Reg confirms other approaches, Berry claims he was asked and Bowles buys out

On Inside Politics, Reg Empey has confirmed that a number of MLAs were approached to join the UUP Assembly group. In the News Letter (not online), Paul Berry says he was informally approached by an UUP MLA and a number of UUP members about joining the Party a number of weeks ago. This flys in the face of Alan McFarland’s categorical denial. Signs of internal dissent grow with Party Officer Peter Bowles attacking the move as “morally wrong”. Intriguingly, prominent UU commentator Alex Kane opts for an article about euthanasia, avoidance or subliminal message?

Paul Berry said:

“An elected and unelected members of the UUP approached me some weeks ago to see if I would consider joining the UUP….I presumed it was connected to the headcount at Stormont.”

“There was concern about making it official and a negative response coming back…”

Peter Bowles said:

“I am against the move on the simple basis that it is morally wrong. It’s a different matter going into government with Sinn Fein because they remain your opponent but to invite a spokesman for the UVF into your group a step too far.

He goes on to ask:

“The UVF murdered Down constituents at Loughinisland. How do I explain to families of the people killed in that atrocity that the party I am a member of has a UVF political representative in its Assembly group?”

Empey’s confirmation of other approaches means the “risks for peace” UUP defence of the Ervine look increasingly shabby. If it was the primary reason Ervine would have been the first and only approach not another name on a list.

Also if Empey’s claim of “elements of government” being opposed to the move is interesting. Is it pre-spin for a negative Speaker’s decision on the move? If the Speaker does say no will the UUP opt for a judicial review and risk dragging out the media storm? Or will they have learned a hard lesson?

  • Tiny

    Did not McFarland say that to the best of his knowledge no-one approached Paul Berry? As for Berry, given his recent track record for ‘clarity’, his claim that ” “An elected and unelected members of the UUP approached me some weeks ago to see if I would consider joining the UUP….I presumed it was connected to the headcount at Stormont.” could mean anything, local branch officers are elected, also, if a serious approach had been made in recent weeks surely the reducing of Sinn Fein’s quota of ministers would have featured large in the converastion!

  • Tony Clifton

    This Berry was approached thing doesnt seem to be going away. Someone may have mentioned it to him but Iam sure he was never considered by the UUP leadership.

    This idea about an assembly group has been around ever since Donaldson and co switched teams, the UUP have always been one seat short of a ministerial seat (original the DUP would have been the victims). So most MLA would have been aware of the situation, and our elected representatives are not exactly subtle, individuals talk and indivduals would have been scheming in their own heads. But I dont think UUP leadership would have bought into Berry scandal plus the fact he was intolerable to the UUP while a DUP member means they couldnt have stomached it. Mark Robinson yes, seamus Close yes, Ervine yes, berry no.

  • Kane’s excuse for avoiding writing about this before was ‘deadlines’. This time? Presumably writing about ‘euthanasia’ counts, very weakly, as a sort of crappy in-joke. Sad to say, the UUP already has enough of those.

    Bowles is braver, and a better man for it. What’s making the terminal difference though is – as far as those of us still in the UUP are concerned – the salient silence from every UUP MLA on this subject. Not one has come out to condemn the entirely justified charge of “UUP/UVF”. Not one. What a miserable lot.

  • Not just miserable, Karl, but buck stupid as well. How many of their voters will turn their backs on them on the first opportunity to do so?

    The UUP is not just the second unionist party, it is a distinctly second-rate in terms of strategy, tactics, even basic intelligence. You only have to look at the idiotic postings on Slugger this week from the Muppet Tendency just to see the sheer lack of talent on display. The DUP has unionism sewn up for the next decade.

  • bighead

    I WAS TOLD BY A ELECTED MEMBER OF THE UUP BEFORE THE ARTICE IN THE NEWS LETTER “THAT THEY WHERE TRYING TO GET YOUNG BERRY TO JOIN THE PARTY”

  • unionist

    Paul Berry was never approached by the UUP. He is saying he was because he would still like to rejoin the DUP.

    Watchman, if anyone has a lack of intelligence, it is the DUP….

    Can you answer the following questions:

    Where is the fair deal we were promised?

    As far as I can tell, all our hopes still rest on the goodfriday agreement. The DUP haven’t changed a single thing, despite promising to “smash” the GFA…????

    What have the DUP achieved since they became the largest unionist party?

    Hmmmmm, Im racking my brains here, but the concessions continue to roll….By god, I don’t think they have done a thing.

    Regarding the PUP issue:

    If the DUP are so morally against the PUP, why are they happy to nominate their members to become Lord Mayor of Belfast?

    Why do they happily work alongside the chairman of the PUP in the policing board?

    Why do DUP members happily stand beside people like Billy Wright on platforms?

    Do you not think the DUP bear any responsibility for loyalist paramilitarism?

  • unionist

    I’m not a member of the DUP, so as a non-aligned unionist I am not obliged to take responsibility for it. Indeed, I’ve previously criticised it for its entanglements with the UVF/UDA. But I always thought the UUP derived much of its support because many people were uncomfortable with the DUP. What the DUP may have done in the past is no excuse for what the UUP is now doing. All you seem to be saying is, “The DUP – as hypocritical as us.”

  • Alex Kane

    Karl,

    I didn’t write about it last week because the story only broke officially on the Friday evening, about six hours after my deadline.

    And I didn’t write about it today because there are still elements of the story I am putting together. (The euthanasia piece was on the back of the Lords debate last week and for personal family reasons is a matter of great concern to me)

    If you have any contacts with people who were at the constituency officers meeting on Thursday night (including peter Bowles) they will confirm that I set out my objections fairly plainly. I have also posted on another thread that I am appalled by the fact that the UUP’s defence consists of “it’s ok, because the DUP got there first.”

    All of my instincts are against the move, though. And don’t forget that we still have to hear the result of the Speaker’s ruling.

    Alex.

  • Ex UUP

    Alex, even if the speaker rules against this, surely it matters little. The fact is the UUP went to the political wing of the UVF for political gain, whatever way they spin it.
    Should the speaker rule it out of order this will just be another blow to the battering the party has taken this last week.

  • unionist

    Watchman – fair enough – if any DUP supporter does feel like answering my questions, I would be interested to hear a response.

    On a further note, everybody seems to be forgetting that David Ervine, more than most unionist politicians has demostrated his support for the peace process.

    His whole political aim is to bring the UVF away from paramilitarism and gangsterism and onto a political path. As a reformed loyalist, he has decided to pursue a democratic path and use his leverage to encourage others to do so. I doubt the UUP would work with him if he was not exclusively committed to peace.

    I fail to see how his association with the UUP acts as UUP support for the UVF. If anything it is the opposite. It further states the fact that one of the UUP’s major goals is to END loyalist paramilitarism. The DUP on the other hand continue to do nothing, even though they are responsible for a large part of it.

    Regarding what has been stated in this article:

    “Signs of internal dissent grow with Party Officer Peter Bowles attacking the move as “morally wrong”.

    Signs of internal dissent? or mere disagreement? Peter Bowles then went on to fully support the UUP leadership, I didn’t see that mentioned.

    But of course that is not the story the media, in all its forms, want to display. A better story is one of a UUP torn apart. Peter Bowles comment’s were measured and he is fully entitled to them. The same goes for Hermon.

    At least people are allowed to disagree in the UUP, again unlike the DUP. Big Iain wouldn’t have it.

    Another point:

    “On Inside Politics, Reg Empey has confirmed that a number of MLAs were approached to join the UUP Assembly group”

    Again, this is not true. That is not what he said. As I remember, he declined to comment as he believed it to be a private matter.

    I think slugger needs to get it’s facts straight.

  • Wee Ulsterman

    Thought Reg did well on the Inside Politics programme – advise anyone interested in this row to check it out

    As for Berry, he’s hardly Mr Credibility now is he? It’s his word against Danny Kennedy’s and I know who folk around here are going to believe!

  • Wee Ulsterman

    Alex,

    Well, from what I heard from Reg on Inside Politics he talked a lot about the need to reach out to marginalised loyalists – to my mind, as I said on the other thread, I’m totally against all paramilitaries but it is our responsibility as mainstream unionists to bring loyalist communities into the process.

    I’ll say it again, Reg has balls of steel to take this route, and I hope his gamble pays off.

    He has clearly staked his leadership on this – and if this gambit pays off in terms of UVF standing down it could really be the making of Reg as a forward-thinking leader of Unionism.

  • GoodByeReg

    My understanding is that Peter Bowles will be resigning from the party.

    Whatever Empey may have siad on Inside Politics today, he said on Thursday—and I was in the room at the time (plus I can confirm that AK gave a withering critque of the pact—that 3 MLAs from other parties had been approached before Ervine.

    Spin is called spin because it is a whirling around and mixing up of the truth. But credit to CunningPlan House for their blinkered devotion to yet another leader.

    Mr. Rove. It is my recollection that you supported Empey for leadership and are a great admirer of Kennedy. Now you describe the entire group, “What a miserable lot”

    You are right in that assessment, but wrong in your original judgement.

    GBR

  • Ex UUP

    it is our responsibility as mainstream unionists to bring loyalist communities into the process.

    WHAT NONSENSE. We have no such repsonsability.
    Loyalist communities are not ouside “the process”, we had an election here last year and “loyalists” voted for the DUP not the PUP

    Loyalist paramilitaries should be hunted down and jailed.That is the only process they deserve, they are drug dealing , murderous thugs.

  • fair_deal

    Unionist

    As Alex Kane pointed out on another thread

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

    “Why do they happily work alongside the chairman of the PUP in the policing board?”

    They sit on the same board. The DUP sit in councils, NI Assembly, public bodies etc with members and elected representatives of every political party in NI, including the PUP and Sinn Fein. So what? This is a nonsense comparison.

    Also Dawn Purvis, a very able individual, was appointed as an independent member.

    “If the DUP are so morally against the PUP, why are they happy to nominate their members to become Lord Mayor of Belfast?”

    The UUP briefing paper said they voted for him. Now you say they nominated him? Please try and keep the claims consistent.

    “Why do DUP members happily stand beside people like Billy Wright on platforms?”

    To be accurate it was one and he shouldn’t have done it.

    “His whole political aim is to bring the UVF away from paramilitarism and gangsterism and onto a political path.”

    If the moral argument and the undermining of a common Unionist position on terrorist associated parties and government are set aside, the argument does have some value, a “risk for peace”.

    The longstanding engagement of the UUP through the Loyalist Commission with no significant shift in Loyalism does bring into question the strength of that particular argument but that probabaly is evidence of the degree of risk.

    However, if this were the motivation then the UUP would have had only approached one MLA, David Ervine. Yet he seems to have been last on a list of five, the other four seeming to be Alliance, ex-DUP and existing DUP. None of whom’s inclusion would have done anything to move paramilitaries to a political path. This puts a substantial question mark about over the claim the motivation was a risk for peace.

    “As a reformed loyalist, he has decided to pursue a democratic path and use his leverage to encourage others to do so.”

    You are trying to change criticism of the organisations into criticism of the individual. Ervine is head of the political party aligned to the UVF. The issue is who he represents not his individual track record or leverage (perceived or real).

    “Signs of internal dissent? or mere disagreement?”

    I say potato you say potatoe. I made no claim it represented a leadership putsch.

    “I think slugger needs to get it’s facts straight.”

    There is a source, from the BBC report;
    “He has confirmed his party has been in touch with other assembly members about increasing the strength of the Ulster Unionist group. However, he has refused to identify which politicians had been involved. Mr Empey made the comments on the BBC’s Inside Politics programme on Saturday.”

  • Oh for goodness’ sake, if I’m to be convicted for UUP leaders I’ve supported at the time of their election, hang me for voting Turtle in ’95. No doubt you didn’t? No doubt then, as with last year, you had a better option.

    Reg was the least bad of a very bad bunch in 2005. But the worst aspect of his decision to destroy the UUP’s raison d’etre (namely its ur-constitutionalism) by embracing the UVF is that he thereby exposes just how shallow the Party’s pool of talent now is.

    Who is there to replace him? At least Reg then served the purpose of being the non-Turtle: who is going to step forward to be the non-Reg today? Maybe Kane’s employer in Belfast, Esmond Birnie? He after all knows just what it’s like to have deal with fellow UUP pols who’ll willingly, a la Whiterock, play footsie with the UVF. But let’s face it, Esmond hasn’t the balls to run. Which brings us back to Kennedy and Burnside – and yeah, if they both continue to keep mum, when conscience and (even opportunistic) common sense demands that they should speak out, then the UUP is finished.

    What I don’t understand about the cove who has posted before me, though, is this: why are you pleased that the UUP has self-destructed? I think it’s a disaster every which way for Unionism. Paisley may not be giving house room to terrorists in the fashion of Empey, but he most certainly is a canting, sectarian fool, with neither inclination nor ability sufficient to persuade Catholic Northern Irish people why they should want to stay British.

  • Sorry, sluggish typing – my question was directed as ‘Goodbye Reg’.

  • Mr T

    Ex-UUP, don’t be daft….

    It may be what they deserve but a) it is impossible and b) it will not solve the problem long term.

    Im afraid your attitude is one which seems to be adopted by most within the DUP, sadly.

    If, as you say, most loyalists voted for the DUP in the last election, it just goes further to show what a bad job the DUP are doing.

  • ExUUP

    Karl, why did Reg pledge not to take seats in an executive during the lifetime of this assembly. NOt only has he clearly lied but also sided with the UVF.

  • anonymous

    Billy Wright was under an illegal death threat from the UVF when Willie McCrea shared a platform.

    Is the UUP going on about this the first sign of a UVF influence on them? Have they adopted the UVF’s pathological hatred of Billy Wright?

  • Ex-UUP

    MR T, i was referring to the “loyalist communities” which Reg spoke of.

    Loyalsist , in Unionist speak working class Unionists, voted for the DUP not for the terrorists in the PUP.

    People in working class areas dont want these thugs anywhere near power. They want them arrested and put away/

    It seems it is only the UUP who want go bring them into the heart of government

  • Er, I have f*ck all idea why he said it. Do I seem to be marching in lock step with him?

    O well, another UUP leader whose framed letter of thanks for (my fractionally small part in) his election will need to be consigned to the attic. How do I pick ’em? How do I pick ’em?

  • Wee Ulsterman

    Fair_Deal – I dont’ see what’s so wrong with the UUP approaching the low-lying fruit on the dup and alliance assembly teams with a view to bringing them over – surely this is the stuff of politics! Just look at Blair’s appointee Shaun Woodward, himself a defectee from the Tories.

    If alliance and dup politicos don’t like it then they should just grow up and join the real world! They should really take a good look at themselves and ask why they have people within their assembly groupings that are so alienated they may jump to the UUP.

    It’s all now down to whether Reg’s gamble pays off over the summer – if Reg and his UUP colleagues can really convince the UVF away from violence then I think Middle Ulster will, at least in retrospect, applaud his courage this week.

  • unionist

    “fair_deal” –

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

    Im not defending the UUP’s action’s in this way. I am simply pointing out the startling hypocrisy of the DUP.

    “The DUP sit in councils, NI Assembly, public bodies etc with members and elected representatives of every political party in NI, including the PUP and Sinn Fein. So what? This is a nonsense comparison.”

    Nonsense comparison?!?!? By forming a government with Sinn Fein, which the DUP has accepted is a possibility.. means giving ministerial seats and the deputy first minister position to IRA/Sinn Fein. It means working hand in hand with these people on a day to day basis and giving them a huge say in the affairs of Northern Ireland.

    That is bigger fish than co-operating with a single PUP memeber for the good of all Unionism, by taking a seat back from Sinn Fein when they do not deserve it!

    Answer this.. In the “moral maze” that is Northern Irish politics, what is worse?

    -Co-Operating with 1 PUP member, who is fully committed to peace or;

    -Allowing IRA/Sinn Fein control of policing.

    I seem to remember 10 years worth of unproductive DUP criticism of the UUP for taking this path (government with Republicans). How much better it would have been if the DUP had realised back then, this was the only way forward. How much stronger would the unionist position be today if the DUP hadn’t run away.

    “If the DUP are so morally against the PUP, why are they happy to nominate their members to become Lord Mayor of Belfast?”

    nominated/voted. It does not matter. It still constitutes support for the PUP.

    I am glad that you are happy to admit the McCrea incident was wrong. It was an absolute disgrace in fact.

    “You are trying to change criticism of the organisations into criticism of the individual. Ervine is head of the political party aligned to the UVF. The issue is who he represents not his individual track record or leverage (perceived or real).”

    This is not what I am trying to do. I am trying to put things in perspective. The UUP are co-operating with one man, Ervine, a decent individual. They are doing this because they felt they had to. To redress the balance in the assembly. They do not support the UVF. Ervine’s aim is to bring about UVF decomissioning, the UUP has the same target.

    There is a source, from the BBC report;
    “He has confirmed his party has been in touch with other assembly members about increasing the strength of the Ulster Unionist group. However, he has refused to identify which politicians had been involved. Mr Empey made the comments on the BBC’s Inside Politics programme on Saturday.”

    Just because the BBC say’s it, does not mean it is true. I was listening to the program myself. I know what he said.

    You have also failed to answer some of my questions:

    Where is this “fair deal”??? You obviously care about it enough to make it your name. But it doesn’t exist!!! The DUP are working within the framework of the GFA.

    What have the DUP done for the good of unionism since they have been in charge??

  • MrT

    Answer this.. In the “moral maze” that is Northern Irish politics, what is worse?

    -Co-Operating with 1 PUP member, who is fully committed to peace or;

    -Allowing IRA/Sinn Fein control of policing.

    That is a good point.

    Perhaps we should have a poll on that particular question

  • exuup

    MR T –
    Answer this.. In the “moral maze” that is Northern Irish politics, what is worse?

    -Co-Operating with 1 PUP member, who is fully committed to peace or;

    -Allowing IRA/Sinn Fein control of policing.

    Neither

    Policing and Justice cant be devolved until both the first and deputy first minister agree.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Exuup,
    As things stood before Monday, the shinners would have got second choice, ergo in control of either policing or justice. Post Monday both can now go to Unionist MLA’s.
    To me, that in itself is worth doing a deal with Ervine.

  • inuit_goddess

    Under the SF/DUP choreography Sinn Fein, with second choice of ministries, would almost certainly have picked up Policing & Justice.

    This move by Sir Reg has prevented that from happening. He sure seems to have upset a lot of SF/DUP/NIO applecarts in the process!

    No wonder the powers that be in the NIO are so furious! There’s little quite so fascinating as the wrath of government bureaucrats…

    If Reg’s initiative ends up bringing the loyalists on board and ending their violence then what sane person can argue with that? Loyalist violence is probably the single most destabilising influence in NI right now.

    At least Reg is grabbing the problem by the horns and not just sittin’ there oh-so-moral and waffling about it!

  • Pete Baker

    “Under the SF/DUP choreography Sinn Fein, with second choice of ministries, would almost certainly have picked up Policing & Justice.”

    Yeah.. right.. because the DUP would neglect to take that one off the list of options for SF..

    I’m no fan of either parties but, please, use some logic in your arguments.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Pete,
    My understanding is that Policing and Justice are likely to be separate rather than one ministry.
    Could be wrong of course, but that is what I am hearing. Although if both are together it can also ensure that the shinners are kept away from the Education brief.

  • Pete Baker
  • MrT

    IRA/Sinn Fein in control of policing or justice!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you imagine? That is way worse than education or anything else – the thought of that is simply ridiculous.

    The more I think about it, the more I am actually relieved the UUP have done this deal. Anything to stop that and they are the only one’s who can do it.

  • Bob Wilson

    “What I don’t understand about the cove who has posted before me, though, is this: why are you pleased that the UUP has self-destructed? I think it’s a disaster every which way for Unionism. Paisley may not be giving house room to terrorists in the fashion of Empey, but he most certainly is a canting, sectarian fool, with neither inclination nor ability sufficient to persuade Catholic Northern Irish people why they should want to stay British.”
    Mmmmmh Karl I enjoy your posts but this ones a tad thin. It is based on the assumption that only Prod rallying Capital U Unionist parties can safeguard the Union.
    The contrary is surely the case – it is playing nationalisms game and accepting that all politics must revolve around what your friend Mr Turtle called the ‘nationalist framework of reference’ that will see the continuation of sectarian voting and a continued gradual decline in voting by Pro Union voters (not all of whom ‘want to stay British’ as you put it.)
    If the implosion of the UUP lead to a re-birth of the Equal Citizenship movement it might actually be good for the Union.
    What anoraks like you and me must remember is that in the imperfect peace that we are in loads of people in their twenties are growing up in a Post Troubles environment. They will surely more enthused by real politics – Tory, Tony, Lib Dem or Green than by the UUP/PUP/UVF, DUP or UKIP

  • Crataegus

    Bob

    people in their twenties are growing up in a Post Troubles environment. They will surely more enthused by real politics – Tory, Tony, Lib Dem or Green than by the UUP/PUP/UVF, DUP or UKIP

    I hope you are right for that way lies some future, but judging by the venom in some posts from people obviously in their youth I am not entirely optimistic. The trouble is there is no balance in the political relationships E-W N-S to lance the boil.

  • frodo

    Unionism is dead ladies and gentlemen! Britain is looking, in the long term but eventually, to break ties with this place. The majority of people across the water couldn’t even care about norn iron and those that do take a “slight” interest are looking shot of it! I bet most of them couldn’t even point to it on a map. Anyone up for a federal Ireland?

  • Ex UUP

    Policing and Justice are not devolved matters and there is little chance of them beign so
    Also what the diffence between SF having one and the UUP , who are now aligne withe the UVF, having one

    Loyalist terrorists arent good terrorists,theyre all scum – and unionists have more to fear from the UVF now than the IRA

  • Intelligence Insider

    This UUP/UVF nonsense is really quite ridiculous. The UVF, unlike pira, do not have a political wing. The role of the PUP is simply providing the UVF/RHC with political analysis. David Ervine’s analysis of the political situation was that the UVF should declare a ceasefire and he told their leadership this. The DUP also provided political analysis to the UVF and to the UDA/UFF, the DUP advised them NOT to call a ceasefire! Thankfully it was Ervine that loyalists listened to and not Paisley and co. Ervine has also endeavoured to try and obtain decommissioning by the UVF, so far he has not achieved this, but at least he is trying to.

    I fail to understand how ANY unionist would prefer a sinn fein minister and an unrepresentative 50/50 split in an executive (if formed!) to a unionist minister and unionist majority in that executive!

  • David

    All this endless pontification about the links etc of David Ervine. perhaps it is worth remembering that Ervine has never denied his path. Infact it is that path that has led him to reject violence and advocate politics. Is this not a positive message.
    It would seem that some people want to live in a fantasy world in which the troubles never happened.
    Empey has shown some courage.
    Unionism will destroy itself if it does not move away from this endless moralism.

  • IJP

    To disappear on to that tangent, I’m slightly surprised the local Tories haven’t been able to make more of this. It is an absolute gift.

    Is not part of the problem, Bob, that frankly people in Great Britain aren’t enthused by Labour/Conservative/LibDem politics, so there’s little reason for people in Northern Ireland to be? You could even throw in a Nationalist party, a strong Green party and a few nutty Socialists and you’ll still have the same level of excitement as, er, Scotland…

    But I’d be interested in your view.

  • Bob, it really couldn’t be clearer that the reason the likes of me ever joined the UUP in the first place was precisely because we see it as the best available vehicle for mobilising support for the Union on a non-denominational basis. You are quite some distance off-base if you think I’ve any interest in ‘protestant politics’. And sure, wouldn’t it be lovely if the local Tories weren’t a disorganised, unsupported joke/Thatcher had presided over a full reintegration of the UUP into the wider Tory Party, rather than witnessed the Heathite trial separation turn into a full-blown divorce/Enoch had reigned in righteousness forever and ever, and every middle class Cartholick saw sense and voted Tory Unionist. Sadly the world, Bob, hasn’t worked out that way – as I’m reasonably sure you’ve noticed.

    And just to repeat the whole point one more time – the reason I’m so very upset with Reg over what he’s done is precisely because, turning the UUP into the UUP/UVF simply says to potential catholic Unionists, “actually, all that bullsh*t about ‘no guns, no ministerial limos’ to one side, we don’t, in truth, have a problem with terrorists per se, only kefflick ones”.

    I mean, if this isn’t the case, if we will ‘on merit’ [sic] allow ‘reformed terrorists’ in, in order to ‘encourage them’ towards the way of peace and constitutionalism, what argument exactly is there against allowing eg Sinn Fein MLAs to take the UUP whip? Wouldn’t that jolly them along no end? Indeed, given how keen most of the leading figures left in the Party were to sit in the Executive with them before, I dare say Sinn Fein already count as ‘pre-vetted’ on that score.

    But just one last point: the reason why this horrendously inept spin by Cunningham House – ‘we’re stopping Sinn Fein from getting a ministerial job [that doesn’t exist and probably won’t], aren’t we the swanky fellows?’ – will never wash is because, it doesn’t play to something the electorate will ever think is true. And why’s that? Why will the electorate never credit the fact that the Reg-led UUP is 100% commited to always, in every instance, doing whatever it takes to stop Sinn Fein from ending up with Executive positions-and-thereby-grinding-the-Orange-people-of-Norn-Iron-into-the-dirt, no matter how soiling a process that turns out to be for the UUP? Think, Rove, think. Oh yeah, it’s because Reg et al put the Provos into government every fricking chance they got when it was down to them to make the deicsion, and were always mad keen to do so (if my memory of UUC meetings serves me right, and it does).

    I’m told various MLAs are finally going to speak out this week against this sordid deal – this truly is the UUP’s last chance saloon. If the silence continues, however, and the likely Stormont elections happen on course in the autumn, at this rate the UUP will struggle to get into double figures in terms of the MLAs it sends back. And we will deserve everything that happens to us.

  • fair_deal

    To various

    The UUP/PUP Alliance was not the only means to change the electoral math of d’hondt operation. The same aim could have been achieved without this mess.

    In the broader interests of Unionism I wouldn’t care if it results in the loss of a ministry to the DUP (as they’ll basically pick it up at the election anyway) but doing it in this manner was the height of foolishness.

    Unionist

    “Im not defending the UUP’s action’s in this way”

    Hmmm.

    “Nonsense comparison?!?!?”

    Please try and keep the criticism consistent. That was my response to your attack on the DUP for siting on a board with a PUP member, not about Executive government.

    “By forming a government with Sinn Fein, which the DUP has accepted is a possibility.. means giving ministerial seats and the deputy first minister position to IRA/Sinn Fein.”

    1. Possibly, yes. It is called power sharing. Are you not aware of your own party’s policy on this? The party which conceded all this was the one you support, the DUP is trying its best to repair the damage.
    2. The DUP won’t do so until the Sinn Fein is a fully democratic party not a nod, wink and dodgy promises.
    3. The increased checks and balances the DUP are seeking in any new arrangements will end ministerial fiefdoms, so the era of McGuinness et al doing anthing they want will be over.
    4. If SF have transformed and an executive is formed the DUP will be in government with the SDLP, UUP and Sinn Fein.

    “How much better it would have been if the DUP had realised back then, this was the only way forward. How much stronger would the unionist position be today if the DUP hadn’t run away.”

    Read Micheal Kerr’s book, it is very good on the pointlessness of trying to re-run the referendum arguments now.

    Maybe it would have been better for the Unionist community to have taken a tougher stance sooner then the mess of the GFA could have been avoided.

    “Where is this “fair deal”??? You obviously care about it enough to make it your name. But it doesn’t exist!!! The DUP are working within the framework of the GFA.”

    Simple it’s being negotiated, in case you haven’t noticed, the political process hasn’t concluded.

    I have previously listed for you some achievements of the DUP and you rejected every one so I don’t see much point in repetition.

    The negotiations are taking place within four prinicples from the Agreement as defined by former SoS Paul Murphy. The rest is up for grabs.

    If the DUP had made such fundamental mess of the situation as you believe the electorate would have noticed punished them rewarded the UUP or sat at home. None of which has occurred.

    II

    As far as I am Policing and justice are to be one ministry. The devolution of the powers are not automatic (there is a safeguard) and the operation of that ministry has not been agreed and the option of co-ministers is included.

    This thinking seems to be stuck with the way the last executive operated. If there is going to be another Executive it won’t be on the same basis.

    Wee Ulsterman

    Try and keep to the actual point. I never said Reg was wrong to approach other MLAs simply that the approaches undermine the “risk for peace” motivation he claims for approaching Ervine.

  • This just seems to be a way for Reg to ignore the wishes of the people who DON’T want the UUP to hold more ministerial posts and expressed that view lawfully by not voting for them at the ballot box, especially if soft-DUP and unionist-Alliance MLAs follow Ervine. But sure the people at the ballot boxes are only the voters, why let their views obscure Reg’s oh-so-clever political schemes to gain more power? Does anyone really believe this “attempt to reach out to loyalism” would have happened without the D’Hondt possiblity?

  • anon

    Hugh Smyth has never been convicted of a terrorist offence and regularly condemned violence e.g. his comments on Drumcree violence

    “I condemn all the violence of the last week and pose the same question today…the violence was deplorable, and no one — but no one — can justify it”

  • Wee Ulsterman

    Karl you can’t on the one hand airily dismiss the likelihood of the Executive being formed, and then on the other hand point to the “elections on course for this autumn”

    Elections can only happen if there is a SF-DUP deal to set up the executive! They won’t happen until the autumn and by then the electorate will have had a chance to judge Reg’s progress with loyalist alienation over the summer.

    Besides, if there are elections the DUP will have just gotten into bed with SF-IRA and will look like total hypocrites for bashing Reg over this.

  • Rove Redux

    Mr. Rove

    You, by your own admission, supported David Trimble for the leadership of the UUP.

    Trimble put terrorists into government.

    You, by your own admission, supported Reg Empey for the leadership of the UUP.

    Empey put terrorists into the UUP Assembly Group.

    How, then, do you have the gall to lecture the rest of us about the damage done to the UUP. It was done by the people you supported. Your stupidity, Mr. Rove. Your total and utter lack of judgement, Mr. Rove.

    I suspect that your serial ranting against the increasingly long list of people within the UUP that you accuse of uselessness, owes more to the fact that it keeps the spotlight off the crassness of your own political nous.

    And having seen Trimble and Empey “f**k up” (as`you put it) the UUP, you now look to Danny Kennedy or David Burnside to carry your hanky on their lance. Will they prove any better than your previous choices, or do we just have to wait until we see how long it is before they fail to meet your exacting standards?

    Could you do us a favour, therefore, and abandon this lofty dismissal of those who have either supported, or are just stuck with leadership decisions. You lumbered us with Trimble and Empey (you even admitted to having had letters of thanks for the part you played—shame on you, Mr. Rove, shame on you). Everytime you get it wrong, you turn on the people you helped put into office, and lay the blame at the feet of those in the party who are expected to bite the bullet and continue to keep the party working.

    The reality of the matter is that it is people like you who have destroyed this party, time after time supporting candidates who have proved to be politically and administratively inept.

    I have been a grassroots member of this party for about twenty years now. I don’t hold any office in it, but I do support the activities of my branch—here in South Antrim—and campaign even when I have problems with the candidates and the policies. It’s one of the responsibilities of party membership.

    It saddens me, therefore, when people like you choose every opportunity to undermine the party. If you really hate us that much then why don’t you just leave. And if you don’t hate us, then why attack all the time?

    I didn’t support the Agreement, but I still campaigned for Shipley-Dalton, Wilson, Hunter and Burnside. I don’t like what Empey has done with Ervine. But at the end of the day I am a UUP member by choice.

    So please, everytime you use this platform to pour your scorn on the leadership and fellow party members, you are doing the rest of us no favours. It isn’t a perfect world, Mr.Rove, so please stop imposing your own standards upon the rest of us.

    RR

  • Gosh, that was a terribly sincere effort, wasn’t it? Seriously son, the Party’s not paying you for working today, so give it a miss (’20 years in the party, man and boy . . .’ – you started shaving 20 minutes ago, more like).

    Oh but let’s take your persona seriously just for a moment – your argument amounts to, “oi! stop criticisng the Leaders you supported Rove, coz, er, I, pretendy party veteran from Sth Antrim, uh, er, don’t support them anymore”. A fine piece of Trimbelite logic, ‘well done’ David fan, as someone else almost said, not so very long ago.

  • And to wee Ulsterman – I’m expecting Autumn Stormont elections precisely because I don’t expect a functional assembly and executive to be produced by the next few weeks of talks. The only people who can deliver what the government want are Sinn Fein and the DUP: the DUP and Sinn Fein know that if there’s an autumn poll, they’ll wax as the UUP and SDLP wane. Ergo . . .

  • Sarah,

    A lot of the electorate may not have voted for the UUP but those that did at the last Assembly election returned enough UUP MLAs for three Executive seats (and also gave the DUP three seats and Sinn Fein two). Since you condemn this move, do you also condemn all the other movements about that distorted the original 3:3:2:2 division?

  • Rove Redux

    Mr.Rove

    Your response, not unexpectedly, was predictable and infantile.

    You backed Trimble—he put terrorists in government

    You backed Empey—he put terrorists in the party.

    Your superciliousness blinds you to the possibility that criticism could be directed at you from anyone other than someone in HQ.

    Your ego prevents you from owning up to the fact that you called it wrong with both Trimble and Empey.

    Your determination not to carry the can for lumbering the party with leaders you subsequently found fault with, causes you to blame everyone else for either agreeing with them or choosing to keep their concerns inside the tent.

    You are a malign force, Mr. Rove. You may believe that you are serving some higher purpose on the so-called moral highground; but in reality you just get your kicks from putting the boot into people in your own party.

    RR

  • stephen

    ahem,…

    I think we should all come back to the central question of why this was done.

    First of all, is there actually going to be an executive? Bear in mind, the DUP agreed woth Bob McC that they would not enter into a d’hondt executive in return for stepping aside for Peter Weir last election.

    Also, surely it would have made sense for Reg et al to keep this quiet and produce it at the last minute to pull off another seat if in the unlikely event of parties nominating?

    As it stands now, the UUP look very disjointed, and there must be questions asked about their communication to their mps. Sorry, I meant MP. I mean they only have one, so you would think someone would have let her know about this in advance.
    This story about trying to bring in loyalists from the cold doesnt wash either.

    Here is another angle;

    Imagine if hypothetically sfira step away from criminality etc as the dup wish and do a deal and form an executive next year. Now, does anyone think here that loyalists will be happy to sit in an assembly with adams as the deputy first minister, and three ministers in charge of not just ministries which are independent and unanswerable, but cross border unaccountable north south bodies?

    If loyalists feel increasingly marginilised, I feel the PUP will be discarded by loyalists, and it could create what commentators refer to as a ‘vacuum’. (which actually means a period of time when terrorists have given up on politics and just want to resort to violence to get their way, as it does work well here)
    Paradoxically, this could damage the pup more than the uup?

    Surely not…

    I think it is all over for the uup at westminster, as the middle class alliance/wishy washy uup vote last time will disappear back to their garden parties, and unless an anti agreement candidate steps forward, (actually, only burnside could carry it), and form a pact with the dup for a realignment of unionism, then they might as well just wrap it up.

    This is not going to happen anyway, as the dup would be mad to take their foot off the pedal whilst being so far in front of the uup.

    So, all in all…..disaster for the UUP and more electoral embarassment for them looms large.

  • “predictable and infantile” sez my stalker; waaaay KEWL sez me!

    On the stalker’s other point (how naughty I am to ‘[put] the boot into people in [my] own party’), do just take a second out of your busy day-release and explain to me – you slavering on about Trimble and Empey ‘putting terrorists in government’, is that meant as praise of people in our party? Heaven forfend that you might be putting the, well not boot exactly, more playrite “baby’s first shoe” in yourself. Tush, tush, tush. Still, after 72 years, man, boy and hospice inmate, a member of the UUP in South Antrim, you can’t be expected to remember everything that’s upsetting you, can you?

  • dodrade

    Anyone know who else the Ulster Unionists are supposed to have approached? Apart from Berry and McCartney I don’t see who else was available.

  • deedle

    “Anyone know who else the Ulster Unionists are supposed to have approached? Apart from Berry and McCartney I don’t see who else was available. ”

    Rumours Mark Robinson and Seamus Close were also approached.

  • Anyone got any idea who the second Alliance member sometimes mentioned might have been?

  • stephen

    must have been Ford, following logic?

  • bertie

    logic Stephen???

    Come on now, you know better than that! 🙂

  • IJP

    Hang on, I was told explicitly today that comments that Sir Reg had approached other Unionists were ‘pure speculation’.

    Which is it?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Mr T

    There is no difference.

    David Ervine has not accepted that his past was flawed and that he did anything wrong. He excuses what he did on the grounds he was defending the loyalist people, by driving a car bomb? Some defence strategy!

    That is no different from Gerry Adams saying the IRA was defending the Catholic people when La Mon was bombed.

    Until he accepts that what he did was unequivocally WRONG the UUP should have no truck with him. Sinn Fein should not be allowed to have an input into law and order until they have accepted that in breaking it for 80+ years they were WRONG and that legally appointed forces of law and order are the only groups who can apply the laws of the land, either North or South.

  • bertie

    Frustrated Democrat

    Well said! That’s a great name for a new party

    Frustrated Democratic Party. There would appear to be a gap in the market for a second Unionist party, so I would copyright the name quick!

  • slug

    The ConservativesNI are that party.

    Change2Win in Northern Ireland.

  • bertie

    slug

    are you a Tory?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    I have already said on another thread where the Tories are on the ballot paper I will now vote for them as first choice.

    They veered off course for a while when Maggie was led astray by the NIO, as she privately admitted. They now seem to be have been giving a consistent message on Northern Ireland for some time that deserves support, especially as they may be in power after the next election.

    Imagine voting for a unionist party (small u)that might actually be able do something!

  • stephen

    fair comment.

    You know, you might actually be onto something here….

    If the tories did give a clear and unequivocal assurance that they were pro Union, and against terrorists in government, like Ahern down south, then with a bit more action to back it up, they could do well.

    Anyone else think the same?

    I am not religious, and dont like the religious fixation within the dup.

    The only politican who retains my respect is Bob McCartney, a non sectarian Unionist, and someone who is straight as an arrow.

  • Bob Wilson

    Stephen see below from 6 April 2006

    Conservatives welcome Northern Ireland power-sharing initiative

    Progress with devolution in Northern Ireland depends on the Republican Movement calling a halt to all criminal activity, David Lidington has declared.

    While he welcomed the latest Anglo-Irish plan to reactivate power-sharing self-government in the province, the Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary said greatest responsibility now hinged on the Republicans and their ability to abandon crime and support the police. “Without both of these, we believe it would be unacceptable to have Sinn Fein Ministers in government in a part of our country,” he said.

    Commenting after the announcement by Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Premier Bertie Ahern of a November 24 deadline by which a power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland should be set up, Mr Lidington said: “We welcome this initiative. We share the objective of restoring devolution but in current circumstances the reality is that it will be some time before a fully-fledged power-sharing government can be formed.”

    Then he stated: “The greatest responsibility for progress now rests with the republican movement to end all criminal activities and to support the police. Without both of these, we believe it would be unacceptable to have Sinn Fein ministers in government in a part of our country. We wish the process well. But if by the autumn power-sharing has still not proved possible we would oppose any further “greening” of direct rule or moves towards “joint authority” between London and Dublin which would be a complete breach of the Good Friday Agreement.”

    Mr Lidington declared: “Republicans should not be rewarded in this way for refusing to take the steps necessary for power sharing devolution to take place

  • slug

    Liddington is spot on.

  • bob wilson

    Frustrated Democrat
    I think I can safely say that it is highly likely you will have a Conservative candidate at the next Assembly and General Elections.

    Do check out http://www.conservativesni.com

  • Observer

    stephen said,”The only politican who retains my respect is Bob McCartney, a non sectarian Unionist, and someone who is straight as an arrow.”

    where is bob now? why hasnt he spoken out on the DUPs decision to adhere to Dhont, given that he stood down in the 05 westminister election on the basis that the DUPes would not form a government with Sinn Fen under that system or for a generation for that matter!

  • slug

    Bob, I like the ConservativesNI website presence.

    Do you think they will be fielding candidates in most constituencies?

    The time seems to be right, now that the Conservatives are on the bounce-back, and the Ulster Unionists in a bit of a muddle.

  • observer

    slug:”and the Ulster Unionists in a bit of a muddle.”

    Understatement of the year so far

  • stephen

    observer, he is fighting for our educational future, amongst other things.

    Also, the press and media are fixated on sfira and are very picky against him, as he speaks the truth and has called it straight as it is from the start of this appeasement.

    There is an article coming very soon on your post, as the DUP and the UUP are both in a moral argument neither can win….

    As I am in Strangford constituency, I would be interested in a conservative candidate, even though they told us all a pack of lies about churning stomachs etc…..

  • stephen

    oh, and another thing,

    there is no such thing as the good friday agreement, it is the Belfast Agreement.

    secondly, unfortunately liddington is wrong, as the free standing all ireland bodies will be supported and actually encouraged as per the framework documents 1998, paragraph 47.
    This is thanks to the UUP agreeing to negotiate within the parameters of the framework documents.

    No wonder they are finished.

    Incompetence is a compliment.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Bob Wilson

    Are you a Conservative voter or a member?

    What is happening in North Antrim is there an association?

  • bertie

    stephen

    I find myself in agreement with you re Bob, except that he isn’t the only one I respect but he is definitely up there.

  • bob wilson

    Slug
    We hope to field candidates in the majority if not all seats

    Stephen
    There will be a candidate in Strangford
    Re Bob McCartney – true Bob writes interesting articles on education in the Belfast Telegraph but largely he is preaching to the converted and therefore ineffectual.
    NI Conservatives have been working behind the scenes with Lidington and Glentoran (Lords Spokesman) to ensure that our 200ish MP and 200ish peers are up to speed on the Education Order.
    We hope that Lib Dems and Cross benchers in the Lords will join us in voting against this measure on the grounds of Democracy – see following post.
    We work closely with AQE too.
    Oh we trust UUP peers will support – althou apparent Kilcolney and Molyneaux don’t really have much to do with their own wee group.

    Frustrated Democrat
    Yes I am involved in NI Conservatives – we hope to form a County Antrim grouping fairly soon – we have considerable numbers joining via both the NI website and the national one.

    New members welcome!

  • bob wilson

    Democracy and Education in Northern Ireland:
    The Education NI Order

    The proposed Education Order that will go before Parliament shortly fails every democratic test. Below are 6 reasons why this Order should not be supported.

    1. Orders in Council are unsatisfactory methods for introducing important primary legislation

    When the Stormont Parliament collapsed in 1972 the Government decided to use Orders in Council to deal with Northern Ireland legislation as a temporary measure. It is highly regrettable that such Orders are still being used for important legislation. .

    Traditionally, primary legislation is by way of Bills that can be fully debated and amended. Orders in Council are not amendable and there is very limited opportunity for debate. To use the Order in Council procedure to force through controversial legislation, relating only to Northern Ireland, is completely unacceptable.

    In addition, given the Government’s efforts to restore a power-sharing assembly it is unacceptable to rush this controversial measure through. The Government should not abuse its position in an attempt to ‘leverage’ Northern Ireland parties into a deal. The Government has set a deadline of 24 November for agreement on devolution. To take a decision of this magnitude before then would not only be wrong in principle but would remove any incentive for the parties to reach agreement by then.

    The Order should at least be put on hold until after the November deadline for restoring devolution. If there is no devolution deal by November the Government should then bring forward controversial matters via the normal legislative process – allowing MPs and peers to fully debate the issues.

    2. It is against the wishes of the people in Northern Ireland.

    The people of Northern Ireland have overwhelmingly endorsed the principle of academic selection and rejected the Government’s plans. The Government might try to disregard opinion polls as unreliable or mere ‘snapshots’ but those opinions have been unwavering over time.

    The most comprehensive consultation exercise was the Household Survey carried out in 2002. Over 200,000 replies were received – from a region with approximately one million adults – this represented the most clearly expressed opinion of the people of Northern Ireland on this subject.

    The responses from 200,551 households, including 162,000 parents and 21,000 teachers, showed that 64% of households, 63% of parents, and 62% of teachers favoured the retention of academic selection. Opinion on these issues was seen to cross both class and sectarian divides.

    It is clear that the Household Survey was an accurate reflection of public opinion since it was confirmed by the results of an independent “Omnibus Survey” carried out contemporaneously with the Household Survey with a random sample of the population.

    Moreover, the BBC Newsline Survey of January 2004 and Belfast Telegraph Survey of September 2005 indicate remarkably consistent support for academic selection.

    On 6 December 2005 Ms Smith, Minister with responsibility for Education, published a Draft Order which, if passed, would implement the Costello proposals. At the same time she released the results of a consultation on admissions arrangements which was completed six months previously. 90% of the responses to the consultation supported academic selection.

    3. The Labour Party has no electoral mandate in Northern Ireland.

    The Labour Party refuses to field candidates in Northern Ireland and therefore has no electoral mandate. In GB the Conservative Party and Labour Party run candidates in every seat from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Labour is never going to win Kensington and Chelsea and the Tories are never going to win Blaenau Gwent, but as a matter of democratic principle – because they are national parties who aspire to govern the UK – they always field candidates.

    Until recently people living in Northern Ireland were not allowed to even join the Labour Party – even though UK citizens living anywhere else on the globe were allowed to. Faced with legal action Labour voted at the Party Conference in 2004 to allow membership. The NEC then moved swiftly to restrict the rights of these members. The Labour Party is currently again facing legal action on the grounds of discrimination.

  • bob wilson

    Part 2

    4. The Labour Party made no Manifesto commitment to introduce radical change to education in NI.

    Had the Labour Party Manifesto at the 2005 General Election contained a specific proposal to change the education system in Northern Ireland then one might conceivably be able to argue that (despite failing to run candidates in Northern Ireland) it had a national mandate from the people of the rest of the UK. The Manifesto contained no such commitment. Labour has absolutely no mandate of any kind for this legislation.

    5. To support this legislation is to tear up one of the core principles of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement.

    This legislation would clearly fail to achieve the support of a majority of nationalists and a majority of unionists in the Northern Ireland Assembly . The Good Friday/Belfast Agreement enshrined this requirement in an attempt to protect the community from arbitrary acts by individual nationalist or unionist Ministers. The Government risks undermining the core of its Northern Ireland policy. Moreover, for the Government to maintain that it is simply following on from where the power-sharing executive left off is not merely disingenuous it is completely untrue. The decision to scrap selection was never approved by the devolved executive nor even debated by the assembly. It was announced by Martin McGuinness on his last day in office, in full knowledge that suspension was about to take place. The Government knows that a Northern Ireland assembly would never pass this legislation.

    6. The proposal to abolish academic selection in an area where the public has repeatedly demonstrated support for its continuation runs contrary to the Prime Minister’s expressed opinion.

    Recently, Tony Blair, in an interview with the Guardian stated that neither he nor any future prime minister would ever scrap England’s grammar schools, which, he said, would provoke a ‘war’ with parents. He said he had no desire to go to ‘war’ with parents in the areas in GB where grammar schools and selection still exists because the parents were clearly in support of the system in those areas. Ironically, the Prime Minister’s ministerial colleagues seem determined to go to ‘war’ with parents in Northern Ireland. Perhaps the reason is that he knows there will be no electoral consequences.

  • Garibaldy

    Bob,

    I find your argument that Labour has no mandate to govern NI interesting. As you point out, there are large swathes of turf in Britain, Scotland and Wales for example, where the Tories were in government despite having tiny minorities of the seats. I don’t remember any conservatives complaining about their lack of a mandate to govern in these areas. You can’t say on the one hand NI is as British as Finchley, and on the other claim that the UK government has no mandate there.

    Effectively, you’re calling the government of NI a usurpation. So which is it?

  • Christopher Stalford

    I haven’t been here for a long while and I only wish to make one comment.

    Well said Peter Bowles. I have known Peter for about four years now, and while we were usually on different sides in whatever debate that was taking place, I think he should be praised for having the courage to say what everyone else that I know inside the UUP is thinking – namely that this is a revolting move by Reg and co.

    It’s a shame that the rest of the UUP elected representatives, expecially the assembly party have no guts whatsoever. I have no doubt Peter will be purged from the officer team now.

  • bob wilson

    Garibaldy
    You miss the point. Labour field candidates from John O’Groats to Lands End (incl in Wales!) The Tories do likewise. The Tories may have poor representation in Scotland and Wales and Labour has poor representation in the South of England but they seek the votes of those they govern.
    Labour has people who want to stand in NI but they wont let them – this is indefensible and undemocratic.
    I wasnt arguing one most receive majority support in a part of the UK to govern it but you should field candidates – esp if your members in that area wish you too!
    PS It has nothing to do with ‘being as British’ as anywhere – it is a fundamental point of principle. Everyone in the UK should be allowed to participate and vote (or not) for the main governing parties of the country.

  • slug

    Bob Wilson do you have any idea how Andy McGivern’s talks with Labour are going? (He was about to take them to court for discrimination for rejecting his application to form constituency association, and they asked him to come to talks with them. It seems he has a strong legal case if they felt this was necessary).

  • Garibaldy

    Bob,

    I don’t think I do miss the point. You’re scoring points off your political opponents and trying to dress it up as principled, but, as far as I can see, doing it in such a way as to undermine the basis of your own argument. Labour is the government of the UK. Therefore it has a mandate to govern the entire UK, and introduce whatever legislation it can get through Parliament. If it is undemocratic for it to govern NI despite this mandate, then power is usurped. Yet somehow this would change if they ran candidates who we all know would never get elected? I fail to see the logic here.

    Labour is perfectly entitled not to stand candidates wherever it doesn’t wish to. I didn’t hear anyone say their decision to stand aside for Martin Bell was undemocratic.

    The SDLP is Labour’s sister party, and Labour policy has been to vote for them. Look at it as a standing tactical alliance. Nothing undemocratic about it.

  • Exuup

    I noticed Cllr Ronnie Crawford has also come out against this move, is anyone aware of of any other UUs coming out as it were?

    Any word of asssembly members views?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Garabaldi

    1. The SDLP do not represent the the Labour party in Northern Ireland, they do not fight elections on the Labour manifesto the SDLP have their own manifesto which is very different on education.

    2. If a political party removes from a section of the voting public the opportunity to vote for (or against them ),as a policy, when the party has the absolute determination of what happens in that section of the community then you have what is tantamount to a dictatorship i.e. rule without possibility of representation

    There is no defence for the Labour party not organising here and putting candidates forward for all elections. In the same way that there is absolutely none for imposing on a section of the UK policies that they will not impose elsewhere in the UK and which a large majority in that section, with support across both communities, do not want.

  • Garibaldy

    Frustrated Democrat,

    The Labour Party’s position has long been, though it may have changed by now, that its supporters should vote for its sister party in the socialist international, the SDLP.

    If NI suffers under a dictatorship, which I agree is the logic of your position, then should we not resist? Is that not the basis of the British constitutional position established at 1688? But does NI’s access to Westminster, and thus the ability to consent/dissent from laws, not grant that representation.

    Oh, and by the way, when the Tories who you support, privatised NIE against the wishes of every party in NI, and trailed certain policies in Scotland because they could do it without any political loss, were they not guilty of the same thing?

    That is why I objected to Bob dressing this up as a principled issue. Because it’s not, or at least it’s not for his party.

    You say that there is a large majority against the changes to the education system. Well both the SDLP and PSF have in their manifestoes the abolition of the 11+, and I think Alliance to, along with lots of the smaller parties. So the evidence for a large majority is circumstantial. When pro-11 plus candidates are winning large majorities I’ll accept it.

    And while I’m at it, the British government has a long history of imposing policies from GB here that locally weren’t wanted. That’s how we got one man, one vote after all.

  • Lord Trimble

    Bob is right, undoubtedly, as I said recently:
    “Conservatives do not need to reinforce the impression that they are only an English party, and a party of only part of England at that. They need to show that they are a British party, a party for everyone in this United Kingdom. The new leadership has the opportunity to remodel the party in this direction also!”

    http://www.uup.org/media/media_07_03_06_trimble.htm

  • darth rumsfeld

    Your lordship
    Good to see you finally gravitate to a level of politics commensurate with your talents. Perhaps you wouldn’t mind answering a couple of questions for us onlookers

    1. Why not “Lord Drumcree”(snigger)?

    2. Why was everything you did such crap?