Yeah but no but yeah but no but…

UUP leader, Sir Reg Empey has attacked the joint DUP-Sinn Fein meeting. He admits he called for such meetings, wanted them to occur before now, doesn’t object to the meeting itself but does object to the photographs.

  • To be polite, Reg should just belt up. He would have crumbled in the face of pressure even quicker than Papa Doc. You can’t attack the DUP from a position that is even wetter.

    I can’t think of anyone in politics who conveys such wimpishness in voice, body language and policy.

  • Smithsonian

    The truth hurts

  • Genuine Snapshot

    Quality stuff Reg, quality stuff. And now, as Darth might almost put it, I’ll get my tank – there’s a leadership contender on it.

  • james orr

    Object to the photographs?! Has Reg forgotten the cosy pre-2002 pic of McGimpsey and McGuinness having a good oul grin at each other sitting on the front row of a conference? It was front page News Letter at the time.

    Pot? Kettle? Is it because I is black?

  • GavBelfast

    I don’t know about wee Reg, but I was reminded of the walk from Drumcree to Poartadown all those yeas ago, where Trimble looked like he was playing second fiddle to Paisley, whereas in the Stormont one, Paisley looks like the one playing second-fiddle to Adams, the latter looking like the master of all he surveys (as did the rest of his front-row). The DUP lot, Paisley included, looked faintly chastened.

    Paisley and they did the right thing, but boy the swallowing it has taken.

  • Philip

    A lesser person in the DUP couldn’t have done it, that’s for sure. In theory he is a lundy of the highest calibre but in practice he may have given us new hope.

  • Sir Reg is a genius, a man of vision. To praise the meeting with IRA/Sinn Fein but object to the photo is a mark of a statesman. Or a madman.

  • Carrick

    Another moment of madness from Mr Burns – just bizarre! Does he not realise his party’s moderate supporters will have been cheering to a man that photograph and the promise of progress at last?

    What does Reg do, he decides to reach out to the scattered few thousand assorted Cubitt and McCartney voters in the backwoods – I wouldn’t be surprised to see UUP moderates start moving to the DUP soon, tens of thousands have moved to Alliance already.

    By the time Reg is through with his hardman act, the UUP will probably need not just a Tank Commander but a whole Armoured Division to save it!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DV: “Sir Reg is a genius, a man of vision. To praise the meeting with IRA/Sinn Fein but object to the photo is a mark of a statesman. Or a madman. ”

    Be charitable — Reg has to do *something* and he is constrained in his options.

    He can’t object to the meetings, havnig already called for the in the past.

    That said, the pictures will fawn over the Rev. Dr. No and the other fella, leaving Reg looking like a bit player — which hurts all the more because it has the ring of truth to it. The UUP is sliding off the plate and into obscurity — mayhap not Reg’s fault in the main — but it’s happening the clearest under his watch. With the shift in the DUP’s politics squeezing him from the right and the Alliance holding the middle, he only has so many options…

    Too bad he’s not that good a card player.

  • Rory

    Perhaps some soul more diplomatic than I could find a way to explain to Sir Reg, without hurting his feelings, that he himself is not exactly considered to be one of the more photogenic of politicians. I’m sure the urbane, smooth=talking David Vance would be up to the mark. And it would be an act of great human kindness.

  • austin

    Reg looked rather good on TV in that Weetabix Ad-He had one on his head.

  • kokane

    After having his party shafted for being out manouvered by SF he’s surely entitled to point out that those who did the shafting were themselves outmanouvered. As Empey is the most significant unionist outside the tent he’s entitled to piss into it and remind everyone that Paisley only got in himself after asking Adam’s permission and didn’t the big fella suddenly looked empey-sized himself.

  • assemblywatchman

    Aaah Reg, just shut up, for your own sake. Please.

  • Cato

    I have to say that I think Reg is coming to the end of the road as leader.
    An astute politician would have recognised that the best thing to do was to draw a line under the recent election result as a hangover from Trimbleism and try to rebuild by looking to the future rather than the past.
    The SDLP have largely eschewed sour grapes and are a good template. They have taken repeated beatings but still manage to put together some decent policies and their input is taken seriously – consequently their failure is seen more as a result of the zeitgeist than their own failings.
    Reg’s reliance on sour grapes are beginning to get quite tiresome. He needs to learn to have the dignity to say that the past is the past and to look forward.

  • kokane


    If the DUP had handeled things well – then perhaps fair enough – but they did not – the photo opportunity was forced on them and looked it.

    To bluster about not being ‘calender driven’ and then have to ask Grizzly for permission was a serious own goal.

    DUP can hand it out – but cant take it. C’Mon the little un.

  • Truth & Justice

    What a sad man Empey is if that is the only line of attack he has then its only a mater of time the uup will become extinct.

  • IJP


    A reasonable call, to be honest.

    Both Lady Hermon in the Commons and now her dear friend and Leader Sir Reg in the media have completely missed the spirit of the times. Poor politics.


    tens of thousands have moved to Alliance already.

    Well, “thousands” anyway…! Ach tiocfaidh ar lá!

  • Interesting comments insofar as most recognise that Empey has been outmaneouvred. It didn’t have to be that way, as several of you point out. What’s remarkable is that the Slugger cognescenti show more vision than those around Sir Reg. As I said in my recent article, I do believe the UUP is fading away, and it fails to even recognise it has a major problem. If it doesn’t change leader, change direction, and try to rebrand itself, then there will be no future for it.

  • TinTin

    some anedotal evidence from a large office whre i work: many many people who have little intrest in politics and probaly dont bother voting were taken back but impressed by paisley especially.

    theyre hope is that they just get on with the job now.

  • Observer


    How do you rate Lady Hermons position within North Down coming the next Westminster election?

    Will Alliance be backing her?

    Or will she be in Alliance?

  • kokane

    If the UUP disappears – and that would appear quite likely as slitting the unionist vote will be portrayed as resulting in more ministers for SF – then will do so knowing that they and only they could have taken unionists to where they are now. If the DUP had got their way and not gone into governement with SF when Tirmble did they would be looking at the wrong end of a worse plan B. Paisley will never have the political repsect that Trimble has – he is only being flattered now to ease into his new role.

    It is sad to see a party do so much and be rewarded so little – bit like the SDLP really. But thats politics.

  • Dave

    The DUP leadership has taken the wind out of many a sail when they agreed to a necessary evil of sharing political power with known terrorists SF/IRA. Poor Reg just can’t get over it, come to think of neither can SF/IRA.

    Not much to moan and whinge about now, lets see democracy in action.

  • kokane


    perhaps to help the UUP along the DUP should acknowledge their hypocrisy – with a statement along the lines of

    Dear Reggie, “I know we said you were betraying the poeple of Ulster but we had no chance of power then – now we do – we’ve changed our minds”.

    Aplogies, Ian

  • IJP

    Hi Observer

    Reasonable questions.

    Will Alliance be backing her?


    Or will she be in Alliance?


  • Pelagius

    Judging from all the negative posts on this thread, the Dupper/Shinner trolling seems to be going from bad to worse. Reg is just right to point out the hypocrisy of the Duppers, but the sad thing is that nobody really cares!

  • assemblywatchman

    Given LSH’s barely contained disdain for SRE it would be no surprise to see her jump ship – or at least move to publicly put some serious distance between her and the rest of the party.

  • Aquifer

    Reg stop digging and reorganise that party of yours before they reorganise you.

  • interested

    But LSH has already got reasonable distance between herself and the rest of the Ulster Unionist Party.

    She’s about as close to an independent as you can get really. After all, she doesn’t have any colleagues at Westminster to worry about and so can vote any which way she likes (not that she let colleagues get in the way of that anyway).

    The UUP wont ditch her because clearly she’s an asset (of sorts) and can probably hold that seat for them. She’ll trundle along as she is – semi-detached from her ‘colleagues’ and in the strange place that is North Down, still have a reasonable chance of re-election on the “she seems like a nice woman” ticket.

  • pith

    Say what you like but he’s quick off the mark.

    Next week on the radio, Reg comments on Sunningdale and the three day week.

  • Snaz

    We should all welcome Paisleys conversion to the Pragmatism of leadership rather than the fantasies of 30 years in opposistion.

    Of course its galling not to get the political credit for transforming N.Ireland from its grisly recent past to one of the THE up and coming places in the UK (Thanks DT) but ultimately it should be about winning over people to your argument and the DUP have realised they had to finish the job that Trimble started. So hopefully Our Wee Country will prosper and Republicans will get on with administering a partioned N.I. and reflect on what a disguting campaign they waged against their fellow countrymen and the futility of ever doing so again (god forbid!!)

    The issue now is who has the ability to deliver real results on real issues affecting real lives.

    Then maybe we can get real Unionist turnouts at election and start progressing again rather than the pathetic turnouts of the last few elections.

    We all need to become relevant again!!