UUP need to learn some tough lessons, fast…

If some of the UUP’s insiders were relishing the media attention the Ervine deal got them at the beginning of the week, they’re unlikely to still be doing so now. It seems Reg Empey has suffered the first crisis of his leadership: and he has some important lessons that will have to be learned and learned quickly if they are to have a viable long term future.

  • Tony Clifton

    Mick

    Dont think the article is completely accurate. The standing orders have been changed that would allow for a resetting of the ‘day one’ under which d’hondt is run, however there is absolutley no guarantee that this would happen. With a Unionist ministerial seat at risk, I certainly woudlnt have gambled it on having a new ‘day one’ the move by the DUP or UUP to form a group would still have to have been made on Monday to be sure.

    The Secretary of state changed the standing orders on friday, he could easily have changed them again. I could have forseen him changing them to stop SF loosing the seat from their point of view a happier SF and a 50/50 executive split would suit better. For the sake of Unionism I wouldnt have let monday pass by.

  • oc

    more sectarian head counting ,like any Prod ‘ll do even one who represents a para-military group thats up to its neck in murder,extortion and drug running and also adamantly refuses to ever decomission !

  • Tony Clifton

    OC

    You are right in that this could seem like a sectarian head count and may well be. However it is something that happens in most parliaments throughout the world (the forming of coalitions to maximise influence) so even if the asssembly wasnt divided along sectarian lines, something like this was bound to happen sooner or later.

  • Carson’s Cat

    Tony,
    Alliances are one thing, sectarian alliances are also ok – at the end of the day that’s politics. But to include terrorists in your alliance and abandon a basic principle of democracy is simply lower than low.

  • Wee Ulsterman

    Agree with Tony – this wasn’t a chance they could have missed. I was well impressed by Alan McFarland’s BBC debate with Gregory C last nite – the DUP have been totally hypocritical on this!! When Alan took out those old Ulster Resistance photos it just really showed them up

    If the UUs are reaching out to bring in the bits of loyalism that have been on the outside of the process then, as far as i’m concerned, great – means they aren’t content to just sit there in the leafy lanes!!

    Of course the UUP have taken brickbats all week, but I haven’t seen them change course – And good for Reg and Alan for taking this tricky route – I really hope his gamble works out, and loyalist communities get the help they desperately need.

    I mean, it’s not exactly every day you see the political parties here putting the interests of the Province ahead of their own electoral concerns now is it?!?

  • TAFKABO

    Speaking as a Unionist, I fail to see why it is preferrable to have gained a seat from Sinn Fein for the price of conceding the principle of no guns no government.
    What is so bad about Sinn Fein that makes taking a seat away from them so important?
    Seriously, I’d like to see someone address that question, keeping in mind that the UUP are able to swallow hard and work with unreconstructed loyalist terrorists, but not seemingly republicans who are clearly and demonstrably moving away from violence and criminality.

  • ben

    The simple fact is that the UUP is composed of lying, sectarian hypocrites.

  • David Michael

    “The simple fact is that the UUP is composed of lying, sectarian hypocrites.”

    Sylvia Hermon and Dermot Nesbitt excluded surely, to name but two.

  • Carson’s Cat

    WeeUlsterman
    “When Alan took out those old Ulster Resistance photos it just really showed them up”

    When the Tank Commander took out the photos you realised that the UUP had come to ‘last line of defence’ time. When in doubt rant about red berets etc.

    The trouble with that strategy from the UUP is that it delivers dimishing returns. They’ve tried it so often now (several times at least during all recent election campaigns) that it has little or no effect.

    People are just much more interested in the here and now – and its here and now that the UUP are in league with terrorists. The same does not apply to the DUP.

    “Of course the UUP have taken brickbats all week, but I haven’t seen them change course”

    You obviously havent been watching too closely. On Monday it was all about taking a seat from Sinn Fein. That was the only reason for the decision – and going by what Burnside said on the radio that is clearly what he was told.

    However come about Wednesday the move was all about persuading the UVF to abandon violence. THey were taking the high moral ground and reaching out the hand to the filth. That’s obviously what they were telling Hermon.

    The trouble is that the UUP isnt just split over this move, its split three ways. There are those who rightly think that its a grubby pathetic little move which embraces terrorism.

    There then are those who support it, but only as a tactical move to allegedly remove a seat from Sinn Fein in the Executive which is not formed and shows no immediate prospect of being formed. That is the one and only reason they support it – i.e. the Burnside wing.

    There then are those who support it but only as a gesture of hopefully housetraining the PUPs and making them nice ‘decent’ people like the Reggies and Tank Commanders of this world. They see this as the only reason why they could support this move as embracing terrorism for any kind of cynical Assembly tactic just isnt for them – i.e. the Hermon wing.

    Its quite a feat from Reg the wonderboy that he’s managed to make the UUP even more divided than under the purple turtle.

  • Wee Ulsterman

    “What’s so bad about Sinn Féin?” asks TAFKABO – So presumably you as a DUP supporter want to go into govt with Sinn Fein/IRA whilst leaving our loyalist communities out in the cold???

    I think the quality of leadership from the DUP this week has been lamentable. When in doubt resort to vicious hypocritical soundbytes. Not really what unionism needs right now!

    But hey those oh-so-clever wee boys in the pinstripe suits whom Robbo has gathered around him dont’ exactly give a sheyt about loyalist communities now do they, beyond ensuring they keep obediently voting DUP…

    up the hill and down the hill mr Paisley

    but some were left dead on the hill

    never again

  • Carson’s Cat

    WeeUlsterman
    “So presumably you as a DUP supporter want to go into govt with Sinn Fein/IRA whilst leaving our loyalist communities out in the cold???”

    And there you fall into the trap which many UUP supporters have done so by having such a superficial grasp of the issues and a short-sighted view of tactics.

    The point is that if the UUP were so concerned about the presence of Sinn Fein terrorists in Government then they would not fundamentally undermine their own arguements against the presence of terrorists in Government by using different terrorists in order to gain an extra place in Government – who it may or may not be at the expense of in this case is not the most fundamental issue.

    It is not the most fundamental issue for 3 reasons:
    1) The DUP could also return that unionist majority by adding an extra name (were the Ervine factor not present).

    2) There is no particular prospect of the Executive being formed at the minute. However, the pressure becomes immediately greater once unionism in the stupid form of the UUP undermine the arguement as explained earlier.

    3) Accountable Ministers (which will be delivered by the DUP, yet were seemingly unimportant in UUP negotiations) will make exactly who the personality in office is less vital. That Minister wont be able to take the McGuinness or deBrun type decisions and would require a cross-community majority.

    We are left wondering however, if the UUP were so keen on creating permanent or long lasting unionist majorities on the Executive they would have negotiated 7 Government Departments which is much more likely to deliver that goal, under most electoral outcomes.

    Typically the UUP are trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted – but typically of them they manage to scare most of the other horses out of the stable in the process of doing so.

  • Crataegus

    Attacking the DUP by highlighting their hypocrisy isn’t really a defence is it? It is a diversion, almost an acceptance that there is legitimacy in the concerns. Hi look, we know we did wrong, but everyone else is at it, and by the way we did that equally nasty lot out of a seat by so doing, so its OK. As for bringing the UVF in from the cold, well perhaps at best delusional. Strange defence.

    It would have been refreshing to hear the truth, look we want and extra minister and hang the principles that’s the priority.

  • Tony Clifton

    Carson Cat

    I can see why DUP people are upset about this, they have something to loose – the seat they had planned to take. But I really dont think Ervine and the PUP are terrorists or have any say regarding UVF activity (the IMC now agree), if they did there wouldnt be any. I think Ervine is a genuine person who comes from a background that none of us like, but I do really believe he has made a true movement and genuinely believes in peace and an end to paramiltarism. I think that as far as Ervine is concerned the UUP are on safe ground, it is only peoples inaccurate and simplistic view that PUP=UVF and the DUP playing on this that is causing an issue.

    Also the red beret card has been played before, the problem is that it is accurate and warranted, the problem for the DUP is that is only the tip of the iceberg as far as DUP and Loyalism goes, if this were to turn into a mud slinging excercisebetween UUP and DUP, DUP members are in for a rough time scandal wise. There will be a few UUP caught up but I have a feeling this will calm down the DUP really dont want to open this can of worms.

  • Wee Ulsterman

    I’m not so much concerned about the inclusion of SF as I am about the exclusion of loyalism – how can NI move forward under some DUP/SF pact if it leaves the loyalist communities behind?

    Now that the IRA have decommissioned, most thinking people accept that SF will have to be in a future govt – but why do the DUP want to accept republicans whilst excluding loyalists??

    If we have to have SF why do the DUPs want the loyalists left out???

    It’s all about power that’s why – the DUP know the loyalists hate them for leading them up the hill, and the DUP just want to dominate Unionism with the relentless iron grip that Sinn Fein/IRA have over nationalism.

    I’m glad the UUP oppose this and are working with the loyalists and finally breaking out of their leafy lane ghettos – good for Reg, the guy has balls.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    WU: “Now that the IRA have decommissioned, most thinking people accept that SF will have to be in a future govt – but why do the DUP want to accept republicans whilst excluding loyalists??”

    Oh, mayhaps its a matter of principle, wanting to keep the gun and criminality out of government. But, apparently, in the name of political expediency, the UUP decided that some terrorists are better than others. Sad, to see principle jettisoned in favor of a political “advantage” that may have to purpose.

  • Carson’s Cat

    Tony Clifton
    “But I really dont think Ervine and the PUP are terrorists or have any say regarding UVF activity (the IMC now agree)”

    Well its a shame that on Monday on the Steve Nolan show that Ervine was admitting that he still remains a spokesman for the UVF. I think the IMC have had plenty to say on the activities of the UVF.

    Even if the links between the PUP and UVF were as tenuous as you suggest the problem remains is that the perception of the general public is something massively different.

    As for Ervine as a person – that is utterly irrelevant. Its the group who he speaks for are the problem – he happens to be a terrorist spokesman, I couldnt care less if he happens to be a particularly affable terrorist spokesman.

    “the DUP really dont want to open this can of worms.”

    You really mean to tell me that the UUP are only now grasping around for supposed DUP hypocrisy on the terrorism issue? You dont think that when the UUP’s trained chimpanzees at CunningPlan House were digging out the decades old red beret pictures and indoctrinating Sam Foster to mention Clontibret at least once every hour that they weren’t looking for anything else they could lay their hands on.

    Why on earth when the UUP were being rightly criticised for cozying up to republican terrorists would the UUP have withheld the kind of explosive revelations that you suggest are out there lurking around every street corner. Is it really a sensible suggestion to wait until electoral oblivion is staring you in the face before you fire your secret weapon?

    The fact is that the UUP would have loved to have found something damaging against the DUP when they were sitting around the Stormont Executive table with an armed and active Sinn Fein/IRA. It would have taken a little of the sting out of DUP attacks at that time. The problem is that they weren’t able to get anything which was even close to being meaningful then and I doubt that they will manage to get anything now – particularly as most of the cash they used to get for running CunningPlan House has dried up in the last while.

  • Wee Ulsterman

    “wanting to keep the gun and crimanility out of government” ??? – have you actually seen the SF/DUP comprehensive agreement??

    anyone who thinks Robbo and the Pinstripe Boys are tryin’ to keep SF out of govt is just living in cloud cuckoo land…

    the question is do include loyalism too, or just leave those communities out there abandoned?

    sure would suit the dup’s appeal-to-the-middle-classes strategy to do the latter…

  • Carson’s Cat

    WeeUlsterman
    “- but why do the DUP want to accept republicans whilst excluding loyalists??”

    I must apologise at this point – I grossly over-estimated you from your previous post.

    The fact is that the DUP want republican terrorists and loyalist terrorists treated equally. Republicans have moved some way towards democracy by substantial decommissioned but they must also end their crime if they wish to be part of a Government. The problem for loyalists is that they are currently behind republicans in terms what they have to do before they are eligible for Government.

    You may be happy to distinguish between their terrorists and our terrorists but that simply makes embracing them all the more morally repulsive.

    Oh, and BTW, its not just the DUP who want the loyalists left out of Government – its the vast, vast majority of the unionist community who have chosen not to vote for the political representatives of drug dealers, murderers and gangsters.

  • Carson’s Cat

    WeeUlsterman
    “sure would suit the dup’s appeal-to-the-middle-classes strategy”

    And how does including the UVF suit the UUP’s appeal-to-catholics strategy? I dont suggest that that strategy is a bad thing – appealing to more non-traditional unionists is perfectly fine, its just that working with loyalist terrorists is unlikely to be the way to achieve it.

    Also, alleging that the DUP are just champing at the bit to get into Government with SF is hardly a line of defence for the UUP or PUP – after all, they have already done it three times and are clearly keen to do so again. Its the DUP who are standing on the princples upon which they were elected.

    Principles are something like “no guns – no government”. Its just a matter of keeping them.

  • inuit_goddess

    Cat, you talk about the “decades-old” red beret photos – they may be old but neither Robinson nor Paisley have ever renounced their own actions at that time.

    Do you really think it was the correct thing to do to get jigged up in camouflage and red berets and form battalions across the province and talk, as Paisley did, of using “Any Means Necessary” to get his way????

    Lots of young Protestants were led astray by all this chicanery and later lost their lives – and yet none of the DUP leadership have renounced their actions at that time – so to my mind it’s perfectly legitimate for the UUP to raise this.

  • TAFKABO

    I’m not so much concerned about the inclusion of SF as I am about the exclusion of loyalism – how can NI move forward under some DUP/SF pact if it leaves the loyalist communities behind?

    I’m sorry, but this nonsense cannot go unchallenged.
    Since when did the PUP, the UVF or David Ervine represent the loyalist communities?.
    When they get a mandate from the loyalist communities, you can make this claim, so far they have failed to do so.
    The loyalist communities have cast their votes for other Unionist parties.

    The UVF don’t speak for the so called loyalist community.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    WU: “”wanting to keep the gun and crimanility out of government” ??? – have you actually seen the SF/DUP comprehensive agreement??”

    PIRA has given up their guns and are, as a presence on in the crime-statistics, fading away like old soldiers. The Loyalist murder-gangs, sadly, are not.

    WU: “anyone who thinks Robbo and the Pinstripe Boys are tryin’ to keep SF out of govt is just living in cloud cuckoo land… ”

    I didn’t say “SF,” I said “the gun.” While we’re at it, let’s keep the bat and the knife out of government, as well.

    WU: “the question is do include loyalism too, or just leave those communities out there abandoned?

    sure would suit the dup’s appeal-to-the-middle-classes strategy to do the latter… ”

    No one really want’s an un-house-broken PUP in their parlour…

  • litter-tray

    “No one really want’s an un-house-broken PUP in their parlour…”

    Except it would seem, the Ulster Unionist Party. I know that desperate times call for desperate measures but sometimes you can just go too far.

  • facts

    Just to follow TAFKABO’s point about who exactly the PUP represent.

    At the 2005 Local Government election they managed to get less votes than the Green Party FFS!

    The PUP and UVF officially represent about 4,000 people across Northern Ireland. I for one would like to think that the ‘loyalist community’ is somewhat larger than that.

  • Wee Ulsterman

    Dread, facts, litter, TAFK (are u all one person?!) – funny how none of you answer the point about the red berets!

    Perhaps you could point us towards where Robinson and Paisley renounce their paramilitary activities?

    Until I see proof I just think these Dup Pinstripe Boys are just plain hypocrites…

    these DUPers just led up the hill then down the hill with nary a thought for those left caught in their poisonous rhetorical wizardry

    what a bunch of cowards

  • elfinto

    The PUP and UVF officially represent about 4,000 people across Northern Ireland. I for one would like to think that the ‘loyalist community’ is somewhat larger than that.

    It is. Most of them vote for the DUP.

    Sinn Fein lie when they say they are not connected to the IRA. The DUP lie when they they that they are in favour of law and order and opposed to terrorism. People who vote for SF and the DUP know that. Such is life in the north of Ireland. Farcical!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    wu: “Dread, facts, litter, TAFK (are u all one person?!) – funny how none of you answer the point about the red berets! ”

    LOL… Here that TAF — you’re just a figment of my fevered imagination!!

    As for the red berets — are they extant presently? If so, where? If not, what’s the point?

    Arguably, its the one point of not living in the past I’ve seen in a while, making it, if not a “good” thing, a sign of progress.

  • TAFKABO

    Wee Ulsterman.

    Why you are asking me to answer questions on behalf of the DUP I don’t know.
    Take it up with the DUP, I’m sure they have more than enough people who would be happy to speak for the party.

  • Minaloushe

    If Carson had a cat it’s claws would have been sharper. Get back to your ball of wool kitty.

  • Tiny

    have been asking people i know to be UUP voters if the Irvine factor will make any difference to how they vote, i.e. UUP, no difference, as I see it the big danger for the UUP isn’t being deserted by loyal UUP voters in the future, the danger lies with the party getting into a panic, as for the DUP criticism people are not stupid the know that;
    * DUP sit on the Police Board with the PUP’s Dawn Purvis.
    * DUP votes elected Hugh Smyth as Lord Mayor in 1997
    * DUP had no problem with Tommy Kirkham supporting its group on Newtownabbey Council
    * DUP was involved in Ulster Resistance
    * DUP was involved in the Third Force
    * DUP’s Willie McCrea spoke on a platform with Billy Wright, then head of the LVF
    * EX UDA man Gary Blair, who was convicted of aiding and abetting murder, is a DUP party officer in Ballymoney.
    There is even a photograph of Jeffrey Donaldson’s one time party leader and employer Lord Molyneaux inspecting ranks of balaclava wearing paramiltaries while wearing full Orange regalia complete with medals!

  • young loyalist

    Wee Ulsterman your spot on, they led the loyalist community into the mess we are in now. And its plain to see that they dont want things to change as they wont go into government until everyone is bowing down to there rules, instead of going in and fighting the fight from within. If they keep going on like this they will find themselves out of a job and they will push the unionist community into a united ireland and the likes of Paisley and Robinson will take of somewhere without a second thought. Everyone knows they have connections with a paramilitary group and im sure it will all come out.

  • Tiny

    Have been asking a few people both at work and locally who claim to support us if the Irvine affair will make any difference in how they vote, no difference, I am convinced that the real danger lies not in a voter backlash but in the party getting into a panic!

    Also people aren’t stupid, they can see through the DUP, after all they know that the DUP sit on the Police Board with Dawn Purvis, Chairwoman of the PUP, they helped elect Hugh Smyth as Lord Mayor way back in 1997 and have no problem with Tommy Kirkham supporting its group on Newtownabbey Council. They were involved with both the third force and Ulster Resistance and that Willie McCrea spoke on a platform with Billy Wright, then head of the LVF. Finally we have Ex UDA man Gary Blair, who was convicted of aiding and abetting murder, employed by the DUP as a party officer in Ballymoney.

    There is even a photograph of Jeffrey Donaldson’s onetime employer lord Molyneaux complete with Orange regalia resplendent with war medals inspecting ranks of balaclava wearing loyalists.

  • Tiny

    ops

  • Alex Kane

    Has it really now reached the stage at which the UUP is defending its actions with the argument that “the DUP got there first”?

    Alex

  • GoodByeReg

    What now seems to be certain is that Empey reached out to 2 and possibly 3 other MLAs before he reached Ervine.

    His claims on Monday, that he felt he had a duty to reach out to Loyalists was, in fact, hypocritical crap. He ended up with Ervine because he had run out of other options. This boils down to pure greed for an extra seat.

    Well said Alex Kane about the “Dup got there first” argument.

    In exactly the same way that the UUP’s inner circle refused to believe that they would meltdown at the last election, they are now back in the bunker and inventing stories of how much support they are getting on the ground

    GoodByeReg

  • http://www.nuzhound.com/articles/irish_news/arts2006/may18_UUP_egg_on_face__NEmerson.php

    Interesting piece here on the UUP/UVF/Pup. It even mentions the Chinese translation: Irleand means love, which is, of course, all you need.
    Shalom!

  • DCB

    Good point about getting there first

    We all know about the DUP’s hypocrasy, but that is in no way a justification for the UUPs latest actions

    They have vindicated every nationalist critic who ever claimed that the UUPs “no guns no governmenrt” was a clever reworking of no fenian about the place.

  • Tony Clifton

    Carsons Cat

    Whole bucketloads of information exists on DUP members and Loyalist paramilitary groups, those silly pictures of red berets and the third force are the tip of the iceberg, they can only be used becasue they are in the public domain already. The problem would be getting people to say/print the real juicy stuff. But I have no doubt that it will come out if the DUP keep pushing.

    There are plenty of people who are holding the DUP by the balls whether the DUP know it yet or not.

    Its not that Cunningham house couldnt find anything on the DUP, its more likely not to be them who hold the information, its that the stuff is just to big to bring out of the cupboard without a legal shield or loophole.

    I would like to be clear that I dont hold these stories, I just know they exist.

    I

  • I have seen different parts of the Stevens reports which makes very clear that the guns used in Sean Graham book makers attack were also used by different Loyalist groupings.

    These guns were brought in by Ulster Resistance, so for Gregory Campbell to claim on H&M that Ulster Resistance never killed anyone is utter bullshit.

    They brought in the Guns and acted as quater masters for the Loyalist groupings.

  • Tiny

    “His claims on Monday, that he felt he had a duty to reach out to Loyalists was, in fact, hypocritical crap” ‘GoodByeReg’

    It was the cornerstone of his speech when he was elected to the leadership and was widely reported at the time

  • fair_deal

    Tiny

    Cutting and pasting Party briefings is somewhat poor form.

    “DUP sit on the Police Board with the PUP’s Dawn Purvis.”

    They sit in Belfast City Council, NI Assembly etc with PUP representatives and all other parties in Northern Ireland. So what?

    “DUP votes elected Hugh Smyth as Lord Mayor in 1997”

    If you check you will find that 1997 saw the first NATIONALIST Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alban Maginnis.

    “DUP had no problem with Tommy Kirkham supporting its group on Newtownabbey Council”

    The Council website shows Mr Kirkham sitting as an independent.
    http://www.newtownabbey.gov.uk/council/councillor/councillor1.asp
    http://www.newtownabbey.gov.uk/council/councillor/ward.asp

    “DUP was involved in Ulster Resistance”

    Yes they were and then they ended the relationship long ago.

    “DUP was involved in the Third Force”

    Yes they were. However, it was never defined or proscribed as a terrorist organisation nor was it ever implicated in any act of terrorism or crime. The Third Force no longer exists. The UVF does.

    “DUP’s Willie McCrea spoke on a platform with Billy Wright, then head of the LVF”

    Yes he did and he shouldn’t have done it just like the UUP shoudn’t have done what they did.

    “EX UDA man Gary Blair, who was convicted of aiding and abetting murder, is a DUP party officer in Ballymoney.”

    What part of EX do you not understand?

    “There is even a photograph of Jeffrey Donaldson’s onetime employer lord Molyneaux complete with Orange regalia resplendent with war medals inspecting ranks of balaclava wearing loyalists”

    Which he did when an Ulster Unionist and remains so. So how exactly does that highlight DUP hypocrisy?

  • John East Belfast

    fair_deal

    “What part of EX do you not understand”

    The crux of the matter is how much ex – which is my problem with Ervine

    In my opinion yes we can all move on, we can even work with these people as political oponents, if they have unfortunately been given a political mandate, however you do not accept them into your midst unless they can answer the simple question

    “Do you believe it was right to take up arms in the first place ?”

    I cannot speak for Mr Blair but I know Ervine has said he makes no excuses for his past and although he may not be proud of many things he still believed he was ‘defending the loyalist community etc etc.

    ie he is not fit to be in a political party that believes in democracy and the rule of law.

    ie there was never a justification for either loyalist or republican violence – if loyalists wanted to serve the union militarily they could have joined the securuty forces. If republicans wanted to change the Union they could use constitutional nationalism – ie what they are doing now.

    Once you accept their argument that they did nothing wrong then you have crossed the line.

    The Belfast Agreement was never about constitutional parties considering as acceptable the murders of the previous thirty years.

    In terms of your response above the issue would be has Mr Blair accepted this ?

  • fair_deal

    JEB

    “In terms of your response above the issue would be has Mr Blair accepted this ?”

    I am in the same position as you “I cannot speak for Mr Blair”.

    If it is any help when the issue of his election as an officer came up Jim Wells (who conducted the elctions) said:

    “We do not accept membership of anyone who is currently involved in paramilitary activity.”
    “My understanding is that Mr Blair has no involvement in paramilitarism and has turned away from all forms of illegal activity.”

  • GoodByeReg

    tiny–your post of 2.35. Empey claimed on Monday that the Ervine pact was part of the reaching out to loyalism which he had committed himself to.

    The problem is, why did he approach at least 3 other MLAs before he got to Ervine? Why didn’t he just go to Ervine first?

    Five UUP MLAs (who will be listed in Monday or Tuesdays papers) are now claiming that they weren’t actually told that the DUP and Alliance had been approached. And nor were they told on the Monday morning that Standing Orders had been changed and that there was therefore no need for Ervine to join them that day.

    This has all been very shoddy. MP wasn’t informed. Party Officers weren’t informed.

    And maybe you couold explain why not one MLA–other than the Major and Empey himself—have been willing to say anything in public.

    Do they actually supply laughing gas and happy pills in that bunker you lot inhabit!?

    GBR

  • Reg Empey

    Unionism is better of today with the DUP at the helm than it was under the UUP’s reign of terror.

  • John East Belfast

    fair_deal

    “currently” and “turned away” isnt strong enough for me.

    It has to be a repudiation of the past – I always thought this was what the DUP demanded of SF let alone a party member ?

    Every party member to the UUP has to be ratified by an Association Management Committee.

    I have no doubt that any applicant for membership who said he was no longer a member of the UVF and was no longer involved in their activities but who wouldnt condemn the past murders of the UVF would be denied membership.

    Those standards have been compromised by an alliance with David Ervine.

    I am surprised Jim Wells statement that you have quoted is not so unambiguous – however we never got an explanation of McCrea’s platform sharing with Billy Wright either.

    Considering the current flak the UUP are taking over Ervine I think the DUP should be clarifying the views of their Ballymoney Party Officer on his past activities in the UDA

  • Carson’s Cat

    JEB
    My understanding is that the difference between Blair and Ervine is that Blair as member of the DUP would state that his previous activities were “wrong”, Ervine, as you pointed out will state that he was “defending the community” etc.

    There has to be a clear statement that there can be no excuse for terrorism That’s where the water gets muddy with Ervine – he will not state wholly that loyalist terrorism was wrong, end of story.

    Tony
    You might ‘know’ all sorts of stuff told to you by whatever conspiracy theorist spoke to you last. However, even if all this mythical explosive stuff exists the problem of the press refusing to carry it so far is unlikely to diminish.

    If we’re going to go down the route of claiming to know all sorts of things told to us by some bloke down the pub but not actually having much evidence to back it up then I fear this will not be a very enlightening debate.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    I find it frustrating that the UUP and the DUP continue to attempt to denigrate the other. The parties and individual members have both been involved in activities both present and past that they should not be proud of.

    The ambivalence of both at times to loyalist criminality and terrorism has not been and remains unacceptable. In fact on some occasions when their words are carefully analysed sectarianism and racism could also be included in the criminality.

    There is no place for either in democratic politics. It is therefore not possible for so called democratic parties to form alliances with unreformed criminals and terrorists. They may speak to them to attempt to persuade them of the error of their ways but that is all.

    When the main parties refuse to give a lead to the people of Northern Ireland with unequivocal actions and words that leave no doubt as to where they stand on criminality and terrorism, then at some level criminality and terrorism can become quasi acceptable to sections of the population.

    This was the error that Tony Blair made in his operation of the Good Friday agreement when an acceptable level of criminality and terrorism was thought to be conducive to its success. We all know what that has brought to this country, mass criminality on a scale never before seen with £100’s of millions being siphoned off from banks, businesses and the government.

    Is anyone among the larger parties prepared to take a lead and actually say that, sectarianism, racism, criminality and terrorism in which ever form they manifest themselves are totally unacceptable and then act in a way that is completely unambigious to prove they mean what they say.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    there should be no ‘not’ in the first line of the second paragraph.

  • stephen

    lots of pertinent points here.

    I would say that if only all Unionists had the moral fibre of Bob McCartney, we would have none of this nonsense.

    The uup is finished, and have played right into the dup’s hands.

    The issue of past terrorists is one which will surely inevitably come up more and more, and one which will pose problems for all parties.

    If we are to move on and be inclusive, and bring in the former terrorists into politics, then how do we include them in party structures?

    The uup look to be a complete and utter mess…someone turn out the light on the way out…

  • Carson’s Cat

    JEB
    “McCrea’s platform sharing with Billy Wright either”

    I dont wish to defend the sharing of the platform – was probably a foolish move which provided critics with ammunition (excuse the pun) to use on the DUP.

    However, at the time Billy Wright was not convicted of anything – however I think everyone knew he wasn’t exactly a boy scout. The issue was that here was a man who was condemned to death by the UVF (ironically) if he didnt leave Northern Ireland. Surely it was correct to say that no paramilitary organisation has the right to execute someone for daring to exist.

    Whether doing it with Billy Wright was the smartest move in the book is another matter.

    However, I dont for one second believe that Willie McCrea or the DUP were suggesting that Billy Wright should not go on trial for anything he may or may not have done and they were certainly not suggesting that he should not have gone go jail (for a very long time) after he was subsequently convicted.

    Arguing for the right to life of someone who was as obviously dodgy as Wright probably wasnt the smartest PR move in the world, but they were neither forming an alliance with him nor were they defending his actions – simply stating that he should not be put to death by another bunch of loyalist gangsters.

  • There were a hundred and one things that put me off the DUP, when, o so long ago, I had to decide, “what sort of Unionist am I?” But not the least of the reasons for avoiding the Paisleyites was the suspicion that, whatever they said and whatever they did, some of them were less than fully unambiguous in their opposition to ‘loyalist’ terrorism.

    The heartbreaking thing now, however, for lifelong Ulster Unionists like me is that – it’s not a question of ‘suspicion’ or ‘ambiguity’ pace the UUP’s institutional relationship with terrorists. It’s a press released, boasted-about fact. I have not met or spoken to even one UUP voter who approves of this. And I am most impressed by the number of UUP people I’ve been in touch with, who were, by my standards, rabidly pro-Trimble, who abhor Empey’s foolishness.

    If there any chance to salvage the UUP’s reputation as a constitutional party, opposed to criminality tout court, this week is the last moment when MLAs speaking otu will make any difference. But as yet, silence from ALL of them

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Karl Rove

    I to am disappointed that UUP MLA’s and councillors, many of whom I had previously thought to be be good decent people who held adherence to law and order as a central tenet of their beliefs, have not had the principle to come out against this unholy alliance.

    There comes a time when principle has to come above passing party avantage and £’s in the bank and I still hope that some of those involved in this conspiracy of silence have the courage to come out and admit that they oppose the alliance.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Karl
    wise words- and I do admire a poster using the term tout court!

  • BooBoo

    On my last post on Friday, before I headed off to London for the weekend (yes, a lovely time thank you very much)I began a competition for anyone who could produce a scrap of evidence that anyone—save for Empty and the Major and the ninnies at CunningPlan House—supported the UUP/UVF pact. Not one scrap has been forthcoming.

    I scanned the local papers in the library at lunchtime—nothing there either.

    I made a few calls to contacts in the UUP and no, they couldn’t give me any help either—although I did hear that Alex Kane, along with Peter Bowles and Peter Brown, had demolished the idea at the officers meeting on Thursday night. Was Saturday’s column Alex’s idea of a joke, by the way?

    Now that Paisley has ruled out sitting on the Devolution Committee with either SF or the UUP (and the Committee was Empty’s brainchild) it looks like the pact has scuppered that line of activity for the UUP, too.

    These must be very gloomy days for the UUP. How stupid must they be to have underestimated the impact that such a move would have. As Karl Rove hints above, it has united Trimbleites and non-Trimbleites.

    And, three days away from Slugger, I am still astonished that the boys at CunningPlan House are still relying on a defence that had no credibility to begin with:

    1: The move didn’t have to be done last Monday–Empty had 72 hours notice that Standing Orders had been changed.

    2:Ervine was third or fourth choice, again, making a mockery of Empty’s claim that he was acting in accordance with the “reaching out to Loyalism” section of his speech at the AGM.

    3: Despite the efforts of both BBC and UTV, no-one from the UUP MLA group (apart from Empty and Major) is prepared to go on record and support this.

    Yet again, it is a complete and utter cock-up from the UUP.

    BooBoo

  • If Boo Boo says, no UUP MLAs support this move, and I say no UUP have yet opposed it, does this mean that UUP MLAs don’t in fact exist? It all begins to make sense …..

    Meanwhile, Bro. Darth, ‘tout court’ is nothing. Among some elements of the Royal Black, I understand nothing but Norman French is spoken on daily basis.

  • David Michael

    Why doesn’t Reg simply back down, say it was all a big error in judgment and apologize to his party (and the rest of us). He’d (re)earn my respect that way.

    Oh, what am I saying? Back down … apologize …

    That’s hardly the Ulster Way, is it? 🙂

  • stephen

    empty is just great.

    I look forward to the bbc/utv etc asking other mla’s etc about their opinions….

    whats wrang? scaredy ba?

  • BooBoo

    Me again. Sorry, I owe Alex an apology. Just scanned through another thread and saw that he had been serious about the euthanasia piece, after all.

    Any chance, though, that he will give an opinion. He is being uncharacteristically quiet.

    BooBoo

  • unionist

    jst for information all of the uup mla’s gave the move their support.

  • “jst for information all of the uup mla’s gave the move their support.”

    What a shame they aren’t literally turkeys. I’m hungry and would love a Christmas diiner.

  • stephen

    “jst for information all of the uup mla’s gave the move their support”.

    Is that really true?

    Even Birnie, Burnside?

  • BooBoo

    unionist—which only goes to prove what a collection of drugged nodding donkeys they really are. Of course this is mostly the same lot who gave the ok to trimble’s various distortions and u-turns.

    Speaking of Trimble I see he has put out a statement of support (but since I spotted it myself it doesn’t count as an offical competition entry), presumably to finish off those voters and members he didn’t manage to f**k-up in 2005.

    I see too that the Empty sponsored debate on the Devolution Committee has been pulled from tomorrow’s Assembly business. Yep, there goes another CunningPlan House wheeze up in smoke! What a bunch of useless incompetent tossers they are.

    And what’s this I hear about Burnside sending a letter to Empty seeking clarification on the Ervine business? My understanding is that the Assembly Group didn’t actually vote collectively on this decision. Empty pulled them off one by one (no sniggering in the back row, please)and got them to sign up to the new Ulster Unionist Party Assembly Group. I’m told that they weren’t all given the same version of events either and that cracks have begun to apear in the damn.

    Bring back Lord Craigavon. He may be dead, but he couldn’t be any worse than the party-killing morons in charge at the moment.

    Can anyone give legs to the story that Peter Bowles is planning to resign as both an officer and a member?

    Off to see the Da Vinci Code now, so have a nice evening one and all.

    BooBoo

  • stephen

    boo boo,

    I hope you enjoy the film, ;look out for the good living folk talking and chanting outside the cinema.

    I told one of them to go forth and multiply last night, and they werent pleased….

    He didnt even turn the other cheek, the unchristian bastard.

    Wait til I see that lad Jesus, he will sort him out, cos he can do anything.

    Even mircales…lol!