Parading spokesmen

The Newsletter (no link) reports today that Sir Reg Empey has made his second round of appointments. Following from the appointment of Danny Kennedy as Deputy Leader he has created the portfolio of Parades, and has appointed a team of four to take it on. The four who are all members of the Orange Institution and other Loyal Orders are Michael Copeland MLA, Olive Whitten, Cllr Trevor Wilson and Young Unionist Alan Barr.

The report also reveals that the Party will no longer have a single spokesman on issues, rather a team containing an Assembly member, a woman and a younger party member.

  • Carrington

    This looks likes jobs for the boys (i.e. those who supported Reg) to me. What do you think?

  • heck

    I have a question on the direction Reg Empey is taking the unionist party. Surely the party can’t compete with the DUP for support from the more “extreme” unionist voter.

    I have seen on this site, suggestions that he rebuild the party’s votes by trying to attract “moderate”, non voting, unionists and to try and win middle class catholic votes.

    How can he do this if he makes orange parades his number one priority? (As he seems to be doing). I’m sure Catholics (and a number of the non voting protestants) see these guys as nothing more that sectarian bigots, and aligning the unionist party with them is not going to help him.

    As you can guess I am not too sympathetic to the unionist cause, but Reg Empey seems a decent enough man. I just can’t see any strategic plan in the making. He can’t out Paisley Paisley, and he is not going to win over moderates by backing coat trailing parades.

    ps. sorry about the words extreme and moderate–I hate those characterizations but I couldn’t thing of anything better.

  • bertie

    Heck

    as you seem to accept yourself there is a problem with the terms extreme and moderate. There is also a problem about assuming what those you would label think about each issue.

    Some use the term extremist to mean terrorist or sympathiser. Some use the term moderate unionist to mean only moderatly in favour of the Union. some just use it to denote the manner in which one advocates, irrespective of the strength of nature and degree of what they advocate.

    The view one holds on Orange parades should not depend on whether you are in the OO, or whether you would wish to attend one.

    One thing that the UUP has to consider is whether they wish to try and gain back those supporters/votes who left them in the lst year or so. This is not as simple as out DUPing the DUP. These supporters had the choice of DUP in the past but preferred the UUP.

    Although being a moderate is considered a compliment, it is not one I have much time for.

    I am extremely/not moderately in favour of the Union.

    I am extremely/not moderately opposed to terrorism (IRA, UFF, UVF etc.)and its appeasement.

    I am extremely/not moderately in support of the OO and the right to march.

    I was/am extremely/not moderately in support of the right of the Gervaghy OO to march.

    I was extremely/not moderately disgusted with the presence of “loyalist” terrorists at Gervaghy and what I perceived as the failure of the OO to condemn them and distance themselves from them.

    I was extremely/not moderately disgusted at the Holy Cross protests.

    I was extremely/not moderately opposed to the Harryville protest.

    I am extremely/not moderately in support of unionism doing more to capitalise on the many RC supporters of the Union and to encourage them to take a more prominent role.

    I am extremely/not moderately in favour of upholding the individual rights of all, including those who do not share my constitutioanal loyalties or my religion.

    At one time I believed that these extreme views were better accomodated within the UUP than the DUP. I could also see many people within the UUP who I believed also held these extreme views. These people are now in the DUP. That would be the biggest obstacle in getting my support back. That’s if the UUP want still want the support of extremists like me.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Many Catholics (and non-Catholics in the so-called Catholic community) and even a few republicans aren’t that fussed about Orange marches per se. Would I be right in thinking that coming out against unauthorized bonfires (which just look like vandalism to many in both communities) and related issues, while being in favour of the parades themselves could attract many so-called moderate voters in both communities and not necessarily alienate more hardline unionists?

  • Wichser

    Carrington

    Jobs for the boys ? This is politics we’re talking about mate, if you imagine there’s any principle involved then perhaps you need to visit planet earth once in a while.

  • iluvni

    I’d like Sir Reg to explain his position on OO representatives sitting down with Loyalist Paramilitary leaders, whilst, according to Robert Saulters anyhow, it’s wrong to sit down with Republican paramilitary leaders.
    As far as I see, the relationship is just a little too cosy at the minute.

  • Michael Shilliday

    This looks likes jobs for the boys (i.e. those who supported Reg) to me. What do you think?

    I think you’re jumping the gun.

  • Wichser

    Be fair, if you were in Empey’s shoes would you run the risk of another Foster/Donaldson rump or play it safe with Reg loyalists ?

  • Dick Doggins

    So little reggie is getting tough in his choice of yes men to worship and adore him and bless the ground he walks on…..
    Aaah thats nice but will it make any difference to those who have turned away from his parties wishy-washy Unionism.

  • heck

    Bertie

    You might be surprised that I agree with you on the uselessness of the extreme/moderate designation. On the issue that fires me up, the Iraq war, I am extremely against it but the vast majority of world opinion is with me (there is even a majority in the US at the moment against the war). I guess that makes my views moderate, and those who support the war extremists, who like violence and kill innocent civilians.

    On the issues that you brought u,p like the Gervaghy Rd., I disagree with you. But there are only two views. Either the Orangemen walk the road (as you wish) or they don’t (as I hope). I suppose the “moderate” view is that of the grand old duke of York, that they walk half way down and march back up again. That’s why I put the words in quotation marks-I’m just not articulate enough and couldn’t think of better ones.

    However that is not my question. I doubt that the UP position on marches will win you back if all their other policies remain the same. Nor will it win any new “moderate” supporters. I don’t see any strategy from Reg Empey in this. Where is the unionist party going? What is the point in making orange parades the number one unionist issue?

    Maybe it because I am not a unionist that I don’t get it. While I disagree with your views at least I understand them and know what you want. I don’t understand what the unionist party is doing. It seems to me that Reg Empey is trying to position them as “DUP lite” I thought that as a majority of commentators on this site are unionist I might get some insight.

  • Karl Rove

    This is terribly depressing: PC and pointless at the same time. Why always ‘a woman’, why not arbitrarily say “Catholics”, “lesbians”, ‘middle class Prods who don’t get Quango spots anymore” or “deselected assembly and council candidates” [you’ve covered enough persecuted groups – Ed.]?

    We don’t have anywhere near enough high calibre wimmin for this to be anything other than self-destructive, ie who will think the better of the UUP if the spokesperson wheeled out to deal with an issue is a 5th rater rather than one of our usual 3rd raters, but this yahoo *has ovaries*? And as for a ‘younger party member’, please God let this mean ‘young’ in the UUP sense, ie some stripling of of 54 or so, and not some drooling nit from the YUs. I feel ill at the thought of it: women for the sake of women, ‘youth’ spokeschildren – we have now finally become more embarassing than the Alliance.

    Still, staying in the party and meeting all those bright eyed folk who used to abuse me for being opposed to dear David – I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I was enjoying it.

  • traditional unionist

    Still, staying in the party and meeting all those bright eyed folk who used to abuse me for being opposed to dear David – I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I was enjoying it.

    who abused you?

  • traditional unionist

    and omission isn’t lying; you’d be lying if you said you aren’t enjoying it.

  • Karl Rove

    Pedantry is a hobby for the entire family, with much to commend it. Nowhere does my post imply that omission rather than denial would have been the source of any ‘no guns, no government’, er, sorry, lying. But your firmly Protestant cast of mind as to the nature of omission is duly noted.

    Who has abused me? Well if by abused I mean raved semi-coherently at me for daring to say, ‘Trimble’s going to lose the party seats, not win them’, let’s see, this year alone before the election has offered the following treats disguised as human beings:

    * Ken Maginnis
    * Mrs Jack Hermon
    * The Turtle himself
    * Gareth McGimpsey
    * Some other form of McGimpsey, employed by the party (his brother/cousin?)
    * Roy Beggs ‘senior’
    * Tom Elliot

    Sadly I have not this year yet had the pleasure of meeting, David Archer the lesser, or that tool who stood for the party in Foyle (some manner of cleric I believe). They also have much to contribute as far as subtle and nuanced defences of dear David are concerned. Maybe you have a routine yourself? In which case, do share it with us, he brought us peace after all.

    Don’t be DUPed
    K.R.

  • bertie

    heck

    I suspect you do not have a problem with being articulate. I was picking up on what you had already identified about the inadequacy of the terms “extreme” and “moderate” and coming at it from a different direction.

    I suspect that Empey realises that a lot of lost votes lost were because previous supporters (and I stress again that these are not hard core DUP as they always had the option to support them before but didn’t) perceived them to have become be a soft touch regarding “traditional” (another inadequate term) unionist concerns. To get this support back he probably has to present as unionist strong more than DUP lite. Unless you are a committed life long DUP supporter, you are unlikely, IMO, to consider the DUP to be the yard stick for measuring Unionism. I have a notion that non Unionists are more likely to do that.

    Re their policies. Considering how easily they went back on “no guns – no government” an impressive set of policies will not be enough. It will be down to actions. I think for a lot of people it is the mixture of a party’s policies, its actions and the degree to which you feel you can trust the people that lead you to support or not.

    To be fair to the UUP, after such an upheval as it is going through, I would expect a bit of floundering around as it trys to find its feet and (re)establish its identity.

    Karl

    I would tend to agree about the PC bit. I am all in favour about promoting diversity in the true sense. Unfortunately this gets hijacked by political correctness. I think that the UUP should be interested in exploring what barriers there may be to women, RCs, working classes etc. and trying to encourage their involvement in the party. However, it does not do women any favours to push someone without the necessary talent etc artificially to the fore. When they fail it reinforces the stereotype that women after all are just not up to the job. Perhaps the “brains” behind this are the same as behind the 50-50 policy in the PSNI ;0)

    A question Karl and apologies if you have already answered this on Slugger, why are you still in the party. This is a genuine questions not a dig. I would imagine that if I had been a member of a party and it took a wrong turn what would keep me in would be a hope/belief that it was still worth saving and that I had some reaosn for beleiving change was possible. Is this what keeps you in or are there other reasons. I would imagine that the UUP must be an even colder house for people like you with the mass exodus of anti-agreement unionists. You must be an even smaller minority now.

  • Fraggle

    hahaha

    Sir Reg’s No.2 is the spokesman for parades.

    in most serious political parties, the no.2 spot is finance or foreign affairs or whatever. this is absurd beyond the ‘parish pump’ cliche and, to me, yet another argument for either joining the republic (UI) or me just moving there and leaving this silly pantomime land behind.

    on a point raised by occasional commentator above, I’m not overly bothered by marches myself but the bonfires are a disgrace. the one opposite the queens PEC is a major eyesore and why is the road surface of the outer ring going to be destroyed yet again?

  • peteb

    The report also reveals that the Party will no longer have a single spokesman on issues, rather a team containing an Assembly member, a woman and a younger party member.

    As well as the absurdly uber-PC aspect..

    That would be because those three groups are mutually exclusive.

  • Karl Rove

    Bertie:

    Thanks for your question, simple answer I’m afraid.

    I think Paisley is a sectarian bigot who has done the Union more damage (i.e. on the mainland) than any man alive, the members of the “army” council notwithstanding. As a result, I couldn’t touch the DUP with a bargepole.

    And I say this knowing full that the grossest sectarian bigots I have ever met are in the UUP. And I am ashamed to admit this even to myself, but that remark betrays stark social prejudice: I just haven’t met many DUP members, and have certainly not had many drinks with the ones I have. They may well be vile, or they well be mostly good folk who follow a fool: I wouldn’t know firsthand.

    What I do know firsthand, having met more than enough of them, is that the *very* worst people for anti-catholic prejudice within the UUP, and the people who either are fellow travellers with loyalists, or are indeed scarcely credibly reformed editions of the same, are invariably Trimbleites.

    And I suppose there’s one more thing: I’m incurably optimistic: I’ve outlasted Trimble and I really do believe that if it can stay in being, one day the UUP will come home to the Unionism of Molyneaux, Donaldson and so on.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Karl,
    One has to wonder why you remain within a party that contains the “grossest sectarian bigots” you have ever met. Is it because you are a member of the DUP who likes to pretend that you are a member of the UUP? Perhaps you are telling lies Karl, lets be honest here, we all know that you are. You have been a member of the DUP for several years, everyone involved in polotics knows who you are. Who , exactly, are you trying to fool???

  • traditional unionist

    intelligence insider, you know who i am and i know who you are, what you have just posted is wrong. there are people like karl still in the party and we do need them.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Sorry, please read “politics” not polotics!!! Typing too fast!

  • bertie

    Karl thanks for the answer.

    I was interested in your comments about sectarianism within the UUP. As an outsider and a long time integrationist, it part of my prejudice the devolutionists tended to be the most bigoted (with exceptions of course) and that they were the ones most keen on the Belfast Agreement, which would align with your view about Trimbleites. I also suspect that the main gripe that these people would have with the DUP is that they preceive it to be too working class.

    Re Paisley and the DUP. I would agree that some of the statements that he has come out with, especially in the past have been less than helpful, to say the least. His stunt with the Pope in the European parliament did none of us any favours. There are sometimes he offends me and makes me cringe, either because I totally disagree with what hne has said or done or because of the way he has said or done it. I would have to say on other times I have found him spot on and the only one willing to make the necessary point.

    Until recently I have had virtually no contact with DUP people. They were an endangered species in Fermanagh and when I was at Queens my contacts were the drinking/partying crowd. However as so may of my political friends are now in the DUP and I have met, through them, many long term DUP activists and I have been impressed. Despite being on constant guard when with them for signs of something for me to be offened by, I was disarmed by the welcoming attitude.

    This is not a plea for you to join the DUP (which I haven’t myself). If we have to have parties in NI defined on the constitutional question, then I think a bit of choice is a good thing. It is much better for the voter to be in the position of thinking “which one do I like best?” rather than either having only one party/candidate you could consider voting for or having to work out the least worst option.

    Are there many more like you still in the UUP? If Jeffrey was still in and had been standing for the leadership what percentage of the vote do you think he would have got?

    Re the woman and young person in the spokes-team for each issue, do you think it will be same woman and the same yoing person for each issue?

    Intelligent Insider

    I am not sure how it would be in the interests of a DUP member to pretend to be a UUP member and slag Paisley off. Or do you think it is some sort of reverse reverse reverse psychology?

  • bertie

    Karl thanks for the answer.

    I was interested in your comments about sectarianism within the UUP. As an outsider and a long time integrationist, it part of my prejudice the devolutionists tended to be the most bigoted (with exceptions of course) and that they were the ones most keen on the Belfast Agreement, which would align with your view about Trimbleites. I also suspect that the main gripe that these people would have with the DUP is that they preceive it to be too working class.

    Re Paisley and the DUP. I would agree that some of the statements that he has come out with, especially in the past have been less than helpful, to say the least. His stunt with the Pope in the European parliament did none of us any favours. There are sometimes he offends me and makes me cringe, either because I totally disagree with what hne has said or done or because of the way he has said or done it. I would have to say on other times I have found him spot on and the only one willing to make the necessary point.

    Until recently I have had virtually no contact with DUP people. They were an endangered species in Fermanagh and when I was at Queens my contacts were the drinking/partying crowd. However as so may of my political friends are now in the DUP and I have met, through them, many long term DUP activists and I have been impressed. Despite being on constant guard when with them for signs of something for me to be offened by, I was disarmed by the welcoming attitude.

    This is not a plea for you to join the DUP (which I haven’t myself). If we have to have parties in NI defined on the constitutional question, then I think a bit of choice is a good thing. It is much better for the voter to be in the position of thinking “which one do I like best?” rather than either having only one party/candidate you could consider voting for or having to work out the least worst option.

    Are there many more like you still in the UUP? If Jeffrey was still in and had been standing for the leadership what percentage of the vote do you think he would have got?

    Re the woman and young person in the spokes-team for each issue, do you think it will be same woman and the same yoing person for each issue?

    Intelligent Insider

    I am not sure how it would be in the interests of a DUP member to pretend to be a UUP member and slag Paisley off. Or do you think it is some sort of reverse reverse reverse psychology?

  • davidbrew

    Heck
    extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue (or something like that)
    said the late great Barry Goldwater, who- unlike the turtle- may have suffered an electoral thumping, but laid the seeds for the future of his country’s politics!

  • T o Kane

    trevor wilson is anti gfa reg we need solid leadership i hope this isnt more of the same as trimble did going back and fro from progressive elements in uup to more extreme hardliners like trimble di dand it didnt benefit him . uup needs to be like labour in the eighties and throw out extremists if they want to have a better image in fairness did donaldson and loopy extremists like nelson mc causland ever benefit them

  • lib2016

    The truth surely is that political unionism is in steep decline and the idea of integration is merely an example of how out of touch it had become. It would seem logical that the more openly sectarian branch of unionism would benefit in the short term from the number of homeless unionists in search of an identity. Won´t do them much good in the medium term as it will frighten even more of the moderates away.

    In the long term of course we all know what the answer will be. 😉

  • Moderate Unionist

    Bertie
    Nice plug for the DUP, but I think you will find it hard to convince moderate nationalists that the DUP is anything other than sectarian. The DUP is defined by Dr. Paisley. Don’t try to make him something he isn’t. In that respect I agree with KR

    Karl Rove
    There may be some bigots in the UUP but there are many more who are not. That’s way they voted for the Belfast Agreement and the concept of powersharing. True, the reality didn’t work out but that is another story.

    Heck
    Being cautious by nature, Reg will not rush in. He will want to bring his party with him, but the modest margin of his victory poses many questions. He needs to understand what the vote meant and then develop an appropriate response.

    He may have decided that the UUP loses votes to the right but not the left and therefore has decided to reinforce that end. Or it may have been the result of pre-election horse trading.

    Political honeymoons don’t last long. The jury is out.

  • bertie

    MU

    If you see it as a plug for the DUP then that’s down to you. As a matter of fact as I said, if we have to have parties defined along constitutional loyalites I would prefer for unionists to have a real choice of parties. I was interested in how many more of Karl’s outlook are still in the UUP as this would be a crucial factor in determining the chance that the UUP can as Karl says “one day the UUP will come home to the Unionism of Molyneaux, Donaldson and so on.” and thus one that I could support. Opposing the politicisation of the criminal justice process and letting terrorists off with murder and promoting the Union is more important than any party or any politician.

  • Moderate Unionist

    bertie
    Why would Jeffrey even consider leaving the DUP?

    What would be the difference in your opinion between the DUP at present and a changed UUP that as Karl says
    “one day the UUP will come home to Unionism of Moyneaux and Donaldson and so on”.

    What would be the policy differences between the two parties in the future you hope for?

  • bertie

    MU

    I have just realised that we are starting to have a similar conversation on two different treads.

    I was quoting Karl re Jeffrey and I took his commnet to mean the type of Unionism he represents rather than his actually rejoining the party.

    It has gone past policies as the speed at with the UUP droped “no guns – no government” and demonised those in the party that didn’t, does not lend me to take this on trust again. The UUP would need to get me to feel that it can be trusted to actually have a bottom line.

    The question about the difference between the DUP now and the UUP as the home of Molyneaux and Donaldson Unionism is a very good one, because I beleive that the DUP has become a broad church and does accomdate this area. The DUP also quite dtrong on social issues e.g. it supports the social model of disability, does not show the same signs of mysogony and is not infected with the “big house” mentality that the UUP is and I am impressed with Iris Robinson’s committment to health issues.

    That being said, I am more comfortable with secular unionism and do not identify with the “Free P” that I still associate with it.

    There is no one still in the forefront of the UUP who makes me think that I want to be associated with them and what they believe in. Whilst in the DUP there is Jeffrey, Arlene and Nigel Dodds.

  • Moderate Unionist

    bertie
    Has the DUP become a broad church? I think the strength of the DUP is that Dr. Paisley is firmly in control and that like him or loathe him you know where you stand with him.

    As personalities, I like the three DUP MPs your mention (an interesting selection I might add) but I dispair of the politics of protest. They shout, the oppose, they complain, they object but nothing happens. Collectively they need to start tackling the fundamental problems facing the people of Northern Ireland. There is an old saying about talk being cheap…

    As for the UUP’s dearth of personalities, it will be interesting to see if any emerge from Mr. Empey’s team.