Ballyedmond joins the Tories in the Lords…

Eddie Haughey most have the most extraordinary parliamentary career of any on these islands. One of Northern Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs (according to, ahem, wikipedia, he is Haughey is the 2nd richest person in Northern Ireland behind Seán Quinn), this CBS educated, Dundalk man began his political life in Seanad Éireann as a Senator for Fianna Fáil, then being elevated to the British House of Lords for the Ulster Unionists. Slugger can confirm that he has now made his ‘final’ move to the Tories, a party to which he has given generously in the past.It’s a story that was trailed on Sunday by Liam Clarke, who quoted Ballyedmond:

“I have been a supporter of the Conservatives for a verylong time. In the past I made a substantial donation to them, and I think the country needs the Conservatives at the moment. Their policies are the right ones and I wish to support that.” The Ballyedmond donation to the Tories was made during the leadership of William Hague between 1997 and 2001. The peer, who owns Corby Castle in Cumbria, has also lent his helicopter to the Conservatives during election campaigns.

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  • Pete Baker

    A most extraordinary parliamentary career, indeed.

    And, of course, last August he was the targetted by one of those republican micro organisations.

  • mickhall

    “I have been a supporter of the Conservatives for a very long time. In the past I made a substantial donation to them, and I think the country needs the Conservatives at the moment.”

    Well if this carpet bagger believes the UK needs the conservatives, perhaps he could enlighten the rest of us, including the majority of his new political friends, exactly what the Tory party stands for these days as personally I have not a clue.

    Why would anyone admire this man, his only purpose in being involved in politics is buying influence. He represents all that is wrong with the political system.

  • Bob Wilson

    ‘his only purpose in being involved in politics is buying influence’
    You have evidence for this?

  • páid

    The journey from Fianna Fáil to the Tories is not as intergalactic as some would have us believe.

    The major difference, as I see it, is in the choice of favourite scandal material – Fianna Fáil go for money whilst the Tories are brought down by sex.

  • Brian Boru

    Bizarre!

  • Cruimh

    Most extraordinary parliamentary career ? My vote would be for Conor Cruise O’Brien.

  • mickhall

    What the Conservatives and FF have in common is that the leaderships down the years of both parties have a track record of selling honors and influence.

    There are two main ways for a party member to become a member of the UK House of Lords and Seanad Éireann. Long time loyalty to a political party and giving large sums of money to a political party or a powerful politician. This man chose the latter route as long time party loyalty is clearly not in his make up.

    FF masquerades as a Republican Party and the Tories are a pro Union anti republican party. For a man to support both in itself raises doubts about his moral values and to benefit from doing so hardly places him in a good light,

    What I find interesting is if one were to look at the slimy trail left by his business development, it would be interesting to see whether his political loyalty changes with the geographical location of his latest business ventures.

  • Cruimh

    He speaks very highly of you as well mickhall 😉

  • FF masquerades as a Republican Party and the Tories are a pro Union anti republican party.

    Irrelevant if you’re a large businessman in a globalised economy intent on creating the best environment for your border-straddling business.

    As Páid says, take away the ‘identity issues’ and there ain’t a hell of a lot to choose between them; and take into account the Tories aren’t planning to reconquer Ballyscullion and FF aren’t planning on teaching Irish to children in Milford-on-Sea, and they aren’t hugely relevant to either party except as they pertain to NI. My friends in the Tories and my friends in Fianna Fáil have a lot in common, and no doubt would end up shacking up with the other party if they moved to the other side of the Irish Sea from where they are at present.

    There’s nothing illogical about Eddie Haughey’s decision – the UUP one was the bizarre one. And it doesn’t alter my (low) opinion of the man.

  • I suppose this means that he has resigned from the same UUP that nominated him for the Lords? Not much gratitude there then. Still he’ll be able to join the same failed political entity who picked him, Lord Turtle. And at least the UUP is shot of 2 embarrassments within 3 months.

  • PeaceandJustice

    mickhall – “his only purpose in being involved in politics is buying influence.”

    When Irish-Americans give money to the leaders of the SF-IRA death squads, what is their purpose? To forward their political objectives? Or their fascination with meeting murderers and bombers who have used terrorism to push their objectives? I guess the stories of innocents being murdered in their beds by Sinn Fein-IRA killers or bombs at political conferences in the UK must not have reached these ‘respectable’ businessmen.

    We need a name and shame list of all the people in America who gave money to SF-IRA while they were butchering people on these islands.

    It puts the money that Edward Haughey has donated to normal political parties into perspective.

  • mickhall

    P@J

    I recently saw a TV interview with the totally corrupt Prince Bandar who has taken enormous bungs from the UK arms industry with the UK governments blessing. Bandar justified his wretched behavior by pointing out that such thievery has been going on since the beginning of time. [this from a man who supports cutting off the hands of his fellow countrymen for minor theft.]

    Some of those who have posted to this thread and shrug their shoulders about the behavior of people like Edward Haughey and those within FF, Tories and UU whom he corrupts, would vigorously agree that someone who does the double deserves to be punished by the courts and see no contradiction in their thought process.

    Corruption of this kind is not a crime without consequences, Ireland, especially in the south is becoming blighted by development, much of which has come into being by bungs to politicians etc. Plus the way a man like Edward Haughey operates, moving across national boundaries trailing his wallet behind him corrupts the whole body politic.

    Why should such a man sit in the legislature of the UK just because he is wealthy, the very thought is obscene. He was not elected, his wealth placed him in the Palace of Westminster as it did Seanad Éireann.

    Sammy what you are saying is being corrupt is the only way international business can work effectively, think about that and its long term consequences for any democratic state. If society does not tackle this cancer we can all kiss goodbye to our freedoms, not least because whilst such corruption has always gone on, the sums of money today are astronomical and the State is more centralized than it has ever been, thus making it all the easier for a small group to manipulate against the best interest of the majority.

    How can we expect the writ of the rule of law to run, when people with wealth and power treat it with such contempt. When people get it into their heads that a bunch of working class corner boys stole 25 million from the northern bank, many who post to slugger prattle on about the rule of law etc etc. But when it is a white collar criminals with political protection it becomes the way of the world, give me strength, for such behavior is illogical and cowardly.

  • Cruimh

    Is this not in danger of putting Mick at risk ?

  • Harry Flashman

    Mickhall if you can put forward some evidence to support your claim that Eddie Haughey is a corrupt businessman please do so in order that the proper legal authorities can take appropriate action.

    If you can’t you should have the decency to retract your dangerous, unfounded and libellous accusations.

    You might not like the man or his politics but you have no right to call him a criminal without evidence, put up or shut up.

  • sammaguire

    Anyone who titles himself with an honorary doctorate is an *rsehole in my humble opinion. (“Dr” Michael Smurfit and “Dr” Tony Ryan included)

    Won’t waste my time commenting on comparisons with the largest Republican party in Ireland and the Tories.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Why is it the socialists commenting here cannot recognise that the man has built a very sucessful business employs a large number of people and therefore has a lot to offer both houses in London and Dublin.

    This negative carping about success and making money is typical of their genre, good luck to the man he made the money and what he legally does with it is up to him and that includes making donations to political parties. If anyone has any evidence that he has committed any criminal activities take it to the appropriate authorities, if not they should shut up.

    You don’t have to like the man to admire and respect what he has achieved. I only wish NI had another 20 like him.

  • darth rumsfeld

    It’s starting to get to that moment when the last UUPer-probably Bouncing Basil- will soon be turning out the lights.

    I wonder if Lord Ballyedmond ever attended a Unionist party meeting in South Down, never mind a UUC. I don’t recall him ever pronouncing on the merits of the Union except at the time when he was unveiled, though to be fair he was never exactly going to be driving the Bentley through the Flying Horse estate with a microphone urging voters to back Dermot or whoever they’ve got now.

    His elevation-from the UUP perspective- was an attempt by Trimble to prove that he could deliver for the genuine big boys of business- and it succeeded. What chance of that ever happening again? Mind you, why should we want our local political parties to be allowed to nominate peers, when we see the DUP’s choices? At least Haughey is a major industrialist. Two grey party hacks and the real head of the First Family in ermine tells you all you need to know about the dearth of talent in the second tier of the DUP

    I’ve heard the next defection in the sorry surrender is likely to be Lord Rogan, although I’m not actually convinced he’ll jump ship. The rest will all stay on in the best gentleman’s club in London and wonder where it all went wrong. The answer is on the benches across from them-tieless, trendily bespectacled, doing “Dave’s” watercarrying

  • I Wonder

    Haughey’s contempt for employment law re. his treatment of Norbrook employees, the expensive legal intimindation of neighbours who had the audacity to challenge his plans for a restaurant in a quiet English village are examples of his bullying and deplorable attitude.

    His money ensures legal and political cover to do things that no ordinary person could contemplate. Its not his success that one can legitimately be critical of – its his contemptuous attitude. Watch Private Eye for news of his come-uppance shortly.

  • slug

    I normally admire very successful businessmen but the thing about Haughey is that he is not renouned for having the very highest of business ethics.

  • Cruimh

    That may be so slug – but mickhall made a post that could lead to Mick and Slugger facing legal action.

  • mickhall

    I really despair sometimes when the only argument conservatively minded people can put up is that we socialists suffer from petty jealousies and an inferiority complex. Not least because they are making a nonsensical judgement that all socialists are poor as church mice and none have ever run a successful business. Thankfully many people on the right do not take this attitude; and are as worried as many of us on the left over individuals gaining positions in the UK and RoI legislature via their wealth alone.

    If you reread my posts my main arguments against people like Eddie Haughey, is that their behavior is a real threat to our democratic freedoms. The very essence of a democracy is all men/women are equal before the law etc, once this most basic rule is ignored then such behavior becomes a threat to the rest of us. [ It cannot be ignored that Haughey in the most shameless manner, has used his wealth to gain influence on three separate occasions and twice position and I challenge anyone to deny that fact.]

    Finally I would just ask this question, can anyone give me an example of anyone who has gained political office in the manner of Haughey, who has subsequently played a positive role in either the Lords or Seanad Éireann. I am certain there must be some, but the fact that none immediately spring to mind is an indictment of this type of shenanigans.

  • Sammy what you are saying is being corrupt is the only way international business can work effectively

    Nope, I never said anything about corruption; most major businessmen believe their business thrives best in a low-tax, low-regulation economy, and that’s what both FF and the Tories offer, or at least claim to offer.

    It’s the UU link that is, as I said earlier, the bizarre one.

    Won’t waste my time commenting on comparisons with the largest Republican party in Ireland and the Tories.

    Rarely has a comment on Slugger more perfectly demonstrated the backwards litte political fishbowl that is Northern Ireland. What’s the big difference between the Tories and FF? Both pro-market, pro-Nation, pro-familiy, traditionally pro-church although changing with the times, pro-America, and with a strain of anti-intellectualism in their uglier edge; both with strong support from the lower middle-classes, business, and those who ‘pulled themselves up by their bootstraps’. What’s the difference, except for Northern Ireland?

    In any case, you may even be assuming policy differences on Northern Ireland – Albert Reynolds and John Major got on fine; I can see Biffo and Cameron being best mates after chilling out together over a spliff.

    So let’s recap? Two catch all, centre-right parties with a strong nationalist element and a history of ruthlessness, electoral success and a little bit of corruption? What’s the issue here, other than the facts don’t fit the prejudices of the political armpit of Western Europe?

  • PeaceandJustice

    mickhall – “The very essence of a democracy is all men/women are equal before the law etc, once this most basic rule is ignored then such behavior becomes a threat to the rest of us.”

    All men/women are equal before the law unless you’re a member of Sinn Fein-IRA. They have tried to corrupt politics on these islands by using money from bank robberies, fuel laundering, money collected in America etc.

    “Why should such a man sit in the legislature of the UK just because he is wealthy”. Why should SF-IRA terrorists be in senior positions in Government in a forced coalition? Oh yes, because SF-IRA murdered lots of people and were involved in financial corruption – so they had to be in Government to keep things quiet.

    “When people get it into their heads that a bunch of working class corner boys stole 25 million from the northern bank … But when it is a white collar criminals with political protection it becomes the way of the world, give me strength, for such behavior is illogical and cowardly.”

    Are you saying it was all right to rob banks if you were a ‘working class’ member of SF-IRA? You seem to have a problem with big business. Eddie Haughey has earned his money in a proper way. Yet we have SF-IRA members on a so-called ‘average’ wage with holiday homes in Donegal and further afield. But many Pan-Nationalists on here seem to think that is fine – their reward for murdering people in their homes in front of their families, planting bombs in busy city streets and torturing people before dumping their bodies along the border. Oh what great working class heroes – supported by the majority of Roman Catholics in NI.

  • páid

    a political armpit, Sammy?

    Gerry Adams called it a political slum, but that was before peace broke out.

    What with Paisley singing “if you’re Irish, come into the parlour” with Marty on his knee playing the piano this all-party greening is getting out of hand.

    I predict a United Ireland by 2016, that’s just after quarter past eight this evening.

  • sammaguire

    Sammy Morse: “both with strong support from the lower middle-classes, business, and those who ‘pulled themselves up by their bootstraps’.”

    For some reason you ignore FF’s urban working class and small farmer support. This support is the heart of FF and is particularly irritating to the Law Library Socialists who feel that the peasants should be voting for them just because they read a few books on Socialism (as well of playing a bit of rugger of course) while at Trinity.

    I know many of the FF gene pool living in GB. Of those that vote there most vote Labour with a few voting Green or Lib Dems. None vote Tory.

    Can’t see the parties (FF and Tories)being twinned for some time.

  • For some reason you ignore FF’s urban working class and small farmer support.

    Fair point, but it doesn’t invalidate my point; the Tories lost their ‘traditional’ working-class urban support between the ’60s and ’80s that was in many ways absolutely parallel to Fianna Fáil’s working-class support, but it certainly existed until relatively recently. The skilled working-class vote in England swings enormously from election to election but part of it is forever Tory, and when the Tories do well, that section of the electorate swings heavily to them.

    The small farmer vote, such as there is in England, is Tory in many parts of the country except in the far south west where it is and always has been Liberal.

    I know many of the FF gene pool living in GB. Of those that vote there most vote Labour with a few voting Green or Lib Dems. None vote Tory.

    Recent years haven’t been the best for the Tories; watch some of them swing if the Tories pick up votes.

    Similarly, most Tories I know living in the South were self-declared PD supporters, but if the PDs go down the tank, where is there for them to go other than FF?

    Can’t see the parties (FF and Tories)being twinned for some time.

    There’s a huge overlap in policies and in attitudes. I don’t expect to see them twinned any time soon either but the comparison isn’t worthy of your off-hand dismissal. And from the point of view of Haughey, it all makes perfect sense.

  • Gréagóir O’ Fráinclín

    Eddie, a long lost relative of Charlie?

  • Gréagóir O’ Fráinclín

    Are you saying it was all right to rob banks if you were a ‘working class’ member of SF-IRA? You seem to have a problem with big business. Eddie Haughey has earned his money in a proper way. ”Yet we have SF-IRA members on a so-called ‘average’ wage with holiday homes in Donegal and further afield. But many Pan-Nationalists on here seem to think that is fine – their reward for murdering people in their homes in front of their families, planting bombs in busy city streets and torturing people before dumping their bodies along the border. Oh what great working class heroes – supported by the majority of Roman Catholics in NI.”

    Oh dear, oh dear…..
    Peace & Justice eats, sleeps and shits anti -IRA/Sinn Fein, Irish Republicanism, Irish Nationalism, the Gaelic language, the Fenians, Home Rule, The Free State, Eire, The Republic of Ireland, the Catholic Church, The President of Ireland, the Taoiseach, RTE, Riverdance, U2, Father Ted, Darby O’Gill, Leprecauns…and branding it all one and the same.

    The diatribes are quite entertaining.