Choose now – Good or Bad Advice?

The UUP leader, Sir Reg Empey, wants the DUP to make its mind up now and state whether or not it will share power by the 26th March deadline. A nice soundbyte, a reasonable campaigning ploy and has a ring of logic but is it politically wise for the DUP?If you rule it out now that is a pre-judgement of republican actions and ends the negotiation process with government. If the DUP adopted such a position today they would get panned for being unreasonable, remove any opportunities to get concessions from government, there would be no basis for holding the election and Unionism would get the blame for collapsing the process.

If you rule it in today you lose any bargaining power with government on the outstanding issues, hurt voter and party confidence by just abandoning the policy of delivery and relieve Sinn Fein of any pressure to actually deliver on the AF motion. Crucially, it would leave you even more at the mercy of the republican movement. Imagine if on 17th January the DUP said yes to power-sharing and on 20th January there was another McCartney debacle, Northern Bank or the alleged Camlough find turned into another Stormontgate? This would shatter confidence and Sinn Fein sees such things as an achievement.

  • Weary Unionist

    Sir Reg is just right. Surely this is simply a case for the DUP to

    “Pay up!” or “Shut up!”?

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    what Camlough find?

  • fair_deal


    Link now added about the Camlough raid

  • Rubicon

    FD – your link is to an allegation and question made by Simpson under parliamentary privilege that the Minister (Goggins) did not confirm other than to point out that, “no arrests arose out of those investigations”. Simpson’s question then initiated a Tory to raise the issue of calling on the DUP to assist in bringing about loyalist disarmament.

    Caution may be needed in discussing this – Slugger is not protected by parliamentary privilege.

  • fair_deal


    The proceedings of parliament can be reported, the thread entry makes no allegation against any individuals, and mention of it is contained in a sentence listing hypothetical situations but as always slugger will keep an eye on comments to ensure legality.

  • Rubicon

    FD – I wasn’t accusing you of anything improper – just concerned that comments exercise due care. I think you may need to keep a sharp eye out 😉

  • Ah yes, Sir Reg, the master strategist, the political genius who has made such an impact on UUP fortunes….who on earth would pay any attention to his witterings?

  • unionist

    David Vance,

    How would you know what impact Sir Reg has made on the UUP? Answer is you wouldn’t…

    In fact, the UUP now is more united than it has been in a number of years..lesson’s have been learned from the past and everyone in the party is now more confident and content.

    So instead of using the usual DUP stance of dodging the actual issue and attacking the UUP, David, how about you comment on the actual topic itself.

    Everyone know’s the DUP have made a hash of things, the St Andrew’s agreement is a disaster, your party must not be allowed to go into this election with a clear stance…that is simply not fair on the electorate.

  • unionist

    That should read “without a clear stance”!


  • parcifal

    “The public needs to know”
    sure tis better than one of them ( unionists) asks the question, than one of us ( SF )

    unwise to stir the pot with your last few lines, it detracts from the main post.
    Not your intention I’m sure.

    separate posts yes?

  • Frustrated Democrat


    Why then should we pay attention to your pearls of wisdom, have you ever won an election or led a party?

    Ball not man!

  • George

    to me, your post seems to state there was a “Camlough find”, which has the possibility of turning into a Stormontgate. It is merely missing the now ubiquitous “alleged”.

    There is nothing in the public domain to suggest there has been a “find” of any description, in Camlough or anywhere else for that matter.

    There have been claims, made under parliamentary privilege, of a find.

  • fair_deal

    George amended

  • bertie

    “In fact, the UUP now is more united than it has been in a number of years”

    As a party gets smaller it is easier for it to be united.

  • the other one

    and as a party grows it is harder to have everyone on message as the DUP are finding out

  • The unity of one is Empey’s endpoint, and the idea that the UUP has “united” in any way under Empey is risible. Ask Lady Hermon her views on the PUP link up! Only the poor deluded clowns that follow Empey around the circus ring can think otherwise.

    A simple matter might be to consider in what UUP policy is differentiated to that of the DUP in such a way to have electoral appeal? Can the Empey-heads show how this has been achieved? Above all, why on EARTH do you think the DUP are busting a gut to get an election? It’s NOT Sinn Fein?IRA who is their enemy – it’s the UUP! They believe they can win even more seats from them, and they have every reason to think so.

    As someone who views things WITHOUT a Party hat, I merely obvious that Unionist political leadership (all hues) lets down the unionist people.

  • Ian

    From Empey’s statement:

    “After all, the DUP is the Party that called for an election and will be bringing people out in the middle of winter. The least they can do is tell people what they are voting for.”

    Exactly right. If the DUP can’t categorically state that they will take up positions on the Executive on the 26th of March then the election shouldn’t go ahead.

  • Deadlines are poison more often than not, but Paisley and Co ought to put up, or shut up (some hope). It’s been faintly surreal to think the extremist cleric might do something useful at long last, perhaps it was always deluded..

  • observer

    Unionist said, the St Andrew’s agreement is a disaster,

    Does that mean the UUP will be campaigning against the SAA in the election? If its to bad does that mean theyll not take any seats offered to them ??? Are they opposed to SF support law and order?

  • another Observer

    observer (above), makes an interesting point.

    Is the UUP going to campaign against the St. A.A?

    I have serious concerns about it – SF/IRA in Government, Irish Language Act, no security in Government for the majority community – talk about giving minorities a bone! i.e. a possible SF/IRA First Minister – a Deputy and Minister is bad enough!

    What suprises me most is that hardline DUP grassroots are supporting it – particulary Dr. No. Paisley!

    The true liberal Unionists within the DUP, formally UUP anti-agreement, Trimble haters have shown their true colors!

    The DUP do not have any control over the situation. A case of weak leadership.

    Wheres my fair deal?

  • Ian

    “no security in Government for the majority community – talk about giving minorities a bone! i.e. a possible SF/IRA First Minister – a Deputy and Minister is bad enough!”

    SF only get the First Minister post if they end up as the largest party, what’s wrong with that?

    You really haven’t got the hang of this equality lark, have you?

  • McGrath

    The question of how Mr Simpson came to know about the “find” in Camlough seems to do more damage to progress than the actual “find” itself.

    Even if SF endorse policing, the next road block will be the DUPs expectation of SF to turn into policemen. Its quite predictable what will happen when the DUP find out (like they dont already know) than SF are no more likely to hand over information relating to the Northern Bank and McCartney issues etc than they themselves are likely to hand over information about RUC, PNSI (see first point), or loyalist activity?

  • Keith M

    If Empey wants to know why jumping first is a bad idea then he just needs to consider the demise of his own party.

  • Billy

    Fair Deal

    As a moderate Nationalist, I have never supported or voted for Sinn Fein. I believe they should have signed up for policing long ago but that they will now.

    The PSNI isn’t perfect but it’s getting there. The time has come for Nationalists to get fully involved and ensure it becomes a police force for all the people.

    However, having grown up in NI and watched the DUP for many years, I agree with Sir Reg Empey. If Sinn Fein do support the PSNI, the DUP will simply create more obstacles.

    There are those in Unionism generally and the DUP in particular wbho don’t want to share power with Catholics under any circumstances. We have seen over the years that each move by Nationalists is simply followed by more obstacles being put in place by Unionists.

    In fact there are elements within the DUP who would prefer if Sinn Fein did NOT sign up to policing.

    The DUP should put on the record now that they will go into a power sharing administration with Sinn Fein if Sinn Fein sign up to policing.

    If Sinn Fein don’t – fair enough, the DUP are in the clear.

    If Sinn Fein do, then we can see if the DUP are serious about sharing power with Catholics or not.

    At the moment, it’s transparent that the DUP are not committing themselves so that, if (hopefully when) Sinn Fein sign up to policing, they can pull some other obstacles out of the hat to prevent power sharing with Catholics going ahead.

  • Alex S

    Empey makes a fair point, are the DUP going to share power in March assuming S/F back policing or not, Allister, Dodds McCrea and Co have all but ruled it out!

  • Ian

    The DUP should not have the luxury of an Assembly election in which they continue to equivocate. The election is only happening because the DUP demanded it in order to give them a new mandate to reverse their policy on sharing power with SF. If they can’t state categotically before the election that that is their intention, then what is the point in having the election at all?