hard to see how any right-wing agenda could proceed without the devolution of taxation.

  • David

    NI desperately needs a neo-loberal Thatcherite party because as a region we need shock treatment to end our addiction to government subsidies and to get our private sector working. The Thatcher reforms of the 1980s which led to the growing presperity of GB post-1992 passed us by.

    Unfortunately people in NI have a “the world owes us a living” attitude, so policies of that nature, necessary as they may be are not vote winners.

    If the UUP opt for this I’m all for it. Don’t expect much electoral reward though.

  • David

    “neo-loberal” – sounds scarey. Should be “neo-liberal”

  • steve48

    “Burnside will not be around for much longer though (hopefully)”

    Way to go building party unity FYU.

  • G2

    Party tribute to Trimble ‘energy’

    Ulster Unionists have voiced the hope that Northern Ireland will still benefit from the ‘dynamism and skill’ of former party leader David Trimble.

    In an unanimous resolution, the management committee of the former MP’s constituency association in Upper Bann has paid special tribute to former UUP leader Mr Trimble and his wife Daphne.

    Their motion – praising Mr Trimble’s “firm stature”, enormous energy and drive – said the former first minister’s achievements included:

    • securing the principle of consent,

    • removing articles two and three from Irish constitution, and

    • raising the public profile of unionism both nationally and internationally.

    Assistant secretary the Rev Prof Robert Creane, proposing, said Mrs Trimble had also been a “tower of strength” to both her husband and the association.

    “We trust … that we shall still benefit from their dynamic abilities and skilful qualities in the future,” the motion said.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Steve48,

    “Way to go building party unity FYU”

    So you would prefer him to stay and completely wreck the party? He has made it clear many times that he would rather join the DUP than stay in the UUP, what I don’t get is what is he waiting for?

  • Indeedeo

    FYU,

    When exactly did Burnside say that he wanted to join the DUP?

  • pakman

    FYU

    but I thought the partys’ woes were to end with the exit of Donaldson. Now Burnside has to go as well – who are you going to allow to stay in the UUP?

  • steve48

    Actually David has never to my knowledge suggested joining the DUP. He has suggested that in a post-paisley post-trimble environment unionism in general needs to get its act together on a wide range of policy issues from health to education etc. He has also noted that the conflict between the parties costs unionism in general seats. Fermanagh one example but many more at council and assembly level. Being able to see the big picture is not a fault, rather in political terms it is an asset.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    So Indeed, Pakman and Steve48,

    Are you all forgetting that before the election he said the UUP joining with the DUP?

    The only reason he has remained in the UUP is because up until recently he would have held a reasonably senior position in the party and he knew that if he defected along with wee Jeffery he would lose his position of strength.

    He has done nothing but stir up trouble in the UUP.

  • bertie

    FYU

    to whetever degree you may or may not have addressed Indeed and Steve48 points, you can hardly be said to have settled Pakman’s hash!

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Fair enough,

    Pakman,
    I believe in a civilised political party there should always be a level of discipline, take a certain so called UU who went and backed DUP candidates recently, there should be disciplinary action taken.

    This is my wild guess but a typical unionist voter would rather vote for a disciplined party than for a party that was mainly on the same side but then a couple people standing on the side lines sniping away at the leader at every possible chance.

    Jeffery now knows that if he even thinks about acting the way he did while he was an UU then he would be severely punished and criticised by the DUP.

    The UUP as a whole is now more civilised and well mannered. Whoever the next leader will be will hopefully have the full support from the party, UU will show respect to the leader and the leader will respect to UU.

  • steve48

    FYU
    You are partly correct in your 7.18

    IT should read

    Jeffery now knows that if he even thinks then he would be severely punished and criticised by the DUP

    Which is where I hope we are different unless of course FYU and others start to introduce draconian disciplinary rules to replace what is actually needed, namely a structure to allow for internal debate, sadly absent over the past seven years.

  • vespasian

    Burnside was a Conservative in London for many years and still was in the recent past, may even still be one for all I know, even when in the UUP – he was referring to Hermon and her socialist bent.

  • aquifer

    Interesting that Trimble chose to speak on one of the fathers of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke, when accepting his nobel peace award. And spoke very well. Hume seemed to speak more and say less.

    Fat thanks Trimble got for thinking things out.

    The Irish Unionists have gone native, preferring tribal chiefs to philosopher kings.

  • bertie

    I wonder who wrote his speech for him?

  • martin

    JEFF AND YOUNG IAN

    BE NO BOLD

    YOUR SECOND IN COMMAND

    PETER

    IS BOUGHT AND SOLD

  • Bernadette

    I have been reading this site for many months, but haven’t posted as I fear the knowledge of many on this site far exceeds my own, and to this point I have enjoyed listening more than speaking. However, I found it necessary to reply to this:

    “NI desperately needs a neo-liberal Thatcherite party because as a region we need shock treatment to end our addiction to government subsidies and to get our private sector working. The Thatcher reforms of the 1980s which led to the growing presperity of GB post-1992 passed us by.”

    With all due respect, I do not believe that “shock treatment” is necessary, nor that “government subsidies” are necessarily a bad thing. There are far more important things in a democracy than getting “our private sector working.” Granted, business is important, but the exclusion of everything else simply to support business and free trade (which, in my opinion, is the neo-liberal agenda) is dangerous, and in its extreme would lead us back to the beginning of the industrial revolution in regards to labour practices and environmental regulations.

    Just my thoughts. I’ll lurk again now.

  • bertie

    Bernadette,

    Welcome, I’ve only been posting myself for a month and I had been just reading a month before that before I jumped onboard. I don’t really know anything myself, but I have loads of opinions ;o).

    So there is no reason for people like us not to give our opinion and tease out more info from those who appear to know things.

    As for as government subsidies are concerned, my worry is that NI has become far to dependant on them and the bubble is going to burst sometimes. also think that a thriving business sector would improve the psyche and would contribute to a healthier economy, society etc. However the phrase “radical right” does make me shiver, ever so slightly. This response is entirly instintive and not based on any rational consious reasoning.

    Don’t lurk too long!

  • Bernadette

    “Radical right” indeed brings a visceral reaction from me as well. On an emotional level, I don’t think the world needs slightly right-wing parties, but that’s just me, and I realize the importance of a legitimate opposition in a democratic society. 😉

    As for the UUP going right – isn’t that the DUP’s territory? I think they need to chart their own course instead of sticking to a traditional definition of political allegiance.

  • neill armstrong

    The Dup are not the radical right you cannot confuse secterian politics with rightwing ideaology.
    Radical rightwing to me suggests:
    Cutting back govt
    Cutting taxes letting people spend their money on what they want to spent
    Self reliance etc

  • bertie

    “Cutting back govt
    Cutting taxes letting people spend their money on what they want to spent
    Self reliance etc “

    Isn’t this just “common or garden” right?, Isn’t radical right a bit more, well, radical?

  • David

    “With all due respect, I do not believe that “shock treatment” is necessary, nor that “government subsidies” are necessarily a bad thing. There are far more important things in a democracy than getting “our private sector working.” Granted, business is important, but the exclusion of everything else simply to support business and free trade (which, in my opinion, is the neo-liberal agenda) is dangerous, and in its extreme would lead us back to the beginning of the industrial revolution in regards to labour practices and environmental regulations.”

    The UK as a whole spends about 40% of its GDP in the public sector. In the worst pre-Thatcher days of the mid 1970s the UK figure for public spending was roughly 50% of GDP. Northern Ireland on the other hand spends 67% of its GDP in the public sector. We are extremely subsidised. In the mid 1970s the British economy was on a downward spiral, due in part to the high levels of public spending.

    Northern Ireland public spending fortunately does not come from Northern Ireland raised taxes, but is given by large scale transfers from the rest of the UK. We are one of the most highly subsidised regions on the planet. While some government subsidies may be necessary and they are occasionally even beneficial, the level of subsidy that our economy receives is so utterely enormous that we must devise ways of reducing it.

    The people of Northern Ireland are too addicted to a socialist dependency mentality that thinks that the rest of the world owes us a living. It doesn’t. We need to learn to stand on our own two feet. This can only happen through massive reductions in public sector spending.

    Remember that only private sector business actually generates any wealth in the economy. Public sector employment spends wealth rather than generating it. This is why business is in many ways more crucial than anything else because wealth creation is necessary for a healthy economy. Redistributing wealth means nothing if there is no wealth to redistribute, as the USSR discovered to its cost in the late 1980s.

    We need to encourage people into the private sector. Most people in NI work either directly or indirectly for the public sector. People will not be encouraged to go into the private sector when they can get a much better paid and vastly more secure job in the public sector. So long as the large public sector spending continues at its current level we are locked in a cycle of dependency on a continuing British government subsidy, which may or may not continue. Under this system we will never become self-supporting.

    The only way that I can see to break out of this cycle is to reduce public spending drastically. We can see from the Thatcher years that this will be an unpopular policy, but it is still a necessary one. The only constant thing in life is change, we need a more flexible and slimmed down set of fiscal policies to be able to cope with change rather than closing our eyes, putting our fingers in our ears and hoping that the subsidies will come over from Westminster for ever.

  • Roger

    If the UUP swing to the left they will face deep problems as this is Alliance territory and many traditional members and supporters will reject the UUP. If they swing to the right or centre right they will simply try to out DUP the DUP.

    The problem facing the UUP is enormous and they refuse to learn their lessons they believe that come the next election and with a new leader they will win back all votes lost to the DUP. They need to sort themselves out a new young leader is necessary possibly anti agreement old men like Empey, Taylor, Mcginess and Burnside wont cut it.

  • G2

    “As for the UUP going right – isn’t that the DUP’s territory?”

    Sure is, Paisley’s is against power sharing and his DUP only wishes to return to
    “A Protestant Ulster for a Protestant people”
    Whereas Trimble’s UUP was all for:
    “A pluralist Norn Iron for a Pluralist people”

  • G2

    “They need to sort themselves out a new young leader is necessary possibly anti agreement old men like Empey, Taylor, Mcginess and Burnside wont cut it.”

    Sure thing Rodger, Alan McFarland MLA is that new name I would strongly recommend to throw his hat in the ring.

  • bertie

    I don’t think that the DUP is anymore right that the DUP, our parties are not defined along left/right and so they all have a bit of a mixture. There are odd mixes of what would be typically right and left beliefs through both of them. Foe example, in the DUP manifesto it stated that it accepts the Social Model of disability, which would be considered a bit “right on” (as opposed to just right), I could find no mention of disability at all in the UUP manifesto!

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Roger,

    Sir Reg and Lord Maginnis anti-gfa.
    You sure about that Roger?

    “new leader they will win back all votes lost to the DUP”
    Could you give me an example of an UU who has said this, no one is claiming that at the present time.

    The next leader will have to be someone who can claim to have the vast majority of support from the party, they will have to have a good level of experience (this is where McCrea loses out), and the leader will have to be someone who has not got a badly tainted backgroud, Sir Reg Empey is the only person in my eyes that fits all these.

    “sort themselves out a new young leader”
    Sir Reg would still be 20 years Ian Paisleys junior.

  • bertie

    YFU

    I think Roger is just missing a punctuation mark after anti agreement.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Fair enough.

    “possibly anti agreement”
    And how would that help a pro-agreement party? It would just divide it even more.

  • Roger

    They need to sort themselves out a new young leader is necessary possibly anti agreement old men like Empey, Taylor, Mcginess and Burnside wont cut it.

    I think I got this quote correct. FYU you have highlighted the problem when over 2/3 of unionists now reject the GFA and pro agreement uup people like Mcnarry are saying the agreement is all but dead I feel the UUP needs to listen.

    Reg Empey does fit the basic UUP requirement I agree with you there he has orange credentials which many in the UUP deem necessary and he is respected even the DUP don’t attack him.

    His problem is his age lack of charisma and ability to turn around the party. He is simply a quieter Trimble and will push a similar agenda. A major problem some pro trimble people within the party have with Empey is his secret talks held in order to oust Trimble and because of this many don’t trust him.

    Yes Empey is 20 years the Docs juniour but he has never been an MP, MEP so there are big problems for the man.

    I think your choice of McCrea wouldn’t be a bad one.

    I have heard Gareth Mcgimpsey say that the DUP votes are simply borrowed from the DUP and will soon return to the UUP, Mcnarry said something similar before the election until Burnside put him in his place.

  • Bernadette

    “The only way that I can see to break out of this cycle is to reduce public spending drastically.”

    I can see the logic in this statement, but I respectfully disagree. Let me use an analogy – if you have a child who has been swimming with floaties for their entire life, and then suddenly you throw those floaties away and expect them to swim in the deep water, the child is going to drown – which is exactly what will happen if you drastically reduce public spending. People have been raised in a culture in which they expect it, therefore, taking it away would not force them to be self-reliant, it would destroy them utterly.

    My suggestion would be to increase spending in areas such as job training and education – a better way to make people self-reliant than simply throwing them in deep water without teaching them first how to swim.

    As for the DUP not being radical right wing, I suppose that depends on your definition of “radical right wing,” and I’m sure everyone has a different one. For me, hate-filled, religious sectarian rhetoric qualifies.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Roger,

    “FYU you have highlighted the problem when over 2/3 of unionists now reject the GFA”
    Then would you like the UUP to just abandon the gfa? What about as you claim the 1/3 of unionists who still support it, would you like the UUP to just simply tell them to change all their hopes and views?

    “which many in the UUP deem necessary”
    The UUP chairman does not support the OO.

    “His problem is his age”
    Hes only 57 which compared to many political leaders he is not bad.

    “he has never been an MP, MEP so there are big problems for the man”
    I think the there is not much need for a potential leader to be or have been a MP. Gerry Adams, Mark Durkan, Michael Howard, Tony Blair were never MEP’s.

    “Burnside put him in his place”
    I doubt Burnside still has the power now in the party to look down at people.

  • Roger

    I am not saying it is bad for the new leader to have orange credentials and Coopers brand of unionism was rejected and I dont think he will be party chairman much longer.

    I will redirect that questions will you tell the 2/3 anti gfa unionist population to abandon their hopes and go along with the GFA.

    57 is getting a little too old and you have to take into consideration that the UUP has an image of a party of old men so this wont help it much. His age is also a problem as he is going to be less willing to be radical in the changes he makes to the UUP a younger person may be more apt to doing this.

    My main point is that at 57 he still has not been a MP therefore holds little clout in the mainland.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    “anti gfa unionist population to abandon their hopes and go along with the GFA”
    What hopes do they have?

    “57 is getting a little too old”
    No its not.

    “he still has not been a MP”
    Seeing that he normally stands against the dup’s deputy then I don’t think he has ever had a fair chance of becoming an MP.

  • bertie

    Roger

    now I’m confused, help me out here,

    “possibly anti agreement old men like Empey, Taylor, Mcginess and Burnside wont cut it.”

    If you don’t have a comma or full stop or something after “anti agreement” then you are saying that Empey, Taylor Magginnis and Burnside are all old anti agreement men. Did you really mean that?

    I’m not having a go at you. I would be in no position to critisise anyone for their spelling or typing as my keyboard skills are appauling.

  • Roger

    Anti Agreement unionist have hopes for a democratic society free from terroists controling the political landscape.

    Less interferance from the ROI in NI matters. No amestys for OTR.

    57 is really too old he would be 61 at a time when the UUP would have its next chance to lead unionism. If he cant be the DUP deputy what chance has he of taking on the entire DUP besides the only seat he might have won at this election would have been North Down

    I am surprised that Thomas is not standing for leadership under the slogan of only Elliott can win. When the votes are being tallied and Toms getting interviewed by Noel Thompson whom could ask him

    Thompson: Mr Elliott what realistic chance do you have of winning.

    Elliott: Well this has always been Ulster unionist terrirtory so I think I have a good chance.

  • cladycowboy

    ‘Less interferance from the ROI in NI matters’

    Doesn’t tally well with Paisley taking his begging bowl to Dublin recently for Irish businesses to invest in the sick counties

  • Roger

    I think my statement is on this rare occassion correct no comma necessary.

    possibly anti agreement old men like Empey, Taylor, Mcginess and Burnside wont cut it.”

    I think the new candidate could possibly be anti agreement old men such as Magniess, Taylor and Burnside wont cut it.

    Hope this clears it up.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    “Less interferance from the ROI in NI matters”
    I think you are forgetting about the effect the GFA had on the Irish constitution.

    “57 is really too old he would be 61 at a time when the UUP would have its next chance to lead unionism”
    I am surprised you are saying this for Paisley will be 83.

    And yet you keep referring to FST. Recently when I made a remark about FST, you told me to wise up and stick with the topic. You can’t just choose what suits yourself. It is a sign of desperation.

    Trust me roger that line means the Empey is anti.

    Cladycowboy,
    Very true, very true indeed. I wonder what Roger will reply with?

  • Roger

    Cladboy

    6 counties?

    Dr Paisley held a meeting with Senior business members in the ROI to discuss investment in NI, he had with him some main men and women with him such as the Robinsons, Campbell, Donaldsons and Dodds. These business members were not going to have an effect on the running of NI simply investing in it for the good of ALL the people.

    Paisley will soon step down and the highly talented Robinson will take over with either Dodds or Donaldson as deputy.

    But Empey is small fry put beside Paisley that is why in this instance age is irrelevant if your going to pick an ammature pick somebody young.

    Trust me roger that line means the Empey is anti.

    What does that mean.

    I think you are forgetting about the effect the GFA had on the Irish constitution

    Seems to me Bertie has a lot of influence in NI as of late he even had to make a grovelling apology in the Dail to the big man over comments about photographs.

  • David

    “My suggestion would be to increase spending in areas such as job training and education – a better way to make people self-reliant than simply throwing them in deep water without teaching them first how to swim.”

    I don’t disagree with an increase in spending on training provided it is in the context of large reductions in public spending in most other areas. There is no point in training people to be better public sector workers. The opportunities for new employment in the public sector must be reduced, or trainees will act in their own self-interest and train for a public sector job.

    There may be a need for legislation to prevent age discrimination, so that newly unemployed people in their late 40s (for example) are not lost to the workforce for good. This is a difficult question to balance, as excessive rules tend to strangle flexible small businesses because they operate with small profit margins and therefore cannot afford to provide their employees with as wide a range of benefits as big multi-national enterprises.

    Private sector jobs arise largely as a result of individual creativity rather than centralised bureaucratic planning. Government planning of job creation in the past has tended to focus on “white elephant” projects, such as car manufacturing. Any training system must let the individual be primarily responsible for choosing his retraining path, rather than dictating things from the centre.

  • cladycowboy

    Ogre,

    When Dr Paisley took his Doctor’s begging bowl and his would-be successors to seek investment for the good of ALL the people of Her Majesty realm of Northern Ireland, he was implicitly asking for the ROI to interfere in NI.
    If these businesses come to the rescue of NI stagnant economy, don’t you think that they will have huge amounts of say in decision making processes with regards to Employment regulations, new infrastructure, economic policy and environment legislation.?
    I think they will. I also think there isn’t a scenario where the ROI could have more input into NI. Thanks Doctor.
    I

  • Roger

    rhinestone

    Tell me what country can operate without receiving business from another.

    Even George Bush informs us that more and more of the USA’s imports are coming from abroad lol.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Roger,

    “members in the ROI to discuss investment in NI”
    Hmmmmmm I remember a man who not so long ago would have screemed his head off at DT for encouraging this sort of thing calling the UUP sell outs etc. You can’t just simply forget about the past.

    “small fry put beside Paisley”
    Ten years ago Paisley was 69 and he led a party to elections, you seem to like forgetting the past.

    So 57 is too old to lead a party then? You obviously know little about your deputy leader. (He’s 57)

    “What does that mean.”
    Its means that when you said “possibly anti agreement old men like Empey” you were claiming that Sir Reg was anti.

    “Seems to me Bertie has a lot of influence in NI as of late”
    The DUP have been in power now for nearly 2 years, why havn’t they stopped it?

    “apology in the Dail to the big man”
    It does not seem to put many DUP people off from going down to Dublin for little chats.

    Ahhhhhh what a confusing and hypocritical society we live in today.

  • Bernadette

    “Any training system must let the individual be primarily responsible for choosing his retraining path, rather than dictating things from the centre.”

    I don’t disagree with this, although I can see merit in perhaps giving more money to training for jobs for which there is more need. You can’t have everyone choose to be, for example, a plumber and be swamped with plumbers. But I do agree that having people responsible for “choosing [their] retraining path” is a good idea, as it would likely be something that would hold their interest more than something the government chose.

    As a socialist, I must admit that I am wary of privatization, and business in general, but I am not so steeped in Marxist dogma as to believe that some business is not important (indeed necessary) for the proper functioning of an economy. It just needs to be watched and controlled – a laissez faire business policy would be a disaster, IMO.

  • cladycowboy

    Sensitive Roger who threw the first stone,

    ‘Tell me what country can operate without receiving business from another.’

    Tis a pity but there are none. However, not since Gaddafi got out his rhinestone cowboy CD and starting eating Texas BBQ pork ribs have i seen such a hypocritical turnaround in international politics!
    There are hundreds of countries to trade with. Why did he take his begging bowl to the papists den, the cesspit wherein lies the whore of babylon?
    Why not ask the Finchley businessmen to help out a townie?! 🙂

  • David

    “As a socialist, I must admit that I am wary of privatization, and business in general, but I am not so steeped in Marxist dogma as to believe that some business is not important (indeed necessary) for the proper functioning of an economy. It just needs to be watched and controlled – a laissez faire business policy would be a disaster, IMO.”

    My own belief is that coercion and violence are inherent in socialism to a much higher degree than they are in any other economic system. There are really only 3 ways that people will work:

    1. Voluntarily because of their personal beliefs.
    2. By being paid.
    3. By coercion.

    Socialism in theory tries to get people to do the necessary work to run the country voluntarily out of the goodness of their hearts. In the real world very few people work like this, they prefer to do nothing and hope that others will take up the slack. In a socialist economy the profit motive is utterly disparaged, so this tends to leave 3. coercion as being the only means of operating the country. The more systematically socialist a country becomes the more coercive it needs to be to merely survive. When the coercion is eased the country collapses. The Stasi, the Securitate, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, show trials and the like are not just examples of the bad outworking of a good idea, they are inherent in the idea itself.

    Capitalism permits the profit motive, so it does not need the same level of state coercion to function. Capitalism’s main problem is that its economic system provides no check on individual greed and selfishness. This is not, however, as big a flaw as it first appears. Why, after all, should we be looking to economics to provide us with morality at all? Starting from a utopian vision of the economy and then working back to derive rules for our behaviour from that is bound to fail because the thing is just too big and difficult for us to comprehend. To use an analogy, everyone wants a theft free society, this does not mean that locks and anti-theft devices should be banned because there would be no need for them if there was no theft.

    The true corrective to the forces of unrestrained capitalism is not to be found in any economic doctrine. Instead it is to be found in our (primarily Judaeo-Christian) moral tradition. The restrictions that our moral senses have placed on individual behaviour are of considerably greater worth and value that the ever changing prescriptions of economists.

  • cladycowboy

    David,

    ‘The true corrective to the forces of unrestrained capitalism is not to be found in any economic doctrine. Instead it is to be found in our (primarily Judaeo-Christian) moral tradition.’

    Have you read Max Weber’s ‘Protestant work ethic and the spirit of capitalism’? It would put a whole different convective to this relationship

  • David

    “Have you read Max Weber’s ‘Protestant work ethic and the spirit of capitalism’? It would put a whole different convective to this relationship”

    I haven’t read it, though when I studied sociology many years ago I read the commentaries on it. The major flaw that many commentators found in his argument was their assessment that modern capitalism first arose in Catholic Italy following the renaissance, not in Protestant Germany following the Reformation.

    Much of the capitalism vs socialism argument may depend on what is meant by capitalism and what is meant by socialism. Which is Tony Blair, for example?

    My own view is that socialism is basically dead as an economic doctrine. There are very few people outside the internet lunatic fringe that believe in it anymore.

    The extreme left of politics, where Marxism used to stand, is now occupied by the anti-war/anti-globalisation crowd. They do not appear to hold to all sorts of ill thought out and contradictory policies and are united solely by their dislike of George Bush, Israel and the USA.

  • David

    “They do not appear to hold to all sorts of ill thought out and contradictory policies and are united solely by their dislike of George Bush, Israel and the USA.”

    Should read:

    They appear to hold to all sorts of ill thought out and contradictory policies and are united solely by their dislike of George Bush, Israel and the USA.

  • Bernadette

    “My own view is that socialism is basically dead as an economic doctrine. There are very few people outside the internet lunatic fringe that believe in it anymore.”

    That is your view. You will find that the millions of socialists in the world do not share it.

    “They appear to hold to all sorts of ill thought out and contradictory policies and are united solely by their dislike of George Bush, Israel and the USA.”

    This is not true, either. What you are interpreting as a “dislike of George Bush, Israel and the USA” is actually a dislike of the policies of capitalism and imperialism that are inherent in the three above examples. If you looked further into socialism, instead of judging it through the words of those who pledge their lives towards hating it, it is a movement that struggles towards equality (both economic, social and political), fights bigotry and corruption, is anti-business and pro-humanity. Honestly, I can’t see where the bogeyman is hiding in our philosophy, except in the minds of Joe McCarthy.

  • David

    “This is not true, either. What you are interpreting as a “dislike of George Bush, Israel and the USA” is actually a dislike of the policies of capitalism and imperialism that are inherent in the three above examples. If you looked further into socialism, instead of judging it through the words of those who pledge their lives towards hating it, it is a movement that struggles towards equality (both economic, social and political), fights bigotry and corruption, is anti-business and pro-humanity. Honestly, I can’t see where the bogeyman is hiding in our philosophy, except in the minds of Joe McCarthy.”

    Several points:

    1. I did not claim that the anti-war/anti-globalisation crowd were socialists. They seem to be a coalition of all sort of fringe political beliefs. Socialists, unreconstructed and reconstructed Marxists, Trotskists and other leftists sects, greens, Islamists and neo-nazis. The only common themes are dislike of Bush, the USA and Israel, for a variety of reasons.

    2. My assessment of socialism does not come from consideration of the views of “those who pledge their lives towards hating it”. So far as I recollect Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro and Robert Mugabe all claimed or claim to be socialists. They were not invented by “the mind of Joe McCarthy”. They are all utterly loathesome individuals whose activities range from tyranny to genocide. The main rationale for their actions was socialism. How many mass murderers does a political belief need to produce before it becomes discredited?

    3. Many socialists genuinely believe that they are striving to better humanity, this is true. This does not make their policies any more practical. Being sincerely wrong is worse than being insincerely right.

    I note that you have not produced any substantive argument in response to my main post at 10.30. I believe that socialism should be thrown into the dustbin of history. You have yet to come up with any argument to suggest otherwise.

  • Bernadette

    “I note that you have not produced any substantive argument in response to my main post at 10.30. I believe that socialism should be thrown into the dustbin of history. You have yet to come up with any argument to suggest otherwise.”

    Alright, if you really want me to do so, I will. I find defending socialism tedious, and rather like defending one’s religion. It’s like butting your head against a brick wall – you’re not going to convince me that it’s wrong, I’m not going to convince you that it’s right. Pointless, really, so I tend not to do it. But I suppose, for you, I will.

    “How many mass murderers does a political belief need to produce before it becomes discredited?”

    Loaded statement there. I could change it to “how many mass murderers does Christianity have to have before it becomes discredited?” or “how many mass murderers does Islam have to have before it becomes discredited?” or “how many mass murderers does democracy have to have before it becomes discredited?” on, and on, ad nauseum.

    Is the mass murder of Native American Indians under a “democratic” American regime any better than the mass murder of millions of Russians under Stalin? Mass murder is the result of sick minds corrupting political or religious philosophies, not the fault of the political or religious philosophies themselves.

    “Many socialists genuinely believe that they are striving to better humanity, this is true. This does not make their policies any more practical. Being sincerely wrong is worse than being insincerely right.”

    I readily admit that I am an idealist. Consider it a weakness if you will, but I like to believe that every person would give a little to see all others better off. Perhaps this is not true – it probably isn’t. But along these lines, not everyone can be “practical.” Where would the world be without idealists pushing the envelope of progress?

    Ok, now that I’ve answered your points, let me do a brief defense of socialism, and why I believe it should not be “thrown into the dustbin of history.”

    1) Capitalism “mostly” works for first world countries. It does not work for second and third world countries. One only has to look at countries such as Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, etc. to see what free market capitalism has done for them. Case in point: In the 90’s, Nigeria was, for all intents and purposes, ruled by Royal Dutch Petroleum, who, together with the government, crushed a revolt led by Ken Saro Wiwa, and had him hanged. Ken Saro Wiwa was an environmental activist protesting the destruction of vital farmlands that native Nigerians needed for their surivial. I guess we westerners needed oil more than they needed food.

    2) Capitalism, while it can lead to increased productivity, also leads to a competitive and violent atmosphere in which people will do anything to reach the top and earn more money, hurting as many people as they can along the way. Look at the recent outrages at Enron, WorldCom, etc. etc.

    3) Capitalism inevitably pits the workers against the owners. It is in the owners’ best interest to get as much work out of their people as possible for as little pay as possible – in capitalism, profit is king, and everything else is just details. True, free, “laissez faire” capitalism would result in sweatshop conditions. Don’t believe me? Check out Europe and the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Labour unions didn’t form just for the fun of it.

    4) While pure socialism is perhaps not practical at this point (I will admit that I cling to an ideal that might not be feasible in my lifetime), I doubt any of us in our right minds would pull back all of the advances that have been made thanks to the far left “socialist” movement. 35 hour workweeks without the “socialist” labour movement? Yeah, right. Paid vacation? Yeah, right. Restrictions on child labour? In your dreams. Perhaps the most feasible solution right now is a combination of the two, but I, and millions of others like me, will keep striving for a more equal and fair society.

    This is a long enough post for now. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. I will respect your opinion as long as you respect mine.

  • vespasian

    Bernadette

    If you want to see economies that are socialist collapse and die, watch what is happening in the EU today, overpaid overprotected employees are losing their jobs to lean and hungry countries around the world. The UK is surving, only just, because it had move to more non socialist policies under Thatcher. Ireland has also ‘survived’ because of low taxation and a massive influx of grants from the EU. Will they continue to survive without a general lowering of living standards I fear not. A conutry in the end can only spend what it can make and no more borrowings have to be repaid as Brown will discover in the next year or two.

    If you want protected jobs and unrealistic standards of living then believe in socialism, in the end it will end up hurting those it believed it was protecting. The only system that can work for all is benevolent capitalism, where bosses do their jobs effectively and workers do their jobs effectively and both are paid according to their results.

    If you look for British car makers today there are none of any significance, the labour government and the union activities of the 60/70/80’s effectively killed them off with high wages and low productivity and quality. Rover was doomed to failure as it was so unproductive when compared to the Japanese car plants in the UK.

    Socialism cannot work as its needs the results of capitalist endeavour to provide the money it needs to function and as it continues to take the money in higher taxes and regulation, it strangles the very thing that it depends on.

  • vespasian

    Correction

    A country in the end can only spend what it can make and no more, borrowings have to be repaid as Brown will discover in the next year or two.

  • David

    “Loaded statement there. I could change it to “how many mass murderers does Christianity have to have before it becomes discredited?” or “how many mass murderers does Islam have to have before it becomes discredited?” or “how many mass murderers does democracy have to have before it becomes discredited?” on, and on, ad nauseum.”

    Yet Christianity has been around for 2000 years, Islam has been around for 1400 years, democracy has been around for 3000 years. None of them has produced a mass murder regime that has killed more than a million people. Socialism has been here for 200 years and it has produced several such regimes, in fact all but one of the million murder regimes. Even the non-socialist exception, Nazism claimed to be a form of socialism.

    The main point that I made above is that coercion is inherent in socialism in a way that it is not with other forms of government. Most tyrannies only need to used coercion to keep in power themselves. Socialism, because it tries to replace the profit motive in the economy, needs to use coercion to run the economy. That is why the end of coercion in Eastern Europe led to the end of socialism there. It is uniquely orientated towards tyranny.

    Regarding your other points:

    1. Socialism in poor countries.
    Poor countries are the place where socialism is the most disastrous. The only poor countries that are ceasing to be poor are those such as South Korea, Taiwan and more recently India that have opened up their economies to trade. The Nyrere-style “African road to socialism” has been responsible for reducing many African countries to near destitution. From what I can see of African countries they are full of creative and enterprising people that could lead them out of poverty if given the chance. One of the main ways to give them such a chance would be regime changes to remove their corrupt, quite often socialist, governments. Socialism was adopted by many African nations after independence because it allowed the ruler to nationalise all the property in the country, which he could then distribute amongst his cronies and send to the Swiss bank account.

    2. Capitalism and violent competition.
    Socialist states as they turned out in the former Soviet bloc and the Third World tend to be riddled with cronyism and corruption that would make the most ruthless robber baron capitalist blush. The economic system is not the be all and end all, as I have argued above the economic system should not serve as the foundation of our ethics. Laws and rules can only really be restraints on human behaviour.
    The idea that human nature can be transformed by a change in the economic system is simply false. Belief in such a transformation tends to be a distraction from devising rules and norms that do place restraints on human evil.

    3. Capitalism and sweat shops.
    Maybe we are talking at cross purposes here. It is my opinion that the UK and the USA are actually capitalist countries. Furthermore I believe that they have been capitalist countries throughout the 20th century. Yet the UK and the US are patently not sweat shop economies. This has been acheived without abolishing capitalism and without introducing socialism. In fact the partially socialist experiments such as state owned industries are the main parts of UK economic policy that were a failure.

    4. Socialism and idealism.
    I do not believe that socialism will ever be workable. Capitalism is the only viable way of orginising the economy.

    The problem with capitalism is that it does tend to have an equalising effect, economic forces tend to transfer money from wealthy countries and economies to poor ones. This is the big part of capitalism that modern western European “socialists” complain about. Western Europe is one of the wealthiest parts of the world. Nobody owes us a living. If wealth were equally distributed throughout the planet even those on state benefits in western countries would be worse off. When a group of Third World workers wish to compete with us by offering to work for less money than we do, the socialists are the first ones rushing to stop them. The western European socialist slogan might as well be “What we have we hold”. The unrealistic left wing politics is little more than self-righteous posturing concealing the fact that we are quite happy to shaft the poor as long as we get to keep our own high standards of living.