UUP rapped for blogging the talks…

Oh dear, this blogging business is getting out of hand.

Update: There’s a more detailed report from the Beeb… UUP? Engaging in disruptive politics? Surely not?

The Ulster Unionist Party admitted it had been upbraided by government officials for running a blog from the hotel.

Tom Elliott, a party official wrote: “The intention of this blog is not to break confidentiality but to show the public, who are footing the not unsubstantial bill for these talks, a sense of what is happening.”


  • Bushmills

    I don’t know why the government is worried, there is absolutely nothing of value on the blog – Mark Dunn’s thoughts on his first Ulster summit, a few pics of David Campbell, Reg and Sylvia milling about in a hotel corridor – this is hardly earth-shattering stuff.

    Though its interesting to read in this mornings News Letter that the UUP is siding with Sinn Fein over the issue of a collective vote for an executive.

  • Pete Baker


    It’s the fear factor.


    Alex Benjamin adds some more detail in this BBC report

    Although I doubt that Reg has much of a hand in what’s actually written.

  • Bushmills


    Given that the Ulster Unionists are bit-players in the operation, I fail to see what people should fear from them. This is just another gimmicky initiative, in my view. Fred Cobain boasting about the Croats defeating England is not evidence of deep involvement in the negotiations.

    As for Alex Benjamin’s “de-mystifying the talks” comments. Funny, I seem to remember when the UUP was in the driving seat they were very good at keeping everything schtum until the last minute.

  • Pete Baker


    While I agree with gimmick assessment, the fear factor comes into play because a blog (any blog) is, at least in theory, a media beyond the government’s control.

    It’s a case of the media’s reputation colouring the reaction.

  • Bushmills


    I see what you mean about media outlet beyond the control of HMG – fair enough, but I just think the whole thing is rather empty in terms of detail – perhaps this is reflective of the fact that the UUP simply aren’t that important anymore, I don’t know….

  • pith

    If that is how “government officials” react to a small ripple, what they will do when the tide comes in?

    Do we know who provoked the complaint? SF? DUP? Wendy Austin?

  • Mick Fealty


    That’s because they are bound by two things: a certain amount of confidentiality; and the fact that there is bugger all is happening.

  • Elvis Parker

    Alex Benjamin has said:
    ‘I remember walking past a News 24 journalist who was doing a piece to camera, saying the UUP and Sinn Fein were locked in intense negotiations. I walked back into the room and our guys were all sitting round a TV watching Wimbledon,” he said.

    “So, there is an element amongst the media of building these things up as well. Because they don’t have anything else to really go on, there’s a sense of ‘we have to to create something’ and create this hothouse environment.

    “In reality, it’s very rarely a hothouse environment. There’s a lot of time spent sitting around, a lot of time spent having coffee or watching television, so it’s not quite the perception that people think it is.”

    Alex – all that truth will get you into trouble

  • fartrick2008

    could you please translate that mick. some of us are unlucky enough not to have learned gibberish

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Elvis Parker: ” all that truth will get you into trouble ”

    Hey, Christ only told half the tale… yes, the truth will set you free… but first its going to piss a great many people off.

    I prefer a Kurdish saying — if one would seek to speak the truth, better to have a foot in the stirrups.

  • baldrick the third

    The blog at least shows somebody is thinking outside the box, I like it. I find myself checking in on it every few hours, the BBC website is only posting reports a few times a day.

    Besides, the evident annoyance about it expressed by the DUP’s typing pool on here is another plus point for it imho!

  • the other one

    Just to confirm Bushmills comments the UUP have little or no say.

    This agreement is solely between the DUP and SF.

  • Bushmills

    The other

    So can we expect the UUP to camapign on an anti-new agreement platform in the forthcoming election, accusing the DUP of a sell-out? Bring it on UUP hacks!

  • Kingbean

    Doubtful Bushmills because unlike the DUP, the UUP would like to see a deal and would like to see Northern Ireland start to work instead of the Direct Rule coma we have been plunged into for the last number of years.

  • Thrasymachus

    How is devolution going to make Northern Ireland work Kingbean?

    If the Chancellor is determined to make Northern Ireland pay its way then surely all he needs to do is cut the budget the Assembly recieves and let it decide what services to cut?

    Can you tell us how your life has get significantly worse since the Assembly fell?

    The way the Executive is formed means it is practically impossible to vote the four main parties out of government if they screw up. Is there any point in voting if we are going to be saddled with a SF-SDLP-UUP-DUP government with no prospect of change?

  • páid

    I see Sir Reg cannot or will not spell taoiseach correctly.

    Leaving himself a bit open there.

  • Bushmills


    To not camapign against it validates the DUP’s criticism’s of the UUP-negotiated GFA and represents a tacit admission that the DUP was right. Personally, I think the UUP should hold their hands up and say “yes, this is better than before”, but the likes of McGimpsey et al. will find the temptation to attack the DUP just too much and as a consequence will alienate even more of the centre-ground.

  • Kingbean

    I see a deal has been done, fantastic news!

    My view Bushmills is that a deal is good news no matter who negotiated it, it is excellent news for the unionist people and I hope this deal lasts everyone participates and makes it all work.

  • Bushmills


    Agreed! Vote DUP!

  • Thrasymachus

    Kingbean, you still haven’t explained to us why a return of devolved government would be ‘excellent news’ for Unionists.

    If it is such a wonderful thing then surely you should have no problem in answering some of my questions?

  • Bushmills


    Devolution is good for Unionists because we cannot trust anyone other than ourselves to direct our own affairs.

  • kingbean

    Indeed Bushmills (God, I hate agreeing with dups!!). I have newfound respect for the DUP but I will still be voting UUP!

    Direct Rule has been a nightmare, let me think – water charges, the RPA, education. Our own elected politicians barely having a say – ok you can argue our MPs get a say at Westminster but who are we kidding, Northern Ireland debates are held in an almost empty chamber. Direct Rule minister are unaccountable and don’t have either the will or time to do their job. Ok, you get the odd good one who actually seems to care like David Hanson but on the whole they are a useless lot.

  • Thrasymachus

    It was David Trimble that instigated the RPA. As for water charges they would have happened anyway, the exechequer is determined to make NI pay its way, and the Assembly has no powers to stop it. Much in the same way SF had to introduce PFI into hospitals in spite of their ideological objections.

    As for our own elected politicians Kingbean, what do you do if you don’t like their policies and want to kick them out of government? Not much point voting as the four main parties are going to be there irrespective of what you think. Surely they are just as unaccountable?

  • kingbean

    No because unlike the ruling parties, I can vote for my local parties. If a local Regional Development minister announces unpopular legislation I can express my disapproval in a number of ways.

    1. I can not vote for him/her at the next election
    2. I can get a meeting with them (meetings with direct rule ministers are next to impossible to get)
    3. Their decision can be scrutinised by a locally elected assembly

    Whereas at the min, my only option is to submit a response to consultation which will not be read and not be taken into account.

  • Bushmills
    Personally, I think the UUP should hold their hands up and say “yes, this is better than before”

    Oh yea things are so so so much better now… (what exactly is better about it?)

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