Hearts and Minds: Junior and the succession…

The Hearts and Minds video seems to have improved in quality since moving to its new iPlayer site, but I don’t think last night’s programme is up to date yet. But we have this YouTube clip of an interesting confrontation between Basil McCrea and Jeffrey Donaldson, in which the latter does a nice job of smoke screening his own party’s difficulties by picking a fight with the former over the price David Trimble extracted on behalf of John Gorman, and Reg Empey: ie knighthoods Jeffrey’s line: “Ian Paisley was looking for things that were constituency matters, David Trimble was looking for personal favours”.

Most interesting is what Donaldson says in response to a question about the ‘succession’, evidently a hot topic amongst his fellow MPs, but according to himself not a matter that will be settled by parliamentarians like himself. An unprompted reference to the straw poll in the Irish Times yesterday?

  • pith

    It is clearly disgraceful that Trimble used negotiations to secure titles for his mates. The Rt Hon Jeffery Donaldson is right to question it. Yes that is the right honourable thing to do.

  • loki

    Gotta say, I enjoyed last night’s H&M;. Jeffrey really didn’t do a lot to back up Ian jr which is interesting in itself as it suggests that if Doc was still the main power they’d all be lining up to back Baby doc. Basil McCrea impresses me less and less every time I see him- he should stick to being the party boy of the UUP and stay away from the main show.
    More to come I’d say.

  • What I found interesting was Jeffrey Donaldson’s claim to ‘know where the bodies are buried’ in a bid to silence Basil McCrea’s complaints about sleaze in the DUP. Jeffrey, as he said himself, was there and that’s why he knows.

    If he knows about sleaze in the UUP, he’s under a duty to the public to spill the beans. Either that or he shouldn’t make claims. Or must the North set up an expensive tribunal to compel the likes of Donaldson to tell what he says he knows about political sleaze?

  • Gerry

    The bbc iplayer is only available in the UK, anyone outside of that cannot access it I’m told by friends in the US?? They can watch the u tube but not the iplayer.

    Good to see unionists scrabble among themselves.

  • [i]What I found interesting was Jeffrey Donaldson’s claim to ‘know where the bodies are buried’ in a bid to silence Basil McCrea’s complaints about sleaze in the DUP. Jeffrey, as he said himself, was there and that’s why he knows.

    If he knows about sleaze in the UUP, he’s under a duty to the public to spill the beans. Either that or he shouldn’t make claims. Or must the North set up an expensive tribunal to compel the likes of Donaldson to tell what he says he knows about political sleaze?
    Posted by OILibhear Chromaill on Jan 18, 2008 @ 09:17 PM[/i]

    I think its fair to assume that UUP sleaze is there too waiting to be uncovered, especially given the way McCrea promptly shut up after Donaldson’s threat. This leads me to two conclusions. Either there is UUP sleaze that Basil is involved in OR that the dirt is on Reggie and he wants to reveal that dirt himself in a bid to take Sir Emptyhead out himself.

    Given the nature of politics in this country and indeed politics in general it’s a bad idea to start flinging the monkey poo, the story of non-sinners casting the first stone definately applies here.

  • Alex S

    Lets be realistic, if wee Jeff knew of ‘buried bodies’ Robinson would have sent him out with torch and spade long ago.

    As for Paisley Jun and his requests, Paisley Sen is in crucial talks the success of which depend on his agreement, his son asks for a few favours, what’s an English politician to think

    Finally, is a Rt Hon of any value?

  • I disagree. The DUP may be a shower of knuckle dragging biggots but they are smart enough to realise that if they start flinging the monkey poo they’ll end up buried in it. The UUP are just a biggoted but with half the collective intelligence and more likely to start digging failing to realise that they are in the hole with the DUP already.

  • BonarLaw

    Alex s

    the prefix “Rt. Hon.” indicates membership if the Privy Ciuncil. The K’s for Trimbles’ mates was just the future FM trying his hand at sectional patronage.

  • BonarLaw

    oops, I’ve posted the Ulster Scots spelling of Council 😉

  • Still a UUP member

    The UUP are victims of its own success: look to the uncongenial divorce between traditional DUP in the guise of its former MEP Jim Allister QC and that of the Robinson led DUP with its dropping of the negative directives of sitting in separate studios while talking via an intermediary to Sinn Féin etc. The return to the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement by the DUP / Sinn Féin in 2007 demonstrates that the leap of faith by the UUP / SDLP was justified in 1998. Having been in the audience of many a UUP AGM and having listened to testimony from witnesses of IRA atrocities but only for them to continually to vote to ‘move on’ in the face of hostile MLA’s Machiavellian tactics I personally draw strength from these courageous people who, justifiably, could have said ‘no’. Being the mature consistent Unionist party, we can but humbly follow this brave soul and swallow all bitter pills, accept all knocks to our chin, and blows to our body in our endeavour to ‘move on’.
    If a photograph tells a thousand words then the infamous one of Paisley and his once sworn enemy Adams, then his co-equal in power McGuinness is infinitely more conclusive than the illusive photograph of IRA weaponry of mass destruction. A party who canvassed on the back of anti-agreement is now pro-agreement in essence. The party that sought power ought to accept its responsibility and act as fiduciaries. The Sweeny Affair does not bode well for the DUP Junior Minister of the OFMDFM as it would amount to dismissal elsewhere, nor does it look good as the burden of apparent bias is placed on his ministerial colleague’s ‘minded’ decision as an inference of constructive knowledge could be construed between DUP MLAs. This may not be the UUP’s proudest moment but indirectly we have much to be proud about and while the DUP Minister can carve up the budget pie to serve their own political ends the UUP will still exist to represent those who want an alternative to deep Orange and Green politics.

  • BonarLaw

    Still a UUP member

    I too remember one of AGMs you describe and for me it started the process slow divorce from the UUP. From where I was sitting the mobilisation by the Trimble faction of a sympathetic victim as opposed to engaging in a reasoned debate was sickening.

    BTW the UUP has nothing to be proud of from 1998 unless, of course, you count the Ks for Sir Reg and Sir John in the credit balance.

  • pith

    Bonar Law,

    In Northern Ireland traditionally only the leader of the largest (unionist) party qualified for membership of the Privy Counil – the real Privy Council not the little local one. These days just like a knighthood, it is a trinket sponged from negotiations with the British government.

  • Still a UUP member

    As you know Bonarlaw today the Royal Prerogative of honours etc is vested in the Government of the day. The leading parties all have a right of putting candidates forward for one purpose or the another: be it for being Paisley’s wife or Trimble as outgoing UUP leader. No one is above abusing the system as Blair demonstrated and Lloyd George decades before him.