The UUP dream team?

According to UTV, the Irish Times’ prediction was seriously off the mark.. UTV say that the Ulster Unionists will name *drum roll* Michael McGimpsey and Reg Empey as their two ministerial nominees….. Updated below the foldThat shock short report again

UTV can reveal that Ulster Unionist Michael McGimpsey is expected to be named tomorrow as the new Northern Ireland Health Minister.
His party leader, Sir Reg Empey will take the post of Higher and Further Education Minister.

Update In the comments zone AdamH supplies this list of nominees

Minister at the Dept of Employment and Learning: Reg Empey
Minister at the Dept of Health: Michael McGimpsey
Chair Committee of the Centre: Danny Kennedy (Deputy Assembly leader)
Chair of Regional Development: Fred Cobain
Deputy Chair Agriculture: Tom Elliott
Deputy Chair Public Accounts: Roy Beggs
Policing Board: Leslie Cree & Basil McCrea
Candidate for Assembly Speaker: David McClarty
Chief Whip: David McNarry


  • Gonzo

    Well that oughta have the voters flocking back with such charasmatic men leading the charge up at Stormont.


  • Token Dissent

    I have a lot of time for McGimpsey and think that he will be a capable health minister.

    However I disagree with Empey being at the top table. As Ignited has stated in the earlier thread, Empey should be concentrating on the re-structuring of the party. If he is hoping that the a ministry will help secure his long-term future as leader then he is self-deluded.

    Danny Kennedy and Alan McFarland must be extremely disappointed. Despite my high regard for McGimpsey I believe they should got the nod.

    Kennedy leadership bid in the near future?

  • seanzmct

    Forget “charisma”. It is a distraction generated by shallow media-generated politics. And, it is vastly over-rated, eg Adams, Paisley, Blair, Hitler.

    As long as Empey and McGimpsey do a decent job based on what is best for the broad community here, that is what counts. The best British PM since WW2 ie Clement Atlee, was hardly noted for his charismatic qualities.

  • Doctor Who

    I think Reg Empey should be concentrating on restructuring the party.

    I was expecting McGimpsey and Kennedy. Either way both ministries will be in good hands.

  • Observer

    Yeh… thank goodness for civil-servants.

  • Unimpartial Observer

    Really stupid move to exclude McFarland. Can’t see Reg surviving the next few weeks. This will throw the party into turmoil.

  • Rubicon

    What a relief to know that McFarland is out of the cabinet! Even Reg is better than the major. McFarland’s grasp of simple issues was tenuous at best.

    Kennedy should be disappointed but if it moves him to shove Reg off the podium it’ll all be for the best. Mind you, who’d want to lead such a bunch?

  • seanzmct

    “who’d want to lead such a bunch?”


  • Belfast Gonzo

    I expected Reg to take a post, but I can’t see the Undertaker attracting voters back. Kennedy seems capable enough.

  • Rubicon

    From the UUP MLA’s David McClarty is by far their most able politician. Kennedy and McClarty would have done a credible job. Reg needs to spend his time on party reform and then hand the leadership over to either David or Dannny. McGimpsey and McFarland should try and rebuild support within the constituencies that the UUP used to dominate. Neither are leadership material – though McGimpsey will do a reasonable job as a minister. I couldn’t think of a useful task for McFarland – he’s tried being cannon fodder and his only success to date has been survival. He’s always reminded me of a quote attributed to Collins when he heard a close relative was appointed to a sensistive post in military intelligence. Collins responded with, “Jesus! How the hell did they ever get an empire!”

  • AdamH

    Minister at the Dept of Employment and Learning: Reg Empey
    Minister at the Dept of Health: Michael McGimpsey
    Chair Committee of the Centre: Danny Kennedy (Deputy Assembly leader)
    Chair of Regional Development: Fred Cobain
    Deputy Chair Agriculture: Tom Elliott
    Deputy Chair Public Accounts: Roy Beggs
    Policing Board: Leslie Cree & Basil McCrea
    Candidate for Assembly Speaker: David McClarty
    Chief Whip: David McNarry

    Interesting move by Empey today. Have the UUP found the backbone that they have so badly missed? McGimpsey & McNarry are both street fighters and aren’t afraid of a fight with the DUPs. The UUP moderates won’t be happy bunnies today. Kennedy as the Party Deputy Assembly Leader … could be tomorrow might see McFarland appointed as Party Deputy Leader with responsibility for turning round UUP fortunes. A hopeless task by any means. Could Empey be signalling a more hardline approach against the DUPs through today’s announcement? I predict the sighting of a few sharks in stormy waters in the coming weeks.

  • fair_deal

    How come some of our regular commentators aren’t ignoring the ball/man rule and attacking Dan Keenan for poor journalism/sources because he got the predictions wrong? Or is that solely reserved for Suzanne Breen? 😉

  • unionist

    At least the UUP had the balls to take on health.

    Between their two departments they have over 50% of the NI budget..

    Why didn’t the DUP take it on? – Scared they will mess it up and lose votes that’s why!

    Iain Paisley “Im going to smash Sinn Fein”

    result: more people vote Sinn Fein.

    Iain Paisley “Im going to enter government with a Sinn Fein Deupty First Minister and a Sinn Fein education minister”


    Look where they have got us…

    An IRA prisoner in charge of my kid’s education…

  • shakeshead

    McGimpsey as health minister – I’m joining BUPA.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    FD: “How come some of our regular commentators aren’t ignoring the ball/man rule and attacking Dan Keenan for poor journalism/sources because he got the predictions wrong? Or is that solely reserved for Suzanne Breen?”

    You just can’t satisfy some folks — you break the rules, they complain… you follows the rules, they complain. Lord, you hang ’em with new rope and still they kvetch!

  • seanzmct

    Let’s get real folks. Northern Ireland has a population of 1.6 million (and of all the UK regions is actually the one least suitable for regioanal government) and yez are expecting it to throw up droves of statesmen and women.

    With any luck the civil service will keep the ministerial mediocrities, across the sectarian divide, away from doing too much damage.

  • Carrick

    Don’t forget, Empey only had 51% support of the Council at the last leadership election and that was before he led the party to the worst result in it’s history.

    I didn’t vote for Reg Empey as leader but like a lot of people in the party I have supported him and the party since then – but in my eyes the disasters have really been mounting up. We have just lost a quarter of our remaining assembly team! – this would call any leaders competence into question!

    Now he seems to have decided to split the party down the middle by excluding his own Chief Negotiator from the cabinet table. To exclude someone whom 49% of your party voted for is not wise leadership and points to very poor political judgement.

    Reg has a likeable personality in party meetings but he isn’t a proper leader. If only he had a better record – but under his leadership we’ve seen:

    – the worst ever election result in the party’s history – losing more than a quarter of the vote we had even with the disastrous “decent people” campaign (us poor sod party members thought things couldn’t get any worse! – but reg has proved us wrong!)

    – the disastrous and repugnant attempted link-up with the terrorist drug-dealing godfathers of the UVF

    – party members leaving in their hundreds and maybe thousands with the membership figures down to their lowest level ever (as I know only too well from my own branch’s experience in the last 10-15 years)

    – the key ulster unionist council meeting dealing with the supposedly crucial party reforms which couldn’t even make a quorum

    – even in his own constituency the party lost a seat and a lot of votes and Reg even trailed in behind the alliance party to cap off a humiliating result for the party as a whole across the Province

    Bit by bit he’s been losing the confidence of party members and this decision will only worsen that. Any leader needs the support of his membership to survive!

    I hope there is a leadership challenge and that someone, be it McNarry or McFarland or Danny Kennedy or Lady Sylvia Hermon or even Basil McCrea – but someone needs to stand so that it can be put to a democratic vote, so that ordinary UUP members can decide who offers the best hope for the future of the party.

    It’s long past time that the grassroots took back power over the party instead of leaving it to the faceless mandarins in Cunningham House!

  • Ignited

    Reg should not have taken a ministerial seat; restructuring and reform are essential and this is the time to steam roll ahead with it.

    Michael McGimpsey?

    This has shocked a lot of people and Reg is going to have to answer a lot of tough questions in relation to this decision. I’m not doubting McGimpsey’s ability, but the UUP should be profile building and unifying the party as much as possible. McFarland, Kennedy and Tom Elliott, in my opinion, were the most capable people with the best support base (electorally and party-wise).

    The two ministers being from Belfast is another error as the UUP only have 3 MLAs from Belfast and the rest from around the country.

    McGimpsey’s electoral results were dismal (along with many others it has to be said), and his “Yes leader” monotone from Folks on the Hill is what he is known for.

    I cannot see the logic behind this move and it appears to go against the grain of what has been espoused by the UUP over the last few weeks and months.

  • Look where they have got us…

    An IRA prisoner in charge of my kid’s education…

    What are you on about??

    Caitriona will be the Minister for Education

  • Thank goodness we will have men with the innate intelligence, charm and competence as these two now running things. I mean just look at how successful their Party has become under their dynamic leadership. LOL – funny how devolution throws up rubbish and the cheer-leaders pretend it is diamonds.

  • steve_ni

    This is clearly a very divisive decision by Empey – excluding macFarland just reeks of petty mindedness.

    I dont understand why empey has chosen now to provoke a confrontation with his chief negotiator and party moderates – the tragedy is his position in the party is much weaker than he seems to believe and the last thing we need is a confrontation like this.

    Very poor leadership skills by reg – he should realise his party needs both wings to be able to fly!

  • observer

    the only reason mcgimpsey was chosen was to raise his profile in the run up to the next general election,where he will sweep to victory in south belfast

  • páid


    I wouldn’t put the UUP’s demise down to poor leadership.

    When you are master of all you survey, there is only one way to go.

    In the 1950s the Tories got over 50 % of the vote in Scotland, now they’re lucky to win a seat.

    Time changes all. Including today’s champions.

  • unionist

    maybe Alan didn’t feel he was up to the job.

    before the election Lady Sylvia complained that he couldn’t hold down his constituency work and be chief negotiator. A lot of people felt this was the kiss of death for Alan’s confidence.

  • Token Dissent

    Ignited, fair point about it being a mistake to have two Belfast ministers. That factor certainly strengthens Kennedy’s position.

    The exclusion of McFarland does appear to be a sign that Empey wants to move the party away from ‘the moderates’. Does this support the view that the long-term aim of some in the UUP is to move towards a united unionist front with the DUP? If this is the case then the UUP deserves to die, and quickly.

    Interesting times ahead.

    Ps. David, superb rabble-rousing on the Nolan Show last night. I loved the way middle-aged people were ringing up going – “there was no trouble in our day”!

  • interested

    Empey may just have thrown himself a leadership challenge in waiting – should be fun to watch.

    McFarland and Kennedy have to be more than a little miffed – mind you, I doubt that Danny Kennedy really does anything other than a bit of bumbling bluster.

    As for this McNarry/McGimpsey ‘street-fighters’ stuff. McGimpsey isn’t exactly renowned for his charisma – and ‘street-fighting’ by him just comes across as as some sour-faced bloke who may do a good job, but he’ll be shockingly bad when he’s on Nolan some Monday morning trying to explain why a poor wee granny spent 3 1/2 months waiting on a trolly in some storage cupboard in the City Hospital.

    McNarry has got the job of chief whip – there’s no real profile in that. A street fighter is fine for keeping internal problems in check within their Assembly party but it doesnt generate any press coverage really as a job in itself.

  • Rubicon

    If unionist posters here are seriously proposing McFarland then I can only conclude that the rot in the UUP is a rising damp. So – he was “chief negotiator” (news to me) – what did he negotiate? Sweet FA!

    There’s a part of me that hopes the UUP put McFarland in a responsible job – it’ll hasten their demise.

    Declaring David McClarty as “Speaker candidate” would be sensible had they the agreement of the big 2. They don’t. McClarty is being side-lined. I wonder why? He must have twice the IQ of McFarland and has kept his constituency support.

    With this list Reg has assigned the UUP to further decline. He should have resigned after his PUP fiasco (advised by McFarland & Copeland). The UUP seems on a downward spiral that the last election only took a snapshot of.

    Death sentances should be implemented with speed and efficiency.


    (He’ll sign ou to the UPRG and just show the DUP off the field with his briliant miliary training!)

  • steve_ni

    Well McFarland spent the greater part of his life serving our country in uniform – which it may surprise you impresses some of us supposed “moderates” a lot more than paisleys record of standing on hills waving rifle licences and talking empty tough talk.

  • Rubicon

    Steve – I guess the same reasoning could put forward SF MLA’s to the cabinet. Either way, while McFarland may have had it drilled in to him how to tell his left from right – it’s hardly a commendation.

    What was McFarland’s military record? He only rose to major – why? He refers to his army rank – what relevance is it? Normally only those retiring at colonel refer to their rank – and even then it’d be irrelevant. But – since McFarland wants us to know he was an officer – can I ask why he finished his career as a pedestrian?

    When serving the Queen did McFarland sidle up with Her enemies as he did as a politician? The only good thing about his position now is that it doesn’t come with a gun. Politicians shooting themselves in the foot is supposed to be figurative.

    (When McFarland recommended the UUP/PUP pact he wasn’t aware that the Lords amendment made by his party colleague 2 earlier meant that it had no worth. The man is an imbecile.)

  • assemblywatchman

    Wonder who McGimpsey will take with him as Special Advisor. last time out it was former Lord Mayor and defeated assembly candidate Bob Stoker. Imagine Bob and McGimpsey politically in charge of health. Andrew MCCormick will be tearing his hair out.

  • fart

    “What are you on about??

    Caitriona will be the Minister for Education

    Posted by Chris Gaskin on Apr 12, 2007 @ 09:49 PM”

    The women who, at a debate in Queen’s Students’ Union, thought that Indian was a language! LMAO

    What is the world coming to…?

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    You underestimate Alan considerably.
    I will admit that normally an end to the career in the Army is when you get passed over for the promotion to half Colonel. It’s the big break for the large number of officers in the Lt to Major ranks hoping to get into the much smaller and more select colonel and above. However following that he didn’t just go off to a middle managers job like so many other nearly colonels do. He was successful as a management consultant and then decided to apply his talents to the UUP because he cares about Northern Ireland. He could easily have stayed in his comfy house in Surry but he chose to come back because he loves his country. That may not mean much to you but I think it speaks volumes for a man’s character.

    You may think he is not so sharp but you are dead wrong. Alan has a higher IQ than you realize, he is in Mensa and scores in the top 2% of all IQ’s. His is higher than mine I only score 146 just at the edge of the top 2%. So if you think there are others who are brighter that’s false I would say Alan and James Leslie were probably the smartest people in the UUP Assembly group 1998-2003 with the exception of Trimble. Trimble is without a doubt the smartest man I have ever met in my life, and I say that is as true today as it was years ago and I have spent 3 years knocking around Harvard so I get to meet some pretty smart people. But Alan is no slouch I have had many good conversations with Alan and he is bright and quick when he is relaxed. I think what hampers him a certain amount of nervousness on TV that makes him appear less quick witted than he is but in private I never had any doubt I was talking to a highly intelligent man.
    As for the military rank thing I have never heard him refer to himself as Major McFarland. It’s a title people may put on to him but he has no pretensions about himself.
    (Cont below)

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    The biggest thing I would criticize him for is loyalty. In politics there never is any real loyalty it’s all just “Sharks circling the water waiting for blood“, as Alan Clarke used to say.

    After winning 49% of the vote 2 years ago he could have used that as platform and harried at Reg waiting for a new chance and flexing a certain amount of interest group power but he didn’t do that he thought instead about the party good and dedicated himself to helping Reg and being a team player. It’s done him no good though and I think Reg has been amazingly cavalier about how he has treated him. Why doesn’t the guy who got nearly half the party to vote for him as leader get to be named as Deputy Leader? Why the hell did DDDDDDDanny get anointed instead? I never understood Reg’s thinking on that one but it’s clear now that Reg simply decided to give him the shit end of the stick and try to reduce him as an alternative power in the UUP. Now comes the final insult of not appointing him as a minister.

    It’s laughable coming from so dismal a failure as leader as Reg has been. He was never up to being leader in the first place and he has delivered nothing to the party. There have been 2 years to make changes and get better organized to run a stronger campaign in the eventual Assembly elections but instead nothing was done, nothing changed and the same old tired hacks wonder about Cunningham house wondering where all the unionists went to( the DUP of course i suupose!)

    I hope that this finally wipes the scales away from Alan’s eyes and he steps up to challenge Reg for the leadership at the next UUC. The UUP should be carving out a real place for itself not just trying to recapture past glories. I mean seriously “for all of us” who came up with this meaningless pap? No control of candidates, no using best placed people to maximize vote, no careful carving up of the vote to maximize the potential of staying in the game and getting a 6th placed seat. Bloody pathetic! Outpolled by the Alliance in East Belfast and even in South Antrim where Burnside was outpolled by David Ford. It was a pitiful display of party prowess and it’s the worst result ever. Following that crashing defeat does Reg create a strategy to give the UUP some future potential and place it politically for a long climb back? Nope just can’t wait to get his hands on a ministerial car and salary and one for his not so quick witted mate. My view of McGimpsey is that had it not been the lower buffer of Billy Armstrong (who by the way is one of the best and most decent people I have ever met, but not so smart) McGimpsey would have been scraping the bottom of the IQ rankings. He still owes me money for god knows how many times his stupid predictions were totally off base. Each time I say don’t be daft XYZ will happen. Each time he says no your wrong I bet you 20 quid it won’t, and each time XYZ happens and he owes me money. He never paid up either. Alan lost one bet with me and he paid up and gave me the bottle of champagne we had bet. A fundamentally decent man.

    Hopefully Alan will now seize his opportunity and get the job he should have had 2 years ago. Then it’s time for a new team, Alex Kane as chief of staff to leader and sit back and watch the fur fly. Be about time or there’s just no hope for the UUP.

    Sorry to blather but it seems you rattled my cage Rubicon. Mind you I think you are good at that if memory serves.

  • SuperSoupy

    Good god, members of the UUP sat around comparing IQs. How sad is that.

  • SuperSoupy

    My view on those that take the MENSA test and even worse those that boast about their score – it’s just like the paralympics, even if you win you are still a spastic.

  • Token Dissent

    Duncan, your good points about the qualities of McFarland are rendered useless by the surreally pompous nature of your argument. Measuring IQs? Jesus…

    By the way whatever their IQs the McGimpsey brothers have contributed a lot to unionism.

  • BP1078

    My view on those that take the MENSA test and even worse those that boast about their score –

    Share your views with a certain SF blogger at Balrog then;)

    it’s just like the paralympics, even if you win you are still a spastic

    Are you trying to set yourself up as Slugger’s very own Bernard Manning or what?

    I’m genuinely surprised coming out with that kind of outdated crap, were you pissed?

  • Rubicon

    Duncan – sorry to have rattled your cage but it at least inspired you to provide a character reference for McFarland. I can’t agree with your view of him but will concede that you must know him better than me. I recall his imbecilic questions when he sat on the Committee of the Centre and the utter debacle of the UUP/PUP pact that he (and others) were responsible for.

    That you beat McFarland on XYZ sequences comes as no surprise. McFarland may well be the decent man you suggest – I don’t know the man’s character – but he’d need a cellar full of champagne to cover his mistakes had Reg appointed him minister for health.

    You refer to McFarland having got 49% of the leadership vote – was that after McNarry was eliminated? If memory serves I thought McNarry also stood.

    Your points on Reg I entirely agree with.

  • Rubicon

    As regards Cobain’s nomination to Chair the Regional Development Committee – does anyone remember the incident in Belfast City Hall when the mayor took himself off to Barcelona at the rate payers’ expense? Apparently, the mayor wanted to see Barcelona’s preparations for the Olympics so that he could then bid for Belfast hosting the next games! This would be bad enough but the mayor decided to drive to Barcelona, charged for each mile, crossed Britain and France on his way and returned with a huge expenses bill. At the next election the mayor lost his seat.

    I can’t remember the mayor’s name but I think Cobain was his travelling companion.

    I could be wrong – if so – apologies to Fred. Perhaps a Slugger can recall the details better?

  • Bemused

    Hilarious! Empey spends the last few years shooting himself in the foot and now starts shooting himself in the balls! McGimpsey?!?!?!?!? As in ‘Sandy Row is Sandy Row’ McGimpsey?!?!?! What a hoot – would the last person…turn out lights….etc. etc.

  • Bemused

    “My view on those that take the MENSA test and even worse those that boast about their score – it’s just like the paralympics, even if you win you are still a spastic.

    Posted by SuperSoupy on Apr 13, 2007 @ 01:59 AM”

    You ignorant cunt.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Very poor leadership skills by reg – he should realise his party needs both wings to be able to fly!”

    Er… Dodos were flightless birds

    “I can’t remember the mayor’s name but I think Cobain was his travelling companion.”
    shurely shome mishtake- Fred was allegedly unwilling to stand for Westminster against Doddsy because of his fear of flying (see dodos again)

    truly this is an inspired choice
    McNasty as the blustering sergeant major with a platoon of demoralised Dads Army rejects. He gets louder and redder as the grunts slink off until there’s onlky him and Reg left

    McClarty- the UUP’s most able politician- harharhahrhahr.That’s “able” as in the sense of collapsing one of the safest UUP seats into a DUP stronghold, after promising that the problems were all Willie Ross’s fault, and having an association of pensioners and child prodigy Peter Munce.

    Duncan, welcome back . Your insights as, usual, are well written, entertaining,heartfelt, and completely barmy. A reminder of why the UUP is defunct. Tank Commander McFarland has found the media to be an unforgiving mirror. Noone looking at him seriously thinks he has what it takes to lead.

    I see Harry Enfield is back on the screen tonight, but without the popular Tim Nice But Dim character. Apparently he’s too busy being UUP deputy leader

  • Rubicon

    Darth – if Cobain has a fear of flying surely it suggests his participation on the over-land trek to Barcelona is more credible? Indeed, his fear of flying may have been the reason then for the trek? Wasn’t Reg in charge of the city’s economic development at that time too?

  • Rubicon

    Correction to post 13 – “Committee of the Centre” should be “Regional Development Committee”.

    I checked the leadership election results and find McFarland got 47% of the votes in the 2nd stage (after McNarry’s elimination). McFarland’s profile on the Assembly website makes interesting reading ( For “political career” he lists, “UUP spokesman on Health, Social Services and Public Safety” – I guess that will now need revised.

    He also lists “Member of MENSA” – a little sad really. The only people I’ve encountered that boast of MENSA membership are those who believe they need to counter all outward impressions of appearing stupid.

  • bertie

    Well speaking as a member of MENSA in the top 1% (as opposed to merely 2%), it is beneath me to comment and indeed have intellectually compromised myself by this interjection.

    Seriously though, I am having trouble actually beleiving that someone would post what DSD has in their own real name. Please tell me it is a wind up!

  • Philip

    Jesue wept. If you don’t like the DUP and getting piss off with the UUP. Who else is there?

  • Unimpartial Observer

    This has been a dreadful miscalculation by Empey – shooting himself in the balls doesnt even do justice to describing it.

    McFarland will announce this afternoon – the leadership is there for the taking, if he has the gumption to go for it.

  • Unimpartial Observer

    It’s that or watch his party’s moderate wing decamp to Alliance, or the Greens, or the Tories taking about 40,000 of the UUPs dwindling vote total with them – cant imagine voters having patience with the hardline Empey-Undertaker-McNarry show much longer.

  • BonarLaw

    Unimpartial Observer

    “the hardline Empey-Undertaker-McNarry show”

    Now just what is so hardline about a team under a man who would have signed any deal (and I mean any deal) nine years ago in order to stop the “shutters coming down” on his own career?

    What is there in the Undertakers’ past that makes him hardline? The 1992 Talks? The “Inter-Irish (sic) Relations Committee”?

    As for McNarry, he’s a tube.

  • Welcome back, Duncan, glad you’re so ready to associate with those of us who aren’t in the 2pc of all IQs or on the edge of it. (I have never tested my IQ so I don’t know where I stand.)

    By the way, Duncan, if you’re as clever as you make out, why did you repeatedly make bets with someone, ie the Gimp, with a track record of not keeping their word? Did someone convince you it was a “risk for peace”?

    Mind you, one wouldn’t need an IQ to see that the UUP is completely stuffed, perhaps for ever. In the past, I would have railed against the UUP but frankly it would be kinder to let it die in peace. That demise is a product of many years of decline which even the high IQ brigade of the UUP failed to predict. Good of you to endorse the Tank Commander and I’m sure that he’ll be delighted to get such praise from someone as clever as yourself.

    Oh, as for the positions, if you want to bury a party, why wouldn’t you send for an undertaker?

  • Genuine Snapshot

    I am too stupid to write my own name, but here is a fotygraf I took on my mobile at the last executive meeting DSD and I both attended. It shows Duncan making a point to another executive member, much like me, much, much stupider than Duncan.

  • darth rumsfeld

    he’s put on some weight

  • Genuine Snapshot,

    It’s obviously Duncan – big head for that big IQ.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    “He must have twice the IQ of McFarland and has kept his constituency support.”
    Rubicon on Apr 12, 2007 @ 11:04 PM

    That’s why I used IQ as a reference. Although I will confess with hindsight it did come out a bit pompous on my part sorry about that perhaps a bad choice. But the main point still stands that Alan is an intelligent man I was simply trying to demonstrate it with a fact of some kind even though it was a pompous fact.

    Supersoupy if you had any useful points you totally blew it with the remark about the Paralympics, absolutely disgusting comment.

    Token dissent I didn’t reference the McGimpsey brothers, Chris is a highly intelligent and capable man it’s a great tragedy that he has not had a bigger role in the UUP. Michael is a nice enough guy but he just never demonstrated solid foresight or a capacity to accurately predict political events. He may well be a capable administrator but one would hope for something more in a minister. Personally I am in the camp that didn’t want the UUP to take any seats at all. I have believed that since 2004. The UUP can get nothing useful out of being in the executive and in the longer term they render themselves useless. The priority now is party reform and rebuilding. The Assembly executive needs a proper opposition anyway. The consociational government model is not needed anymore so I would hope to see the executive change to become a voluntary coalition model in the future with the caveat that one unionist and one nationalist party must be in the coalition.

    Genuine snapshot it doesn’t really get my good side does it? Put it down to the arrogance of youth I had a lot of learning to do when I was 27 and with the benefit of hindsight my youthful exuberance did often get the better of my calmer and more reflective side.

    Darth “Your insights as, usual, are well written, entertaining, heartfelt, and completely barmy” ironically enough that is just how I think of your insights as well.

    The stuff on Reg I don’t take back he has been a disaster at time when the sands are running out on the UUP. Major reform and redirection is needed if it’s to bounce back in any kind of useful form and that is a 20 year mission as it is.

  • Token Dissent

    Duncan, thanks for clarifying your points, and fair play to you taking the ribbing in the spirit it was intended (ignoring the offensive contribution).

    I agree with you regarding the utterly foolish under-use of Chris McGimpsey. Can anybody explain his low profile?

    I disagree that it would be good for the UUP to go into opposition. Would this not simply be begrudgery? Surely if they are to have to have any future they need to positively contribute to the executive, as well as re-structure their party.

  • As Mrs. Merton might say:

    “So, Reg, what was it that attracted you to the very wealthy Michael McGimpsey?”

  • Snaz

    I have rarely read such a load of pompus rubbish (even by Sluggers standards).

    If bloggers are going to get involved in our new era of real politics then we really are going to have to come up with a lot more substance than some of this “Its all Regs fault Drivel”

    1. This is the Government of Northern Ireland that we are selecting Ministerial Teams for not some fanciful party portfolio. There are two posts for 4 years so I would suggest that in the fullness of time it is very likely that Danny Kennedy and/or Alan McFarland will become Minister.

    2. Duncan Shipley Dalton,
    It is exactly that type of stupid posh rhetoric that alianates THE 50% OF UNIONIST WHO DONT VOTE. Who gives a shit what someones IQ is or if they are a member of MENSA?

    In politics (as in life) it is about trying to make a positive contribution for the benefit of your community whilst furthering your political ideals with like minded people.

    3. UUP Membership is falling but so are all political parties and they still have far more members than any other Unionist party.

    4. Empey and McGimpsey will do a solid job in their departments. People need to wise up. These portfolios are more important to all of the people of Northern Ireland than the internal state of the UUP.

    5.When oh when are all politically active Unionists going to wake up. The DUP are not doing fantastically, the UUP are doing badly, 300,000 Unionists are so demotivated that they could not be bothered turning up to Vote. Within the UUP and DUP we have enough people with the potential to get these people back. But what we say has got to be relevant to their everyday existance. Big challenge for us all!!

    6. In 1998 50% of Unionist MLAs were opposed to Power Sharing under DHont. Today a minimum of 80% will do so. Problem for Unionism is that we have lost 4 MLAs by not motivating our people to the polls. That is the real story of the last election.

    The UUP need to be like any other modern party. The elected leader needs to be able to decide the party strategy in terms of candidates and Vote Management. Neither of those options exist to Sir Reg. Imagine, under UUP rules, No Sammy Wilson in East Antrim, No Willie McCrea in South Antrim etc.

    So lets get real. Pragmatic Unionism (Trimbleism I think it used to be called) has won. It has defeated armed Republicanism and the two main Unionist parties have united around a Power Sharing Executive that will need to get stuck into the many problems all of our people face.

    Maybe then we can attract a large majority of our citizens back to the ballot box empowered by the fact that they are voting for people/parties that have proven they can make a difference, not just gesticulate politics as so many have made a living from the past 30 years of soundbite and bullshit.

  • Austin

    This selection underlines why UUP support in working -class areas has imploded. Why was the hard-working Bob Stoker not included in this team? Stoker has done a very solid job for areas such as the Village for a long time and his inclusion would have been a sign that the party hasn’t completely lost touch with working-class loyalist areas.

  • steve48

    nice post snaz

  • IJP


    If bloggers are going to get involved in our new era of real politics then we really are going to have to come up with a lot more substance than some of this “Its all Regs fault Drivel”

    Well said.

    I don’t agree with some of your points, but then it’s not really my business! But I genuinely despair when I see any party feel that all its ills are down to one person. In politics that is never so.

  • IJP

    To be fair to Duncan, I think his Mensa point was told against himself.

    But it’s a variation of the “first person to mention Hitler” rule of debating, isn’t it? First person to mention Mensa automatically loses the argument and gets laughed out of town…!

  • AdamH

    Response to Snaz

    Reg is the Leader, its fair cop to point at least one finger of blame at him. (oh and his Party Officer team Snaz!!!!)

    Are you suggesting the UUP follow the DUPs here in some form of ‘rotating ministers’ policy? Has anyone informed Reg? I’m guessing that perhaps one of these guys won’t (possibly Alan McFarland) as the evidence within the Party suggests he has opted for nothing rather than accept whatever Reg offered him prior to the first planned ministerial announcement on Good Friday.

    Duncan Shipley Dalton. Bovered?

    UUP membership falling? Someone ring a news desk please. Its not falling, its non-existent. The last time my Branch met John Reid was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. What evidence have you that membership in the DUPs, Shinners & Stoops is falling? Removing from the equation that some of our recent ‘big’ meetings have failed to reach a quorum (and that’s including the number of ambulances that appear outside) any new members can be explained as those who will be ushered into meetings by people seeking selection. Par example, the 10 or so people who arrived at the Assembly selection meeting in my constituency who walked into the room like they walked out of the good Doctor’s Tardis – Not knowing who they were, what they were doing or who they were supposed to be doing it for. Shouldn’t surprise though given who asked them. Not forgetting the laptop members either.

    I’m not entirely sure anyone was suggesting the aforementioned wouldn’t do a ‘solid job’ as Ministers. More to do with Reg’s decision to become a Minister and not focus his energies on sorting the Party out (after yet another ‘worst electoral defeat in the Party’s history’) coupled with picking McGimspey as Minister. Not selecting McFarland as a Minister only serves to continue the mistake Trimble made, being obsessed with running a party with 50% + 1 support and not worried about the remainder. I do agree however that the portfolios are more important to all the people of Northern Ireland than the internal state of the UUP. Quite clearly as the election showed the DUP are more important than the UUP and its internal state.

    They will wake up when our Party (UUP) grows a set of balls. A typical comment from someone close to the leadership, such as a Party Officer. What evidence do you have that the DUPs are not ‘doing fantastically’? And I’m not entirely sure Paisley Snr & Jnr and the rest of the DUP Ministerial lot will agree with you as they move into their new Offices next month. I am sick, sore and tired of hearing about hundreds and thousands of unionists who can’t be bothered to come out and vote for our Party. We’re still looking for the 200,000 odd voters Dermott Nesbitt promised us a while back, and that’s after the Donaldson lot went AWOL. Can I point out that its not just that a large proportion can’t be bothered to come out and vote for us, a respectable amount have buggered off to the Alliance Party, having not noticed a difference between our Party and David Ford and his white dove brigade. Reg listening to the ‘moderates’ – (How anyone in the UUP can be moderate about Northern Ireland being an integral part of the UK defies logic?) can be blamed on our present position. The sort of people who surround Empty with nonsense such as ‘this election will be about bread and butter issues’, yes Leader, ‘for all of us sounds great’ or ‘lets wait and see what the DUPs do then possibly, at some point in the future at a time we can’t predict, we might think of maybe saying something vaguely political’ and then the rest of us party faithful wait patiently for one of Reg’s monthly press conferences. (Gone are the good old days (when we won elections) when the country’s press pack used to hang, microphones at the ready for the weekly Monday morning press conference in Glengall Street). And when we do decide do say something vaguely political what do we do? – rush headfirst into an Executive without so much as a precondition or by your leave. As for your comment about clawing voters back I would suggest to you that the DUPs might disagree with your assumption that this is a joint challenge. Its too late for our Party to claw anyone back, not even a cleaner in the soon to be on the market Cunningham House. The UUP act as those who previously voted for us have taken leave of their senses and will return to us once they wake up and have their corn flakes. The stuff of fantasy.

    The real story is of course that in 1998 the UUP had 10 MP’s and 28 MLA’s The rest of your comment does not warrant a response.

  • AdamH

    Response to Snaz (Part 2)

    At my first ever Party Conference (Also my 29th birthday – how sad) I seem to recall a Mr Jeffrey Donaldson proposing a motion something along the lines of, ‘The UUP needs to be like any other party …………etc etc’. Of course had we had the guts to do the whole ‘reform’ thing back then (or since then) we might be in a better position now. In any case it’s nonsense to suggest that if a UUP Leader gets control of candidates and vote management that we will start winning elections. What about the other part of ‘strategy’ i.e. growing a set of balls and start acting like an opposition and showing our worth? That’s what our voters want. A party that keeps the DUPs and SF in check. Of course what can one expect when the leader is surrounded by his present bunch of merry men ‘party officers,’ most of whom can be summed up as ‘friends of David Ford brigade’ coupled with corporate types and general ‘whats his name again?’ people. Together with our very own Peter Mandleson, David Campbell and advisor types. The minions look forward to the day when Reg’s promised reforms reform these people off to the same place Blair is soon to go to i.e. spending more time with family (or in the case of the UUP, laptops and ipods).

    Trimbleism has won! Hmmmmmmm. I’m searching but finding it hard to agree with this one. I suggest you run this piece of wisdom past Ken Magennis, Roy Beggs Snr, Willie Ross, David Burnside etc, not forgetting those who jumped before they were pushed (Lord Kilalooney). Oh and whilst one is on the subject of jumping ship lets talk about Jim Wilson who seemingly didn’t really retire, he was just offered his old job back as General Secretary after giving it up 10 years ago to become an Assembly member. I shan’t be mentioning the 4 (I think) Chief Executives (Alan Sugar, your fired!!!!!!!!!!!!!) we’ve had in the intervening period and the little matter of court cases involved therein.

    …….the two main Unionist parties have united around a Power Sharing Executive that will need to get stuck into the many problems all of our people face………..

    Correction. The UUP united around the decision by the largest Unionist Party (the one that wins elections) to do a deal with the Shinners and go into government! The UUP made a decision not to go into opposition and dander, nay sprint into an Executive without any preconditions, regardless of possible repetitions of Northern Banks, spy rings etc in between times. Stop please stop referring to the ‘two main unionist parties’ as if the UUP actually are a force to be reckoned with and are as you would have people believe in some cosy alliance with the DUP’s.

  • Genuine Snapshot

    I still can’t quite come to terms with the implied proposition, “the Gimp: the best we’ve got”. Poor old UUP, still, it’ll be over soon.

    (Cunningham) House strictly private, donations, in lieu of flowers, to our various redundancy payments & outstanding court actions.

  • AdamH,

    Great comments and a succinct summary of all that has gone wrong. I very much agree with what you say but believe that because of all the poor decisions you highlight, the UUP is doomed. You don’t require a MENSA IQ to work that one out, though holding one appears to prevent you from doing so!

  • austin

    I think that where it went wrong for the UUP and SDLP was when they failed to implement a credible power-sharing arrangement after the GFA.

    The working relationship between Malllon as DFM and Trimble as First Minister was abysmal. The lack of trust and respect was there for all to see and this poisoned relationship permeated throughout both parties. I believe that the failure of th moderate strands of unionism and nationalism to create a cohesive cross-community partnership sounded the death-knell for both.
    People who had supported both parties up to that point were left disillusioned after this disaster. It is no surpise that many of their voters (including ‘the decent people’ who were meant to vote only for the UUP)defected to the extremes (such as the DUP whom the SDLP had vowed to smash!))once they had seen that the moderate parties couldn’t work together.

    There’s no way back for the UUP whilst the only viable future for the SDLP is as the Northern branch of Fianna Fail.

  • Snaz


    You sound as though you think I am a “Party Officer Snaz!!!” but I have never had that honour although I do have my hat in the ring for Saturdays AGM.(Sounds as though you have already pigeon holed me without even (to the best of my knowledge) knowing me.

    1. Could not agree with you more in terms of a real living, breathing passion for the Union with our fellow British citizens. My Britishness means to me living in the 4th biggest economy in the world which truely values and cherishes its culturally diverse population , its sense of fair play, its criminal justice system its tolerance for a wide range of fairly held views. A nation which decides its own fiscal policy has its own currency and is still respected (like it or not republicans/nationalists) throughout the world for providing a structure for civilised, democratic society to many countries from Barbados to Bombay. TRUST THAT CLEARS THAT UP!!

    2.The Alliance Party have no unique values. Their Education policy (scrap academic selection/grammar schools) has not been properly exposed and as per point number 1 (above) they are ambivilant towards our constitional position. There can be no grey areas. We are now and always will be an integral part of the United Kingdom. But at 36,000 out of 1,100,000 total voters and over 650,000 Unionists they have a mandate but not one that should significantly cause Unionists undue concern.

    3. What should cause us (The DUP, UUP and other Unionists) concern is the fact that we have lost 4 Seats to Nationalists/Republicans by sheer voter apathy. Stress the same point again. Lets not blame the Voter lets provide a positive reason WHY they should come out rather than merely voting “to keep the other lot out”.

    This is the evidence that the “DUP are not doing fantastically”. 200,000 votes out of 650,000 for the DUP and 100,000 out of that for us, is evidence that Unionism is still divided, weakened and turned off by the offerings of us all in elected politics.

    4. In terms of membership, all of my DUP colleagues in Councils throughout NI confirm that their membership/selection meetings are far less attended than the majority of our equivilants.That is a reflection on the differnce in the ethos of the two parties and how the are constituted. One ran rigidly, promoted rigidly and funded rigidly from the centre and the other an amalgamation of Constituency Associations and a UUC still able to get several hundred people out.I believe a balance lies in between somewhere.

    5. Your point on the attendance and make up of selection meetings I agree 100%.

    6. Trimbleism/Pragmatic Unionism HAS won. You listed the UUP MPs that have lost their seats but that is not why I personally stood for Election (succesfully) for the first time in 2005. It is vision for a Peaceful, prosperous Northern Ireland, secure within our Britishness, respecting others rights to their Irishness but only as I respect the many other nationalities that live and work in the UK.

    Unionism is moving out of the dark days of No say in the running of our country to one were we are saying to Republicans.

    i. You lost your disgusting war to force us into a United Ireland.

    ii. You are administering partition.

    iii. Even with crap pro Union turnouts you are 10 MLAs behind us in our Government.(It should really be at least 15 if Unionism can get its collective act together)

    iv. You will NEVER convince the majority of N.I. citizens that we should vote for a U.I. and therefore it will never happen. Never!!

    The DUP, to there own electrol gain but to overal Unionist apathy (see 4 lost seats) told us that these facts as outlined above by Trimble and the UUP were somehow a smokescreen towards a U.I. but as of 26th March 2007 suddenly Unionism agrees. I particularly liked Ian Jnr comment with regards to the Irish languange act (a totally unneccesary piece of legislation given the small demand for the language) when he said that “this was the scraps from their failed dream of a UI”. hIP, HIP Horrah, have we not been saying that since 1998!!

    Problem was we were saying that to fellow Unionists as opposed to ramming the Shinners complete and total ideological defeat down their throats. Typical nice UUP. Dont shout about their victories for fear of upsetting the political applecart. That needs to change.

    7. Your point about not managing the party on a 50% + 1 basis is of course correct and no right thinking Unionist could argue against it. The party officers and Executive should have resolved that whole situation at the time but remember it was our current leader that attempted to do so and was vilified by some Trimblites for doing so.

    Finally if the DUP do not see it as a joint challenge they should. West Belfast, South Belfast and South Antrim as some examples of the importance of us all working together to show the quality of our public representitives to encourage like minded people back to the ballot box.

  • Genuine Snapshot

    Um, Snaz, it wasn’t the DUP that cost Unionism either Westminster seat thrown away in 2005 (as evinced by both the DUP being the *most popular* Unionist party in both seats, and, their pre-election offer of a ‘one for the other’ deal). Still more to the point, there’s no convincing anyone that, ‘shure the DUP’s just doing what we [the UUP] did’. They’re not, for *they’re* doing it in the rather different circumstance of having at last forced the Provos to disarm before they’d do anything with them. If only we had shown that very basic bit of mous we wouldn’t currently be in the wretched state we’re currently in. Crude DUP bashing is *not* going to rescue the UUP, and if the last 4 election resuslts haven’t taught you that, please God that you get nowhere inside in the UUP, as nowhere is exactly where you’d take us.

  • IJP


    What’s “ambivalent” about Alliance’s constitutional position? It’s the one everyone else has now adopted! (And it’s the one you posit yourself.)

    Perhaps you could also point me to where Alliance has stated its opposition to grammar schools? (You may also point to what your party is going to do to retain them, given 60%+ of 10-year-olds now “pass” the 11+.)

  • Smithsonian

    You are in the wrong party. You should be in the DUP. Shouting Never, Never, Never, Smashing SF, sharing power “over our dead bodies”, demanding photographs of decommissioning, and protecting the home batt. of the Royal Irish.

    Either put up or shut up. Stand for election, challenge the leadership, speak out in the press don’t just whinge from the sidelines.

    David Vance
    You stood for election and got nowhere, you backed McCartney and fell out, you talk and bluster as if you represent someone other than yourself. You don’t, you can point to no electoral support for your position. Perhaps it is your massive IQ that gives you this superiority complex. You too should join the DUP, but then they are totally compromised. So much for an end to push over unionism “The British government made me do it, so I said thanks for the Ministry”

    Loyalty is important to you, but if the leader makes bad decisions then he must be told.

    The party must change, the electorate have made that clear.

    The decision to put McGimpsey forward as Minister for Health reinforces the image of a party of old, grey men.

    Reg has made a huge blunder and there will be repercussions.

    Game on.

  • Snaz

    Genuine Snapshot,
    How you could possibly construe my post as “Crude DUP bashing” is completly beyond me. But I will reiterate.

    It is about Northern Ireland, ALL of its people, its economy, its public services. It is about promoting that within the context of the United Kingdom as a great place to live, work, and play.

    I want to see Unionism articulate policies now we have at last got on to real politics that DELIVER for our people and I hope that all LIKEMEINDED Unionists play their part.

    For my part I work with my DUP colleagues in Council, on the District Policing Partnerships on the Boards of some companies, on trips abroad promoting the Unionist view point. I can assure you that I have more in common with Sammy Wilson and Jeffrey than THEY DO with Willie McCrea and Jim Allister.

    I will work with anyone who wants to deliver on the ground for our people and have a track record of having done so. I will not associate myself with religious fanatics telling our people how they should live their lives and what they should/shouldnt do on Sundays etc. That is totally un British.

    Alliance Party policy is to scrap Academic Selection. I am no great lover of the 11+ and would also like to see vocational skills (trades etc ) enhanced but no Academic Selection of any sort means no Grammar Schools. Do the middle classes that vote for Alliance know that??

    Of course loyalty is important but I agree not mis placed loyalty. I put a lot of the UUP current electroral difficulties down to a lack of succesion management. We do have quality in the party but in terms of actual experience of running a department or similar private sector experience our choices amongst our current MLAs are limited. That said I would encourage rotation, at least once in the term to enable others to gain that vital experience.

    I agree that it will look like the old men in grey suits and that is exactly the reason why I believe strongly in having a change in our rules so that emerging talent, especially female, can be put into constituencies. Believe me there is talent there but as Adam said in a previous post that the current system is heavily weighted towards the established politicians rather than, in some cases, the available talent/gender balance.

    David Vance,
    You must be gutted that there is not a single, solitay Anti Agreement Anti Sharing group in the assembly. Ever thought of moving on with the rest of us and use what ever talent you have in a positive fashion to actually deliver/achieve something?

  • Smithsonian,

    You rightly point out that I can point to no electoral support for my own views. In that regard, I suggest Sir Reg and his pals will shortly join me. The difference is, I do not pretend to be a political party, but the noble kinght and his chums do!


    Since I consider the Assembly a Parliament of Whores, to borrow a phrase, I am glad of what you point out. Power-sharing with terrorist proxies would be an indelible stain on any thinking democrat, luckily the Assembly is absent such.

  • Smithsonian

    David Vance
    When you stood as a member of the UKUP you did intend to be taken as a political party. You didn’t get the support of the electorate. What part of “No thanks” don’t you understand?

    As for Sir Reg and his pals joining you, he still has an advantage of approximately 100,000 votes on you.

    Now of course it is possible that the UUP will disintegrate completely leaving the DUP as the only party representing the Unionist community.

    When this happens will they still blame the UUP for everything? Will they still chant Trimble sold us out, will they still demand a political life time before they allow reconstructed terrorists in government, will they still promise an end to push over Unionism?

    You bet, but they like their ministries. There will be a few set piece squabbles just before the elections to keep the grass roots on both sides happy but then it will be back to business with the friends and allies in Sinn Fein. Two legs bad, four legs good!

  • Smithsonian,

    When I stood as a member of the UKUP, the Party won 5 Assembly seats, around about 33% of that acheived by the UUP last month. Which part of “No thanks” do YOU not understand?

    I agree with your criticism of the DUP, and have said as much publicly! Your problem is that the UUP is akin to DUP lite, and that your demise is hastened by the refusal to accept this. Which is why the UUP will become as relevant as the UKUP. Honesty cuts BOTH ways.

  • darth rumsfeld

    and lo the biggest rat has just left the sinking ship
    Behold the latest Northern Ireland Conservative- Lord Trimble!

    What great timing -in the week of the UUP AGM, the party loses its only nationally known figure, who can now sit in the august company of Peter Bowles, Lyttle Bob, James Leslie-yup, all those great white hopes for the future of moderate Unionism that he brought in, and were chinned by a sceptical electorate.

    Any bets on the other peers following?-except of course for party stalwart Lord Ballyedmund :0(

  • shot the bolt

    Taxi for Reg!!!!