Reg Empey on Hearts and Minds…

Not only that on tonight’s programme, but also: “With its new top dog status, will the DUP secure its first seats in the House of Lords? And is intimidation of Catholics the biggest obstacle to a fully representative police service?”

Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger.

While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated. 

55 thoughts on “Reg Empey on Hearts and Minds…”

  1. And in the same vein.. may I suggest the question..

    Who in Peter Robinson’s party is so unelectable that they should be appointed to the House of Lords?

  2. Empey has entered the UUP leadship contest (the political equivilent to a slow bicycle race). It was the bottom item on RTE’s news page at lunch time. So much for John Taylor’s idea that the new leader shouldn’t be associated with the mistakes of the past. Given the fact that he has always struck me as a deckchair attendant, I think hec would make the ideal UUP leader.

    The whole point of the HoL is to appoint people of merit who would not normally be elected. I hope tyheir choices are more imaginative than the UUP who tried to turn the HoL into some kind of political hospice.

  3. “Is Ian Paisley’s wife not one of the favourites to be picked for the HOL?”

    That’s what I heard too…

    Perhaps I’ve missed something – what has she done for Northern Ireland that merits a seat in the House of Lords?

    Also – How does Mr. Paisley feel about his wife being ‘unelectable’.

  4. Wasn’t Eileen Paisley elected to the Assembly and Convention in the 1970s? (And in 1975 she proved so electable that she mucked up Robinson’s vote balancing scheme with the result that he didn’t get in!)

  5. Did I miss something? or did Reg Empey just turn up to the studio for an interview and simply say – ‘yes, I’m a candidate for leadership’..

    Where was the press conference that had been trailed in the media all this week?

    Did he just not want to face any actual questions by a notebook [collective noun?] of journalists?

    no offence intended, Noel 😉

  6. He announced it formally at a press conference at 7.30pm this evening. Hearts and Minds must have been recorded earlier.

  7. Yes, visioneer, “is set to announce his candidacy at a Belfast press conference this evening.”

    Except he’s already told Noel Thompson he’s standing.

  8. No Peteb,
    that way you get two bites at the cherry – a considered interview and a press conference for the late news bulletins and early radio. Are the UUP getting lessons from the shinners?

  9. Here’s a better idea, groucho

    3pm press conference

    Evening News

    Considered interview (pre-recorded if necessary)

    Still a topic on late bulletins.

    Next morning press.

  10. Empey says he is upset with Taylors comments what message does that send out if Empey does get the job.

  11. Reg gets all my support. While the Duppers are telling everyone what they think they want to hear, Unionism is at a loss. The UUP needs to do it’s own thing and Reg is the man!

    Don’t let go of the middle ground Reg! The Duppers can shout what they will and won’t do but when difficult decisions need to be made and true leadership is needed, we need Reg!

  12. Reg before he is the leader is playing the Orange card and supporting the organisation but will he do a David Trimble once elected.

  13. “Don’t let go of the middle ground Reg”

    hmm, middle ground? He sounded like he was contemplating a merger with a post-paisley DUP. The UUP are not the DUP and shouldn’t try to become them, merging is a terrible idea.

  14. “The UUP are not the DUP and shouldn’t try to become them, merging is a terrible idea.”

    Able and ambitious politicians in the UUP (if there are any left), have a choice; they can continue on the road to oblivion, previously tavelled by the UPNI or they can merge with eith the APNI to form a softer pro-union grouping or join the DUP. I understand that joining a party led by Paisley will probably too bitter a pill to swallow for many, but in the post-Paisley era that is certainly far more likely, and Empey was right to point out the possibility of this happening.

  15. Keith M

    Good point re UU members and Paisley.

    I’d phrase the rest a bit differently, and say merely that the lines between ‘liberal’ and ‘unionist’ will begin to be drawn more sharply from now on.

  16. PeteB,
    I’m told by press people that it was an impressive event and the 7.30 timing was to make sure he could rally a large number of MLAs, councillors and other party members from all arts and parts to stand on the platform with him. Very presidential in style. I notice from the telly pics he watched the demographics too – young people and women on the platform. Maybe the party is not dead yet?

  17. A more natural choice for UUPs looking for a different party is the Tories, the DUP are fanatics and Alliance are too away with the fairies – I mean we’d all love to live in a peaceful, non sectarian society but this is Northern Ireland, it just isn’t how things are, trying to live in a projected reality is a nonsense, thats why so few vote for Alliance.

  18. “Maybe the party is not dead yet?”

    Probably not, the UUP will however struggle to cut any real ice for the next 40 yrs. They are largely bereft of any real appeal or talent and as one TV commentator put it recently they are “plagued by muppetry”. There will be a lot of people who are likely to switch to voting DUP at the next election because frankly a lot of people are quite shallow in their choices between the two parties and inevitably a lot of people want to back a winner.

    There will always be a substantial number of people (probably around 10%) who will tend to stick with the UUP often for largely negative reasons but I also hope they can reposition themselves and not become a “Faulknerite rump”.

    The key to this will be getting out a substantial vote which they have not got out before. It would be naive however for them to think all non-voters are their voters or to think that they will get substantial numbers of voters back from the DUP anytime soon.

    A healthy dose of realism (we lost the plot), a long drink of humility (we deserve what we got)and a sharp injection of energy will help this very lame animal to survive.

    Health Warning: Failure to learn from history means you end up repeating it.

  19. “but in the post-Paisley era that is certainly far more likely”

    The post-paisley era is a phrase often used on this site and is something of a myth. Dr Paisley told my father recently “last year I prayed the Lord would touch me, and He not only touched me He gave me a real good thump”.

    Dr Paisley is in fine form and relishing his role as the undisputed leader of unionist (not even John Taylor can put the face on to question it now) and is not about to go away. My guess is he will be around longer than any other party leader currently on the scene including the new UUP (whoever that may be).

    In any case the DUP is fully united around him and the core values of its members and supporters are unchanged by the success of recent elections.

    Last night Reg Empey performed reasonably given the baton he has been handed but let himself down by harping on about the “post Paisley era”.

    Wake up Mr Empey deal with the reality not the pipedream you do yourself or your party no justice at all.

  20. Reg Empey has shown his age he looks quite bad. You need to look at the next leaders of the UUP and DUP Empey and Robinson both around the same age. Now sex appeal is important and while you would defently want to go to bed with Robinson Empey lol is a different story and that is why he is a problem.

  21. I wouldn’t shag any of them!

    However, politicians all end up f**king us one way or the other, anyway 🙂

  22. Im just saying its an important issue sex appeal and while Robinson looks like he is in his early forties Empey looks like he died in the forties. Now lets face it all of us we all would prefer to bed Robinson than Empey

  23. “Now lets face it all of us we all would prefer to bed Robinson than Empey”

    hehe, eww, such a horrible idea. There are very few attractive male politicians in Ulster. The Ulster Unionist guy on Let’s Talk last night was the one exception to the rule.

    Would you really prefer to bed robinson with his perpetual smirk?!

  24. Oh come on! Tyrone Howe (and to put this in context, I have great respect for the man and his politics and hope that he goes far)looks like a cross between ‘Tim-nice-but-dim’ and Troy McClure from the Simpsons.

  25. no, he’s lovely, and compared to all the other men in Ulster politics, he’s in a different league.

    Maybe political parties should start recruiting lots of very goodlooking men in a bid to interest more young women in politics!

  26. I haven’t seen any of Empey’s launch other than what has been reported here and sadly it’s what I would have expected. Empey is sounding like the technocrat he probably is, and appears to have highlighted poor internal structures, etc. Although the UUP has been atrociously run, its decline is not really down to that. Put bluntly, the unionist population had lost all confidence in the UUP to negotiate its interests adequately. And for Sir Reg, a huge problem is that he was at Trimble’s side during most of his leadership. No one is going to be able to turn the party around unless he is prepared to come to terms with the long litany of poor strategy and tactics over the last decade.

    As for Tyrone Howe, Rebecca, I don’t know what he looks like. (Don’t have a TV on my ramparts.) However, his Tele interview, full of ecumenical platitudes, seemed exactly 7 years out of date. People like Tyrone who sound very Alliance-like simply will not have credibility amongst the people whose support the UUP needs to win back.

    BTW, in 2005 he was the only UU elected in the Dromore DEA. Once upon a time that area elected no fewer than 4 UUs out of 5 seats, a dominance almost unknown under PR. If the UUP can’t do better in such a true blue unionist town then its future minority status is assured. And I suspect many members won’t be that fussed about that status. They all cheered Trimble as he raced off the cliff. If someone slightly removed like me could see he was a gonner, why couldn’t they?

  27. Rebecca,
    Tyrone Howe may be a nice man and attractive to those who like big rugby lummoxes drooling over them but he is a political lightweight.

    Not the kind of person capable of taking a party like the UUP by the cajones and turning it into a serious challenger to the DUP.

    I would compare the UUP’s position with Fine Gael in the Irish Republic.

    It isn’t hopeless for the simple reason that people will continue voting for the party because, as southerners want and need a counterweight to FF, northern unioinists want and need a counterweight to the DUP.

  28. George

    many consider me a liberal lightweight too, that doesn’t matter, I am not proposing Tyrone as the next leader, merely commenting on the fact that he is easy on the eye, as well as a throw away suggestion that maybe more would be interested in politics if politicians were more attractive – fair enough point I think, we live in the MTV generation of aribrushed perfection, thats what catches the attention of alot of people, especially younger people.

    There’s plenty of room for liberal unionists as well as less liberal and the more hardline in the UUP, it is a broad church afterall. It would be bad news if any one section took over. Have no fear, there is no danger of the liberals taking over.

  29. Watchman

    I didn’t read that interview, although give the boy a break, he has only been in the party a couple of months.

  30. I don’t see the point in Tyrone Howe being in the UUP as his policies are so liberal they are more in line with the Alliance and as nice a person as this guy may be he will ultimately loose more traditional UUP voters.

    Actually the appeal of the parties is important whom has the younger members is it the UUP or DUP, Sinn Fein or SDLP.

  31. Hi Rebecca

    I admire your loyalty to the UUP when you would prefer to sleep with old and tired Emopey to spry and Sexy Robinson its no wonder Empey has a smile on his face these days. Im 34 so I wouldnt be attracted to someone like Empey maybe you are from the more mature age group.

    I wouldnt say there are no sexy men in politics look at Robinson and Donaldson.

  32. Speaking of the UUP Sylivia Herman and Mcgimpsey have aged terribly it must be the results of being members of such an atrocious party.

    I also seen Reg last night on Hearts and Minds and he looked like a ghost although he may not be well.

  33. Donaldson?!?! are you serious? U must be on the DUP payroll! Donaldson has a very pious, choirboy type look to him, plus he is an extremelly short man which is never attractive.

    The only one in the DUP who could describe as sexy with a straight face is Ian Paisley jnr, but even then its reaching a bit.

    As for the UUP, apart from the fact my mother has a crush on David McNarry, I couldn’t possibly comment on whom I consider to be sexy as I am using my own name on this site. But there are a few.

    *by the way I am 22!

  34. Ahem, no good-looking men in Ulster politics?

    I’ll have you know I used to have my photo in the front of every photo shop in Bangor.

    A lot’s happened in the 25 years since, admittedly…

  35. “The only one in the DUP who could describe as sexy with a straight face is Ian Paisley jnr”

    Unfortunately when he smiles – or opens his mouth – it is lost.

  36. Just to clear one thing up the link posted by ‘female voter’ is the Rebecca Balck on the uup web site the same person whom posts here?

  37. LOL – Fair play to the Young Unionist, they are braver than I in terms of letting pictures go up on websites!

  38. Just to clear one thing up the link posted by ‘female voter’ is the Rebecca Balck on the uup web site the same person whom posts here?

  39. rebecca,

    Basil Mc Crea is an absolute shag I must say, especially when he has that sexy stubble on his face. I don’t know about Peter Robinson but Gareth is most certainly hot.
    Tyrone Howe is definately a beast I would love to ride.
    Also, Christopher Stalford if i had afew drinks in me….

  40. Rebecca,

    I heard from my YU spy (andrew charles) that you once had a cruse on nigel dodds and even sent him an anonimous valentines card! can you cast any more light on this most pressing of issues…

Comments are closed.