The “unresigned” are the way forward.

Reg Empey thinks that having Assembly Members dispensed with by the DUP Party Officers rather than the electorate is a bad thing. Peter Robinson thinks its a sign of a “modern political party“.

The fact that these contracts are totally unenforceable isn’t really the point. Is democracy really in such a state that the will of the DUP Whips is enough to change who represents us? Is that modernity? If it is, I don’t want it.

  • Not Surprised

    Mr Shilliday Writes:

    ‘Is democracy really in such a state that the will of the DUP Whips is enough to change who represents us? Is that modernity? ‘

    Question since when have the DUP been about ‘modernity?’

    Answers on a post card please as to WHAT THEY ARE REALLY ABOUT….

  • Interested

    If party contracts with Assembly Members are such a terrible thing then why did the UUP try to introduce them but failed because they dont have the level of party organisation to be even able to implement them.

    Just because the DUP has some organisation and discipline doesnt mean its a bad thing. I know those are alien concepts to the UUP but not everyone thinks they’re so terrible.

    Does the UUP Assembly team not employ whips then? That’s very standard parliamentary procedure, well it at least it is for a party which isn’t a total shambles.

  • Plum Duff

    Modernity and the DUP? Sounds like an oxymoron.

    One leader since the foundation of the party, one moderator since the foundation of the FPs? About as modern as the RC Church which IRKP has excoriated over the years but which he continues to emulate by his faith schools and his permanency as ‘Pope’.

    If anything, the whole idea is completely anti-democratic as it denies the sovereign right of the people to choose their representatives.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Interested, you haven’t understood what I’ve written, so I’ll clarify.

    First though, there was an understandable amount of anger following the 2004 defections. UUP members had worked to return three UUP candidates, who promptly took the fruits of that to the DUP. I know that there were attempts, and that they were rejected, as it is improper to try to interfere with the democratic process in this way.

    My point about the Whips is that under these signed letters, if a DUP member defies the Whip, the whips can in effect have that member kicked out of the assembly. Which is odd given the experience of Peter Weir.

  • Inspector Clouseau


    Is the whipping of MP’s for Westminster votes not “undemocratic” by your standard?

    Secondly when voting at an election where is the dividing line between voting for candidate or party. Surely depending on the circumstances of the election you are sometimes voting for either or both.

    In the two consituencies I have lived in nationalists and alliance often put up better candidates than the useless morons that the UUP put up but I didn’t vote for them ahead of unionists.

    The more that the UUP push this story the more they are open to the charge that they don’t know how to run an efficent political party and therefore maybe won’t run a goverment department properly either.

  • bo shank

    Paisley becomes a puppet master…i’m amazed that there is not more revolt to be honest.

  • inuit_goddess

    Clouseau there’s a gulf of difference between “whipping” (which all parties do) and what the DUP are proposing which is the ability to forcibly resign an MLA from the assembly if he doesn’t toe the party line!

    It is this DUP attempt to take party discipline to a grossly undemocratic level that has ordinary voters so up in arms.

    It’s amazing the number of people I talk to who mention the 20 grand – this story really has legs as it cuts straight to the heart of what people expect from their public representatives.

    Nobody wants a robot who’s entirely at the mercy of Robinson’s cabal at DUP HQ!

  • Inspector Clouseau


    The only people I hear mentioning the 20K figure are those who will support the UUP anyway or Reg’s page boys from Cunningplan house.

    Granted there has been unease among DUP people(some insiders) that the party press office didn’t/couldn’t shoot this story down a lot sooner. However they seem happier now that the UUP are over spinning this story to their own detriment.

  • Observer

    The UUP is no effective political party. It should have been reformed years ago. If it was so it may still be ‘leading’ Unionism, whatever that means nowadays!

    I believe in the ‘democratic’ process that exists in a political party. However Trimble et al didn’t pay much attention to this through the ULster Unionist Council. Yes he got majorities etc on decommissioning, renoucing the famous phrase ‘no guns, no government’ and in going in to government on 3 separate occasions – but how many of them where UUP members for the day mind you!?

    Anyway my point is that Trimble paid no attention to his ‘defectors’, their opinion or thoughts or even the electorate for that matter.

    Anyway I wonder if the UUP would force a representative to stand for a by-election if they jumped ship to them?

    The fact of the matter is we can talk about the ‘democratic process’, but what exactly does that mean nowadays?

    Our Prime Minister is selected, not elected.

    D’Hondt is not democratic, but infact enforced coalition.

    Are our MP’s even democratically elected, when they can win a seat with 40% of the vote?

    Unfortunately Unionism needs disciple as it has the habit of beating itself up only to lose out to Republicans.

    It’s an unfair world.

  • Michael Shilliday

    So you are arguing that the DUP Party Officers deciding that an MLA should no longer be an MLA, is no undemocratic than an MP being elected with less than a majority of votes cast?

  • Michael Shilliday

    no less undemocratic

  • Abdul-Rahim

    I think that Michael Shilliday is right, this is not an advance in democracy at all. They should at least try and uphold the pretense that the will of the electors is more important than that of the party machine.

  • Viking Eric

    I used to be UUP then I went the DUP way but now I’m not so sure… I guess that makes me a 16st floating voter 😉

    I’m not convinced anymore that the DUP will be able to keep an Assembly going and my business benefits from knowing my MLA so as a comitted Unionist, I am hoping that Nationalists return the SDLP with a big enough mandate so we can have a local government back up and working again. Neither the DUP or the UUP have a problem with Durkins crowd. I am also hoping for a substantial win on the National Lottery, proof that there really is life to be found on Mars and a Man Utd treble win at the end of the this season!

  • Inspector Clouseau


    Will the UUP be having a chief whip in any assembly that is formed? If so what’s the point? Every MLA should be free to choose to vote as he(shes are unlikely on the UUP benches) pleases or else it would be “undemocratic”. Just like Pauline Armitage and Peter Weir did and the UUP were bolstered by the ever so democratic redesignation of Alliance members. I know of Alliance voters who were absolutely furious at their votes being stolen.

  • Michael Shilliday

    You’re either quite thick or trying to twist what I said. It is totally undemocratic for a party to be “resigning” MLAs for not towing the line. A whipping system is normal, despensing with members you dont like is not.

  • Patrique

    This is the party that gave us Enoch Powell. Not to mention Knox Cunningham, MP for South Antrim when it was the largest constituencyu and he held the biggest majority. I doubt if he was ever in South Antrim.

    Now Reg wants constituency selection? A bit late.

    On the golf course, a player with a ten foot putt left it one foot short. His partner said “a Reg Empey”. The player said “what”. His partner said “Reg Empey. A tentative prod”.

  • Inspector Clouseau

    “A whipping system is normal”

    How did it become normal?
    Whipping was at its inception very controversial, and even with its practice being part of the political process in most democratic systems it is often considered a transgression of ones free will. But it is there so that parties can go operate with conherency. This is what the DUP contracts are about and you are in dream land if you think they are about “despensing with members you dont like”

  • Inspector Clouseau

    Maybe that’s why the UUP never had candidate contracts because if Trimble could dispense of people he didn’t like he’d have been on his own.

  • Inspector Clouseau


    How was the re-designation of Alliance members democratic?

  • Reader

    I don’t mind elected representatives being nailed into the manifesto they were elected on. (and it should be up to the voters to impose the manifesto on the parties, or accept the excuses). But I certainly don’t want reps tied to the authority of the leadership, nor the tryanny of the party majority, when it’s not a manifesto issue.
    As a separate issue, isn’t the origin of this obsession with authority the UUP MLAs who jumped ship after the last election? I hadn’t been daft enough to vote for such obvious weak links in the party, of course, but those who did vote for them surely had their votes stolen?

  • Peter Brown

    Michael also ignores the facts that

    1 The UUP has has such contracts in the past
    2 The issue which forced the resignation of Donaldson et al was actually the UUP Executive Committee giving them an ultimatum of toe the line or else be disciplined. Ulterior motive: to have been expelled from the UUP would have allowed the UUP Candidate’s undertaking to have been brought into play – requring the resignation of their seat. Is this ringing any bells with anyone? Does anyone else hear MS breaking the glass in Cunningham House with these stones?

    It is totally undemocratic for a party to be “resigning” MLAs for not towing the line

    Another classic case of UUP do as I say not as I do……

  • aquifer

    Absolutely fair that the DUP can sack its MLA members. In many cases it is unlikely that MLA would have been elected without the party branding. Reg should watch and learn.

  • nutjob

    “I don’t mind elected representatives being nailed into the manifesto they were elected on”

    But this does beg the question, are politicians elected because of what party they stand for or their own personal vote….

    The likes of Paisley, McCrea etc have huge personal votes so you could argue if McCrea steps out of line, he is doing what the people voted him in to do…

    Just a thought

  • corb lund

    Michael – You should be telling Reg to direct his energies towards breathing some life into the UUP instead of the constant repetiton of his complaints about the DUP. If you’re the future of the UUP learn a lesson from tired-Reg – observe his tactics closely and then do the opposite.

  • Smithsonian

    corb lund
    Could you develop an argument to support your last statement or is it just a vacuous opinion?

    Then perhaps you might like to explain why the DUP surrendered. Remember smashing Sinn Fein, no mandatory coalitions, no d’Hondt, no terrorists in government, no OTRs allowed to escape

    Is there anything the DUP won’t surrender to get into power? You must have some principles.

  • Peter Brown


    On the assumption that you are a unionist name a unionist political party that hasn’t surrendered principles to get into power – there are many like me in the UUP who wondered where the “Don’t let the Army Council onto your Local Council” election poster on the stairs in Glengall Street disappeared to around Easter 1998…..

  • Jimyjoe

    If I was in the UUP I would sign any forms they set before me.I would be afraid of their two strongarm whips,David”actor” McClarty and Billy “the kid” Armstrong knocking on my door.Or worse still being summons to Billy’s office in his farmyard.Have heard it doubles up as a creche for his daughters,sorry secretary,children.
    Talk about keeping all your income in the family

  • Alan Millar

    as former candidate for the DUP (the last Assembly election)I for one can add to the so called efficent political Party that is the DUP. In the last Assembly election all the Candidates were given a list of answers to all the ‘HARD’ questions so what is the shock that we now have Candidates signing these kick me out when I have done all I can for you letters. And tonight at a meeting in Magherafelt a member of the DUP Party exc. told 100 of us that he had been assured by the party that they would not go into Government with Sinn Fein. (he also told us that the 400 strong EXC. would make the call on that one. However as far as I know there are still only about 100 members in the DUP EXC.)

    But then the last few week are full of lies from this party who are out to deliver a fair deal

  • Bruce101

    How would someone as dim as Shilliday, with no legal background, be in a position to say the contract is unenforcable? Moreover, if it is unenforceable what is he slabbering about.

    Has he seen the contract? Or is his great legal expertise such that he can decide its legal strength without reading it?

    At every election candidates enter into a contract with the electorate. The DUP are simply saying if you get elected because (not just under) our banner you will be faithful to that contract or we will replace you. Let’s face it in this modern age where political parties have such a central role few candidates would be elected without the party tag.

    I’m glad the DUP require their candidates to meet standards of representation such as opening offices, active involvement in the constituency, attending and voting in the Assembly, operating in the committees and doing what they are pledged to do. It seems the reject unionist party is green with jealousy that the DUP is not going to make the mistakes the UUP did.

  • Bruce101

    Alan Millar???

    Are you the Alan Millar the voters of Mid Ulster rejected? The 2% Millar.

    Sour grapes!!

  • Billy


    So what if Alan Millar got 2% of the vote previously? – it doesn’t detract from the validity what he is saying.

    Frankly, I have little time for any of the “political parties” in NI and would be tempted not to vote. As it happens, I will be abroad so I won’t have to make that decision.

    However, I have a group of 8 very close friends who have voted DUP for years. This time 4 of them are definitely NOT, 2 of them are seriously considering not voting for them. Only 2 of them are going to do so but with reservations.

    Even as a DUP “outsider”, I can fully understand this – if I had been a DUP supporter, there is no way I’d vote for them now.

    WHY? – because they have LIED to their electorate and blatently back-tracked on the majority of promises they made.

    You (and they ) can try and dress it up any way you like. The FACTS are clear – in the last election campaign, they said they would never do certain things and now they are doing them. This is blatent hypocrisy and a sell out of people who voted for them on the basis of their promises.

    I am not saying that any of the other parties are any better.

    However, as someone said earlier – you have to have some core principles. It’s obvious that the DUP are no different – their “core principles” are for sale at the right price.

  • darth rumsfeld

    long long ago in another universe I remember well a local UUP association taking the revolutionary step of trying to stop their MLAs from being crap. They drew up a contract, which all candidates had to sign, which required them to actually opne an office, hold surgeries, and employ staff, as well as …shock horror…report back to the association what they were doing, and convey the views of the association to the hi heidyins in Glengall Street.

    All was sweetness and light- “Of course I’ll sign, delighted to do so, a very good idea” said everyone. Needless to say in the first three years nothing happened, but in 2003- coincidentally shortly before reselection, there were some stirrings- and in fairness in 2005 they had at least got round to opening their offices, only 7 years in.But noone ever seriously thought about disciplining them, or calling them to account, because all politics is parochial, and noone would have dared challenge the local chief, nevermind alienate a whole association as Jim Molyneaux had done with Bob Mccartney’s North Down groupies in the early 90s

  • Observer

    The DUP offer an way forward.

    If the UUP are out to discredit them, they are shear political opportunists out to distroy a process they started.

    The UUP made a slate of errors, something the DUP cannot reverse. Unfortunately theres only one path laid before us. If people like UKUP Bob McCartney can offer a way forward then please show us the way and drop the rhetoric.

    I don’t trust anyone in politics. But I have more faith in the DUP leadership than I do in McCartney or Empey-head.

    Shilliday is welcome to contribute to the debate, after all we live in a democracy. But he should stop browbeating when he know his party would have been in government well before now, without Sinn Fein supporting the police or even without full decommissioning.

    Unionists need to make decisions. I am no happyier about the arrangements for sharing power with such people as McGuinness. But these people will be the cause of their own demise. Just look at the Sunday paper reports about McGuinness.

    I don’t see how the UUP can criticise the DUP. They created this mess.

    My bottom line is: if Unionists continue to fight amongst themselves they will continue to let Sinn Fein reck and ruin this process.

    Shilliday et al just have sour grapes in their mouths.

    The DUP are tough negotiators. They are the true party of the Union unlike those Alliance and Lester UU’s.

  • jimyjoe

    Have you nothing better to do than dream.In Mid Ulster we have an Mla who has an office in his farmyard,employs his family and is learning to pronounce his words properly.Thats the life!!!!!!!

  • Observer

    darth makes a very valid point.

    Ulster Unionists have been weak on the ground.

    There is even no ‘collective’ decisions being made by them on the gorund to work together, just get at each other.

    The UU’s have done too little on the ground for too long.

  • darth rumsfeld

    your MLA is indeed a modern man- in touch with his inner femininity. Sure hasn’t the other daughter- not the one on the payroll- opened a beauty parlour at the ancestral seat? Can’t see the Mccrea dynasty having a tanning salon out in the garage. Who needs wurds for till speak when your weans are beautifying the hefty heifers of Stewartstown? Now that’s practical help for your constituents!

  • Frustrated Democrat

    P Brown

    Is that a little sour grapes I see running from your keyboard…. I think you are adding 2+2 to get 22 with your interpretation.

    The people you mentioned should have been removed from the party much much earlier, but not from any seats they held as the result of an election… so there is no parallel.

  • Peter Brown


    Unfortunately in the logic of the UUP 2+2 is 22 – ask any UUP insider at the time and they will confirm that under the UUP’s rules at that time (the new version isn’t much more direct!) this was the quickest way to acheive the ultimate goal of dealing with the disciplinary problem. No UUP member past or present has denied any of the facts and assumptions contained in either of my posts

  • Alan Millar

    in response to Bruce 101 I am the Alan Millar who did not get elected at the last Election but as for the Sour grapes, I recieved 4 times the number of votes the DUP no.2 candidate got in the election before me. but if i was suffering with sour grapes I would have run this time and hoped to get elected under another banner but as I knew that the DUP would use the usual attack the person to take away from the facts. I did not put my name forward, this way we will be able to focus on the fact the DUP have done the U turn to beat all U turns and in doing so put the IRA into the Government of our country.
    remember the DUP statements from the last Assembly election when they/we said a vote for the UUP was a vote to put Sinn Fein IRA into Government well this time I have new Phrase for you all A VOTE FOR THE DUP IS A VOTE TO PUT SINN FEIN IRA INTO GOVERNMENT.

  • jimyjoe


    Yous’ns is just jalous of my MLA and his weans.

  • lapsedmethodist

    Mr. Millar; what precisely is “our country” ?

  • George

    Unionists haven’t been lied to by the DUP or the UUP before them, they have been lying to themselves.

    Alan Millar’s “our country” is living proof of the level of denial existent within many in unionism.

  • Alan Millar

    Our country is Northern Ireland and it is made up of many religons and in deed none it is a Country that has done much for other country’s in past years by sending its sons from both main religons to defend the right of people to live without fear of attack because of their colour creed our back ground. And this is why I do not want to see the men who fronted Terror in our country in Government.

  • Alan Millar

    I Have spent the day With Walter Millar UKUP in the village of Upperlands and we got very strong support from the Loyal people in this area. As some of you will know I was a member of the DUP until a few months ago, a few times people had came to the door to set out their anger at the DUP’s U-Turn on S/F IRA only to assure us that Walter would recieve their Vote when they were told that we would not sell our Birth Right for £48,000 a year.
    At one house were the man of the house would always send the UUP from the door with their tail between their legs, the man on seeing me was on his way to give the DUP the same treatment only to find out that I were supporting the UKUP and the anti-terrorist in Government stance, we finished of in the house and got to tell the truth about Ian McCrea and the DUP.
    One more village now know that A VOTE FOR THE DUP IS A VOTE FOR SINN FEIN IN GOVERNMENT.
    Each LOYAL man and woman must play their part at this election get out and tell everyone they know that, A VOTE FOR THE DUP IS A VOTE FOR SINN FEIN IN GOVERNMENT.
    To finish I would call on the members of the DUP in the Mid-Ulster area who know about the links between a party member and a Loyalist group in the area not to be in their company on the door steps during this election or when the story hits the News they will be named as being privy to it 4 years ago.
    “Come out from amoung them”

  • Smithsonian

    Peter Brown
    Support for the DUP is a failing strategy for unionists. They can talk tough, but they cannot deliver. They cannot form a government with anybody on the other side of the political divide. SF are unacceptable, SDLP couldn’t be seen doing a deal with them.

    There is no future for Northern Ireland that does not include some form of powersharing and the DUP can’t deliver it.

    I realise that this probably puts me in the “lily livered not a real unionist” camp that you despise but that doesn’t make me wrong. The way to copper fasten the union is make Northern Ireland work and to do so within the framework of a regional assembly. Any other ideas?

  • true prod

    Is this the same loyalist group that Mr Millar has also been involved with, or is that something he forgot to mention?

  • Alan Millar

    Hello Wes (true prod) have you any proof of MR Millar’s involvement with a Loyalist Group something like a TAPE? or 4 would be a good thing to have!!!!
    But lets get away from the type of Dim Wit who would meet with a terrorist in a car and give advice on the next step they should take.
    Wes would you please tell me if you agree with the DUP going into Government with the front men of the IRA?
    Do you believe that the ST Andrews Agreement is better than the Belfast Agreement?
    Do you want to see a terrorist as First or Dep. First Minister?
    Are you trying to bring this about by returning enough DUP MLA’s?
    For dont forget as it has been said “THAT A VOTE FOR THE DUP IS A VOTE TO PUT SINN FEIN INTO GOVERNMENT”