While waiting for the working group

The UUP and Tories are keeping their new relationship in the news by drip feeding the results of their YouGov poll. In response to the new developments the DUP seems to be adopting a little bit of everything response. Today Edwin Poots challenged Sir Reg Empey about an attack on Orange Order and UUP MLA David McNarry placed on the local Conservatives website (now removed). Despite its removal it was defended by the local Conservative responsible for policy (pdf file) complaining about:

“the tribal swamp that masquerades as Ulster/Protestant Culture”

UUP MLA Tom Elliott issued a firm denial of any break in the relationship:

“the DUP was relentlessly trying to interfere in the UUP-Tory talks and would not be ditching its support and links with the Order.”

Previously Nelson McCausland asked about the impact on left-leaning UUP members and voters. Fred Cobain welcomed the moves in the interests of the Union but added the caveat that:

He has reserved judgement on what talks could mean for policy, until they are concluded.

Alastair Ross queried the UUP stance on academic selection. The local Conservatives undermined the ‘national politics’ narrative when they responded:

“Party policy for the rest of the UK has to reflect different situations in other regions. Unlike Northern Ireland most parts of GB do not have a selection based post-primary system. Therefore Party policy has to reflect different local circumstances.”

They have also shone a spotlight on the re-emergence of Lord Trimble, under whom’s leadership the electoral damage was done to the UUP. Also the issue of abortion could be brought into the mix if the NI amendment is accepted when Parliament meets again.

While the big idea may be attractive to both the Conservatives and Ulster Unionists, the detail of policy and organisational relationship will make for some tough decisions. Will the UUP opt for a wholesale alliance and the policy shifts that will involve or a looser relationship to allow for some key differences, which weakens the national politics narrative? Will the local Conservatives be willing to be silent to suit UUP needs? While these questions are being mulled the DUP is attempting to make hay and the Conservative and UUP public responses seem to be narrowing their options towards a looser relationship.

UPDATE Recently Peter Robinson has attacked Tory plans on the Union but left the door open for a deal in a hung parliament (H/T Oneill).

  • frustrated democrat

    Essentialist

    Absolute rubbish, the UUP and Conservative position on Grammar schools in NI is quite clear they support them. And that is clearly on the record for all that bother to look to see.

  • Blackmouth

    Mauvemouth

    Where did I claim David Cameron had said he was opposed to grammar schools? He simply said he would build any more and they were a waste of time….

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6658613.stm

  • Blackmouth

    Conquistador

    Silly you indeed. Your admission of silliness is accepted and forgiven. Although being lectured by a UUP supporter on going into government with Sinn Fein after they had been forced to decommission and after they had been made to sign up to support policing and the rule of law (something the UUP never even thought about when they were the lead party of Unionism) is quite funny.

    “would not build” not “would build”

  • Blackmouth

    Someone phone Nick Assinder and tell him he’s a liar:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6660537.stm

  • Anyshadeofanythingmouth

    Blackmouth;

    The following is your quote from the top of page 4;

    ‘The Tories said they were against grammar schools’.

    Therefore, you did say that. Also, and I urge you to check, write a letter to Mr Cameron or Mr Paterson if you will, the Conservative Party supports academic selection and grammar schools in NI.

  • Blackmouth

    But Mr Cameron dismissed the MPs’ concerns saying: “I think this is an entirely pointless debate.”

    “He (Cameron) said history had shown that establishing grammar schools was “extremely difficult and… often leads to them being very unpopular and they are then got rid of”.

    He added: “In 18 years of Conservative government, we didn’t create a whole big number of grammar schools because parents fundamentally don’t want their children divided into sheep and goats at the age of 11.”

    Hardly a ringing endorsement, eh?

  • Redmouth

    Blackmouth,

    I will say it one final time…

    Write to Mr Cameron/Mr Paterson or whoever takes your fancy and ask them what the position is of the Conservative party reagrding academic selection and grammar schools in Northern Ireland.

    I know what the answer is but it would appear that the word of a mere fool like myself is not plausible!

  • Blackmouth

    Redmouth

    “I know what the answer is but it would appear that the word of a mere fool like myself is not plausible!”

    Agreed.

  • Redmouth

    Blackmouth,

    I am more than happy to bow to their superior position.

    đŸ™‚

  • Blackmouth

    No cap-doffing to Old Etonians here! Thanks very much! LOL!

  • Redmouth

    Should have seen that coming!

  • Conquistador

    Blackmouth: Although being lectured by a UUP supporter

    I am non aligned. Although this is not the first time a slugger DUP started putting labels on me just because I don’t unquestionly accept all that the DUP does

  • Blackmouth

    Conquistador

    Fair enough, my mistake, although when I read your endorsement of George Savage on another thread I thought you were a UUP supporter (or insane!) LOL!

    Redmouth

    Especially from an uppity Presbyterian!

  • Blackmouth

    This departing shot: I have always maintained that the Ulster Unionist Party was a coalition of sorts (threads/comments passim) I simply cannot accept that they are all content with being merged with the Tories, especially as their Deputy Chairman with responsibility for Policy has made plain what he thinks about a key part of the coalition that makes up the UUP. Furthermore, I find it hard to believe that all people in the UUP with Labour sympathies are on-side for a merger, which is what David Cameron made very clear he wants to see happening.

    Despite appearances to the contrary on this thread I genuinely do want to see a Conservative government elected possibly in spite of rather than because of who the Tory Leader is, but I maintain that Northern Ireland’s position inside the Union is better served by the Unionist parties here making friends and influencing people inside both of the main parties at Westminster (a position I share with Lord Laird incidentally – one of David Davis’s biggest cheerleaders in the NI media when he decided to force a by-election in Haltemprice) not in aligning ourselves openly with one party that whilst up in the polls today, will eventually be out of government at some point in the future.

    Cheerio!!

  • Conquistador

    Blackmouth Fair enough, my mistake, although when I read your endorsement of George Savage on another thread I thought you were a UUP supporter (or insane!) LOL

    Understandable, you’d need to be to support him, but in that case I was being (very) sarcastic

  • Blackmouth

    I stand amused and corrected.

  • Floody Watters

    ‘Northern Ireland’s position inside the Union is better served by the Unionist parties here making friends and influencing people inside both of the main parties at Westminster’

    I agree this strategy worked really well in 1985 when unionists had 15 of the 18 seats at Westminster

  • bisto

    Floody

    When the Tories sold us out?

  • G

    “but I maintain that Northern Ireland’s position inside the Union is better served by the Unionist parties here making friends and influencing people inside both of the main parties at Westminster”

    And exactly what has that strategy delivered over the last 35 years? They’ve struggled to even make friends, never mind the more important influencing business.

  • Tits Magee

    Its taken a while but someone has finally mentioned the Anglo-Irish Agreement! Hooray!

    The infamous Tory plot to unify Ireland!!!!

    Remind me again, did the Tories ever sign up to terrorists in Government or releasing murderers and the rest…hmmm, not sure.

    And what was the first agreement in which the Irish Government recognised NI? Surely not the Anglo-Irish?? Oh, actually it was…

    What a sell-out!

  • Conquistador

    Tits Magee, despite his name comes desperately close to making a good point.

    To claim the the last Conservative Government was anti unionist is a little too simplified for real life. Maggie did stand up to the Hunger strikers, and legislated to stop criminals standing for parliament again after Sands’ victory. She did make numerous pro-NI speeches and comments (British as Finchley).

    I’m not defending the AIA, far from it, but for Duppers to bring it up as a stick to beat UUP/Cons with is on a power with Ulster Unionists attacking the DUP for being pro-agreement.

  • Alfred Muller

    UUP Education spokesman Billy Armstrong was part of a UUP team knocking doors in Cultra today.

    When asked a simple question re: selection he folded like a packs of cards. Truly pathetic.

    The UUP would need to set a prerequisit regarding depth of gene pool before they select their next mid-ulster candidate.

  • Blackmouth

    “I simply cannot accept that they are all content with being merged with the Tories, especially as their Deputy Chairman with responsibility for Policy has made plain what he thinks about a key part of the coalition that makes up the UUP.”

    And lo it came to pass…David McNarry broke ranks today.

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    Everything that Wee Reggie touches…

    Has any respectable British politican ( except for Enoch ) ever turned up at an OO rally ? It is an organisation viewed by the majority of British mainlanders as bigoted and sectarian.

    Secular Unioinsts need to stand up and say clearly that the OO is not for them if they ever want to throw off their appalling image they portray to those with whom they claim to share a national identity and Posh boy David will be treading very carefully to avoid being too closely asosciated with the religious zealots of unionism.

  • darrmont

    The UUP clearly feel the need of this link as they appear in danger of losing all contact with westminster at the next general election.

    David Cameron is in it because he will do anything to get his name in the news, he is no real politician he is even more of a wimp than Blair.