UUP fight back starts in earnest as Reg rallies the troops…

Well no visit from David Cameron this year to the UUP party conference (and no live blog from Slugger either, for which apologies real life took over this weekend I’m afraid), but a pretty well recieved oration from William Hague who opened by professing his political identity as a Unionist… And who chose to deliver some national headline grabbing remarks (full text below the fold)… The only other thing I would allude to is the apparent change in the demeanour of the party and the party leader as reported by Gerry Moriarty in today’s Irish Times

‘CHANGE IS coming Peter – whether you like it or not!” So said the Ulster Unionist Party leader Sir Reg Empey at his party’s annual conference in the Europa Hotel in Belfast on Saturday. That’s Peter Robinson he was addressing. A couple of years ago such a statement would have drawn guffaws from Robinson and his DUP colleagues, scepticism from political commentators, and “you must be joking, Reg” from many in his own party. But Saturday was different. His taunt to the DUP and its leader drew applause. There is a discernible positive change in the atmosphere the UUP – there is no doubt about that. “We are back in style,” was how its MEP Jim Nicholson put it.

For my money that change has three sources: party reforms in which the centre has been strengthened against an often feral constitutency base; the shot in the arm financially, yes, but politically too of the link up with the Tories; and in tactical terms the damage the TUV is serially inflicting on their main rivals the DUP… The appeal may be limited at first, but this is not the one off, one way deal that many of its critics seem to think… When you lose your widespread base (as the UUP did in the last Assembly election, you start again where the new appeal is strongest and work your way back out again… From William Hague

It’s a huge pleasure to be back in this great city of Belfast and to be addressing your party conference as a Conservative and as a committed Unionist.

As a Unionist I believe with conviction that the future of all four parts of country lies together as one United Kingdom.

I believe that in an uncertain world our country remains a great force for good and that together the United Kingdom achieves much more than would ever be the case if we were apart.

And I believe in a United Kingdom that is tolerant, inclusive and diverse, at ease with its past and confident about its future.

Today, I want to talk to you about a Conservative approach to foreign policy and Britain’s role in the world.

I want to set out why the United Kingdom so desperately needs the change that only the election of a Conservative government can bring about.

And I want to explain how Northern Ireland can shape the future destiny of our country by helping to get rid of this discredited Labour government and putting David Cameron into Downing Street.

In a few months time, whenever Gordon Brown finally summons up the courage to call the election, the United Kingdom will have the opportunity to elect a new government.

And for the first time in decades Northern Ireland can play a real part in helping to shape the destiny of our country.

Politics in Northern Ireland has been dominated for too long by purely local parties that only contest seats here. They can never form the government of the United Kingdom. And their MPs can never be ministers in a government of the United Kingdom.

Only on rare occasions do they have an influence such as when the DUP backed Labour over 42-day detention. Otherwise they are at the margins.

It has always struck me as profoundly undemocratic that when the United Kingdom goes to the polls, Northern Ireland is effectively denied any real say on the outcome.

Now, with the coming together of our two great parties as a new force of Conservatives and Unionists that is about to change.

As Owen Paterson has said, at the next general election the Conservatives and Unionists will be the only party contesting every seat in every part of the United Kingdom.

And every Conservative and Unionist MP elected here in Northern Ireland will add one more to the total needed to make sure that David Cameron is our next prime minister.

Our aim is clear. We want to end the semi-detached political status of Northern Ireland and bring you back into the mainstream of United Kingdom politics.

It’s time to put Northern Ireland at the heart of the Union.

During the past year we’ve made great progress together.

The Joint Committee has been established. We’ve a modern campaign office just around the corner from this hotel that will help us run the most sophisticated and professional campaign Northern Ireland has seen.

I know a lot of people have put in a tremendous amount of hard work into this project and if I may I’d like to pay a particular tribute to my shadow cabinet colleague, Owen Paterson.

There’s barely week goes by when Owen isn’t here in Northern Ireland such is his commitment to what we are trying to achieve.

I’d also like to thank members of the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland, many of whom are here today.

For years they’ve been at the forefront of the campaign to bring national politics to Northern Ireland.

And it’s because of the agreement they forged with you that this is now really beginning to happen.

It builds on the Ulster Unionist Party’s courageous work and achievements in establishing peace and power-sharing here.

Historically our parties have been closely linked. But today we are creating something much bolder and more significant than anything we’ve ever had in the past.

This is for the long term.

So David Cameron and I are delighted to give our full hearted support as together we build a genuinely new dynamic political force of Conservatives and Unionists.

Earlier this year I was proud to campaign for Jim Nicholson at the European elections.

And what a great result Jim achieved, winning more votes than any other unionist candidate.

Jim is now a full member of our Conservative team of MEPs dedicated to opposing greater European integration and to preserving British sovereignty.

The next step is to ensure that Conservative and Unionist MPs from Northern Ireland take their places as full members of David Cameron’s Conservative team at Westminster.

And I look forward to being back here at the next election campaigning to achieve precisely that.

Let me reiterate what David said to you last year.

Any Conservative and Unionist MP elected here will take the Conservative whip and have the same rights and responsibilities as every other Conservative MP from England, Scotland and Wales.

And that means being eligible to serve as ministers in a Conservative and Unionist government for the whole United Kingdom.

That’s a claim that no other party in Northern Ireland can make at the forthcoming election.

Just as we are the only party standing in Northern Ireland that can claim to have a genuine United Kingdom-wide approach and a real agenda for change to our country.

Only by backing the Conservatives and Unionists can you help to defeat Gordon Brown and through David Cameron bring about the change we need.

Change to fix our broken economy. Change to rebuild our broken society. And change to repair our broken politics.

We’ve now begun the process of selecting our candidates for the Westminster elections. We want to utilise existing talent of course. But we also want to draw upon new talent, including people who have never been involved in politics before.

And when we are selecting our criteria will be simple and clear. We are not interested in a person’s religion or community background, only whether they are up to the job.

It’s not where you’ve come from that matters to us but what you can offer as together we seek to build a shared future for everybody in Northern Ireland.

Of course Stormont is vitally important to that future.

The Conservative Party believes in devolution, just as we believe in the Union.

We support the political institutions that have been established over the past decade and want them to succeed.

Stormont plays a vital role in delivering local services – though I suspect I’m not alone in wishing that it would do it a little better and more efficiently.

Reg and Michael are of course doing great jobs in extremely difficult circumstances, as are the Ulster Unionist MLAs.

There’s no question of me or any of my colleagues seeking to interfere in matters that are devolved to Stormont – even if you decide to take a different course to one we adopt in England.

Devolution is about respecting the unique identities of each part of the United Kingdom. When it comes to local issues, local people should be in charge.

A Conservative government will not start unpicking what’s been achieved in recent years.

And we want to see devolution completed, including the transfer of policing and justice powers.

But it should only happen when there is genuine cross-community support. And building that surely requires the executive to start working like a genuine four-party coalition.

But for all Stormont’s importance, many of the great issues affecting Northern Ireland continue to be decided at Westminster.

Economic policy, taxation, welfare benefits, levels of public spending, the broad thrust of social policy, defence, Europe and foreign affairs – all of these are the responsibility of the United Kingdom government.

Northern Ireland needs to participate fully in the great national debates about all of these issues.

That’s another reason why Northern Ireland should be properly represented there by MPs who see the House of Commons as a full-time job of work.

It’s perfectly reasonable to be elected to Stormont or to Westminster. Yet we have some people here who are councillors, MLAs, MPs and Ministers.

The only person in British politics who rivals them for the number of jobs they have is Lord Mandelson…

So we will end the practice of double jobbing. In future, politicians will have to decide whether they want to be MLAs or MPs.

They can’t be both.

I know there’s another issue that exercises a great many people both inside and outside this room – the Presbyterian Mutual Society.

We understand the unfairness that investors feel, particularly when it was government assistance to other UK financial institutions that contributed to the problems in the first place. It’s another example of Labour’s mismanagement of the financial services sector.

So as David Cameron has said, there’s a real case for the prime minister to look again at this issue. And if he won’t do it in a meaningful and serious way then the next Conservative government will.

And one more thing. When I was leader of the opposition I accepted in good faith Tony Blair’s claim that fresh evidence warranted the establishment of a new inquiry into Bloody Sunday.

But what I never envisaged at the time was that it would take twelve years for Lord Saville to publish his report and that it would cost the taxpayer £200 million.

So as Owen Paterson said at our conference in Manchester, under a Conservative government there will be no more costly and open ended inquiries into the past.

It’s time for Northern Ireland to move forward.

As Shadow Foreign Secretary I have the opportunity to travel extensively around the world, listening and setting out the priorities for a Conservative government should we win the next election.

Only this week I’ve been in Washington where I held talks with the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

And let me put on record my deep appreciation of the role of successive US administrations in helping to bring about the great improvements we see in Northern Ireland today.

A Conservative government will continue to work closely with our allies in the United States and our partners in the Republic of Ireland.

But what strikes me above all when talking to people abroad is the continuing admiration for our country, its values and the contribution we make on the world stage.

Take Afghanistan, where today our courageous men and women risk their lives to protect all of us from terrorism at home.

Of course I don’t need to give you any lessons in fighting terrorism. For over thirty years it was a daily occurrence.

You can be proud of the fact that your courage, and that of people across Northern Ireland from all parts of the community, ensured that democracy ultimately prevailed.

And we will always honour the police and our armed forces for the sacrifice they made.

Terrorism, whether here in the United Kingdom or abroad in Afghanistan must never be allowed to succeed.

Sadly in recent days here in Northern Ireland we have had a grim reminder of the past. Mercifully the attack in east Belfast did not achieve its murderous objective.

Others have not been so fortunate.

We remember today Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar, and Constable Stephen Carroll, brutally murdered by dissidents in March this year.

The threat from dissident republicans is real. It must be met with the full force of the law. And it requires the fullest possible co-operation with the police from everybody.

Dissidents offer the community nothing. Nor do the so called loyalists. They are thugs. The decommissioning was a welcome start – and vindicated the tough stand we took in Parliament. But decommissioning must be accompanied by an end to all criminal activity.

It is time for us all to resolve that Northern Ireland will continue to move forward.

, , ,

  • Sam Thompson

    It was interesting watching the coverage of the conference that aside from Hague, only one speaker from the UU’s made any real impact in terms of projecting his message – Basil McCrea. This New Force – also requires a new broom, and some new, more energetic, more enthused faces at the top end of the party.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mick,

    re. ” The appeal may be limited at first, but this is not the one off, one way deal that many of its critics seem to think”

    Really? You seem to be indulging in that dreadful paractice of ‘futuring’. Of ocurse you may be right – but going from 1 MP to zero MPs and having another more coherent, if more extreme Unionist party the TUV to contend with and being split over an alliance with a party that most/many UU supporters dont think understands the evils of papsihness (as indicated in South Belfast) it might be reasonable to suggest that they hold their future conferences in a cicrus tent and Wee Reggie turns up with a red nose and William Hague brings along the buckets of water and the ladders.

    Total shambles – well total shambles so far – but who can tell what the future may bring?

  • percy

    key quote from Hague:
    “And I believe in a United Kingdom that is tolerant, inclusive and diverse, at ease with its past and confident about its future.”

    should the UUP do well, then unionism will have changed, so we will see.

  • thereyouarenow

    Thankfully there is an election not too far away and it will be interestin to see if the electorate have bought into all these fine words.

    Words come cheap from everyone and exceptionally cheap from politicians.

    Judge them by what they do and not what they say they will do.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    percy,

    how does he square that statement with linking his party with the UU whose leaders still need to be members of the Orange Order to appeal to their electorate?

    It is surely just empty rhetoric – if he is going to say that type of stuff – he should be at the Alliance Party conference – who actually have a history of tolerance and no sectarian baggage.

    p.s. Has Wee Reggie ever clarified or spoken of his role in Vanguard?

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    He’s probably clarified it almost as much as you’ve your ’empty rhetoric’, to coin a phrase. Or are you ever going to address any of the serial, incontinent BS you’ve spouted over the years on Slugger? Hmmm? You are? Golly! Well off you go then, your starter for 10, well, 10,000 moments of madness: you slabbered that P&J would be transferred before the end of 2008, otherwise Sinn Five would walk of the Executive and (somehow thereby) ‘pull the institutions down’. Care to explain why that jibber-jabber hasn’t exactly panned out, or, as with all the rest of your patented blend of moonshine, do just want to run away from that too? Go on, surprise us, nut up – and not in the loopy way.

  • question mark question mark

    Reg must be joking

    DUP Good,
    UUP Bad

    That’s what the people on the ground think

  • Neil

    It should be an interesting campaign, the totals of the various effects of the TUV, the most likely slicker UU campaign with the Tories help, the likely campaign appeal/whinge from the DUP that a vote for UUs/TUV is possibly going to leave the Shinners with a larger vote and the effect of such an appeal to the voters.

    There can be no doubt that the likes of Hague and Cameron are top end political performers and the one thing all our parties could do with is a bit more charisma.

    I have to say though, a little light googling makes a joke of his assertion that the Afghan war is in some way globally supported. The very first page I found suggests that the war in Afghanistan is globally unpopular, and growing more unpopular. The largest majority in support is [not surprisingly] the USA at 55%. From there it drops to less than 50% for the Brits and Canadians.

    Perhaps the lack of support can be explained by the fact that 1,271 coalition troops have lost their lives. Bearing in mind that those men and women (in no way to belittle the losses felt by the families) chose to fight, took payment to fight, made the decision to fight of their own free will.

    When contrasted to the 9,000 – 12,00 civilians killed by the war, and bearing in mind that these civilians were not fighting, chose not to fight, men women and children going about their lives, not being paid to be soldiers, it kind of makes the coalition look bad.

    If you think to yourself for every well armed (paid) soldier, with armour, logistical back up and support who dies, 6 (poor) Afghan civilians, wearing their ordinary clothes and carrying no weapons also dies.

    Why do the majority of British people oppose the war? Because the troops are murdering civilians at a mortality rate 6 times higher than they’re suffering, and the people they kill are innocent civilians instead of paid soldiers.

    Twisting this around to give the suggestion of support is a joke from Hague, and just underlines the duplicitous nature of the Tory pary.

    BTW keep it up LTU, you’re very impressive. You’re spamming the fuck out of every page with the same question really adds value. Personally I’d love to know what the fuck’s so funny, maybe you saw a mirror. Cause your sense of humour doesn’t shine through. Ever.

  • Joe

    Its funny, these parties keep insisting to me how NI really [i]is[/i] British after all.

    I think we’ll have to wait for the catholic majority to kick in before they finally drop this one from the routine.

  • disinterested observer

    Sammy your posts are just getting tedious now.
    The NI Conservatives were well received at the UUP conference – regardless of whether they were Protestant or Catholic. The Conservatives have short listed some Catholics as candidates.
    The SDLP and SF remain as bigoted as ever – which is of course why they are on the losing side in this argument

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Joe

    How many Catholics are British?

    If you don’t know it is now about 5,000,000.

    So what was that you were saying about a Catholic majority?

    What you meant was a nationalist majority I assume, and you will be waiting for a very long time!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    disinterested observer,

    can you please explain why leading members of the UU still need to be members of the Orange Orders? Do you not understand how badly that looks to anyone other than a Unionist?

    Can you name any other merger/link up between 2 parties that has* resulted in them losing all of their elected representatives to Westminster?

    If the conference had stated ‘we have got off to an absolute stinker – but we will soldier on’ then fair enough – but to trot out platitudes that nobody beleives (except the party faithful )when they are luching towards zero Westminster seats and humiliation – is just plain silly.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8325494.stm

  • Joe

    FD-

    No.

    I mean NI’s impending Cathlic majority, which will happen in a decade or so. And how amusing it is to me that some Unionists discount a Nationalist majority as [i]not even remotely plausible[/i] in that event.

    Despite rock solid religious/constitutional voting patterns, despite demographic trends, despite current school pupil numbers, etc.

    Go ahead, pretend not to see the religion/nationality fault line running through NI. Pretend not to see sectarianism. Pretend not to see that the numbers are stacking up against unionism year by year. Truthfully I don’t really care if you see it or not, because either way unionism is done.

    The only question for me is, will Unionism drag NI down with it into the abyss once it can’t have its way any more? First Minister McGuinness may have the answer.

  • Garza

    Sammy aren’t you the guy who predicted that P&J would be devolved by the end of 2008 and if not SF would pull out and destroy Stormont?

    Maybe we should look elsewhere for predictions other than that crystal ball of yours.

    As for the bad start? Didn’t they pass their first election test when everyone was predicted they would be destroyed by the new pact in the euro poll. In fact it was the UUP’s best euro election in decades.

    Sammy why are you, a nationalist, distressed by a unionist pact anyhow? If the SDLP had made a pact with Fianna Fial, I wouldn’t have given a rat’s arse about it.

  • Garza

    Joe.

    The consitutional question is far more complicated than number of protestants vs number of catholics.

    I have met a lot of young catholics unionists in my work with the SDLP in South Belfast.

  • frustrated democrat

    Joe

    It amuses me to see people who think Catholic = Nationalist, when consistently ever poll show 20 -25 % or catholics are pro UK.

  • Seymour Major

    In a reference to the forthcoming General Election campaign, William Hague said

    “We’ve a modern campaign office just around the corner from this hotel that will help us run the most sophisticated and professional campaign Northern Ireland has seen”

    This to me was a very significant element in Hague’s speech. We are not merely talking about a financial shot in the arm, although money is crucially important.

    Conservatives here have known for some time that their resources of finance, intellectual property, information technology and campaigning know how, would eventually kick in and make their mark. Thus far, Conservatives have been concerned that there was not have enough time to enable those resources to make any impact. They were certainly not ready during the European elections.

    Hague’s speech oozed confidence. The first critical phase of setting up those resources is now complete. At the General election, they can now start to make an impact.

    All of that said, this wont “make the Earth tremble and Angels weep”. I agree with all of Mick’s observations that the impact of all the changes are likely to be limited at first. It will take longer than the forthcoming General Election to crush the DUP.

    As far as the Conservatives are concerned, this is a long-term project. Owen Paterson talked about a 25-year project to reform the Northern Ireland economy. The next General Election is just one milestone on a very long road.

  • fin

    The only way to find out if people want a united Ireland or to remain in the union is to have a border poll, surveys, elections whatever don’t answer the question, its only when both sides present their case and a vote is held that there will be an answer.

    Sammy, lets be a little bit fair here, unionist politicans were in the past obliged to turn up on the 12th, it will take a while for the UUP to disengage from the order, although it will be hastened by the DUP takeover of the OO and uncomfortable situations such as the Orange Order in Liverpool refusal to expell two unionists found guilty of terrorism. Somehow I don’t think the new candidates like Parsley are likely to be preaching from the back of a flat bed lorry in a field somewhere on the 12th next year but it will take time for the Tories to swap out the old guard for the new.

  • New Blue

    Fin

    Thank you for bringing a little bit of reality to the discussion – I agree completely that these changes will take time but must say that I am already very happy with the distance many have already travelled in the last nine (yes it’s only nine) months.

    The desire to move our politics forward – to a place where we can openly accept the nationalist desire for a UI as an acceptable (if opposite) political position, whilst engaging with pro-UI supporters in a democratic process which benefits the electorate is growing.

    The bigger (and, in my opinion, more important) desire to open politics here to be discussed and supported on and issue led, as opposed to a religion led, agenda is not just the want of a few disillusioned ‘yuppy unionists’ but of a growing number of the people who live in Northern Ireland. The change won’t come overnight but, if we continue down the road, take our lumps and stick with what we say we want to do, then change will come.

  • elvis parker

    Sammy yes UU’s wear sashes but they are also prepared to ‘wear’ not just Parsley but potential Catholics who have rallied to the Conservative cause.

    Menawhile you and nationalism revile in your sectarianism. Will the SDLP be putting forward any Protestant candidates?

    Ever heard the phrase about removing beams from eyes?

    Come to think of it will they be putting forward any candidates under 50 years old?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    elvis parker,

    re. “20.Sammy yes UU’s wear sashes but they are also prepared to ‘wear’ not just Parsley but potential Catholics who have rallied to the Conservative cause”

    The BNP may soon have a few coloured people – will they not still be a racist party then?

    Garza,

    “Sammy why are you, a nationalist, distressed by a unionist pact anyhow?”

    I think it is deeply hypocritcal for the Tories to talk about ending tribal politics whilst siding with a tribal party – they should have nothing to do with the UU party whilst it is dominated by deeply sectarian individulas who have to use their membership of the OO to get elected. I do not believe middle-England-man has any idea who the Tories are in bed with and would be horrified to realise they are giving at least tacit support to contentious sectarian marches.

  • Joe

    Garza said [i]The consitutional question is far more complicated than number of protestants vs number of catholics.[/i]

    Not really. I think you mistake tacit support for the status quo by a few catholics as a ringing endorsement of unionism. It isn’t.

    Without the trump card of [i]majority[/i], that stable mathematical certainty, then there will be less reason for moderate catholics to go pro union. Very few do as it is.

    FD said [i]It amuses me to see people who think Catholic = Nationalist, when consistently ever poll show 20 -25 % or catholics are pro UK.[/i]

    So in the event of a Catholic majority you expect that figure to remain static? I don’t.

  • Garza

    Sammy,

    Give the U&C time. It is very likely that the OO members will be no longer joining the ranks of U&C, and those old OO members will eventually fade away.

    Change takes time. Moderate Unionism is changing with the new Northern Ireland we have today.

    If you can’t join or ally with a party that has questionable and dodgy characters you will get nowhere in NI politics. Unfortunate as it is.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    fin,

    re “Sammy, lets be a little bit fair here, unionist politicans were in the past obliged to turn up on the 12th, it will take a while for the UUP to disengage from the order”

    Didnt see your remarks – see my comment above re. middle-england-man. The UUP are CURRENTLY no where near suitable partner for the Tories given what the Tories are saying on intolerance and inclusivity – but I take your point about progress.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Garza,

    The Tories should have given the UUP a list of reforms and a deadline. What is going to happen if there is a contentious march next year? the Tories will be in power and there will be members of the UUP standing shoulder to shoulder with the OO as they unleash tribal madness on Norn Iron.

    You can just imagine poor Owen Patterson, undoubtedly a nice chap, but who looks as innocent as the driven snow, coming over to have a quiet word with ‘his’ party and trying to face down sectarian madmen intent on giving us a re-run of the 17th century?

  • Frustrated deomcrat

    I think it is fair to say that there were about 600 at the conference of Saturday. Of those I suspect that 90%+ gave Hague a standing ovation and also Reg when he praised the pact.

    These are the most ardent and active Ulster Unionists and would I believe have contained many Orangemen and their families.

    There is therefore widespread support for the pact among grassroots Ulster Unionism and not for the position of Sylvia Hermon.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    FD,

    That Sylvia Hermon, the most progressive representative might be out of step with “many Orangemen and their families” is a positive thing for the quareone Sylv – I thought the aim of the alliance/what-the-feck-is-it/merger was to make the part MORE not LESS progresive? lol

    Poor Sylv will no doubt now be subjected to some serious smearing by the UUP – and perhaps thats why she has been relucatant to clarify her position.

  • Greenflag

    Not a bad speeech from the boy wonder – a few positives . Not good news for the NI bar with Hague refusing ‘quite rightly ‘ to dig up any more expensive corpses . But not a word about the pound sterling and it’s current endangered exchange status ?

    So to make amends for this oversight on Mr Hagues part I encourage all UCUNFS to join me in an old tune ( Dolly Gray ) with a 2009 and onwards adaptation of the lyrics to make it more eh ‘competitive ‘ ? if thats the word .

    Goodbye Sterling we must leave you
    Though it breaks our heart to say
    Something tells us it’s all over
    And time you went away

    See, the Euro zone is growing
    And the pound is going one way
    So good bye sterling it’s all over
    For the Euro’s here to stay.

    Hear the money men a gathering
    As it nears election day
    The IMF’s at Threadneedle
    They still want their say

    See continuing recession
    The worst in 50 years
    So it’s goodbye Sterling
    We will miss you
    For it’s the dawn
    Of a brand new day 😉

  • Greenflag

    That last verse needs work if anybody has the time 😉

  • Seymour Major

    I dont want to rake over old ground. I have discussed the OO many times before. I have often been misunderstood but I am ready for whatever flack comes along in answer to this.

    I see again that SF members are playing the “anti Orange card”

    Quite clearly, there is still a significant number of Orange members in the UUP. What is being said by commenters on the Unionist side, that the OO influence will eventually fade away. I think that is probably right.

    The Orangemen are constantly misrepresented. Yes, we have seen some nastiness in the past but lets put that to one side. As far as the Orange Order is concerned, their institutional bigotry is directed at Catholic doctrine – not Catholics themselves. That is an important distinction. Putting that into practical terms, an Orangeman can comfortably go to his lodge, pray for us Catholic “sinners” and show neighbourlyness and friendship outside when they meet us.

    I would hope to see some example of good neighbourliness, should a couple of Catholic Parliamentary candidates be selected to represent UCUNF. I will bet that if, for example, Sheila Davidson is chosen to be a Parliamentary candidate, the Orangemen in Lagan Valley will support her to the hilt.

    Of course, there are a lot of Nationalists and Republicans that would not understand that.

    Conservativism is an ideology which embraces religious as well as cultural inclusivity. You will find material about that on the Conservative Party website. Conservatives do not and never will exclude Orangemen from membership.

    However, I would appeal to members of the Orange Order who are either members of the Conservative Party or the UUP to think long and hard about retaining membership of both organisations. Sooner or later, Conservativism will be the dominant ideology of the UUP even if it does not merge with the Conservative Party.

    With the greatest respect to Orangemen, being a member of the Orange Order does not sit very well with Conservative Principles.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Greenglag,

    that is a good effort, disappoingly for your fnas no mnetion in there about re-partition.

    re. Last Verse

    stand aside Seamus H.

    Overtaken by the EyeTies
    our country crippled by the bankers
    and we will lose our precious Sterling
    all thanks to those financial wankers.

  • Rory Carr

    I’m not quite convinced that the headline above, “UUP fight back starts in earnest as Reg rallies the troops…” conveys quite the sense of the true historical import of this conference.

    May I suggest an alternative headline that future historians may find more easily recognisable when searching the archives for moments of political change in Northern Ireland in the early part of the 21st century:

    Empey delivers eulogy at UUP obsequies.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    SM,

    “With the greatest respect to Orangemen, being a member of the Orange Order does not sit very well with Conservative Principles.”

    Owen Patterson should also be saying that publically.

  • UUP

    SM,

    You imply that Protestantism/Orangeism is the domanant feature of the UUP and this will be gradually replaced by COnservativism.

    This ddmonstrated why the NI Tories are such a waste of space. Not only does it misunderstand the UUP, it misunderstands Northern Ireland.

    I also see Elvis Parker playing petty politics on other threads, implying that Catholics are flocking to the Tories and shunning the UUP. Bullshit of the highest order. The UUP broke that Rubicon years ago and has been attracting Catholic membership ever since – that has been increasing of late.

  • fin

    Sammy, Middle England or anyone in GB has any idea of the Tories efforts in the North, I raised this a few times and have only been directed to the Tory website for PR releases. If I was in the UUP I’d be nervous, its kinda like having a woman on the side.

    Seymour, dunno if you’ve read Kennaways book on the order, but those days are gone (if they ever really existed) the DUP have taken over the OO, its a political organisation now not a religous or cultural one (unless thems holy pipebombs the Orange Volunteers chuck around)and the politics of the DUP is anti-Catholic, from Paisleys early speeches right up to today.

    The Tories need to be careful of the UUP/OO connection, while people in GB may not be overly concerned about NI and believe all terrorism is nationalist only the 2 UVF terrorists in the OO in Liverpool and the public behaviour of the OO in Scotland could bite them on the bum.

    All in all I think Reg has to deliver some MPs at the next election or the UUP will end up like Wimbledon FC,
    If you’re in the UUP you gotta ask yourself what are you bringing to the party, MPs? or just a party infrastructure?

    I predict a Tory manufactured parting of the ways before the end of the next government with a large chunk of the UUP party infrastructure going with the Tories

    When you sup with the devil bring a long spoon, where the Tories are concerned you should also attach a barge pole to the end of the long spoon.

  • Archie P (banned from Slugger for serial lying abo

    Don’t worry about NO LIVE BLOG FRAE SLUGGER….David Vance did it on Atangledweb and there were no Rapid Republican vipers around to upset it…..Well done ATW

  • Greenflag

    IWSMWDI ,

    I’ve tried humming your ‘improvement ‘ to the tune of Dolly Gray but it does not work without great difficulty . While you have the essential concept right and your rhyming of wanker with banker desreves full poetic – nonetheless I feel that your offering needs editing to allow it to be included as an extra verse

    Herewith

    Over taken by the Eye —- Ties
    The country crippled by bank — ers
    Lost is our precious Sterling
    Feck off financial wank —ers.

    Eye -bank and wank need elongating in the singin to achieve the desired effect with a rising sharp tone to ties and both er ers 😉

    I think my revision of the last verse is better . I trust ‘leer’ is less offensive to any UCUNF’ than ‘sneer ‘ to describe HM’s visage on the dosh . Penetrating serious gaze alas does not rhyme . Neither does repartition not for that matter does UCUNF . Now that UCUNF is a serious challenge and I’m not talkig political here 😉 Now if the dour Gordon Brown’s visage was on the banknote the amended verse would be a perfect fit by substituting Gordon for Queenie in a non constitutional way of course 😉

    ‘See continuing recession
    The worst in 50 years
    So it’s goodbye Sterling
    We will miss you
    And Queenie’s austere leer

    But ffs don’t mention Seamus H. As herself’s Poet Laureate he’d have me shot at dawn and quite rightly too for bringing the lingo of Beowulf and Shakespeare and Jimmy Joyce into disrepute .

  • Seymour Major

    UUP,

    I did not mean to imply that Orangism / Protestantism was the dominant ideology of the UUP. It is Unionism that I was referring to. I did not make that clear. I fully expect Conservativism to take over from Unionism within the UUP as the dominant ideology as it progresses towards left-rignt politics.

    Fin,

    “those days are gone”

    I have not read Kennaways Book. The days of Drumcree are gone, maybe, if that is what you mean. In terms of the DUP controlling the OO, does that not increase the pressure on OO members of the UUP to leave the OO?

    The reality is, many UUP members are still members of the OO, including its leader.

    “The Tories need to be careful about the UUP/OO connection”

    Yes they do and yes they are. In fact, they are walking on eggshells all the time. Officials are very careful about what they say in public.

    The problem can not be swept under the carpet, as some think ought to happen. The problem has to be faced officially and a consensus has to emerge about how it should be handled. Unless that happens, the problem will be exploited by our political opponents and the situation will continue to confuse many would-be Catholic conservative voters who might otherwise take a long time to draw a line under the past.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Greenflag,

    We had thirty two
    but we lost six to the Brits
    I wouldnt mind a few back
    but repartition gets on my tits

  • Greenflag

    seymour major,

    ‘ As far as the Orange Order is concerned, their institutional bigotry is directed at Catholic doctrine – not Catholics themselves. That is an important distinction.’

    Alas Seymour it’s a distinction that somehow misses many RC’s /nationalists /republicans . I don’t have a problem with the Order being bigoted against Catholic doctrine for I’m not too keen on it myself nor am I keen on Orange Order doctrine nor on Judaic , Islamic or Scientology doctrine . It is extremely difficult for me to take seriously people who believe in a physical/spiritual afterlife be it of the Islamic suicide bomber’s idyll, or the harp stringing happiness of coralled RC’s in their own corner of the Lord’s mansion. Nor would eternity seem a pleasant prospect amidst the dour cantankerous presbyterians or calvinists although that would probably be more like hell ? But I make a serious effort not to talk to anybody about their personal religious beliefs for I know I could cause offence . And as you although the OO don’t seem to have ever learned the lesson that you don’t win friends and influence by rubbishing people’s long held beliefs etc .

    But seriously while I respect your views on a new age of hopeful moderation being ushered in by this UCUNF alliance I believe the Conservatives are deliberately for their own purposes upsetting the delicate bi partisanship that has generally characterised the approach of British Governments in Northern Ireland . They would have been better off staying out of the fray and allowing the UUP to sink or swim on their own merits in NI’s Westminster elections . This Conservative intervention may even backfire to the extent of delivering extra seats to Republicans and Nationalists and the only UUP (perhaps former UUP) MP may end up representing North Down .

    No doubt the UUP faithful believe in this second coming but as a lifelong skeptic of messianic deliverence I can only see this one ending with red and not smiley faces all round come the election . Hey if I’m wrong I’ll even compose a wee ditty in praise of UCUNF.

  • fin

    Seymour, Drumcree is a thread running through the book, but its a lot more besides, the OO Kennaway aspires to nationalists could live with, and its similiar to the one you describe, however, the DUP turned it into a political organisation, for example the OO which is suppose to be a cultural and religous organisation insisted on been briefed in Downing Street on the GFA.

    However even as a cultural and religous organisation the OO, even if it is not bigoted can and does give shelter to bigots.

    ‘Northern Protestants’ another great book highlights this with several examples, including, an interview with someone whose father was expelled from the OO because he hired a Catholic to save his harvest on the 12th when he went to a OO march.

    Going slightly astray, you say (and I agree) that the UUP need to put clear water between themselves and the OO, however, heres a mad thing, would any politican be concerned (I was going to say ashamed) to be associated with the OO as it is in the South, would any Tory be worried about attending the OO day at Rossnowlagh, I don’t think so. So here is the weird situation as I mentioned on Slugger a while ago to maintain a unionist culture in Ireland the best way would be a united Ireland, where 80% of the population of the island would give an awful lot to secure that culture, whereas in NI in order to strenghten the union unionism is forced by HMG to conceded to nationalism.

    If the IRA ceasefire was the worst thing that happened to unionism (and it was) the worst thing that could happen to republicanism is for unionist to say ‘actually depending on the terms we’d be happy with a united Ireland’ SF would be reduced to a fringe party overnight, unionism could hook up with FG or indeed become the ‘Orange Party’ and develop very strong links with GB.

    Its just a thought, it ain’t going to happen, as a republican (incase you haven’t guessed) I forsee a united Ireland, and (actually slightly disappointedly) unionism will leave it too late to negoatiate a decent package, once it reaches 50%+1 unionism is dependent on charity in a united Ireland, at 55% it can cut a damn good deal.

  • Comrade Stalin

    As far as the Orange Order is concerned, their institutional bigotry is directed at Catholic doctrine – not Catholics themselves. That is an important distinction.

    Jesus Seymour, you really don’t get it, do you ? The Orange Order is regarded as a hate group by most sensible people (hint – you don’t have to actually be a Catholic) and it isn’t hard to see why. This bollocks about “oh they don’t actually hate Catholics, just their beliefs” doesn’t wash when you consider what they did when they had power.

  • Greenflag

    IWSMNWDI

    ‘but repartition gets on my tits ‘

    Always the vulgarity :(. Try and keep it creen FFS.

    Surely you meant

    ‘but repartition gives me fits ‘

    I was unaware that you being male were the proud possessor of female bodily appendages 😉 There are circuses out there who may wish to avail of your considerable physical flexibility 🙂

    Do not undersell your attractions 😉

  • Seymour Major

    Comrade,

    Let me answer your reponse by breaking it down into what is on paper and past events.

    Under Orange rules, Orangemen have an obligation to be neighbourly to Catholics. My reference to institutional bigotry was about the rules and the organisation.

    Furthermore, I will not judge individuals by some of the awful things that have happened in the past. I know a lot of Orangemen both through business and socially. I know them to be very decent people and I will not accept that they are Catholic haters.

  • NoJo

    Apologies for going off topic but I’m shocked by the use of the word “coloured” in post 21 on page 1 of comments.

    This is an offensive and old-fashioned word that is unacceptable in our society. It’s a throwback to apartheid South Africa.

    Please can the moderator remove the post or the poster (Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit) edit his post accordingly.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    re. Vulgarity – now the C Word

    An herbaceous young chap callen Ian,
    became a garden centre UCUNF has-been,
    for a seat he hid hunt,
    the silly young cunf,
    perhaps Parsley will now opt to be Green.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    NoJo,

    re. “Apologies for going off topic but I’m shocked by the use of the word “coloured” in post 21 on page 1 of comments.”

    Hopefully the following will finish you off completely – you great politically correct twit.

    Coloured, Coloured, Coloured.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The other ‘C’ word.

    I would like to object to the use of the word ‘C*******’ in post 20 page 2 which inexcusably used a reference to a previous use of the word to justify its own use and contributed directly to an overall increase in the use of the word as seen in post 22 page 2, not to mention the reference in this post which iteslf……

  • UUP

    SM,

    You are now suggesting that Unionism is not central to British Conservatism. That will be news to David Cameron, inter alia.

  • Seymour Major

    UUP,

    The Union is important to DC but no it is not the dominant ideology, not even for DC. I’m afraid it will not be news to him.

    Let me put it to you this way. The Conservative party is a party of the union but the vast majority of Conservative Policies are centered around David Cameron’s brand of progressive conservativism.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Under Orange rules, Orangemen have an obligation to be neighbourly to Catholics.

    Replying to a request not to march somewhere because it is offensive with a big “screw you, we have the right to do whatever we want” is not neighbourly.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I’ve never heard about an Orange Order member being disciplined for being un-neighbourly towards a Catholic. I have, on the other hand, heard stories about Orange Order members being disciplined for doing just that, like the way David Trimble was disciplined for attending the funeral of the Quinn brothers, to pay his respects as the leader of unionism and the local MP.

    I know them to be very decent people and I will not accept that they are Catholic haters.

    Did you see Nick Griffin on Question Time saying how he knew a few people in the KKK and they were very nice gents ? Same idea.

    Normal people in normal countries don’t join organizations like the OO. I accept there are many lay members who are respectable and decent citizens. And I am aware of the role the OO plays in community cohesion, especially in rural areas. However, people have to look at what that organization has done in their name. This organization allowed Drumcree to fester and sappurate until it damn near took the country with it. It allowed itself to be spoken for by bitter old bigots like Harold Gracey and Martin Smyth. It is an organization which is a fraction of the size that it once was – precisely because so many decent people saw what it was about and walked away from it.

    You can argue about this until blue in the face, but until you accept that the Orange Order has no place in our politics, you can’t expect to be taken seriously when you say you want to reach out to Catholics and build non-tribal politics, any more than Sinn Fein are when they talk about unionists joining them in their idyllic vision for a united Ireland.

  • Greenflag

    comrade stalin .

    I salute you on your above post No 1 . Clear cogent and sensible . Just a couple of add ons

    ‘Normal people in normal countries don’t join organizations like the OO. ‘

    NI is NOT a normal country ergo it doesn’t follow that joining the OO is abnormal . It could be abnormally ‘normal ‘ given the geography .

    ‘I accept there are many lay members who are respectable and decent citizens. ‘

    Of course . You always find respectable and decent citizens in every association from the OO to the IRA to Hezbollah to the Fenians to the American Revolutionaries to Wat Tyler’s English peasants to the SS and the BNP to the CPSU etc etc . Their beliefs and doctrines and party credos may be to an extent certifiable but they all mean well except perhaps the SS whose vision of the world was more than a just a little crazy .

  • Frustrated Democrat

    CS

    Are members of the OO barred from joining the Alliance party?

    Are any members of the OO in the Alliance party?

  • Seymour Major

    Comrade Stalin,

    I am not defending the actions of some of the Orangemen (including their leaders) in the past (including the relatively recent past). Furthermore, I accept that behind lodge doors, there has been more than just bigotry. There was hatred too.

    You have not acknowledged the extent to which many Orangemen have actually moved on but I will leave matters there and move to your sustantive point.

    In your comment, you say this

    “….until you accept that the Orange Order has no place in our politics, you can’t expect to be taken seriously….”

    I have already said that membership of the Orange Order is incompatible with Conservative principles of religious and cultural inclusivity. However, OO members of the UUP and the Conservative party have to be given time and space to understand that conflict of principle and make their own personal conscious decisions. In time, I think that many UUP members will reach that crossroads.

    Your approach has no practicality. You cant expect a political party to have a mass culling overnight. Reform, if it is to be successful has to happen incrementally.

    David Cameron was asked a question about the Orange Order in an interview taken at the time of his visit to Ballymena. He did not give a direct answer.

    “I want to move the UUP forward,” he said. I know exactly what he means by that.

    You do not drive people. You lead them. You obviously dont think this approach has no prospect of successfully reaching out to Catholics. We will agree to differ on that.

    With the greatest respect, your view, as Frustrated Democrat has effectively hightlighted, has suddenly become the politics of intolerance. That is ironic, coming from an Alliance supporter.

  • Comrade Stalin

    FD, “no” and “possibly”.

    The important detail is that there is no institutional link between Alliance and the OO, and there are no elected Alliance representatives who are in the OO. The OO therefore has no means to influence Alliance policy.

    Like I said, you’re making a mistake if you think you can attract nationalist votes wearing an Orange collarette. Which is what at least some of the UCUNF candidates in this election will be doing.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sammy,

    “The Tories should have given the UUP a list of reforms and a deadline.”

    Yes. That would not have destroyed the deal at the outset. NOT!

    Apart from all the spin and guff, it’s just not ‘Cameron’s way’ Sammy. He’s an old style paternalist, not a Blairite technocrat Sammy.

    Something that even the Labour benches in Britain still have not woken up to…

    Owen’s view of the Orange is pretty tough, but the current arrangement keeps him snarling outside the door whilst the LOCAL party(s) gets their act together.

    This is not the same politics that followed the Belfast Agreement: one single act that is supposed to redeem us all. It is down to the local agents to make the deal work, with the national party kicking in money and resources.

    The minimum bar is to replace Sylvia with another in-house MP (from another constituency, if my reading of my home base is any way reliable). One or two gains is likely if the TUV can keep the squeeze up. Three or four possible.

    As for North Down. IJP is young and if I read Tory strategy properly, is in the fight for North Down for two or three elections hence. He has a Holywood council seat, and I would expect to see him prioristised on a party wide basis to comfortably get into the new Greater Down Council.
    That’s as much futuring as I’m prepared to indulge in for now.

  • Mick Fealty

    To the nationalist graffitti artists, please take it somewhere else.

    It gives the distinct impression that you can’t bare to sit down, shut up and listen when there might be something more interesting to be said from the ‘unionist quarter’…

    William Heuston (aka Archie P),

    Just one thing that David Vance and I share (apart from a mutual respect for our profound political differences) is that we believe in blogging in our own names and owning our own mistakes and misjudgements.

    Would that you would do us the courtesy of the same. You are banned as you know from this site unless and until you make direct contact with me and re-negotiate a re-entrance on strict terms that you will not return to your old ways.

    Until then, I ask you to resist sneaking back on under this or several other of your nom de guerres. And leave the field of battle to others willing to commit to fighting hard and fair…

  • UUP

    A central aspect of which is Unionism, and not by the way, the cult of personality you seem to think exists.

    Given that you don’t seem to understand your own party, it would be unreasonable to expect you to understand mine.

  • Reader

    Comrade Stalin: …like the way David Trimble was disciplined for attending the funeral of the Quinn brothers, to pay his respects as the leader of unionism and the local MP.
    No he wasn’t.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mick,

    Yes, it was unlikley that any deal would have gone through if the Tories had laid down such ground rules.

    But, if a party says one thing and does another they will have a major issue with credibility.
    That is the problem for the Tories in relation to the link-up/merger/allaince/what-the-feck-is-it you simpy cannot state the case for inclusivity and tolerance given the CURRENT level of sectrainism prevalent within the UU party and expect to be retain your credibility on this issue.

    Here are some of the arguements advanced on Slugger to overocme this credibilty gap –

    Your own – behind the scenes Oweny Patters (who seems like a good egg) is not very happy.
    New Blue – why look at the UUP when the DUP are far worse.
    Frustrated Democrat – the UUP themselves used to be even worse.
    Various – Bad dogs do change their spots but it takes time.
    Various – This is nothing to do with Nationalists and SF are more sectarian than the UUP.

    Well I’m afraid these arguements simply dont wash – it is the similar* to the Tories having a a funny relationship with the BNP and telling us that the BNP will come round to their way of thinking.

    If you also throw in what already seems like their only Westminster seat disappearing before a shot is fired and sectarian rumblings over letting moderate papishes get elected in SB, this link up/merger/allaince/what-the-feck-is-it is a complete shambles and any fair outside non paritsan view (I dont like either the Tories or the UU) would surely come to the same conclusion.

    Their fortunes, as you rightly point out, now hinge on the TUV thrashing the DUP’s vote and perhaps adopting a more subtle anti-agreement position themselves (e.g. the 5 yeat finance nonsense that has now apparently disappeared)rather than presenting their new shiny image to the electorate. Piss fecking poor.

    *The intolerance towards Catholics/Nationlaists on show by the UUP is comparable to the attiude of the BNP and the OO have arguably a worse impact on community relations than the BNP due to their insistence on closing down city centres and marching where they are not wanted and generally causing sirpatrickmayhem.

  • fin

    “Apart from all the spin and guff, it’s just not ‘Cameron’s way’ Sammy. He’s an old style paternalist, not a Blairite technocrat Sammy.”

    Mick, has Dave not annoyed the old guard in GB with a very hands on approach to selecting candidates, not to mention his rebuilding of the Tory Party as ‘green’ which has now disappeared (apart from the funny logo)

    My thoughts are that he didn’t give the UUP a set of guidelines for ‘reform’ because its not his problem, the UUP can make the effort to have the look and feel of the Tory Party or the Tories will just take the people they want and the infrastructure and be the NI Tory Party.

    Reg has a few years to build a party of Parsley-like people or the Torys will just walk with the ‘Parsleys’ that are there.

    There are a few clues for this, not least the lack of media coverage for UCUNF outside NI makes it easy to uncouple themselves in the future, and insisting on running for every seat means the Tories can build a local branch in every area.

    Of course if the venture proves pointless they can also just walk away because it will have been the UUP doing the legwork.

    I wonder if Reg ever looks at the shadow cabinet and tries to see some common ground or background between his people and them.

    Seymour, I’d recommend getting your hands on Kennaways book about the OO it really is a good read, my accident I read it alongside ‘Northern Protestants’ and together they gave this Fenian a great insight into unionism.

  • Driftwood

    fin
    I don’t know anything about the OO or have any interest in it, but i read the ‘Northern Protestants’ book and couldn’t identify with anyone. Most unionists nowadays would identify more with Dan Dennett than Dan Winter.

    Wake up.

  • New Blue

    Sammy

    Thank you kindly for including me in your summary (10 on this page).

    I must challenge your definition of my viewpoint.

    I have clearly made my stand, on numerous threads here, on my personal thoughts in relation to the OO and any sectarian word or act by a member of the party.

    I would request that you ‘soften’ your interpretation of my position to something more along the lines of;

    ‘At least the UUP are trying to change the landscape and become a party that can be identified with by pro-union supporters regardless of religious background’.

    The change is happening, too slow for some and too fast for many of those who are not supporters of change.

    Naysayers may have history on their side – those of us who are taking this standard forward have the future on ours.

  • fin

    Driftwood, I wasn’t aware that ‘Northern Protestants’ had been released in comic format

    but thats strange because just from those 3 sentences above I can match you to several personas’ in Northern Protestants, unfortunately not the nice ones.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Slabbery, stop, you’re slaying us: “if a party says one thing and does another they will have a major issue with credibility”. Thank Gawd what holds good for parties doesn’t hold good for posters, eh? Imagine that! Think what the world would be like if spacers who spouted any old jibber-jabber, year after year, interminable post after interminable post, just upped and ran away from that every time they were laughed at for doing it! I mean, what sort of world would that be? Oh yeah, the one where Sinn Five [cf. Slabbery multi-passim] *didn’t* walk out of the Executive when P&J *wasn’t* transferred by the end of 2008, and the institutions *weren’t* thereby somehow ‘pulled down’. It’s, as someone once said, a funny old world, and thank you Slabbery for providing so many of the laughs in it.

  • Driftwood

    fin
    comic book ???

    To rephrase, most unionists i know wouldn’t describe themselves as ‘Protestant’ because they are agnostic or atheist. Do you actually live here? Most of us stopped believing in supernatural entities about 30 years ago.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    New Blue,

    re. “I must challenge your definition of my viewpoint.”

    I was not attempting to define your, Mick’s or anyone elses views I was simply lining up various arguments with those who had made them – based on my memory of who said what. I ssem to remember you suggesting that the DUP were objecting to pope’s visit as a reply to my criticism of the UUP. If that was not you then please accept my apologies.

    The other reaons you have given in your latest post for the continuing sectarian problems with the UUP, would I suggest fit into some of the other arguements I have paraphrased above.

    I think you are confusing two things here, what is a good idea for the UUP to do i.e. clean up their party and whether the party is CURRENTLY a suitable party for the Tories who claim to favour inclusivity and tolerance – quite clearly in my opinion they are not and I would suggest middle-england-man, if he was advised of what the Tories are up to, would share that view.

  • Neil

    year after year, interminable post after interminable post

    You said it Babbling Borey Revisionist. Love the spamming, you’re doing a great job, keep it up cock.

  • fin

    Driftwood, you say you read the book, yet even though the title nails the topic ‘Northern Protestants’ you appear to believe the book to be about unionism.

    The book does exactly as it says on the tin, its a collection of interviews with (believe it or not) Northern Protestants.

    Finally Driftwood, you’ve obviously mistaken me for someone who gives a damn!

    Why are you trying to turn this thread into the ‘Driftwood Story’ I don’t care about your outlook on religion, your previous call for republicans to be murdered in revenge for the murder of two squaddies and a cop kinda marks out your politics and moral compass, so to be honest you’re a fairly sterotypical bigot (there were several loony tunes in the book you should have identified with) and so a tad run of the mill

  • fin

    New Blue, whats your thoughts on Reg calling for the Justice role to be decided on d’Hondt, which obviously means the SDLP getting it, would the old guard stand for it?

  • New Blue

    Sammy

    I fully accept your apology

    Fin

    I can only give my opinion, I cannot speak for the party or each and every member.

    IMO D’Hondt it the obvious way for this ministry to be managed. Shared future is the only path we should be travelling.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Perhaps instead of ‘lining up’ other people’s arguments, Slabbery, me ould mucker, you’d be best advised to line a few of your own up straight? After all, the contradictory jibber-jabber is more or less out of control at this point. Or, to take just one spacerism at random, perhaps – as you assured us it would be – the Bawbybowl was actually built (given that, as you so wisely opined at the time, McMurderous ‘has his foot on Robbo’s windpipe’)? Maybe it is just the rest of us who are mad, who are, in non-fact, making up reality, while you’re the only sane poster left? Nah, you’re loopdy-doo. But do keep on spoofing regardless: without a doubt your inventions, evasions and shameless fibbing is easily the funniest thing Slugger has to offer.

  • Sean Fear

    Sammy,

    I think you know very little about (a) the British Conservative Party and (b) the views of the people who vote Conservative.

    Because, if you did, you would realise that very few members of either group are unhappy about being allied to the Ulster Unionist Party.

    You may think that membership of the Orange Order is a big issue to British Conservative voters. It isn’t.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Sean, Slabbery thinks *a lot* of things, generally at opposite ends one to another day on day. Leave him be to make stuff up: it’s plastic, fantastic stuff.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Sean Fear,

    “You may think that membership of the Orange Order is a big issue to British Conservative voters. It isn’t. ”

    Are you suggesting that if middle-England-man is settling down to his tea and muttering to himself about mad-Paddy-feckers as he watches some hoohah over a parade with policemen being knocked over he will not be disturbed to know that his Tory party are joined at the hip with some of those defending the sirpatrickmayhem unfolding before him?

  • Sean Fear

    Precisely.

    You’re imagining that the average British Conservative voter will view Northern Ireland through Irish nationalist eyes. Conservative voters (and even more Conservative members) tend to be a good deal more sympathetic towards Unionism than Nationalism (unsurprisingly).

    The best you can hope for is that some of them will think “a plague on both your houses.”

    Labour and Liberal Democrat voters are much more likely to respond in the way that you’re expecting.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    If Middle-anywhere man is muttering about anything, it’s about loons who make up any old horsesh*t, you know, like you do, but then scarper as fast as they shamelessly can everytime said horsesh*t is fronted up to them. Or, Slabbery, are we all still wrong and you’re still right? Was P&J in fact transferred before 2008 was out, otherwise Sinn Five walked out of the executive and ‘pulled the institutions down’? Just in case you’re hoping to ever reapply for membership of the reality based community, you really should work out a line-to-take on why that jibber-jabber of yours didn’t in fact happen. And just like everything else you spout, Slabbery, me ould mucker, you don’t have to be honest, pace whatever reason you come up with, but you would look faintly less absurd if you took such a line and stuck to it. Otherwise do you do incredibly silly, as well as being ceaselessly amusing.

    I do wish you’d have the wit to see, Slabbery, that I’m trying to help you. For if only you’d deal with all these tonnes of comic liabilities you silently, shamefully trail behind you, it would actually free you to make *new* stuff up. You’d regain, merely in addressing all the past stuff you’ve invented, some fractional, temporary credibility to make some new stuff up. Go on, even though you, natch, don’t know it makes sense.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Sean Fear,

    re “The best you can hope for is that some of them will think “a plague on both your houses.”

    You are edging closer to the reality there – a few years ago Middle-England-man voted Labour – now hes likley to be voting Tory – same people, same views on Ireland, and gernerally they simply dont like people indulging in stuff that looks alien to them e.g. parading about in funny costumes and fighting with the police.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Of all the people on God’s Good Earth, Slabbery, the last, the very last person on this planet who can tell *other* people that they’re ‘edging closer to the reality’ is your jibber-jabbering self. Remember, reality’s where the Bawbybowl *wasn’t* built. And oh so much else besides – and in case you want to keep on forgetting, don’t worry, I’m here to try and help! You keep on lying, and I’ll keep on trying . . .

  • Comrade Stalin

    fin:

    New Blue, whats your thoughts on Reg calling for the Justice role to be decided on d’Hondt, which obviously means the SDLP getting it, would the old guard stand for it?

    No, it doesn’t mean the SDLP getting it. It means the DUP or SF getting it.

    Seymour:

    You have not acknowledged the extent to which many Orangemen have actually moved on but I will leave matters there and move to your sustantive point.

    I’ll acknowledge they have moved on when they properly engage in dialogue and stop trying to have the Parades Commission disbanded. I do appreciate that they are making progress though. That deserves credit.

    However, OO members of the UUP and the Conservative party have to be given time and space to understand that conflict of principle and make their own personal conscious decisions. In time, I think that many UUP members will reach that crossroads.

    That’s not good enough if you want to wear the “non-sectarian” badge. David Cameron, to his credit, recognizes that views which cross a certain line need to be dealt with strictly. This has been a necessary part of his efforts to persuade people that the party has softened. Doesn’t the UUP need to do the same ?

    Your approach has no practicality. You cant expect a political party to have a mass culling overnight.

    Well, it is either that, or the party’s claims to have changed and to be non-sectarian have no credibility. You can’t have both.

    You understand, I hope, that it is not my concern whether the UUP remains linked with the Orange Order or not. The ongoing association with the OO makes the party far easier to challenge at election time.

    Reform, if it is to be successful has to happen incrementally.

    Very sensible. If only unionism approached nationalism and republicanism with the same level of pragmatism and willingness to give space.

    You do not drive people. You lead them. You obviously dont think this approach has no prospect of successfully reaching out to Catholics. We will agree to differ on that.

    Well, David Cameron doesn’t think that approach is appropriate for dealing with the further right wing elements in the Conservative Party. If you’re going to argue how just like England we are, then surely the same approach should apply ?

    I don’t think the UUP is serious about reaching out to Catholics, any more than I think Sinn Fein are serious about reaching out to unionists. For such a thing to work there has to be real acceptance about the problems, of both the present and the past. It’s still very hard to get Unionism to admit it was wrong about much at all.

    Like Sinn Fein and it’s “be nice to unionists” thing, I think it’s more for the benefit of your own supporters to make them feel warm and fluffy, than it is about changing anything.

    And that aside, you’re still unionists. And there aren’t a lot of Catholic unionists out there.

    With the greatest respect, your view, as Frustrated Democrat has effectively hightlighted, has suddenly become the politics of intolerance. That is ironic, coming from an Alliance supporter.

    No, you’re wrong. I tolerate the Orange Order and unionists just fine. I have no objections to Orange marches (in fact, I agree that there is a right to march and free assembly, and I reject the idea that any kind of assembly should be prevented on the basis that it is offensive). I am happy to keep my head down on the 12th and get a bit of work done around the house. It is really no big deal to me.

    That doesn’t mean that I can’t highlight the nature of what the Orange Order exists and the fact that it is an anomaly. And I can’t accept an accusation of intolerance coming from a person justifying an organization whose reason for existence is intolerance.

    By the way, much of what I said about the UUP and the Orange Order also applies to the SDLP and the Catholic Church. The SDLP in the past has been far too close to said church for my liking, and I seem to remember that it used to have policies on divorce and contraception that looked like they were written by a priest (probably not far from the truth given Hume’s background). At least, though, they do not suggest that there is a right to have a bunch of bishops (and communion wine swilling “hangers on” in Celtic tops) march up and down the Shankill sprinkling everything in holy water.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick,

    It is down to the local agents to make the deal work, with the national party kicking in money and resources.

    I don’t know if you are merely restating their position, Mick, or if you believe that there is any truth to this.

    The Conservatives piled money in here before. It didn’t work because they had none of the grassroots, as you said. Having loads of money is no use at all unless you can get people out on the streets.

    The UUP isn’t strong in the grassroots, and those grassroots have proven unable to arrest the party’s decline. A lack of leadership and direction on the top probably makes things harder. And there are problems, especially for people like Parsley who cannot assume that unionist grassroots will be out on those cold, wet night supporting him, especially given everything he has said about how rubbish unionism is. I appreciate that the UUP have historically always been close to the Tories, but I think there are just about enough activists who are not that it will put the thing in jeopardy.

    Finally, it is worth remembering that the Green Party were able to run a very effective European campaign, while spending hardly any money at all. And Sinn Fein topped the poll by doing relatively little, pouring all their manpower into the more serious fight in the South.

    As for North Down. IJP is young and if I read Tory strategy properly, is in the fight for North Down for two or three elections hence. He has a Holywood council seat, and I would expect to see him prioristised on a party wide basis to comfortably get into the new Greater Down Council.
    That’s as much futuring as I’m prepared to indulge in for now.

    The danger for UCUNF is that they’ve oversold themselves. They have promised big things and, if and when they do not deliver, the disappointment may prove damaging. I am not sure if UCUNF will last beyond the coming general election, especially if they fail to win any seats which is a very distinct possibility. In that event, I’d guess that Mr Parsley will be whisked off to London to deploy his undoubted analytical talents for the benefit of the big party.

  • IJP

    Comrade

    The danger for UCUNF is that they’ve oversold themselves.

    I accept this point (like I accept most of your points, actually!)

    It is a huge and ambitious task. At its heart, ultimately, is whether NI wishes to form part of the UK political mainstream or not (with the responsibilities that come with that). That’s a genuinely interesting question.

    (Btw, the nearest Alliance came to winning a seat was East Belfast.)