Opposition in government

Sir Reg Empey has signalled that the UUP will provide opposition to the DUP/SF coalition despite taking up office.

We intend to work with other parties of the centre to offer an alternative to the Sinn Fein/DUP axis; an axis built around carve-up and party political self-interest. It will not be in the long term interests of Northern Ireland to sustain an arrangement of this sort. I think voters in future will want a choice based on social and economic issues – in short normal politics in Northern Ireland. In future Administrations parties of a like mind can, and I’m sure will, offer alternative coalitions.

  • interested

    So, just to underline what a bit part player Reg is in the whole thing now (it really was cringeworthy to see him nominate himself for Ministerial office) he’s decided that the only press release he can muster today is a rehash of his Party AGM speech from a few weeks back.

    Then we get to the tricky bit – “I think voters in future will want a choice based on social and economic issues”

    So the UUP and the SDLP are going to work together to provide a coalition on social and economic issues? When exactly did the UUP become socialists? Good to see the UUP working with the SDLP on their joint education policy.

    Crazy stuff indeed. The Executive does require some level of opposition, but if Reg has to dream it up then it’ll be no fun at all!

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    The UUP – a party which doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going, whether it’s part of the Executive or part of the Opposition, whether it’s simply British or whether it’s inclusive of all cultures and languages (except the Irish language).
    The UUP – should rename itself as the Contras – as in the Contradictions.

  • Yokel

    Note to Reg.

    There are splinters on your arse. You took the ministerial motor so stop coming off with some kind of ‘we are opposition’ claim.

    Will Fionola Meredith claim that I’m reducing Reg to a characture of a little man sitting on the fence?

  • Ginfizz

    Have to say I’m with interested on this one. Why is Reg just so pathetic? In government but in opposition at the same time? Wise up.

  • Whatever Next

    I think Shillers left off the crucial ‘note for editors’ from that press release . . .

    STARTS
    … We intend to work with other parties of the centre to offer an alternative to the Sinn Fein/DUP axis; an axis built around carve-up and party political self-interest. It will not be in the long term interests of Northern Ireland to sustain an arrangement of this sort. I think voters in future will want a choice based on social and economic issues …
    ENDS
    Notes
    2 legs still good but four legs now better

    Or to put that another way: We intend to work with other parties of the centre to offer an alternative to the Sinn Fein/UUP axis; an axis built around carve-up and party political self-interest. It will not be in the long term interests of Northern Ireland to sustain an arrangement of this sort. I think voters in future will want a choice based on social and economic issues – anyone, and I do mean anyone from the UUP want to pop by and tell us why your stitch up with Marty n’ da Moiderers was A-Okay, but the Paisleyites today is awfully, awfully dreadful? From where I’m looking, the only difference between the two abortions in question is that yours (the UUP’s) was with an armed SF/IRA, whereas, the DUPes made them do what the Turtle never could.

  • When exactly did the UUP become socialists?

    About the same time as the SDLP did.

  • Ginfizz

    Sammy

    LOL!

  • Glensman

    It would be interesting to add up the value of high ranking members of the SDLP’s property portfolios…

  • “When exactly did the UUP become socialists?

    About the same time as the SDLP did”

    Sammy,

    I couldnt agree more with those comments. Its mainly only the leafy suburbs of South Belfast and the rural towns and hamlets of South Down who make up the SDLP’s ‘core’ support. Their popularity in Derry owes much to the Hume factor, but the overwhelming fact remains that they have always been a middle-class party at heart.

    The working-class bulk of the Nationalism/Republicanism electorate lies firmly with SF and it’s difficult to see how the SDLP will ‘target’ the growing decline in their electoral mandate.

  • Whatever Next

    “It would be interesting to add up the value of high ranking members of the SDLP’s property portfolios” – yeah, but I’m willing to bet it would be a helluva lot more interesting to have a detailed, honest and accourate look at Marty McG & Gezza’s bank accounts, property dealings, offshore holdings, undeclared payments etc etc.

  • jerryp

    The working class leaders of the original SDLP, Fitt and Devlin, were subject to regular attacks by the military wing of one of the partners in the Stormont administration. It must be with an ironic smile that they look down on today’s development. People from both communities owe those two a huge debt.

  • Reg didn’t say he would form opposition wit SDLP, he just said he would oppose the ‘SF-DUP axis’

  • fair_deal

    Shakes head.

    Sir Reg stop cutting the orange in half. It may have been required to try and stabilise the UUP but not for rebuilding it.

    At times your party does make a bag of ferrets seem contented but get this they will alays find something to argue about no matter what you do, so at least shake the bag by taking full decisions not half-decisions that don’t seem to please the malcontents anyway.

    This displays poor news management on the UUP’s part. A nit-picking voice will be drowned out by all the positive puff around today’s events.

    “We intend to work with other parties of the centre to offer an alternative to the Sinn Fein/DUP axis; an axis built around carve-up and party political self-interest.”

    If the UUP cared so deeply about this they could have opted for opposition. You wouldn’t be hoping for a easy ministerial rides now would you?

    “It will not be in the long term interests of Northern Ireland to sustain an arrangement of this sort.”

    This is why the all-party mandatory coalition is to be reviewed. Apart from SF most others seem to agree the need for change on this.

    “I think voters in future will want a choice based on social and economic issues”

    Then put your money were mouth is and amalgamate/rejoin/create a pact with the Conservatives. You say you want it then go about delivering it.

  • J Kelly

    it was some craic to listen to Brid Rodgers today claiming how the SDLP delivered all this. the fact of the matter is this the SDLP delivered nothing and thats why they are in disarray, leaderless and scrambling for recognition. as time moves on they will become more and more invisible. Sir Reg in opposition I’m sure Martin and Ian wont sleep tonight.

    not for today but i’m hearing rumours that the split within the sdlp in derry became violent last week in their favourite watering on claredon street. blood was spilt. what has the world come too when violence replaces talk to sort out political difference.

  • Digby

    The DUP/SF lap dogs on here are really pathetic. They want to moan at Sir Reg for suggesting we should have real politics and not just DUP/SF arse-licking. We need opposition politics to make the Assembly work and the UUP and the SDLP will be able to provide it. After all, it was the DUP and SF who threw their rattles out of their prams last time round.

    interested, Oilibhear Chromaill, Yokel, Ginfizz are lining up with nothing positive to contribute but that wont stop them. So much for a new start! Is this all we can expect? Yet more “aren’t we great and aren’t they bad” shite. Have the mind police trolls been sent out on mass? “If we talk enough shite, people will start to believe it!” kind of thing.

    Shite talk from the DUP/SF combo’ does not detract from the fact that the dust will be quick to settle and the light will be on them. Balls up and they will be punished! Sir Reg should remember that old Provos saying “Tiocfaidh Ar La!”

  • BeardyBoy

    Oh what a short memory J Kelly has. Gerry was only glad of the SDLP when no one else would speak to him. In fact John Hulme and the SDLP delivered Gerry to democratic politics! Try again J Kelly! Yet another piss poorpost from the SS!

  • JD

    Beardyboy,

    Revisionism at its hieght. Sinn Fein was developing a peace strategy since 1987, known internally as TUAS. All strategies can require strategic alliances, temporary otherwise. By the early 90’s the republican movement were searching for a weak link to move their strategy to another level, that weak link was Hume’s ego and the rest is history. Were John Hume does deserve emmense credit is for sticking with the dialogue despite massive criticism from Eddie McGrady and many others in the SDLP hiearchy and southern establishment. “delivered gerry into democratic politics” the decision to move to democratic politics was taken years before by republicans what they needed was a mechanism.

  • BeardyBoy

    “…that weak link was Hume’s ego…”

    Only Gerry’s most loyal brown-nosed arse lickers would really give that any credence. However, by your own ill thought out logic, a weak link is a link nonetheless. You might lap up Gerry’s revisionist shite but I am confident that everyone else will continue to see it differently. John Hulme is not beyond criticism but you will only succeed in making yourself look even more stupid if you are going to try and convince anybody that he entered in to dialogue with Gerry because of his ego! JH was a lifeline to Gerry and people wont forget it, no matter how much you might want them to!

  • JD

    Beardy Boy,

    These are facts and will be borne out by an objective view of those years, it is you I fear who is wearing the rose tinted glasses. It is not what Gerry told me, many many republicans remember those years well and bobs and weaves they involved. The current view of Humes role has not been overtly discounted by republicans so far as it served no interest and Hume wanted to travel the world collecting peace prizes that was his perogative. But ask anyone who knows John Hume whether he has an enormous ego and I think you will discover the truth. I have already said JH deserves credit for other reasons but this revisionism of the actual events in our recent history needs to end sometime, and by the way, get off that fuckin ivory tower its gone to your head.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    FD

    “It will not be in the long term interests of Northern Ireland to sustain an arrangement of this sort.”

    This is why the all-party mandatory coalition is to be reviewed. Apart from SF most others seem to agree the need for change on this.

    Can you fill me in on this review? The DUP jumped on this when Alliance first proposed it, and I think the UUP were fairly favourable, but I can’t remember a review.

    The SDLP are also (or at least, were) vehemently against mandatory coalition. Unless political realities are now shifting attitudes, the SDLP are lemming-like (eg position on defending D’Hondt, which works against them).

    A review of such a measure would be seen as contemplating implementing a unionist veto by nationalists, no?

  • darth rumsfeld

    Even Bouncy Basil- in a typically fotherington thomas-esque performance on t’box last night- couldn’t skip and dance his way through the contradictions of this one. Lamely he commented that there seemed an apparent inconsistency but moved swiftly along to more inconsequential burblings, in the herd of similarly earnest cliche-spouters.

    I know I should lay off the UUP but really when Reg just keeps sticking his rump up in the air inviting you to kick him you just have to do it.It would be bad manners not to. This is bad policy, badly implemented, badly presented, and badly timed.

    Reg obviously sees how the DUP were in and yet not in the last executive as a template for success, but of course he won’t boycott the cabinet and rules have changed so he and the Gimp can’t run semi-independent ministries. So it can’t work-or if Mr Shilliday can give us an exmaple-purely hypothetical of course- we’d be much obliged.

    Criticisng other ministers will be happening every day, and by all other parties. How often are the DUP children going to be scribbling press releases about bed shortages for their constituents, spinning that Punt doled out oodles of cash that Gimp mismanaged? Or SDLP calling on Gildernew to invest more in the rural infrastructure? Reggie calling for attention for his latest devastating expose of the pact will be drowned out by 107 other MLAs criticising all parties but their own

    I quite agree with Reg that the SF/Vichy pact deserves exposure but he’s out in the cold now, and all the NIO cushioning that was around the UUP circa 1999-2001 is now wrapping up the siamese first ministers. He never was a great media worker, and he won’t be let lay a glove on them. How can you claim to be in opposition in one breath and say you’re sooo important cos you’ve got 55% of total budget in the next?

  • kensei

    “A review of such a measure would be seen as contemplating implementing a unionist veto by nationalists, no? ”

    Precisely. What is FD prepared to give up for it? Because as far as I can see, mandatory coalition is my guarantee against Unionist dominance, and any voluntary system just works out, in practice, as an exclude Republicans mechanism. Thankfully, even if the SDLP decided it wanted to lose some more votes, SF has a veto over any proposed legislation.

    Also – perhaps we could get this system going for a bit before changing it?

  • fair_deal

    Gonzo

    There is a standing institutional review of all Strand One arrangements.

    “A review of such a measure would be seen as contemplating implementing a unionist veto by nationalists, no?”

    Nope.

    You can have different forms of mandatory coalition an alternative to ‘all party’ rule is requiring an Executive represent a predetermined amount of the electorate or proportion of MLA’s ie 60% of the vote or 65 MLAs. This pretty much guarantees the government be cross-community but it allows for an opposition and creates room for parties to move to a more socio-economic appeal to voters.

    If you use the MLA target at the present make up of the Assembly, more than two parties would be required
    DUP and SF total 64 – require Alliance or deal with the one of the PUP/Green/independent to form an Executive.
    SF SDLP UUP and Alliance could form a rainbow coalition of 68 (alternatively make a deal with all of the Green, PUP and independents to squeeze 65)
    DUP UUP and SDLP would have 70 seats

    Interestingly all the Unionist MLAs Alliance, Green and Independent would be one short and unable to form an Executive on such a threshold. So it wouldn’t be a means of excluding nationalists.

    Although they do not have a mandatory coalition rule the development of politics in Macedonia is probabaly worth noting. The government is made up of two parties from the different large ethnic groups but what unites them is their centre-right policies and the same with the opposition (former government) that was social democratic/left wing.

  • J Kelly

    FD how would you describe the DUP’s position.

  • Let me put the boot into Sir Reg’s backside as well. If he wants to oppose the wretched Vichy administration he has no business taking a salary from it. Pathetic but not surprising.

  • fair_deal

    JK

    IIRC the removal of the present form of coalition was a politcy aim in their manifesto. Their failure on this point was one of Jim Allister’s criticisms.

  • Continental Drifter

    What’s Reg on about?

    Either you believe Unionism better than Nationalism, or you don’t.

    Those who don’t vote Alliance.

    Reg really should stop telling his own supporters to go off and support another party!

  • BeardyBoy

    JD,

    Just look at the hateful Shinners and Duppers out in force on this thread… And to think, people said they would never unite!

    “These are facts and will be borne out by an objective view of those years,”

    It is the clear and predictable arrogance of the plastic Repuclican that allows you to confuse opinion as fact.

    “Hume wanted to travel the world collecting peace prizes that was his perogative.”
    Prrof? Evidence? It is yet another now common insult of the plastic Republicans to suggest that JH actually “wanted” peace prize. But then again, SF supporters dismiss the fact that their party supports the treasonous murder of their fellow countrymen. A vote for SF is an endorsement of the Provo campaign. It was the Provo campaign that risked the lives and killed too many innocent people. That might mean shit to you but thankfully there are more people in this country who won’t allow SF to airbrush this out of our history; the forth coming election will prove this.

    “But ask anyone who knows John Hume whether he has an enormous ego and I think you will discover the truth.”
    I agree.

    Face it. SF represents the arse end of Irish Republicanism. SF speaks for some Irish Republicans but not ALL Irish Republicans. There remains a majority of patriotic Irish men and women in this country who would never condone the forcing of an innocent man to drive a bomb laden van into a building under the threat of death for his abducted wife and children. Only the sickest of minds could ignore this. Now if you recognise yourself here, you should also recognise the fact that such people are morally bankrupt and an insult to their country.

    “…this revisionism of the actual events in our recent history needs to end…”
    I agree.

    “…get off that fuckin ivory tower its gone to your head…”
    Oh dear! Temper as well as arrogance! You really do have a problem distinguishing between “opinion” and “fact” don’t you? Instead of throwing vitriolic rants at me, you and plastic Republicans like you, would do better getting a shovel and start to look for all those innocent Irishmen who were treasonously killed by the people the people you support.

  • kensei

    “You can have different forms of mandatory coalition an alternative to ‘all party’ rule is requiring an Executive represent a predetermined amount of the electorate or proportion of MLA’s ie 60% of the vote or 65 MLAs. This pretty much guarantees the government be cross-community but it allows for an opposition and creates room for parties to move to a more socio-economic appeal to voters. ”

    Or, you know, Unionists parties and the SDLP, keeping SF out perpetually. You know, what Unionism has been arguing for since year dot.