UUP’s disastrous campaigned revealed…

ANYONE who was around for the 2005 election here will remember the disastrous UUP campaign. Ulster Unionist Michael Kerr has just written a book describing the unfolding chaos at the time from the inside.

  • darth rumsfeld

    this book is bound to become a runaway classic for political anoracks the world over. Rarely can there have been such damning candour from a party hack- even Amanda Platell’s writings on Hague’s disastrous 2001 foray. The extracts published yesterday actually don’t reveal much that wasn’t suspected at the time, but they will certainly make it impossible for any reader to place his trust in the UUP for a very long time-if ever. I imagine Dr Paisley may therefore even overlook the defamatory comments about him

  • irritated

    f**king traitors, the UUP is riddled with them, its high time for a few pogroms

  • Boo

    Only the UUP would hire someone to chronicle their own ineptitude!

    And look down the cast list: most of them are still in situ.

    A once great party wrecked from within. How very sad.

    BooBoo

  • Keith M

    The disasterous end of the UUP wasn’t in 2005, it was in 1998 when Trimble disregarded the advice of Donaldson and signed the Belfast Agreement. It’s been a long slow parade of decline ever since. Trimble deserves his place in history, most likely in the Guinness Book Of Records as the most unsuccessful party leader in the history of the U.K.

  • Shore Road Resident

    It’s pretty candid all right but still not entirely honest. That ‘late night incident’ in Lisburn may have involved both men being drunk… but that’s not what frightened the horses.

  • Buterknife

    Keith if we knew about 9/11 i do not think the Belfast Agreement would have been signed. But that is with hindsight. At the time it was politically wise to do so and Jeffrey gambled that Trimble would fail and he ended up doing the complete oppisite. That as why he never stood directly for the leadership, instead he played others against one another. I suggest he was a mole for the DUP.

  • Conor

    what has 9/11 to do with irish politcs. dont talk sh’it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Keith, are you sure William Hague or Iain Duncan Smith would not be worse than Trimble ?

    Now that DUP members are actively calling for the release of prisoners under the Good Friday Agreement, and individuals such as Mark Harbinson with known connections to the Orange Volunteers are describing themselves as DUP workers, are you sure that the DUP continue to be in a position to lecture people about concessions to terrorism ?

  • Butterknife

    Conor I refer you to the earlier blog stated by Pete Baker in which he emphasised Martin McGuiness’s words on the dependency of the US dollar for Irish politics. Now if you believe NORAD’s fundraising was not affected by 9/11 then fair enough, but as 9/11 involved international terrorism or if you prefer freedom fighters (sic) then this does indeed must factor into Sinn Feins’ political blueprint, after all one of her chief negotiators has admitted that fact…

  • yerman

    Stalin,
    The comments by that fella about release of prisoners were personal and if you bothered to keep up with the story you would have seen him slapped down pretty quickly by the DUP centrally.

    As for Harbinson, he’s been refused membership – whether he sticks up a few posters for some councillor is a matter for himself, but from listening to him on the radio yesterday its clear he isnt too high up the politial foodchain.

    As for the book: it is remarkable how many of the people responsible for the mess of the UUP are still lurking around doing what they do best – hashing things up. Long may that continue of course. I cant wait to read the book, it really should be a good laugh if nothing else. Interesting how many times they automatically assume that everything that went wrong was some kind of masterplan of DUP ‘dirty tricks’ rather than their own absolute ineptitude. Until they realise what the problems really were and are then they will continue to slide slowly into the mists of history and oblivion.

  • Shore Road Resident

    I haven’t heard the DUP ‘centrally’ condemning Gary Blair or insisting that the Poyntzpass murderers stay in prison. Saying Blair’s comments were ‘personal’ is little better an evasion than saying Sinn Fein and the IRA are seperate organisations.

  • traditional unionist

    How do you know who gets refused membership? And it sounds to me like you or someone sitting close to you got tasked with the slapping down….ah well, at least you were happy to have a former terrorist in your ranks whilst he was singing Gregory Campbells praises.

  • Comrade Stalin

    yerman,

    Why would a person who thinks releasing prisoners is a good idea be a member of a party which supposedly is completely opposed to same ? This is like a person being in Sinn Féin while believing that the IRA are scum. Could it be the case that the DUP’s supposed policy on paramilitarism isn’t intended to be taken very seriously ? Certainly William McCrea didn’t think so.

    Something doesn’t fit. The DUP says that all terrorists are bad including loyalists, yet loyalists join the party and vote for the party almost uniformly; loyalists appear at rallies attended by DUP members; DUP candidates actively canvass areas which are completely under the control of loyalist paramilitaries and do absolutely nothing to remove loyalist murals or grafitti. Perhaps the DUP’s policy on paramilitarism is merely intended for nothing other than public consumption ?

  • Butterknife

    Yes that phenomena is extraordinary or maybe like all bullies, which feed of the weak, they see the DUP as being better hosts in which to feed off.

    I know of one example of where a candidate stood in a ward 20 miles away from his home simply because the co-candadate’s brother is the alleged local commander of the ward in question.

  • Keith M

    Butterknife, I accept part of your premise that it may have been politically expeditious to signed the Belfast Agreement in 1998, however Trimble should have isisted that any concessions to SF/IRA on prisoner releases, places on the executive etc, should have been directly and unequivically linked to decommissioning. This was possible, after all SF/IRA had already sihgned up to decommissioning when they joined the talks which led to the agreement (remember the Mitchell Principles?)

    “Jeffrey gambled that Trimble would fail and he ended up doing the complete oppisite.” How by any definition did Trimble not fail? He failed to persuade the majority of unionists to support the Belfast Agrement from the get-go. From then on the UUP lost support at every single election. You seen to that that Donaldson’s aim was to displace Trimble. I don’t accept this. Donaldson did everything he could to persuade TRimble of his errors. If Donalson’s aim was to unseat Trimble, then surely he would have persuaded people like Pauline Armitage etc to stay within the UUP fold (and support him).

    Conor “what has 9/11 to do with irish politcs?” If you don’t see the effect that 9/11 has had on the global political attitude to terrorism, can I suggest you’re blind or living on Mars.

    Comrade Stalin “Keith, are you sure William Hague or Iain Duncan Smith would not be worse than Trimble?”. Trimble lost 90% of his MPs. No political leader i the UK has ever managed this feat, and I severly doubt anyone ever will in future. IDS was a disaster, but he was never put to the test at the polls.

  • Keith M:
    “Trimble lost 90% of his MPs. No political leader i the UK has ever managed this feat, and I severly doubt anyone ever will in future.”

    Gerry Adams lost 100% of his MPs in 1992.

  • Buterknife

    El Matador @ ElBlogador.com:

    I heard Gerry lost 650% of his MPs by some reports … *cough*

  • darth rumsfeld

    bought the book this morning, and have skimmed through it. There are even funnier passages not in the Tele serialisation -like the election day view from the war room, and a not very flattering insight into Empey’s election as leader.

    But the serious point is that the UUP yesterday claimed lessons had been learned. Oh really?
    All the officers who resigned tried to get back again- I believe that technically they only resigned on the morning of the conference- two weeks ago. Several will be seeking to get back on the runaway train next week.
    The only people who have left seem to have been forced out because of the belt-tightening caused by the loss of seats.

    No change in policy is apparent. No overhaul of the dead wood. More money than they’d ever dreamed of was gambled on the election, with the bank manager now looking closely at the accounts, one imagines, and with associations curling up and dying all over NI.
    The Hermonistas are circling Reg’s wagon ready for the final kill in March.Perhaps by then someone in CH will have realised -too late-that the author is trying to be helpful

  • FRom the LSE press release: ‘Transforming Unionism challenges the Ulster Unionists to rethink their political strategy as they enter the post-Trimble era and offers a constructive analysis of what Ulster Unionism must do if it is to survive the fallout of the DUP’s 2005 landslide victory’ – all too, too sad for words [though, erm, that won’t stop me from having a go].

    Michael, it’s f*** all use you tootling along at the end of 2005 and saying all this cr*p. What did you say at the start of the year? what did you do the year before for your employer, the ginger whinger? how on earth do you have the neck to talk about ‘where now for Unionism?’ after what you helped do to the UUP? Your advice, your work, your support, your loyalty, your silence, your cooperation = the state the UUP is in today. You were, at a secondary level, fully part of the problem. Do you begin to see why some of us struggle to see how you’re going to be part of the solution.

    It’s instructive (certainly by comparison with the pre-election period) how threads like this no longer attract droves of Trimble harpies. Being kind, I suppose that’s because some of them at least are being rightly shy and modest, but where did the rest of them all go? Surely not *every* last pro-Trimble poster did in from a Cunningham House PC (and now that there are fewer of those to go around, thus the paucity of Turtlism).

    Look, it’s sour to say this, but Kerr was wrong as Trimble was wrong as Hermon was wrong as Maginnis was wrong as the Gimps were wrong ad infinitum. The UUP will only begin to solve its probloems when it gets rid of them. Every name I’ve menitoned ought to be too ashamed to still be hectoring the rest of us, but until they’re all got rid of, there is no chance that the UUP is going to be able to mount a viable challenge to the DUP

  • And for what it’s worth, in case anyone cares, we certainly have *not* got the right man in Reg. The right man, in terms of saving the Party, and thus retarding the Paisleyite ascendancy, would have been Donaldson, and no later than 2003. But since he’s gone, the cloest thing to a right man left in the UUP, who ought therefore to be Leader. So if Hermon and her mates really do want to try and wreck Reg early next year, great, as it *certainly* won’t be one of them who’ll inherit this wreck of a party.

    BTW I keep being told by people who should know that, Lady S *asked* the Tories for the whip in the immediate aftermath of the election, but they said, er, thanks but no thanks. Obviously the Red Baroness getting into bed with Tories doesn;t sound much like North Down’s finest, but has anyone else heard anything along these lines?

  • Damn that Friday afternoon sauce. A, um, slightly critical passage missing there:

    The right man, in terms of saving the Party, and thus retarding the Paisleyite ascendancy, would have been Donaldson, and no later than 2003. But since he’s gone, the cloest thing to a right man left in the UUP, who ought therefore to be Leader, is Danny Kennedy.

    But seriously though, were have all the Trimbleites gone? Even I when I was attacking them before the election assumed they posted they way they did because of admirable, if misplaced fanaticism? Shurely it can’t all have been sucking up to the Leaderism?

  • darth rumsfeld,

    All the officers who resigned tried to get back again- I believe that technically they only resigned on the morning of the conference- two weeks ago.

    Wrong, 4 stood again 2 got back (both women). At the end of that day we were left with 2 female officers both with experience, 2 both new youngish faces and 2 new Young Unionists. Now you tell me how the party has not changed? All party officers knew well in advance that it was Sir Reg’s arrangement to have an election.

    No overhaul of the dead wood

    New leader, new officer team, new chairman treasurer etc.

    What else do you want???

    and with associations curling up and dying all over NI.

    Any specific examples?

    The Hermonistas are circling Reg’s wagon ready for the final kill in March

    Methinks there aint too many of them in the party now for after Sylvia Hermons wee outburst a few weeks ago it brought back old memories of a certain ex member…

  • Tiny

    Trimble the party leader may have failed to maintain his party’s vote but his ideas suceeded, one only has to look at the Dupes to see that they have adopted his policies, at least the Robinson faction have.

  • Tiny,

    Couldn’t agree more!

  • Tiny and FYU, do you realise you sound just like the Majorites after the 1997 debacle?

    An example of an Association curling up and dying? How about South Belfast? Or anywhere else frequented by the McGimpsey Family?

    I’m glad I wasn’t one of those on that bus. Trimble might have grabbed the wheel and set off in search of the nearest cliff to take another “leap of faith”.

    The bus was a magnificent red Routemaster, which are all being removed from London by Red Ken. It thus serves as a great metaphor for the UUP: a proud history but rapidly being consigned to history.

    I wonder if Messrs Kerr, Benjamin et al still have their cyanide capsules as keepsakes from their time in the Cunning House bunker?

  • wolfsbane

    Trimble cleared the ground of the rubbish ideas and cant and laid the foundation for a credible Unionist ideaology. He took the heat from the rabble-rousers and arm-chair generals. They successfully removed him as the leader of Unionism, now they are preparing their supporters to accept the things he stood for. Hypocrisy, cynical abuse of the voter, good organisation: all the marks of modern political professionalism. Yes, the DUP deliver.

  • Conor

    Keith M and co, i responded to someones cooment made that the Good Friday Agreement wouldnt have happened had 9/11 happened before. thats rubbish. the peace process has never relied on american issues for its development. not like it has been shaped by looking at the vietnam war and what caused that never mind islamic extremists crashing planes into the world trade centre.

  • Gonzo

    Conor

    If true, it makes me wonder why Sinn Fein is so annoyed about not being able to fundraise in America, why every significant republican move has been preceded or followed up with extensive ‘reassurance’ of Irish America by Sinn Fein, why the State Department is involved in the talks, why a former Senator chaired the peace talks, why US investment in NI is seen as important to ‘cementing’ peace, why…

    …and so on and so on.

    The US has been a part of the peace process for as long as there has been a peace process. Arguably, it may even have been dependent upon US involvement, whether we like it or not.

  • I wonder I can find anyone to borrow this book from.

  • eastofthebann

    What I believe we’re going to see over the next couple of decades is the idea of an “agreed Ireland”. This will be an Ireland where people realise that the idea of a single sovereign state may be a non-starter, but where co-operation on areas of mutal interest and concern is only natural, and will not be seen as a threat or a “united Ireland” by the back door. Such co-operation existed in the Benelux prior to the treaty of Rome, but never led to a single state.

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this comment – this is how I too hope things will progress. What Keith outlines above is perhaps the optimistic scenario as to future unionist/natioanalist relations, but it is a positive model of co-operation to which both unionists and democratic nationalists can aspire.

    The parallel with the Benelux is particularly apt.

  • Visioneer

    David Campbell replaces James Cooper as Chairman.

    Spot the difference.

    …sorry didnt see any.

  • Tampico

    I picked up a copy of the book at the weekend. Mr Kerr’s analysis of unionism is weak and pretty pathetic and not worth wasting your time on. The only bit of any value is the comical account of the UUP’s election campaign. Absolutely hilarious stuff.

    The narrative is however tarnished a little by outrageous errors.

    Jeffrey Donaldson’s first name is consistently spelt “Jeffery”. Apparently Colin Montgomery and not Chris Montgomery contested the UUP selection for South Belfast. The Grand Opera House has changed its name to the Royal Opera House. Apparently David Kerr has Superman like vision as in 2001 he could see Oxford Street bus station from a window in Glengall Street. a man called McDowell contested and won the South Belfast seat in 2005. Unionism and unionists are continually given a capital U and republicans are always given a capital R – what on earth the American political party have to do with it I don’t know.

    Proof reading was as shabby as the election campaign.

    I did laugh at Mr Kerr’s lie in on election day to noon, his sneaky pint at around 6pm and the team’s night out long before polls have closed. Great campaigning! That’s how elections are won.

  • Tampico – self-awareness is probably too much to hope for, but even if there isn’t any self-criticism, is there any direct criticism of Trimble voiced in Kerr’s book? I am interested in whether ex-Turtle hirelings are capable of this, as I and a team of top Trad Unionist scientists are working on whether a cure can be developed for those previously infected with Trimblism.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Wrong, 4 stood again 2 got back (both women). At the end of that day we were left with 2 female officers both with experience, 2 both new youngish faces and 2 new Young Unionists. Now you tell me how the party has not changed? All party officers knew well in advance that it was Sir Reg’s arrangement to have an election.

    No overhaul of the dead wood

    New leader, new officer team, new chairman treasurer etc.

    What else do you want???”

    Er.. nothing- except possibly Billy Armstrong as lesder for when the coup de (dis)grace comes. Let’s look at those exciting changes again-
    So- new treasurer is..um popular unifying figure Ken Maginnis
    New Vice Chairman is.. a septuagenarian party hack who had to stand up at the meeting on Friday cos noone knew who he was
    New Assistant treasurer- is septuagenarian Orange grandee who hasn’t opened his cheeper in years
    New Chairman is -um , old Vice Chairman and well known Trimble bag carrier David ” Michael McGimpsey told me to cheer up” Campbell- who Kerr described as having a job which nobody could identify- and this from a true Turtle believer

    Half the officers are over 70; over half are re-treads; the ones elected by the Council are primarily Sylvia’s picks and the ones by the Executive Reg’s old soldiers. Lots of names mentioned in dispatches in Kerr’s book are still in situ, or moved around a bit. So it’s full steam ahead-oblivion beckons!!!!

  • darth rumsfeld

    Karl
    the nearest to criticism of anyone (apart from the stupid voters and evil DUP natch) is that Trimble apparently didn’t think they would lose too many seats….

    -oh, and Steven King messed up Denis Rogan’s attempt to punt £75 on three or more UUP seats by not putting “Lord” Rogan on his credit card details for an internet bet. Sadly Cooper, Campbell and others weren’t so lucky. Hope they kept their beaten dockets as a souvenir :0)

  • I would give good money (well, Northern Bank fivers at any rate) to Party funds to know *which* 3 seats they thought were such surefire bets in Cunningham House. For myself, a Paisley-hater through and through, I was pleasantly surprised that we held onto even one seat, and assumed (before the election) that it would between the Red Baroness and Burnside if we did even that. Where did assorted genii like Rogan and King think the 2nd or 3rd seat would come from? South Belfast? Lost the moment we selected the Gimp. Baby Gimp’s foray? Or did they seriously think we were on the brink of Basil, MP?

    I do keep asking this same question, in one form or another, in whatever forum I find myself, but is there nothing we can do to bring to account the people who wrecked the UUP? Could we not sue them? Could David Brewter help us out with a civil action for recovery? If the Party had been a publicly qioted compnay, we could at least have sued management for culpable negligence.

  • darth rumsfeld

    I don’t think you could afford him Karl :0)

  • Tampico

    Karl Rove,

    Other than an interesting comment that the UUP’s campaign probably did their electoral prospects more harm than good, Mr Kerr’s “analysis” is more of the same old rhetoric from the Trimbleites we are so used to one this site. We shouldn’t be surprised I suppose given that he is one of those who has advised Trimble over the last six or so years. Election defeat after election defeat hasn’t rattled these people, why would they change now. My interpretation of Mr Kerr’s view is that the rejection of the “Trimble Project” as they call it is the fault of the DUP, of course, prods who don’t vote, Alliance voters who don’t see sense and vote UUP, The IRA’s a wee bit and hilariously the media’s.