a Faustian pact – redux?

I was sceptical of this story when BVG mentioned it on this thread last night, and it’s still speculative, as well as being highly cyncial and highly risky for the UUP if true, but the BBC report that PUP leader David Ervine has been approached to join the UUP within the Assembly [while remaining leader of the PUP outside? – Ed] in order to secure an additional ministerial post in an executive that may not be formed for some time.. There’s currently no indication that the PUP’s Dawn Purvis will follow suit on the Policing Board Update Press Association report that the PUP have confirmed that David Ervine will join the Ulster Unionist Party Assembly Group. More Young Unionist blogger, and Slugger contributor, Michael Shilliday defends the move.

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  • Seems it ain’t over yet and the UVF/UUP broad front might fall on the rock of Big Ian. The Belfast Telegraph reports:
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=690702
    If either unionist party could rely on Mr Berry or co-opt one of the other individual unionists – Robert McCartney of the UKUP or the PUP’s David Ervine – they would get that extra ministry back off Sinn Fein.

    Kieran Deeney, the doctor elected as an Omagh hospital campaigner, could also change the balance, but initial interest will focus on Mr Berry.

    “People think that automatically I will be voting along DUP lines, but I will do what I think is in the best interests of the unionist community,” he told the Belfast Telegraph last month.

    “It is going to be very interesting to see how what the DUP does pans out.”
    …….
    Seems Ulster will be saved by sodomy after all.

  • Jim

    Is it just me but wouldnt you think that David Ervine has enough on his plate appearing on that BBC programme .. Its not easy being Green…

  • Comrade Stalin

    Shilliday writes :

    Would anyone like to suggest other ways of engaging Loyalists in the democratic process as opposed to criminality? So far all the criticism I’ve had leveled at me seems to be based on the idea that David Ervine should be spoken of only while pinching one’s nose and preferably when he doesn’t matter much anyway. Either mainstream Unionism can watch Ervine try to change loyalism, or it can help him.

    Sorry Michael, that’s more mealy-mouthed double standard crap. Why doesn’t the “bring them in from the cold and help them fix it” policy apply to SF and the IRA ? Where did the “guns before government” policy go ? Don’t bother replying, I already know the answer.

    Can’t believe that unionists are trying to get out of this by regurgitating the an Orange version of Hume-Adams. As Michael illustrates, all that stuff about guns before government, commitment to peaceful and democratic means, democratic “bona fides” was rubbish and they don’t require it. It was just a handy ruse to keep the taigs out of power and to avoid responsibility.

  • páid

    CS, don’t be giving the Shinners ideas!

    The last IMC report said the IRA had more or less given up but the UVF were still in business.

    I can just see it now.. Martin McGuinness – “Well the sityeation is that we’re not prepared tee sit down with people who are democrats by day and blah blah blah………”

  • bertie

    “Can’t believe that unionists are trying to get out of this by regurgitating the an Orange version of Hume-Adams. As Michael illustrates, all that stuff about guns before government, commitment to peaceful and democratic means, democratic “bona fides” was rubbish and they don’t require it. It was just a handy ruse to keep the taigs out of power and to avoid responsibility. ”

    Some of us hoped that it was a principled stand, of course it was soon forgotton once it got them the votes they needed.

  • bertie

    Oh and comrade

    “Can’t believe that unionists are trying to get out of this by regurgitating the an Orange version of Hume-Adams”

    Just some unionists!

  • TAF
    Gotya point.
    There’s so much bluff and double bluff surrounding the issue of paramilitarism, and entry to gov’t, it’s become a joke.
    So I agree with the posters saying, let’s make politics work to isolate the paramilitaries.

  • No more “holier than thou” statements please from leaders, and lily-white presentations, as has been alluded to here.
    Talk about Virgins, Whores and Martyrs.
    There’s a distinct flavour of “catholic language” used by protestants, when push comes to shove, and I find that quite revealing, indeed.
    Can “norn iron” be saved, or is it going to Hell?

  • Michael Shilliday

    Sorry Michael, that’s more mealy-mouthed double standard crap. Why doesn’t the “bring them in from the cold and help them fix it” policy apply to SF and the IRA ? Where did the “guns before government” policy go ? Don’t bother replying, I already know the answer.

    Sorry, but didn’t we try that with Sinn Fein? Didn’t they show such poor ability to acknowledge this that they took 6 years to surrender? You’re making comparisons that don’t exist and wiping things from history. Ervine has admitted what is in his past was wrong and has demonstrated his determination to help the loyalist community move to normality. None of the above can be applied to Sinn Fein.

  • “Ervine has admitted what is in his past was wrong ”

    Now if only the UUP could do the same.

  • tony clifton

    Taigs (self named as above)

    Ervine is really the only movable object ina ll of this.

    Berry is tainted as far as the UUP are concerned due to his press coverage but alot more to do with how intolerable he was towards UUP members during his DUP days.

    McCartney is far too big headed and full of his own self love to ever join any groupng other than the BOB McCartney appreciation society, this with his history with the DUP make him unlikely (although the best option)

    Mark Robinson is also a movable object though, currently counted in the DUP 32 but a comlpete outcast from that group.

    PUP/UUP have made a good move, they have saved a DUP seat going to Sinn Fein which I dont think the DUP could have saved themselves.

    I dont think there is much that Sinn Fein can do about this move anyway, the only movable object they have his the good doctor deeney and I find a move to sinn fein unlikely, he is far more likey to have been courted by the Alliance party and the SDLP in that order (although the move will have no seat changing consequences)

    I might add the the only other really movable person within the assembly was Seamus Close who i imagine the UUP considered as an option instead of Ervine, dont know how that would have gone down.

    I dont think Unionists should be complaining, it does keep a seat within the (divided) Unionist Family and keeps it from Sinn Fein.

    As for the person involved (Ervine), he does have a past and the UVF ceasfire is not recognised anymore, but I do think he is a genuine person that is trying to move Loyalist Paramilitaries on. I am optimistic about commets made by the UVF and by press commentry on the internal consultation they are apparerently involved in. If they are truely questioning their own legitamacy and future this can only be a good thing.

  • IJP

    Michael

    Are you seriously trying to tell us all you invited Ervine into your group to try to end Loyalist paramilitarism, rather than to take an extra Executive seat? So much for “law and order”.

    Pathetic.

    The fact is you are now a fully paid-up defender and supporter of the UVF, a ruthless organisation which is a greater threat to security than the IRA. One which continues to engage in feuds, gang crime and violence. One which continues to take young children’s futures and condemn them to a life of drugs and mayhem. So much for “no guns no government”.

    Shameful.

    Your party has lied, lied, lied – kidding people that its enemy was terrorism and paramilitarism but now accepting them into their ranks in order to have a cheap shot at nationalists. So much for “an inclusive Northern Ireland”.

    Disgusting.

    To think, this was a party talking about “bringing Catholics into its ranks”…

  • Will Robert McCartney’s UKUP be taking it’s seats seat in the new assembly??

  • The politics show today had the general feeling that this 3rd seat was being taken from SF…

    And also, as far as I know Ervine has not joined the party, he’s only joined its assembly grouping (in move against SF), therefore I cannot understand why some people are getting so carried away with this…

  • bertie

    What is the moral difference between him joining the party and joining it’s assembly grouping?

    I thought that the UUP was opposed to terrorists. But I’m forgetting “No guns, no government!” was just an election slogan.

  • Michael Shilliday

    That’s an uncharacteristic outburst Ian. How likley is it that this Assembly will ever form an Executive? In a big way its very unfortunate that this does affect d’Hondt. This isn’t something that I heard for the first time yesterday, and it was not mentioned in the context of an executive.

  • BVG

    As the person who broke this story let me add a couple of points

    1) I have just returned from a long lunch, at which some journos were present. One of them assured me that he was picking up a lot of “grassroots discontent” at this decision. He also told me that “one of the party’s most influential thinkers and voices” (not a big choice there, then) was planning to voice concerns and misgivings within the next few days.

    2) Mr. Shilliday, your defence of this move to embrace Ervine is as pathetic and inaccurate as your defence of the UUP’s strategy and campaigning in the run-up to the last election. I won’t add to your shame by reminding you of how much of your so-called analysis then turned out to be entire bunk.

    The UUP has been scrambling around trying to find anyone to join their group, including at least 2 Alliance and 2 DUP. Ervine was the last throw of the dice.

    While it may be true that Ervine has trotted out a self-serving mea culpa, the same cannot be said of the groups he continues to front. They remain unreconstructed terrorists.

    In December 1999 the UUP put terrorists in government. Now, they are using terrorists to give themselves an extra seat in government. It is despicable and utterly immoral behaviour. So much for Mr. Empey’s view, expressed during his leadership campaign last year, that the UUP might even refuse to take seats in an Executive (on the back of a SF/DUP deal) if SF hadn’t fully bought into democracy!!!

    4) This story came to me originally through the PUP (I subsequently confirmed it during a conversation during the Balmoral Show on wednesday)—and it came as a consequence of the consultation exercise conducted by the PUP in the run-up to this decision. Ervine has already been made a promise (a Chairmanship, I understand) but his shadowy chums clearly hope to use the UUP for both cloaking and clouting purposes.

    5) This is very bad stuff from the UUP and I am led to believe that it is fully supported by McFarland. At least when Donaldson and others were on board there appeared to exist a voice of conscience. I suspect even more members will just drift away.

    BVG

  • Thankfully, in relation to this story, I don’t have to spend ages typing out my own response, because others have got there before me. Suffice to say the UUP’s behaviour is absolutely disgusting and shocking. My family has suffered at the hand of loyalist paramilitaries and this olive branch to Ervine – a man who publicly identifies and supports the dregs of society – is sickening. Shame on them.

  • BVG

    drift away? Try flee in disgust.

    What are Reg and the Tank Commander playing at? I thought the Lords rejected assisted suicide last week. Apparently not for ailing political parties.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sorry, but didn’t we try that with Sinn Fein? Didn’t they show such poor ability to acknowledge this that they took 6 years to surrender? You’re making comparisons that don’t exist and wiping things from history.

    So do you support it Michael or do you not ? If the Hume-Adams strategy to bring the IRA out of violence was right, then why don’t you say so and endorse the outcome ? If it was wrong, then why are you applying it to loyalists ?

    Ervine has admitted what is in his past was wrong and has demonstrated his determination to help the loyalist community move to normality. None of the above can be applied to Sinn Fein.

    This is mealy mouthed crap. Johnny Adair said that he supported the Good Friday Agreement for christ’s sake. Look at where that got us. Ervine has few votes and almost no mandate. Unionists constantly tell everyone about how righteous they are because their electorate don’t vote for terrorists. So where is the sense in bringing in those who have no votes, just guns ? Why reward the terrorists when they have no support ? What’s the UUP going to do next ? Put burglars and rapists into police uniforms in order to persuade them to get on board with the law ?

    No Michael. The truth is that the UUP have a cuddly association with loyalist paramilitaries, and have done even since before the peacefires. You’re just trying to dress this up as some sort of angelic olive-branch exercise, which it isn’t. It’s just unionists getting into bed with gangsters in order to secure themselves more power.

    To the other unionists here, I don’t see what you people have to fire on Michael about. First of all, none of this is new. Go back to the UWC strike and beyond, and you’ll find unionists jumping in bed with paramilitaries. Fast forward to the present day, and find that the DUP are equally as bad. They may be more clever about it but they have their own associations with loyalism too.

    Don’t forget that it has been DUP MPs have taken up the fight by Billy Wright’s father to find out who killed him; it has been DUP MPs who have been pursuing the interests of UDA/LVF inmates in Maghaberry in the commons. DUP members such as one Gary Blair have even been calling for the release of LVF prisoners under the terms of the GFA (a document the DUP are supposed to repudiate) and there is at least one convicted terrorist serving as a DUP councillor (he got God apparently, but sure they’ll say anything to improve their chances of getting remission). The DUP would not be able to achieve any of the above without talking to terrorists.

    It’s time for unionists to stop the pretence; let’s get all our elected representatives to sit down and work out a decent future for the people in this country.

  • Comrade Stalin

    What are Reg and the Tank Commander playing at?

    pakman, what’s all this Reg business ?

    James Molyneaux was UUP leader whenever the UUP elected Hugh Smyth (PUP) as Lord Mayor of Belfast. Why, despite the rest of the thread, do you keep trying to characterize this as a Reg thing ? this stuff has been going on for a long time.

  • brian

    I couldn’t agree more with Alliance Party East Belfast Rep, Naomi Long

    “The party is now directly and indisputably linked to a paramilitary organisation which is not on ceasefire, and which is described by the IMC as a ‘greater threat than the IRA’.”

    “Engaging people to try to move them on from paramilitarism is one thing — involving them directly within your team is quite another. This is the party which brought the last Assembly down over allegations of spying by paramilitaries linked to Sinn Fein but which is now happy to allow those linked to other paramilitaries to join their group. This is rampant sectarian hypocrisy of the worst kind. Is that what ‘decent people’ support?

    http://www.allianceparty.org/news/2086.html?PHPSESSID=f9838d634e88b958be94e9b235fb0a53

  • inuit goddess

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about – it’s not exactly a bolt from the blue!

    The UUP have been banging on about poverty in loyalist communities, social responsibility, child poverty etc etc for months now. Reg made bringing loyalists in from the cold a major part of his recent speech to the party’s ruling council – said it was the responsibility of mainstream unionists who’s inflammatory rhetoric in the 1970s encouraged many young people into loyalist groups.

    Given that both Reg and McFarland are on board, and seeing as it grabs a ministry from the Shinners, i can’t see the grassroots having much of a problem. Ervine is quite widely respected well beyond his own loyalist constituency, not least for his work as a persuader in trying to move that constituency towards peace.

    So, could turn out to be an astute move – at least it shows they are reaching out beyond the comfortable middle classes.

  • BVG

    Fermanagh Young Unionist,

    Re your post of 03.50 today and your comment, in relation to Ervine; “he’s only joined its Assembly grouping.”

    This may come as a surprise to some of the UUP’s MLA’s. My original UUP source–at Wednesday’s Balmoral Show–said that Ervine would be part of a newly created “Ulster Unionist Assembly Group”, and not part of the Ulster Unionist Assembly Party. In other words, while he would accept the general whip of the broader group, he would not be a whipped member of, nor attender at, existing UUP group meetings. A pedantic point perhaps, but one which may have an impact upon MLAs and the wider membership.

    If you are correct, then I suspect that Reg Empty and Major “irritation” McFarland will require a very large fan to deflect the excrement that is heading their way.

    Straw and camel’s back, FYU, straw and camel’s back.

    BVG

  • bertie

    “Don’t forget that it has been DUP MPs have taken up the fight by Billy Wright’s father to find out who killed him; ”

    As far as I am concrned Billy Wright was an evil bastard but he was murdered and his father has evrry right to want to find out who and to be supported in that.

    “it has been DUP MPs who have been pursuing the interests of UDA/LVF inmates in Maghaberry in the commons. ”

    I’ll admit that I know nothing about this but in general even these people have rights that may need protecting and being advocated.

    “DUP members such as one Gary Blair have even been calling for the release of LVF prisoners under the terms of the GFA (a document the DUP are supposed to repudiate)”
    Even if you repudiate the BA, if this is not being applied fairly (sic) then it is legitimate to raise it (although I personnally would let him rot.

    “and there is at least one convicted terrorist serving as a DUP councillor (he got God apparently, but sure they’ll say anything to improve their chances of getting remission). The DUP would not be able to achieve any of the above without talking to terrorists.”

    I have no probelm with a genuinely repentant ex terrorist who is no longer a member of the organisation or organically linked to the one which he belonged. Talking to terrorists is an unfortunate part of being a politician, police officer, prison officer etc, That is a different thing to negotiating with them and doing deals.

  • stephen

    Just what is the fuss on here?

    Bear in mind, the UUP entered the talks with the UDP and PUP whilst neither had decommissioned, nor renounced violence…

    This was because they needed a majority of unionist reps to carry their ‘negotiation’ team.(with the udp and pup they reached 52% or thereabouts)

    So, whats new? Nothing.

    Ukup wouldnt ever have a terrorist about them, from any side, and the DUP would have to work hard for Bob to join them, as he is 100% D’Hondt formula being used.

    Personally, I would agree, and hope the assembly folds as soon as possible.

    I would rather have direct rule any day than have terrorists from either side dictating to me how to govern my country, especially those who have spent the last 40 years blowing the shit out of it.

    last comment; all this is irrelevant, as the DUP will not be nominatiing, so speculate all you want, but it will never be known!

  • stephen

    bvg, it is irrelevant.

    all of this is irrelevant and a non story, as nobody will have ministries.

    The DUP will not nominate, so the UUP can have twenty shinners join up, it wont matter!!

    get it?! lol

  • IJP

    Michael

    I had taken you for an honourable democrat that other honourable democrats could deal with.

    Now you reveal yourself as a supporter of sectarian hypocrisy and unrepentant active paramilitarism.

    Just think about what you’re saying, Michael!

    Let me rephrase the question: whether now, in November, or in 2050, do you think that Assembly groups with direct links to active paramilitaries should qualify for ministerial positions?

  • kensei

    “The DUP will not nominate, so the UUP can have twenty shinners join up, it wont matter!!”

    It’s irrelevant to the hypocrisy of the UUP!!!

    get it?! lol!

  • Comrade Stalin

    bertie:

    As far as I am concrned Billy Wright was an evil bastard but he was murdered and his father has evrry right to want to find out who and to be supported in that.

    Yes Bertie, I agree. But remember, the theme here is hypocrisy. Any time the chuckies ask for an enquiry, the unionists say that it’s a waste of money, and that the soldiers/police/etc were good lads doing a good job anyway. However when the shoe is on the other foot it’s a totally different story. Clearly, the unionists have two sets of standards. One for themmuns, and one for “our lads”.

    I have no probelm with a genuinely repentant ex terrorist who is no longer a member of the organisation or organically linked to the one which he belonged.

    In the case of one of the DUP councillor candidates I’m thinking of, he distributed a leaflet during an election in South Antrim which said that he’d been loyally serving Ulster since he was 16. That was the age he was when he got convicted for some sort of loyalist related offence. I remember David Ford condemning it.

  • stephen

    kensei, I agree with you.

    As a Unionist, the UUP cannot have it both ways.

    Either you oppose terrorist reps sitting in government without decommissioning, or you dont.

    In fact the provos have made a start, the UVF have not even handed in a spud gun!

    This I am glad to say is the nail in the coffin for the UUP, and hopefully after the next elections that will be the end of them.

    No terrorists in government full stop, until there is clear and unequivocal evidence that they are not engaged in paramilitary groupings, or criminality.

    In other words, exclusively peaceful means.

  • stephen

    big difference in the nio and inla conspiring to kill someone INSIDE prison cs.

    Also, surely the number of enquiries to themuns is more than usuns?

  • roger

    It will be interesting to see how much the uup spend at the next election

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Northern_Ireland/Story/0,,1774531,00.html

  • Comrade Stalin

    stephen, I’m not arguing the merits of any specific enquiries (Wright deserves answers at the least), merely pointing out the contradicting positions taken by unionists over them.

  • Reader

    stephen: Bear in mind, the UUP entered the talks with the UDP and PUP whilst neither had decommissioned, nor renounced violence…
    This was because they needed a majority of unionist reps to carry their ‘negotiation’ team.(with the udp and pup they reached 52% or thereabouts)
    So, whats new? Nothing.

    I have already said here that the UUP will need to decontaminate before they ever get my vote again. But I don’t agree about the above. When the UUP was negotiating on the basis of the forum headcount, they were talking to the PUP, UDP and SF, all associated with terrorist groups on ceasefire. If the DUP had been there, the PUP and UDP could have been frozen out, and we may have managed without prisoner releases. But the UUP were *there*, and needed unionist votes to make an *agreement*. The situation now is far worse. The UUP are cosying up to paramilitaries for political advantage. This time they aren’t just getting their hands dirty.

  • Moderate Unionist

    It must be great to live in an ideal world. A world where you can chose who you negoitate with, a world where it doesn’t matter what you do, or don’t do, you still get paid, your children still get educated, and our old folk are safe, warm and nourished…. but we don’t live in an ideal world, the problems facing Northern Ireland are very real, nobody is addressing them.

    There is no political progress, there is no meeting of minds, there is no generousity of spirit and without that it is hard to see how any progress can be made.

    None of you are providing a solution, you are all therefore part of the problem.

  • Rubicon

    Solution

    1. SF join the policing board
    2. IMC provides (PIRA provides?) clean evaluation of PIRA organised criminality (again)
    3. DUP agree to joint nomination for FM&DFM
    4. SoS excludes UU Alliance until IMC provide 2 clean evaluations of UVF organised criminality

    We get on with business.

    Does this “solution” demonstrate the required “generosity of spirit”?

  • Moderate Unionist

    Rubicon
    No, point 4 in particular demonstrates a desire to create rather than resolve problems.

    You can’t pick the other sides negoitating team, you can only pick your own.

    If you want to negoitate, get on with it, if you don’t, stop wasting peoples time and money….close the Assembly down and let our politicians find a job that more closely matches their abilities.

  • David Ervine is a bit player in all of this. He will probably end up drifting into the UUP, the same way as the OIRA took over the Labour Party. Ervine does not equate to Adams. Adams had and has a committed core of cadres/MI5 agents working for him and they are now the dominant Nationalist force. The UVF/PUP were just house cleaners for the UUP/UDR. Ervine might help to give the UUP blue rinces some street cred and a bit of rough for those who are interested in jolly times. Who knows? Who cares? The UUP are history anyway. Good riddance to them.

  • Conor Mac Giollaeaspuig

    Heck,
    “what is the PUPs position on grammar schools?”

    Probably that around 45% of them ought to be petrol bombed.

  • Loyalist

    Michael Shilliday deserves some credit for attempting to brazen this one out, but the simple facts ae these:

    (a) For years the Ulster Unionist Party banged on about decomissioning, with special emphasis on the Provos, every UUP manifesto since 1998 stated that decomissioning was an absolute necessity. Having performed this latest enormous volte-face, by admitting Ervine into their midst, how can anyone ever take the UUP seriously on the issue of crime and guns again?

    (b) This is not Hume-Adams. Hume-Adams was a series of clandestine meetings through inter-mediaries aimed at politicising the Provos. Hume, to be fair, took great personal risks and kept the matter secret. At no point was it suggested that the SDLP would admit Adams and co to their ranks or that the SDLP would share responsibilities with Sinn Fein in local councils. This initiative on the other hand smaks of naked political expediency. Reg is so desperate to get his mits on that third ministry that he whores himself to the representatives of an armed and active paramilitary organisation. I personally know dozens of people inside the UUP who will be revolted by this move. The only reason i can think of as to why the Tak Major isn’t annoyed is because he’s in line for one of the minsterial posts.

    (c) By pursuing this course of action Reg shows yet again the schizo nature of his leadership. One week he’s next door to the Alliance, the next he’s trying to outflank the DUP to the right. By jumping into bed with the UVF in this way he will repulse literally thousands of Alliance-y UUP voters, who the Purple Turtle had previously won over. These people will return to Alliance at the next assembly poll.

    (d) In his desperation, reg has missed the big picture. The DUP will force an assembly election sooner rather than later in order to solidify their position. They will be coming back with around 40 seats. Alliance will probably go up to 8-10 sets as a result of Reg’s actions.

    A disatrous move that will lead to a greater decline in the UUP’s fortunes.

  • BooBoo

    Loyalist your are completely right.

    The UUP has no sense of shame and no sense of honour.

    Empey and McFarland have lost whatever credibility they had. They may pretend that it’s about stopping SF getting a Department, but the price is embracing another terrorist frontman.

    I may only be one vote but it is a vote that will no longer be going to the DUP

    BooBoo

  • BooBoo

    Sorry, that last line should read “..no longer going to the UUP”

    BooBoo

  • crataegus

    I refrained from comment as I thought this decision so stupid that the hypocrisy and electoral folly just don’t need explanation.

    I once thought that the SDLP would be the party that would face melt down first, I was wrong it will be the UUP unless it finds clear direction and leadership.

    The space in the centre just got a little larger, Alliance will gain marginally. More probably more people will simply not turn out to vote. On one hand there is a fair degree of hypocrisy in the Unionist camp regarding association with terrorists, but in that camp, more so than in the Nationalist – Republican camp, there is a body of opinion that has an utter distaste for terrorists. That is why the PUP and UDP did not make any significant political gains.

    What puzzles me is where does Reg think he is placing the party? Short term gain against long term loss. Madness.

  • BooBoo

    crataegus–same as Loyalist post earlier–I agree.

    Stupid Stupid Stupid.

    Silence from people like Sylvia hermon and Alex Kane is deafening, although I have geard on grapevine that both are very pessimistic about the move.

    BooBoo

  • DeepThroat

    All,

    This was a purely logistical move on the part of the UUP to stop SF geting another seat on the executive. Fact. But by getting into this deal, I don’t believe they had even considered that the first criticism levelled at them would be that they were getting into bed with a preceived loyalist terrorist.

    The Unionist version of Hume/Adams? Possibly not in real politic terms, but I would imagine electorally it might have the same effect! In the Pre-Hume/Adams 1992 Westminster elections SDLP held 23.5% of the vote in NI and SF held 10%. Post-Hume/Adams in the 2005 WMEs the SDLP had slipped to 17.5% while SF held 24.3%. Depressing reading yes, but it could herald the fact that the UUP will do even worse than their frankly laughable 17.7% last time out!!!

    Given all the negative criticism here comes from UUP supporters this has bad move written all over it. No wonder there are no pro-DUP voices here, they are all too busy adding all those disillusioned UUP voters to their mailing list for the next election.

  • Loyalist

    Another thought. Given Naomi Long’s reaction, I think its safe to assume that the UUP has just lost APNI support in their bid for the Lord Mayor’s post in Belfast. Smart move Reg.

  • TAFKABO

    It’s simply not good enough to justify this move by claiming it prevents Sinn Fein from getting a ministerial position.
    The only sustainable position for denying anything to Sinn Fein is on the basis that they were wedded to paramiltarism and criminality in a way that those taking the seat from the were not.

    Now in effect a party moving away from paramilitarism has just been denied a seat by a party moving towards it.

    And to think they had the brass neck to claim that decent people vote for the UUP?

    Alliance may well do OK out of this, but the biggest winners in the long run will be the DUP and even more so Sinn Fein.
    Who thinks for a moment that given the option of that ministerial position or being able to link the UUP directly to loyalist paramilitaries that Sinn Fein would have gone for the seat?

    There’s been a lot of talk about the British establishment infiltrating the Republican movement and manipulating it for their own ends, but I can think of fewer acts that smack of outside manipulation more than this suicidal act by the UUP.

    The only question is what Empeys title shall be?

    Lord Lemming anyone?

  • TAFKABO

    Assuming Lord Turtle doesn’t take it, I think “Vichy” is still available for a title for the UUP-UVF leader.

  • ncm

    Does this mean we can create a hyphenated tag for the [thugs in the] UUP?

  • DeepThroat

    Dissent People! Vote for the Ulster Unionist Paramilitaries!!!

  • Scotick8

    Has Reggie been sold a pup?

  • stephen

    reader,

    you are wrong.

    Trimble agreed that all of us unionists would not go into discussions unless sfira decommissioned.

    He reneged and used the pup and udp to scrape through a majority (which was required) to negotiate away our position.

    Bear in mind also, that the negotiations were confined to the framework documents, – yes, the same framework docs which were rejected by the UPP,PUP,UDP,UKUP, and DUP asany basis for talks, or any parameters of same.

    Now, as for prisoner releases, all they had to do was to object and NOT agree.

    Simple.

    Thats why they are almost dead.

    AND GOOD RIDDANCE.

  • GoldCoaster

    I wonder what her Ladyship’s view on this whole episode is. I would hardly imagine that Sylvia would have nasty people like Ervine on the invite list for one of her candlelit suppers in Donaghadee.

    Yet another issue to divide the UUP. I would imagine that David Ford is probably the happiest man in Stormont today though. All those pseudo-Alliance voters that the UUP were hoping to attract are hardly going be thrilled at the political representatives of murderers and drug dealers sitting in an alliance with the UUP.

    What on earth will Alex Kane’s ‘garden centre prods’ think of this one.

  • stephen

    they think its all over…..lol

  • crataegus

    If Sylvia had any sense she would jump ship to Alliance. Could hold the seat with garden centre Unionists and Alliance support. Otherwise DUP gain next time out.

  • crataegus

    Sorry just thinking very good week for Alliance with this and Women’s Coalition winding up. But they don’t have the personalities in place, or a compelling vision, to fully gain from the opportunity and there is no other party positioned to benefit. So the largest beneficiary (as with Labour support in England) will be the stay at home brigade and that may have consequences that are difficult to predict. It will be interesting to see how Alliance position themselves, do they obtain defections etc.

  • Loyalist

    IJP was quick to see the opportunity presented by Empey jumping into bed with the UV’s – check out APNI website.

  • stephen

    crataegus, spot on the money.

    Sylvia will only survive if she joined the Alliance, (hardly a big leap as they didnt stand last year to get her in), she could harness the ‘garden centre’ prods and those who value tips on how one should dress one’s salad…etc.

  • D’Hont

    To whoever was speculating what would happen if both Bob McCartney and Paul Berry joined/rejoined the DUP grouping (unlikely though the scenario is):

    After 3 nominations the DUP’s
    34/(3+1)=8.5
    beats
    after 2 nominations the UUP’s
    25/(2+1)=8.333

    So the DUP would regain the seat they lost when Berry resigned.

    I think that despite having potentially one less seat, SF will be laughing at all this. The DUP have lost a seat as just desserts for their homophobic attitude re: Berry; UUP have regained one they would have had in the first place if Donaldson etc hadn’t defected because of their refusal to take a harder line on the ‘No Guns No Government’ policy, only to regain it by cosying up to a terrorism-linked party. All of which, to this outside observer, makes Unionism as a whole look breathtakingly hypocritical not to mention highly inept.

    Incidentally, if the DUP’s position on ‘UUP/UVF’ is really to be consistent with their position re: Sinn Fein, then as of now we should expect the DUP to refuse to negotiate with or even talk to members of the UUP!

  • SJK

    Two unionist parties combine forces to gain political advantage for their supporters, to increase their influence in the assembly and to strengthen the unionist voice in Stormont. Is this a problem? Has a law been broken? At last we see unionists choosing to agree and co-operate and other unionists throw a tantrum. Hello?
    Lets get real and start to make politics work constructively. Well done David Ervine and Reg.

  • bertie

    So as long as the unionist voice is strengthened and it isn’t actually against the law, anything is justified!

  • eX

    Ulster Unionists and Progressive Unionists have co-operated to bolster the Unionist position within the assembly. That has to be good news for the Unionist community.

    Let’s not forget that The DUP were on the verge of doing a deal with Sinn Fein not so long ago and but for a few polaroids the power sharing executive would be already up and running.

    There are those who will say that they will not play ball with terrorists or terrorism and that is a fine and noble position. Or it would be if it were not also hypocritical. Did the DUP not seek to open channels for discussions with Loyalist paramilitaries in recent times about the prospects of their decommisioning.

    Indeed, if it were not for the fact that I have seen Senior DUP members stand in the middle of a PUP office I would assume the very proximity of these nasty terrorist would in someway render a DUP man to dust.

    And if the distaste for Progressive Unionism is so rife amounst the DUP then why am I left to ponder the invitations to PUP party members to join the DUP and why such invititions are made – I do not doubt the source of this remark on this occassion.

    It is without doubt a hypocritical position the DUP take in a bid to mask the public and paint a picture of hardline opposition in the face of a deal they must be preparing to do. I only hope that the UUP/PUP group can muster enough support and maintain an influence to pick up the pieces of Unionism when the deal goes down.

  • Karl Rove

    F*ck the DUP, you snivelling UVF apologist – this isn’t about them. I’m a UUP member disgusted by the fact that my party is now playing footsie with scum like David Ervine. If you can’t see what’s so very wrong with that, I can only assume that you were one of the braying fools who never saw anything wrong with Trimble’s leadership either.

  • eX

    It is precisely that sort of hysterical language that has caused so much death and hurt in this country for years. I do not apologise for the UVF. Nor do I turn my back or close the door on my fellow Unionist who wish end the crisis of confidence in the Unionist community.

    I can only assume your comments are an emotional displacement of guilt for the action or inaction you have taken in the past.

    I trust you will not be playing your part in helping loyalist working class communities for fear of contamination by those who are or those who know the scum like David Ervine to which you refer.

  • bertie

    It is not the language that upholds anti terorit standards that has caused the death. It is the bombs, bullets and battons of the likes of the UVF.

    The crisis of cinfidence in the Unionist community is exacerbated by such an onslaught on what many of them hold dear.

    It is some reassurenace to me to think that despite the front that so many of the UUP are putting up and trying to pass this off as a principled stand that there are a few to proclaim that the Empey had no clothes

  • SJK

    I find it interesting that the people who know David Ervine don’t consider him ‘scum’ but find him to be a reasonable and thoughtful unionist who is genuinely committed to working for peace and prosperity for the whole community but with a particular bias toward disadvantaged working class communities.

  • Rubicon

    The UUPAG (UUP & PUP) could only be justified if it delivered UVF decommissioning. If it was intended to do that then Reg & David would be on the podium right now patting each other on the back.

    Of course, the dogs in the street know it has nothing to do with delivering a more peaceful NI. It has everything to do with ensuring a unionist dominated executive.

    It is without doubt a squalid deal and Reg will probably believe “that’s politics folks”.

    Is it? Is this what Reg thinks unionism is about – the grubby grappling for power to run a devolved administration that has no power to either weaken nor solidify the union?

    There was a time (not so long ago) when unionists worried about the RC high birth rate and the prospect of becoming a minority. This danger has rescinded but in its place comes a unionist minded electorate not turning up at the polls. Add to this mix the collapsing public sector dependent economy of the north, looking south and waiting the Direct Rule axe to fall on.

    Failing restoration there’ll hardly be a family in NI not adversely affected. It would be no bad thing if it cleared the way for regeneration. It won’t; enterprise will still be held back by the more favourable fiscal regime in the south.

    So how has Reg strengthened the union?

    With an even larger number of unionists now driven from the ballot box while watching a gathering circus in Stormont, a disregard from Westminster and an economy over the border that’s over-heating will these “garden centre unionists” mobilise for a border pole?

    SF is showing a lead that isn’t going unnoticed. If their few seats can bargain for power – how much better would the British/Irish identity be able to do so?

    Reg – through throwing aside principles – has presented a greater danger to the union than SF ever did. His UUPAG has no chance of nominating ministers. Neither the DUP nor the SDLP will wear it.

    It’s time for a border poll. The 7 years are more than up. I don’t suggest this with any wish for a UU but recognise unionism of the DUP and UUP variety is unable to work for the benefit of the people.

    A close result might just focus minds. It could be VERY close (thanks to Reg & Dave).

  • TAFKABO

    I find it interesting that the people who know David Ervine don’t consider him ‘scum’ but find him to be a reasonable and thoughtful unionist who is genuinely committed to working for peace and prosperity for the whole community but with a particular bias toward disadvantaged working class communities.

    Oh please, spare me the ragged trousered philanthropist schtick.
    For the record, I am a working class unionist,and I am an ex PUP member who is in a position to know exactly what type of person Ervine is.
    I really am offended by the notion that the UVF or the PUP are in any way the voice of working class unionism.
    Says who?, by what mandate?.

    Working class unionist communities have been held hostage to paramilitary scum for too long, and whilst it was bad enough that the likes of the UUP turned a blind eye to that, they now turn around and join up with the bastards that have been blighting working class unionist communities?

    David Ervine, like others in the PUP wouldnt know working class politics from a Royal garden party.
    It wasn’t that long ago that Ervine was fawning over Camilla, gushing about how gracious she was, despite having had a rough time of it.

    If your idea of working class politics is being happy that the daughter in law of a billionaire allows you to gratefully lick her arse, well then Ervine is up there with Che Guevara.

    What Unionists need is real working class politics, not these posturing plastic proles.

  • Rubicon

    SJK – get close to any side and you’ll normally find individuals who present well. David is one who has a charm and family tragedies that one can’t but sympathise with.

    David as an individual has to be differentiated from David the politician. He represents a working class view that tries to achieve progress but he also represents the UVF. In doing so he is the political underbelly of foul sectarianism, murder, gangsterism that makes his own area a ghetto, denies it a future and – just in case – it corrupts its children.

    These are the unacceptable sides of David Irvine that until Monday last the PUP were being slowly squeezed for. The PUP lost a seat and halved its representation in the Assembly at the last election.

    Reg has now given them a helping hand (or so Reg says – difficult to believe when he markets the extra unionist seat on the executive as the 1st reason).

    It has nothing to do with whether particular representatives are ‘likeable’. It’s what they represent that matters. The UUP are likely to learn that lesson at the next election. UUP constituency members in E. Belfast are signing off – can David supply a few tattooed gorillas to replace them?

  • Rubicon

    I agree TAFKABO – working class ‘unionists’ deserve much better – and they’ve just been shafted.

    Empey was ETI Minister and before that had responsibility for the economic development of Belfast in the city council for years. Just take a look at E. Belfast!

    Jesus! If I could forgive SF for what they supported (and I’m just too old to do that) I’d vote for them now. In E. Belfast the UUP have benefited from an anti-DUP vote. I won’t vote for that party again – even though I did so for negative reasons.

    The cops raided Reg’s offices on the suspicion of there being ‘links’ to terrorism. An informer being arrested took the Assembly down. That informer worked for the British. Who is Reg working for? The British – or himself?

    Even in local politics Reg is a failure. He keeps his seat because “he’s decent” (remember the UUP campaign?) and – much as I can’t vote SF – others can’t forgive the DUP.

    Some might conclude Reg has got away with murder. He has – until now. Being a complete incompetent hasn’t damaged him. As the UVF continue its business Reg’s new allies won’t be held to account. He will be.

    If Reg gets elected again then unionism and terrorism will be a finished argument.

    THAT could be a good thing!

  • Rubicon

    UUPER – you are incorrect. I can assure you that the UUP have lost my vote (you only got it since the DUP looked like they were going to shaft you). I’ve no idea who I will now vote for – but it won’t be the UUP or DUP.

    I’m sure you’ll think me no loss. Fine – that’s politics. Unfortunatlely for you guys – this criticism is just the beginning. It’s enough for me – others might require a child dying from a drug overdose, a gang rape, a Catholic pensioner murdered etc etc.

    I doubt it though. I voted UUP to register a vote against the DUP. I was wrong. UUP have shafted E. Belfast whilst advancing themselves and have weakened the union.

    Whatever about the score of history the last vestige of unionism representing anything decent has gone.

    A unionist majority on a devolved executive has nothing to do with strengthening the union.

    Pissing unionist voters off by corrupting the trust they mistakenly vested will cause a serious re-think. That re-think will be at grass-roots and Reg’s filthy little deal delivering nothing will move NI politics on. It adds an honesty that has to be faced.

    Honest Reg has come out, Will unionists? Who do they vote for now – or, more importantly, what do they decide not to vote for?

  • Crataegus

    TAFKABOWhat Unionists need is real working class politics, not these posturing plastic proles.

    It’s not just Unionists that need proper politics.

  • Rubicon

    Crataegus – fair point.

    The difference here is that the UUP has signed up to terrorism, drug-dealing, criminality etc for reasons of political expediency.

    The UVF, UDA, INLA, LVF – none have succeeded in getting the poorer a better deal. SF has – take a drive around the west of the city.

    Can you blame the likes of Reg for dismissing the existence of an intelligent politic within working class unionism? Reg simply doesn’t give a shit about poverty within unionism. What has he done to alleviate their plight?

    NOTHING!

    He is representative of the interests that shaft the working people. I’m pleased he has now come clean on that.

  • Rubicon

    It’s not that “decent people” need unionism. Unionism can’t now mobilise the vote it targeted. “Decent” unionists will have none of this – I hope. But, if they buy it that too will be progress.

    The entirety of the UUP argument for law and order will no longer be a matter of debate. They’ll do what they get elected for – keeping the croppy down. But the DUP are doing that better.

    Where is the “decent” unionist is all of this?

    I guess shrubs are going to be expensive this summer – but only due to an over-supply of vegetables!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    TAFKABO: “Working class unionist communities have been held hostage to paramilitary scum for too long, and whilst it was bad enough that the likes of the UUP turned a blind eye to that, they now turn around and join up with the bastards that have been blighting working class unionist communities? ”

    they’re whores, TAFKABO… oops, I meant politicians, but its essentially the same thing…

    all I know is this move is starting make Paisley’s band of merry marauders look like responsible grown-ups.

    TAFKABO: “well then Ervine is up there with Che Guevara. ”

    Two lawless butchers… its an apt comparison.

    Rubicon: “I agree TAFKABO – working class ‘unionists’ deserve much better – and they’ve just been shafted. ”

    The joy and pain of a democracy is that the voters always get the government they deserve. If they are going to elect those who hold them cheaply, do they deserve any better?

    Rubicon: “The entirety of the UUP argument for law and order will no longer be a matter of debate. They’ll do what they get elected for – keeping the croppy down. But the DUP are doing that better. ”

    The UUP’s hypocrisy stinks to high heaven. Law and Order? Don’t make me laugh — so long as that malodorous, malignent muppet Ervine travels with the UUP, like a cancerous remora on a crippled shark, how can anyone take UUP’s position on crime and terrorism?

  • Teaser

    Sir Reg has finally revealed the true soul of Unionism – UVF sectarian terrorism; its been around since the OO was formed; the Law and Order brigade – Loyalist Law and Orange Order; good enough for Craig good enough for Reggie. Good enough for Paisley good enough for Empey. Paisleyites, Empeyites, tear yourselves apart we’re in the pound seats enjoying the spectacle. Jeez how Tony would like to see the arse end of you all. Some British Province this is.
    On another conflict now; who is DV – descendant of Esekiel who shopped the idealistic Presbyterian UI at Antrim in 98; the fight for good over evil started then.Think we should be told.

  • Rubicon

    Dread Cthulhu – I don’t think I can disagree with you since the evidence is clearly in your favour. I wasn’t posting support for the UUP position as being one genuinely in favour of law and order.

    Many UUP voters were led to believe that was what they were voting for though.

    Sure, we’re responsible for the politicians we get. The UUP got votes on a certain basis. Could they get them again?

    Time will tell ….