Broadening horizons

It was put to me last night, when was the last time the UUP held the top story on the politics section of the BBC website? National and local blogs are talking about very little else today. Even nationalist bloggers are supportive.

Iain Dale is pleased that the discussions have been made public at a time of the UUP and Conservatives choosing. I became aware of the working group some months ago. Mark Devenport’s suggestion over the Euro elections is both a logical conclusion to arrive at, and a suggestion that has been made to me. This YouGov poll is encouraging, but also an indication of just how serious both parties are about this. That survey wasn’t conducted for a tenner.

Already I’m seeing correspondence from UUP members who range from being perplexed at being asked to sign up to a Tory pact when they are traditionally Labour supporting, to outraged at the suggestion. I fear for them that they are in a tiny minority. When even Lady Hermon is showing a willingness to engage with the prospect (and I suspect that she will agree), it’s clear that the loss of membership due to this (for there will be some) will be at least offset by a growth in support it will bring. The UUP would be mad to turn down this opportunity to ride the Tory wave. The DUP were insane to behave as they have in recent weeks and utterly alienate themselves from the next Government. Perhaps now they will understand that “everybody hates us and we don’t care” really doesn’t work.

There will be problems, most immediately with CAP policy, but when there is a will there is a way. And there is clearly a will.

  • Peter Bowles


    It would be remiss of me not to remind youn of some words that you previously spoke on another thread

    We’ve been over this ground before, and I think that it is clear that the Tories are dangerous to the Union, all over the Kingdom. From Scots being a second class part of the National Parliament to the “pro-union” nonsense in Northern Ireland, the Conservatives are not a party that Unionists can vote for anywhere in the Kingdom. Increasingly they are not a party that Conservatives can vote for either for that matter! Labour looks more and more like a party that I can support (Hain notwithstanding). I hope that John Reid gets the leadership myself.

    My pointing out that Cameron is not a Unionist is not bigotry, and it is grossly offensive for you to suggest that it is. Cameron making “pro-union” noises does not make him a Unionist. I don’t trust him because I don’t believe he is genuine, not because I am a bigot.

    Posted by Michael Shilliday on Nov 29, 2006 @ 06:44 PM

    I am glad to see you have had a change of heart and look forward to welcoming you to our party.

  • Michael Shilliday

    I did say there will be problems Peter. That will be one of them. But it will be good to see you back in the Party.

  • Michael

    Having blogged on this from an Irish perspective I think it is a big assumption to suggest irish blogs think this is the best longe term interests of the UUP.


  • Moochin Photoman
  • Parson

    Michael has indeed had a change of heart re: the Conservatives, but it is a welcome change. As I’ve already commented, I feel the potential arrangment will benefit both parties and I for one welcome it.

    The UUP has always encompassed broad strains of opinion, but I believe that they are are closest to the Conservatives, even allowing for Lady Hermon’s flirtations with Labour. In any case, the modern Labour Party is the Tory Party by another name…

  • Michael Shilliday


    You say I’ve moved, I think Cameron has. What Peter has dug up is two years old. I think his answers to the West Lothian question aren’t perfect, but the noises coming out of CCHQ these days are a million times better than they were then.

  • Supine Prop

    high five to bowles! shilliday slapped around with his own inconsistent drivel. it is hard to see how reg empey is negotiating with cameron from a position of strength, promise or potential. the deal, if it comes to fruition, will most certainly be the end of the uup as peter has stated.

    former cunningham house employee (and current uup member?) david christopher has had much to say on this issue on another thread. while uup members are slamming reg empey for apparently failing to consultat or present evidence supporting the political and actual benefit of such a deal to his party before this public statement, michael shilliday, in terms of his party’s governance and direction was either fully consulted and persuaded (along with his party’s ruling bodies?) or, more plausibly, he slavishly follows reg empey’s caprice because this move is coincidental with his own view. i wonder…

    if this is the high brow and admirably loyal stuff we can expect from the phalanx of keen and eager young unionists on their new website i can’t wait

  • Don’t hold the past words of Shillers against him. I remember his postings in 2005 about the Gimp sweeping to victory in South Belfast. Give him a break.

  • Michael Shilliday


    You “wonder” because that’s all you can do. You’ve moved yourself to a position of universal loathing to the point of not having a clue what is actually going on. Such a pity your ivory tower isn’t actually made of ivory.

    Just for a change, what do you think? If you do actually think anything at all. Agree with this?

  • Supine Prop


    i am very happy with the ivory content of my tower tvm.

    i think ‘not having a clue what is actually going on’ could best applied to those who satisfy themselves with commentating on events rather than having any inclination to shape them. but then again, you never had much of an imagination.

    on this issue primarily i think the uup is confused or misdirected. i can’t see any immediate gain for them, they merely cleave ‘anti-tory’ uup voters from their dwindling pile. preaching to people about ‘doing what is best for the country’ is usually best done from a political position in which you can implement your machinations.

    time will tell i suppose. if the uup romp home to overwhelming victory in the fermanagh by-election, i wonder how much of it will be down to the ‘sex appeal’ of a reg and dave union.

    but then, wonder is all i can do as a lowly voting minion. however, i think peter bowles did a good job in representing your thoughts and credibility on the issue. i would go so far as to say that the point he made is perhaps a constant rule and applicable for all of your statements, political or otherwise. ‘it’s two years old!!!’ :'(

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    Dear, dear. In an extremely hotly contested category this might just be the crappiest thread on Slugger.