What about Parsley’s policies?

The Alliance Party and the Conservative Party are not exactly political bedfellows. Ian Parsley woke up on Friday and Alliance Councillor and went to bed a Tory one. They say a week is a long time in politics but in just one day Ian has had to buy a new wardrobe and change his mind on some big political issues for this region.

The Cereal bar on Thursday morning was full of commitment to the devolution of policing a justice and the hope of an Alliance Minister. Now there is much less of a rush and the Alliance Ministery is just a dirty deal.

A tea time he was pro-Europe and pro-Lisbon. Now he is part of the SF-DUP-Conservative campaign against the Treaty.

He woke up on Friday believing in electoral reform and an end to the unfair first past the post system. He went to bed part of the the party that most supports it.

  • otto

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/localgovernment/2009/09/ian-james-parsley-why-i-am-the-latest-councillor-in-northern-ireland-to-join-david-camerons-conserva.html

    Ian’s written a bit for Conservative Home today.

    Some people are being a bit snooty with him.

    Regardless of UUP links you have to wonder whether Ian will still feel his face fits when the Tories tack right again.

  • Comrade Stalin

    IJP

    I have no right to speak for Sir Reg, but I don’t believe a Justice Minister must be Unionist and I wouldn’t think he does either.

    Why did he say so then ? Is he in the habit of writing to the newspaper to say things the opposite of what he believes ?

    As for the electoral link-up argument being pushed by my former colleagues – the Alliance Party backed the UUP in the 2001 election in several seats, and was joined in the same team as the Workers’ Party in for the 2004 Euros. Did that mean the Alliance Party had to agree entirely with the UUP in 2001 or with the Workers’ Party in 2004, and explain away their worst excesses?

    A deal over a number of selected constituencies for a single election is not the same thing as a long term alliance. A strategic deal in a seat is usually done on the basis of promoting the least worst option, like it would be if Alliance in North Down supported Sylvia (or you) to keep the DUP out. In the case of 2001, this made sense given that the UUP was actually providing leadership and trying – in its own way – to make powersharing work. That isn’t the case anymore and their position on a range of matters that are very important is ambiguous at best.

    That is not anything like the same thing as the formal, long-term strategic alliance that UCUNF is. You are joined at the hip with the unionist party, their policies reflect on you, and yours on them. That’s why people like Fred Cobain and Sylvia Hermon remain unimpressed by the idea. They wouldn’t care if the whole thing was merely a tactical effort to maximise votes – because they know it is much more than that.

    As for the “unreconstructed bigots”, I must say I was getting rather tired of that line while an Alliance member, not least because my own girlfriend is a UUP member (with family roots in famous bastions of Orangeism such as Andersonstown!).

    Reg’s comment on the justice ministry was a dirty little piece of sectarian politicking, and if you’re tired of hearing this being pointed out then you need to distance yourself from it, not try to deny that it took place like you did at the beginning of your contribution.

    You also need to say, loud and clear, that Jim Allister’s politics have no role in the new Northern Ireland, and the UUP leader says the same, which we’re not expecting due to the recent abortive attempt at an electoral hookup.

    Until unionists who truly believe in non-sectarian politics start going public over it, it will be safe for everyone to assume that they are in assent to the position of their party leader.

  • In NI Irish Republicanism is more than a political opponent as it’s overall aim is to destroy the very state within which they would be elected to. There is clearly no Cameron – Brown comparison

    OK, so the valid comparator is Cameron-Salmond. Do Cameron and Salmond think of one another as enemies? I doubt it. They seem quite matey actually.

    New Blue, here’s an example (supplied by one of your own party colleagues) of why hoping Northern Irish politics will become like Scottish politics just because UCUNF exist seems fanciful in the extreme to me. You will have about as much effect as all those “gypsy moth Republicans” from the North East had on George W Bush.

    Therefore when somebody calls themselves a Republican in 2009 when the ROI already exists it is fair comment to ask what their opinion is on the armed struggle ?

    No it isn’t fair comment, it’s completely idiotic. If someone supported the “armed struggle”, why would they join the Alliance Party? I know we all get into defending obtuse nonsense on Slugger at times, but this really takes the biscuit.

    I have heard lots of members of the SDLP describe themselves as republicans, and I’ve heard a few UUP members refer to themselves as loyalists over the years (and I’ve heard particularly monarchical people in both Britain and Canada do the same). I didn’t jump to the conclusion that they supported political violence.

  • rj

    IJP

    You don’t think Empey believes that the Justice Minister must be a Unionist? Sorry, that’s exactly what he said.

    You may not think so, but your new friends are pretty clear.

  • As for the “unreconstructed bigots”, I must say I was getting rather tired of that line while an Alliance member, not least because my own girlfriend is a UUP member

    We say it because of things like this, Ian. Your new pals in UCUNF asked people to transfer to Jim Allister ahead of you just three months ago – forget about the idea that they might transfer to moderate democrats in the SDLP, they’d also rather have elected an extremist with deeply homophobic views hell-bent on overthrowing the institutions of the state than they would you.

    Of course, not every member (or most members) of the UUP are bigots, but somehow the tail wags the dog time after time after time. Talking about change, David Cameron’s stock in trade, is cheap; I’ll believe the change when I see it.

  • John East Belfast

    Sammy Morse

    “OK, so the valid comparator is Cameron-Salmond. Do Cameron and Salmond think of one another as enemies? I doubt it. They seem quite matey actually”

    No it isnt. Salmond never had a military wing that murdered politicians and activists of Cameron’s Party in Brighton and also murdered senior politicians in their ally in the UUP.

    “If someone supported the “armed struggle”, why would they join the Alliance Party?”

    If someone was an Irish Republican why would they join the Alliance Party ? Are there more ?

    It might not be a valid question to you but to me when someone declares themselves an Irish republican and condemns “unionist violence” is it too much to expect them in an Alliance balanced sort of way to also condemn Republican violence ?
    The absence of such condemnation causes me to raise the other eyebrow – the first one was when I discovered there was an Irish Republican in the Alliance Party.

    BTW when you run out of argument do you always have to resort to false outrage and hyperbole ?

    Also BTW expect those comments about Irish Republicanism and “unionist violence” to feature in UCUNF election literature in East Belfast come the next election.

    Ian

    “As for the “unreconstructed bigots”, I must say I was getting rather tired of that line while an Alliance member, not least because my own girlfriend is a UUP member (with family roots in famous bastions of Orangeism such as Andersonstown!).”

    Well said and welcome to UCUNF.

    The only outrageous and bigoted comments around here are those talking about WASPs

  • YelloSmurf

    NavelGazing, I don’t think that Naomi Long (or Sammy Morse) would like to be described as middle class toffs given thier working class backgrounds.

  • YelloSmurf

    IJP, AV is less representative overall than AV and simply serves to polorise the debate by shutting the centre gorund out even more than FPTP does.

    John East Belfast, The East Belfast Alliance Party does keep Dawn Purvis and John Kyle (and I agree that he is a gentleman) at arms length.

  • John East Belfast

    Yellosmurf

    Was there not a report a couple of years back about the AP approaching Dawn Purvis to join their Assembly Group ?

  • bell

    John West Belfast A republican actually is as simple as someone who doesn’t believe in an hereditary monarch being the head of state. If one thinks the only fat old woman who should be head of state is one elected by universal suffrage then you are a friend of mine.

  • borderline

    IJP is obviously a bit of a chameleon, has an eye for the main chance, has flexible views and principles, would have been called a careerist 30 years ago, and can surf from one wave to the next with some nifty footwork.

    I predict a bright future for him.

    And for related reasons, Sammy Morse should not give up the day job.

  • YelloSmurf

    Was there not a report a couple of years back about the AP approaching Dawn Purvis to join their Assembly Group ?
    I don’t think so, I think that it was the UUP who wanted the PUP to join thier group, but I’m open to correction. I can only comment on the current position in East Belfast.

  • Too late borderline – I did!

  • John East Belfast

    YelloSmurf

    There was an allegation – you must be new to Alliance if you cant recall .

    It was debated extensively on Slugger at the time when David Ford had denied Dawn Purvis had been approached but I recall some Unionist poster putting up a very strong case to prove the opposite.

  • Comrade Stalin

    John,

    Are you sure you want to explore that one in more detail ? Against Alliance establishing an arrangement with the sole PUP MLA in order to enhance the allocation of committee chair/vice chairmanships (not even faintly the same thing as joining the “united community” group), let’s see what the UUP’s history has :

    – known UVF leaders erecting election posters. This is nothing new, I’d seen this previously during Cecil Walker’s last campaign for Westminster, when the UUP’s UVF pals also very kindly stood aside to allow Ceecil the best run;

    – attempting to merge with the PUP. I don’t know how you can even point the finger at Alliance given your party leader’s efforts to cosy up with the PUP, before they went for the Tories as their second best choice (did any councillors or other party members resign over this ? Didn’t think so)

    – voting for UVF/UDA mayor/deputy mayor figures on various councils, including Belfast, when there was no ceasefire and the organizations were actively murdering;

    – supporting David McNarry’s “Loyalist Commission”, nothing more than a talking shop designed to allow unelected loyalist figures such as Johnny Adair to gladhandle senior politicians and the Secretary of State;

    – Drumcree, ah yes, that defining time in our history. David Trimble held talks with Billy Wright over events – this was when Wright had issued a death threat to PUP members during a BBC television documentary – and wagged his fingers at police lines, and addressed a crowd of baying thugs who eventually got their way when they threatened to use a large flamethrower on Army lines. These feats of leadership inspired the UUP membership so much that they subsequently elected him as leader;

    – plenty more fun during Drumcree 96, with Roy Beggs getting together with a group of undesirables wearing Orange sashes to block the road into the port at Larne, and Martin Smyth interviewed on TV saying that due process had broken down and that Orange supporters should use whatever means were necessary to secure their rights;

    – I previously recall Martin Smyth earlier in the 90s, responding to a series of death threats against nurses who had moved into the Donegall Road in his constituency as “understandable”;

    – Then it goes further back, with the efforts to stop the normal functioning of the state during the AIA protests, the alliance with loyalist paramilitary muscle to bring down Sunningdale, Vanguard, the quasi-fascist outfit where the current UUP party leader cut his teeth, whose leader spoke of the need to “liquidate the enemy” etc etc etc

    Unlike Alliance, the UUP acts as the political wing of loyalist paramilitarism. It has done so throughout its entire history. You’re simply not in a position to question the bona fides of anyone else over paramilitarism. Your party has at several critical junctures in history reserved the right to ally with loyalists to disrupt and bring down the legally-constituted structures of the state for whichever arbitrary reason you see fit. You are therefore not committed to peaceful and democratic means.

    As the younguns say these days, “EPIC FAIL”.

  • YelloSmurf

    the UUP acts as the political wing of loyalist paramilitarism I think you’re over-stating it a bit. However, I agree with everything else you write.

  • Comrade Stalin

    YelloSmurf, it is a bit strong but the reality is there to see. When loyalists do something, unionists will (in general) be guarded in their criticism, in the same way that SF are when the IRA do something.

    When Michael McGoldrick was shot by one of Billy Wright’s crew during the Drumcree 96 disturbances, David Trimble was on the radio and condemned it by saying “people should not take the law into their own hands”. Rather than calling it the brutal sectarian murder of an entirely innocent civilian, which it was, Trimble’s language – perhaps unwittingly – compared it to an act of vigilantism.

    The trick with unionists is that I think a lot of the time they don’t even know when they’re doing it, because they have a certain conception of loyalists which is distinctly different from the conception they have of republicans.

  • John East Belfast

    Comrade

    You really need help mate with that irrational and vitriolic hatred for the UUP.

    For all your opposition to sectarianism and bigotry your comments on Slugger regarding the UUP really do surpass anything that goes on here between republicans/nationalists and unionists/loyalists.

    The other night we were WASPS and now we are the political wing of loyalist paramilitarism.

    Do you not for one second think that as the unionist population consistantly reject the Alliance Party and vote in ratios of 7 to 1 for unionism that it just might be you who is wrong ? As far as you are concerned 90% of the unionist population are unreconstructed bigots and you are full of sweetness and light.

    I will ask you one question though – and bearing in mind in politics you should never say never – if we ever did move to voluntary coalitions here it not inconceivable that you could see a UCUNF & Alliance relationship.

    In such circumstances can you assure me now that you will resign your membership of the Alliance Party ?

  • andrew white

    Do you not for one second think that as the unionist population consistantly reject the Alliance Party and vote in ratios of 7 to 1 for unionism…

    the UUP barely outpolls alliance 2:1

  • John East Belfast

    Andrew

    I am talking about unionism and working off the assumption if Comrade hates the UUP so much then I am assuming he has even less time for the DUP & TUV ?

  • slug

    CS

    “- attempting to merge with the PUP. I don’t know how you can even point the finger at Alliance given your party leader’s efforts to cosy up with the PUP, before they went for the Tories as their second best choice (did any councillors or other party members resign over this ? Didn’t think so)”

    Actually, since you ask, I think it was this issue that caused Councillor Peter Bowles to resign from the UUP, he is now in the Conservatives.