New junior minister announced

Another unlikely event.. Ian Paisley Jnr officially resigns, with “deep humility”, apparently.. and the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson, MP, MLA, is sworn in as the new Northern Ireland Executive junior minister. Which just leaves the question of what next for the Paisley brand.. Adds As Mark Devenport points out, the resignation itself took all of 26 seconds.

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  • I named Jeffrey as the front runner shortly after the resignation with Gregory as my second choice. I wonder if either was involved in the alleged secret meetings with McGuinness at St Andrews and earlier.

  • Greenflag

    Congratulations to the wee corporal 🙂 And if it doesn’t work out FF will keep the door open :)!

  • joeCanuck

    What do Jim Allister and Hilary Clinton have in common?

  • I’m hearing that Junior had a wee nibble in Ballymena on Saturday and that the manager was tempted to offer him Lobster Sweeney

  • Llamedos

    MP,MLA,Councillor,Junior Minister,PSNI.Board member,PC,What other Committees? His web site is not very explicite nor up to date . Lets have a statement of all his incomes from all sources as well as all the offices and committee memberships he holds including all his activities.Otherwise he will be subjected to the drip,drip,drip erosion of his credibility and eventually the loss of his position like Junior.Triple mandates are an insult to the electorate and should be stopped forthwith.Donaldson has never had a job outside politics in his working life so he has no outside experience to bring to the political table apart from being a highly consumate consumer of excessive amounts of public money.Does the word hypocracy come to mind.

  • “I’m hearing that Junior had a wee nibble in Ballymena on Saturday and that the manager was tempted to offer him Lobster Sweeney ..”

    Actually I’m led to believe that IP Jr does frequent Montgomeries.

  • joeCanuck

    Lobster?, Nevin.

    Isn’t that the crustacean that goes red in the face when caught in hot water.
    Not really like Junior or his pal.

  • Jeffrey Donaldson: “Partner in The Financial Research Partnership; independent financial advisers and estate agents.”

    I see no company of that name in the Companies Registry but there is an address in Lisburn.

  • Chekov, if you follow the ‘wee nibble’ link … It would appear that our sources are reasonably reliable.

  • Joe, it’s reassuring to know that Junior, Robinson and Donaldson have some expertise in the world of property. Perhaps Junior can become one of Ritchie’s SpAds.

  • Blooper

    Joe Canuck

    I don’t know, what do Jim Allister and Hillary Clinton have in common?

  • Mike C

    Nevin clearly has too much time on his hands if he is looking up the Companies Registry. Perhaps if he spent more time reading a book on company law he would note that partnerships are not registered there but companies are. Maybe he was hoping that there would be another “Sarcon Limited”.

  • Mike, company law sounds far too dry!! Can you shed some light on the registration of partnerships? And on the mysterious Sarcon (No []) Limited 😉

  • joeCanuck

    I think they both sound increasingly desperate, Blooper.

  • Mike C

    “Mike, company law sounds far too dry!! Can you shed some light on the registration of partnerships? And on the mysterious Sarcon (No []) Limited 😉

    Posted by Nevin on Feb 26, 2008 @ 02:21 PM”

    My former lecturer in Company Law once told us to ensure we had someone with us at all times if we ever read the Companies (NI) Order just in case we slipped into a coma. Quite simply unless it is an LLP (limited liability partnership) it doesn’t have to be registered although there are rules governing them… if you care to check out the Partnership Act 1890… again it may help to have someone sitting with you armed with a prodding stick.

  • Mike C

    Just in relation to the mysterious Sarcon (No[]) Limited. It could be any of the shelf companies with that name. It could have been purchased, as these things are, solely for the Ballee lands (if I recall that’s what you had said it was associated with). You will find with these shelf companies that they are generally one size fits all memorandum and articles of association. A companies name can be changed by resolution but a lot of the time it really isn’t worth the bother. I think you’d previously said that Sarcon was the name used by Carson McDowell for its shelf companies, if that’s the case there could be huge numbers for as you would know that particular firm is quite a big player in commercial transactions in NI. I would suspect that the missing number is a clerical error….which do sometimes occur.

  • Blooper

    Absolutely. His latest buy from Amzon.com forming the basis for his press utterances? Challenging a group of people to sue, when he knows a group can’t be libelled. Depressing stuff.

    Kind of reminds of the famous Dick Nixon quote, what’ll Jim Allister do with himself now that he doesn’t have Paisley Jumior to kick around anymore?

  • Yes, Mike, Sarcon is an anagram of Carson. I’ve mentioned it in connection with the Ballee lands and with the Paisley office in Ballymena (Sarcon No 250 Limited).

    Sarcon Compliance Limited is company secretary to Sarcon No 250 Limited but appears not to have registered the (alleged) change of director from Sweeney to Currie, Junior’s father-in-law, within the required 14 days.

    I understand LJ Campbell’s office will redress the ‘clerical error’ for the benefit of journalists and others who seek to follow the paper trails.

  • Rory

    “enjoy the finest food Ballymena has to offer.”

    Now who could resist such temptation? Gourmands across the globe will now be engrossed in their Michelin guides to discover where this paradise of Ballymena might be.

    They will be especially tempted by the guarantee that “food is prepared freshly every day” which I am sure will be a refreshing change from yesterday’s leftover slops type of fare served up by those restuarants in London, Paris and New York.

    Perhaps there may be a future for Juniour as a restuarant critic with the New Yorker.

  • Blooper, if I understand the press release correctly, he’s not referring to the actions of a group but to individuals.

    “If this is a false claim, then can we expect libel proceedings by the 9 DUP MPs as each of them could claim to be defamed if no such meeting took place.”

  • Blooper

    Who cares? He’s scraping the barrell and he knows it.

    He was at St. Andrews. What happened to him? Did the DUP lock him in a broom cupboard the whole time? – maybe they should have. It’s mischief making.

  • PeaceandJustice

    Mike C – “Nevin clearly has too much time on his hands”

    Nevin, as you have so much time on your hands, could you start looking up details of Sinn Fein PIRA linked companies? The money from all their robberies didn’t just disappear.

    Take your pick from the Sinn Fein PIRA list of MLAs. While such terrorists have different ways of ‘cleaning’ their money, what about the business men who have helped them?

  • Mike C

    It seems that Jim’s well has run dry… even if the meeting did take place doesn’t it even matter now?

  • Ian

    “MP,MLA,Councillor,Junior Minister,PSNI.Board member… Triple mandates are an insult to the electorate and should be stopped forthwith.”

    There’s a statutory bar on Ministers being a member of the Policing Board, so he’ll have to resign his position on it.

  • We needed some thing to move and fill up the space
    We needed some thing this always is just the case
    Jefrey with one f Jefrey took up his place
    Sat on the carpet and with tablas in hand took up the chase.

    Jefrey with one f Jefrey
    Now it occurred to me as he drove away,
    D = R x T

    Jefrey with one f, one f
    Jefrey with one f, one f

    Spacious, he’s so spacious, Jefrey with one f, one f
    Jefrey with one f, one f, one f.

  • Ian

    Donaldson, that is.

  • x

    I was at St Andrews too! There were alot of DUP members kept in the Dark. Any honest person will tell you, the DUP delegation was so large that the vast bulk just drank the free coffee and ate the cream buns.

    So unless you were a member of the former uup “advisory” group, the Paisley family or the Robinson clan you were surplus to requirements.

    Clearly Jimbo, boxcar Willie, homer Simpson and the other cartoon politicians were kept as far away from the decisions as possible

  • Greenflag

    ‘Donaldson has never had a job outside politics in his working life so he has no outside experience to bring to the political table apart from being a highly consumate consumer of excessive amounts of public money.’

    Oh No not another NI career politician. Not even a little sideline ‘religion’ revenue producer ?

    ‘Does the word hypocracy come to mind.’

    Indeed it does but to be fair to JD he’s only half as much again a hypocrite as the electorate he serves, for some 70% of Northern Ireland’s income is generated by ‘public’ money, much of it from the English taxpayer .

    Let him who is without sin cast the first etc etc !

    He timed his last political jump to perfection. This lad has Janus appeal and should get to the top sooner or later . Not afraid to talk to Republicans to get his point across either .

  • “Spacious, he’s so spacious, Jefrey with one f, one f
    Jefrey with one f, one f, one f.”

    Now I’m going to sing the Perry Mason theme.

  • The Serpent

    Sammy Morse: ““Spacious, he’s so spacious, Jefrey with one f, one f Jefrey with one f, one f, one f.”

    To anyone a little confused… “Space ( I Believe In) ” By The Pixies. Cracking song.

  • Ian

    Donaldson was in the curious position for a while where he had been talking to Republicans whilst still in the UUP, but then was barred from doing so once he jumped ship until March 2007 (unless those rumours of ‘secret talks’ are true).

  • darth rumsfeld

    Junior resigns with deep humility!

    How words originate-
    “Humility” must therefore be brown and steaming, and originally from the word “hum”

  • Triple mandate

    Robinson stood down as councillor because of the conflict of interest that being minister would have cost. Lets see Jefferey do the same.
    If Robinson done in then no doubt a future judicial review of his many roles is on the cards!

  • SW

    Robinson stood down from local government because, as finance minster allocating money to local councils, there’s a clear conflict of interest, as was the case for Arlene Foster (DOE takes in local government) in Fermanagh I think.

    Nigel Dodds, Edwin Poots, Reg Empey, Michael McGimpsey are still councillors in Lisburn/Belfast are they not?

  • interested

    Triple Mandate
    Robinson stood down because of a conflict of interest with being the Finance Minister, not a Minister per se.

    I’m not particularly defending multiple mandates – and I think the weight of opinion is shifting towards a situation where there won’t be so many. However the public knew how many jobs Donaldson had before they elected him as a Councillor so I suppose we blame the people!

    We can add Margaret Ritchie to the Minister/Councillors combo – she’s not stood down from Down DC either.

  • “While such terrorists have different ways of ‘cleaning’ their money, what about the business men who have helped them?”

    P&J;, I think you’ll find that the loyalist and republican paramilitary mafia have got plenty of willing ‘facilitators’: bankers, accountants, solicitors et al.

    Sadly, some of the folks you have in mind probably have exemptions from prosecution in the sense that they are critical components of the appeasement (OOPS) peace process.

  • “I suppose we blame the people!”

    Perhaps, Interested, but you could also blame the parties for their selection procedures.

  • Llamedos

    The appointment of Jeffrey Donaldson as Junior Executive Minister in the Office of the First Minister is the first real chance that he has had in a twenty seven year long political career to demonstrate that he possesses a real intellectual depth which will propel him from being a single issue bigot to his hopefully becoming a statesman.

    The promotion virtually places him in the position of First Minister, as the present incumbent is in a position similar to Churchill in his last ministry; however Paisley is no Churchill so the mantle of Rab Butler will be easier for Donaldson. Thus he will be able to dominate policy and its implementation more easily.

    Donaldson should now become a truly secular politician and break his relationships with the Orange Order; this is a prop he now cannot use for the electorate to take him seriously. He also wants to stop doing the Christian judgemental odour free jobs make it his own private affair and not use as another electoral crutch.

    If he makes this jump of faith he could well mould conservative unionism back into one party which would be The UUP/Conservative party and lead this politically fragmented province back into playing a useful and fully constructive part in UK government. Where we might even see Northern Ireland MPs in the cabinet, which would send out the right signals to the rest of the UK electorate and rid us of the negative image that half a century of Paisleyism has given, that term is known universally and is not a complimentary term.

    He will also have to take the lead on multiple mandates and the financial abuse of allowances by politicians of all levels in regretfully all parties. Donaldson at the age of forty five now has a chance to make a really great contribution to the future well being of this province. His membership of both parties enables him to achieve great things he is way ahead of Robinson and, though not as intellectually well equipped as Dodds, he is the better communicator. Both are well respected at Westminster by the Conservatives.

    Churchill achieved his elevation to PM by as he put it “ratting twice” we will now see now whether Donaldson can carry corn and become a statesman respected across the divide and bring back real issue socio-economic politics to this province with it’s present apology for a governmental structure.

  • Llamedos, Donaldson appears to be a political lightweight, one with limited leadership potential.

  • Lisburn Constituency Office and Advice Centre

    The Old Town Hall
    29 Castle Street
    Lisburn
    BT27 4DH”

    29 Castle Street is missing from the 2007 5th revaluation List:

    ” 27D Flat (2nd Floor) £180.00
    add 27E Flat (2nd Floor) £125.00
    add 31 Offs Stores (Basement,gd,1st) £11,100.00
    add 33 Offs Stores (Basement,gd)£2,700.00″

  • Turgon

    Nevin,
    You beat me to it. Llamedos presents an interesting and novel analysis but I am unconvinced that Donaldson has the political gravitas needed. The nonsense over McCann and the Farrell commemoration being a case in point.

    I am also unconvinced about his popularity in the DUP. I know that years ago some people in the UUP thought he was too nakedly ambitious and what has transpired since seems to simply confirm that view. I do suspect he will become justice minister as and when the DUP agree to this but I doubt he will get much higher, I would be very surprised if the UUP would welcome him back and I doubt Jim Allister will be courting his defection very assiduously.

  • cut the bull

    According to unconfirmed reports it’s rumoured that several mebers of the DUP were heard celebrating and singing this song up in Stormont today.

    One of whom was said to be doing a mean impression of Daniel O’Donnell seemed to be especially delighted while singing at the top of his voice,

  • cut the bull

    According to unconfirmed reports it’s rumoured that several mebers of the DUP were heard celebrating and singing this song up in Stormont today.

    One of whom was said to be doing a mean impression of Daniel O’Donnell seemed to be especially delighted while singing at the top of his voice,

    Good-bye-ee
    Young Ian lied away
    Talking shit day by day
    With a smile on his lips
    and his Junior Ministers pips
    upon his shoulder bright and gay
    As the Shinners moved in we said,
    ‘Remember all your false words.’
    We should’ve gagged his jaw
    warning him, never mind his Da
    Shouting out these prophetic words:
    Goodbye-ee, goodbye-ee,
    Wipe the tear, baby Doc dear, from your eye-ee,
    Tho’ it’s hard to part I know,
    We’ll be tickled to death to see you go.
    Don’t cry-ee, dont sigh-ee,
    just learn to stop telling lie-ee’s,
    Slan leat, young Doc, cheer-i-o, chin, chin,
    Nah-poo, toodle-oo, Goodbye-ee.
    At the Assembly the party knew,
    The Junior Ministry wasn’t for you,
    We’re glad to hear Jeffrey, a turn coat from the UUP,
    Sing all the old, old songs she knew.
    Then she made a speech and said,
    “Thanks big Ian, I’ll do this job with pride,
    And to thank you all I’m going to promise every one”,
    That I swear I’ll never ever lie,

    Goodbye-ee, goodbye-ee,
    Wipe the tear, baby Doc dear, from your eye-ee,
    Tho’ it’s hard to part I know,
    We’ll be tickled to death to see you go.
    Don’t cry-ee, dont sigh-ee,
    just learn to stop telling lie-ee’s,
    Slan leat, young Doc, cheer-i-o, chin, chin,
    Nah-poo, toodle-oo, Goodbye-ee.

  • Turgon, some years ago I pointed out to Robinson and Donaldson how Mowlam gave us the Belfast Agreement Plus via the Common Chapter in Ireland 2000-2006 ie Mowlam moved matters such as East-West infrastructure from Strand 3 to Strand 2. It seemed to go right over Jeffrey’s head – and Peter was too busy playing musical ministerial chairs.

  • cut the bull

    Imagine if you were a former Junior Minister what could you do to keep your self busy with the extra time you would now have.

    You call always take up a new hobby or past time to help you forget your problems maybe fishing no, no that helps create problems or golf no,no, no thats just as bad.

    I’ve got it train spotting it has certain appeal to it. You can listen to the familiar and resonating sound of the trains SPOOF, SPOOOF, SPOOOOOFFF.

    Aye, sure it makes you feel right at home.

  • shuggy the skirt

    Stick at the song-writing, CTB

  • cut the bull

    I will ha ha

  • BonarLaw

    Junior minster or shadow Justice Minister?

    In any event this is the first step of the Robinson take over. Before today I thought the May investment conference would be the ideal full stop for our First Minister. I sense that now people see the Queens’ visit on Maunday Thursday as the lap of honour.

  • McGrath

    Junior minster or shadow Justice Minister?

    In any event this is the first step of the Robinson take over. Before today I thought the May investment conference would be the ideal full stop for our First Minister. I sense that now people see the Queens’ visit on Maunday Thursday as the lap of honour.

    Posted by BonarLaw on Feb 26, 2008 @ 11:53 PM

    Two or three weeks ago you where dismissing my prediction of Junior exiting with Senior soon to follow, strange days indeed, most peculiar.

  • Butterknife

    Just mooting an idea:

    Jeffery is a a member of the Orange Order and a well known advocate of Christians in Parliament so would this be an attempt by Paisley to prevent a Robinson knive in the back sooner rather than later for i can’t see a Robinson/Donaldson tag team happening.

    What has happened to Willie McCrea MLA? Must be awful knowing that these former UUP blow ins are getting prime jobs over them.

  • BonarLaw

    Butterknife

    “i can’t see a Robinson/Donaldson tag team happening”

    Then wake up. It’s reality now and will develop further when Robinson takes the top job.

    “What has happened to Willie McCrea MLA?”

    Billy Wright happened. RIP career.

  • darth rumsfeld

    someone last night rather unkindly summed up Jeffrey’s political career to me as follows-

    1984 Enoch Powell’s bag carrier
    1988 Jim Molyneaux’s bag carrier
    1996 David Trimble’s bag carrier
    2008 Ian Paisley’s bag carrier

    It was pointed out that the one time he had the opportunity to lead- in 2001/2 when he could have brought Trimble down by a leadership challenge- he bottled it. Hence a career reaches its deserved apogee. But will Punt keep him on in a few months when the old man finally goes? I thnk not

  • Darth, at the time of the Trimble v Smyth contest for the leadership a friend of mine had a brief conversation with Jeffrey in the gents after the result was announced. My friend put it to Jeffrey that if he’d stood he would have won to which Jeffrey allegedly responded, “Sure, there’ll always be another day”.

    Cometh the hour, cometh the man – but that man is IMO unlikely to be Jeffrey.

  • BonarLaw

    Nevin

    being leader of the UUP would have burried Jeffrey in Reg-esq obscurity. I think that even then he saw his future as part of a realigned unioniosm.

  • Inspetor Clouseau

    The UUP would have been as divided under JD as Trimble.

  • Whatever happened to Union First, Bonar, it doesn’t get a mention in his bio? Jeffrey threw in his lot with the DUP and, judging by the Dromore result, fragmentation continues.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “being leader of the UUP would have buried Jeffrey in Reg-esq obscurity. I think that even then he saw his future as part of a realigned unionism.”

    “The UUP would have been as divided under JD as Trimble.”

    I’m not so sure about either point. Firstly, Trimble benefitted from a large supine rump that unthinkingly backed him just because he was the leader, and I think they would have simply transferred their passivity to buttress Jeffrey, while the liberals would have been unable to mount a sustained opposition, lacking numbers talent, and courage. They would have retreated to the wings and whinged as they did under Molyneaux.

    Yes, Unionism would always have realigned, but a Donaldson-led UUP and a Robinson-led DUP would have coalesced, and Jeffrey wouldn’t have been left scrabbling for a junior ministry. Arguably the UUP vote would have held up and there would have been two evenly divided Unionist parties, which is the only way that competition works for the benefit of pan-Unionism.

    “Cometh the hour, cometh the man – but that man is IMO unlikely to be Jeffrey.”
    Agrred. it’s all downhill from now on.

  • steve48

    Jeffrey never had the bottle to take the leadership instead wanting it handed to him on a plate. That just doesnt happen and for lessons in how to bring about change he has an opportunity to learn from a frontrow seat.

  • Inspetor Clouseau

    Darth,

    I remember those heady days differently. By the time that JD had a reasonable shot at the leadership there was a prominent group of agitators that backed Trimble as a way of making sure JD and Co couldn’t ever (ever-ever-ever) lead the party. Their agitation would have made it impossible for a united party. All they had to do was keep bussing in the blue rinses from Fermanagh.

  • “the blue rinses from Fermanagh”

    Would that be the “36-24-36 Club”, Clousseau, tea-makers to the “24 Club”?

  • x

    Jeffrey, could have lead the UUP even up the point of Trimble’s resignation had he still been around. In a strange way he still possibly could! but his judgement has been very poor all along.

    Anybody who remembers all those interminable UUC meetings will recall JD never knew when to accept a compromise and when to press for the kill. On two occasions he clearly called it wrong – so IMO he doesn’t have the ability to judge. Robo may have given him this position as a poisoned chalice to smooth in the policing and justice. Any unionist who does this willeither have to be very clever and politically astute or will go down in flames – you decide!

  • darth rumsfeld

    “All they had to do was keep bussing in the blue rinses from Fermanagh.”

    An excellent argument for repartition- and as a bonus, we’d hjave lost Arlene!!

  • Turgon

    But Darth I might have lost Elenwe

  • darth rumsfeld

    Turgon, I hate to say it, but as a general rule of thumb,where the Presbyterians ain’t, ain’t woth having. Hence we should have kept the Laggan in 1921. But Fermanagh -though a place Presbyterians know of, and even occasionally holiday in, has long been a foreign land to us. It would not really have been missed.

    In earlier times the maps would have said “Here be Anglicans” at Londonderrygonnelly and we’d have nodded wisely and stayed away.
    We have about 3 churches there.The indefatigable race that is the Ulster Scot took a look , and saw that the farmland was underwater, so moved to easier pickings. And generally speaking, the less Ulster Scots an area, the more reasonable and accommodating the people- which of course is ideal in normal times, but no use in the constitutional struggle we have been engaged in. This is why out fellow Britons don’t like us: we are thrawn and proud of it. But if we hadn’t been thrawn, we’d have been sold down the river centuries ago.

  • Turgon

    Darth,
    You are of course correct. I fear there is no hope for me as if and when we finally move to Fermanagh I will end up being an Independent Methodist which is an odd combination of non Calvinism and fundamentalism. Ah well such is life, I suppose it has been predestined.

  • BonarLaw

    Turgon

    I don’t want to question the fair Elenwes’ antecedents but your arrival amongst the dreary steeples (anglican no doubt)must do wonders for the depth of the gene pool.

  • Dewi

    “Finally move to Fermanagh” – Turgon – you have been on about this for about 20 years. Get on with it mun.

  • Karl Rove

    The sulphur reeks, the arras swishes open, and for a one-off, Frank Sinatra-retirement tour special, a few words.

    In the First Instance
    I’ve just taken down the relevant volume of Johnston-Liik’s History of the Irish Parliament to stare once again at sundry bewigged ancestors in Francis Wheatley’s portrait of the Commons: now there was an assembly properly constituted. Admittedly, in a story of decline and fall almost as painful as that of the Northern Counties Club, the pass had already been sold as early as 1707, in terms of letting Presbyterians sit in the place, but there we are. Or rather, here we are, and such nonsense, and from traditional Unionists to boot on this thread. Still, a fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi, as Enoch might have said. Which is to say – in what sense for anyone (especially resiling Ulster Unionists) is the wee man’s appointment *not* good news?

    Let’s start with the guff first (and I don’t mean tawdry autospeak like Llamedos’ “single issue bigot” cr*p). We have Turgon pronouncing Donaldson ‘nakedly’ ambitious, albeit while we have plenty of other posters denouncing him for not going for the UU leadership. So which is it? Well God knows, he’s doubtless ambitious enough – but do we really want unambitious politicians? Sure, the ultra Tory in me quite likes the idea of MPs going off to Westminster so bereft of personal ambition that all they want to do is get back to the demesne and recategorise their collection of stuffed penguins. But seriously: personal ambition = credible vice. Yet that’s the thing. Donaldson plainly wasn’t acting solely, or even largely out of naked self-interest in taking on Trimble. Quite, as the numpties (Reg, the Gimp &c;) demonstrated, the reverse. They stayed quiet, facilitated the Turtle’s comprehensive destruction of both the UUP’s electoral dominance, and, much of the lineaments of Unionism’s structural narrative (letting go so easily of Molyneauxesque requirements for ‘decontamination’ being amongst his worst mistakes). Whereas Donaldson fought him, at some personal cost, in terms of both reputation and the easy life so utterly sacrificed. I appreciate quite a few posters of this thread did their bit too, but it’s slightly more than ludicrous to knock Donaldson for the factional leadership he and he alone offered us.

    If all those UUC’s had just been about his UU preferment, then Donaldson could of course have gripped at the edges for effect, then been bought off. That’s not quite how I remember it all panning out. But then we come onto the absurdity that he mishandled internal opposition to Trimble? How was that exactly? By, er, being the sole, effective focal point of it at every stage of the revolt? And if you doubt that, just think on where ‘Agreement sceptic’ Ulster Unionism has got to since Donaldson left the UUP. Rallied behind Burnside has it? Uh, no. For what it’s worth, I think Donaldson shouldn’t have fretted quite so much about being seen to be ‘in it for himself’ if he staged a leadership bid, and should instead have, in the, erm, slightly unhelpful precedent of Albert Reynolds/Paul Keating, challenged the failing incumbent (Trimble/Haughey/Hawke). He’d have lost the first contest, but then he’d equally surely have won the second, after Trimble equally surely loused up his ‘second chance’. Or so I said.

  • Karl Rove

    In the Second Instance
    What’s been so silly about this thread has been the rewriting of the past. How exactly was Donaldson demonised by those against him (which at the start of this decade included pretty much everyone from, our own government, through the nationalist parties, the Free State government, the American administration and the BBC – an all out co-prosperity sphere of stupidity in fact [apologies to David Frum])? Why that he was a ‘splitter’ and a wrecker’, who loved intrigue for its own sake, blah, blah, Belfast Telegraph leaden prosed blah. So here’s an extraordinary thing – how has he behaved, after Trimble drove him out of the UUP? Has there been intrigue, has he caused splits? I can’t see any evidence for it inside the DUP: can anyone else?

    So here we come to it: self-evidently this is the beginning of the end for the Paisleys. In hoariest of Ulster argot: good riddance to bad rubbish. Robinson is making his move, and not before time. This, ultimately, is about *him*, not Donaldson. Do we think that Robinson replacing Paisley strengthens Unionism or weakens it? Do we believe that promoting such talent as Unionism has available to it is a better course than the one the Turtle followed – fearfully and in every instance appointing third rate lackies and fourth rate yes-men? Call me a sentimentalist, but Donaldson’s CV to my eye is as about as good as it gets for a modern Unionist politician. There simply isn’t a demonstrably more able alternative, and at some point, those of us who argued against the Agreement, loathed Paisley for 30 years, and think that Republicanism awaits its juridical reckoning, have got to ask ourselves, what do we want? I want able Unionism ably prosecuted by able Unionists. Donaldson in office is a step firmly in the right direction, and a step away from the political incompetence that has gripped us – even you grim, toiling dissenters milling about outside the kitchen garden’s famine-relief walls waiting for this month’s farmers’ market to start so you can buy the good lady wife some organic corn fed ducks’ eggs for her breakfast – for a generation.

    Hoorah sez I, and that, I hope, is that.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I will end up being an Independent Methodist which is an odd combination of non Calvinism and fundamentalism. Ah well such is life, I suppose it has been predestined. ”

    Fair enough. I could never fault a man for being a Calvinist, and I think Rev Robert Bradford was an Independent Methodist. He preached the best sermon I have ever heard in a Presbyterian pulpit-on predestination as it happens.

    But be honest, unless you’ve got webbed feet Fermanagh’s a bit …well…dull. It doesn’t even aspire to being dreich, like much of Tyrone. And when you’ve lived in the high octane paradise that is Londonderry, anything’s a disappointment!

  • darth rumsfeld

    Karl
    all good points, but I respectfully argue slightly incomplete. Theoretically JD is in the front rank of Unionist leaders- the triumvirate of Punt, Dodds, and Allister added to himself being a match for any opponent. The late George Dawson was another shrewd cookie

    However, he has noticably shrunk in the DUP, and his supine adoration of the Ould Croc would embarass even the most devoted Free P.

    The way the DUP overpromoted Poots, Junior, and Foster, nevermind throwing peerages away on Eileen and the other drones is a damning indictment of the party. Not a cheep came from JD or the supposed leader-in-waiting as these aberrations were allowed. Such chances to build a movement are too rare to waste.

    Pre-Monday Jeffrey was reduced to sectarian stunts like the SAS invite. You just felt his heart wasn’t in it any more.

    I fear he’ll become an effective technocrat- the ultimate backroom boy. Unionism needs to see the present arrangements as a phase in the struggle ( as the Shinners do). He saw the big picture once- can Jeffrey do so again as junior minister? Because you can’t see Robinson or Dodds ever rocking the boat. And if he doesn’t, the “Folks on the Hill” will do for him as surely as “Spitting Image” did for David Steel, with the caricature becoming the reality.

  • BonarLaw

    darth

    I agree that junior minister seems a little demeaning to the man who laid low Trimbleism especially considering those who currently are ministers proper (Poots FFS!). However, let’s hold fire until after Doc Croc exits stage left- if Donaldson remains junior then his career is over. If he becomes Justice Minister then it could go either way.

  • Inspetor Clouseau

    “The way the DUP overpromoted Poots, Junior, and Foster, nevermind throwing peerages away on Eileen and the other drones is a damning indictment of the party.”

    Some of the above was to keep the Oul Fella sweet. I agree with BonarLaw however the post Paisley era has more significance than the career of JD.

  • snakebrain

    Sorry to drag things waaayyy back to the beginning but Steven Montgomery cracked the IPJ-Lobster joke with me months ago, 20 Dec to be precise. I suppose he’s not exactly dining out on it, but its a near thing.

    Incidentally, the foods ok, nothing exciting or fancy but he does own a farm that produces really top-grade meats and if you’re lucky, you’ll get some in there. Coffee’s shite though in my humble.

    Oh dear, first comment in months and I’m gonna get Mick done on the Irish News precedent….

  • Reader

    darth rumsfeld: nevermind throwing peerages away on Eileen and the other drones
    I’m not convinced of this view. The DUP has a fairly shallow talent pool, and needs to keep its energetic people in the electoral battles while there are new seats to be won. The peerages surely went to people who would otherwise have to drop out of representative politics anyway. They may be able to offer up effective people as peers once the number of MLA and MP seats levels off for them, or if they can attract some decent people to the party. Until then, it will be drones and crones.