UUP/PUP link “under review”

UUP Deputy leader Danny Kennedy has said the linkage between the parties is “under review”. Alliance leader David Ford has accused the UUP of “backtracking”.

  • Big Hughie

    I wonder when the less official but just as real link between the DUP and the UDA is going to be reviewed by that party.

  • heck

    what about the link between the british government and loyalist death squads?

    how about the link between the PSNI and the UVF?

  • rapunsel

    I think we can safely predict that the political link between the UUP and Mr Ervine will be abandoned. Reg Empey would have come out of this with points over the DUP had he carrie dout his examination of unionism’s past before linking with Mr Ervine. An attempt at political opportunism that appears to be damaging overall.

  • unionist

    bit of a chancer mr ford. given that he and his colleagues sought much publicity attacking the uup for setting up the link and calling for it to be broken he now wants to eat his cake by attacking the uup if the relationship ends.

  • eddie

    David Ford is not a chancer, his message has been clear throughout, unlike that of the UUP, which has, on serveral occassions changed its story to suit the circumstances.

    Yet again the UUP looks like a joke party with a lack of leadership.

    Time to bring in the receivers!

  • maura

    In all of this debate I would like to ask of Unionist bloggers. What exactly is to be done with Loyalists in your opinion? When they have abandoned their terror and criminal activites, what do you propose they do? Are you for eternal exclusion of Loyalists with past affiliations with paramilitaries, or do you think that maybe inclusion in the Unionist political processes would be a better strategy, from which all segments of the community might benefit?


    I heard some rumours about links between Reg Empey and leadership, but I’ve seen little evidence of it.

  • IJP


    Do you suggest we deal with criminals in England by inviting them to join the Labour or Conservative Parties…?! (Probably enough in there already, but that’s another point…)

    I say we stop giving a mouthpiece to those who excuse gangsterism and violence, and instead give the decent majority within Loyalist communities who want nothing to do with criminality the chance to take the lead. The sooner we stop equating “Loyalists” with “paramilitaries” the better.

    (Yet another failing in the early implementation of the Agreement was/is the assumption that Loyalist terrorists mirror Republican terrorists.)

  • loudmouth

    Well said IJP!! And may I add, there are actually a lot of ‘decent’ people within loyalist communities, what do you suggest we do Maura? Out of interest???

  • Bushmills

    Just how stupid does Reg and his party look now? The one significant announcement during his tenure at the healm and he’s been forced to drop it (we think) due to public outcry. But, not to be out-done in the leadership stakes, instead of admitting himself that he got it wrong, wee Danny is wheeled out to do the back-tracking for him.

    What a supine, spineless character he is.

  • Bob Wilson

    ‘Are you for eternal exclusion of Loyalists with PAST affiliations with paramilitaries’
    I think you’ll find there is nothing PAST about Ervine’s/PUP links!
    As Lord Trimble said just because you have a past doesnt mean you cant have a future but it has to based on the end of paramilitary organisations, support for the police and respect for law and order. That applies to ‘Loyalist’ gangs and their political representatives and to Sinn Fein and the IRA.

  • nitpicker

    I don’t think Reg is going to abandon this link, from the start he has said it was under review, I think this whole story is down to a bored, over zealous Mark Davenport looking for a story.

    As for Ford, he is turning into a parody of himself, if you look back to the portrait that was painted of all the 108 MLAs back in 2000/2001 you’ll see Ford and Ervine looking very close and deep in conversation, that was painted because at the time Ford and Ervine were very close – which makes Fords stance now fairly laughable.

  • Yokel

    Well done Reg, feckin eejit. Paramilitaries are up to their necks in it. Some may peel off and go legit into community politics or just pack up entirely but what would you do if you had the run of an area, were getting plenty of money and basically you could hassle anyone you felt like?

    Yep, I’d stay with the money and power and so will most of them.

    Maura, basically they need to be intimidated out, they need to lose their power.

  • Bushmills


    Good God, Ford’s a hypocrite because he appears near Ervine in a painting. Of all the pathetic, lame and frankly dumb-ass comments made on this site by UUP posters, that ranks as a top-ten entry!

  • nitpicker

    I’m not actually a member of the UUP dear!!

    There was alot of wrangling and arguments about who would appear beside who in that painting and it is an historical record and does reflect the state of play at the time. Ford is going somewhat off the wall at the min and I say that as a former Alliance supporter, methinks he might be better employed providing a bit of leadership for his party instead of obsessing over every move or thought of the UUP – they’re not that interesting!

  • lib2016

    So its OK for the Alliance to vote in an unashamedly sectarian way for the PUP in Belfast Council but heaven forbid that unionists should openly admit what we all know – that unionism has a myriad of links behind the scenes between the different groups.

    Victorian hypocrisy is alive and well and living in Belfast. Using the libel laws to stop publication of the truth will only last for so long, the connections are known and some of them have already been published abroad. Anyone who has a television saw who provided the political cover at Drumcree and Holy Cross.

  • smcgiff

    It seems strange that the UUP will back down now. They must consider the partnership with the PUP to have had a monumentally catastrophic effect on their party faithful.

    Has anyone explained to the UUP the concept of closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. Do they seriously think their political rivals will forget that they partnered up with the PUP anytime soon?!?

    Nope, breaking the partnership now would only compound their perceived error in the first place.

    Stick it out Reg, but if you do perform a u-turn at least have the dignity to include it in your resignation speech.

  • Bushmills


    If you aren’t a UUP supporter you do a damn good impression of one. AFAIK, there was no wrangling over the positioning of people in the painting. The artist took pictures of the MLA’s and then slotted them in. Perhaps Ervine was close to Ford because APNI were sat next to the PUP in the chamber.

    Anyhow, it’s still a dumb-ass point!

  • nitpicker

    very eloquent Bushmills, we’ll agree to disagree

  • maura

    , what do you suggest we do Maura? Out of interest???

    Loudmouth, are you from Kerry? They answer a question with a question.
    I was genuinely asking for Unionist opinions on this. I realise there are thousands upon thousands of ‘decent’Loyalist people, nowhere have I ever suggested otherwise.
    My questions stand.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Bushmills, the artist did give you an opportunity to comment on a suggested position in the painting. I asked to be placed nearer nationalists/republicans to symbolically represent an attempt to reach out to that community and he did accommodate that (sort of). Of course with hindsight I should actually have been reaching out behind me a lot more and I dismally failed to act to help unionists go through the pain of the process.Something i deeply regret. Oh well we learn from failure as well as success. As I understand it though most people didn’t get much of a choice of position, although a prominent member of the DUP was a regular visitor to the shop and was very interested in their appearance and positioning in the painting. (Yes I could name them but I know Mick has kittens about libel laws and I suppose I can’t blame him. It’s easy for me when I am in another jurisdiction.)

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    On the actual issue of the PUP/UUP link up I post again what i previously stated.

    “On an aside I happen to agree with Alex that partnering up with the PUP/UVF was a wrong. It was a stupid short term and ill-conceived decision. The UUP can not think medium to long term without Trimble its so frustrating. For any Regalistas out there it was daft for the following reasons:

    1.Firstly the only benefit was the potential 3rd ministerial seat and I am not sure how Ervine negotiated himself out of having it so what was the point? Besides which you don’t need a third seat because the UUP should not go into government. The policy should be one of shifting the all inclusive executive to a more balanced government and opposition model i.e. the UUP set themselves up as the major opposition (by the way the longer game should be an SDLP and UUP joint strategy based on an opposition alternative government.) It is the best medium to long term strategy to claw back the UUP’s electoral support. A small UUP overshadowed by the DUP first minister will be a side note and will have no selling point. You can’t say vote UUP because we are more efficient can you! An electoral strategy built on managerialism is crazy as the UUP remain seriously under talented in the managerial stakes.

    2.Secondly no electoral advantage comes out of it. The PUP is losing votes so it wont bring enough extra votes in any key constituencies to make any difference, in fact I think all things being equal it will damage the UUP by turning off many of the older more middle class and higher educated people who make up the UUP base vote. So no short, medium or long term electoral advantage either.

    3.Thirdly they gave up the small leverage that might have been available in the negotiations. They have to get it in their heads that they are not important in this game they are firmly on the bench. They have no serious leverage now. The best leverage I think could have existed is the possibility of squeezing the DUP by refusing to back a deal they wanted to sign up to (yes party first this time). The DUP would not want to back a deal the UUP rejected as they do need a bit of UUP cover to protect their electoral advantage. The UUP strategy should have been one of achieving the necessary structural reforms to the Assembly to give an opposition party a full role, funded opposition leaders office, clear role in debates, questions etc. This dovetails with the electoral strategy I suggested above. But now they have signaled their hunger for a third ministerial seat over everything and walked the UVF in the front door of Cunningham house (Josias will be spinning in his grave!) they have pissed away any potential leverage and relegated themselves to a weak electoral strategy and being sidelined in the talks.”

    At this stage if Reg reverses on what is his singular major decision his authority in the role of leader will be undermined significantly. (It’s always an unfortunate thing as really we should be grateful to those adept enough to change and adapt to new circumstances. To paraphrase Darwin ‘it’s not the species that is stronger but the one that most readily adapts to its environment that survives.’) But things are as they are and in my view Reg is badly damaged already and a climb down will make it worse. I think his days are numbered and with all due respect to him he needs to start planning for resignation at the next AGM at the very latest. He can no longer perform any service of value for the party as leader. I always felt his elevation was a bit of a demonstration of the Peter Principle but I believe him to be a good and honourable man. It’s just a matter of not being able to adapt to his new environment and recognition that another positive deviation needs to be tried instead.

  • Bushmills


    I broadly agree with what you have said. It is clear that Reg is now holed below the water-line, but will the UUP faithful really want another leadership election so soon after the last one?

    In terms of the painting I think it was a lame excuse to attack Ford, but thanks for the insight – oh and I think the artist captured your likeness very well!

  • PeterBrown

    I think we should get nitpicker a t shirt – The UUP is inextricably linked with terrorists, under attack from the Alliance Party and the only lousy argument I could come up was that they were talking in a painting! Once again obviously desparately attempting to defend the indefensible….

  • bertie

    It needs to be more than dropped. There needs to be an acknowledment that it was an unacceptable thing to do. Helping lotalist communities is not about giving a veneer of respectibility to those who have leeched of them and still do

  • Elvis Parker

    Could Reg be Terminated come the Autumn….

  • Bushmills


    I think Hermon was kicking jerself after Reg so narrowly defeated McFarland. She has also been (relatively) crticial of the move. Maybe the Lady’s going to make her move?

  • bertie

    Using the analogy of an erring husband, I can’t imagine how big buch of flowers the UUP are going to have to have to woo back its voters after this. I’m not even sure that Reg etc realise just how mad the missus is with them.

  • BooBoo

    When the UUP/UVF deal goes down the pan—as it surely will—there will be no resignations from Empty or the rest of the vacuous leadership team which supported it in the first place. No-one will admit that they did anything wrong and the nodding donkeys in the officer team and the party executive will rally around Reg and snigger at “that silly woman.”

    She doesn’t need to make a move against any of them. If the Assembly collapses in November then it takes all the MLAs with it and reduces Empty to no more than a mere councillor. Come the UUC AGM next March and all she has to do is toss her hat in the ring. MP vs Belfast City councillor!! No contest.

    A likely scenario? Of course not. Who the hell would want to challenge for the leadership of a party teetering on the verge of electoral, financial and membership bankruptcy. Apart from Lord Maginnis, that is, who already acts as though he is the heir apparent. My, my, it’s going to be great fun watching the UUP over the next few months. You thought it couldn’t become more farcical!!!!


  • Bushmills


    Have to agree, when Stormont goes belly-up in November, as it surely will, what then for the UUP? Morgan Removals will be knocking on the door of Cunningham House – if they have an auction to raise funds, let us know, they’re bound to have a few atrefacts left over from when they were a Unionist party.