A short list.. for now?

We knew that councillor Peter Bowles had resigned from the UUP and joined the NI Conservatives, this iol.ie report notes that a former UUP Councillor, Philip Smith, has also resigned, although not necessarily for the same reasons.. and they mention a couple of other new members. Hmm.. I think it’s fair to say they’d have been hoping for a few more names to unveil.. mind you, there’s plenty of time..

  • Miss Fitz

    Pete
    Dont know if you heard Liam Fox on the radio this evening. He said that there were 2 new members who had defected from the UUP, but that neither was an elected member. Probably all fitting into this picture

  • Pete Baker

    That would fit with the three additional names in that iol.ie report, Miss Fitz, one of those three wasn’t a UUP member.

  • StrangfordUUP

    Just to clarify, Philip Smith left the UUP last may shortly after the election in which he did not get re-elected. He spends alot of his time in London for work and joined the Tories for that reason. He was already gone, it is not related to Ervine. I’d like to hear who these reported other two are!

    Bowles said on UTV he knew of people who have left the UUP to join the Alliance, no one other than Bowles has left following the Ervine link. There is alot of hot air being pumped out for no reason.

  • m

    How do these new Conservatives feel about their party courting ultra-right, ultra Catholic parties in Europe? The policies of the former East European, Catholic conservatives (who will dominate the future Tory/Conservative Euro group) seem a Faustian pact for Cameron but the potential banana skins from the hard right Catholics may prove more troublesome to a growing northern Conservative party swollen by several UUP defectors?

  • Pete Baker

    Strangford

    Thanks for the clarification, as I noted, I didn’t think it was for the same reasons.

    As for “I’d like to hear who these reported other two are!”

    I don’t think there needs to be two others who have defected for Liam Fox’s statement to still be true – if slightly spun.

  • memorystick

    or amusingly I wonder how Bowles feels about his new party or law and order meeting with the loyalist commission…

  • strangfordUUP

    How sad, it seems the Tories have morphed into a spin happy New Conservative Party in their bid to oust New Labour. However Cameron is still infinitely preferable to Blair.

  • IJP

    StrangfordUUP

    I wouldn’t be so confident about that…

  • strangfordUUP

    IJP

    Yes, you have been oddly quiet since widely predicting Bowles would join the Alliance Party and sending out simpering press releases to woo him.

    It is indeed still early enough days and I’m not confident at all – when in the UUP, it is well proven that being too confident usually proves foolhardy. However I would be genuinely surprised if the Alliance Party were to gain any members from the UUP.

  • hightlight

    ‘Conservative party swollen by several UUP defectors’

    That phrase needs highlighted.

  • GWB

    So no one has picked up that Phillip Smith is a former Lib Dem Councillor in England yet?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    “The ex-mayor of Castlereagh Council and former UK Unionist representative Grant Dillon has also joined the Conservatives in Northern Ireland, along with businessman Tim Lewis.”

    From various reports.

    Hardly a coup, but some nice PR from the local Tories.

  • Crataegus

    This is a drip drip sort of situation. The UUP need to prepare their ground in preparation for future UVF incidents. Every time some nutter descends into depravity the cameras will be round to ask David Ervine his views. It is not going to go away and if the fortunes don’t improve the haemorrhaging may gather pace.

    The problem for the UUP isn’t really the defections many will simply not renew their membership. Then there is the moral of activists when you need them they will stay at home.

    This was a seriously bad mistake.

  • YFG

    Crataegus

    This is not a case of drip, drip because only one drip has actually left the party!

  • sterling

    Philip Smiths resignation letter, dated June 2005 could soon be produced to dispel this manufactured myth that he left recently.

  • darth rumsfeld

    at least one UUP officer is predicting that Alex Kane will also defect to the Tories

  • sterling

    unlikely darth, keep digging

  • Jo

    I think the situation is equivalent to rats leaving one boat in difficulties and, ignoring the sleek cruise liner, opt for a small patched-up rubber dinghy. At least real rats have some wit, hence their indefatigability. What both groups share is an utter lack of principle.

  • bob wilson

    Okay this seems an appropriate time ask my old favourite – esp in light of Liam Fox’s statements about Conservatives intentions – what is the point of the UUP?

  • Alex Kane

    Good Morning darth;

    “At least one UUP officer is predicting that Alex Kane will also defect to the Tories.”

    Good to see that a UUP officer is as on-the-ball and in touch with reality as the rest of his officer colleagues.

    While I would be prepared to defecate on David Cameron, I would not be prepared to defect to the soi-disant Conservatives he is presently leading.

    I spent some time with the party in the early-mid 90s. I retain a great respect for the local grassroots in Northern Ireland, but I suspect that a new Tory goverment would prove as bad for us as the last Tory government.

    Best wishes,

    Alex.

  • sterling

    or to be more relevant, what exactly is the point of the Conservatives fighting elections in NI?

  • Roger Hutchinson

    Is there any party to which Grant Dillon has not belonged??

  • Sterling/Jo/Alex

    What exactly is the point of any of the little six county parties?

    Gonzo

    Media might want to call it a coup, we just call it progress.

    Jo
    Interesting you call a party which might be the next government, 200MPs and 300,000 members a “patched up rubber dinghy” Surely some mistake?

    IJP

    Uncharacteristically quiet matey.

  • Sterling

    “What exactly is the point of any of the little six county parties”

    Julian, you fail to answer the point I put to your colleague. I may be wrong but my impression of the Tories in Northern Ireland is a load of out of touch toffs who couldn’t give a crap about the average man/woman on the street here. It also reeks of part of a Cameron PR approach what with the lies about Philip Smith joining the Tories recently – he joined as I am sure you as vice chairman of the Tories in Northern Ireland are well aware last year.

    You may respond by saying that as you have no elected reps that you cannot represent people here, you can however still help as Chris McGimpsey does on the Shankill road – despite not being elected he still runs an advice centre for the local community.

    Simple fact is that if you want respect you have to earn it. The local parties here may have their faults but they do work hard for their constituents and their voice is heard. Northern Ireland for its sins are not quite the suckers that people in England are for spin doctors.

  • Sterling

    Regarding the toff bit, I’m afraid you are ever so slightly misguided. I honestly think this is the first time I’ve been accused of being a toff so thank you for that. Landed gentry, I wish! You can carry on believing some stereotype if that’s what you want to do but it’s a false one.

    By the way, just for info, Philip Smith has only just joined us so this nonsense about him being with us for a year is just that, nonsense.

    Oh, re earning respect, don’t disagree!

  • Cf. McGimpsey’s ‘advice’ centre, a cynic of course would say, the more you see of a Gimp, the less likely you are to vote for him. And lo, poor old Chris. And lo, poor old Gareth. And lo, poor old Michael. Almost a theme there, eh? I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again: Esmond for leader.

  • Sterling

    You still have not answered my query about exactly what the Tories have to offer in Northern Ireland.

    I did say that was the impression I got of the Tories, if this is not the case, it is up to you to prove people like me wrong – this is the challenge to you and the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland.

    As for Philip Smith, the UUP have in their possession his resignation letter which proves exactly when he left the UUP so be careful what you try to claim.

  • Hmmmmn, Wonderturd’s Tories, or, Empey’s Unionists? Hmmmn, hmmmn, hmmmn. Let’s weight it up:

    On the one hand, Wonderturd will lie as soon as look at you, mimic Blair, but badly, lacks humour, is such a stiff that he believes his advisers who think Beckham bling still rings, and, well, I’m hardly here to make the case for Cameron. Oh, and his Party signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement. And the Downing Street Declaration. And had Andrew Mackay as shadow NI secretary. Quite the list, quite the list. So let’s look at that other hand, shall we?

    Reg’s UUP . . . is formally linked to the UV-f*cking-F. Hmmmn, not so difficult to pick a winner after all.

  • Sterling, that’s a question for any political party anywhere and not one I suspect you think is just exclusive to us.

    Not sure what we are debating re Philip. Not interested in any UUP pieces of paper, only interested in when people join us. You can’t really believe I sat on that for a year!?

  • Sterling

    “You can’t really believe I sat on that for a year!? ”

    I don’t know but as someone who knew smith fairly well in the UUP, I know that he left last year whether he joined the Tories straight away as I heard or waited a few months is another thing. A dated letter with a signature is a fairly damning indication of when he actually left and it was nothing to do with Ervine as your party are implying.

    It is also getting quite sad that you cannot think of a reason why people should vote tory over one of the more mainstream parties here..

  • Let me say it for him, it, the DUP, the Alliance, Big bad Bob and even the bloody SDLP: an all too pertinent reason why people should vote Tory over that particular one of the ‘more mainstream’ [sic] parties here is … none of the parties cited above have given the whip to the UVF. What is it with people like you Sterling? Taking us down to one MP at the last election wasn’t enough for you? You’re absolutely determined to ‘improve’ on that? Or are you doing it for some sort of cosmic bet?

  • bob wilson

    Alex:
    ‘but I suspect that a new Tory goverment would prove as bad for us as the last Tory government.’
    Much better to whinge from the sidelines than to get in there any change attitudes / build relationships Alex?
    Cameron (really dont know what you think insulting the guy will do for you) Fox and Lidington are all strongly pro the Party in NI. Ever thought how that came about Alex? – ever thought you could contribute to building on that?
    Many of us are sore about the way we were treated in the 90s but guess what Alex – we’re winning!
    As the respected commentator and columnist that you now are (rather than a mere foot soldier in the ‘North Down’ revolution of the 80/90s!) you could make a very positive contribution to the development of real politics in NI. But because one man isnt to your current taste you swerve away from the ideal!
    Honestly I’m disappointed

  • Sterling

    Rove

    Take a cold shower and calm yourself.

    Solving the many problems that face Northern Ireland at the minute will take a much more proactive approach than sitting on the fence postulating about how awful those terrible loyalists are from a lofty height. You have to get your hands dirty to make a real difference. The Tories are no angels either, I can remember former Tory NI spokesperson Quentin Davies going to meet the loyalist commission and describing it as useful.

    And FFS, stop whinging on about how great an Ulster Unionist you are, I have been bored reading your vitriolic posts on slugger over the last year, either unveil yourself and work with the party or work with a different party. Your current antics are not particularly helpful to anyone.

  • memorystick

    Jeez, you just have to love NI tories lecturing people about whinging from the sideline rather than building relationships and changing attidudes…thats surely not what the tories have been doing in NI for the last few decades, oh wait a tic, yeah it is!

  • My antics have the edge on the UVF’s.

    And no matter how many times goons like you try this, ‘come down into the sewer and help us with the shit’ line re the UVF, it won’t work. Whatever problems working class Unionists have, the UVF isn’t anywhere near being a solution.

  • Paul P

    Stirling,

    Going to see the loyalist commission is not the same as giving them the party whip!

  • Sterling

    “Whatever problems working class Unionists have, the UVF isn’t anywhere near being a solution. ”

    Exactly Karl, that is the point, we are trying to get the UVF is decommission and stand down. The approach of ignoring them and hoping they just go away that you seem to favour is never going to do that. Enjoy your ivory tower.

    “Going to see the loyalist commission is not the same as giving them the party whip! ”

    Ervines relationship with the UUP is yet to be legally defined.

  • bob wilson

    Alex:
    Let me spell it out for you in graphic detail. This evil Labour Govt is going to abolish academic selection. Partly due to the efforts of the Tories – both at Westminster and in NI (yes we work together closely) the timetable for the introduction of the new system has slipped to 2010.
    I would like to see a Conservative Govt after the next GE and I would like them to have a policy of reversing Labours damaging policy – as I suspect you would. Should I
    a.Help the Party and build relationships with people like Fox and Lidington so that NI Grammars schools have allies in the Shadow Cabinet
    b.Insult the Leader, whinge about politics and go and play with my kids while not caring about their education?

    Do email me and join when you wise up

  • With a charming invitation like that, who could resist?

  • IJP

    Quite the contrary – the releases were designed to expose the frankly worrying level of Young Unionist complacency re the UVF link.

    I know Peter well, and he was always going (back) to the Tories.

    Any gain for the centre ground is to be welcomed, I had a release prepared to that extent for Monday evening but the story broke a day early – and Peter did the work for Alliance when it did, I thought!

    Julian

    One defector does not a party make, matey!

    Same applies to the Greens.

    Start getting people actually elected because they’re under your banner, and people will start taking you seriously (something I’d like to see happen, by the way).

  • IJP

    Bob

    Calm down big lad, you’re getting almost as vitriolic as me!

    And that’s bad!

  • bob wilson

    IJP – even 4 defectors does not make a Party!
    But the endorsement of Cameron, the active support of Fox, Lidington and others are driving people to us.
    I told you to have patience and I promise you there is much, much more to come.

  • bob wilson

    Sorry IJP but Alex’s logic escapes me for once!

  • Sterling

    “Start getting people actually elected because they’re under your banner, and people will start taking you seriously (something I’d like to see happen, by the way). ”

    and I would echo that, I would be a fan of the Tories on the mainland but the Conservative Party here is generally silent apart from when it comes to opportunities to attack others. That and the bitchy comment above are not the way to attract those such as myself who would be natural Conservatives. Perhaps start speaking out and doing things?

  • kensei

    “Let me spell it out for you in graphic detail. This evil Labour Govt is going to abolish academic selection. Partly due to the efforts of the Tories – both at Westminster and in NI (yes we work together closely) the timetable for the introduction of the new system has slipped to 2010.
    I would like to see a Conservative Govt after the next GE and I would like them to have a policy of reversing Labours damaging policy – as I suspect you would. Should I
    a.Help the Party and build relationships with people like Fox and Lidington so that NI Grammars schools have allies in the Shadow Cabinet
    b.Insult the Leader, whinge about politics and go and play with my kids while not caring about their education?”

    So, what you are saying is that the Tories both here and in England are working hard to preserve academic selection here?

    I’m surprised Labour hasn’t picked that one up, considering the current Conservative “position” on education.

  • bob wilson

    Sterling
    I didnt realise you were such a sensitive soul – if you are Tory and want to change politics in NI then join. Why are you waiting for me and others to do things?
    The comment to Alex was not meant to come across as bitchy – anyhow dont worry about Alex he’s always up for strenuous debate.

  • Fanta

    So 2 people join the conservatives and people like Julian Robertson are calling this the revival of the party!

    It’s no wonder that Julian came bottom of the council vote in his area!

  • bob wilson

    kensei
    It offical policy chum. Dont take my word for it hears what our Leader says:

    http://www.jeffpeel.com/conservative.html

    Actually Blair actually supports the line that if grammars exist and they are popular in an area they shouldnt be abolished. But that only pertains in England as in NI his crony Hain is using it to blackmail our politicians

  • abucs

    Have there been any reports of paramilitaries leaving because of Ervines attachment to the UUP ?

    That would be more positive news.

  • Alex Kane

    Bob,

    As Karl so pithily put it,”With a charming invitation like that, who could resist”?

    I wish you well with your efforts, I honestly do. But the policies being embraced and promoted by David Cameron do nothing for me. I have enough problems in the UUP without jumping to a party whose socio/economic agenda is now almost entirely alien to my way of thinking.

    In terms of your relationship with key members of the Shadow Cabinet I would urge caution. The same people are talking to the DUP at Westminster and they are not playing the same mood music to them as they are to you. And, at the end of the day, they will be more inclined to lean towards a party which could provide a vital 9-11 seats in the next (possibly hung)Parliament, than in the NI Conservatives, who, let’s face it, are very unlikely to win any Westminster seats.

    Perhaps you will prove me wrong.

    I suspect that my days with the UUP are numbered now (loud cheers from various factions and individuals). I don’t really want to take up residence in any other party (even louder cheers).

    Best wishes,

    Alex

  • John East Belfast

    Alex

    “But the policies being embraced and promoted by David Cameron do nothing for me”

    Is it not more a case of the policies he is not embracing ?

    And a friend of mine who studies such things believes it is all part of a cunning plan to win over a section of the electorate that will enable the Tories to win power and then get on with the things we all really want ?

    What is he currently embracing that you find difficult ?

  • Sterling

    “Why are you waiting for me and others to do things? ”

    What? Wait for a political party to do something? Shorely not?!

    As it is Bob, the Tories are undoubtedly going through an exciting revival over in England but in little old Norn Ireland, they are invisible, I don’t even know what their views are on the issues in Northern Ireland. How could I join a party whose position on important issues is not clear and who have no visible presence? To give up a party one has worked for and basically given all their free time for, you need more of an enticement than merely being told to shut up and join!! Might have worked for Bowles but some of us are slightly wiser than that.

  • Sterling, calling your party a mainstream party is pushing it a bit and a bit cheeky methinks. Mainstream in a-slightly-large (was much bigger) wounded-fish-lost-its-way-in-small-pond mainstream sort of way perhaps, provincial party more likely. Bigger than us in NI, yes absolutely nbo problem in agreeing with that but, you know what, noone is claiming otherwise! Why do those who profess to support the Union have such a massive downer on those who support and work for Parties of the UK? Sterling, you need to get your head round the fact we are the same Party as the Conservatives you profess admiration for in GB – we are not some bastard offspring. Your problem is you do not have the field clear for yourselves and you know the Conservative Leadership will not bow before your Party’s inflated sense of self importance and sweep us away to give you an easier time. Even when the UUP may have been in a position to offer MP support in a hung parliament it didn’t happen. It didn’t happen when the those two close buddies Trimble and IDS were in charge and probably most likely to do a deal. In fact, your very own leader proclaimed the merits of national politics taking hold in NI. Now we have our new Leader making a play for people in NI to join. You have lost people to the DUP and now us. You have lost the comfort blanket you thought you might have had with a number of MPs in Westminster. You don’t have a bargaining chip and little prospect of getting one back. When people join the DUP they are joining a very, very successful and ruthless electioneering machine and that hurts your Party. In your eyes, people joining us are obviously taking a backward step – how that must gall you even more. Well, I think making a positive decision to join us – even with all the most horrific grotesque failings real or imagined that are trotted out here – and in spite of all the flack they will take is good news for us.

    I am comfortable with the way my party is going, I am comfortable with the efforts we are making here and I am comfortable with the goals we have. I will continue to do my best for it. I think the UUP are still in a state of denial about its position and have furtehr problems ahead. We on the other hand know exactly what we have to do, how hard that is going to be, how long it may take but we believe in what we are doing.

    Fanta, noone is claiming a mircaculous turn around here in the space of 24 hours but I am justified in claiming the Party is on the way back – don’t forget we don’t stop at Larne. Just like our colleagues in GB, we have our work cut out here and you will not find me going over the top about four people joining – this is one step for us but a useful one at that. Even if you hate us in every way you should recognise its a useful step. I think what annoys some is the audacity of two in leaving and the audacity of all four to make a positive decision to join us – see my commesnt above.

    As for my performance at election, thank you sooooooo much for reminding me of my glorious figures, I’ll try and do better next time specially for you.

    BTW, someone earlier (Sterling was it you?) accuse us of claimed Philip Smith left cos of Ervine etc etc. This is getting a bit silly now -that’s just not a claim we are making. Sterling, I can picture you getting redder and redder in then face punching your keyboard but you are going down a cul de sac with this one.

    Regards to all, I’m going to watch Brazil.

  • bob wilson

    Alex:
    “The same people are talking to the DUP at Westminster and they are not playing the same mood music to them as they are to you. And, at the end of the day, they will be more inclined to lean towards a party which could provide a vital 9-11 seats in the next (possibly hung)Parliament, than in the NI Conservatives”
    Of course Conservative leadership make nice noises to DUP – they also do so to Liberals. What precisely is this music they play to the DUP? Are they hinting at a coalition – no. Are they hinting that we will not contest elections against sitting DUP MPs – no. We may have some shared approaches eg schools but thats it. If you have evidence of anything else then pray do tell. Conservatives are pragmatists if nothing else but not about to ‘get into bed’ with DUP.
    So in terms of ‘lean towards’ you are wrong – if you are suggesting they will in some way help the DUP or undermine NI Tories that is not the case.

  • Sterling

    “Sterling, I can picture you getting redder and redder in then face punching your keyboard but you are going down a cul de sac with this one. ”

    I assure you not matey, I was down the local enjoying the football along with many pints!

    “Sterling, you need to get your head round the fact we are the same Party as the Conservatives you profess admiration for in GB – we are not some bastard offspring. ”

    Yes and that is part of the problem and I suspect the reason why the Tories do so poorly outside of England, in particular the home counties! The high policy approaches that i admire in England need to be translated down to Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is different to England just as Scotland and Wales are different to England. A prolonged period of Direct Rule has left NI trailing behind the rest of the UK in terms of legislation, Scotland and Wales have leap froged ahead with their devolution. To take just one major issue, NI is the only part of the UK not to have an environmental protection agency and subsequently we are lightyears behind the rest of the UK when it comes to environment policy. What do the Tories think of policy in Northern Ireland at the min, what would they do differently if they had the most MPs? what would they do if they had 24 MLAs? Thats what I want to know yet thats what remains so unclear. The Tories in NI really do seem like a bastard offspring of the Tories in England just as the Tories in Scotland and Wales do. The NI Tories need to do more over here, the only Tory I have heard speak on NI issues recently is David Liddington and while he was impressive, I want to see local Tories speaking. You will continue to languish at the polls and be beaten by the likes of the workers party unless you do this (in my humble opinion!)

  • Sterling

    Our media coverage comes and goes in waves – we have had a lot on education for instance,less on other areas I fully admit. Its part of a self fulfilling prophecy – show you are bigger, get more coverage, attract more support etc etc.

    Glad to see no blood pressure rising. Here’s to my boys of the Ivory Coast to win.

  • Sterling

    Yes, your policy on education is at odds with the policy on education over in England. What about eradicating all bad schools instead of prattling on about academic selection which is a lost battle anyway.

    You have done nothing to convince me that the Tories here aren’t the confused mess I thought they were.

  • Steve

    I’ve never supported the Tories in NI because of their stance around the GFA, and I’ve also met Terry Dick a few times.

    Saying that I’ve been an active member of the Ulster Unionists (when I lived in NI) and still continue to be a member of the Tories.

    I think Bowles etc have made a good move though. The Ulster Unionists are a sinking ship. Empty has confirmed that. It’s a sad day, I know… but maybe this is a good time to start what Unionists should have been doing ages ago – getting more integrated into mainstream politics.

  • lib2016

    “..getting more integrated into mainstream politics.”

    Certain members of Reform have already moved into Fine Gael who would, I’m sure be pleased to entertain more of them. Can’t see much of a welcome in any other of the leading parties in either Britain or Ireland for well-known names or identifiable groups.

    Too many dodgy associations, doncha know.

  • kensei

    “It offical policy chum. Dont take my word for it hears what our Leader says:

    http://www.jeffpeel.com/conservative.html

    Actually Blair actually supports the line that if grammars exist and they are popular in an area they shouldnt be abolished. But that only pertains in England as in NI his crony Hain is using it to blackmail our politicians ”

    Hmmm. With the positioning of the Lib Dems supporting Labour on the issue, I fancy the Tories to be stung on this if it comes up in England again.