Cameron brings spark of life to our Euro campaign

David Cameron has caught the smell of power. He isn’t waiting until or unless he wins power to move into devolved territory. He’s jazzing up the boring old European campaign by ordering his candidates to hawk round a petition to call for an immediate general election. And he’s turning up next week at – guess where? – Ballymena. Will Jim Nicholson hand round the petition to oust Gordon Brown? We should be told.

  • ??

    will the UDA be there to canvass? or sylvia?

  • SM

    Will ?? be there to ask silly questions? 🙂

  • ?

    whats silly about asking if the UUP onlys MP will be canvassing? or if the UDA, who put so much time and effort in putting up posters will be there?

    and I might be

  • SM

    Sadly I won’t be there but I look forward to hearing your questions and his answers when I catch up with in online.

  • righteousedward

    dave coming to ballymena. aye, he’ll fit in well there.

  • Seriously, is David Cameron aware of, or going to comment on, the fact that his candidate in Northern Ireland is being actively supported by the UDA? Does he care, or in his world are we just a bunch of thick Paddies useful for him to decorate himself with so he can claim to be the Defender of the Union (TM).

  • alan56

    Still waiting to find out more about LVF and DUP.
    What have you got to hide?

  • slug

    Sammy Morse (on the Alliance payroll): I am sure he would be able to answer that question if posed to him in Ballymena.

    Regarding your term “thick paddies” he is likely to state that he has been impressed by the Northern Irish – on the media, in corporate boardrooms and in the military – and regards it in his selfish strategic interest to also have them in his party.

  • alan56


    Alliance are hoping for 2nd prefs from UU/Tories and SDLP.
    Talk about biting the hand that feeds!

  • Justin

    alan – they don’t need them in this election. Will they now follow the logic of their position and ask their voters to transfer to the SDLP or Greens.

  • tits magee

    Fantastic to see the DUP accept an openly gay member and to suggest that he will be their first openly gay councillor

  • eranu

    sammy, i hope you’ll accept this criticism from more of a reader than a commenter, but you’re really letting yourself down trying a ‘thick paddys’ line given you usually have intelligent things to say. also ‘actively supported by the UDA’ is stretching it a bit given it was one guy who im sure wont be asked again. it might be spoiler season on slugger but c’mon!

  • Slug (an enthusiastic supporter of the UCUNF project),

    why does Cameron need to come to Ballymena to answer the question? Why can he not answer it from London?

    Respectable middle-class supporters of the Ulster Unionist Party from areas barely affected by the Troubles (please don’t take that personally) have for decades affected a sort of cognitive dissonance about the mutual backscratching really goes on between UUP (and DUP) politicians and loyalist paramilitaries in places like North and West Belfast.

    You can accuse me of political point scoring all you want, but I grew up with the UDA taking pot shots at my neighbours, I live between Bunting’s Westland manor and Mount Vernon, I’ve had members of the UDA sell drugs to members of my family. I’ve watched loyalist communities in North Belfast and the Shankill crumble and decay thanks to the actions of the UDA, and I’ve watched them play footsie with the worst sort of criminal low-lives in nationalist areas of North Belfast. So this matters to me personally.

    But, yes it is a party political issue too. I’m not going to buy into this Nolan-esque view that anything said by a political party is somehow cheap point-scoring not worthy of serious engagement. If this isn’t a party political issue then I don’t know what is. If that’s your view of the world, we might as well dispense with the whole democracy thing and have public policy made by versificators a la George Orwell. From what you’ve said here over the years, I doubt that’s what you really think.

    I also doubt that you are in any way sympathetic to the UDA or links between the UDA and UCUNF. If so, then say so. Demand that Cameron makes putting an end to the games of footsie a condition of the continuation of the UCUNF project. Demand that he comes out strongly on this issue. Don’t equivocate.

    Rather than accusing others of point scoring, get your own house in order and prevent them making the points. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if your project is a complete failure and ends up on the scrap heap of history.

  • alan56


    No monoploy of suffering and it was not just in Belfast that many people watched in horror as UDA thugs killed and maimed with abandon. But for you to seriously claim that somehow the UUP have some link to that organisation is frankly crazy and the claim undermines your credibility.
    I know this is election time but…

  • Eranu,

    read the last post. If you think this was one guy or that he won’t be asked again next time if this all dies down in a few days without going anywhere or that somehow people didn’t know he was the head of the UDA in North Belfast or that this isn’t standard form or that the mutual assistance is limited to a few posters being put up, you need your head examined.

    I’ve raised this with sane members of the Ulster Unionist Party, even people I would consider friends, for years and I’ve always had the same mix of denial and equivocation, even when the UDA were actively shooting random Catholics as a matter of policy. So here’s David Cameron promising new start; here’s an unusual example of loyalist assistance to unionist politicians being caught on camera; if you’re actually going to change Northern Ireland politics, let’s see the colour of your money.

  • AJJM

    I hope Cameron is asked a question about the UDA. Although I won’t be at the event, as a NI Conservative I would like to hear what he has to say on the issue.

  • alan56,

    is it really so hard for the Ulster Unionist Party and/or the Conservative Party to do something as limited as apologise, promise to review their internal procedures and say they’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again?

    Doesn’t it worry you, just a wee bit, that a senior UDA figure even wants to put up your posters? Doesn’t it make you ask a few questions? Seriously?

  • alan56


    Just to be clear , they are not ‘my’ posters and I do not speak for UU/Torys.
    Yes of course they should make a clear statement condeming any paramilitary association and they should do it quickly. It is however being blown out of all proportion by those who probably do not care about the substantive issue but are just trying to score at election time. That kind of hypocrocy is sickening. BTW I am not including Alliance in the ‘hypocrocy’ point.

  • slug

    Sammy Morse

    I am aware that you have deeply held positions on this based on experience. I largely agree with them. Believe me the loyalist groups have been a big bad Post-Troubles influence in my locality – even though it was not a place severely affected by the Troubles.

    As for being a ‘supporter’ of UCUNF – I do welcome the initiative for various reasons including its potential to modernise the UUPs politics and to allow people in NI to vote on important national tax and defence issues–this enhances “participation” in real issues and, thus, by a JS Mill type argument, should enhance the quality of political discussion and awareness.

    But I am not a supporter of any particular party and I can enthuse about a range of parties and candidates including yours. I tend to vote around, indeed I try to do this. So, down the years I have voted Alliance, SDP, Lib Dem, Tory, Labour, Green, UUP depending on my locality and the quality of the individual candidate (which in the case of UCUNF does not enthuse me at all compared to your candidate, the SDLP’s or the Greens’).

    I am being admittedly cheeky to point out your paid party position to posters. I guess it’s because I think you are being more partisan than your normal self-the ‘thick paddies’ comment in particular seemed cheap. I don’t think the ‘thick paddies’ attitude among the English is a live one. Things have moved on from that.

  • slug

    Oh and on whether the UUP should be challenged on the issue of loyalists putting up their posters – fully agree. They should be challenged and they should give a clear response.

  • Driftwood

    The next leader of our country is coming over. We should be asking questions of national importance, on Europe, Foreign Policy, defence etc. Not indulging in petty parochial electioneering. I’ve never heard of this guy Bunting. Doesn’t seem like a good egg but it’s hardly a big deal who puts up election posters. Any chance of some REAL politics?

    BTW Is Gordon Brown still alive?

  • Brian Walker

    Great evidence here of the gap between the Cameron agenda and Slugger comment. He would be amazed to hear of the UDA angle. Maybe a Slugger reader in his HQ will tell him? Or Sir Reg?

  • We should be asking questions of national importance

    So whether the likely future ruling party has links with organised criminals or not isn’t a question of national importance? What the fuck?

    You really do live in a fantasy world of your own choosing.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It will be very interesting indeed, in a big way, if Cameron is required to answer a question from the audience about why a known senior UDA figure from North Belfast was seen contributing to the UCUNF campaign. Cameron’s silence on this issue could have national implications.

    I thought that the UUP had screwed up by jumping into bed with the Tories. However I never thought it could potentially backfire so spectacularly in the other direction.

    Driftwood, I’m very sorry if you think the involvement of a senior member of a criminal group of murderers in an election campaign is a minor parochial matter. Says it all really.

  • alan56


    Do you really think this is a winner for your party?
    Given the news in the last week ‘organised crime’ is no stranger to politics….oh and on a national level including your friends !

  • Comrade Stalin


    I would be surprised if Cameron knew who the UDA are. I suspect that he will be finding out very soon.

    I do not think Labour are sufficiently ruthless to try to use this against the Conservatives. But Cameron may want to ensure that eventuality cannot arise. How can he find a path between maintaining the link with the UUP, and being seen to be tough on criminal gangs ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    alan56, you need to address the relationship between the UDA and Unionism. Misdirection isn’t going to change that. And yes, I’m afraid the grotesque fiddling of expenses by MPs does not really fall into the same class as a group of murderers, drug dealers, racketeers and general criminals.

  • Driftwood

    I have no knowledge of reported individual, and there is no UDA or any similar group where I live. If he is involved in crime, why isn’t he in jail?
    You say he is well known, how come this is the first I’ve ever heard of him?
    After all that’s happened in Parliament this week, is this really news?
    Nothing on C4 news tonight about it.

    Lighten up…

  • Driftwood

    the involvement of a senior member of a criminal group of murderers in an election campaign …

    Wouldn’t this criteria include most SF MLA’s?

  • alan56


    I am in no position to address this situation. That is up to Empey and Cameron.
    What I can say is that I have no sympathy with any paramilitaries, criminal gangs etc.. but I do think this is being blown out of all proportion and not least because of UU/Tory silence on the issue.
    I know all is fair at election time, I just don’t think any party can be responsible for every individual that might put up posters. Do you really think that SF or DUP and others have never had any involvement from paramiliraries?

  • AJJM

    Alan, this matter is of vital importance. I was at Cameron Direct and the UUP conference whenever DC was talking about a new era of Northern Irish politics, based on Economic issues, etc. The indirect association of the Conservative Party with Paramilitaries kinda throws a spanner in the works of that…

    DC needs to reassert what the purpose of this electoral pact is. It would appear that not all sections of the UUP have signed up to ‘Vote for Change’…

  • I have posted a message to David Cameron’s Facebook page on the UDA subject.

  • alan56


    I agree that not all sections of UUP have signed up for change, but that does not invalidate the project to make politics here more secular. Wouldn’t it be ironic if that project was blown out of the water by a paramilitary leader. If anything it makes the project more relevent. Its over to Empey/Cameron now to make the position clear.

  • Do you really think this is a winner for your party?
    Given the news in the last week ‘organised crime’ is no stranger to politics

    You’re not seriously comparing Douglas Hogg getting his moat cleaned by the taxpayer or Andrew George fiddling his mortgage payments to the UDA are you? How many people did Jacqui Smith’s husband kill to pay for his pr0n? Seriously, alan, wise up.

    This isn’t about a European election – it’s about trying to do something about the malign influence of a paramilitary group on our politics. One who still have one of the largest private arsenals in Europe in store and have yet to decommission one bullet. There is the potential to actually force some movement on the issue with the pressure of an election campiagn which is already going badly, the UUP’s financial dependence on Tory money and possibly the attention of the GB-based media. Although those fuckers never took loyalist paramilitarism seriously throughout 40 years of murder, so maybe I shouldn’t expect them to start now.

    there is no UDA or any similar group where I live.

    That shows.

  • Driftwood

    I suspect there are quite a few in the UUP (like ALL in the DUP)who think ‘Ulster’ is a LOCAL shop for LOCAL people and are a bit resentful/suspicious of a mainland politician taking the reins.
    Obviously most Nationalists would like to see this continue.
    But there is a secular vote out there among all constituencies who don’t actually vote, because of the parochialism and us vs them stuff.
    Unfortunately integrating in to mainland politics could not have come at a worse time. But it will happen. Though if the UUP ‘old guard’ continue as they are, Cameron will simply walk. And that would not be a good thing.

  • ??

    When The UUP said vote for change, i didnt know it meant they were changing their favourite loyalist terrorist partners from the PUP/UVF to the UDA

  • alan56


    And who are the favourite DUP loyalist terror group?

  • Driftwood

    Note that all the mudslinging on the site is inter unionist. I don’t have much time for DUP old tyme religion, Willie McCrea/Billy Wright style. Unlike Reg, I’d consider myself a ‘natural’ Tory, above the UUP. I think Reg empey is an all round good egg, but he has to be serious about embracing mainland politics. ‘Oor wee Ulster’ isn’t good enough for the upcoming generation of voters. The Labour Party have shown themselves to be a national disgrace. Time to embrace true Conservative and Unionist values. The ‘nationalist’ parties are of little importance in the UK as a whole. Let’s leave them behind in their petty hatreds in the same way as their BNP and UKIP counterparts should be left behind on the mainland.

  • alan56


    Sorry for your frustration but ?? will not address the questions ref Ballymoney. Persumably ?? is actively consulting DUP press advisors on this one!

  • Driftwood doesn’t care about loyalist paramilitarism and wants to pretend it doesn’t exist. Sorry, cara, but shouting ‘mainland’ a lot and kidding yourself on that Northern Ireland is just like Dorset if you pretend hard enough is willful self-delusion. Do they have paramilitary murals in seaside towns with posh images but plenty of deprivation tucked away in the inland estates like Weston-super-Mare the way they do in Bangor. When was the last time people were burnt out of their houses because of their religion in an upmarket little commuter town like Wilmslow or Romsey they way it happened in Holywood a few year ago?

    And that’s only North Down we’re talking about.

  • Driftwood

    Sammy Morse
    I did live in Weston Super Mare for a while (and Esher-in Surrey)There were crap estates, although I didn’t venture much in to them. And I gather there were drugs and criminality involved. The same as rough areas in NI I suppose.
    I gather many inner cities on the mainland, and in the RoI, have similar problems.
    If people choose not to educate themselves and live on benefits, that’s not my problem, it’s their lives, they have choices.
    I believe the police should take a harder line against all scumbags. The BOPE in Brazil would be my preferred option. But New Labour doesn’t like dealing with issues head on.
    So it goes…

  • ?????

    while we are talking about individuals in North Belfast perhaps ?? could tell us who is under investigation for the mis appropriation of public funds in that area and what the links are between the person who reportedly spoke to the DUP and the Shoukri brothers

  • Cushy Glenn

    remember the fuss on the bus during the Trimble general election campaign? DUPers cry of “Where’s Jeffrey?”
    No doubt someone from Dundela Avenue will be sent up to Baaaallymena with a loudhailer crying “Where’s Sylvia?”. Another ripple of the own goal