An Orangeman about the place?

Debate has ensued about comments made by NI Tory Jeffery Peel about Orangemen. He was reported to have described the Orange Institution as a “backward-facing, history obsessed, parish pump society”, adding: “[It] is clear that we do have to address the issue of whether members of the Orange Order – or other sectarian organisations – should be permitted to join the Party…”

Given that the Orange Order has been central to the Unionist movement since its foundation his comments offer an interesting insight as to the selection and promotion of Orange members of the party – a party (the UUP) which would still advertise a considerable number of members who are also members of the loyal orders.

The story appeared on Talk Back today with the UUP saying that membership of the Orange Order would have no influence over party affiliation.

However perhaps the Tories have other ideas – can they veto candidates put forward to the Joint Committee for selection on this basis?

  • frustrated democrat


    You just don’t have the ability to understand English do you? Read what I said again with an English Grammar book in your hand and you just might understand it. I thought we were supposed to have a superior education system here.

    You mean we are to take a UDUPES Press Release from an ex UUP member as a statement of Conservative policy. As I said earlier he should stick to getting some policies for his new party as they seem to have none except a begging bowl for Downing Street.

    It really is amazing the lengths that UDUPES will go to attack that they fear most. They send out a press release and then use that as an excuse to comment here as though it was nothing to do with them. Very amateurish, but very informative about their internal workings and their insecurities.

  • Richard James

    “I’d await a court case if an Orange man (or women) was denied selection because of their membership of the largest organisation of Protestants.”

    Membership of the Orange Order has never prevented a member of the Conservative Party becoming a MP. Ever hear of Andrew Hunter?

  • Seymour Major

    There is a lot of nonsense written in this thread.

    Much of it is by DUP supporters. Let me kill firstly the suggestion about OO members joining the conservatives. Nonsense. We had them in our party before the link. They are all very welcome.

    Yes I did express a preference about selection. I said it as a preference, knowing that the rules were otherwise. I have nothing against OO people personally. On the other hand, I am also entitled to take a critical view on the electability, by Catholics, of people who are members of that organisation.

    If we want to achieve normal politics, we must be seen to be a religiously tolerant organisation. The DUP do not have that problem. They are quite happy to seek only the votes of Protestants.

    The Conservatives and the UUP are going through teething problems which inevitably occur when alliances are formed and I have questioned whether the strain is too much for the Alliance to work at the present time. However, if the parties can get through their disagreements and start campaigning as a truly pluralist organisation, it will electrify Northern Ireland politics.

    When that happens, it will be the DUP who will be on the back foot. They know very well that if and when normal politics kicks in, their party, if it continues as a protestant only party, will eventually face extinction.

  • frustrated democrat

    Seymour Major

    A voice of sanity in this wilderness.

    The UDUPES are afraid of the future and are starting to kick all the cats around them in frustration at their inability to do anything constructive. TUV to the Right of them and (U)CU’s to the left of them, and many of their voters aghast at what they did after the last election. They now understand what it is to be squeezed in the middle.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Seymour Major

    The Orange Order is, I would suggest, viewed by the vast majority of non unionists Irish and the the vast majority of mainland British as fundamentally sectarian and a major contributor to poor community relations. I don expect many Unionists to share that view but do you view the OO as a sectrarian organisation?

    Do you not at least agree there is the merest hint of hypocricy for the Tories forming an alliance with a party that treasures and maintians links with the OO and at the same times tells us that its involvment in Norn Iron is setting us on the road to non-sectarian politics?

  • CMB

    Seymour Major

    If you were referring to me I am not in the DUP I am a concerned UU who does not agree with this shot gun marriage and is disturbed that my party is losing its way. Is it not a sad reflection of this project that I have to scour the internet to really find out what is going on as it seems to be only a few that are at the centre have been fully informed. Surely a party that has operated in Northern Ireland for many years does not need the prop of the Tory’s who have at best have been no friendlier to Northern Ireland than the current Labour crop. I can assure you that I am not the only UU who is very concerned at the way things are progressing perhaps the many Conservative’s who are fermenting this blog should not be so provocative as I can see this project falling at the first hurdle. Where do we think we will get transfers from in the EU elections? I feel we have shot ourselves in the foot at least we had a chance of getting DUP transfers, not sure that will happen now and the TUV I feel only supported the UU at Dromore to give the DUP a bloody nose.

  • Big Maggie


    “now if you replace the orange order with say blacks or chinese”

    Good idea. At least the cuisine served up in the Field on the 12th would be a lot better.

  • ABC


    I notice you are happy to distance yourself from Seymour Major on the grounds that he is an individual member arguing in favour of discrimination against Orangemen and Women when seeking selection to run. Fair enough.

    But what about Jeff Peel – the MEDIA SPOKESMAN for the Conservatives in Northern Ireland and a member of the Joint Working Committee. Given that the Tories have no elected representatives in Northern Ireland (with the exception of Peter Bowles) he is the nearest thing to a senior Northern Ireland Tory going.

    It is clear that key movers and shakers in UCUNF despise the Orange Instituion and they would bring that thinking with them when picking candidates.

    Reg Empey must need his head examining allowing the Jeff Peel’s of this world anywhere near his party structures.

  • ABC

    Incidentally, I recall being told by some UUP friends that Jeff Peel was going to be “dealt with”. This was before the website shambles. Maybe the Tories are as good at party discipline as the Ulster Unionists were….

  • ABC

    And still it goes on.

    “By definition the Orange Order is a sectarian organisation as it does not permit non-Protestant members – or even members who have Catholic spouses. That’s not to say that all members of the OO are sectarian – I accept that. However, candidates would need to prove that they would rigidly adhere to our position of religious openness and tolerance. That might be more tricky for some people than others.”

    Jeff Peel – the gift that just keeps giving…..

  • picador

    However, candidates would need to prove that they would rigidly adhere to our position of religious openness and tolerance.

    This Jeff Peel seems to me like an unreasonable bigot.


  • Big Maggie


    With respect, you’re making a common mistake in logic. Non-tolerance of intolerance does not equate with intolerance.

  • picador

    Big Maggie,

    With respect, you are making a common mistake – failure to detect irony!

  • Big Maggie


    Whoops. Me silly.

  • Weary Unionist

    Comments by UUP and Tories appalling …

    will most of the UU Assembly team have to resign their membership of the OO?

    I am confused by all this … the tories and UUP are saying two different things

  • Weary Unionist

    Richard James

    “”Id await a court case if an Orange man (or women) was denied selection because of their membership of the largest organisation of Protestants.”

    Membership of the Orange Order has never prevented a member of the Conservative Party becoming a MP. Ever hear of Andrew Hunter?”

    Yeh, but this seems to be a NI Tory policy

  • Weary Unionist

    and Andrew Hunter then joined the DUP ofcourse

  • ABC

    Another gem from the Tory Wesbite:

    “Have we really spent all this time cultivating strong and authentic non-sectarian credentials only to now kowtow to the UUP’s preference for candidates who are members of the OO? How are we going to look remotely attractive to Catholic voters when the spectre of Lord Trimble doing his Orange jig through Portadown is still fresh in the collective memory?

    This whole arrangement is about as appealing as the face of David Cameron with the nose of W.C. Fields – not a pretty sight.”

    What was that about thoughts not shared widely amongst NI Tories?

  • Michael Shilliday

    I am confused by all this … the tories and UUP are saying two different things

    In a joint statement? Hardly.

  • ABC

    It speaks!!

    Perhaps you’d care to venture some answers?

  • Sammy No 5.

    You are trying to get me to say that the Orange Order is a sectarian organisation. I am sort of weary of this debate. However, the only way to change things is to get people to continuously examine issues and think, so lets continue it.

    To answer your question, there are two ways of looking at that. If you make it a rule of classification which says that an organisation which precludes people of particular faiths from joining it is sectarian, then it is. That though is not the real issue.

    The real issue is how does the organisation conduct itself towards the Catholic Community? Certainly, members of the organisation have been guilty of sectarian hatred in the past but the past is the past. The present day Orange Order has many honest, decent men in it who are not personally sectarian.

    As an organisation, the Orange Order still has work to do in order to clean up its own image. Have a look at this article from Liam Clarke and tell me what has changed since it was written.

    The Orange Order does indeed have a poor reputation in England, Scotland and Wales.

    Has the OO been a major contributor to poor relations? I can’t prove that and would like to see research carried out. There is no doubt that the vast majority of Catholics still think of Orangemen as sectarian bigots. Those attitudes were re-inforced by what happened at Drumcree.

    Sammy, you ask me about hypocrisy. I think we can get this right if the correct approach is taken to selection of candidates. The approach I believe should be taken is what I would call the “Mick Fealty” criteria. Mick Fealty has indicated in a piece written for the Telegraph that you need someone who can speak the language of both Protestants and Catholics.
    Mick has it right on the button. Now I would suggest that there are very few people around who could meet that criterion. I think it likely that an Orangeman would be likely to find it even more difficult. That is my hunch. I would keep an open mind.

    Now, my prediction about people responding to this comment in a mature and sensible way? Some will. Others will hit the roof and accuse me of this, that and the other.

  • ABC

    “As an organisation, the Orange Order still has work to do in order to clean up its own image.”

    Unlike the Tory Party, the people who brought us:

    Jeffrey Archer
    Cash for Questions
    Cecil Parkinson
    Arms to Iraq
    Tim Yeo
    David Mellor
    Neil Hamilton
    Stephen Milligan

    and let’s not forget, the last Tory Prime Minister who cheated on his wife.

    Glass houses Seymour!

  • ABC

    A more comprehensive list of the party presently lecturing the OO to clean up their image:

    David Mellor’s extra-marital affair with bit-part actress Antonia de Sancha (ca. 1992)
    Tim Yeo’s extramarital affair resulting in him fathering a “love-child” in 1993
    Michael Mates’s resignation as a Minister of State following allegations he had accepted cash and gifts from the fugitive businessman Asil Nadir (1993)
    Stephen Milligan’s accidental death by auto-erotic asphyxiation on February 7, 1994
    Michael Brown’s involvement with a then-underage man in 1994, and his subsequent implication in the ‘cash for questions’ affair.
    Neil Hamilton’s alleged acceptance of ‘cash for questions’ from Mohammed Al-Fayed in 1994
    Tim Smith’s admitting that he took cash for questions from Mohammed Al-Fayed.
    David Ashby discovered to have shared a bed with a man on a trip paid by expenses. Ashby was married at the time.
    Jonathan Aitken’s alleged procurement of prostitutes for Arab businessmen, their payment of his Ritz hotel bill, and his subsequent conviction and prison sentence for perjury after the resulting libel trial in which he unsuccessfully attempted to sue The Guardian over the story.
    Graham Riddick’s entrapment for, and acceptance of, ‘cash for questions’ in 1994.
    Hartley Booth’s amorous, unreciprocated pursuit of his secretary in 1995
    David Willetts’s disciplining by the parliamentary ombudsman over his intervention in a parliamentary enquiry in 1996
    Piers Merchant’s affairs with a night club hostess, and his researcher in 1997

  • Michael Shilliday

    What are your questions?

  • ABC

    Is this second individual on the Joint Committee?

    Did this individual set up a website without permission so to do?

    Has this individual a proven track record of hostility towards the Orange Institution?

    How will the UUP deal with the issue?

  • Why is it that so many people when faced with questions about themselves or their organisation or party – insteady of facing issues – just decide to project onto new topics. We have seen an example of this above by ABC No. 22, 23 and 25.

    If you want a sensible debate, stick to the subject matter. Are you incapable of defending constructive criticism of the Orange Order? We can discuss the likes of Cecil Parkinson (or Henry VIII if you like), another time.

  • Has the NI Conservative site been removed?

    Looks like a redirect has been placed to the main Conservative website.

  • Michael Shilliday

    The names of the members of the joint committee are in the public domain. Take it from me that Seymore Major is his real name and look it up for yourself.

    The ins and outs of websites are likewise in the public domain, you can look that up for yourself too.

    That is a matter of judgement, and i wont seek to make yours for you. You will make up your own fairy story regardless.

    The joint committee continues to meet regularly and is dealing with many and varied issues.

  • Dylan

    I find it incredibly interesting how much debate this particular story has sparked on this forum. It seems that any attempt to analyse or question the Orange Orders role in our society opens a massive can of worms. Unionists supportive of the Orange are so paranoid and insecure its almost scary, little wonder when the weight of international opinion is generally against them (lets face it the O O is hardly a slick PR machine!) Conversely Catholics of whatever ilk generally view the Order as anathema and are quick to (understandably) put the boot in. All sections of society have a right to do what they please- the crux of the matter is though that Orange ism is outmoded, purely sectarian, hypocritical and offensive to a sizable proportion of people in this Country. Why cant Unionists/loyalists just open up, embrace change and modernise?

  • E

    The management of the Conservatives Northern Ireland webpage is being transferred to Conservative Campaign Headquarters:

    Here is the new page:

  • ??

    The management of the Conservatives Northern Ireland webpage is being transferred to Conservative Campaign Headquarters: …….

    First blood to the DUP , wonder who/what will be next

  • ??

    anyone had a look at the new tory site: Whose picture is slap in the middle? Why if it aint old davy trimble, thats sure to rally Unionists to the cause.

  • You are right, ignited.

    We await hearing what the implication of this is. I will try and find out what is going on. This could be a technical glitch or sensational news.

  • ??

    heres a little link of intrest from the now soon to be defunt ToryNI website

    heres a quote:

    “Furthermore, a leading Ulster Unionist, Danny Kennedy, held out the prospect of some sort of relationship between the UU and Conservative Parties – although not the ‘historic’ relationship. The local Conservatives responded as follows…

    “The Conservatives have today rejected an offer by UUP Deputy Leader Danny Kennedy to ‘review a future relationship’ between the two Parties following the restoration of devolution. Mr Kennedy made the ‘offer’ earlier today.

    “We are not interested in a future relationship with the UUP – not now, not after the devolution situation is clarified, nor at any time in the future,” said Jeffrey Peel, Vice Chairman of the Party in Northern Ireland.”

    As John Strafford, a member of the Beaconsfield constituency party and a longstanding supporter of the Conservatives in Northern Ireland commented recently –

    “Anyone can see that the Ulster Unionists are finished. Join the Conservative Party!”

    I agree the UUP are finished.

  • Michael Shilliday

    First blood to the DUP , wonder who/what will be next

    Keep repeating that enough to yourself you might actually believe it!

  • ABC

    How humiliating for the Northern Ireland Tories.

    Still centrailised London control will bring a real local perspective eh?

  • ??


    How humiliating for the Northern Ireland Tories.

    Still centrailised London control will bring a real local perspective eh?
    Posted by ABC on Mar 05, 2009 @ 04:22 PM

    well it brought the real leader of the NI TOries back, good old Trimble is plastered right in the middle of the website.

    How long before they realise their mistake and move it?

  • ABC


    It really is very funny. Couldn’t organise a bun fight in a bakery.

  • ??

    Another gem from the ConserativeNI archives:

    This time in the run up to the Assembly elections:

    Posted on February 22, 2007 by Editor

    Our web site poll shows that nearly two thirds of respondents think that local political parties have no influence over how we are governed….

    “The poll also shows, as we reported a few days ago, that there appears to be a move away from local parties – in particular the UUP and Alliance – to the Conservative Party.

    Nearly 34% of our respondents in the poll intend to give Conservatives their vote on March 7.”

    34% WOW, how did that work out for you lol

  • ABC

    Cue Shillers et al telling us that this was planned all along.

  • nectar

    Busy day in DUP head office today lads?

  • Looking at the Main Conservative Website, I see that they have now incorporated the Union Flag into the sky of their previous “new day” sky.

    This is an interesting development. I am guessing at the moment but in return for the UUP’s acceptance of the logo launched last week the main Conservative Party may have thrown in a proposal to take the Union Jack onto their main website.

    I am only guessing but if that is correct, it would be viewed as a huge gesture of commitment by the central tories.

  • ??

    Seymour, the union jack sky isnt on the NI page for some reason

  • Blahdeeblah


    WOW using our national flag. What a big gesture.

  • ??


    WOW using our national flag. What a big gesture.


    But not on the NI page, dont want to offend those thousands of catholics who will vote tory

  • Blahdeeblah

    “dont want to offend those thousands of catholics who will vote tory”

    Spot on. So Unionist they refuse to use the UNION flag. Still, I suppose its all the fault of the Orange Order……

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Seymour Major

    To be fair to Unionists it is difficult to have a sensible and unemotional debate when the ‘constitutional issue’ remains alive. The ambivalence to the sectarianism of the OO which many Unionists have is a reflection of the continuing unsettled times in Norn Iron. This project has probably come too early as Uninoists are still, justifialby worried that any movement to a softer Unioinism will lead to further concessions to Republicanism.

    The archirtecture of the GFA allows for an incresing role for the Irish governemnt via increased cross border ministerial contact and the movemnet of demogrpaphic is probably making Norn Iron’s future less secure all the time.

    I think a fair comparison between the feeling of the Unionists lies with those in the Tory party who see the incessant march of Brussels power underminig British soverignity. Given this Tory experience, it is surely very naieve (however laudable) of the Tories to think that now is a good time to offer Unionist people a softer option with the possibility of casuing further rupture of relations within Unionism and an outbreak of hostility as we can see above.

    Without I hope sounding patronising, I admire you bravery and patience in advancing this project but as a Nationalist it all makes for quite amusing viewing as Unionism again turn its political fire on itself.

  • Big Maggie

    I don’t know what the fuss is about the Orange Order excluding Catholics, who represent almost half the population of NI.

    Why no mention of their (near) exclusion of women, who represent MORE than half? Boys will be boys?

  • Richard James

    “Yeh, but this seems to be a NI Tory policy”

    If you’d paid attention to the thread you would know it isn’t, merely the opinion of one Ulster Tory. And if I recall, membership of the Orange Order wasn’t an obstacle to Peter Bowles joining the Conservatives.

  • Seymour Major

    I wrote what I considered to be a fair critique of the Orange Order issues (No. 21 of page 5)and so far not a single Ulster Unionist or Orange Order member has faced that comment. All they seem to be capable of is projection or insult.

    Sammy McNally does have insight into how Catholics think about the Unionist Parties. His analysis in his most recent comment (23 of page 6) is very hard to argue against.

    These debatates on Slugger will not matter if the Conservatives and Ulster Unionists are able to face and address the real obstacles which are in the way of generating normal politics. Whilst there is still uncertainty about what is going to happen next, I will not give up hope.

  • dub


    i admire your commitment to real national politics. I would differ with you profoundly on the relevant nation.

    Could you explain why you have chosen the british road?

    I cannot see long term reconcilation in this country in a british context. the underlying theme of the downing st declaration, gfa etc, is irish self determination and withdrawal of external british political interference (british sovereignty itself is to be neutral).

    why are you promoting such anti-gfa british interference?

    its a bit late now for for full integration into the uk is it not?


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