Closer than expected in UUP contest

The BBC are reporting a close, and probably closer than expected, first round of voting in the leadership race for the UUP. Reg Empey got 295 votes out of the 618 delegates present, but Alan McFarland has polled very well with 266 votes. David McNarry trailed behind with 54 votes and has been eliminated.. and it now goes to a second count. That’s a lot closer than Reg Empey and his supporters would have liked and indicates a party that’s still undecided about how to move forward. Update And Reg Empey has been declared the new leader of the UUPno details, yet, on how the second count went. Second count – Sir Reg Empey 321, Alan McFarland 287 [Thanks Tim]

  • Tim Roll-Pickering

    Round 2:

    Sir Reg Empey 321
    Alan McFarland 287

  • peteb

    Thanks Tim.

  • iluvni

    you wouldn’t want to be relying on the UUP website for the latest breaking news from the leadership contest!…not a word.

  • Ulster Unionist

    Well maybe because it is 1 o’clock on a Friday night just after a leadership contest so I wouldn’t say a website is many peoples main concern.

  • queen

    fair point, uu

    has the dup taken the pic of big ian in the red beret off their site

    Oh thats right. they have no connections.

    Apart from shoukri and the boys at the meeting this evening

  • iluvni

    you’d imagine it may have been deemed important enough to make an announcement at some stage tonight on the website….but then again maybe that’s too progressive these days.

  • Ulster Unionist

    Did you not see Cooper Speaking afterwards? It was shown on many news channels. The news websites were running up to date and I honestly doubt there were many people completely relying on the UU website.

    I could list numerous faults within the DUP website but I am not going to for that would just be pathetic… unless you like seeing unionism bickering amongst itself?

  • oh piddlesticks

    It has just been announced on uup website. Saw the announcement around 1.30am.

  • Menzies

    Excellent result tonight for the DUP. Actually, it would have been an excellent result for the DUP no matter which of the 3 muppets that were standing in the UUP leadership contest had won.

    The UUP missed their chance by omitting Tim Collins from the race.

  • Menzies

    The UUP website is only marginally better than the horrendous excuse of a website crudely carved up on the internet by the Irish Football Association (IFA).

    Just like us here in Northern Ireland to be fast asleep on the job when all around us is happening.

  • Tim Roll-Pickering

    The UUP missed their chance by omitting Tim Collins from the race.

    I thought Collins was the one who omitted himself?

  • Chris

    Well done Sir Reg. This is the start of the recovery.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Sir Reg Empey has been selected by the democratic choice of those representing the membership of the Ulster Unionist Party. Now is the time for the party as a whole to unite behind him, to give him the support he clearly deserves, and to regain the position that the UUP deserves as the party representing the broad spectrum of unionist opinion. Elections of both M.P’s and leaders are over, it’s time to start highlighting the DUP for what they really are, a party of bigots. A party that is split in two over support for the Free Presbyterian support for Dodds and co, and the Elim/mixed support for the “swiis bank” family robinson and the millions they are bringing in.
    Will the DUP have the principle to close leisure centres, lock up swings, close all sporting grounds, etc? After all, this is a matter they have always supported . They will either show that they have the courage of their convictions and carry such measures out in areas where they are in a majority or they will prove that this is a bluff only intended to foolishly ensure their support among those who they seek to fool.

  • Keith M

    I saw the report on UTV. Obviously in the eyes of the UUC, Empey was was the bright young talent to lead them forward,although I suspect someone had tampered with their Complan. At least Empey has the experience of wrapping up a redundant party, just what’s needed for the UUP. A merger by 2008?

  • dodrade

    I’m not at all convinced Empey is capable of turning the party around. He would make a safe pair of hands in good times but desperate times call for desparate measures and I just don’t see him making the necessary changes. The close result shows much of the party also has serious reservations about him. Empey will have a short honeymoon, he must make radical change fast or the party faces oblivion.

  • Bored

    Nice one lads. Electing someone with a comb-over who drives a Rover and looks like a pall-bearer – just the sort of young, thrusting, virile chap to lead the party into the new millenium….

  • Peace and Justice

    “Bored: Nice one lads. Electing someone with a comb-over who drives a Rover and looks like a pall-bearer … “

    Well said ‘Bored’! The whole UUP leadership contest is irrelevant. They have elected someone who was Trimble’s poodle. I’m sure Empey will promote other poodles in the party, like Tom Elliott in Fermanagh. Boring Boring.

  • George

    Bored,
    if the main party of the unionist ideology can get to that position with a 79-year-old religious fundamentalist, who wouldn’t physically touch an Irish southerner and who believes line-dancing is the work of the devil, at the helm, surely Reg Empey is a young, thrusting, virile chap by comparison.

    Unionism is an ideology which looks to and glories in the past not the future so those with the most roots in the past will be the most successful.

    Secret for Reg is not to bring anything new to the table as this just scares unionists off.

    I’m confused about his policy of staying in opposition to this mythical DUP-SF assembly though.

    If the majority of unionism and nationalism agree a deal (unlikely in the extreme) the UUP will automatically be against it? Why?

  • Ken

    Who is this guy and why has he been chosen?

  • martin

    The UUP will come to regret not taking my advice seriously of Michael Mc Dowell—–Hes the only one on this island that can come anywhere near Paisley for humorus,illogical anti-SF/IRA rants

    I told you so

  • Richard

    A vote for Reg Empey was a vote for the same regime that the Unionist electorate have already rejected.

    Even if Reg does attempt to commit the party to a more hardline stance there already exists abundant ammunition to be used against him, not least relating to his principle role in the GFA.

    I would be extremely surprised if Reg revitalized the UUP’s failing fortunes.

    In my view the only prospect of success the UUP had was for a dynamic leader to wade in and really shake things up, and who also had a comparatively ‘clean-slate’ with the electorate.

    I can’t help but think that Reg’s ascension to leadership is another case of UUP internal politics taking precedence over their relationship with the Unionist electorate.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    I personally dont think that Sir Reg getting less than half of the first votes will undermine him that much for there were not many major differences between himself and Alan McFarland. They both have quite similar views on where the party should go from here so I honestly doubt there will be many people within the party greatly upset at Sir Reg’s victory.

    Menzies,

    “The UUP missed their chance by omitting Tim Collins from the race”
    Actually he was considered by people like John Taylor and he was never ‘omitted’ from the race – he declined to take part.

  • The Watchman

    At some point last night, Sir Reg must have shuddered as he looked back to that selection meeting a decade ago where McFarland filched the North Down Westminster nomination from under his nose. Although he won, it’s in keeping with the dire state of the UUP that the new leader has a far narrower margin than he would have liked. Paradoxically the winner comes out of the contest diminished whilst the runner-up comes out enhanced, and now the obvious successor. That will have implications for the balance of forces within the UUP over the months and years to come. It makes Empey’s task even more difficult as it will increase the pressure on him to get results quickly.

    Mick said above that the UUP has still not decided what kind of party it is. Actually, if their public pronouncements were anything to go by, all 3 candidates concentrated on who was best to rebuild the party machine and steered well clear of the causa causans of the party’s decline: the brand of leadership dubbed accurately as “pushover unionism” by the DUP. There is nothing to suggest that Empey or anyone else recognises that this gives the UUP a credibility problem and the DUP a lot of ammunition.

    Out of the election debacle, the 2 figures who emerge strengthened are McFarland and, as the only MP left, Sylvia Hermon. (McGimpsey crashed and burned in South Belfast and Burnside, who could have been the standard-bearer of the Old Right, failed to build any kind of a base for himself.) It also remains to be seen if there is an emergence of a radical “North Down Tendency” that wants to recreate the UUP distinctly to the left of the DUP.

    Nothing is Empey’s past suggests he is more than a good Number 2, a consolidator more suited to calmer waters. I doubt that he can prise away the new DUP voters if he does not understand why they left in the first place.

  • Keith M

    Watchman “Nothing is Empey’s past suggests he is more than a good Number 2”. A good number two would not have allowed Trimble to sink the ship.

  • Gonzo

    Interesting post watchman.

    How indeed will the UUP cope with this unexpected resurgence of ‘North Down Unionism’? McFarland’s result was far more impressive than I had expected, so Reg has his work cut out.

  • The Watchman

    Keith M,

    You may well be right. However, for once, I am inclined to be charitable possibly at the expense of judgment – a bit like the old duffers on the UUC who indulged Trimble’s bungling. Or perhaps I subconsciously am angling for a job in the revamped Cunningham House.

    Gonzo,

    Of course, if there is a resurgence of “North Down Unionism” (I prefer “the Tatler Brigade” – snappier and more derisive) then that is bad news for the party as a whole. Lady Sylvia’s soirees may well be enjoyable, but her brand of unionism would go down like a lead balloon outside of her refined milieu. Somehow I suspect it would go down badly in somewhere like Portadown (which. don’t forget, in unionist terms used to be solidly UUP in the bygone days of yore). It would hasten the transformation of the UUP into the Provisional Wing of the Ulster Tatler, which wouldn’t be good news for Alliance but would leave the DUP laughing and cleaning up in the job of actually winning elections.

    Good grief, Lord Trimble of Vichy might even come back as its leader.

  • Robert Keogh

    The Ulster Unionist vehicle is obviously out of petrol – cuz they’re running on Empey!

    *ta-bump-dump*

  • George

    North Down seems to me to be the Northern Ireland equivalent of Dunlaoghaire-Rathdown in the Irish Republic.

    Dunlaoghaire tends to be a weather vein of where middle Ireland will be in the future, for example on divorce, abortion, the Progressive Democrats, the Nice Treaty etc.

    Somebody like Lady Hermon in North Down could very well be the common voice of unionism in a couple of decades because the current road is leading to nowhere. We’ve all got the time.

  • Martin Dub

    “North Down seems to me to be the Northern Ireland equivalent of Dunlaoghaire-Rathdown in the Irish Republic.

    Dunlaoghaire tends to be a weather vein of where middle Ireland will be in the future, for example on divorce, abortion, the Progressive Democrats, the Nice Treaty etc.”

    Eh, the PDs = 4%.Hardly middle Ireland.

  • martin

    ” This lovely land that always sent
    Her writers and artist to banishment
    And with an Irish sense of fun
    Betrayed her leaders,one by one”.

    (James Joice—Gas from the burner.)

  • martin

    I know, I know—–JOYCE

  • The Watchman

    Tank Commander McFarland is already making his mark:

    “We cannot out-DUP the DUP, we should not be trying, but there needs to be clear water between ourselves and the DUP to give the electorate a choice as to whether they vote Ulster Unionist or the DUP.

    “Our first problem is, we have to try to produce a party, as soon as we can, that is electable, that actually looks as if it is together, organised, speaking with one voice with clear policies,” he said.

    “At that stage, we can then go back to the electorate.”

    No. He has learned nothing. I know McFarland has a background in management consultancy but the UUP does not just have a managerial problem that can be solved by mere reorganisation. The problem is that the unionist electorate no longer trusts it to defend its interests as robustly as the DUP in negotiations.

    In talking about not out-doing the DUP, that seems to be code (I suspect, although I’m glad to be disproved) for moving the UUP closer to Alliance than to the DUP. (I’d say the same, but I’d mean something different.)

    As for the UUP going into “Opposition” if the DUP strike a deal with SF (hypothetical of course), “Clearly I have to discuss the matter with Reg and with others over the next week or so as to whether that is an acceptable way for the Ulster Unionist Party to be behaving.” Oooh!

    McFarland says that he is not challenging Empey but he is certainly putting his metaphorical tanks on Reg’s lawn right from the start.

  • Gonzo

    What happens now? Does Reg appoint a deputy and what happens with the officer team etc?

  • Bored

    ‘What happens now?’

    The UUP goes on it’s arse.

    Again.

  • Roger

    Disappointing series of events three men up for nominations all major contributors to the failed policies of the past.

    Mcfarland has went on record as saying Reg and his supporters are a ‘weird bunch of people’. He is clearly too old for the position and is simply deemed ‘a safe pair of hands’.

    A recovery of the UUP will not happen and even if it does it will be at the expense of the DUP so ultimately unionism as a whole losses.

  • Bored

    Roger, Roger, Roger. Look, I know it’s pedantic but please – don’t infect this site with the grammatical atrocities of the ‘Ulster’ untermenschen.

    ‘McFarland has went on record…..’
    No, Roger – McFarland has GONE on record…

    ‘….so ultimately unionism as a whole losses.’

    No, Roger, ultimately Unionism as a whole LOSES.

    Next you’ll be telling us that you seen something interesting for to be telling us about, like.

  • VESPASIAN

    Deja vue, Conservatives 1997 there will be one or two ‘new’ leaders over the next few years as the UUP flounders around looking for a message.

    The should fold up their tent and join the Conservatives now.

  • 6countyprod

    Bored,

    That’s ass, not arse!

  • Bored

    Eh, no it’s not actually 6countyprod.

  • Roger

    Bored

    I want for to tell you something

    PISS OFF

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    “I know McFarland has a background in management consultancy but the UUP does not just have a managerial problem that can be solved by mere reorganisation. The problem is that the unionist electorate no longer trusts it to defend its interests as robustly as the DUP in negotiations.”

    This issue of management failings goes to heart of the UUP problems. Watchman seems to still be missing the point that the substance of the product i.e. the parties credibility is not entirely divorced from the delivery of the product.

    To illustrate this lets assume that we have two companies:
    Company A makes reasonably good quality widgets but has a great delivery system, always delivers on time, staff are coordinated and answer all customer queries quickly and politely, clear documentation etc.

    Now assume that company B makes really good, high quality widgets but they are nearly always late with their deliveries, the staff tell you various different things depending on which one you speak with at any particular time and the companies documentation is all contradictory. Now would you prefer to do business with Company A, or Company B? I am going to assume that unless you are a real widget connoisseur you will prefer Company A. In this sense the quality of the product is not actually the main issue it is the credibility of the service delivery that is the problem.

    This is where the UUP is right now. The UUP has little credibility as a party because it has a poor organisation which leads in turn to poor service delivery. This is the thing that is most damaging to the UUP right now and until it is rectified any policy squabbling around left of centre, or right of centre is just so much smoke out your ass. The UUP needs proper discipline and centralised direction and control, and it needs real coordination.

    This in my view entails an inversion of the current UUP power pyramid. Currently power is devolved in the UUP, so that the centre makes suggestions but ultimately choices and the real power as to what to do rests with the various associations and the UUC. The selection and preferment of candidates is done by associations and for this reason those who hold office in the UUP constantly look out to the periphery of the party to gain approval and ultimately preferment. In this manner the leader never has any real control over them or loyalty from them(as Sir Humphrey said Loyalty is healthy expectation of favours to come) and the message becomes constantly dispersed and filtered through myriad local lenses and egos. Localism can be a compliment to an organisation if it acts to allow better communication of local concerns but UUP associations have become so unrepresentative and marginalised from their communities that in the UUP it has turned it into a weakness. It is this power dynamic that has led to the creation of the cliques and the egotistical individuals who constantly vie for attention and undermine any sense, or just as importantly, external perception of a unity of purpose. It is this that makes the first step on any road to recovery for the UUP about management reorganisation and that is why Alan was absolutely right and the best choice for leader in my view.

    I am heartened that 47% of the UUC had figured this out as well and I hope that Reg at least now realises that the support of half the Assembly team, the MEP, Bursnide et all was only worth 53% to him. He has the opportunity to reach out to those who voted for Allan and listen and build a broader coalition of opinion across the party. If he thinks that it will be all unity and happiness forget it. The UUP still has some major problems and needs a damn good cull of its frontline as a first step anyway so Reg will need to grow a pair and get the cutters out if he is serious about remaking the UUP. The question of whether he is the best person to do it is now irrelevant because the responsibility to get it done is now most certainly his. Good luck to him.

  • bertie

    Bored
    Did you mean “UUP goes on its arse”? [as opposed to “UUO goes on it’s arse”, meaning “it is arse”. (which would be a valid comment but it should have a bit of punctuation before it – “UUP goes on, it’s arse”). This is the trouble with commenting on anyone else’s written skills, it makes it open season on yours. – and now on mine ;0)]

  • peteb

    That’s enough grammatical pedantry for one evening, guys.

  • Female Voter

    I am bewildered that the UUP have not picked a person with sex appeal as their new leader. Empey is hardly Brad Pitt, I have stated this before but at least the new leader of the DUP aka Robinson is quite sexy and you would actually want to bed him if you bedded Empey one would be worried he may be unable to perform and he may eventually pass out.

  • MARTIN

    Unionists,

    Admit it my suggestion of michael mc DOWELL would have been so much better than the 3 you chose from wouldnt he—–and according to 9pm news theres calls for him to resign down south—so had you waited 1 more day everything would have fell into place

  • martin

    Female voter,

    Mc Dowell was also big into dominance !!!

  • MARTIN

    Into bondage and false imprisonment as well

  • bertie

    Did anyone try and get Brad Pitt to stand?

    Didn’t someone (Kissinger?) say that power was the ultimate aphrodysiac? This might mean that now Reg Empey has acquired sex appeal by virue of winning (or would have if the leader of the UUP had a hope of any real power). Women are thought to be attracted to powerful men, whilst men are thought to be threatened by powerful woman (not sure how it is meant to work if you’re gay). So women wanting to attrack men should stay out of politics.

    They also say that dog collars have an aphrodysiac quality and many a plain man has found himself at the receiving end of lots of female attention on ondination that he is unused to dealing with.

    Does this mean that clergy politician are the ultimate sex gods?

    Anyone willing to admit an attraction in that quarter?

  • Female Voter

    I feel Empey due to his lack of sex appeal will not win many voters over, he looks terrible and as someone pointed out his comb over is laughable. Someone in their late 30’s early forties should have been picked not an over the hill bad in bed trimble follower.

  • slug

    “I feel Empey due to his lack of sex appeal will not win many voters over,”

    I don’t think that sex appeal gets votes. You need gravitas. Empey is a gentleman. Less of the derisory ageist and cride commentary, young lady.

  • Female Voter

    Hi Slug

    Fair point. But when me and the girls go out to nightclubs we are not looking for gentlemen we are looking for tall athletic sexy men to take home to bed with us now how on earth can we bring sir reg home to bed with us he is likely to conq out to say the least.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Roger,

    “Mcfarland has went on record as saying Reg and his supporters are a ‘weird bunch of people’”
    When did he say this?

    “He is clearly too old for the position”
    I thought we had already discussed this? Sir Reg is the same age as Robinson.

    “even if it does it will be at the expense of the DUP so ultimately unionism as a whole losses”
    Eh? How do ya work that one out?

    DSD,

    “that is why Alan was absolutely right and the best choice for leader in my view”
    What was so different from Sir Reg and McFarland?

    “The UUP still has some major problems and needs a damn good cull of its frontline”
    Who do you suggest?

    Female voter,

    “I am bewildered that the UUP have not picked a person with sex appeal as their new leader”
    I am shocked too because I also think the main issue in all the delegates heads yesterday was who looked the best… hmmm or maybe not.

    “Robinson is quite sexy and you would actually want to bed him”
    And those sorts of views play a big part in NI politics?

    “bad in bed”
    You know this because……..?

  • Menzies

    I’m quite sure had Tim Collins received enough encouragement he would have stood and quite possibly won the UUP leadership race.

    It is a tactic employed by reltive newcomers to the political scene to decline interest in such a position out of respect for more experienced individuals while all the while monitoring levels of interest amongst the wider UUP family their participation may generate and act accordingly if the signs are encouraging.

    What happened was that the UUP wider family didn’t warm to his potential participation, omitting him in favour of Reg Empey, a safe pair of hands perhaps, but not an individual who will set the heartbeat racing or the passions within debate burning or even remotely reverse the present fortunes of the UUP. This isn’t complicated science here, just plain old fact.

    The UUP are fast asleep, dying on their feet, and the arrogant, established mindset of the old guard still rules the roost to the detriment of the party’s long term future and that of moderate Unionist opinion in Northern Ireland.

  • Sol

    Female voter
    So you would vote for a person based on thier attractiveness and not their policies?.
    A bit Shallow?

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    FYU

    DSD,
    “that is why Alan was absolutely right and the best choice for leader in my view”
    What was so different from Sir Reg and McFarland?

    I have known Reg since 1993 and whilst I have the utmost respect for him he never struck me as a radical reformer. The UUP needs pretty major reform, not tinkering and I am concerned that once the crying starts from those who would and should lose their power that the impetus behind reform will slow. As an example people here mentioned Tim Collins as a candidate to head hunt, but as the UUP stands right now it’s not up to the leader to actually decide where he could, or should run. He would need to apply and be selected by a room of 150 odd local association members. They might like him, or they might like the local councilor candidate they have all known since time began. How does it look if they don’t pick him? What does that tell you about the power of the leader and the coordination in the party? There is always risk attached to any selection and this sends a signal of a lack of central power. If Reg cant do something as simple as decide a list of the best potential assembly candidates and where they should be running without being second guessed by a group of association members then we will never be able to match the DUP. This also accounts for much of the attraction to the young ambitious types who ran off to the DUP as well, they know that being loyal to Robinson will get you a nomination in due course whereas in the UUP being (largely)loyal to Trimble gets you sacked (ask Ivan David, James Leslie, Ian Adamson, etc). How do you attract talent if you cant actually control rewarding it? How do you maintain loyalty to the leader when he has no power to keep you in your job its how you are liked or disliked by the local party members that really matters? Alan always got that I never once heard Reg express anything that suggested he saw that as a problem and that is why I preferred Alan. But this is academic now as Reg is leader and it is for him to begin to grasp hold of these kind of problems and solve them.

    “The UUP still has some major problems and needs a damn good cull of its frontline”
    Who do you suggest?

    Well Burnside, Burnside, Burnside and Burnside for one. But also from the top of my head Jim Nicholson, Lord Kilclooney, and around half the Assembly group could do with being pensioned off in favor of a collection of smart, articulate, telegenic 30 something’s. The party will need a good 10-15 years to get it together fully and that means investing in people young enough now to be hitting the prime political years of 40-50’s in around 10 to 15 years. The others had their time and now they need to make space for some new blood. The UUP is monumentally bad at recruiting and developing political talent it needs to learn how to do this in future. To win back any of those Westminster seats you need to find good talented people and put them in place for a long time to build up their profiles and get in position to win the seats back as the DUP members age. How long did Sammy Wilson invest to get into position in E.Antrim? Or Iris in Strangford? Or McCrea in S.Antrim. These guys are serious and organized and disciplined and the UUP needs to be all of that as well. That means a big change in personalities at the front end to build for the future. If people really are serious that Tom Elliot and Basil Mcrea are the new young talent then we still have some problems.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Dman my typing skills that should be Ivan Davis.

  • Ulsterman

    Yesterdays men. Empey has a hard task on his hand even getting a Westminsrer seat.

  • Female Voter

    Sol, i wouldnt just base it on their looks but that is an important factor, if there were more female candidates running men would be voting for the sexiest as well.

    Fermanagh Young Unionist. You underestimate sex appeal in politics it was something Blair was quick to pick up on and if the UUP wants to be a party of the 21st centuary is need to follow suit. When I did say that I would prefer to shag Robinson to Empey I was simply saying that there are a llot of negatives is selecting Empey for goodness sake would you like to bed him. When I said Empey was bad in bed it was rumours that I have heard that simply illustrate the fact that he lacks stamina and could be too fast of the mark if you know what I mean.

    The DUP have played it smart selecting someone like Robinson with the required sex appeal to advance the party.

  • Keith M

    Ulsterman “Empey has a hard task on his hand even getting a Westminsrer seat.” I think we all know that Empey is not going to displace Robinson in East Belfast. Don’t be surprised if he does a little shuffle into neighbouring South Belfast (where his “old gentleman” style would go down a lot better). Who knows, the DUP might be charitable and give him a free run in return for Arlene Foster being given a clear run in F-ST)?

  • Guggler

    Judging by some of the gardens in South Belfast which I have seen Mr Empey will have little difficulty in securing that seat in time, after all across both communities there people have erected garden gnomes on their properties bearing an uncanny resemblance to the former Vanguard man.

    May the cat eat his hairdresser befeckinjaysus !

  • The Watchman

    I don’t disagree with Duncan’s basic critique about organisation but I believe that Trimble’s numbing passivity and determination to keep Sinn Fein at Stormont under any circumstances was the real problem. If the type of reform Duncan’s proposing is to centralise candidate selection then that will backfire massively for the UUP in due course and probably after it does for the DUP. The UUP has to decide what it stands for NOW, not spend its time navel-gazing and planning thiongs like the way that Cunningham House can stitch up candidate selection.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Watchman,

    Nope thats the cart before the horse in my view. Until you get proper control and discipline the UUP goes nowhere fast. I hope Reg can deliver and i will watch to see what reforms he has in mind and comes up with. He has his shot so now he has a few months to start putting it into action. If the UUP falls into a prolonged period of policy argument as you are suggesting it will be dead in the water at the next Assembly election. Its the DUP’s problem to decide how best to play out the wider process the UUP does not need to tear itself apart worrying about it. Concentrate on that over which we have power and see how things fall out.

  • Roger

    “Mcfarland has went on record as saying Reg and his supporters are a ‘weird bunch of people’”
    When did he say this?

    Don’t have the exact date but Councillor Barbour a Empey supporter was disgusted by the remark and said so in the letter page of this weeks Newletter.

    “He is clearly too old for the position”
    I thought we had already discussed this? Sir Reg is the same age as Robinson.

    Sir Reg is too old due to the fact that he needs to radically reform Peter Robinson does not and finally Robinson looks better for his age than Empey.

    “even if it does it will be at the expense of the DUP so ultimately unionism as a whole losses”
    Eh? How do ya work that one out?

    Well it means that there is going to be more in house unionist bickering which I am sick of. I would far rather all unionist work together than battle for the top dog position but I am encouraged by Empeys talk of a UUP/DUP merger I think that is a positive move.

  • Heemo

    Forgive my ignorance but why does it matter a toss in broad terms whether the DUP or the UUP wins, they essentially believe in the same things anyway, ie not throwing in their lot with their fellow UK citizens and ploughing their own parochial furrows. Is it purely about jobs for the cross-eyed boys ? If so why should those of us not that concerned about N. Ireland care ?

    Huh ?

  • Roger

    Heemo

    I agree with what you are saying I want the DUP/UUP to be speaking in the same voice by doing the following

    1. Supporting and promoting the union.
    2. Promoting and defending the protestant and orange culture.
    3. Ensuring that all people of NI have equal rights and are made to feel welcome in this part of the UK.
    4. Rejecting repulicanism.

    These are four key areas that people from Ian Paisley to Sylvia Herman, Peter Robinson to Michael Mcgimpsey must agree on and support so why don’t they do it more often.

  • Heemo

    Roger

    1. The union doesn’t need supported and promoted – it already exists and under the GFA will continue to exist for as far into the future as it’s humanly possible to see – neither the Uk nor the Republic want those arrangements changed and neither do the majority of parties in N. Ireland, including SF.

    2. Can you please define (i) protestant culture and (ii) orange culture ?

    3. Why is this different from other parts of the UK ? Why should equality be different in Ni than it is in Scotland or wales or England ?

    4. This is redunant, SF is now a partitionsit party and is a minority anyway; the Republic is clearly supportive of the existence of NI within the UK anyway.

    Why waste time on things which don’t need attended to ?

  • Roger

    If I take your point politics in NI should be made redundant.

    I suppose protestant orange culture is the parades primarily in July and August I feel the media are showing this culture in a poor light with the exception of the 1/2 hour programme on UTV and BBC 12 July evenings. Unionist parties should be helping promote this culture better as well as helping people in working class protestant areas that are severely deprived yet never spoken of.

    3. To point number three the difference is that around 25-30% of the population want an UI and the unionist parties should be trying to create an NI where everyone is happy and feel the link with the uk should remain.

  • Heemo

    What percentage are those people in the context of the entire UK and Eire population who don’t want to see a UI ?

  • Roger

    Good point but the fact is that in NI it is a reasonably significant number.

  • Heemo

    The BNP enjoys sinificant support if you isolate another area of the UK tightly enough Roger, likewise RESPECT in east London. Sounds to me like you’re not a true UK citizen at all Roger but a separatist. In which case please ask your fellow unionists to keep our UK flag off lampsosts UK citizens subsidise.

  • Roger

    What are you talking about of course I don’t trust the Labour government but I think my protestant ideals would be better preserved in an NI linked to the UK than in a UI with Sinn Ira an even more dominant force than it is now.

    The English already look unfavourably towards my community so why should I have any respect for them.

  • Heemo

    SF/IRA is not a dominant force Roger, it has no power or office with which to exercise any dominance over anyone which, as a minority within a minority, it won’t ever have anyway.

    The reason people look unfavorably towards your community is precisely becaise you won’t behave like ordinary UK citizens and behave instead as parochial lunatics who abuse your position within the UK and debase our modern, pluralist and secular multi-cultural ideals and, for what it’s worth, our flag.

    Are your protestant ideals (what does that actually mean anyway ?)mean more to you than your membership of the United Kingdom and the rights and resposibilities which goes with that ?

    If so I suggest you leave the UK and plough your own lonely time-warped furrow. Decent people in the UK are thoroughly bored of your tiresome caricatured ‘Ullshturr Brutushnuss’and of listening to and paying for your childish pre-occupation with the 17th century and your embarassingly infantile papist consipiracy bullshit.

  • Roger

    Heemoran

    Yes I am a protestant 1st member of the UK second.

    SF IRA are currently holding the entire process to ransom by there failure to decomission and by the failure of the SDLP and the two governments to move on with out them.

    I am getting a little tired of your anti protestant bigotry maybe you should try and understand my culture a little better before you attack it you looser.

  • Heemo

    I am not anti-protestant, that you should think this reveals only the type of puerile siege mentality to which I refer and which sadly characterises both sides in this miserable conflict. You still haven’t explained what this protesant culture is, is it different from the culture of Uk citizens elsewhere who are also protestant ?

  • Roger

    You are anti protestant and seek to demonise anything related to the culture such as the OO and our segreated educational systems. The fact is we are on this island and you and your sinn fein ira compadraies can demoise, beat us up, shoot us but you will never get rid of us, remember that.

  • Heemo

    We (ie UK citizens) won’t have to get rid of you, you’re doing a fine job of alientaing yourself from us anyway by being everything which modern Britian isn’t – tolerant, secular and pluralist. You carry on the way you want, just please stop pretending that what you believe in represents Britishness in the 21st century, it does not. Stop wasting my taxes too though please, we owe you people nothing any more !

  • Roger

    How do I waste your taxes I avail of no cross community wish washy scheme offered by the governement. You are a disgrace you are simply a Internet troll messing around here with your foul mothed bigotry and I hope your comments are erased by a moderator I have no time for narrow minded bigots such as yourself if you dont like protestants that is fine but its not our problem.

  • Heemo

    Roger

    We, the UK taxpayer, economically subvent NI hugely – I resent this for as long as unionists and their neaderthal fenian counterparts behave like bothersome teenagers who didn’t get smacked half hard enough as children and do not fully embrace modern Britishness.

    Grow up or pay your own bills sir, simple as that !

  • Roger

    Heemo I like that post because it completely exposed you and your fake wishy washy credetials have evaperated,

  • Heemo

    Roger

    Clearly the ability to string a coherent sentence together is eluding you at this pioint, I feel that you may need to sober up before continuing. It may also be helpful to read what other contributors say as opposed to automatically attributing them the views of your opponents, it’s prejudicial and extremely discourteous.And boring.

  • yerman

    So its more of the same at Cunningham House. Reg may well try to divorce himself from the Trimble years but lets not forget that Reg Empey was the hardest Ulster Unionist to get out of Government with Sinn Fein. You couldnt have prised Reggie out of the Ministerial chair with a tyre iron.

    He was Trimble’s number two all along and was/is culpable in all that happened within the UUP. However, if they want him to be leader then I couldnt really give a rats ass. Alan ‘my little tank’ McFarland must actually be quite pleased with himself. It was a surprisingly strong showing for the Hermonite wing and while they’re unlikely to descend into the Donaldson vs Trimble mode of open warfare in the UUC I think that powerstruggles are there to stay for the foreseeable future. Mind you, the rest of the world will happily pass them by as they fight it out. Lets not forget just how little attention this whole battle got – compare that to when you got detailed accounts of every cough and sneeze from UUC meetings a few years ago.

    DSD
    I disagree with your analagy about the 2 companies. Yes the DUP do deliver on time etc etc, but the problem with the UUP is that they were making a crap product and delivering it late. Anyone will know that a company doing that is doomed for bankrupcy. There may be a takeover bid, management buy-out, possibly even a short rally in fortunes, but the prospects are always bleak because its just too big a task to get rid of all that crapness.

    Maybe the ‘Rover Reg’ jibe at Empey earlier in this thread was more apt than i first thought. Give it a year or two and Cunningham House will look like the Longbridge car plant. BTW what ever happened to Reg’s “successful” business?

    I wont bother discussing much on the “sexyness in politics” stuff – suffice to say that on more than one occassion I’ve heard Reg described as ‘the ugliest man in Ulster’. Harsh- yes. Inaccurate- not necessarily.

    Oh yes, and David McNarry – HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

  • Insider

    Any notion that Reg Empey will win in South Belfast is utter balderdash. Everyone knows it’ll be Spratt’s in 2009.

    Remember folks – the UUP was pushed into third place in a seat they’ve held for 95 years.

    Furthermore, I don’t see Mickey McGimpski voluntarily signing the death warrent on his own political career in order to make way for Reg, or anyone else for that matter. At the time of the next Westminster election, The Gimp will be sixty-four – he’s an old man in a hurry!

    I think we are going to see big things from the DUP in South Belfast over the next few years.

  • JK Rowling

    It is amazing that these born again DUPers like ‘yerman’ claim not to give a ‘rat’s ass’ about the outcome of the UUP election contest yet if there is any story blogged about the Ulster Unionist Party on this site, they are all over it like a rash with their wit and wisdom.

    ‘you got detailed accounts of every cough and sneeze from UUC meetings a few years ago’

    Aye… that because the pin striped punk rockers in the old YUs couldn’t hold their own water.

    You get a sense that its just not as much fun being in the DUP

  • Menzies

    Roger,

    Why do you feel that either of the 2 main unionist parties should bear responsibility for “Promoting and defending the protestant and orange culture”? Surely it is up to the Orange Order alone to promote and defend the orange culture and for the family of protestant churces to do likewise with regards to faith issues?

    I am a unionist but there are a number of issues I have with unionist parties in Northern Ireland that prevent me from often voting for them including the fact that they have promoted the protestant and orange culture! I don’t believe that should be the preserve of political parties as to promote such issues excludes unionists who do not want to align themselves with religion/ orangeism.

  • bob wilson

    Menzies
    UUPs is totally incapable of distancing itself from Orange – note Empey banging on about parades. I believe the vast majority of pro Union people in NI couldn’t carry less about parades. The DUP is now the main Ulster Protestant party UUP has no raison d’etre. Those who are pro Union but not Protestant tribalists should join mainstream UK political parties