Boxes ticked, job started.

David Cameron’s published script, as released, says “It’s in my own selfish interest”. However as I recorded at the time, he actually said, “its in my selfish, strategic interest”. There was therefore clearly a lot of thought put into this particular section, and someone, somewhere, decided in the end that the full phrase needed to be used. They made the right choice.Cameron had two bases to cover yesterday. That had become very clear in consultations with party members over the past six months. Neutrality, and Brooke’s doctrine were both huge impediments to progress, and for the deal to be sealed, Cameron had to remove them. Of course, he will also have to prove his commitment to these core unionist principles once he is in No 10, but for now, he has done all that he can, and all that can be expected of him in opposition.

The DUP’s desperation in the face of what is a very real threat to them, is becoming ever more shrill. The press office have had to grapple around in the dark in attacking the speech, and in my opinion have come very close to the boundary of the unacceptable. Andrew’s apparent confusion just doesn’t stack up, as a communications professional has more than ably outlined.. The DUP know that they have a problem here, and their efforts to neuter it are increasingly counter productive.

Kathleen, quite reasonably, has come under scrutiny for claiming that she would now consider switching from SF or the SDLP to UUP/Conservative. Of course I would say it, but I hope and somewhat suspect she isn’t alone in West Belfast, or Londonderry, or Newry. There is a real sense of optimism in the UUP that we are within touching distance of our goals; a Northern Ireland at ease with it’s self within the Union, a brand of Unionism that all of Northern Ireland can embrace.

So we’ve had worse weekends, all considered.

  • Mark McGregor

    Michael,

    I’d read Katleen’s blog again:

    ‘if they came into my constituency and put before me the way he just said, I would, I would consider voting Conservative.’

    After all the fancy words, I doubt even the most positive Ulster Unionist believes they get this new horse with plaited mane over those very small hurdles.

    However, if you do decide to work the streets of West Belfast give me a shout and I’ll take some photos.

  • Claudius Pulcher

    I’m interested in why the DUP Press Office is close to breaching the boundary of the unacceptable.

  • William

    There is nothing to hinder the decent voters within West Belfast to vote for a decent candidate, who when elected will travel to Westminster and fight his constituent’s corner. Many of the decent Unionists on the Shankill crossed the political divide and supported Dr. Joe Hendron, so I would hope that the decent Nationalists would give their vote to a Unionist informally linked to the Conservative Party, the undoubted next party of government in the UK.

    All voters in the Westminster election in constituencies with a Sinn Fein MP should ask themselves, what have these absent MPs achieved for me and my fellow citizens? The answer is nothing !……the only achievement they have obtained is a further lining of their own and Sinn Fein / IRA’s bank balances.

  • kensei

    William

    AH. The Revolution (TM) brings us “Decent people vote Ulster Unionist”!

  • William

    Yes indeed….DECENT PEOPLE VOTE ULSTER UNIONIST

    Misguided People vote DUPe

    Terrorist supporters vote SINN FEIN /IRA

  • Michael

    The lamentable hopes of the politics of shallowness.

  • Driftwood

    Michael, I asked this before, but you didn’t answer.
    Is the UUP a SECULAR Unionist Party, like the Tories?

  • Mark McGregor

    Aye, this is going to work, someone who waivers between SF and SDLP shows a willingness to consider a Tory candidate if certain conditions are met and a UUP fan describes them as a ‘Terrorist supporter’. Some pitch there.

    There may be a fancy new box but the insides are just the same.

  • Driftwood,
    http://www.uup.org/policy/the-objectives-of-the-party-shall-be-to-.php

    The rules (see link) of the Ulster Unionist Party state the party must-
    “Promote the objectives of the Party and, without regard to gender, race or creed, encourage persons who share its objectives, to join the Party.”

  • Disinterested observer

    We really shouldnt focus on the UUP too much. After all the candidates will be selected jointly but will be running to essentially become Conservative MPs so essentially they will be doing as Kathleen wants – putting up in West Belfast and asking people to vote for an alternative government to Labour

  • ??

    DECENT PEOPLE VOTE ULSTER UNIONIST

    – william who was it that put Sinn Fein into power while they held onto their weapons and criminality…ah yes, your UUP

  • William

    Yes…we trusted them, but at least we fought the election saying we would…and SF did get into power with 2 positions in Government…GFA Mark II with Paisley at the head told the electorate, ‘You have to vote DUP to keep Sinn Fein out of the First Minister’s position’ and then when his lies gained him power went into Government, with 5, YES FIVE SINN FEIN MINISTERS.

    2. He didn’t get his photo of the IRA weapons being destroyed.

    3. Paisley’s DUPes did have the Provos suffering ‘sack cloth and ashes’

    4. Dodd’s assertion of no Provos in power for a generation ….. out the window, forgotten about !!

    5. Everything the DUPes ever stood for, was binned once Paisley achieved his ambition to be de-facto Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

    No wonder the DUPes lost the Dromore by-election and had to parachute in a Government Minister to win the Enniskillen council seat, after that same Minister resigning from that same Council, citing insufficient time to be a Councillor due to her position in Government and family committments.

    Of course, Arlene prior to switching jobs delayed the next Council elections by 3 years, hoping that the electorate would have forgotten their lies, deceits and duplicity, all in the cause [not of Unionism] but of party and personal interest.

  • William

    The UUP has had a number of RC members, including John Gorman who was a member of the Assembly and Speaker at a time……and receives the votes of many RC voters.

    We do not have any formal links with the OO now and whilst the majority of the members are from the Protestant community, we are as secular as the SDLP or Sinn Fein, I would submit. There is nothing in our application criteria or rules that one must be of any particular faith or indeed any faith. One of our principal Officers is a well-know Agnostic and nothing the worse for it !!

  • Richard James

    “- william who was it that put Sinn Fein into power while they held onto their weapons and criminality…ah yes, your UUP”

    Didn’t the Doc tell us all the IRA hadn’t decommissioned in 2005? So if we are to believe the DUP, they are sitting in Government with a fully armed Sinn Fein/IRA!

  • Modernist

    I wonder if Reg’s and Trimble’s Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party past will come back to haunt the Tories?

  • Modernist

    Vanguard had its own paramilitary grouping called the Vanguard Service Corps

  • Richard James

    Surely if Trimble’s Vanguard past was going to come back to haunt the Tories it would have done so by now? And considering neither the SDLP or Sinn Fein have used it as a stick it is even more unlikely Labour will try to do so with an electorate that neither knows nor cares about Vanguard.

  • Rory Carr

    I wonder does anyone else, like me, find something slightly indecent about those who choose to insist that only those who share their particular political persuasion can be classed as ‘decent people’.

    Reading a copy (edited) of David Cameron’s reflections on family values in a discarded copy of The Mail on Sunday which I picked up on the tube it was obvious that it was nothing more than a crude attempt to paste a caring cover of happy family wallpaper over a vicious intent to slash help for those people that Thatcher’s policies condemned to a misery of chronic unemployment in order that the greedy indecent oiks who created the present mess may have less to pay in tax if ever the Bullingdon Bullies again grab hold of parliamentary power.

    The paramilitary political killers and their state allies over the last 40 years in Ireland are as innocent babes-in-arms compared to these ‘decent’ power-hungry merchants of greed now led by Cameron.

    He talks of unity and plans division. He talks of the need for wealth creation and plans a programme of misery for the poor. He talks of the needs for an efficient national health service and plans to destroy it by stealth that the “be rich or die” thugs may make his pals happy with their share of the profits. He talks of the need for better education opportunities for all while his leading party members in councils where they have control (like Maria Gatlan in Croydon) move to sell off schools to the appalling acadamies that were established by his like-minded “profits before people” political thinker, Tony Blair.

    Decent people, surely, do not really support ruthless, mendacious thuggery merely because its representatives dress well, talk smoothly and lie with ease. Decent people don’t do this. Do they?

  • All of this isn’t new politics,its a return to the days of old with the traditional UU Tory link.
    Its not a preservation of the union,its a preservation of the divide.
    What is the pitch to the RC vote?That they should have a British standard of living.There can be
    no doubt that an incoming Conservative government will bring with it mass unemployment.It’s back to the good old bad days.

  • zoonpol

    asks of Michael if the UUP is a SECULAR Unionist Party like the Tories (sic) at post 7 above (Dec 07, 2008 @ 04:45 PM) then Manfarang implies that the pact will alienate RC voters even more thus inferring that the Conservatives have the same stigma as Driftwood alleges of the UUP.

    The UUP is a secular Party. All of its members and friends know it – however, the UUP are going further in acting out its policy of inclusiveness in reaching out to all in showing to the world that rational politics comes first – especially so as we are in an economic trough.

    As for the pitch of a British standard of life – how so Manfarang? Does Billy from the Shankill Road live more of a British lifestyle than Liam from the Falls Road if both are out of work or is it that Billy will accept British benefits were Liam will not out of loyalty to a redundant sectarian Sinn Fein mantra of not taking assistance from HM Government. If you mean that then consider yourself European and make it your 2009 resolution to enter it with your eyes and mind open.

  • zoonpol
    David Cameron is a very traditional Tory and his deal to re-establish the link between the Conservative and the UU Party is a mark of this.The claim that the Tories make of being able to offer prosperity is an increasingly thin one.We have all heard this stuff about “enterprise” before.

  • Driftwood

    The reason I asked if the UUP was secular (and it seems the least worst of all the local parties)was that I noted the annual conference opened with a prayer- presumably christian-?
    I believe tha formal alliance with the conservatives could bring back many voters who previously did not vote, some alliance voters, and many who are embarrassed at the ignorance and hypocrisy of the DUP.

  • ZoonPol

    Conservatism contains many strands and with time these strands reflect it. DC has been described as a green conservative and the Party has moved on from the pre-Major era – events have seen to that. DC wants what every political party wants – power. The UUP may not be the one wearing the trousers in this marriage but by broadening its appeal to those with ‘faith and none’ within society and abiding to the objectives of the UUP; it is more consistent than, for example, New Labour – who would otherwise have pro-union voters who endorse their views join their sister party in Northern Ireland – SDLP.
    A question that has to be mooted is surely the DUP, a success story at Westminster, should have been the ideal choice. Why not?

  • Driftwood

    Rory and Manfarang, I think you’ll find that even Westminster is limited in how much it can interfere in the global economy. However, the Conservative and Unionist Party will differ little from New Labour. It will benefit Northern Ireland to have a local party at the centre of the next UK Government however. Stormont will be a sideshow, not that it was ever anything other than that anyway.

  • Driftwood

    Zoon Pol- Why not?
    There are many reasons, but Iris Robinson is, in itself sufficient reason Dave wouldn’t touch them.

  • Andrew

    I don’t think the link up is a threat to the DUP at all Michael as I have outlined previously.

    The UUP are barking up the wrong tree.

    I regard this whole story as a mere wet dream that will benefit no one.

  • ZoonPol

    Well even if Iris is a reason I am sure her party colleagues are not impressed by her politicking now that the Paisley era has been eroded with pragmatism within the DUP. The ‘detention’ argument at Westminster didn’t do the DUP any favours either but what will be important in the next General Election is that the UUP must regain seats of the DUP et al.

  • Comrade Stalin

    William:

    The UUP has had a number of RC members, including John Gorman who was a member of the Assembly and Speaker at a time……and receives the votes of many RC voters.

    Facts really don’t seem to be your thing. Gorman was speaker at the Forum, not the Assembly, and he was about as effective as a catflap in an elephant house. I’m afraid this “we like taigs, they even have their own association!” talk doesn’t wash when you’re still joined at the hip with the Orange Order and you’re nominating the political representatives of the UDA to be High Sheriff of Belfast. I guess they probably have friends in the UVF as well, given how Billy Hutch stood aside to try to give you a clear run in North Belfast – all for nought, in the end.

    Many of the decent Unionists on the Shankill crossed the political divide and supported Dr. Joe Hendron, so I would hope that the decent Nationalists would give their vote to a Unionist informally linked to the Conservative Party, the undoubted next party of government in the UK.

    Why would they do that, given the UUP’s apparent relationship with the UDA from that area ?

    All voters in the Westminster election in constituencies with a Sinn Fein MP should ask themselves, what have these absent MPs achieved for me and my fellow citizens?

    Given that the UUP MPs, when they were still being elected, had among the lowest attendances of any MP throughout the UK, I’m not really sure it’s in your interests to bring that up.

    Keep on with your masturbatory electoral fantasies. Nothing is going to change here until people like you start plugging into reality. That reality includes acknowledging the UUP’s anti-Catholicism and the relationship it is apparently actively maintaining with the political representatives of the UVF and UDA.

  • Richard James

    Comrade Stalin,

    Whilst I’m strongly opposed to McCoubrey being nominated as High Sheriff shouldn’t your outrage also be channeled towards the Alliance Party? It supported his nomination and in the past as credited him with “trying to move things forward”.

  • catchagrip

    Comrade Stalin,
    Using a similar analysis to the one you applied to the UUP, how would you describe the reality of the other 3 main parties?