TUV conference: tea, rattles and shoes

Pete has mentioned part of Jim Allister’s speech to the TUV conference below but I thought another blog on the conference and speech (here is the full text) might be acceptable. I know that I am biased but I am sorry to be forced to inform slugger readers that the members almost without exception had only one head each. They seemed relatively sane: no one said or did anything terribly mad. We all had a meeting where we selected the European candidate (this did not take long) and then had tea etc. (no Northern Irish event of any sort is complete without tea, though worryingly I noticed some members drinking coffee – I took a note of their names- clearly dangerous liberals). Then there were a series of motions during which normal members spoke and then we had Jim’s speech. Okay I admit there was one bit of oddness: one bloke had a football rattle which he used to make a racket during applause. During those bits I developed a sudden interest in my shoes.
Allister’s speech as might be expected spent quite some time attacking the DUP: there were a variety of jokes at the DUP’s expense along with a series of ringing denouncements of their recent positions. Allister claimed that without pressure from the TUV the DUP would have already made further concessions “..You’d already have the Maze Shrine and Marty the Terrorist would already have his hands on the levers of power over the Judiciary if TUV did not exist.”

Such is of course to be expected. In addition, however, Allister began to set out the TUV vision of the alternatives: “Let me make it clear, we are not opposed to Catholics in government, or cross-community government, but we most unashamedly are implacably opposed to terrorists in government. Yes, when it comes to government I wouldn’t have a Provo about the place!

Voluntary coalition is the proper route to shared government. No party is capable of forming a government on its own in NI, so a coalition is inevitable, but it must be a coalition of choice, not compulsion, a coalition of the willing, not the truculent, a coalition sharing power, not dividing power, a coalition that works, not implodes, a coalition built on democracy, not statute, and above all a coalition capable of being voted out and replaced. That is democracy; this is totalitarism.”

Again nothing terribly startling in all this: it has been standard TUV fare for a while now and is what he suggested in April.

What was to my mind most interesting about the current speech was not merely the challenge to Robinson to accept that mandatory coalition has failed (outlined by Pete above) but also the offer to the DUP of TUV support if he were willing to abandon mandatory coalition:

“So the challenge Peter Robinson is to abandon mandatory coalition and the offer is to gain the support of all Unionists in going to the Prime Minister and saying, “We tried your mandatory coalition with Sinn Fein, even against the better judgement of some, but it doesn’t work, won’t work, can’t work and if you want devolution in Northern Ireland then it can only be on the terms that will work, and apply elsewhere, of voluntary coalition. But mandatory coalition is over, done, finished.”

The public understandably crave unionist unity, well here’s the basis upon which it can be attained and unite all unionists – those who thought Sinn Fein were fit for government, those who weren’t sure but thought they should give it a go and those of us who held they were never fit for government – all could be united in this irresistable conclusion that mandatory coalition is dead and the demand that devolution is only attainable through voluntary coalition. What Unionist, Democratic, Ulster or Traditional could disagree?

So rise to the challenge Mr Robinson, you have nothing to lose but the chains of mandatory coalition that bind you to Sinn Fein. I wish he would, but I fear the love of office will win the day.”

This offer can be seen in one of two ways: it could be seen as rather clever politics by Allister: it is turning Robinson’s claims of a desire for unionist unity back on him and suggesting that if Robinson was just willing to buy into a TUV agenda he could have unity. It also has some merit as part of a strategy to paint the DUP as the vote splitters for standing against the sitting TUV and UUP MEPs. I have always tended to regard this as a rather tongue in cheek strategy but that does not mean that it is without merit. This offer can and will no doubt be used on the doorsteps in an election campaign to claim that the TUV would like to have unity and do not really want to attack the DUP. It also appears to propose support if the DUP would only do what they have always said that they would like to do: namely move away from mandatory coalition. It does, however, require them to do this at Allister’s behest and according to his time frame.

The alternative way to look at it is that Allister really is trying to offer the DUP a way uniting unionism behind Robinson and DUP leadership. If the DUP did now pull out of power sharing and go to the government demanding renegotiation of the agreement they would gain the TUV’s support and more importantly stop the criticisms from stage right. In such a circumstance the UUP would also be completely wrong footed and would come under very considerable pressure to row in behind this unionist unity. It is possible that following this strategy Robinson might in very short order gain what he undoubtedly craves: unionism united behind his leadership.

Whatever Allister’s motives I suspect he expects the DUP to completely rebuff his suggestions: that would make the first option (the suggestion that the unity offer was a device) the only one for Allister. However, as Pete has suggested , the idea of the DUP accepting such an offer might (just might) be less barkingly mad than it seemed a few months ago. I suspect the stinging rebuff is much more likely from DUP, along with the suggestions that this is merely more spin from an irrelevant party which they are going to destroy at the polls come June. We will wait and see, though I will not be holding my breath. Still I had a nice day and real members of political parties (rather than bloggers) seem surprisingly normal: I still don’t know about that rattle though.

  • So Turgon, is the Earth flat, did dinosaurs exist, and are gays going to hell?

    On a serious note, we saw the demise of the PDs this week, will TUV last as long? My belief is the party is doomed when Allister loses his seat next year.

  • Bigger Picture

    Just thought i would paste this over from Pete’s blog, some of the points i raised you have raised, and i’d be grateful for your thoughts.

    Although i’d just like to ask is it feasible to attack a party so hatefully and then offer them support??

    BP

    What comes across from Allister’s speech loud and clear is that he is quite happy to play the DUP scarecrow rather than actually forming any sort of third party unionist standing. Hence the pleading with Peter Robinson to end the current crisis. The problem is Jim and the dog in the street knows that the TUV have no capability of delivering for any Unionist, the only party that can do that are the DUP.

    Jim Allister runs off TUV successes, no Maze and no Policing and Justice devolved. I am sorry but did Nigel Dodds not speak out (he even coined the phrase) against the Maze shrine long before Jim raised his sorry head, even before the TUV had been formerly created even? It was opposition to Poots’ plans inside the DUP that stopped that nonsense long before Jim came on board. (If not please refute me Mr Allister because i know you read this site)

    Again Policing and Justice, this was the manifesto that Jim himself signed up to when in the DUP. He often likes to quote old manifestos but ignores later ones that he was personally involved in. He may not like to remember but he signed up to that commitment and no amount of re-postering now will endear him to Unionists.

    The fact that these two non-successes also highlights the complete ineffectiveness of the TUV in forming a critique of the current arrangements at stormont. I personally agree that forced coalition is crap, completely crap and insane. However…

    Jim Allister contends that we have a shambles at Stormont and it is leading us down a road to a United Ireland. When in fact the reason why we now have a shambles at Stormont is the fact that the Shinners are hoping mad that they are NOT getting their way and NOT proceeding towards a United Ireland. Hence their last minute protest at the RIR parade forced upn them by Mark McGregor and his mates in order to try and reassure their base support,following a static vote in Enniskillen.

    Jim needs to realise that no unionist is going to blame the DUP for SF hoping and squeeling complaining that the DUP are blocking equality(read Republican key issues)

    (btw who would have thought that after 30 years of trying to drive the British army out of Ulster all SF can now do is side deals, the political struggle is really working out well for you lads there)

    Lastly we have the vote splitting issue. By being the third unionist party the TUV are automatically in the vote splitting position, as the largest unionist party the DUP have every right to contest an election. The vote splitting issue only arises whenever we see which unionist came third. However i thought they knew that seeing how they stepped aside in Enniskillen?

  • Ann

    I rather agree with Paul Panther, I can’t see Alister holding on to his seat, once that goes they’re a party in the wilderness.

    No one is going to take them seriously, especially not robo.

  • Turgon

    paul panther,
    I am pretty sure dinosaurs did exist: certainly my boys seem to have half of all the species which did exist as toys. As to gays: I will leave who goes to heaven or hell to God. Obviously the earth is flat, were you not there the day they did that at school?

    In terms of the survival of the TUV I think the party will have trouble if Allister loses the European seat. If there were a long period before another election, they might well not survive.Iif another election followed shortly after Europe (in the event of Allister’s defeat) they probably could survive.

    If there were a Stormont election before Europe I suspect the TUV would be very lilely to survive.
    Sorry for so many hypotheticals but you did ask.

  • Bigger Picture

    “In terms of the survival of the TUV I think the party will have trouble if Allister loses the European seat. If there were a long period before another election, they might well not survive.Iif another election followed shortly after Europe (in the event of Allister’s defeat) they probably could survive”

    Could i also suggest that it could depend on what candidate the DUP choose to put up. If Nigel Dodds were to stand he would have to give up his Westminster Seat and that may prove a useful vehichle for Jim to keep going. However there are vote splitting issues there as well with the very real possibility of a unionist split handing Gerry Kelly the seat, Jim may not be keen to contest that. Just a suggestion however

  • Surely it’s ‘when’ not ‘if’ Allister loses his seat.
    Perhaps this inevitability should have been on the conference agenda?

  • Ri Na Deise

    The TUV?

    Great a unionist party even more physcotic than the DUP.

    The future’s really bright huh?

  • Where’sthelaw

    If the DUP want to stop Unionists moving over to TUV they need to stick to what they promised the electorate – upholding the rule of law.

    I don’t agree with TUV but I am sick of the DUP shuffling their feet over criminality and making deals with SF to keep the gravy boat going. When was the last time you heard the DUP mention Northern Bank/ McCartney/ Fuel smuggling etc etc
    On the latter this is still happening and on the former SF could bring these people to justice. The fact is the DUP are letting SF pick and choose which laws they support – this is why Unionists are looking towards TUV.

    The DUP are content to sweep things under the carpet – a situation they promised they would never do.

    Point to note – this applies to Loyalist activity as well. I am completely even handed.

  • Turgon

    BP,
    Some fair points

    I like the scarecrow idea, where did you get that from 😉

    In terms of the suggestion about policing and justice: nthere has certainly been a hardening of line on the DUP P&J;line since Jim started making a fuss about it. I suspect a hardening of line you support?

    I would also submit that the existence of this TUV scarecrow has prevented DUP compromises. From my personal point of view that is fine: I crave no political office and care little if the DUP move into TUV territory, rid us of mandatory coalition and in the process render the TUV unnecessary: I will just go back to reading books.

    The comment about the anger between the parties and mutual criticism is a fair one and is something I personally do not like. A party conference is of course a time for rallying the troops and as such one tends to bash one’s opponents. In the case of the TUV vs DUP there is, however, too much personal animosity for my liking. That is a criticism of both sides.

  • Bigger Picture

    Where’sthelaw

    So deals with SF explain the current problems with SF refusing to participate in Government because the DUP won’t agree with their demands?

    I think if you honestly stand by your remarks you should actually open your eyes and take a look at whats going on around you.

    Either that or stop with the sock puppeting

  • Bigger Picture

    Turgon

    A hardening of P&J;i support yes but as long as you also accept that it has been the DUP’s position all along and contained in a manifesto that Jim Allister signed up to.

    I do believe that Allister has actually softened tack as of late hence the pleading with Peter Robinson to walk away from mandatory coalition. However would it not be better to let your enemies walk away from the table and claim victory rather than doing a Trimble and walking away ourselves and handing the iniative to SF?

    Lastly any good books you can recommend? I am a history and literary man myself nothing to 21st century however! Maybe a blog could be made on the lasting impression of Orwell and what lessons can we learn from 1984 in the 21st century?

  • ??

    The alternative way to look at it is that Allister really is trying to offer the DUP a way uniting unionism behind Robinson and DUP leadership.

    …..

    except that would probably exclude the UUP, so Mr Allister has already put his party ahead electorally of the Ulster Unionists, my how it has grown

  • ??

    nthere has certainly been a hardening of line on the DUP P&J;line since Jim started making a fuss about it. I suspect a hardening of line you support? ..

    are you and Jim suggesting that when he was a DUP member the party were in favour of McGuinness have powers of judiciary? If so , when did he change his mind?

    Either the DUP have always opposed it or they havent, Jim cant have it both ways

  • ??

    above should read “powers over the judiciary?”

  • Comrade Stalin

    paul panther:

    If Nigel Dodds were to stand he would have to give up his Westminster Seat and that may prove a useful vehichle for Jim to keep going.

    Out of interest, where does it say that Dodds has to give up his Westminster seat ? Paisley held seats in both Westminster and Europe.

    Wheresthelaw:

    I don’t agree with TUV but I am sick of the DUP shuffling their feet over criminality and making deals with SF to keep the gravy boat going. When was the last time you heard the DUP mention Northern Bank/ McCartney/ Fuel smuggling etc etc

    then..

    Point to note – this applies to Loyalist activity as well. I am completely even handed.

    I am glad to hear that you are even handed. A week ago, leading members of the UVF and UDA marches through Belfast city centre to cheering crowds alongside the RIR march. Where is the DUP failure to condemn this, and where are your complaints about the DUP’s very apparent failure to deal with the reality that loyalist paramilitarism requires specific and targetted police action to root out ?

  • Dave

    “So rise to the challenge Mr Robinson, you have nothing to lose but the chains of mandatory coalition that bind you to Sinn Fein. I wish he would, but I fear the love of office will win the day.”

    Allister appears to concede that his requested demand would result in the end of devolution rather than the reform of it – why else would the “love of office” be a relevant deterrent?

    Robinson also wants an end to mandatory coalition, so presumably he is also aware that it isn’t politically possible at this stage and that insisting on it would be the end of devolution – hence the acquiescence in mandatory coalition.

    I’m not so sure he is correct about that. The British government’s agenda is to keep the Shinners in Stormont. If Robinson could get the UUP to support a process whereby he does as Allister says and says that voluntary coalition is the problem, then the two governments will go along with it. The Shinners will do as they are told to do. It’s just a case of presenting it to their supporters so that it looks like it isn’t a step backward for them. That’ll probably be done by building in a few safeguards and perhaps conceding a Bill of Rights.

  • EWI

    In addition, however, Allister began to set out the TUV vision of the alternatives: “Let me make it clear, we are not opposed to Catholics in government

    Well, I’m glad that that’s sorted out, then.

    (Allister’s chat-up routine in his youth must have been something to behold)

  • Dave

    Typo: “…and says that [b]mandatory[/b] coalition is the problem…”

  • LURIG

    I’m sitting waiting for the Calzaghe/Jones jnr fight which IS worth watching. The TUV/DUP and Sinn Fein/DUP fights are NOT worth watching. It’s yesterday’s news. Those of us who hung on all this in the past have moved on, Catholic & Protestant. It’s a bore and the kids growing up also think it’s a bore. There is neither the poverty, unfairness or injustice to sustain a Republican campaign and most Unionists are happy with the Constitutional arrangements so Jim Allister and the TUV need to wise up. Allister, who is NO fool, would be better putting his intelligence into making shared government work. Sinn Fein and Republicans in 2008 have proved their democratic credentials and this is ALL clutching at straws. The London & Dublin governments approach the North/Northern Ireland as ONE, there is NO going back to exclusion of ANY party. The TUV are like Marlon Brando’s character in On The Waterfront, “I could have been a contender”. The old ways and past have gone Jim, accept it for your own peace of mind!

  • pith

    In the week of the Obama election with all it signifies, was there ever a steeple more dreary than Jim Allister and his pile of brick-brained followers?

  • punchy skillen

    joe kept well clear of jones for years, while jones was at his best, LURIG, and now just wants to add his name to the tally, just as others did with tyson when he was washed up

  • frustrated democrat

    Strangely I find myself partly agreeing wih Allister’s sentiments. I have no interest in what religion a person is or in what party they belong to, however I do have difficulty in seeing murders in ministerial cars.

    It may take another 10 years for that image to pass as they fade into old age, but I cannot see in the interim another system that could preclude them from office.

    This is part of the reason why I believe that a Tory UUP merger would help move us away from local sectarian politics to taking part in national and international politics. I hope in those circumstances that voters would take a message that voting for the extremes is no longer in their own best interests.

  • blinding

    In the week of the Obama election with all it signifies, was there ever a steeple more dreary than Jim Allister and his pile of brick-brained followers?

    Posted by pith

    Here here old chap.

  • truth and justice

    Turgon maybe you could answer some questions for me
    A)How many were at the conference
    B)Has the DUP not already stated they want a voluntary coalition so is Jim not stating the DUP position
    c)Why was Jim not at the RIR parade last Sunday

    Thanks

  • Turgon

    truth and justice,
    How many were at the conference? I am told about 200-250 and that seemed about correct.

    Yes the DUP want voluntary coalition. However, due to the existence of the mutual veto they cannot get it within this current arrangement. As such Allister and the TUV’s position is that the DUP should leave the current agreement and go to the PM and explain that they tried the mandatory coalition mechanism and that SF would not work it properly and as such they want a voluntary coalition of those who will work together. The DUP talked before they entered power sharing about a default mechanism: where is that?

    I would not have gone into the current agreement: the DUP did. In fairness that does put them in a reasonable position to say that they tried the mandatory coalition model just as the UUP did, in their case I agree they negotiated a better form of mandatory coalition; but despite the DUP’s best efforts it cannot be made to work due to the refusal of SF to allow it to work unless they (SF) get everything their own way. My understanding is that Allister is offering in such a circumstance to support the DUP under Robinson’s leadership in presenting a united unionist front to the government.

    In terms of the home coming parade: I have no idea. I was not there because I was on a family holiday. I was and am fully in favour of such home coming parades. However, one’s loyalty to our troops and one’s support for the union are not predilected by attendance at one single event. If you were there great: if not that makes you no less a unionist and no less a supporter of our troops.

  • Bigger Picture

    I’ll copy this in again just in case you forgot to answer it Turgon;

    “However would it not be better to let your enemies walk away from the table and claim victory rather than doing a Trimble and walking away ourselves and handing the iniative to SF? ”

    Would Jim Allister then not be better supporting the DUP’s rejection of Republicanism, unlike the UUP when they were in charge, that is after all what sets the DUP apart from the UUP and why Jim rejoined and fought the European election?

    I think those are two fair questions to answer Turgon.

    Comrade Stalin

    It is in some European Directive that you can’t be a member of the national legislature and the European Parliament. It only came into force a few years back hence why Paisley and Hume held both, and why Nigel Dodds or any other MP didn’t go for the election themselves in 2004. However needs must might change that this time.

  • dasw

    I won’t repeat what I said under pete’s entry below. But since the accusation is often thrown at SF that ‘if we give into x, then they’ll only want more ergo we gotta make a stand’ is it not a bit rich now to be talking about renegotiating the so-called involuntary coalition after a) DUP was a party to its formation and b) the people of northern ireland voted for it in the referendum in 1998. LURIG is right: let’s just try to make things work and stop looking for an exit point. Let’s put the (NI) self interest above party politics, show a bit of leadership and start working for everyone in northern ireland by making the current constitutional arrangements work. But as I have said elsewhere those impatient that it doesn’t seem to be working quite yet, should bear in mind this is a new democracy and it is not without historical precedent that new democracies do not bed down over night. If the P&J;impasse isn’t solved by 2015, say, then I’ll get worried.Unioinists shoudl perhaps have less faith in the gay hating gods and more faith in theirs and everyone elses capacity to make the current arrangemenst workwithout wanting obama, brown or cowen to do their work for them.

  • Turgon

    BP,
    It is a fair question but as I said to T&J;I think the time has now come to say that so utterly useless, narrow minded and incompetent have SF been that now is the time for us to say with a united voice: enough is enough. SF are happy to continue to make the governance of Northern Ireland fail: we should not be.

    By all means argue that it was better to go into government than to sit outside: I disagree but that was then and this is now. Now is the time for all unionists to unite (behind Robinson) and say that this system has failed due to SF intransigence and that we demand a new system.

  • gerry mander

    ‘and say that this system has failed due to SF intransigence and that we demand a new system.’

    Why not give majority rule another whirl, Turgon?-it was a resounding success last time around.

  • Turgon

    gerry mander,
    Allister specifically proposed a system of weighted majorities to ensure there is no return to majority rule. Do not let that get in the way of your argument, however.

  • truth and justice

    Turgon

    Just seen the TUV conference on the TV looks around 150 to me just curious about Jim being at RIR parade I was not there myself. Jim has now offered two forms of Governemnt with Sinn Fein A) a council styled system and now B) a voluntary coalition which could be a UUP – SF or even a TUV – Sinn fein or even a SDLP – TUV in Governemnt, in reality Jim has changed his views which system do you favour the result is the same Sinn Fein in a position of power!

  • riverlagan

    Turgon
    “They seemed relatively sane”

    I could swear I seen Blaine Bailey in attendance, and what about Millar doing a bizarre Paisley impression?

    truth and justice
    Jim Allister has been suggesting the ‘super council’ alternative for months.

  • ??

    #

    gerry mander,
    Allister specifically proposed a system of weighted majorities to ensure there is no return to majority rule. Do not let that get in the way of your argument, however.
    Posted by Turgon on Nov 09, 2008 @ 12:55 PM

    given the electoral support of nationalist parties that would mean having SFs agreement , so the difference would be what?

  • Turgon

    truth and justice,
    In honesty there were a lot more than 150 but I guess I will always see the glass half full and you see it half empty on this one.

    In terms of government: I can see significant merit to integration and a single large council at Stormont with some regional administrative but not legislative powers. A population the same size as Birmingham give or take hardly needs its own parliament and it is very wasteful.

    However, the reality is that a devolved government has always been the goal of most people on all sides and I am perfectly content with that.

    I would like to see devolution with power sharing: there is no prospect of a single party having enough votes / seats for power.

    Then there should be weighted majorities to ensure that unionists do not keep nationalists out of power. One could argue for a unionist and a nationalist party in power and one each in opposition or any other combination: that would be up to the parties. In any democracy with no overall majority the coalitions ebb and flow over the years.

    I would not agree to my party (if I was in a position of power) sharing power with SF. That is my democratic right if I had such a mandate. If other unionists sought and received a mandate to share power with SF that would be fine: my party would be in opposition and come the next election might be able to defeat the other party / parties. That is the stuff of democracy.

  • slug

    Turgon

    Was there a sense at the conference that Peter Robinson is a very difficult opponent. Wheras Paisley’s chuckle brothers routine annoyed many uninoists, Robinson is not going to make that mistake. Watching the applause for Robinson at the RIR parade last weekend made me think that he has a lot of support right now.

  • Ann

    I, too, get the feeling Robinson has the support now. I see the TUV as a bunch of outdated people who have fallen out with every body else, and have banded together to get their voice heard. I saw Cedric Wilson on the telly at the conference, my God what a blast from the past!

    If they’ve a chance at four seats come the next assembly election, I’ll eat homer simpsons shorts. What Alister is proposing if it were taken up by Robinson, it would signal the very end of the TUV. It would be like turkeys voting for christmas.

    They’re a throw back to a by gone era, and they’ll never lose that image in the mind of the electorate. Especially when they appear on the telly at a conference wearing union jack ties, or socks….:)

    Was that you with the socks turgon?

  • borderline

    Thanks Jim for making it clear that you are not opposed to Catholics in goernment.

    Was there some doubt on this issue in the audience, Turg?

  • edward

    Turgon

    I notice that you refer to the TUV in a third party way, are you distancing yourself from them, its like you don’t take ownership of the party any more.

  • Ireland

    Republican Sinn Féin held its Ard Fheis (conference) this weekend. The attendance numbers are generally similar to those for the TUV that Turgon mentioned.

    Says it all really.

  • truth and justice

    Turgon

    Find Jims entire speech is aimed at the DUP but fails to mention the UUP at all surely they are the enemy aswell due to the sell out of the Belfast Agreement and support of St Andrews?

    Also worth noting the TUV have no policies on anything except to bring down powersharing is this correct?

  • autocue

    Turgon

    So let’s understand this correctly. Jim Allister is advocating that the elected reps of around 54-55% of the population pull out of government, ignoring the 45% of the population who don’t agree with us, and go to Downing Street to demand majority rule? Just what do you think HMG’s response to that will be? I imagine the second word will be “off”.

    This is not a viable policy alternative, it is a recipe for more direct rule and all the associated marginalisation of Unionism that goes with it. You know it and Jim knows it too.

  • observer

    I beleive Walter Millar did an impression of Dr Paisley. Is this the same Walter Millar, who at the count for the Assembly election, hugged Martin McGuinness when he got elected, as well as his wife and daughters.

    I see a case of double standards Walter??

  • i’manobserver2

    Maybe when Millar was hugging McGuinness he was stabbing him in the back the same way he has stabbed each party he has joined in the back. Give him a little while longer and when things start going against him he will jump ship to yet another party, which once again will have different policies or lack of them!

  • autocue

    Turgon

    Could you answer my question?

  • ggn

    I found Jim Allister’s remarks on the need for oppostion to be interesting, and I agree with him, opposition is necessary.

    However if the opposition is entirely made up of one ‘ethnic group’, cultural group, whatever and who are normally of one religon, is that a democratically constituted opposition.

    In addition, Jim makes the point that in a normal society the governement can be changed, but how could it be changed in his prefered model where unionists would simply rule as long as they consitute a majority.

    In addition, where would a working class unionist voice come from in this senario.

    Jim states that he has nothing against Catholics being part of the government (what a fair minded guy, imagine even thinking you had to say such a thing in any other European country), however what does that mean?

    Is that just Catholic unionists?

    If I ever meet Jim I will have one question, It is not inconcievable that Nationailists would outnumber Unionists in fifty years, what happens then, outright nationalist rule? Minority unionist rule? I suspect the TUV would be more ameniable to manditory coliation then.

  • Turgon

    So many questions:

    No it was not me wearing union jack socks. I saw myself for a fleeting moment but I am not going to copy and paste the picture so you can all see it. I am sorry if I referred to the TUV in the third person, I tend to as I do not like to say we as if I had some important role: I am a humble blogger.

    I agree that Jim’s speech was a bit too focused on the DUP but as they are the main party of government it is reasonable to focus on them. We do, however, need our own policies. To be honest to start with it was fine to define ourselves by our opposition to the DUP and power sharing. We now need to produce policies. This is happening and policy positions will be outlined. In fairness Jim has outlined a number of options for the future such as weighted majorities etc.

    autocue,
    Jim has not proposed majority rule: if he did propose simple majority rule I would regard the whole project as politically and morally bankrupt and leave. The TUV position is that unionists should leave the current arrangements and go to Downing Street, say they have tried mandatory coalition and that it has not and cannot work.

    Then they should propose voluntary coalition with weighted majorities etc. I thought your party proposed eventually ending mandatory coalition. The difference is that we think that so flawed is the current system and so impossible to get round is the mutual veto that we need a new agreement. It is essentially the same position as the DUP adopted before they agreed to go into government.

    ggn,
    If nationalists outnumber unionists then if they vote for it there will be a united Ireland. Very simple really. We might argue about the exact form of things but the bottom line is nationalist majority equals united Ireland. Personally I would be very careful before demanding special status for what would then be literally the six counties. Unionists (or northern nationalists) in a united Ireland cannot really force the majority of the country to do what they want. Such is the nature of democracy. Incidentally although I oppose a united Ireland I note with pleasure that the RoI government is conspicuously lacking in unrepentant terrorists within its ranks.

  • slug

    Turgon could you deal with my question?

    Many thanks in anticipation.

  • Turgon

    slug,
    Sorry I saw it but was so busy with the others forgot about it.

    I do not really know that many of the TUVists. I did not pick that up but that I guess is because I did not discuss such things.

    It is an excellent question and one I have been giving some thought to: it is possibly worth a blog in its own right.

    I think Robinson has handled himself better than Paisley did during chuckling. As such the TUV’s role has in the short term become more difficult.

    However, Robinson has nothing like the charisma and hold over the unionist population which Paisley had. As such in the longer term I can imagine that Robinson will be an easier person to fight than Paisley.

    As I said an excellent question.

  • Big Maggie

    Truth and justice

    Also worth noting the TUV have no policies on anything except to bring down powersharing is this correct?

    I wouldn’t be too sure about that. After all isn’t that what was said about the DUP in David Trimble’s time as FM?

  • graduate

    Turgon, One problem with the TUV being seen as a raitonal alternative is that so many of them quit the DUP following personal disagreements with ohter member eg Mel Lucas (Trevor Clarke wouldn’t give him a job), Jim Alexander (narked that a girlie beat him for nomination to Assembly campaign), Charlie Tosh ( had a row with a council colleague) etc etc. Also, it has to be remembered that Jim Allister had arqued that DUP should go into government with SF in the Autumn of 2007, not mAy. When he didn’t get his own way the teddy got welll and truly chucked out of the pram. He also wanted revenge over what he saw as the slight given him whne DUP refused to fight East Antrim back in the 1980s. What policies do The TUV actually have? Also, I read Allister’s satement in Newsletter on Saturday, he’s gone from no nay never to mandatroy coalition won’t work so I can see him slowly sliding towards agreeing to current circs long after they’re no longer relevant. Jim serves up a simple, uncomplicated message and ignores the reality that hte world is not that clear cut- even small children see shades of grey.
    Seriously, TUV falling in behind Robbo if he gives up current arrangements? Wht planet are you on? The personal animosities run way too deep on TUV side.

  • Turgon

    graduate,
    Sadly I have to agree with much of what you say. It is a very difficult ask for the TUV and I have blogged about the problems facing the TUV on a number of occasions.

    I do think, however, that there are people with principle and integrity in the party and I think it is a cause worth trying to help: hence, my involvement.

    In terms of Allister, clearly I am biased but I have always felt his position was more complex than just No surrender. I have spoken to him a couple of times and I can only say that I do not find him a raving bigot but someone deeply opposed to unrepentant terrorists in government and also deeply troubled about the colossal flaws in the current system of government. I think he is pointing up the flaws in mandatory coalition at the moment due to the manifest failings of it making this a sensible message to put forward at this time. i do not think his views have changed but clearly any politician must point out things which are relevant at any given time.

    My views are obviously similar to his and maybe I am being naive but I am not that young anymore and hopefully not so foolish as to fail to see people’s flaws and motivations.

    I agree re the personal animosities: it is something which gravely troubles me. I hope and indeed believe that if Robinson for whatever reason left power sharing Allister would support him. Personally I would undoubtedly support him. I have no political ambitions of my own. The only bit I disagree with is your comment about the animosity being one sided, I think many in the DUP are just as bad.

    To be fair though there are many of us on both sides of this argumentwho try hard to avoid such things. I am not trying to appear whiter than white on this but I do try to leave personal invective out of debates with DUPers and the assorted Shakespearian references are tongue in cheek.

    I have had very few cross words with fair_deal or Bigger Picture for example.

  • autocue

    “Then they should propose voluntary coalition with weighted majorities etc.”

    When or where did Allister mention weighted majorities?

  • autocue

    Turgon

    Robinson easier to fight than Paisley? Don’t think so. Without Paisley to kick around, Jim Allister has absolutely nothing to say. Eevn the TUV conference clips shown on the news were attacks on Paisley, some six months after he stepped down.

  • autocue

    Also, why does Jim Allister actually believe that the SDLP would be prepared to act as his Uncle Tom’s, when the past fifteen years have shown us that when push comes to shove nationalism will rarely split – especially on the issue of power-sharing.

    So, if there are no Nationalists at this time prepared to come in to your “weighted majority” vista, what would you call it? Majority rule?

    Furthermore, given the dynamic within nationalism seems to be further SDLP decline and further SF rise, will the SDLP actually have enough to conform to your majority vision? They currently hold one ministry.

  • It is changed times – no one can deny that.

    Paisley and McGuinness as FM and DFM was a massive change for protestants.

    Thinking of Dromore – it was largely accepted by protestants although a fair number were slightly uncomfortable hence the TUV strong vote – however it has since been dicussed on this site that the lack of importance of the election gave some voters the opportunity to record a low blow against the pairing (visuals) – the flip side being Enniskillen where it could be said that when it comes down to the final round DUP stays DUP….

    With the big change taking place and then the subsequent criticism (chuckling) taken on board and some changes at the helm the general mood appears to be in support of the DUP strategy – remember Protestants haven’t been used to strategic leadership – it’s new to them.

    People now see Sinn Fein’s discomfort – that is also new to Protestants.. The “them oul Shinners get their own way all the time” mantra is gradually fading out and it replaces the negative mindset amongst Protestants in the Trimble era.. remember that era?

    The problem for Jim is his arguments and position could reverse the emerging trend for strategic Unionism by once again seeing unionism sidelined – we can’t forget the effect this had on Unionism in the past…

    Jim has to not only find policies but also instill confidence – he hasn’t succeeded in doing either… a battle a day or walk away…

  • Greenflag

    Fairy tales in the rest of the world begin with ‘Once upon a time there was —‘

    Fairy tales in the TUV begin with

    ‘Once upon a time there will be –‘

  • riverlagan

    Turgon

    Care to name members in the party of whom you believe have no integrity and/or principle? Here’s a few that spring to mind: Keith Harbinson (Drumcree rioter) and former BNP employees within the party structure.

  • The Future

    “Let me make it clear, we are not opposed to Catholics in government”.

    Wow, should have said that in 1968.