'Confidence and trust' – Alan McFarland

The Ulster Unionist Party’s newly appointed Chief Negotiator, Alan McFarland, delivered his speech to the MacGill Summer School last Friday, in which he made his theme confidence and trust.

He not only defends the UUP line post 1998, but takes the DUP to task for their stance.

The Democratic Unionist Party ran away from negotiations in 1997 and spent 6 years carping from the side-lines. They stood in the 2003 Assembly elections on a cunning plan about which they were unable to give any detail. It eventually transpired that the cunning plan would see the introduction of a Corporate Assembly, in which all 108 Assembly Members would be the Government. Minister McGuinness would be replaced by Chairman McGuinness, and Sinn Fein were guaranteed that they would remain in government, regardless of how badly the IRA behaved. Not a peep on that policy now.

He also doubts the DUPs ability to sell any deal to their own.

Whither the DUP? Well the DUP have two major challenges in the immediate future. Firstly, the Peter Robinson wing seems keen to do a deal when the Republicans move. Dr Paisley may be harder to convince. He will be mindful of a university study last year that showed around one third of the DUP grass roots want nothing to do with the Belfast Agreement and do not support power-sharing with nationalists. Add to this last November’s threat from DUP councillors in Ballymena to resign from the Party over the Comprehensive Agreement, and the challenges facing the DUP are clear.

He also predicts Irish re-enrty into the Commonwealth of Nations, Northern Ireland becoming increasingly at ease with itself within the Union along with greater cross border co-operation for matters of mutual benefit.

  • slug

    A nicely written speech.

  • Dean’s Scream

    Liked his comment on the DUP/Sinn Fein’s Comprehensive Agreement calling it the “fastest political U – Turn in history”.

    The tank commander is robust in his opposition to Republicans – good to see.

  • Thoughtful Unionist

    A well argued, compelling narrative, which will go a long way to redressing the ‘trust and confidence’ deficit built up over the years between his own party and the Unionist community.

    Reg has made some shrewd appointments since taking over in making the tank commander Chief Negotiator and Danny Kennedy, Deputy Leader.

    Danny is a Unionist the voters can trust and in coming from Newry can articulate a robutst UUP narrative against Republicans.

  • circles

    “He also predicts Irish re-entry into the Commonwealth of Nations”…
    that’ll be the day after hell freezes over then will it.
    Although I do agree that there is a possibility that we will see “Northern Ireland becoming increasingly at ease with itself within the Union along with greater cross border co-operation for matters of mutual benefit” – although I’m not completely convinced that things will go that smoothly to allow the first to happen.

  • its the way my life’s been going

    He is a trustworthy politician and will be able to deliver a strong anti – Republican message.

    However, he does lack standing within the Unionist community and could be accused of not necessarily setting the world alight.

  • its the way my life’s been going

    Im talking about Danny of course…

  • yerman

    “He not only defends the UUP line post 1998,”

    Well there’s the first problem. The UUP line post 1998 has been their ultimate undoing. To continue to defend that stance will mean that the unionist community will not begin to look towards them with any kind of trust.

    He may well criticise the DUP (wrongly) but that criticism will carry absolutely no weight while he still defends his own party running headlong into Government with SF/IRA several times. If he still supports that then any criticism of the DUP looks somewhat strange!

  • Thoughtful Unionist

    True, Danny isn’t a so – called Big Unionist Beast from Belfast in the mould of Robinson, Dodds or Wilson but that mightn’t be a bad thing.

    Not being part of the Unionist inner cricle or political establishment and coming from the sticks might actually endear people towards him.

    Look how Americans are distrustful of Beltway politicians who have spent years on the Hill or in the White House.

    This is one of the major factors why Dick Gephardt failed miserably in his attempt to become the Democratic nominee for President. He had spent too many years ducking and diving inside the Beltway.

    Give Danny time, he has a platform and hopefully he will use it.

  • slug

    This is Alan McFarland’s speech not Danny Kennedy’s speech.

  • Henry94

    TU

    This is one of the major factors why Dick Gephardt failed miserably in his attempt to become the Democratic nominee for President. He had spent too many years ducking and diving inside the Beltway.

    Unlike John Kerry?

  • slug

    The UUPs fortunes to some extent depend on how unionists see the nationalist voting and political strategy going. Alan McFarland’s type of unionism could make greater headway with the electorate, for example, if Mark Durkans type of nationalism also started to win back votes.

  • Ginfizz

    Alan McFarland is the standard bearer for the Sylvia Hermo tendency. Whil I can see why nationalists wish him well, ordinary decent Unionists simply don’t believe a word the UUP says.

    As for being robust with republicans: this is a man who ran for the leadership on a platform of refusing to rule out a return to government with SF/IRA – good God people, he’s softer than Reg!

    PS. I wonder if the leader knows just how many people in his Press Office willed him to lose the race and still have daggers drawn. McFarland loyalists at HQ – you know who you are!!!

  • darthrumsfeld

    What planet are you people on? THis is Alan Nice But Dim’s best shot?-

    1 Peter Punt wants the Doc’s job
    2 We did a brilliant deal negotiating the GFA
    3 Everything’s much better than it was 10 years ago

    Alan- 1995 was better than 1985; 1985 was better than 1975; in many ways 1975 was better than 1965- and none of these improvements came about because of the UUP’s white flag negotiating tactics.

    Poor old Brezhnev must be turning in his grave. Yes, Leonid,Alan’s tank actually was our frontline of defence, and the West was there for the taking

  • Concerned Loyalist

    The UUP are a non-entity. The Unionist electorate gave them a resounding vote of NO confidence at both the Assembly and recent Westminster and Council elections. I voted DUP and will continue to do so unless the UUP change their spots and elect a decisive, charismatic leader who will not appease the Rafia of Sinn Fein/IRA

  • Ginfizz

    “a decisive, charismatic leader”

    Reg isn’t those things? Oh dear.

  • slug9987

    The UUP have done well in the past with a non-charismatic leader. Actually I think that Reg and Alan are rather more charismatic than Trimble. While Trimble’s strength was his intelligence, Reg and Alan have nicer personalities.

  • Dean’s Scream

    Yerman,

    I think Alan is attempting an explanation of UUP policy post 1998.

    Consider these two competing narratives:

    1) The UUP in 1998 decided to call Republican’s bluff, remain in negotiations and attempt to make a deal, which will transform Northern Ireland from a destitute war zone into a prosperous, peaceful and flourishing Western Democracy.

    The UUP in staying inside the tent, confronted Republicans face to face forcing them to accept decomissioning and a paritionist constitutional settlement, which saw Sinn Fein sitting in a partitionist assembly as Ministers under the British Crown. In addition consent is now a fundamental principle governing UK constitutional law and the vile and offensive Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution are removed.

    The UUP trusted that the British Goverment would support them if Republicans didnt live up to their side of the bargain. Instead of living up to their side of the deal Repbulicans lied and deceived the people of Northern Ireland.

    The UUP gave them a chance and exposed their hypocrisy and lies. Sure we made mistakes, mistakes which ultimately the electorate punnished us for. We have learned the hard way that Republicans can’t be trusted.

    Enter the DUP storyline…

    2) After walking out of negotiations to save Ulster in 1997, they walk back into the process in 1999 sitting in the Assembly, serving as Ministers, chairing Assembly committess and working with Sinn Fein, not to mention sitting in TV studios with them.

    Everything becomes Trimble and the UUP’s fault from the rain to Republican lies and deceit. They capitalise on increased Protestant disillusionment with the Agreement and storm to electoral success in 2003 and 2005 failing to offer the electorate anything tangible except a fair deal, which has been subsequently dropped from the DUP’s political lexicon.

    Relentless, ruthless and co-ordinated attacks on Trimble carry the day and convince the electorate that the DUP is the way to go.

    However, with an IRA statement due soon and a deal back on the table, what next for the DUP’s Hollywoodesque, sensationalist storyline.

  • slug

    Good post, Deans Scream.

  • Dean’s Scream

    Anyone who knows Reg knows he is a charismatic leader.

    Its easy to buy into a DUP sponsored media myth that Reg lacks charisma etc…

    But its good to see the DUP are having fun with their charisma boys!

    What a charismatic young man Paul Berry turned out to be one lonely day in the Ramada Hotel.

  • Dean For 2008

    Dean

    As opposed to the ever charismatic Michael Copeland having his offices raided and computers seized by the police? Or the fragrant Davy Boy Archer?

  • Dean’s Scream

    Or Mr Charisma himself Sammy ‘Trousers Down’ Wilson. Easy Rider indeed….

  • Dean’s Scream

    Thanks slug,

    Reg has done a good job since he took over, deploying his personality to good effect.

    Placing the parades issue in the context he has, has proven extremely effctive.

    He’s even drawing support for this issue from Non – Orangemen, if todays letter in the Newsletter is anything to go by.

  • Fanny

    Ah I love the smell of two sets of party press officers getting stuck into each other in the morning.

    Oh no, hang on, actually it’s deeply boring.

  • eastofthebann

    Impressive speech by McFarland. Tough on republicans while consistent with positive Ulster Unionist values.

    Both Empey and McFarland have been really getting stuck in these past few weeks – it just seems there’s a much more unified approach from the UUP, and a heartening determination not to go quietly into the night, and cede the stage to Rev Paisley and his acolytes.

  • The Watchman

    I haven’t the time to dissect McFarland’s speech (yet) but on first glance it looks like the same old Trimbleite narrative: Turtleism sans Turtle. So despite 2 electoral defeats and the musing of Yours Truly, it seems that the relevant pennies have not yet dropped. Until McFarland is willing to admit that the UUP’s decline is primarily its own fault, not Gerry’s, Seamus’s, Bertie’s and not Tony’s, then the UUP will be stuck on 17 pc or wherever it is for the foreseeable future.

  • Fanny

    Yes, how can the UUP possibly be ignoring the musings of Watchman? His pompous self-regard makes him the natural touch-stone of unionist thinking. Apparently.

  • G2

    Fanny,

    I think Watchman should go and join the DUP along with a few of his supporting buddies from friends of the Union over there in London. His moaning and whinging is only jealousy of an exellent speech by Alan McFarland.

    Reg Empey couldn’t have picked a better up and coming MLA than Alan Mcfarland for this new post . Congratulations, if this speech is just a beginning of a comeback and reawakening for the UUP I can’t wait to hear or read more from Alan McFarland. MLA.

  • Fanny

    Ach G2, the DUP would never tolerate such a free-thinking free-spirit as our Watchman. I think he should go do the journalism course at BIFHE instead. I haven’t seen such a chronic case of frustrated journalist syndrome since David Vance sold out to the BBC.

  • Jack Storey

    I wonder what the DUP hoped to achieve, apart from cheap publicity, by their invasion of Clontibret, Co. Monaghan, probably the only Protestant village in the area. Similarly, I wonder how the DUP will explain away their Leader’s “Never, Never, Never” speech at the City Hall back then. Perhaps, just like Sinn Fein’s strange meanings of words, the DUP will explain that “NEVER” means a slight postponement but that “NEVER” as others understand it is a word taken out of context.

  • bertie

    G2

    What is your problem with Friends of the Union?

  • G2

    bertie,

    I haven’t any problem as I dont belong to it . Unlike Watchman I dont live in London . However from what I have been told the friends of the Union were not very good friends to the UUP. In fact had some of them and a UUP MP who recently lost his seat got their way, they were all for disolving the UUP and joining the DUP.

  • bertie

    G2
    Thanks for replying.

    You may be interested to know that FOTU kept being accused of being Friends of the UUP. One of its directors is in the UUP (He’s not the individual you were alluding to.) It hasn’t to my knowledge had a DUP speaker* at its functions (at least not those I’ve been at and I’ve been to a good few). Similarly the UUP have been argueably over represented in its list of publication authors. It does have to redress the balance especially considering the DUP’s electoral sucesses.

    FOTU has members in NI as well as GB.

    “In fact had some of them and a UUP MP who recently lost his seat got their way, they were all for disolving the UUP and joining the DUP.”

    FOTU is a broad church and the individual you mention is a member but so are lots of people The organisation tries to keep out of party squabbles and focus on the wider agenda of promoting the Union.

    Oh by the way I am a member but you may have guessed :o)

  • slug

    Bertie do you think that FOTU has been successful in its stated objectives?

  • G2

    “The organisation tries to keep out of party squabbles and focus on the wider agenda of promoting the Union”

    Bertie, go tell that one to the marines. It’s a well known fact certain anti GFA members of the FOTU helped feed the fires of discontent within UUP and blame it on GFA supporters. FOTU are more friendly to the DUP & the GOLI than they ever were to their own party the UUP.

    As Alan Mcfarland MLA said in his opening speech: (The Peace Process)
    “I have a DUP Manifesto from 1988 and it sets out the three key demands that they, and we in the UUP, made in every election between 1972 and 1998. These were: the return of Accountable Democracy, the removal of Articles 2 & 3 and the introduction of the Consent Principle, in which the people of Northern Ireland decide their future. In the 1998 Belfast Agreement, all three demands were finally met, and it was the Ulster Unionist Party that delivered them”.

    Had the FOTU & the DUP more concern for the ** BIGGER PICTURE** namely the wellbing of all the people of all Northern Ireland instead of concern for their themselves the UUP wouldn’t be in the situation it is today.

    Those three demands which were finally met by the signing of the GFA helped seal the * UNION* but those blind members of the FOTU & DUP only seen the half empty glass.

  • Dean 2008

    Deans Scream

    “He’s even drawing support for this issue from Non – Orangemen, if todays letter in the Newsletter is anything to go by.”

    Oh aye because that wasn’t a planted letter or anything.

    Lets not forget bed-hopper Nicholson that towering charisma in the Official Unionist Party.

  • Dean 2008

    “Reg Empey couldn’t have picked a better up and coming MLA than Alan Mcfarland for this new post.”

    Really? A man so universally popular that his vote actually fell in the 2003 elections and he was rejected by the voters of North Down twice in the 1990’s at a time when the UUP was able to command roughly 60% of the pro-Union vote?

    I suppose if you mean from a DUP POV, Reg really couldn’t have picked a better man.

  • bertie

    G2

    “certain anti GFA members of the FOTU…”

    members of the FOTU as you say some of these are members of the UUP so by your logic the UUP is anti-UUP.

    Many of these members are also members of the Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and yes Roman Catholic Church etc. Does than mean that those churches are also anti-UUP?

    Slug

    Its an ongoing struggle and it esists to promote the Union which it has done and has provided a forum for non-alined unionists in NI as well as the rest of the UK, who are members of the Tory, Labour or LibDem parties or none.

  • bertie

    Slug

    Forgot to add that there is always more work to be done.

  • Dean’s Scream

    Hi Dean,

    Lets not forget Cllr Dessie Stewart in Coleraine who is up for electoral fraud.

  • G2

    “members of the FOTU as you say some of these are members of the UUP so by your logic the UUP is anti-UUP”

    Bertie,

    Those said members of the FOTU were so openly anti-UUP against their own party, they were openly seen canvassing for three DUP candidates in the previous westminister election.

    Had they been normal joe soap members of the UUP with no political clout or Orange nepotism behind them they would have been **DRUMMED** out of the party as traitors and disloyal lundies.

  • Dean 2008

    ….Or the UUP team in Belfast that was so desperate to make up the numbers that they’ve invited the UDA to join their council grouping.

  • Dean’s Scream

    …ooh i think not Dean, scraping the bottom of the barrel for insults now.

    .. lets not get started on the DUP’s paramilitary past!

  • bertie

    G2

    Possibly, you know more about that than I do. The point is that what people who happen to be members of the FOTU do is not the same as the FOTU doing it. From my point of view I would love the FOTU, the Anglcan church, the disability charity I am involved with, the organisation I work, my local Sainsbury’s etc all to come out and condemn the Belfast Agreement, but that would not actually be appropriate.

    I am no fan of the individual I suspect you are referring too (and yes its not hard to guess), but I suspect he would be greatly gratified by your apparant belief that he is a highly influential member.

  • G2

    “Many of these members are also members of the Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and yes Roman Catholic Church etc. Does than mean that those churches are also anti-UUP”

    Bertie,

    Yer joking, first time I heard the FOTU was so important it had representatives from the four mentioned religious Christian Churches.

    I see, so no non-Christian’s allowed in the FOTU? Any chance of letting us know which important member represents old red socks or the Archbishop of Cadbury?

  • G2

    Dean 2008,

    With respect, North Down was the only constituency in the 2005 Election which returned its sitting Westminister MP and its eight UUP local councillors. Alan McFarland’ won his MLA seat at the 2003 election.

    Congratulations North Down. Had David Trimble the wisdom to see the professional potential in Alan Mcfarland regards his speech writing, his image media wise, his loyalty and above all else his honest concern for the future of Northern Ireland within the **UNION** the UUP may not have suffered the humiliating defeat as bad as it did at the last election.

    As the new leader of the UUP Sir Reg Empey has to be also congratulated to have that wisdom to see better than David Trimble. Thats why he decided to use Alan Mcfarland in the best way for the UUP to make a come back to the party it once was.

    Long hard days are ahead. But Alan Mcfarland is that light at the end of the tunnel for all UUP members to gather behind and support Sir Reg’s Empey’s new UUP team & shake off those dispairing defeatest doom & gloom merchants who nearly sunk the ship themselves without the enemy firing one single shot.

  • Dean 2008

    G2

    Your commets re. North Down are of course true. Hermon was able to successfully build an anti-DUP coalition. However, this will not follow through in assembly constests, and might I suggest you take a look at the local government figures – the UUP’s performance was far from impressive.

    Deans Scream (I know who you are)

    Fair enough. Being accused of cosying up to the UDA, isn’t offensive to you – thats good to know.

  • Dean 2008

    Deans Scream

    True or false Frank McCoubrey is a member of the UUP council group in Belfast?

  • slug9987

    G” yes, McFarland is good. There is also Basil McCrea, I think he is good new blood too and would I like to hear more from him.

  • G2

    “However, this will not follow through in assembly constests, and might I suggest you take a look at the local government figures – the UUP’s performance was far from impressive.”

    Dean 2008,

    I was only replying to your post regards N Down. The dogs in the street know the overall UUP preformance “was far from impressive.”

    If you wish to change the goalposts regards assembly contests, the ball’s now in the DUP court. It’s a DUP baby now, so Lets see how many home gaols they score regards powersharing once the decommisioning issue has been settled, to please Westminister, Dublin & Washington by SF?

    What Baldrick that squeaks “Never Never, well Maybe I have a cunning plan me Lord” is Big Ian going to pull out of Blackadder’s magic hat this time to keep his 30% hard liners on board once he agrees to form an assembly with SF?

    Never mind the wanting to see photo’s of SF arms being surrendered. The Doc’s hardline followers will want to see the smashed and cut off head of the defeated GFA on a silver platter before they will ever trust him again.

  • The Watchman

    I’m puzzled by G2’s strange Friends of the Union fetish, which isn’t relevant to McFarland’s paper. Given its roots in right-wing integrationist Toryism, it’s hardly a classic Paisleyite Trojan horse. His ignorance of the FoUs is hilarious.

    McFarland is important to the modern UUP, given that Cooper and McGimpsey both crashed and burned in Westminster debacles. With apologies to Alexander Dubcek, he is offering reheated Trimbleism-with-a-human-face. He fails to link the UUP’s post-1998 electoral failures to its strategic and tactical failings over the same period. Indeed, from his leadership election material, McFarland made no substantive criticism beyond mere “bad political PR”.

    The UUP did not suffer a vicarious punishment beating on May 5 because of the betrayals of others. It has to take responsibility for itself. It acquiesced in the Belfast Agreement’s corruption of democracy and the rule of law. It happily accepted “constructive ambiguity” when it should have insisted upon clarity and transparency. McFarland bemoans the absence of a safety net over forming the Executive. But I imagine if, say, G2 were to jump from his/her window without ensuring that there was an adequate said safety net, we might conclude that s/he was a bit of a fool. Unfortunately, the unionist electorate saw the UUP’s habitual foolishness and promptly lost confidence in its defence of core interests.

    McFarland (and his salivating admirer G2) praises the UUP for negotiating the consent principle in 1998. However, Trimble himself now seems to disagree. In the Frank Millar book at p. 55, he says “(C)onsent is the operative element of British government policy, as and from 1920”. So why did the UUP try to con people that there was some victory in this regard from 1998? But the wider problem is that the UUP’s “victories” over consent, Articles 2 and 3 etc, were theoretical and abstract. The republican gains in areas like prisoner release and the RUC’s destruction and humiliation were anything but.

    It’s easy to take opportunistic pot-shots at the DUP. But McFarland went on record during his leadership campaign as wanting to tie the party into participating in any reformed Executive, regardless of the terms of any deal reached between the DUP and Sinn Fein. He can’t attack the DUP for selling out on principles that he himself happily abandoned years ago, without there being, um, a credibility problem. And credibility, of course, is at the heart of the UUP’s problems.

  • Fanny

    Why has it not occurred to Watchman that reheated Trimbleism with a human face might be exactly what people want?

  • G2

    Exactly Fanny , a human face is much better than a reheated Trimblism with a DUP face, supported by Watchman and his lundy FOTU..

  • The Watchman

    G2

    “a human face is much better than a reheated Trimblism with a DUP face, supported by Watchman and his lundy FOTU”

    You really need to get over your paranoid FoU obsession. Have you considered lying down in a dark room to dream of Trimble’s return as First Minister?

    Alternatively, are you the DUP’s Stakeknife inside the UUP? Given the low quality of your postings with their unintentional (?) comedy, one has to wonder.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Its accurate to state that the Consent principle was and remains HMG’s policy. Although I would date it from later than the 20’s, probably from around the late 40’s when it moved from a more absolutist position to the consent principle. The key point that was negotiated was the acceptance by nationalist Irish opinion of the principle. That was some thing which stemmed from the acceptance of the agreement as was ratified by the 1998 Irish Referenda. This has the effect of offering a democratic counter to the previous claims by some that the only poll of public opinion that mattered was the 1918 election which arguably showed a majority for independence. In this sense I would suggest that an important symbolic point was made by securing the issue of consent in the Agreement and bringing nationalist Ireland into accepting it. Obviously it has little practical effect as the only opinion that matters in a de facto sense is that of HMG but I would be less dismissive of the influence of the de jure strengthening of the principle of consent by securing a wider nationalist consensus for its continuation.

    A good speech that highlights some good points and sets a good framework on where the UUP should be setting out for. The DUP are going to face some hard challenges when people realise that they cant please all their supporters. Either they do a deal based around re-jigging of the 1998 BFA and please their new converts but make unhappy their hardcore of no no no no! people or else they please the base and alienate the new converts risking a drip back to the UUP(assuming it shapes up organisationally). Personally my guess is Robinson will look to the new people, they are essential and the base has nowhere to go to so it will be a new labour outreach exercise to the centre ground that will dictate their response. Should make for some interesting party management issues once the IRA statement comes along and we start waiting for the IMC to provide some clarification of the on the ground effect of their new big promise.

  • G2

    “Its accurate to state that the Consent principle was and remains HMG’s policy.”

    Correct DSD,

    When SF signed “the Consent principle” in the 1998 GFA this was a tremendous success regards Northern Ireland catholic-republicans accepting the *union* as long as the majority of citizens voted to stay within with UK. See Strand One: *Constitutional Issues**
    “Democratic Institutions in Northern Ireland “

    Likewise having the Irish Government drop articles 2&3 in signing the GFA was another winner by the UUP to seal the **UNION** between Norn Iron & Great Britian.

    See ANNEX B IRISH GOVERNMENT DRAFT LEGISLATION TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION
    http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/users/ireland/today/good_friday/full_text.html

    The Ulster Unionist Party’s newly appointed Chief Negotiator, Alan McFarland, understands the importance of this in the GFA. Thats why he put it at the beginning of his positive speech. as the Glass half Full. Unfortunately there are Unionists who are so negative they only see the Glass half Empty.

  • The Watchman

    When one reads G2’s breathless acclamation of UUP negotiating genius, one wonders why the party has had rotten elections ever since 1998.

    G2, since you obviously have primary sources to hand, perhaps you can show where Sinn Fein has explicitly declared that it accepted the consent principle. And even if it did, so what? Acceptance of the consent principle is simply acceptance that there can be no change in sovereignty without a voting majority for it in a referendum. That’s realpolitik. Nationalists merely had to come to terms with reality.

    That reality also made the old offensive constitutional claim unenforceable. (It’s of course a moot point as to whether the new Articles 2, 3 don’t recreate the claim in a new way, but that’s a discusssion for another day.) The old Articles may have been offensive but they were not worth concessions elsewhere.

    It says a lot for the negotiating incompetence of the UUP that the party happily exchanged paper victories in these areas for rather more drastic and tangible defeats elsewhere.

    The UUP won on consent, the IRA got the RUC’s head.

    The UUP got Articles 2, 3 rewritten, the IRA got a flimsy decommissioning section that gave it ministerial power for nearly 3 years.

    The UUP gets a “copper-fastened” union, the IRA gets the “greening of the north”

    G2, I think your pro-Agreement mindset needs decommissioned.

  • The Watchman

    Oops, left out some inverted commas. My fourth sentence from the bottom should have read: “The UUP “won” on consent, the IRA got the RUC’s head.”

    I happily admit a mistake – which is more than Purple Dave has ever done.

  • G2

    “The UUP won on consent, the IRA got the RUC’s head”.

    Watchman,

    Find me one out of the 43 Police Services in England & Wales which has a *ROYAL* title before its name and I will sympathise with those who keep harping on about changing the name of the RUC to PSNI.

    Only armed forces regiments in the British Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force hold such Royal charters & titles which in turn have a member of Royalty who is their Commander in Chief.

    The RUC never had a charter to use the word Royal in front of its name.to begin with. The name change to PSNI only came into line with similar names of police forces in the UK.

  • The Watchman

    G2,

    If you think what happened to the RUC wasn’t shameful, then that says more about your soggy brand of “New Unionism” than anything I could mention. No wonder the UUP is almost dead in the water. Even Trimble conceded that policing caused more problems on the doorsteps in 2001 than any other issue.

  • davidbrew

    Let’s just test this great victory of the consent principle of the Tank Commander.

    All the Shinner bloggers out there-
    Do you accept that you must abide by the wish of the majority to remain part of the UK , and that NI must be made a stable ordinary part of the UK -with your active support to bring that about?

    when it dawns on you that you will never achieve a united Ireland by purely peaceful and democratic means, will you accept that you have lost?

    So that tells you all you need to know about the consent principle

  • G2

    Watchman,

    Scotlands  six regiments are going to be reduced to five which are then going to be  amalgamated into one single regiment called the “Royal Regiment of Scotland”

    There is not one scottish soldier who still serves or has served in any of these regiments with names much older than the RUC who is jumping with joy at the namechange. They all believe its shameful.

    But the reality is that the change is going to happen because the democratic elected members of parliment have approved of the change. Shameful and all as it may be.

  • The Watchman

    G2,

    There is NO comparison between the destruction of the RUC and the reorganisation of the Scottish regiments. The regiments are being combined for operational reasons (which may or may not be sound), not to appease a nationalist lobby. The former regimental divisions inside the Royal Regiment of Scotland will retain some of the historic regimental symbols, whereas the British symbolism of the RUC was ruthlessly purged. The treatment of the Scottish regiments may be described as “shameful” but such a description is hardly adequate because it is so much more appropriate to the treatment of the brave men of the RUC. Their stabbing in the back was directly facilitated by a stupid Ulster Unionist leadership that bungled policing – “Ken and Cecil have saved the RUC”, yeah right. There is still much sackcloth and ashes for the UUP to wear over the way it stood back and let the RUC go down. Oh and spare us the guff about the 100 UUP amendments at committee stage of the Bill. Trimble could easily have played hardball by making the RUC’s demise a resigning issue.

  • G2

    “Trimble could easily have played hardball by making the RUC’s demise a resigning issue.”

    Yeah keep playing your fiddle Watchman. It sounds like an out of tune out of date lament. Trimble could have also played hardball making the UDR’s demise a resigning game as well could he not.? I suppose all your FOTU buddies were wetting their little nappies with glee when he did eventually resign.

    I suppose changing the name of the “Ulster Defence Regiment” to the “Royal Irish Regiment ” was another appeasent to a nationalist lobby likewise? What would you suggest Watchman.? The ” Royal Ulster Scots Regiment” would that please you?

  • The Watchman

    G2,

    If you can’t respond to reasoned argument without resorting to pathetic bluster and abuse, you shouldn’t be posting here with the adults.

  • bertie

    G2

    I know that I should know better than to even bother replying but …

    “Yer joking, first time I heard the FOTU was so important it had representatives from the four mentioned religious Christian Churches.”

    I can’t make my mind up whether you really think that my comment trying to make the point that because some members of an organisation have a view does not mean that that is the organisations view, implys that I am saying that the fact that there are Anglicans etc in FOTU shows that they represent these churches. That would be jsut too daft. Does that mean that it os meant to be a joke. If so, I just don’t get it and I have tried.

    “I see, so no non-Christian’s allowed in the FOTU?”

    Again many people in Friends of the Union does not mean all, but again not realising this would be stupid – another joke?

    “Any chance of letting us know which important member represents old red socks or the Archbishop of Cadbury?”

    Have not the faintest idea what this means.

    “Find me one out of the 43 Police Services in England & Wales which has a *ROYAL* title before its name and I will sympathise with those who keep harping on about changing the name of the RUC to PSNI.”

    Someone from the Disabled Police Officers Association, many of whom have lost limbs, eyes etc. was telling me that for their members the change of name change was more painful and harder to deal with than their injuries. Many RUC widows would “harp” on about it too, if they thought that anyone would care.

    Watchman
    “I’m puzzled by G2’s strange Friends of the Union fetish, which isn’t relevant to McFarland’s paper”

    Sorry this is probably my fault. G2 has often made similar sniping comments about FOTU and as a member I was curious and a bit irked so I tried to explore it a bit. Now irk has given way to amusement. For others who know little (and care even less)about FOTU, this must be very boring. But I find it hysterical.

    Fanny
    “Why has it not occurred to Watchman that reheated Trimbleism with a human face might be exactly what people want?” I doubt that Trimble’s “face”/demeanor etc. is what turned the electorate against him. After all I lot of us were behind him before the Belfast Agreement despite the judgement on his demeanor. (that spelling doesn’t look right to me)

    I actually, unlike many (almost all it seems)anti Agreement people, (and some pro Agreement), actually used to find DT easy to get on with and good company. I get very strange looks when I say that but its true.

  • G2

    “Someone from the Disabled Police Officers Association, many of whom have lost limbs, eyes etc. was telling me that for their members the change of name change was more painful and harder to deal with than their injuries. Many RUC widows would “harp” on about it too, if they thought that anyone would care.”

    Bertie,

    Your use of Disabled RUC officers and the widows of dead officers as an agrument against the changing the name from RUC to PSNI is a shameful political red herring which was used by the DUP to attack the UUP since the signing ot the GFA.

    With the greatest respect and condolence to all who have lost loved ones in the Northern Ireland troubles. But what makes disabled RUC officers any more important than the thousands of disabled ex-servicemen or disabled civilians.(many of them chiildren) who were casualities of the past 30 years troubles?.

    Likewise with the greatest respect and condolence to Police widows but what makes them more important than the thousands of members of the armed force’s or civilian widows, who have to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones ?

    Citizens who join any Police service or the Armed forces whose job it is to carry guns do so knowing rightly the job they will be required to do is a dangerous job. If they lose their lives or are wounded for serving their county is a tragedy. But like all wars, as the present Iraq is or was the Northen ireland troubles their widows and their families must carry on with their lives regardless. The British Government have always made allowances for widows of lost servicemen & Police.

    Certain UUP or DUP politicans (who never served one day in their lives in the police or the Armed forces) who use such tragedies as a political weapon against their fellow Unionist politicans or to promote themselves should hang their heads in shame.

  • bertie

    G2
    “Your use of Disabled RUC officers and the widows of dead officers as an agrument against the changing the name from RUC to PSNI”

    I didn’t. I brought it up as a protest of your expression about “harping” on about it. It showed a complete lack of respect.

    Nor was I saying that soldiers widow deserved less respect. You can respect the loss of all without dismissing the pain felt at the name change of the RUC as “harping”.

  • G2

    “It showed a complete lack of respect.”

    lack of respect to who Bertie?

  • bertie

    To people distressed about the name change, which includes RUC widows and disabled RUC officers.

    Watchman is more than a match for any lack of respect you want to throw at him.

  • G2

    Bertie,

    I believe in democracy unlike some UUP members and the DUP who refused to accept 71% of the citizens of Northern Ireland voted in favour of the GFA.or (Belfast Agreement) .

    “The Belfast Agreement produced a wholescale reorganisation of inter-community, governmental and policing systems, including a power-sharing executive with David Trimble and the nationalist SDLP’s Seamus Mallon (later replaced by new party leader Mark Durkan) as co-chairmen. The perceived bias, and the clear lack of Catholics and nationalists, in the RUC meant that as part of the Good Friday Agreement (1998) there was a fundamental policing review. The review was headed by Chris Patten, a former Hong Kong Governor and British Conservative Minister under Margaret Thatcher, and published in September 1999. It recommended a wholesale reorganisation of policing, with the replacement of the Royal Ulster Constabulary with a new police force that would contain people from both communities and which would adopt neutral systems, flags and emblems. The new Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) was introduced in November 2001. As part of the change, the new police service dropped the word ‘Royal’ and adopted a new badge that included both the crown and the harp, two symbols of the RUC each with an identification to one or other community. “
    http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Royal-Ulster-Constabulary

    Now the DUP have harped on for 7 years about the name change of the RUC. to PSNI How come not one of their elected 9 MP’s in the 2005 election have mentioned this terrible dastardly act or indeed proposed an Early Day motion at westminister to re-name the PSNI back to the RUC?

  • bertie

    G2

    your answer does not in anyway deal with the point I was making. If you are just expressing your opinion on the matter then that is another matter and is fair enough.

    If the majority of people want to vote to have powersharing etc. cross border bodies etc then that is up to them. I can have my own view about it. In my opinion it was not democratic because it was not a free vote because many people felt that they had to get it to get peace and that puts it on a par with protection money. However, the majority voted for it and I do not feel inclined to bother fighting (in its non violence sence) for those people. As regards the release of prisoners I do not acceot this at all (By the way I have never been a member of the DUP or the UUP). The right for victims to have justice is that and no-one has the right to vote it away. In fact it is not just the victiims have this right, all of us do ans we may be the next victims. In the same way that if the majority voted to execute all the pro-Trimble UUP wing at Carson’s statue on the 12th July next year. I would not accept that either (honestly). Rights have to be ring fenced first. Democracy can settle the matter for what is left.

  • G2

    “If you are just expressing your opinion on the matter then that is another matter and is fair enough.”

    Bertie,

    Expressing my opinion, is all I have been doing, first by congratulating Alan McFarland MLA and offering my opinion on his exellent speech at the beginning of this thread.

    Watchman stated “I haven’t the time to dissect McFarland’s speech (yet) but on first glance it looks like the same old Trimbleite narrative: ” and in another post he says “It’s easy to take opportunistic pot-shots at the DUP” . And why not I say, the DUP done nothing towards this recent IRA declaration except prospone it. Sam Foster MLA makes an exellent point in todays News letter:

    “We want good politics here and people working together,” he said. “I feel the person who has helped considerably towards the IRA declaration has been David Trimble, who has by himself and the Ulster Unionist Party, created the bridge-end that has brought about this break-through. “When the DUP became the largest Unionist party, they said concessions would stop. “I’m still waiting.” http://www.newsletter.co.uk/story/21701

    Lets see how many Army lookout posts the DUP’s 9 MP’s will prevent from coming down, seeing they are now the top Norn Iron party in the House of Commons.

    Arlene Foster will be bawling her bake off to the media as usual. but nobody will be listening to her rantings and ravings.

  • bertie

    G2.

    Well I for one will pay more attention to Arlene than Sammy anyday. I was speaking to a mainland MP today who was telling me how well she had spoken.

    In trying to respect the “play the ball” re Sammy, I will leave it at that.

  • G2

    “I was speaking to a mainland MP today who was telling me how well she had spoken”

    Bertie,

    Did you ask him how the DUP are were going to keep their promises to their electorate by stopping any more concessions going to SF/IRA now they are the leading 9 MP lights regards Unionism in Norn Iron?

    .

  • bertie

    Would you beleive it did not come up in the conversation. The DUP is not an obsession of either of us.

    “I feel the person who has helped considerably towards the IRA declaration has been David Trimble”

    probably true and this meaningless declaration gives the green light to press on with its concessions.

    Well done David I am so grateful.

    If you want to read someone making excellent point read Kevin Myers in the Telegraph today.

  • Moderate Unionist

    bertie
    Fair enough. I know what you are against. Concessions, appeasement, terrorists in government, changing of the RUC name.

    Can you please explain to me how to make progress. Westminster are the soverign power not only that but they are the pay masters.

    We might complain loudly, we might talk about democracy, morality, and decency, but I don’t think they will listen. What should the DUP do now to improve our lot, or are you happy with the way things are?

  • bertie

    MU

    Good to have you back!

    I fear we have a long road back to establishing some principles. We have to stop doing things that make it worse, i.e. not facilitating our governments attempts to reward the IRA, in the light of this latest piece of coreography (is there any way of using spell checker when posting?). That is very much the first thing and not an irrelevance.

    “We might complain loudly, we might talk about democracy, morality, and decency” but we haven’t been and we have made it easier for our government to shaft us.

    I don’t think that it is soley down to the DUP. After the Belfast Agreement I am less inclined to let any party be in sole control of the direction of NI.

    I’m still praying that they will bring back Roy Mason.

    I have been concerned for some time, even before ’98, about the morale of unionists and have always beleived that the Union can only be betrayed by unionists and low morale feeds this. This needs to be an item on the DUP’s agenda (and the agenda of the rest of us).

    If I could give further advise to the DUP it would be to start cultivating those well disposed to unionism on the mainland. Dean Godson’s book illustrates how DT failed to do this. There is an untapped vein of support amongst Scottish Labout MPs and the Lords of course. There are many good members of the Upper House, who do not owe Blair anything. Its time for unionists to show our cuddly, (but principled) side.

    I am not “happy” with things the way they are. I am very concerned about the on-the-runs and there needs to be a focus of resistance to that. A possible key to consider in that is that Blair loves to be adored more than anything else. We need to play on that. I am not unhappy with direct rule, for the reasons we have discussed before, even if I think the NI team of HMG is about as bad as it gets.

  • Moderate Unionist

    bertie
    First with regard to the spell checker. Open word and type the offending word (or the whole article). Then cut and paste into the text box.

    Second, thanks for the good wishes. I have been in observing mode following the announcement.

    Finally, I thought it was plain from Peter Hain’s interview earlier today that “if we don’t like the decisions he is making (Water tax, etc) we should get the assembly sorted out pretty quickly”.

    There will be a lot of pressure on the DUP. Frankly, I think they will bluster for a bit and then end up in the Assembly.

    Do you have another alternative? We might get some labour MPs to support us, but we won’t be able to change the broad trust of Blairs initiative.

  • bertie

    MU

    thanks I did think of that but I’m not sure my eye co-ordination and manual dexterity is up to it. I will give it ago. I like to keep referring back to the post that I am responding to.

    I suspected that Hain will punish us for not wanting terrorists in government. But that still doesn’t mean that we should agree.

    I see what you mean about pressure on the DUP, but I am not so sure. There may be some within the party that are itching to get their hands on power, which is not in itself wrong. However I think that they realise that they are answerable to their electorate and that is the pressure that they will be most susceptible to.

    What is the alternative? a very valid question, and I am not sure. As we have discussed before I am not really interested in the assembly or in power sharing, so being in a very small minority in this regard, I don’t really have a contribution to make. In the same way as if I had been alive during the war and anyone had asked me what my alternative to the Nazis was, I would not have much interest beyond NOT having the Nazis in power. This was very much a minority view too in the mid 30’s. If things were anyway normal in NI, I would have no interest in politics at all. I would be focusing on another mission.

    What is your take on this latest “seizmic shift”?

  • Nicky Harmar-Nicholls

    To the person who calls him or herself G2: try to remember you’re pretending to be a Unionist when you post here. “War” indeed! Either you are one, or have spent too much time in the company of Sinn Feiners. We Unionists do not regard the squalid gangsterism of the Troubles as a war. Your comments about RUC widows are beneath comment, and I am not one bit surprised do you of have the courage to post such opinions under your own name.

  • Moderate Unionist

    Nicky Harmar-Nicholls
    Would that be the Harmar-Nicholls from Dervock by any chance?

  • G2

    Or would it be Nicky Harmar-Nichols from “BALLY-GO-HYPOCRISY” or Harmar-Nicholls from “DOUBLE-STANDARD-TOWN” member of *WE UNIONISTS* and supporter of the 182 DUP councillors who spend so much “time in the company of Sinn Feiners ” in council meetings but tell everyone including the RUC & UDR widows they never meet with IRA/SF

  • G2

    “There will be a lot of pressure on the DUP. Frankly, I think they will bluster for a bit and then end up in the Assembly.”

    Liam Clarke of the Sunday Times believes the: DUP will wait two years before sharing power. He states:

    “THE Democratic Unionist party will insist on a two-year decontamination period before entering government with Sinn Fein if the IRA fails to provide visual proof that it is has dumped its weapons.”
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,2765-1715233,00.html

    Photographic proof isnt proper visual proof is it really? The Belfast City Council have been putting out different coloured bins around South Belfast recently to collect waste paper, garden rubbish, and general household waste. Maybe the DUP could suggest to the City council they could always put a fourth bin out to collect decommisioned guns.

    At least it would be better than dumping them at the end of the street. A trial run could be done in East & West Belfast . The posh garden center types of South Belfast might be offended.if the council dilivered a bin with “DECOMMISIONED GUNS” written on the side

  • G2

    “Your comments about RUC widows are beneath comment,”

    Nicky Harmar-Nicholls

    Interesting how this Retired RUC officer’s widow & family agrees with exactly what I said
    in a pevious post.

    Retired RUC officer dies in Basra bomb blast

    “Last night a spokesperson for his family said “they are absolutely devastated but would like it to be conveyed that he knew the risk and enjoyed the job”.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2091-1715227,00.html

    G2: “Citizens who join any Police service or the Armed forces whose job it is to carry guns do so knowing rightly the job they will be required to do is a dangerous job.”

  • Nicky Harmar-Nicholls

    “G2” – if you’re pround of your comments, and wish to stand by them, put your name to them. Otherwise keep on spouting the hot air: no one cares. You were wrong, your mate Trimble was, and thank God the Province is done with the lot of you. Even in a UUC where it seemed being from Fermanagh was the solitary condition for membership, the Party was going to take any more of your failed, deceitful rubbish. Keep on crying for McFarland if you want: you’ve a lot more blubbing to do.

  • Nicky Harmar-Nicholls

    Totally beyond me this one: “Nicky Harmar-Nicholls. Would that be the Harmar-Nicholls from Dervock by any chance?”

    (Posted by: Moderate Unionist at July 31, 2005)

    wtf are you talking about?

  • G2

    “G2” – if you’re pround of your comments, and wish to stand by them, put your name to them. Otherwise keep on spouting the hot air: no one cares:

    I am proud of David Trimble & the UUP for signing the GFA in 1998 thats all that matters. The UUP will come back again. The DUP may have sunk some of their ships but we intend to build bigger and better ones.

    The only one spouting hot air is the DUP. Read these letters in yesterdays News letter:

    DUP Has A Lot Of Explaining To Do Now
    Friday 5th August 2005

    I am concerned that steps will be taken by the Dublin Government in September to allow MPs and MEPs from Northern Ireland to speak in the Dublin Parliament and to participate in Dail committees. more

    DUP Is Making Unionists Angry
    Friday 5th August 2005

    In DUP MP Gregory Campbell’s victory speech in Ballymoney on May 6, he declared that unionism was finally “getting off its knees” under the strong and confident leadership of the DUP. However, since that day back in May when the DUP swept to power, unionism has been on the back foot, forced to deal with a series of sops to republicans which have left the unionist community demoralised, dejected and defeated. more

    Forget UUP And Drive The Car, Mr Paisley
    Friday 5th August 2005

    I take no gratification whatsoever in the DUP’s current predicament. more

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/content/letters_to_the_editor/

  • Lorre

    I see Dr Paisley is getting his just reward for giving in to Tony Blair and the government’s concessions to SF over the disbanning of the RIR battalions.

    http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/front/2005/0806/2772585579HM1PAISLEY.html