Bowles quits UUP

Party Officer and Councillor, Peter Bowles, is to quit the Ulster Unionists anddefect to the Conservative Party because of the UUP/PUP’s new partnership. Peter Bowles had been a key supporter of Reg Empey’s leadership bid and seen as one of the upcoming talents of the party. His defection, to be announced tomorrow, gives the Conservatives their only elected representative and leaves the UUP with big problems. Their only MP has already faced calls to reisgn and Peter Bowles’s decision will add to the pressure. Peter Bowles said:

“The Ulster Unionists used to be the party of law and order and now its linked the UVF. Those guys haven’t changed at all…the party has lost its way. There is a lack of direction, a lack of vision and a lack of consultation.”Meanwhile, the Sunday Life and Sunday World are both claiming that a UVF gang were responsible for an assault on Robert McCord, Raymond McCord Snr cousin. Robert McCord says his attackers asked where his cousin was living and when he said he didn’t know they began the beating.

  • bertie

    Junior

    That could all have swong round with the right high profile candidate after Kilfedder and, as I say, if Bob had stood down, it could have become very very interesting.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “The problem is that “this part of the country” is contested territory. May I suggest some background reading on Irish history?”

    Hmmm
    Didn’t the GFA end the contest? Or were we crusty old anti-Agreement Unionists right all along?

  • Bob Wilson

    Jeez Junior yer so wrong I dont know where to start.
    1&2. Leadership and message – of course local Conservatives need to build leadership. But they have the advantage of any increasingly popular Party and National Leader.
    3. Very sweeping statement with little grounds or reasoning. Many Irish Catholics are happy to live in the UK (Life and Times surveys) is it inconceivable they might vote for a Party concerning more about the environment, the economy etc instead of dead end nationalism.
    (Just as unionist might abandon dead end tribal unionism)
    Conservative votes could come from:
    1. Current non voters
    2. The UUP
    3. Alliance
    4. SDLP (see above)

  • Harry

    darth rumsfeld:
    “Didn’t the GFA end the contest?”

    The Agreement isn’t operational so we don’t know.

    “Or were we crusty old anti-Agreement Unionists right all along?”

    What exactly was wrong with the agreement that you didn’t support it and what do you hope will be gained instead by rejecting it?

  • DK

    So, the UUP are becoming the Tories, the SDLP are becoming Fianna Fáil. Presumably Sinn Fein and the DUP will continue to appeal to the border-obsessed right wing nutters that they always have.

    Is there any left wing party left in NI?

  • elvis parker

    Didnt Bertie Ahern say he was a Socialist 😉
    (personally I think he meant socialITE)

  • Hugo Rudd

    Peter,

    Welcome to the fastest growing political party in western Europe.

    We’ve been expecting you.

    BA

  • Junior Apparatchik

    Sorry Bob, you’re obviously not from NI if you seriously think loads of Catholics are going to vote for the British Conservative Party!

    There’s a difference between being ‘happy in the union’ and actually being pro-British. That’s why that number you quote (wrong anyway, dodgy survey) all vote SDLP (or very occasionally APNI, Green or some such).

    I predicted the Tories would miss the chance – didn’t think I’d be proved right so fast.

    Focus on 1. and 2. and you may well get somewhere. But be honest about who you are and who you’re going to get on your side. And deal with NI as it is, not as you’d like it to be.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Didn’t the GFA end the contest?”

    The Agreement isn’t operational so we don’t know. ”

    Eh? So the constitutional changes in the irish constitution are inoperative then- the prisoners have all sauntered back in to the Maze, and the RUC are back to their lazy pie munching best?

    “What exactly was wrong with the agreement that you didn’t support it and what do you hope will be gained instead by rejecting it?”

    If you don’t like football there’s an archive on slugger going back several years. Read it and learn.

    “Is there any left wing party left in NI?”

    Oh stop gurning and set one up if you’re that bothered. Alternatively, vote for Bowles’ new lot of sandalwearing polenta eating middle class wets.

    And to the typing pool at Cunningplan House- get Bowles off your website quick. it makes you look even more out of touch with the real world.

  • Hugo Rudd

    Jo,

    Julian’s right (Right Julian, me old mucker, must get some leaflets round the doors again) about the vital necessity of a party interested in maintainign the Union, actually facing elections in each part of the UK.

    As for Northern Ireland being contested territory, well, you may contest it te’ yer heart’s content, because the Conservatives are a party with a wider agenda than the sectarian headcount around Northern Ireland.

    Our politics in Northern Ireland are based on a maintained, controlled stasis; the Conservative party could be / is about undoing that stasis and developing a dynamic for real politics in Northern Ireland.

  • Harry

    As far as I am aware the changes to the Irish constitution are indeed inoperative if the agreement is inoperative. Can’t be sure but that’s what I heard. The prisoners are still out. The PSNI are still the RUC so no change there.

    There is no government. Somehow you seem to have missed that bit out.

    I couldn’t be arsed searching through the archives of slugger, especially after such a snotty response. I’ll just have to live my life in the knowledge I’ve missed out on the Gospel.

  • I can’t find Bowles anywhere on the UUP website.

    Besides, speaking of “out of touch”, isn’t it time one of Robinson’s bright young things in DUP HQ take a look at their own site,

    which still features Paul Berry’s grinning face and the classic exhortation “I will not let you down”:

    http://www.dup.org.uk/PaulBerry.asp

  • Harry

    Did Reg approach Paul Berry before Ervine, or would that have simply been too much? Mass murderers are okay but male massages – that’s really out for lunch!

  • Crataegus

    Julian

    under David Cameron’s leadership, Northern Ireland is in that equation too.

    The Empire strikes back.

    Wish you the best of luck I would welcome any outside influence in this place. It may also encourage the Labour Party to stop its blocking of any moves to organise here.

    What useful function has the UUP; what is its niche? We are Unionists, but so is the DUP. We are nice Unionists; that one has gone; we have distinctly different and progressive policies, now that’s a flight of fantasy. Pretty pointless Party really.

  • Garibaldy

    Crat,

    I thought the UUP had essentially adopted a version of Norman Porter’s Civic Unionism, even though they are loathe to admit it. As a secularist, I’d rather see a party that has broken its links with the religious loyal orders head up unionism than one in which a church has a huge influence. Is that not a crucial difference between the UUP and DUP, and one worth fighting for on its own?

  • Gar, old sausage, I’m a UUP member who was delighted, in Powellite theory, to see the back the back of an institutional link to the OO (though, in practice, a touch more sceptical about what the likely electoral consequences were going to be). But tell me this, why should a law-abiding Unionist like me, let alone non-Unionists, prefer a UUP that, instead of being linked to the OO, is linked to the UVF?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Did Reg approach Paul Berry before Ervine, or would that have simply been too much? Mass murderers are okay but male massages – that’s really out for lunch!”

    Pity Berry hadn’t said yes-imagine Reg’s defence of that one in the press:
    “This is not a cheap tactical move. For many years the allegedly gay community has been neglected. We want to reach out to them and to turn away from their alleged gayness, to show them another way . In the past..er, all Unionist parties have perhaps been too closely connected with gays. I myself may have done things in the 1970s which with hindsight I now regret… (Benjamin! Did you read this crap before you gave it to me?)… “

  • ahoymatey

    “Because he’s the one pushing this dalliance with the devil”

    It’s because you want his seat Mr Robinson!!

  • Harry

    Perhaps he would ask that everyone get behind him in this?

  • Jo

    Hugo:

    The last time the Conservatives developed a strategy for undoing the stasis and developing a dynamic strategy? Oh yes, the Anglo-Irish Agreement…and remind me, which government was in power when HMG started discussions with Martin McGuinness…? Even from my leafy suburabn existence, I can see beyond the end of the avenue…

  • YFG

    “Did Reg approach Paul Berry before Ervine, or would that have simply been too much? Mass murderers are okay but male massages – that’s really out for lunch! ”

    Before the scandal hit, Berry was very much the prodigal son of the big man, gospel singing, sanctimonious, irritating – the scandal only made him seem a bit more normal.

  • Garibaldy

    Karl,

    I totally take yout point but I don’t think anybody sees this as anything other than a tactical alliance. It’s not a fundamental change in the UUP. As has been noted in discussions of these issues before, this is not a unique situation, simply a more high-profile version of what has been happening for decades with both major unionist parties. I’d expect this deal to have a relatively short shelf-life, or for the UVF to announce a standdown before the year is out. What then? The more confrontational and less secular politics of the DUP for ever? A longer term view, both of the past and of the future, I think is needed from people in your position.

    I do think Empey is sincere in saying it’s unionism’s responsibility to encourage the end of loyalist paramilitary organisations, so the deal with Ervine appealed to him on several fronts. I doubt he, or the other UUP MLA’s, expected such a reaction given the history of such things before.
    He may have misjudged his audience, or people with axes to grind have jumped on this issue, and exploited the genuine concerns of others.

  • Loyalist

    Jo

    On that score we agree – I would consider myself a natural Tory voter (insofar as such a thing can be natural!) and if I lived on the mainland I can think of no circunstance in which I would not vote Conservative. But the record of the Tory Party in Ultser since 1972 has been abysmal – give me Roy Mason over Paddy Mayhew any day of the week!!!

  • Jo

    “people with axes to grind have jumped on this issue, and exploited the genuine concerns of others.”

    Such as a certain DUP contingent posting on NI sites under pseudonyms? Shurely shome mishtake..?

  • YFG

    “Was Stephen particularly persuasive?”

    lol, well he’s a good looking guy!

  • Jo

    GMU should have pushed Dermot this am on how long the UUP were prepared to test and run with DE.

    DN mentioned “weeks.” I am sure Seamus McKee would have asked him how many…

  • “As far as I am aware the changes to the Irish constitution are indeed inoperative if the agreement is inoperative. Can’t be sure but that’s what I heard.”

    Can we have a remedial class for the slower members?

  • Loyalist

    Jo

    You really shouldn’t take every post on your site at face value.

  • Crataegus

    Garibaldy

    the UUP had essentially adopted a version of Norman Porter’s Civic Unionism

    So many claim so, but still I see close ties to the OO. I don’t think they can make the jump as the political risk is too great for them.

    The associations they have with their communities and their churches in normal circumstances would be seen as representing their community, but in the context of Unionism it is poison.

    If they don’t change they have no future and if they do they risk alienating various sections of their support base.