Balmoral Show

Also today the UUP has become the first party to take a stall at the Balmoral show.

  • David Willis

    Fair play to the UUP, it’s nice to see at least one of the Party’s take an interest in rural Northern Ireland.

    We’re being squeezed by an inept Direct Rule Administration. We want and need local Government restored. At least the UUP look like they’re preparing for Government. It’s a shame the same can’t be said for others!

  • Overhere

    Seen any big heifers? I have not been there since I was at school

  • mark

    Interesting. Political attendance at Irish agricultural events has long been the norm, the National ploughing championships are a must do of the calendar.

    This may be a first for the RUAS and UUP but very much an Irish tradition. I wonder if others will follow the furrow the UUP have ploughed at Balmoral? I think so.

    As long as they have stickers the primary aim of a Balmoral stall will be met, providing bumf to school kids.

    (or are the UUP worried they have lost the UFU and farming vote amongst many other dropped demographics?)

  • CuriousGeorge

    Is that the dog and pony show?

  • Sean

    Great! lets turn the Balmoral show into another Norn Iron political circus.

    All we need now is for the shinners to attend as well and sure we might get a riot started.

  • Mr Agricola

    It is hard to imaging a greater waste of the UUPs monney – except the last election campaign. This is an absurd idea and is typical of the total absence of a uup strategy.

    The people who thought up such an idea would be out of their depth in student politics!

  • Busty Brenda

    It’s what we need right now something else to slow down the traffic, as if its not bad enuf with the west link carry on.

    Mooooooove it somewhere else.

  • Rory

    “When I were a lad….”, much like the Church of England was “..the Tory Party at prayer”, the Balmoral Show was the Ulster Ascendancy on show, as if some version of the Chelsea Flower Show, where the aspirant might gape, but only ever in awe.

    Better off Catholic farmers also made a presence and congregtion was often made with their Protestant farming counterparts, around the Guinness stand for free pints and hot toddies (from Powers or Jamesons) wherein the Catholic publicans, like Saigon bar girls, enticed one. In those days many if not most pubs in Belfast were owned by Catholics, even in Protestant areas where evangelical teetotalism was the rule for public consumption but supping with the devil was, quite properly as all good social hypocrisy needs be, a more private matter that needs must tolerate.

    That the Unionist Party now needs to solicit votes from the Protestant farming community must be progress of a sort. But what of sort I ask myself.

  • Rapunsel

    Agriculture is a minority part of the NI economy only for example employing a portion of those that are employed for example in the community and voluntary scetor. Unfortunately the agri food lobby has a disproportionate influence on policy and I don’t think there is often enough criticism as to how the woes of the farming industry are in many cases of their own making. The real significance of the attendance of the UUP is perhaps the point that the vote of the small( and large) farmer was something taken for granted in the past. Attendance at a show such as this and distribution of a few flyers is hardly going to make much of an impact, but at the same time what have they got to lose!

  • Tiny

    At least the UUP have paid for their stand, last year Jim Alister and wee Jeff were going round handing out election leaflets until told to stop by the organisers.

  • Agriculture generates 150% more output here compared to the UK average.

    And btw its not like the UUP are standing on street corners throwing out leaflets, the Balmoral is a agricultural show and guess what – this is a rural policy document …SHOCK!! HORROR!!

  • Snuff Box

    Seen on the news this morning that the sdlp are going today to make a bit of a racket about the rural planning law. Seems like their probably preaching to the converted on that score. Unless they find some NIO ministers at the ice cream stand that is.

  • The good people of Ulster can now all admire the UUP’s prize bull.

  • yerman

    What exactly is so special about them taking out a stall? Is it to find out the views of rural people? They should know those if they are actually in touch with people.

    It may be to hand out their latest policy drivel – not actually much substance in it.

    I would imagine that the show will have its usual level of politicians cruising around gladhanding with anyone they can see, although maybe slightly less without an election this year. However, very few of them will see the need to pay for a stand to tell the people what party they’re from. Maybe that’s an indication of the level of recognition which Tom Elliott has amongst the public.

  • ct

    Is Jim Allister going this year? Afterall, it is not an election year. Would be nice to see him try to make it up with the farming community though.

  • yerman

    “Would be nice to see him try to make it up with the farming community though.”

    I wasn’t aware they had fallen out. Maybe you could enlighten us.

  • ct

    He withdrew funding for a UFU group visiting Brussels last year because they refused to give an undertaking not to meeting the SF MEP (name eludes me momentarily) when they went over there.

  • yerman

    “He withdrew funding for a UFU group visiting Brussels last year because they refused to give an undertaking not to meeting the SF MEP (name eludes me momentarily) when they went over there.”

    There was an issue about that group – I had forgotten about it because it was such a minor story.

    However, you make the assumption that the UFU = the farming community. Whilst they have many members you make the mistake of thinking that all of the members agree with the UFU’s HQ. As far as I remember at the time, most of the members going were more than happy with Jim’s stance and quite a few chose not to attend the meeting with DeBrun when they were over there anyway.

    I think the farming community’s view on Jim Allister will revolve more around his work than on one particular issue, even though the majority of (unionist) farmers would have agreed with his stance in that case anyway.

  • ct

    “Jim’s” work today seems to revolve around issuing a statement criticising a French MEP over some hair-brained proposal he made. CAP or CRAP?

  • yerman

    “”Jim’s” work today seems to revolve around issuing a statement criticising a French MEP over some hair-brained proposal he made. CAP or CRAP?”

    What have his 2 counterparts issued today then or is inactivity preferable to scutinising the work of other MEPs?

  • ct

    Whatever Jim Allister’s merits as an elected representative, I just found that statement pointless, irrelevant and also misleading. He refers to the cuckoo ideas of one MEP – I have checked it out – as a proposal by a particular group in the European Parliament. That is clearly not the case.

  • Rapunsel

    I followed the story re Jim Allister and the funding for a UFU group to visit Brussels closely. I had thought that the UFU group decided not to go because Jim Allister wanted to control who they met. I thought the issue was one of principle in that it should not be up to an elected repreentative to decide who a supposedly representative farming group meets. I recall hearing Jim Allister at the time claiming that the funding for the trip was so to speak his money. Funny that– I thought it was the EU tax payer’s money and wasn’t there for individual MEP’s to bestow patronage. Then sure we know all about Jim Allister and his arrogance

  • Tiny

    At the show today, UUP stand doing good business, Iam told it was well recieved, it was all smiles everytime I went past, also saw Reg Empey, Jim Nicholson, Danny Kennedy Bill Armstrong & David McNarry all of whom seemed to be enjoying themselves, saw no DUPes, that’s not to say they were’nt there.

  • BooBoo


    Will be at the show myself today (Friday)—although for work purposes rather than pleasure. Since I will be close to their stall for a couple of hours I intend to talk to UUP reps there to see if I can gauge their opinion on general political issues. Will report back later.


  • yerman

    “I thought the issue was one of principle in that it should not be up to an elected repreentative to decide who a supposedly representative farming group meets. I recall hearing Jim Allister at the time claiming that the funding for the trip was so to speak his money. Funny that– I thought it was the EU tax payer’s money and wasn’t there for individual MEP’s to bestow patronage.”

    As far as I remember, he (J. Allister) was funding the trip out of his allowance, so whilst of course it was public money it was ‘his’ in so much as it was entirely up to him as to how he decided to spend it. That’s not mentioning why neither of the other 2 MEPs had decided to fund such a trip.

    However, given that this were his expenses then he felt that he could have some influence over the agenda. The UFU HQ wanted to meet everyone and therefore decided to go solo – but as I mentioned earlier, whilst the group were out there a lot of them decided to give the SF meeting a miss anyway.

    Surely you’d be better off talking to people with some influence…… the prizewinners in the cattle ring will probably give a similar level of insight.

  • ct


    Jim Allister dug himself into a big hole over the UFU visit business. He never managed to get himself out of it. Nice that you have a shovel of your own to help with the digging. Have to admit I am slightly alarmed that loyalty can be so blind it leads someone to claim that the public money actually belonged to Jim Allister. Read Rapunsel’s comment again – it explains the situation clearly.

  • Tiny2

    Allister’s clearly intelligent but the UFU trip was a massive mistake. It confirmed to the general public what an arrogant and intolerable peronality he actually is.

    More interesting, however, is Jim’s position as the coming man in the DUP. Obviously he is at odds with the current pragmatic leadership of the DUP. Any glance at his recent speeches would confirm this.

    Watch this space.

  • Tiny

    Jim Allister is a typical Bastarister, arogant by nature

  • yerman

    Maybe if you read what I posted – I dont believe that the UFU incident was other than a minor embarassment. I know plenty of UFU members who dont have much time for their hierarchy. I also know that UFU HQ has taken more than its fair share of angry phonecalls over their dabbling in politics. A lot of members weren’t happy at them ‘forcing’ people to meet all the MEPs.

    Many UFU members also weren’t happy that they decided to go public on the issue releasing statements instead of actually talking to Jim Allister privately and trying to come to some accomodation.

    As for the money – it public money which he is abld to use as he chooses (so long as he stays within the law and EU rules). Rapunsel clearly wasnt too up to speed with the story if he/she thought the UFU visit was pulled because of the problem – it went ahead, just that UFU HQ had to stump up the money themselves instead of taking the funds which Jim Allister had decided to make available to them. Therefore in that sense he was able to decide who he should “bestow patronage” on.

    The issue was that Jim Allister was not going to be in the position of funding people to have talks with Sinn Fein. He is able to spend money made available to him to bring groups to visit the European Parliament – if Babs was so keen on meeting them she could have stumped up some cash – funnily enough I dont remember the offer being forthcoming from SF at the time, or the UUP for that matter.

  • ct


    Where were all these people who were unhappy with the UFU at the time? I thought the UFU dealt with the matter with as much dignity as they could manage in a situation where there wasn’t much on show from Jim Allister.

    Apart from you and me bickering about it though, the more interesting aspect to come out of this thread is surely the speculation on what Jim Allister does next. Tiny2 rightly draws attention to him taking a line at odds with his party leadership. What will the Paisleys do if Jim Allister decides he wants the North Antrim constituency at Westminster? And what will he do when they decide he isn’t getting it? Another 20 year sulk? Hope so.

    Now to get back to the bickering – has yerman Jim Allister been to the Balmoral Show this non-election year?

    Enjoy the weekend,

  • Tiny

    Did he arrive by helecopter?

  • BooBoo

    Well, as I mentioned in the earlier post I did go to the Show and did go to the UUP stall. kenny Donaldson and Alan McFarland were about, as was Jim Wilson and a couple of other bods I didn’t recognize.

    Seemed to be a reasonably high level of interest from passers-by. I danderered over for a chat and found the people very pleasant although, to be fair, I didn’t push hard politics much.

    Had a chance to talk to Alex Kane who turned up with his daughter, tho he seemed to be visiting rather than manning the stall. I don’t agree with much he writes about local politics, but I like his style and I found him very aimiable. Nothing like I expected him to be.

    Apart from that I found the Show pretty dull. very little difference in the mian hall stalls from what they have in Ideal Home and Holiday Show events. very expensive to buy things, but I got free entry cos of work.


  • Rapunsel

    “I greatly regret that, in pursuit of a futile political strategy of not offending Sinn Fein, the Ulster Farmers Union leadership has made a spineless decision to belatedly reject the £12,000 funding which I had arranged, at the bequest of Fermanagh UFU, to be available for the visit of Fermanagh farmers to Brussels. I and my party colleagues feel the UFU, by its unnecessary decision, has let down its members in the interests of placating Sinn Fein”


    Let this be an end to this subject. The issue of Jim Allister’s (non) future is more interesting. Interesting to note too that people seem to have been enjoying themselves at the Balmoral. I said I had thought UFU did not go. My recollection was wrong. What’s clear from Jim Allister’s press release and news stories of the incident at the time is that 1. It was not his money 2. It is EU tax payer’s money 3. He in obtaining the funds did not have the right to prevent any delegation from meeting whomever they wanted to met. 4.In my view he attempted to bully the UFU to the extent that they felt they would be compromised if they were seen to be visiting Brussels with any sort of facilitation from him.

    There is one lesson to draw from this — assistance from Jim Allister’s office comes at a price. God help those groups taken by his fair deal argument over the peace funding. Jim too thinks that money is his as well. They sure wouldn’t want to step out of line and bump into anyone he doesn’t like!

    Now , the Balmoral Show — I’ve never been and although I know a little bit about farming, as a city boy is it worth going to next year?

  • yerman

    The debate around the exact origin of the money is high pedantry. However, it is clear that Allister got of his arse and arraged some funding – something which none of the other MEPs obviously bothered to do.

    Of course politicians dont do something for nothing – that’s life. He had done the work to get them the funding so he was perfectly entitled to get a political spin-off from it. I would imagine that when Tory MEPs do the same for their constituents in the rest of the UK they dont wheel the visitors around to Labour and Lib Dem and UKIP MEPs.

    You show your own ignorance about PEACE funding. The MEP doesnt arrange that kind of funding no more than an MP or MEP ‘arranges’ DLA money.

    As for Jim Allister’s future – well at least he has one. Is Jim Nicholson’s biggest contribution to European politics still signing the register to get attendance allowance despite not participating in that day’s business?

    Balmoral Show: This is one of the first times in years that I didnt get along to the show. Hear there was a good crowd of people and can never do a cityboy any harm to mix with the culchies!

  • yerman

    On a related note – I see some of the UUP’s younger supporters pictured with Reg and co on the front page of the UUP website. 😉

  • Barlmoral observor

    i hear the show organisers were glad to have UUs at the show this year- they say that the UUs won the rare breeds section competition. The only problem for the show organisers is that the party is likely to be extinct before next years show. If they are about next year they are entering the dog show- thats why the pups have joined their ranks!!

    I was interested to see an EPP banner at the UU stall- why was this? Are the UUs wanting a united europe similar to the other MEPS signed up to the EPP? I suspect that it is more down to the fact that the UU stall was paid from Brussels funding. If this is the case did the UUs welcome the Shinners to their stand?

    Despite the UU’s not having either policies or principals i am glad to see that Jim Allister and the DUP have. I am glad to see that money that he has control over is not used to further and Sinn Fein agenda in Europe.

    As for the ufu- their so called leader has got booted out from office and has been replaced since last year. If the UUs are in touch with what is going on in rural areas they would know what rural people think of the former leader of the ufu.

    If Jim Allister and the DUP have fallen out with the UFU- why was the only political photo included in the ufu section of the farming life last Saturday of the DUP?