Ulster Unionists set to vote No tomorrow (and world does not fall apart)…

Hmmm… and that is news? I’ve been puzzled ever since reading this OdEd in the New York Times last week… Slugger’s understanding that the meeting with the dFM this afternoon (called at the request of the dFM) went roughly like this… (note this is a paraphrase, not precise reportage)…

dFM – so where are we at?

Danny Kennedy – un-helpfulness of the “3 days to sort themselves out” comment at the weekend.

dFM – UUP dug a hole for itself and kept digging. UUP are now anti-Agreement.

Michael McGimpsey – UUP negotiated the Agreement and committed to powersharing.

dFM – Internal unionist in-fighting is threatening the institutions. All UUP media appearances mentioned dysfunctionality. Nolan loves that.

Empey – We are not anti-Agreement.

dFM – (rehearses an anti-Agreement argument.)

FC – We are not here to be lectured by you.

dFM – Then leave. (Shouted.)

Hmmm… I have to confess that I don’t get this. The DUP have been bending over backwards to get the UUs on board, even though the vote will go through tomorrow without any real controversy. Even George Bush has been dragged out to appeal to David Cameron not to wreck a deal tht the UUs are simply not in a position to wreck…

As they pointed out on the Now Show, political impotence is the order of the day from Washington to a post election Westminster government. And it really matters that the UUs don’t buy the functionality of the current arrangements at Stormont?

Not convinced it does…

  • Pete Baker

    Mick

    As I mentioned in the comments zone of my earlier post.

    My feeling is that, this time, the US are being mis-briefed by other players.

    [Bring back Mitchel Reiss! – Ed]

    Perhaps…

  • Comrade Stalin

    Pete,

    I think the NIO have convinced themselves that they’d have to go at this one with all guns blazing, hence the blitz of surveys, American intervention (which is usually preceded by a phonecall which goes something like “Hello Hilary, can you please phone Mr X and impress upon the need that he does Y for us please ?”).

    Mick, I wish I shared your optimism. The DUP rebels might decide that this is their time to jump. Where ? I do not know. But there is precedent – as with Bob McCartney and the short-lived NIUP.

  • slug

    I don’t get it. The UUP are developing an opposition position that is normal in democracies.

  • I don’t know about that Comerade Stalin. If Peter has their resignation letters then I’m sure he’d be justified in enacting them if an MLA or two left the party.

    If however one or two decided to be naughty and break the whip, vote no, bust remain within the DUP such tactics would seem very petty and autocratic.

  • Alias

    That op-ed piece in the NYT utilises the familiar propaganda that is used by the State to censor dissenting political opinion:

    “It would be irresponsible and tragic if political leaders allow rivalries — or efforts at intimidation — to derail their chances for peace and stability.”

    It has the added propaganda that such dissenting opinion is motivated by selfish political considerations and – without a twist of irony – that it is tantamount to appeasing terrorism! But the main gist is the alternative to not uncritically supporting ‘the process’ is a return to violence.

    This claim that the only alternative to uncritical support for the British state is violence is restated in the final paragraph as:

    “Northern Ireland’s politicians should not allow themselves to be bullied or intimidated by extremists on either side. Indeed, the violence should remind everyone of exactly why the assembly must approve this agreement — and why the larger peace deal must go forward.”

  • Comrade Stalin

    Conquistador, I did speculate that he might deploy the letters a few days ago. Of course, he’d already be on the back foot by then.

  • Mrazik

    I don’t get it. The UUP are developing an opposition position that is normal in democracies.

    Posted by slug on Mar 08, 2010 @ 11:32 PM

    Why don’t they leave the Executive then so as to give their “opposition” less of the feeling of a contrivance?

  • IJP

    Excellent post, Mick.

    I agree with Slug. If dodgy polls, bribes and misbriefings are what passes for “democracy” in NI, I can see why the UUs would wish to oppose it.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    The UUP are at least throwing a lifeline to the DUP rebels…….or less nicely “put up or shut up”.
    The DUP without Iris and Hay (as Speaker) has 34 members.
    UUP have 18.
    PUP have 1
    there are 53 votes in the unionist side (unless I am overlooking someone). A vote of 27 is required.
    At least the UUP can watch Willie McCrea, david Simpson and a few others squirm in their seats tomorrow.
    All realise it will cost them votes in May.

    Good tactics by the UUP.
    I hope they succeed.

  • The Raven

    Not often I agree with FJH, but on the basis of “If dodgy polls, bribes and misbriefings are what passes for “democracy” in NI” then good luck to them.

  • Mick Fealty

    Mrazik,

    Would that be the principled thing to do when the coalition is ‘mandatory’?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    The UUP have calculated that a principled opposition to the DUP/SF axis will be popular with unionist voters and from those I have spoken to I would suggest they are correct.

    Everyone knows how disfunctional the Executive is and continually pointing this out has got through to unionist voters who have largely lost faith in the DUP.

    The question is, as already noted, will any DUP MLA’s not support their party position?

  • Pete,

    ” the US are being mis-briefed by other players”

    Of course Pete, it is the wrong type of Americans. The democrats are in power now for a while and you will just have to get used to it.

    Mick,

    This is a serious embarassment for the Tories and and a serious risk to the peace/political process as the UUP could not know what reaction the DUP ‘rebels’ will have to their vote as CS points out above.

    It takes some going when Sluggers two main contributors have less understanding of what is going on than the Yankee administration. If Cameron had any lingering belief left in the wisdom of the link up with the UUP then presumably that will have disappeared.

    It is inconveivable that Cameron has not been on the phone to Reginald to knock him into line well before he was contacted by Bush unless he is much, much stupider than he has hitherto revealed.

    The irresponsible behaviour of the UU will damage the Tory party who were moved to defend far less cosy links with some crazy Poles. The Labour party will be a all over this and I would be very suprised if John Major does not publically rebuke Cameron/Empey.

  • Harry J

    Everyone knows how disfunctional the Executive is

    how?

  • Harry J

    Everyone knows how disfunctional the Executive is

    if its sooo dysfuntional why has it done more work in 2 years than all of the trimble/mallon/durkan years put together?

  • Harry J

    I agree with Slug. If dodgy polls, bribes and misbriefings are what passes for “democracy” in NI, I can see why the UUs would wish to oppose it.
    Posted by IJP on Mar 08, 2010 @ 11:43 PM

    so Ian are you saying you and the Tories now oppose the devolution of P+J

    Time to let us know..(you can check with Tory HQ first if you like)

  • Brian Walker

    This is too complex for my simple head. I thought the UUs were doing this to get their own back on the DUP for years of persecution – suspecting that J will go through without them in a dangly sort of way. If it doesn’t, never mind, it’s no longer a dealbreaker between the DUP and SF. So all it is is a bit of cost-free attention seeking opposition in the narrow politics of the thing. They must be mighty pleased at all this attention. But on the biggger picture, the clumsy propaganda is surely right. The rejectionist republicans think they can exploit a big chink in pro-Agreement parties’ armour. While it’s not as big as they think, the argy-bargy at Stormont convinces them to keep trying. Perhaps some clever analyst will tell me what they UUs get out of it and where they go from here? I suppose they hope it’s an eight day wonder and all will be forgottne in a week or two. What a triumph, Reg. And for your next trick?

    btw the Obama administration are no ones to talk about impotence in government….

  • Pete Baker

    MU

    Mind-reading doesn’t work.

  • interested

    If the UUP are voting against P&J they then support the retention of the parades Commission, no extra money for the PSNI to tackle the dissident threat the public will not be too happy. This is a good deal for Unionism the UUP would have done the deal in 2005 without IRA decommissioning and without Sinn Fein support for the PSNI & rule of law and order they are totally hypocrites!

    • There will be no sinn fein control of policing and justice.
    • There will be no SF Justice Minister.
    • There will be NO Irish Language Act.
    • There will be NO new North-South Bodies
    • The Parades Commission will not be in place next year.
    • Outstanding Issues such as Education will be addressed and the working of Government will be improved.
    • Additional resources for the Police and the Courts 1.1 Billion
    • 400 million for hearing loss claims police
    • Part Time Reserve recognition payment 22 million
    • PPW to be retained for former officers
    • Parades There will be no jumping ahead – parades will be completed in the same way as policing. There is a timetable for parades legislation to be completed.

  • Cameron is grappling with diminshed poll ratings and accusations of not standing up to Lord Ashcroft and he is now being publically rebuked by an administration whose leader is far more popular with the British public than he is. Of course when set on out on project UCUNF someone, somewhere must have told him that there might be some seats in it.

    Now he is facing severe embarassment over a party which retains extremely close links with the deeply sectarian Orange Order and has decided to to re-invent itself as anti-agreement and of course has lost its only sitting MP as well as a bunch of Catholics it had only recently discovered.

    Project UCUNF must now be torpedoed by Cameron or he risks the Labour party turing this into a really damaging issue. Ken Clarke, Major, Hague et al must be spitting blood.

  • The UUP seems to be filling the void left by the DUP, as the Unionist critic of the undemocratically enforced coalition in which it might participate, but has little clout. One would rather see the UUP than, say, the TUV fulfilling this very necessary role.

    The Parliamentary Labour Party voted against the partition of the United Kingdom. The Attlee Government’s was the first ever acceptance of the principle of consent with regard to the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. The Wilson Government deployed British troops to protect Northern Ireland’s grateful Catholics precisely as British subjects. The Callaghan Government administered Northern Ireland exactly as if it were any other part of the United Kingdom. Indeed, two UUP MPs voted to save the Callaghan Government (both the fact that they did so and the reason why are important) when both Irish Nationalists abstained.

    The last integrationist MP to date elected specifically as such was the Labour-minded Robert McCartney, now a full-time campaigner for the grammar schools, another grand Old Labour cause against Thatcher. The British State is of continuing importance in protecting Northern Ireland’s Catholic interest against Protestant domination, whether under devolution pursuant to the Good Friday Agreement, or within such federal Irish structures as may ever be acceptable to a Dublin Establishment at once profoundly unconcerned about Northern Ireland’s Catholics and profoundly influenced by the theory of two nations with an equal right to self-determination.

    And the Welfare State, workers? rights, full employment, a strong Parliament, trade unions, co-operatives, credit unions, mutual guarantee societies, mutual building societies, and nationalised industries, often with the word “British” in their names, were historically successful in creating communities of interest between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, thus safeguarding and strengthening the Union.

    Perhaps the UUP needs to be reminded of these and other facts? It certainly needs to keep them in mind. And its new opposition to the shameful carve-up of Northern Ireland between a bizarre fundamentalist sect and a fully armed Marxist guerrilla organisation represents a welcome break with David Cameron, who is as opposed to the Welfare State, workers’ rights, full employment, a strong Parliament, trade unions, co-operatives, credit unions, mutual guarantee societies, mutual building societies, and nationalised industries as he is to grammar schools, to traditional moral and social values, to meaningful Commonwealth ties, or to a realistic foreign policy, among so very many other things.

    Cameron is, however, fully signed up to that shameful carve-up of Northern Ireland. And he has welcomed with open arms the erstwhile UUP Leader who brought it about, and who is now not merely a Signatory to, but a Trustee of, the Henry Jackson Society.

    Oh, yes, a very welcome break indeed.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    The partition of the “United Kingdom” is certainly a quaint way to describe Irish independence.
    And I think the two Nationalist MPs referred to in 1979 (Frank Maguire and Gerry Fitt) should vote in accord with their own (Independent Nationalist and SDLP respectively) interests rather than Callaghans government.

    For the record…..in 1979….Maguire held his seat…….in 1979 Fitt held his seat.
    And the Government of James Callaghan? Er it lost.

  • David,

    there was a referendum and the plain people of Ulster and the rest of Ireland voted for the current arrangments.

    If the DUP, emboldened or scared by this move by the UUP decide not to vote in favour this might just hand the general election to Labour and that thought will probably be putting poor Davey Cameron off his sleep. Wrecking the political process before you even get into power will not look good on poor Davey’s CV.

  • The Raven

    Harry J writes: “if its sooo dysfuntional why has it done more work in 2 years than all of the trimble/mallon/durkan years put together?”

    Errr..sorry, could I just stop you there, and check with you where the outcomes of current administration’s massive hard work are at present? Cos I’m just looking at a few personal favourites of mine from over the years, and I see diddly squat. I’m still waiting for replies on rates reforms, based on a paper I did with 30 small businesses, from Mrs Foster’s Department. Oh that was eight months ago.

    I mean, this lot DID get the Victims and Survivors act. Oh and they got taxis too. They definitely got taxis.

    See that list of “interested”‘s there? I’d be guessing that a fair chunk of 45,000 jobless people wouldn’t really be focusing on much of that list right now. Or much of P&J beyond “I’ve just been burgled, can you send a cop out please?”

    But what the hell? Sure as long as we can focus on the “sectarian carve up”, what does anything other than the machinations of so-called P&J – which doesn’t function in anyone’s hands on these isles – really count for?

    That’ll be £12.50 please.

  • FitzJamesHorse, what is “quaint” about it? It is a fact, which as much as anything else condemned what were then huge numbers of people from the 26 Counties living in Great Britain to a foreign status which they had never sought and about which they had never been asked. It was largely the work of a man accurately described by George VI as “scarcely an Irishman at all”, to the extent that he was only still alive because he was an American.

    The Labour Party voted against it. That is a fact, too. As is Attlee’s and Bevin’s enactment of legislation which in fact gave the last word on the constitutional question to the Stormont Parliament, although as a means of embodying the principle of consent, the first ever acknowledgement of such. A negligible number of Labour MPs voted against that Act at a time when a very large number were electorally dependent on Irish Catholics. There was no local political retaliation worth speaking of, if at all.

    Moderate Unionist, “the current arrangements” are those in the Saint Andrews Agreement. When has there ever been a referendum on that? And we all know why not.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Mr Lindsay,
    I am a great believer in democracy.
    As I am sure you are.
    As the “United Kingdom” can seemingly be dissolved only if approved by the people of the United Kingdom then Im sure you will join with me in urging a referendum to see whether Wales and Scotland remain members.
    As an extra incentive I suggest a date a week after an England-Scotland football match at Wembley.

  • Impartial Reporter

    Does anyone here believe that the Executive will be able to manage Policing and Justice?

    Does anyone here really believe that the DUP and SF are prepared to work together to sort out the issues we face when it comes to sentencing, prisons and Youth Justice?

    No – me neither.

    I wonder why the UUP have said they support the devolution of P&J but cannot trust the DUP and SF to manage it ?

    Both parties have such a good track record of putting the needs of the people before their own.

    When it all goes pear-shaped I will be here saying loudly “I told you so”.

  • IJP

    Harry

    More misrepresentation – the Conservatives and UUP are both in favour of devolving justice, but it is not unreasonable to insist that this must be to structures which can be relied upon to function properly.

    The Raven puts an end to any daft notions that the current structures are working properly.

  • aquifer

    So the UUP got sick of the SFDUP saying ‘its only about us’

    Hard to blame them.

    And with no non-sectarian parties of the union or of lazy labour they will not lose any votes over it.

    Alliance took the piggy in the middle job (again), so nul points for them aussi.

  • martin r

    “When it all goes pear-shaped I will be here saying loudly “I told you so”.”

    …………..and so will the UUP!

  • Comrade Stalin

    More misrepresentation – the Conservatives and UUP are both in favour of devolving justice, but it is not unreasonable to insist that this must be to structures which can be relied upon to function properly.

    Someone should tell your party leader.

  • iluvni

    Why havent the sdlp the balls to say no to this rotten carve-up?

  • bohereen

    I’d love to read the transcript of the Bush Cameron conversation. Imagine if James Ellroy bothered himself to write a novel about the Peas Processing.

    Texas Ranch 03/05/2010 (Yank date)

    Phone transcript, Strictly Confidential.

    Yo Carmel,

    Hi, GW, it’s Cameron, actually.

    Camerooon, what’s all this about the peace process falling to pieces because you can’t offer the big bad unionists enough hope of regime change?

    Ach George, away on back to sleep.

    G’night, DaveBoy.

    G’night, Granda

  • Comrade Stalin

    iluvni,

    Why havent the sdlp the balls to say no to this rotten carve-up?

    More to the point, why did the SDLP and UUP quietly operate this sectarian carve up from within the executive for the best part of two years ? A lot could have been done if they had voluntarily given up their executive seats and joined with Alliance in opposition.

  • sdelaneys

    “… the US are being mis-briefed by other players.”
    Pete, I love that ‘mis-briefed’ Americanism and just can’t get the picture out of my mind of Peter Robinson puting Mr Obama’s drawers on backwards and doing the same for Mz Clinton. Georgie Bush jnr probably ‘don’t wear em, sissy stuff for a good ole country boy..’

  • Driftwood
  • Framer

    The DNA of Mandy is all over the Bush Cameron call.

  • alan56

    Cannot believe that the Nolan show has just put police widow on air together with Maskey and McClarty, to urge parties to do deal. How low can they get. This might well be something that the BBC Trust should investigate

  • Driftwood,

    thats good for a giggle.

    ..but being ticked off by a US administration led by a man siginificantly more popular with the British people than yourself cant have been very pleasant for poor Davey.

    If Cameron has any sense he will dispatch project UCUNF to the skip as the anti-agreement UUP are clearly not fit for purpose and will probably deliver him few a maximum of 1 seat and but propably lose him quite a few votes.

    Being made to look like you have very poor judgment in the run up to an election is not presumably what he had in mind when he invited an over williing Reginald in beside him for a cuddle.

  • alan56, 100% agree.

  • iluvni

    Must say though, Alex Maskey is putting the DUP in an even more awkward position in supporting the grubby deal.

  • abc123

    alan56 – “Cannot believe that the Nolan show has just put police widow on air together with Maskey and McClarty, to urge parties to do deal. How low can they get.”

    I don’t listen to the Nolan show any more. He is always trying to stir things up. My advice is to switch to BBC Radio Four.

    Moderate Unionist – as someone else has commented in an earlier thread, Moderate Unionist is not a good name to describe your views.

    The C&U project will be of benefit to the people of Northern Ireland. There are always likely to be issues with such a project. But the people behind it see the bigger picture and that’s what is important.

  • IJP,

    “but it is not unreasonable to insist that this must be to structures which can be relied upon to function properly”

    It is unreasonable and irresponsible to vote against a deal which is designed to bring peace and political stability to Ulster.

    Patterson has now had to go public and defend the UUP postition. Lets hear from John Major.

    Does anybody actually believe that the real reason the UUP are voting NO is anything other than opportunistic? It is a ridiculous arguement so suggest they are voting NO because Stormont is dysfunctional when voting YES would be a major step in making it work better by removing the major contention between the 2 main parties.

  • Harry J

    Does anyone here really believe that the DUP and SF are prepared to work together to sort out the issues we face when it comes to sentencing, prisons and Youth Justice?……

    try keeping up the Justice minister will be able to operate without bringing things to the executive

  • Harry J

    More misrepresentation – the Conservatives and UUP are both in favour of devolving justice, but it is not unreasonable to insist that this must be to structures which can be relied upon to function properly……..

    IJP david cameron supports the hillsborough deal? do you?

    THe uup dont.

  • granni trixie

    Saw Mrs T flanking Sir Reg proclaiming his misguided decision on tele. Surprised me as most evidence suggests she is not her own women (sorry to say).

    So where does this leave Lord T who I always assumed was trying to influence matters in UU – to keep the Conservatice link going for his own reasons (spot for him if Tories get in).
    And what about Sir Reg and a place in the Lords?

    Wouldnt you like to be a fly on the wall in Camerons camp across the water ie holding his head muttering, “Can no one rid me of this turbulent UU”

  • Impartial Reporter

    Harry

    the Justice minister will be able to operate without bringing things to the executive

    And I believe in Santa Claus!

    That is the best you can do?

    DUP have hidden in the shadows for the last week – no public comments after Dodds “Wee will not progress without the UUP supporting this agreement”.

    Spin Harry, spin, spin, spin.

  • jtwo

    Did Kate Carroll ring Nolan or vice versa?

  • PJM

    There is nothing inherently illogical about the UUP’s position. I think it is wrong but that’s a political difference. They have no obligation to support a deal they had little role in negotiating and have every right to try to split a rival party – its called normal politics.

    The bigger problem is that they have shifted the grounds of their opposition so often that they lack credibility. They have allowed the impression to be created that they decided to oppose then thought of reasons why.

    On a related note isn’t it strange that the SDLP actually oppose some important sections of the deal (the method of appointing the Min P&J and the provisions for MI5) but will vote for it while the UUP have no real problems with the deal itself but will oppose it because of the wider context?

  • PJM,

    “note isn’t it strange ”

    Eh, no – not strange at all, one party can see the bigger picture and is acting responsibly by voting for the deal and the other is not.

  • Harry J

    “Wee will not progress without the UUP supporting this agreement”…

    not sure why you put that in quotations because Nigel didnt say that, try listenting to the program first of all

    and then read the Hillsborough agreement re: the powers of a justice minister and their relationship to the assembly.

  • Impartial Reporter

    Harry

    I am beginning to think that you actually believe what you are typing here.

    Were you at the Executive meeting last night? Did you get a sense that DUP are in full agreement?

    Read the Hillsborough document and then come back and explain to me how ‘Labour changed the legislation after the agreement was made’.

    Some people never learn…..

    But do keep spinning.

  • Harry J,

    This is how the BBC reported the Dodds’ opinion; which bit did they get wrong?

    The DUP’s Nigel Dodds has said his party would not be able to proceed with the devolution of justice if it does not get Ulster Unionist backing.

    Mr Dodds was asked what his party would do if UUP MLAs vote against or abstain when the matter is put to a cross-community assembly vote on 9 March.

    He told BBC Radio Ulster’s Inside Politics show it would be a “serious situation”.

    “I don’t think we would then see progress happening,” he added

  • Harry J

    imaprtial the ST ANDREWS agreement stated that there should be a first minister from the largest party of the largest designation

    when the legislation went through it was the largest party.

    THe role of the Justice minister is clear, what is also clear is that you never read the hillsborough agreement.

    The leglislation giving powers for the justice minister will be enacted at stormont not westminster

  • Harry J

    The DUP’s Nigel Dodds has said his party would not be able to proceed with the devolution of justice if it does not get Ulster Unionist backing.

    Mr Dodds was asked what his party would do if UUP MLAs vote against or abstain when the matter is put to a cross-community assembly vote on 9 March.

    He told BBC Radio Ulster’s Inside Politics show it would be a “serious situation”.

    “I don’t think we would then see progress happening,” he added
    ……………………………

    again listen to the whole interview not what the BBC throws out. the context is community confidnece, its clear the UUP only want to shaft the DUP they could care less about what is happenein in the community

    Nigel at NO point siad it would NOT happen

  • alan56

    HJ

    Ever heard of splitting hairs?

  • Impartial Reporter

    The leglislation giving powers for the justice minister will be enacted at stormont not westminster

    Now you are just doing your comedy stand-up routine.

  • Harry J

    impartial im really not sure how this thing works, westminister will transfer the power for justice and policing to stormont , the exact powers of the minister will be leglisated here. Didnt you know that?

  • jtwo
  • Impartial Reporter

    Harry

    Those powers and responsibilities (and all associated caveats) are to be decided by DUP and SF AFTER Westminster passes responsibility over. Do you really believe that this is possible?

    If you do then can I have some of what you are taking – I would like to live in wonderland too.

  • Driftwood

    Iris appears to be the forgotten ghost at the table. And she was the catalyst for the DUP cave in at the Hillsborough ‘staging post’.
    How is the police investigation in to the financial scandals going I wonder?
    A more cynical person than me might think Iris (and any investigation)is being kept out of the way until after the election.

  • ardmaj55

    Conquistador [4]
    The reason the snowmen in the DUP, are now ‘on board’ with PR might have more to do with worries that if they annoy the PM[s] by bringing the deal down, they might not get the elections they were expecting but a swift return to Direct [or indirect Rule]. That would mess up their expenses and fat salaries. These turkeys won’t vote for Christmas.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Driftwood,
    in fairness……theres a lot of stuff where Justice has been put on hold or simply been abolished in the name of the greater good of the Peace Process.
    It has been and still is my position that the Creative Ambiguity (or as we used to say “downright lies”) cannot be the cornerstone of anything worthwhile.
    The whole nonsense of two tribes getting two messages is simply unworkable.
    Which is why I am at best “neutral” on the whole sham falling apart.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Vanguard……they havent gone away you know.

    Those of us a certain age might remember Bill Craigs Vanguard as a bit sinister. Craig himself was oft desribed as a Mussolini figure. Essentially those rallies were a bit scary. And meant to be.
    The VUP was to the right (a breakaway mostly) of the old UNionist Party and after its decline would have been a footnote in history books except for the rehabilitation of former members into the UUP.
    Post Molyneaux, the rise of TRimble, Empty and even Burnside points to something approaching “entryism” or even something slightly more er…….spooky.

    So Empty succeeds Trimble……so what exactly is going on. Other figures like Cobain and McNarry seem to have been pushed forward at the expense of the more rural kinda conventional unionist politician.

    Was Vanguard set up by the “Spooks”?
    Is it still a party within a party?
    Or have I just read too much graffiti?

  • Smokey1970

    FJH,
    Just a case of reading too much into Private Eye.
    But a good point on VUP ex members in UUP. There are more at lower levels.
    Can I add that while I admire the way you have irritated every professional journalist on Slugger O’Toole, I have less admiration for your reticence at confirming that your background is journalistic and/or political.
    I am not of course expecting you to reveal your identity but as you are one of the better informed (and frankly nastier) people round here, it would at least be respectful to the other punters.
    No offence.

  • granni trixie

    Smokey:

    Any evidence for claiming that proff. journalists write here? Certainly does not seem obvious to me.
    (anoraks yes).

    re identity: why try to out anybody – surely the fun of something like Slugger is people can manipulate their identities as they might otherwise find difficult to do?

    FJH: stick to your guns.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    granni trixie..thanks. appreciate that.
    and excellent observation on “professional” journalists.
    Smokey1970…that seems a little odd to post. I am only here about six weeks or so and I dont actually recollect seeing your screen name before. So its an odd choice for a first(?) post.

    And of course how could I possibly take offence at your observation that I am “frankly nastier” than than most people. Who could possibly take offence?

    I have a screen name to protect my identity. I have a “neutral” (and very stupid) screen name so that there is no overt reference to politics.
    Its counter productive merely to rub people up the wrong way by calling myself “Billy1690” or “Pearse1916”.
    And I dont think its disrespectful to anyone to withold information that is personal.