“mainstream Northern Ireland back into national politics..”

Also interviewed yesterday at the UUP conference for today’s Politics Show was UUP leader Reg Empey.

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  • Ulsters my homeland

    It’s interesting to hear Reg refer to the pro-united Ireland parties in Dublin when giving credibility to his “co-operation” with the Conservatives in London. So would it be safe to say when he makes reference to the “wide picture in N.Ireland”, he actually means all-Ireland?

    …and there’s not much closure coming on the identity issue. Cameron makes reference to Ulster multiple times during his speech, but Reg talks more on National politics (which we would presume is British), but nothing on identity :- Ulster or Irish.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    …and just to add on the identity issue, Pete’s other video “I want to have that confidence..”,
    Cameron doesn’t say Ulster at all, he’s at pains to say N.Irish and Northern Irish as many times as he can.

    who got to him? lol

  • The following should be treated with unSluggerly kindness and consideration. I’m currently beknackered (two crises and over a week away). I’m also somewhat thrown by the great pig/dioxin issue (what else can one eat in Bavaria? I know I was bellyful of the one; though hopefully not the other). If any problem with Tucher-Bräu, Löwen-Bräu etc transpires, I’m probably pilsenered, dunkled and terminally Weißbiered.

    That personal problem apart, I found myself struck by Cameron’s whole approach.

    Try this:

    Our first principle on which we have always gone is to extend to Ireland, as far as we can, all the institutions in this country … [We look] upon the integrity of the Empire as a matter more important than almost any other political consideration you can imagine, and we could not regard with favour any proposal which directly or indirectly menaced that which is the first consideration of England’s position among the nations of the world.

    Compare:

    Standing up for the Union isn’t just about expressing our important feelings about our shared heritage, it’s also a rational argument based on mutual interest.

    Together, we are the fifth largest economy in the world. Together, we have a seat at the top table and are listened to in a way that other countries can only dream of … And together, we have the British military – one of the most respected armed forces in the world. Northern Ireland punches above its weight in Britain’s armed forces and Britain punches above its weight in the world because of the expertise and bravery of those forces. Indeed, nothing embodies the Union better than our military bonds.

    [The latter to the accompaniment of a celestial choir singing: “We don’t want to fight, But, by Jingo, if we do,/We’ve got the men, we’ve got the guns,/We’ve got the money, too.”]

    One is the third Marquess of Salisbury speaking at (ironic, with that “England’s position” reference) Newport, 7th October, 1885. The other is “Dave” Cameron, at the UUP Conference, 6th December, 2008.

    Three observations:
    1. Cameron is miles away from the Downing Street Declaration commitment that Britain has no “selfish, strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland”.
    2. Cameron has therefore broken the one consistent thread, sewn successively by John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, that the Northern Irish people alone have the right, the duty and the opportunity to decide their own destiny.
    3. The Clinton Administration wouldn’t have worn it. The Bushies were inert. Does Obama’s Secretary of State Clinton have a view — particularly if Micheál Martin’s An Roinn Gnóthai Eachtracha get there first (as they will)?

  • John K Lund

    ULSTERS MY HOMELAND.
    do you live in the six counties that make up a part of the Uited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Conservative and Unionist Party is the oldest political party in the world.This enlarged party has now formed a political force that will contest all seats in Nothern Ireland. Despite the condemnation of the DUP, Alliance, Sein Fein or anyone else.There will be no electoral pacts.For those Labour supporters who are a tiny rump of the UUP go and persuade the Labour Party to organise here. I wholeheartedly would encourage a secular alternative to the DUP,Sein Fein and the SDLP who claim to be labour type left wing parties. The Alliance party could fight under the Liberal Democrat banner- another democrat party!!!!.

  • John K Lund

    Malcolm Redfellow.
    What was the DUP’s reply on the 7th October1885?

  • picador

    I would like to know why the Ulster Unionist / Conservatives on Belfast City Council have nominated UDA-linked Frank McCoubrey to be the High Sheriff of Belfast, especially after he was censured for dragging the office of Deputy Lord Mayor, which he held a number of years back, through the mud by sitting on a stage wearing the chain of office while Johnny Adair and family loosed off volleys of from automatic weapons.

  • picador

    should read:

    “loosed of volleys of shots”

  • LURIG

    Come on picador sit up at the back there. You obviously DON’T know the Norn Iron Peace Process rules. Loyalists & Unionists can do whatever the hell they want and get away with it, it’s ALL the fault of Sinn Fein/IRA. Hugh Smyth was elected Belfast Lord Mayor at a time when the UVF was killing innocent people AND Frank McCoubrey was elected Belfast Deputy Lord Mayor while Adair and the boys were doing the same. BOTH were elected with DUP, UUP & Alliance party votes so that tells you all you need to know about the relationship between mainstream Unionism and Protestant murder gangs. McCoubrey is about to become High Sheriff with NOT even a hint of irony or embarrassment from Unionism. A lot of this is of course down to VERY weak spineless Nationalist politicians on Belfast City Council and up at Stormont. The SDLP and Sinn Fein don’t represent the Catholic community, they represent themselves and what they can get from their wee political gold mines. By the way I wouldn’t worry too much about Cameron or Reg’s delusions of grandeur. With Obama & Hilary in power in Washington a few phone calls to them from Seamus Mallon, John Hume or Bertie Ahern will soon put the Tories and UUP in their place. Bill Clinton pulled John Major and his administration up a few times on Ireland. The real power and influence lies in the White House & US State department. Nationalists and Republicans should lose NO sleep.

  • John K Lund @ 09:17 PM:

    What was the DUP’s reply on the 7th October 1885?

    D’oh!

    Well, try this: on 21 November 1885 Parnell issued a manifesto calling on the Irish in Britain to vote against all but a few Liberals and Radicals. The December result was a Commons of 335 Liberals, 249 Tories, and 86 Home Rulers. In Ireland Parnellites won 85 of the 103 constituencies. In Ulster 17 constituencies (a majority of 1) went for Parnell. If you know that TP O’Connor took Liverpool, Scotland, and you’ve done the Maths, you’ll instantly see that only two Irish seats outside of Ulster (curiously those for TCD) did not go for Parnell and Home Rule. Possibly 25-30 seats went Tory because of Parnell’s manifesto.

    Now, folks, it’s test-time. Using the current formula of (English Tory Party + 1 NI MP) and the figures in the previous paragraph, construct a credible government.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Malcolm,

    the speech by Posh Boy Dave Cameron (PBDC ) is simply a leg up for Wee Reggie. I personally thought it was a very clever speech given his audience. The Downing street declaration is irrelevant as it has been superceded by the GFA – this is an international agreement with the ROI and referenced as such by PBDC yesterday. The principle of consent works boths ways – i.e. the Englezes cant change post 1998 status of Norn Iron without the consent of ROI. As LURIG says – nothing to worry about here – but hey, dont move on – because the entertainment value of a new civil war within Unionism (with a split vote) and the unfolding embarassmment of issues like the High Sheriff of Belfast will provide hours of fun.

  • Oilifear

    “Cameron is miles away from the Downing Street Declaration …”

    Far, far away. My ears were particularly pricked during the Q&A;session yesterday when (in Northern Ireland) he placed relations with the Republic in terms of “our commitments under international law”.

    What should we expect? He speaks of moving away from tribalism, but aligns with tribalists. He is tribal.

  • LURIG

    Don’t know if anyone can clear this up. Is the post of Belfast High Sheriff elected by councillors? If so has a vote been taken yet and has Frank McCoubrey been confirmed? If not the Alliance Party has a powerful moral duty to stop this as they hold the casting votes. The sight of Frank McCoubrey applauding on a platform as Johnny Adair’s murdering UDA thugs fired off automatic weapons is nauseating to the entire Catholic community and many Protestants too I would imagine. Why have Sinn Fein and the SDLP on the council been so mute about this?

  • IJP

    I thought Reg was very impressive here – what he said was thoughtful and would have wide-ranging appeal to significant sections of the electorate, particularly the UUP/DUP swing voters (and perhaps non-voters).

    John

    While we’re being fair, actually the Alliance Party has never condemned this move by the Ulster Unionists. On the contrary, it has broadly welcomed it (and so it should, logically, as it is an apparent attempt to bring “normal politics” nearer, a key Alliance Party objective).

    What we in Alliance have condemned is the EU election pact with TUV, an entirely negative and de-stabilising political force. That move was contradictory and confusing – I’ve a suspicion most UUP-ites reading this will agree with me on that point!

  • John K Lund

    Malcolm Redfellow.
    Home Rule was within the UK. If I had been around at the time I would have supported Home Rule.As with the disestablisment of the Church of Ireland we would have had secular politics under the British Crown.I still forecaste that possibly not in my lifetime The Irish Republic will come into the British Commonwealth and even possibly the UK.It is too small to stand on its own and will eventually want to join the rest of the English speaking world in a Dollar/Sterling/ Nordic enlarged NAFTA area.Thus Home Rule would be delivered.You must always use accurate and up to the minute data in current time equations.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    LURIG,

    “Why have Sinn Fein and the SDLP on the council been so mute about this? ”

    For obvious reasons SF tend to pedal lightly when it comes to those with a paramilitary past.

  • slug

    At a personal level there is something fundamentally very nice and likeable about Reg Empey.

  • John K Lund

    IJP.
    News Letter page 8 Sat.6th Dec. 2008.David Ford is quoted.
    The New Force will be The Conservative and Unionist Party. It will be a strictly secular party open to people of all faiths and beliefs. Roman Catholics will be especially welcome as this gives them the chance to vote for the One Nation Conservative Party and elect non sectarian members of the relevant calibre to the Mother of Parliaments. Ian you would make a good candidate and I am certainly no dinosaur. In NI terms are over double those present at the 2007 conference attended this years conference- over 700 including 100 NI Conservatives.Follow your United Liberal forebears and come into the fold. We need people like you.

  • LURIG

    OK Sammy I can see why the Shinners are a bit quiet but the hypocrsiy within Unionism stinks to the high heavens. They have got an agreement from Sinn Fein that Republicans will stay away from Policing & Justice ad infinitum but it’s all right for Loyalist paramilitary figures to take high profile political posts. The UUP, DUP AND Alliance had no such qualms or misgivings when they voted for a UVF linked Mayor of Belfast AND a UDA linked Deputy Mayor while both paramilitary groups were butchering innocent people. These double standards really annoy and anger not only the Catholic community but also Protestant families like the McCords who have been ignored by mainstream Unionism. It is morally unjust to ignore this and I would like to hear the comments of the many Alliance people who I know post on these threads. YOUR party has a moral duty and responsibilty to ensure that Frank McCoubrey does NOT get the Belfast High Sheriff post. It lies with you! Sinn Fein and the SDLP are weak, self centred and totally out of touch with the Nationalist community and long ago lost their confidence.

  • Driftwood

    I know many people, who despise the DUP Fundamentalists. but voted none the less. against SF, who will be voting next time for the Conervative/UUP. The DUP have shown themselves to be bigots, albeit ready to share power with murderers. The DUP brand is ‘WE Hate Catholics, but will do anything to stay in power’. The UUP should go with the SECULAR Conservatives, and will get the mainstream vote. And thankfully we will get rid of the DUP forever, normal UK politics to NI? Great stuff. Methinks the DUP (the few non bigots) will be worried,

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    IJP,

    So you disagree with your Party leaders statement in yesterday’s Belfast Newsletter?

    And Reg made a very good point regarding neutrality. The British Govt should be no less opinionated than that of the Irish Government. If Republicans don’t like it, tough, maybe then they will realise they can’t keep running across to London with a shopping list just because they’re incompetent at governing.

    A good day for the Union, it’s shame the DUP has been so overcome with jealously they can’t see the significance of it all.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Driftwood,

    is it a cunning plan – and its attractions to sensiblew/secular unionists are obvious – but lets be realistic it will take ages (10 years?) to reverse the trend towards the DUP if it works at all.

    I dont know the odds for the Euro elections but I guess the DUP will be about 1/3 to top the poll and the Tory/UU about 10/1. Just guessing – but the type of dramatic shift in public opinion only happen overnight when there is a major event – ie Trimble going into government with SF without decomissioning.

    In the menatime SF will be the main beneficaries.

  • Driftwood

    I just want to know if the UUP are are a secular party. I know Alliance are. The rest are obvious- SDLP/SF are Roman Catholic and the DUP are evangelical Prod. Where does the UUP stand?

  • Sorry, John K Lund @ 10:46 PM, you’ve gone way over my head. I do not follow your logic.

    Else, I want some of that stuff you’re on.

    slug @ 11:09 PM

    True; but a devastating political epitaph.

  • ??

    Cameron has therefore broken the one consistent thread, sewn successively by John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, that the Northern Irish people alone have the right, the duty and the opportunity to decide their own destiny. …………

    No he hasnt, cameron said “I will continue to work closely and constructively with our nearest neighbours in the Republic of Ireland and I will always uphold the democratic wishes of people here in respect of their constitutional future.”

    Nothing changed except the spin.

  • IJP

    FYY

    No, read the statement more carefully – there is a distinction between being dubious about the likelihood of something happening on one hand, and opposing it on the other.

    The cause for hope is that the youth in both our parties seem to be the progressive, optimistic type (I can say that without bias now that I no longer count as “youth”!) – that is good for NI politics as a whole.

    JL

    You’re very kind – however, my party too has rising Conference attendances, a rapidly growing youth wing, etc etc.

    So I’m quite happy in a genuinely cross-community, Progressive, Liberal Party which I trust, in the true spirit of our new cross-community democracy, will rise to meet a welcome (hopefully cross-community, Progressive) Tory challenge.

    We should, nevertheless, be working together to ensure that is indeed the challenge – in the struggle for progressive politics, there is much more that unites than divides us.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s unbelievable. Sammy etc. is absolutely right.

    LURIG:

    BOTH were elected with DUP, UUP & Alliance party votes so that tells you all you need to know about the relationship between mainstream Unionism and Protestant murder gangs.

    As far as I know, neither McCoubrey or Smyth were elected on Alliance Party votes. I think you should substantiate your claims before you bust a blood vessel.

    The fact that there is one nomination for High Sheriff suggests that the DUP/SDLP/SF/UUP have done a deal of some kind. Alliance is pretty much powerless to do anything about this.

    Sinn Fein and the SDLP are weak, self centred and totally out of touch with the Nationalist community and long ago lost their confidence.

    So why did they all come out and vote for them in 2007 ? You do have a penchant for hyperbole.

    John K Lund:

    There will be no electoral pacts.For those Labour supporters who are a tiny rump of the UUP go and persuade the Labour Party to organise here. I wholeheartedly would encourage a secular alternative to the DUP,Sein Fein and the SDLP who claim to be labour type left wing parties. The Alliance party could fight under the Liberal Democrat banner- another democrat party!!!!.

    John, take your dick out of your hand for two seconds and look at the facts. The reason why the Labour Party do not organize here is because they knew, like the Conservatives, that they would lose miserably in any election due to our ingrained tribal voting tendancies. They only changed that policy due to massive public pressure, and even so they still haven’t actually moved forward to organize here as far as I know.

    The core target vote for this Tory/UUP coalition is going to be all the DUP voters who used to vote UUP. I don’t see how all those UUP voters who crossed over to the DUP most likely seeking a firmer message and more decisive leadership are now all going to cross over on the sight of David Cameron’s smiling face.

    I look forward to the day when the Alliance Party is not necessary and we can all vote for “bread and butter” parties of whatever hue, and when we no longer define ourselves by our tribe – or our lack of tribe. Those days are not yet here.

    The New Force will be The Conservative and Unionist Party. It will be a strictly secular party open to people of all faiths and beliefs. Roman Catholics will be especially welcome as this gives them the chance to vote for the One Nation Conservative Party and elect non sectarian members of the relevant calibre to the Mother of Parliaments.

    This paragraph is so ridiculous I don’t know where to start. To begin with, people in the civilized world (outside of NI) say “Catholics”, not “Roman Catholics”. And secondly, you’ve lost all hope of wearing the non-sectarian label given the fact that you’re just the UUP in sheep’s clothing. Why didn’t the Conservatives just remain independent and relaunch their message that way ?

    Ian you would make a good candidate and I am certainly no dinosaur. In NI terms are over double those present at the 2007 conference attended this years conference- over 700 including 100 NI Conservatives.

    It’s great to have more people at conference but will that translate into votes ? 700 votes isn’t going to take any constituencies from the DUP.

  • Alliance Hardliner

    McCoubrey was the only nominee – nominated by Bob Stoker.

    Smyth was opposed by Alliance, elected in the days of a Unionist majority.

    If the link to the Tories is to be taken seriously, the UUP needs to stop forming common cause with the UDA and UVF – these are the very organizations who cause deprivation in Loyalist areas.

  • DC

    “If the link to the Tories is to be taken seriously, the UUP needs to stop forming common cause with the UDA and UVF – these are the very organizations who cause deprivation in Loyalist areas.”

    So does Alliance advocate policing measures against these groups and if so what are the measures it wishes to use on the para-mafia? If politics isn’t part of the answer, why not? And where does criminality and paramilitarism interact with politics, if politics can be seen as a way to capture public opinion and used to change public opinion and thus action on the ground.

    While targeting social need may mean that these areas, loyalist areas, may not necessarily be economically most disadvantaged and social mobility not the biggest issue, however, in terms of getting a debate stated about social issues it might be best to try and influence people out of violence, to transform, rather than isolate and exclude.

    This stance highlights the problems with the attempt by the Tories and the UUP to circumvent the real issues on the ground, particularly in loyalist areas that are beset with paramilitarism which in my view is a social problem needing in part political responses and engagement, not just criminal justice responses. It is whether this person in particular is a parasite or if he has worked to transform his area. IF so, whether mayoral office can be used in part as encouragement showing other people from working class areas that they too can gain office and that democratic participation can work for them, not against.

    Do we simply exclude representation, or include in the hope to transform the debate and approaches within those communities. Is the price of exclusion more costly than engaging?

    Regardless of that it, I hope, helps to prove the many problems with the blatant brand snatching by the UUP which is looking for a rub off the Tory party, rather than having a debate on how to transform and overhaul deprived areas.

    One debate in particular would would be whether inclusion of former associates or those with links to paramilitaries in loyalist areas is a useful tactic in a wider strategy of encouraging loyalist areas to participate in democracy and politics.

  • picador

    Unless I am very much mistaken Bob ‘no gooks or fenians on Sandy Row’ Stoker is a UU / Conservative member of BCC. I await with baited breath to see what Tory Central Office will do to censure him for nominating paramilitary frontman, Frank McCoubrey, as High Sheriff of Belfast. It will be interesting to see who Sheriff McCoubrey picks as his Deputy now that Ihab Shoukri is out of the equation.

  • picador

    Yes, just as I thought, Reg Empey is still a member of BCC. As leader of the Conservatives in Norn Iron does he approve of his party colleague’s nomination of McCoubrey?

    Thanks for the clarification Dave. We are still being oppressed by English Tory bastards!

  • Unionist Unity

    Has anybody considered that a strengthened and reinvigorated UUP will result in SF becoming the largest party with all that entails? Fermanagh and South Tyrone will also be lost forever.

  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    So what if SF end up the largest single party in the Assembly? What exactly will the harm be in Murderous McMarty being first minister, as distinct from the harm that already comes from his being any manner of minister? Both the DUP and the UUP (and indeed, behind them, Dave’s Conservatives) have signed up to the corrupting, undemocratic, gerrymandered regime at Stormont that makes Martin a minister come what electorally may. But all that said, what London giveth, London just as easily taketh away. Westminster can perfectly easily change the rules that say the leader of the largest single party has to be 1st Minister, and may well do. Who’s going to complain as and when they do? SF? Again, a big, so what?

    But on the subject of FST/SB – sure, if the UU/Cons run in every seat, both seats are lost. So let’s see whether they do: I’m willing to bet they won’t. And I’m almost infallible.

  • Baz está fresco em Vermont

    “especially after he was censured for dragging the office of Deputy Lord Mayor, which he held a number of years back, through the mud by sitting on a stage wearing the chain of office while Johnny Adair and family loosed off volleys of from automatic weapons.”

    That’s shocking, shooting in the air is so wild west or PLO, or Mexican, is it a cultural thing for people who can’t hit anything?

  • Baz está fresco em Vermont

    “If the link to the Tories is to be taken seriously, the UUP needs to stop forming common cause with the UDA and UVF – these are the very organizations who cause deprivation in Loyalist areas”

    How many factories in Turf Lodge?

  • Comrade Stalin

    DC:

    So does Alliance advocate policing measures against these groups and if so what are the measures it wishes to use on the para-mafia?

    There needs to be tough police action taken to remove paramilitary elements, and I believe that it can be done. Sadly, with the UDA/UVF’s arms-length alliances with politican unionism (I have never once seen a unionist politician get enthusiastic about successful police action against loyalists), and Sinn Fein’s obvious ones, this isn’t going to happen.

    “mainstream Northern Ireland back into national politics..”

    When has the NI state, since it was founded, ever been in national politics in the first place ?