Parsley valedictory to the Alliance party…

Not the most auspicious of defections (are any of them, ever? – Ed), nor an auspicious date to be forced into one by your own hand. But Ian Parsley writing on his logo-less but still Alliance-liveried blog give his reasons for jumping ship in some detail and length…

Far from negating my commitment to the causes the Alliance Party believes, my move should be seen as an attempt to drive forward those values. Without the party’s work, in which I have played a small part, on the promotion of issues such as integrated education, costs of division and shared neighbourhoods, it is unlikely the prospective next UK Government would be making any of these issues a priority. I understand that many in the Alliance Party will not share my preference for a Conservative Government after the next General Election, but I trust they will recognise the value of having many core Alliance issues placed high on its agenda for Northern Ireland after it.

Fine sentiments, but not likely to be shared by his former party colleagues and friends…

One more report on the defection of one of Northern Ireland’s few recognised Up and Coming politicians to come later tonight…

  • Briso

    –defections (are any of them, ever? – Ed),

    Et tu Brute?

  • anon

    How far up his own ass is this guy?

  • prolefodder

    Well he’s found (or is merely returning to?) his natural political home. I wonder what his new Ulster Unionist colleagues on N Down council will make of his defection? I’m not sure they’ll welcome him with open arms methinks…nor do I think Parsleys line about joining the Tories and not the Ulster Unionists can be sustained . Perhaps ideologically but certainly not practically

  • Comrade Stalin

    prolefodder, when I first heard about this earlier today I opined on that very matter, pointing out that Parsley was joining the Tories, not the UUP.

    However, on further reflection, it’s going to be quite tricky to ignore. When Parsley stands for election, he will not be a Conservative, but a UCUNF candidate – plain and simple.

    Reading the piece I was thinking about how tragic it would be for him if the Conservatives somehow managed not to win the coming election. That would take a miracle, but miracles have happened (as in the case of John Major in 1992). But it is quite clear that if/when the Conservatives do get in, their swinging expenditure cuts directed from London will be used against them locally. I still do not see how this is supposed to work out positively for UCUNF.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Hmm. Some of Parsley’s earlier contributions on his blog, going back less than a month, are distinctly warmer to the concept of devolution – and indeed the concept of having things like an independent civil service – than a lot of the other UCUNF types are. This is going to be interesting.

  • Coll Ciotach

    It makes me more confident that the relationship between the tories and the unionists will end in acrimony.

    Perhaps the tories will eclipse the unionists.

    There may be trouble ahead.

  • anon

    just being reading his statement on his blog. Pass the sick bag please

  • Joe

    Opportunists like this who jump ship when a better offer comes along always try to hide behind high principle. The fact is that just over three months ago Mr Parsley was smiling down at us from hundreds of lamp posts and selling himself as Mr Alliance. No doubt he had to do a good selling job to get the nomination and some people in Alliance will feel that they were hoodwinked into helping the said gentleman to get a profile at their expense. Nice pay back!!

    The question that no one has seen fit to ask him is what would he have done if he got elected to Europe on an Alliance ticket and was now enjoying the financial rewards of that office. Would he still have defected? I think not!!

    So many people who can’t cut it in the real world seem to end up chasing dreams in the political world. Sad thing is that many of them make it when they find the right vehicle. Mr Parsley is going for broke but what a disappointed man he will be when Lady Hermon chews him up and spits him out!. His value to the Conservative Party will be zero at that point. Maybe the APNI will give him a wee handy number up the hill to get him back.

  • Scaramoosh

    Sombody call Constable Knapweed..

  • Mark McGreg

    It won’t half be fun to see him campaigning for a ‘No to Lisbon’ if his pals do become the next british government. His big media selling point during the euro election – pro Europe – and he ditches it within months. What a pathetic careerist.

  • WhiteKnight

    Nothing particularly new in all of this. This is what I posted on August 25 at 07.42 on the “There is no telling what will get someone’s back up”:

    ‘Also, from what I can gather the Alliance Party may have a much bigger problem in the near future over a much more senior figure.’

    Also, this comment from Parsley is hardly likely to appeal to many in the UUP:

    ‘I understand that many in the Alliance Party will not share my preference for a Conservative Government…but I trust they will recognise the value of having many core Alliance issues placed high on its agenda for Northern Ireland after it.’

    If Parsley is selected as a candidate it will be on a UCUNF ticket and many senior figures in the UUP are very much opposed to the Shared Future strategy.

    But if we are to believe him then it is Alliance policies rather than UUP policies which will be on the agenda!

    In essence, he is trying to sound more liberal than his old friend Lady H—-which, he thinks, may come in handy if he happens to be the UCUNF candidate in North Down.

    This is a very opportunistic move from Parsley. A job and a seat in exchange for defection.

    It will be interesting to see how Mr. P reacts to comments and pressers from the UUP—a party he is now, whether he likes it or not, linked to.

    WK

  • Howard

    There will be many who make personal “play the man” comments. I know IJP quite well from debating here on Slugger. And he is intelligent, clear, rational, and consistent. He never put forward views much out of line with the Conservatives.

    To drag up his past criticisms of Unionism here on Slugger is cheap but in a way it also makes the point that UCUNF may be attracting people from outside the traditional unionist camp. That is what it was aimed at doing. If UCUNF wasn’t going to expand the tent, it was not working.

    IJP impressed me because he was thoughtful and knowledgeable and had values I respected. He debated people like Horseman.

    (Then Horseman was known as Stephen Copeland. Generally I didn’t think that much of the pedantic Copeland’s actual ability to maintain a consistent argument against IJP).

    IJP will be an asset to any party that he joins and the fact that he has joined the Conservatives can only be a very good thing indeed for the UCUNF project. I hope he influences it positively. He has the ability to take his career to a UK governmental level within the Conservatives, if he becomes an MP.

    I wish him well in his future political career. and I hope he reads this message of support. I would support him whether he is in Alliance or the Tories because I respect the man. I tend to vote for the man (or woman), not the party.

  • Mark McGreg

    While it is a delight to see Howard back in these parts after a long absence, I hope a moderator will remove his ‘outing’ of an anonymous contributor. No need for that.

  • Joe

    Howard

    Are you related to Mr Parsley?

    He will never be an MP, especially if he stands in North Down. Surely the standard of talent for UK Government can’t be that barren?

  • Howard

    Mark

    Not to worry – “Stephen Copeland” was I’m sure actually also a pseudonym not a real name.

  • Howard

    Joe

    If you are elected an MP and your party is in government then its actually not that hard to become a minister. So the big hurdle is becoming an MP in the first place as you suggest. Yes the incumbent would be difficult to oust-but she may not stand again, who knows?

  • Comrade Stalin

    To drag up his past criticisms of Unionism here on Slugger is cheap but in a way it also makes the point that UCUNF may be attracting people from outside the traditional unionist camp. That is what it was aimed at doing.

    So why was it necessary for the Conservatives to bribe him with a job in one of their think tanks ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Howard,

    If you are elected an MP and your party is in government then its actually not that hard to become a minister

    It is if you’re from Northern Ireland. I don’t believe the Conservatives ever had a Northern Ireland MP in their cabinet, not in the C20th anyway. And what cabinet job are they going to give him ? Do you really think they’re going to trust someone from NI with a big job ?

  • prolefodder

    Parsley may well wake up tomorrow and wonder ‘WTF have I done ?’ . His self-serving, so-called ‘principled’ reasons for leaving a soft unionist for a real unionist party will not wash. A small but telling aspect of this whole rather sqalid affair is the complete joke of the bould IJP working for a Tory think tank with ‘social justice’ in it’s title! Another thought is IJP the Tories new IDS? Remember him? Ian Duncan Smith…

  • YelloSmurf

    I honestly think that he is mistaken in his view that the Conservatives are the party for social justice. I have previously written about this in response to other posts. While the Tories have some things which recomend them on social justice, the Conservatives are not generally the party of fairness. Under the laisez faire ideal which has predominated in the UK for the last number of years, under Labour as well as the Conservatives, inequality has grown and social mobility has fallen. Prisons are over-crowded and re-offence rates are sky high. By comparison, some forms of restorative justice (by that I mean community service, and forceing the perpetrator to face up to the human impact of thier crime rather than raging against the system which has encarcerated them. I do not mean beating of knee-capping!) have been shown to have a very low re-offence rate. Try selling a scheme like that to Conservatives who want to lock them up and throw away the key after hanging and flooging them.

    Even thier record on Northern Ireland is chequered. While some Conservatives have been good for Northern Ireland, and have helped to move us into the position where we can move towards a shared future (eg Patrick Mayhew), they were bound by thier reliance on UUP votes the last time around, and have tied themselves to the UUP this time. History may repeat itself given that the Tories have, in thier own words, not sealed the deal with the electorate. It looks unlikely that Cameron will have a huge majority and may be relient on the UUP again (although whether there will be any UlsterCUNF MPs is also in doubt).

  • Howard

    Comerade Stalin

    I said Minister not Cabinet Minister!

  • Driftwood

    He has a good chance of becoming the Conservative and Unionist MP for North Down, and Lord Trimble will be able to guide him and his fellow 6 such MP’s from this UK region in the next National parliament.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m saving this page, Driftwood, so we’ll be able to have a good laugh at you after the General. The only direction Lord Trimble has ever guided a party is into a ditch, and if Cameron has any sense he’ll keep him well out of harm’s way.

  • Driftwood

    Lord Trimble was an able leader CS. Better than most. He was obviously never up to the standard of Brian Faulkner (one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th Century) but almost up there with Captain Terence O Neill and Conor Cruise o Brien as best Irish politicians ever.
    David Cameron is the best thing to happen to our country in the last 50 years. Ian Parsley knows this, and acted accordingly.
    The worst ‘politicians’ to establish themselves here were Paisley and McGuinness. Coffin fillers both.

  • Maybe the APNI will give him a wee handy number up the hill to get him back.

    No, it won’t. Only one person in the political history of these islands has ever made a successful re-defection back to his original political home, and that was Winston Churchill. Ian Parsley knows this, and he knows he ain’t no Winston Churchill.

    I don’t believe the Conservatives ever had a Northern Ireland MP in their cabinet, not in the C20th anyway.

    Robin Chichester-Clark’s brother was a PPS to some Tory cabinet minister in the 1960s. It’s such a footnote in Northern Ireland political history that even I can’t be bothered to remember the details.

    The Tories actually have a problem in that they only have three Welsh MPs and one Scottish MP, none of whom are remotely papabile, so unless they promote a brand new MP to the Cabinet (can’t see it) they will have an entirely English cabinet. That’s a difficult position for a party that claims to be the defenders of the union to be in. Well, that and the fact that many of their core supporters in England are increasingly Caledonophobic and would be delighted to see the Scots go.

    David Cameron is the best thing to happen to our country in the last 50 years.

    Comrade Stalin at least will be pleased to read that comment. It sounds just like something from the 19th Party Congress.

  • YelloSmurf

    David Cameron is the best thing to happen to our country in the last 50 years.

    David Cameron is Tony Blair MkII

  • Coll Ciotach

    I believe that Cameron will do well with the North Down set. Until of course daddy loses his cushy number in the civil service which must happen.

    Anyway. Cameron is all fur coat and no knickers. All is image and no substance.

    What ever came out of the discussions the tories had with the SNP?

    Will they retreat into English nationalism after the next election if they fail in Scotland thus cutting of the influence and votes of scottish Labour? If they do not it is hard to see what future they have.
    If they allow Scotland to sontinue to elect rivals to them thus curtailing their control in Westminster then something needs to be done. Otherwise the Tories will always be a minority in Parliament or form weak administrations.

    If they decide to dump or at least push Scotland away from Westminster what future UCU NF?

    I see the breakup of the union being decided at the next election. If the tories get into power they have to have a good show from Scotland irrespective of the English seats.

    Unionism is tieing itself to something that is increasing revealing itself as an illusion.