Paterson: “there was nothing of consequence arising from the meeting”

Owen Paterson, responding no doubt to Michael Crick’s attempt to play him, has this to say about what Slugger understands to be the Orange Order’s regular and usually ill-fated attempt (they tried in 2001 and 2005) to get unionist unity before a general election:

“In his capacity as Ulster Unionist leader, Sir Reg Empey regularly meets all strands of opinion throughout Northern Ireland. He referred ‘in passing’ to a meeting, requested in October and held in December, but I was not aware of the content or the participants.

“As there was nothing of consequence arising from the meeting he did not mention it to me again. Sir Reg Empey has made clear to me that it has no bearing on our joint determination to stand together as ‘Conservatives and Unionists’ at the forthcoming Westminster elections to bring national, mainstream and non-sectarian politics to Northern Ireland.”

A Tory source in London told Slugger that Cameron’s 18 seat strategy remains intact…

  • “requested in October”

    Requested by whom? Peter Robinson?

  • Jaggers

    “In his capacity as Ulster Unionist leader, Sir Reg Empey regularly meets all strands of opinion throughout Northern Ireland. ” When was the last time he met with Sinn Fein or for that matter PUP and SDLP and TUV?

  • On the one hand the Orange Order is attempting, apparently, to get a sectarian unionist unity – while on the other hand it facilitates the TUV by providing it an [unrateable] Orange Order premises for a meeting, in order, it seems, to forment unionist disunity. Is the Orange Order a contradiction in terms?

  • joeCanuck

    He would say that, wouldn’t he?

  • McGrath

    So instead of unionist unity, there will now be four parties for Unionists to vote for, DUP, UUP, TUV and CP. Excellent!

  • JohnM

    How can they claim to be non-sectarian when most of the UUP leadership are in the Orange Order, a sectarian organisation by design?

  • joeCanuck

    Wonder how long your post will stay up, JohnM. When I pointed that out about Empey, on another thread, my post was deleted.

  • Taking that at face value, wtf was McNarry on about?

  • “Sir Reg Empey has made clear to me that it has no bearing on our joint determination to stand together as ‘Conservatives and Unionists’ at the forthcoming Westminster elections to bring national, mainstream and non-sectarian politics to Northern Ireland”

    Is this not a very silly statement given that 2 candidates have withdrawn from the UCUNF selection process because of these talks?

  • tacapall

    A Tory source in London told Slugger that Cameron’s 18 seat strategy remains intact…
    Mick Fealty @ 04:12 PM

    Untill the opinion polls tell the Tories otherwise.

  • JohnM

    Well it is hardly slander, joeCanuck. It’s absolute fact.

    If it is taken down I will definitely complain!

  • Kevsterino

    It will be interesting to see how long this UCUNF banner lasts.

    What happens this summer, if the parades issue is unchanged, and UUP members are howling that the bowler’ed brethren can’t give traditional offense in Northern Ireland. Will the English Conservatives back them up or be revolted by the whole mess?

  • Drumlins Rock

    1. The OO always tries a wee push for unionist unity at election time (particularily westminister without STV) the leadership just reflect what grassroot members are saying, nothing new there.
    2. I persume Reg has regular in-depth discussion around the Exectutive Table with SF, DUP, & SDLP, right?
    3. It would be wrong for the OO to ban the TUV from using thier halls, there are properly constituted legal political party which reflect a the view of a section of thier membership, the UUP, DUP, Conservative, and probably the Alliance party could book the hall for the rest of the week if they want i’m sure, Personally my Lodge has decided that no political parties can use the premises.
    4. Well if its true of course he would say it, doh!
    5. Only 4? that counts as Unity for Unionists, probably about the same number of Nationalist ones, SF, SDLP, Alliance (joking), RSF, Eirigi, 32CSC, FF, various Socialist, etc.
    6. And almsot all nationalist are members of a sectaian organisation, the Catholic Church, dosnt make it wrong.
    7. Still ther.
    8. Does anyone ever know what McNarry is on about?
    9. The winged and yapped about various things, if you cant take the heat…
    10. What poll? here or mainland?

  • tacapall

    6. And almsot all nationalist are members of a sectaian organisation, the Catholic Church, dosnt make it wrong.
    Posted by Drumlins Rock on Jan 29, 2010 @ 05:14 PM

    Scraping the bottom of the barrel there DR.

  • Greenflag

    Science news just in tells us that all those orange dinosaur jokes may not have been that far fetched after all 😉

    Scientists have found evidence of some of the original coloration of a dinosaur that lived about 125 million years ago, showing that it had rings of orange bristly feathers around its tail.

    Researchers always used to think that the fossil record couldn’t show what color they were. “This was the one point at which we had to give up,” says paleontologist Mike Benton at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, who explains that fossils tend to preserve an animal’s hard parts, like bones and teeth, and not soft parts like skin.

    Feathers however are made of tough proteins. “And can survive even in conditions where other internal organs, muscles and guts and brains disappear,” says Benton.

    The OO dinosaurs may still wear their orange feathers but have obviously survived despite their ‘brains’ disappearing .

    I suppose with over half the DUP’s public representatives belonging to the Free Pee’s then no one should be too surprised at the OO’s role in attempting to be a part of the 2010 Grand Revival of the 1900’s orange card coalition of Tory reaction plus unionist quasi fascism .

    Any Irishman having anything to do with this charade is going to be deeply disappointed !

  • McGrath

    6. And almsot all nationalist are members of a sectaian organisation, the Catholic Church, dosnt make it wrong.

    Posted by Drumlins Rock on Jan 29, 2010 @ 05:14 PM

    Only an orangeman would say something like that.

  • joeCanuck

    I don’t think that most, if not all, senior members of unionist parties being part of a sectarian organization is a problem in of itself. It becomes of import only if they take their marching orders (excuse the pun) from that semi-secret unelected organization.

  • Reader

    McGrath: Only an orangeman would say something like that.
    What is the official position of your church on its members receiving communion at a Protestant service?

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    joecanuck said

    ” 17.I don’t think that most, if not all, senior members of unionist parties being part of a sectarian organization is a problem in of itself. It becomes of import only if they take their marching orders (excuse the pun) from that semi-secret unelected organization. ”

    Not a great idea for a party(Tories) to have political ties with such parties.

    Its not consistent with wanting to attract support from all sections and faiths in the electorate.

  • Framer

    Can Protestants join the Roman Catholic church now?

  • joeCanuck

    Its not consistent with wanting to attract support from all sections and faiths in the electorate.

    Can’t disagree with that. I think the Tories just haven’t thought it through. And if he thinks that the meeting between UUP/DUP/OO is of no consequence, then he’s awfully naive. I wouldn’t expect him to ever be SOS for (Wales?) and N.I.

  • Kevsterino

    Protestants are free to join the Roman Catholic church.

    Duh

    They don’t mind if you have Protestant parents, either.

  • Framer

    But can they remain Protestants?

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    joeCanuck said

    ” Can’t disagree with that. I think the Tories just haven’t thought it through. And if he thinks that the meeting between UUP/DUP/OO is of no consequence, then he’s awfully naive. I wouldn’t expect him to ever be SOS for (Wales?) and N.I. ”

    There is the other possibility i.e. that the Tories were using the deal with the UU (pro Union credentials) to act as a cover if they do a deal with the SNP in Scotland.

    Its at the very least a possibility.

  • Greenflag

    framer ,

    ‘Can Protestants join the Roman Catholic church now?’

    There’s plenty of vacancies as so many RC’s have left it in disgust . They’ll even let you keep the wee wifey if you are a Church of Ireland vicar.

    The job does’nt howver come with as much respect as it used to.

    joe canuck ,

    ‘if he thinks that the meeting between UUP/DUP/OO is of no consequence, then he’s awfully naive’

    That he is no question . I can already see this chaps shadow dimming away post election .

  • So the Unionist parties are not that interested in unity or Unionism? The intelligence is just leaping out of them.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Good to see Mervyn Jess reporting fearlessly from inside “Schomberg House” the OO HQ in East Belfast.
    Drawing attention to a cabinet of books on Orange history, it might have slipped his mind that one might have been written by ….Mervyn Jess.

    What next Mervyn?
    A report from the Freemasons Lodge in Arthur Square?
    Actually Mervyn has already done that too.

    How does this reporter get such access?
    Answers on a postcard to……BBC Newsroom.

  • ardmaj55

    ‘Is the Orange Order a contradiction in terms?’

    Well, Concubar, the OO is certainly a contamination in terms on the body politic here, and has been a cancer in N E Ireland for more than two hundred years.

  • Paul

    Taken from http://www.conservativehome.blogs.com

    3.45pm update: Owen Paterson has released the following statement:

    “In his capacity as Ulster Unionist leader, Sir Reg Empey regularly meets all strands of opinion throughout Northern Ireland. He referred ‘in passing’ to a meeting, requested in October and held in December, but I was not aware of the content or the participants. As there was nothing of consequence arising from the meeting he did not mention it to me again. Sir Reg Empey has made clear to me that it has no bearing on our joint determination to stand together as ‘Conservatives and Unionists’ at the forthcoming Westminster elections to bring national, mainstream and non-sectarian politics to Northern Ireland.”

    5pm update: Sir Reg Empey has made the following statement:

    “The Ulster Unionist Party was invited in October 2009 by the Orange Order to a meeting with their Grand Master. On behalf of the UUP I accepted the invitation. Mr Saulters wanted a private and confidential meeting to discuss ‘ways and means of finding co-operation on the way forward.’ I have respected his request for confidentiality. Sadly this was not respected by others. Despite a conversation and discussion on the issues that Mr Saulters wished to raise, no agreements were reached.

    “We are often asked to talk about Unionist cooperation where possible and about how best to provide stability for the future of Northern Ireland. However the UUP is very much aware, given past history, that cooperation is not always achievable. Indeed it makes it much more difficult when a significant aim of one of the organisations you are dealing with is to destroy you. The Ulster Unionist Party will continue to have discussions with organisations on issues that are of benefit to the Union, but we will not be used as an escape route for others who have significant political difficulties.

    “Let me also reaffirm my commitment to developing our relationship with the Conservative Party. Along with our Conservative colleagues we will do all we can to promote, protect and preserve the Union and bring national politics unto the Northern Ireland agenda. The spectacle of recent days in our political journey at Hillsborough illustrates the need to get back as soon as possible to dealing with the issues that matter to people such as jobs, health and education.”

    Jonathan Isaby

  • Jimmy_Sands

    “What is the official position of your church on its members receiving communion at a Protestant service? ”

    What a bizarre question. What do you think the word “communion” means?

  • Rory Carr

    ‘Can Protestants join the Roman Catholic church now?’

    Of course, Framer, but it is probably wise to wait until after leaving Prime Ministerial office before one considers it.

  • Greenflag

    The Orange Order ?

    A political or religious organisation ?

    Discuss .

    In one word

    Both !

    SF and the SDLP need to quit the Assembly -permanently .
    None of the Unionist parties nor the British Government can be trusted to deliver on power sharing . But they all deserve an Oscar for trying 🙁

  • Reader

    Jimmy_sands: What do you think the word “communion” means?
    1) A step short of co-communion?
    or
    2) Different things to different people?

  • McGrath

    18.McGrath: Only an orangeman would say something like that.

    What is the official position of your church on its members receiving communion at a Protestant service?

    Posted by Reader on Jan 29, 2010 @ 06:00 PM

    Religion, especially the Northern Irish kind is all a load of bollix mate. But Im pretty sure the Catholic church, doesnt espouse hatred of other groups – thats the orange orders job.