YU blog and Tory link

The Young Unionist Blog is back after a hiatus of a year. One YU offers their personal thoughts on the UUP Tory link-up with a federal model the choice.

However, denials about merger never being an option are curious. It is understandable why that may have now been ruled out in the course of the negotiations but surely it would have been more sensible to say it has been ruled out to deny it was ever an option?

Slugger’s own Mick Fealty seemed to think merger was on the cards. Conservative NI commentators on the day seemed to have similar thoughts. The langauge of the original statment was sufficiently ambiguous to cover a range of options:

“explore the possibilities of closer cooperation leading to the creation of a new political and electoral force in Northern Ireland…These discussions with the UUP should mark the beginning of a creation of a new mainstream political movement…Northern Ireland could have a new political force”

While Mark Devenport at the Conservative Party conference seemed to be getting different briefings from Conservatives:

“When you to talk to some NI Conservatives they see what’s afoot as very much a merger,”

And the UUP.

“I have been expressly forbidden from using the word “merger” about the UUP-Conservative love-in (by the UUP that is).”

Overall the preparations and original announcement were handled very well by the UUP and Tories but since then the ball has been fumbled. The UUP chose to bite at the DUP bait when the response should have been that negotiations are ongoing, all such issues will be addressed by the joint working group report and until an agreement is reached nothing has changed.

  • slug


    First lesson from the Conservatives will be change the photo at the top.

    The Young Unionists have a photo at the top of the page – of the 5, all are men all are white. There are young ethnic minorities and young women in the UUP so please lets see a more diverse photo.

  • slug

    Also look at this:

    Acting Chairman – Michael Shilliday
    Deputy Acting Chairman – Frank Geddis
    Secretary – Graeme Smyth
    Treasurer – Stephen Goss
    Organiser – Alasdair O’Hara
    Campaigns Officer – Phil Abraham
    Public Relations Officer- Mark Ovens
    Membership Secretary – Alex Redpath

    No women. Tut tut.

  • slug

    I suppose Phil and Alex could be female and if they are I take it back.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    I tend to agree with Mick Fealty that a merger was on the cards, but I think the move is designed for bigger reasons than simply gaining the middle class liberal vote in Ulster and the mainland. The strategy is big, it involves introducing mainland politics into Ulster along with Irish politics from the Republic, with the aid of the SDLP. That situation would essentially leave the DUP and IRA/Sinn Fein in big trouble. IMHO, if the DUP have to be sacrificed in order to rid Ulster from IRA/Sinn Fein politics, lets get it on.

  • Inspector Cleauso

    Why the DUP are flapping about this beats me. Just keep repeating the message that this is short term survival tactic by the UUP which is not in the best interests of N.I longterm. There will probably be a Conservative goverment in 2010 but what about 2014 or 2018.

    The other thing the DUP should be doing is sending well publicised invitations to UUP members not keen on the Tories to join Jeffrey and Arlene.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “There will probably be a Conservative goverment in 2010 but what about 2014 or 2018.”

    In my opinion, while the Republic continues to smack the EU’s arse and re-enforces it’s relationship with mainland Britain, the mainland party which is best positioned to maintain Irish British relations has no fear of being toppled for a considerable amount of time.

  • Richard Swett

    I hear the YU under Shilliday are reeling from several resignations at the minute. I spoke to a YU at the QUB freshers fayre and was told that the organisation had been run into the ground this year. Too bad. I remember they used to have some worthwhile and redeeming points about them – featuring in the press with edgy campaigns.

    I agree. The photograph at the top of their page is laughable (perhaps the YU are trying to mirror their collection of male senior citizens elected to Stormont?), and I believe, already out of date.

  • Its a crap site – not just the photo, the whole thing. If they have nothing to say, then they shouldn’t bother with the site at all.

    My favourite bit is the contact e-mail address for the press:

    Media enquiries should be directed to Mark Ovens at

    Yep, that’s it. Just a blank!

    I’m reminded of the scene in Blackadder where he mercilessly puts down Pitt the Younger. The YU look like a whole collection of Pitt-the-Youngers

  • autocue

    The YU has clearly been taken over and re-cast in the image of their present “Acting Chairman”. Quite sad really – their blog used to be good.

  • “Why the DUP are flapping about this beats me”

    Seems obvious to me that they are scared of their impending demise as the people of NI are given a chance to have a say in national politics and can vote for a party that is acceptable to all unionists and with real direction. The DUP’s attacks on this have exposed their ulster nationalist leanings at a time when the UUP is assisting in the creation of a truly unionist party that will defend the union across the UK.

  • “I spoke to a YU at the QUB freshers fayre and was told that the organisation had been run into the ground this year.”

    That individual must have been deranged – three new branches, the YU’s most succesful freshers in years and some very succesful events.

  • Richard Swett

    The guy did seem a little deranged. Apparently less than 40 paid up members across NI. I had heard there were branches springing up around the place, but at the same time the YU meetings were attracting around 10 people a time. Not sure about the events. I occasionally hear that something or other takes place. What events have they had this year?

    PS. From my time at QUB, it is not the freshers fayre that counts, but how many people stay active in the weeks and months after that counts in running any society.

  • Fair Deal,

    On the subject of a ‘merger’ between the two parties I am sure the subject was breached by the NI Tories as they seem to be pushing this line with some vigor. Note that I said ‘within the UUP’ a merger was a non-starter.

    When I first became aware of the negotiations myself the talk was immediately orientated around a federal relationship. Of the course the detail has to be worked out by the working group and endorsed by the UUP Executive and ratified by the UUC. If it happens (and I hope it does) it happens. If not then the UUP need to reassess.

    I am in agreement with you over the handling of the situation after the announcement – it was a shambles.

  • truth and justice

    Speaking privately to a senior UUP member there are at least eleven UUP Councillors who will resign if a merger goes ahead and possibly two MLAs it is also worth noting the UUP single MP is opposed to a merger also!

  • fair_deal


    The denial of merger being an option paragraphs were also based on a debate on an earlier thread not entirely from your argument. Sorry I did not make that sufficiently clear and thank you for the clarification.

  • PeaceandJustice

    Anything short of a full merger is a waste of time and will not revive the UUP. After the initial announcement it looked like Empey had given the UUP a new purpose. However, it now appears that he lacks the political courage to follow it through.

    There is no reason for any Unionist to switch back to the UUP if as Sir Reg has indicated, the UUP is going to remain a separate entity.

  • frustrated democrat

    T & J

    That means that the vast majority of the elected representatives are in favour doesn’t it?

    Why didn’t you just say so.

  • John K Lund

    I set up the very first meeting on the 15th of October 2007. and the word merger was used as it was kinder than takeover.This operation is designed to drag the UUP into the 21st century and play a full and constructive role in UK politics. Northern Ireland which is the country of my choice is barely 2.5% of the UK population and if the Young UUP think they are going to come in now with their totally unworked half baked theories they are a little late. The tail does not wag the dog. Sylvia Hermon will not be seen as the person who brought down this process. A short history lesson David Cameron was only 16 when the Anglo Irish Agreement was signed. The Young Unionist’s current membership were not even twinkles in their Daddies eyes. There was bound to be a modicum of fall out to the DUP. We have to loose some, in order to gain and regain possibly upto 50% of the DUP support. Who cares about that other failed political entity Bavaria.This is about winning elections and power and getting the Nation upon its feet again. Tempus Fugit we will miss the bus.