Peel suspended for breaching party protocols…

We’ve had word that Jeffrey Peel has been suspended from his role as Vice Chair Of the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland at the behest of the Party Board and its Chairman Eric Pickles, although Jeffrey will continue as an ordinary member. It’s thought that the move was made for breaches of protocol in communication. We’ll see now whether the planned interview with Mr Peel for the Politics Show goes out.. Jim Fitzpatrick writes in his warmer:

On Sunday’s Politics Show we speak to Jeffrey Peel about his decision to resign. We also investigate the growing financial hole in the Executive’s budget – Robin has more on that on our programme website.

What started as a proverbial storm in the blogosphere teacup last weekend is now mainstream news… Both parties will hope that it stops here. For their part, the Conservatives have acted decisively in the end. However the impression given by all of this partnership is of, if not a house divided, then one that is a long way from being in a common mind about what it all means…

See also: Alan in Belfast; Mark Devenport; Conservative Home; Ulster’s Doomed; Seymour MajorIf this deal has any chance of yielding visible success in the European Election, both parties will need to shown some leadership, discipline and central control. At the very least they cannot afford another self inflicted wound. That this spat blew up and was fanned by members of both parties within the blogosphere demonstrates some of the follies and dangers that come with online engagement too.

  • There’s something of the Emperor’s got no clothes about this episode. Not being a member of any political party, I can still see why they have rules about how members and party officials make decisions and communicate those with the media and the public.

    On the other hand, being a whistleblower is rarely a stance that is welcomed with open arms by any of the groups affected.

  • Firestarter

    Jeff Peel deserves all thats coming to him for his shameful actions in attempting to destroy the UUP and Cons working together.

    Jeff, sorry mate, your great plan has failed, [text removed – keep it civil – mods] you and your political nievety, let alone misjudgement.

  • Julian Robertson

    Jeff had his views. Whether or not they are correct, the manner in which he chose to communicate them and act out this little resignation drama broke a lot of protocols and is both regrettable and quite frankly misguided.

  • ??

    Jeff had his views. Whether or not they are correct, the manner in which he chose to communicate them and act out this little resignation drama broke a lot of protocols and is both regrettable and quite frankly misguided.
    Posted by Julian Robertson on Mar 07, 2009 @ 12:46 AM

    Julian – is what he said about the UUP correct and would those views be held by many Tories in NI?

  • Aghho

    Jeff Peel has brought all of this upon himself, his stupid, childish actions (launching a website on behalf of the partnership without either partner knowing anything about it, selective editing of the Conservativeni.net website so that ‘his’ version of the truth shows out. Etc etc etc.)

    This whole farce (and I only refer to Mr. Peel’s activities here) has shown to everyone that the UUP and the (real) Tories have shown real professionalism throughout this, by not lowering themselves to respond to the ranting of this spoilt child.

    I have a new faith in the Tories in that they have done exactly as I predicted and removed Mr. Peel from any position of authority.

    This partnership is probably stronger now than it was when it was announced, at least Mr. Peel’s ‘meltdown’ has given us that.

    Unionists, regardless of religious or cultural background, now have an opportunity to tell the DUPes that they are no longer needed in Northern Ireland, REAL politics should now be the focus of all of or attention.

  • This whole farce (and I only refer to Mr. Peel’s activities here) has shown to everyone that the UUP and the (real) Tories have shown real professionalism throughout this

    I must not be anyone then.

    (Emphasis mine.)

  • Curiouser and curiouser…

    Just been looking at the Conservatives NI site (www.conservativesni.net) and it’s clear Jeff is getting a lot of support from the grassroots.

    In his latest post it also sounds like he’ll be investigating the decision to suspend him as an Area Officer:

    Looks like this saga may have a while to go yet – Jeff’s latest from the Conservative NI site says he’ll be investigating the legality of the decision to suspend him:

    “It may have to come to that John as I gather the Board of the Conservative Party has now expelled me as a Northern Ireland Area Officer. Needless to say, I’m still fully committed to the Conservative Party and will remain a member of the Party.
    I’m not sure if there is any precedent for an Area Officer to be expelled without the Area’s Council actually meeting. We’ll see how things pan out and how legal this is. Many thanks for your support.”

  • 0b101010

    How delicate the New Force/Old Orangemen have become in their death throes.

  • Big Maggie

    Mick:

    For me this is a very significant part of your post: “What started as a proverbial storm in the blogosphere teacup last weekend is now mainstream news…”

    There was a time not too long ago when such a thing was unthinkable. Now I see it really is the shape of things to come, that before too long the mainstream will be a backwater—or even a tributary of the net.

  • plainly speaking

    Firestarter talks of political nievety [sic].

    However, it doesn’t all emanate from Mr. Peel. A fair dollop of political naïvity can be attributed to anyone who believed that a partnership with the Ulster Unionists and their Orange core was going to enhance the Conservatives appeal as a non-sectarian party. Then there is political naïvity in assuming there existed in the UUP party machine anyone with a smidgen of presentational savvy and it was politically naïve in extremis to have believed that the contorted name and the absurd acronym it produces was not going to be mercilessly pilloried.

  • Paul R

    Much as I agree with Jeffery Peel’s sentiments, I disagree with his derivations.
    The conservative attitude recognises established institutions. In Northern Ireland the UUP is the established institution. Laurence Kennedy nearly established the Conservative Party as an institution in N.I. but was intimidated out of the country. The Conservative Party is not an established institution in Northern Ireland.
    I can remember when the Conservative Party [GB] under William Hague did its best to undermine the Conservative Party in N.I. over the Good Friday Agreement, which we in the N.I. Party opposed on the grounds that it would institutionalise sectarianism, and that it would lead to government with no opposition. We were, of course, right [Leonard Fee was the Chairman then – where is he now?]. The national Party arrogantly dismissed the views of the local Party. It was then that I quit.
    There seems to be some hope that the UCUNF will in time become a non-sectarian party, and ‘Conservatives and Unionists’ an established institution. Jeffery Peel is too impatient.

  • All true, no doubt. And all fair, perhaps.

    I’m still not totally sold on the simplistic narrative that’s emerging (“breaches of protocol in communication”: huh!).

    Pickles is a complex and devious operator: he needs to keep his bulk moving lest he screws himself into the ground. Bear in mind that what some saw as his coup-de-main in Bradford (which made his reputation among the ultra-Tories) others saw as “intrigue and double-dealing, ambition and power, sex and money, conspiracy and corruption, betrayal and blackmail”. So, there are more dimensions to this than a SF fantasy:
    — Watch the UK scene. Pickles has slithered up the greasy pole at the expense of others: he is not universally liked even among other Tories. He is seen as a true Thatcherite who has tacked with the Cameroonie wind.
    — As incoming Tory Chairman, Pickles is throwing his weight around: that obviously now extends to NI and relations with the UUP. I can easily conceive of others who feel this is their prerogative.
    — Pickles trades on being a blunt, plain-speaking, populist Yorkshireman. Such folk are not always too considerate in placing their size eleven bovver boots.
    — Peel’s replacement (now, there’s a thought) will tell a lot about which way Pickes is blowing, and whether he has been licensed to blow.
    — Assume that Peel was, in part, set up to do just what he has done. There are advantages to this episode: some of them are to the benefit of Millbank; none will easily be recognised from the Albertbridge Road.

    One last speculation: is it not the case that, for the Conservative Party to be comfortable in NI, the UUP must be eliminated?

  • There are advantages to this episode: some of them are to the benefit of Millbank; none will easily be recognised from the Albertbridge Road.

    I suppose the key question regarding “advantages” is whether or not Peel was an asset or a liability to the whole project. And whether it was better finding out now or three months down the line his true thoughts on the UUP.