Ulster Unionist/Tory alliance in danger of collapsing?

A senior conservative is warning the UU/Tory alliance is in danger of collapsing. This shaky relationship has been threatened on the back of the decision of the Ulster Unionist Party to defy the wishes of David Cameron and his party on policing and justice. A local conservative levelled the following charges at the Ulster Unionists:• Failure to agree candidates.

• Failure to co-ordinate policy.

• Failure to be accountable.

The Conservatives claim they are bankrolling everything but are in ” a one way marriage with nothing coming back.” Claiming they have no influence over decision -making in Ulster Unionism the Tory spokesperson said: “The Conservative party’s fear is that we will be dragged down into the gutter of tribalism instead of Northern Ireland politics being elevated onto the national stage.”

Conservatives argue they are going to end up with only one candidate out of eighteen-North Down. “The policing and justice decision has put the relationship under strain. Conservatives do not believe Ulster Unionists were right in voting against the return of policing and justice” said a spokesperson.

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  • gmacor

    The best that Ulster Unionism can hope for out of the mess they are in is a pact with the DUP in Fermanagh/South Tyrone and South Belfast.

  • Brian Walker

    What is there to collapse?

  • TellMeMa

    The UUP has a mind of its own. Cannot be tethered to a British party, even when it takes the money.

    Sounds like all of loyal Ulster. It’s not really mainstream British. I guess the Tory party is.

    The scenario is also typically Tory. Probably not enough discussion, not enough understanding of the local situation. Only agreed to this alliance so the Conservatives could have enough votes if there is a hung parliament in Westminster. Based on the vain hope (probably Trimble’s) that they may tempt voters back from the more extreme (DUP, TIV) fringes.

    The UUP (what there may be of it) is being used.

    I agree Brian: “what is there to collapse” – at the moment. You never know, at the next election the UUP may revive…

  • “A senior conservative”

    So why can’t we have his or her name, Eamonn? Where’s the credibility in faceless remarks?

  • TellMeMa

    Sorry, meant “TUV” (subconscious slip to “Traditional Irish Voters”?)

  • ding dong

    The real problem is that the tories brought nothing to this marriage but their money – and a sh-t load of arrogance!

    The arrangement was for Westminster and Europe, so what’s all the angst about over Policng and Justice? That’s an Assembly matter!

    Likewise the local Tories never seemed to really get their heads around where they actually are on the local political scene – nowhere! After many years of trying they hard can get a local councillor elected no mind an MP.

    THis was never going to work because like the DUP/SF coalition both sides were looking different things out of the marriage and it was always going to fall!

  • Seimi

    ‘What is there to collapse?’ – Brian Walker

    Good point. You can’t collapse what isn’t there. But you can damage the foundations for future structures.

    Peopl’e frustration at UUP for not supporting P&J vote could weaken further any faith in UUP, and therefore UCUNF, which could well translate to even less votes come May 6th.

    Before the UUP/Conservative link-up, UUP representative count = 1

    At the moment, the UCUNF representative count = 0

    Post P&J vote UCUNF representative count = -1? Or more?

  • It would have been remarkable, if a number of senior Tories who have spent time painstakingly building the political and peace peace process were not outraged by the irresponsible behaviour of thew UUP in trying to wreck something that the Tories were justifiably proud of.

    Eamonn, not sure if the person in question is John Major, but it would be worth asking him for a quote, he did not have a lot else to shout about after his time in office when he tried to introduce such exciting policies as the removal of unwanted bollards from motorways – and Ulster is presumably top of his achievments list.

    “Conservatives argue they are going to end up with only one candidate out of eighteen”

    One seat? That sounds good, I have a bet on with some qaurefellah (oneill) who I think is a party hack, who told me that I was crazy to wager £50 with him that they would not get 2.

  • Mick Fealty

    (Warning on MU, he’s not a unionist)….

    Brian,

    The clue is in the bankrolling aspect of this. This unhappy Tory is effectively complaining that the UUs have taken the money and run.

    Some of the reasons why IJP is likely to be the only Tory joint candidate come back to the Tories, not the UUs. Raising expectations on something yourr not in a position to realise is not good practice.

    But a lot comes back to the UU side too. A lot of people were trying to get Sylvia to stay, which would have frozen even IJP out. That neither perhaps was a realistic prospect is not exactly comforting for local or overseas Tories.

  • Justin Case…

    Eamonn Mallie

    – First of all from what I have heard from my sources is that a the Tories asked for a further 3 weeks to get candidates on their side. That was about a month ago, therefore it seems it is them causing the delay.

    – Maybe that is because their policy is pretty much Englands policy. They need to meet the Unionists half way

    – Accountable? To who? The 40 NI Tories?

    Is there any chance you will be disclosing the name of the ‘senior conservative’? Thought not – they’re just another armchair politician

  • abc123

    Certain journalists would love to see the C&U partnership collapse. Why? Because the link-up is good for the Union and for normal UK politics in NI.

    The C&Us; should stick at it. Yes, there have been problems. But in the long run, it will bring benefit to everyone. Have patience!

    The Labour Party will be putting up candidates at the next council elections. And who knows, Sylvia might yet be persuaded to stand for them this time.

    The Conservatives should be in a position to take on Labour in NI and the C&U linkup gives them that opportunity.

  • Greenflag

    Advice to the Tories from the UUP 😉

    Go to England -go directly back to England -Do not pass go -do not collect any seats – give us your money and leave us our ‘tribalism ‘ and God Save the (our ) Queen.

    Oh and thanks for nuttin;)

    Now that the DUP are on their way to becoming the ‘moderate’ unionist party will we see a renewed interest by the Cameroonians in making overtures to the DUP’s Westminster contingent ?

    The ‘principled’ Tories would of course sell their mothers and sisters into slavery if that was the price of government post the next election .

    I’m not surprised that nothing good has come of the Conservative ‘intervention’ in Northern Ireland . It never has historically and it never will . They should know that by now one would think ;(

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Mr Mallie what Conservative spokesman?

    Another piece of random journalism using a disenchanted member not a spokesman, the pact is in place and I suspect that there will definitely be more than one Conservative in the mix when all is revealed.

  • “The Conservative party’s fear is that we will be dragged down into the gutter of tribalism instead of Northern Ireland politics being elevated onto the national stage.” – well what the hell did they expect? Link up with a tribal party and you get tribal politics. Labour and the SDLP would have had the same problem.

  • Driftwood

    Bob Fisk (a real journalist-unlike the blogger here)was always bemused by unnamed ‘sources’.

    http://www.lyingmediabastards.com/2006/03/official-sources-say-that-official-sources-rock

    Certainly not this local Tory:

    http://jeffpeel.net/

    Dog bites man…

  • The UUP seem to be getting their side of the story over in the thread here, but really, it’s just not credible, is it? I’m not sure if ‘Ding Dong’ is sockpuppetting to make the UUP look like hive of poor faith or whether that actually is a common view within the UUP – in which case it’s even worse.

    The tie-up with the Conservatives was specifically to recast the ‘new force’ as something that has a potential for cross-communal appeal.

    The Tories should have got out of the whole shebang as soon as anyone started talking about electoral pacts that were – effectively – sectarian.

    This doesn’t reflect very well on the Conservatives either. They really don’t seem to be able to tie up relationships – even on a low level. They’ll end up jumping out of bed with the UUP faster than abandoning the Latvian shower that commemorate wartime SS divisions.

    We’re in real trouble when they try to get the French / Germans on side to take on the Germans / French over a future bone of contention at EU level.

  • Ah…the ubiquitous “Mr Anonymous Spokesman” over a pint and a pie sorts out Mr Mallie with a “story” again.

    Until Mr Anonymous Spokesman discovers his name then it means diddly squat squared.

  • Jenny,

    it is a common mistake to equate the problems which exist on one side of the community with those on the other. Are you suggesting that the level of sectrainsism (clarifying your tribalism remark) is the same in the SDLP as in the UUP?

    Mick,

    as the dashing, handsome, oft times moderate, but always astute commentator ItwasSammyMcNallywhatdoneit might well have remarked play the fecking ball.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Eamon is up to his usual tricks, posts a half baked story then hoofs it, if he cant name his “senior Tory”, or even the “Local Tory” (although wouldnt take long to work out the latter there are so few) then he shouldnt post this hype.

  • IJP

    Eamonn

    Is this blog not a little shoddy? First you refer to a “senior Conservative”, but then to a “local Conservative”. Who is this you are talking of, specifically? What position to they hold in the party?

    If you want “senior Conservatives”, I was with two members of the Shadow Cabinet yesterday evening hours after a meeting of the Shadow Cabinet. They understood fully the Ulster Unionist position and were quite clear that the blame for the lack of all-party support lay firmly with Shaun Woodward, who has played politics with this issue from the very start. Thus, far from being disenchanted, they were even more determined that the Conservative/Unionist project go ahead to secure the removal of a Labour Government and with it the current Secretary of State, whose negotiating tactics consist of petty politics and bullying, and nothing else.

    It is a great pity, Eamonn, that the media are now so enamoured with the DUP/SF establishment that they miss the real stories and the real questions. In this case, the real story is that Woodward himself refused to speak directly to the Ulster Unionists to sell the deal itself, instead resorting to indirect bribes, dodgy polls and outrageous public references to Republican violence. The real question is what Dodds, Campbell et al were offered in return for their U-turns.

    David Cameron reaffirmed his commitment to standing in all 18 seats yesterday. I was joined by many other Conservatives (and indeed Ulster Unionists) last night at a fundraiser looking forward to that campaign. It doesn’t get much more senior or much more local than that. Now, how about the real story and the real question?

  • DR,

    Mr Mallie (like my goodself – cough) posts on the strength of his good name. He has a proven repuation as a fair jounalist so it is unlikely he is inventing stuff to put here on Slugger.

    Shooting the poor chap because you dont like the message is jolly bad form.

  • ‘Are you suggesting that the level of sectarianism (clarifying your tribalism remark) is the same in the SDLP as in the UUP?’

    I knew someone would ask me that. What I meant was that if a political party whose main aim is to benefit a particular class links up with another whose main aim is to benefit a group from a particular religious/ national background, aspirations are bound to clash, and I can see that would happen with an SDLP/ UK Labour link-up too.

  • buile suibhne

    UU just survives the threat of nearly having some Catholic candidates. What a close shave! Now back to the good old them and us which they are clearly more conmfortable with.

  • IJP,

    “the lack of all-party support lay firmly with Shaun Woodward”

    The only “outrageous” statement is the one above. That is no different to the DUP standing outside the GFA tent and claiming the high moral ground whilst trying simulateously to piss in on those who had the courage and statesmanship to cut a deal.

    For the Tories to try and blame Labour for the opportunisitc behaviour of the UUP when they are in fecking league with them is an attempt to stand reality on it’s head and a cracking example of upside down logic.

    John Major, Ken Clarke et al, and other decent Tories must be wondering whether Cameron and Patterson have completely lost the run of themselves as just as they have lost control of the now anti-agreement UUP who are trying to undo the excellent work of the previous Tory government.

  • dwatch

    [i]If you want “senior Conservatives”, I was with two members of the Shadow Cabinet yesterday evening hours after a meeting of the Shadow Cabinet.[/i]

    IJP, maybe you can kindly inform us then who are the other eight conservative candidates excluding yourself, or is that still a secret?

  • Quincey

    Where does the quote come from ‘clutching defeat from the jaws of victory’ ??

    Anyway, its quite amazing but the UUP seem to have given back to the DUP everthing they had taken away. There wasnt an anti policing and justic vote- to the man on the street it was just a vote to be against/ different from the DUP.

    The TUV are still relatively an unknown commodity, but even the biggest swing to them isnt going to make a massive difference at the westminister election.

    The way things are going its very hard to imagine many DUP seats being lost. Even strangord looks sure to be held. If anything a new element in Fermanagh/SOuth Tyrone and i beleive a subconscious desire in the local communtiy to ‘take back’ South Belfast, looks like SF or the SDLP will be losing out.

    The UUP look in total disarray at the minute. They are anti stormont but arent at the same time, pro conservative and not at the same time, and are severly lacking in personalitys. Even in the Orange ORder internal debates it was a UUP man that was pushing to disagree with something that hasnt as yet even been defined. The UUP look now to be all the worst things they ever accused the DUP of (and DUP was guilty of incidently).

  • Jenny,

    thats fair enough, probably the only link up that would actually make any sense is one between the Alliance Party and the Lib Dems as the former have uniquely distinguished themselves by somehow or other remaining mostly untribal.

  • Drumlins Rock

    MU, Mr. Mallie has an established reputation and perspective in the mainstream media, however contributing on slugger is a two way process and Mr. Mallie dosnt seem to partake in the discussions, merely stirrs a bit and hops it.
    As for your goodself, I have no idea who or what you are but I am suffiently suspect of your comments to generally ignore them completely these days, but as you have addressed me directly I though it would be rude not to reply, which I think you would agreee is the proper thing to do on Slugger.

  • dodrade

    If Eamonn’s source is a “local” Conservative, then they can’t really be described as a “senior” Conservative.

  • Sammy Wilson’s calculator for the sums

    “If Eamonn’s source is a “local” Conservative, then they can’t really be described as a “senior” Conservative.”

    Trimble, a man [i]almost[/i] as out of his depth as “IJP”.

  • Alias

    “The Conservative party’s fear is that we will be dragged down into the gutter of tribalism instead of Northern Ireland politics being elevated onto the national stage.”

    That reminds me of a Bob Dylan song:

    [i]I picked you up from the gutter and this is the thanks I get
    I picked you up from the gutter and this is the thanks I get
    You say you want me to quit you, I told you, ‘No, not just yet.’

    Well, I look in your eyes, I see nobody other than me
    I look in your eyes, I see nobody other than me
    I see all that I am and all I hope to be

    If it keep on raining, the levee’s gonna break
    If it keep on raining, the levee’s gonna break
    Some of these people don’t know which road to take[/i]

    I think the little flower girl from NI should tell Professor Higgins at Tory HQ where to shove his training course in political etiquette.

  • TellMeMa

    A Hung Parliament at Westminster?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-big-question-are-we-heading-towards-a-hung-parliament-and-how-would-it-work-1919486.html

    On a hung Parliament and coalitions:

    Have we had many hung parliaments?

    Since the war, only one election has produced a hung Parliament. That was in February 1974, when the outcome was 301 Labour MPs, 297 Conservatives, and 37 others. That Parliament lasted eight months, until Harold Wilson called a second general election, in which Labour secured an outright majority.

    What about coalitions?

    There has not been a coalition government made up of ministers from different parties since 1945. Tony Blair wanted to form one in 1997, but the fact that Labour won so decisively ruled that out. Between March 1977 and March 1978, there was an informal coalition known as the Lib Lab Pact. Labour had lost its overall majority after a series of by election defeats, and the Labour Prime Minister, Jim Callaghan, did a deal with the Liberal leader David Steel, under which the Liberals were routinely consulted before decisions were taken in return for keeping Labour in office. The Pact was unpopular with voters. After it came apart, Labour continued for another year as a minority government.

  • Harry J

    Are you suggesting that the level of sectrainsism (clarifying your tribalism remark) is the same in the SDLP as in the UUP?

    the sdlp is a very sectarian party indeed.

  • Eamonn Mallie tweet: Jonathan Kane says: ” David Cameron and Sir Reg Empey made clear their 100 per cent commitment to partnership between Con and UU parties.”

  • Harry J

    so IJP so you support the hillsborough deal, yes or no?

    wee reg and mr mcnasty are VERY opposed to it.

  • Paul

    just taken from eammon mallie on twitter I think mallies thread on here is pretty shoddy

    Jonathan Kane says: ” David Cameron and Sir Reg Empey made clear their 100 per cent commitment to partnership between Con and UU parties.” eammon mallie on twitter

  • Eamonn Mallie tweet: Read Jonathan Kane, the official Tory spokesman’s reply to insider Conservative criticism of UU/Con alliance. Go to Slugger O Toole.

  • EM correction tweet: Read Jonathan Caine, the official Tory spokesman’s reply to insider Conservative criticism of UU/Con alliance. Go to Slugger O Toole.

  • EM’s ‘blunder’ picked up by India Times.

  • Paul

    well mallies thread is pretty poor stuff he should get his facts right before shooting from the hip.

  • DR,

    “Mallie dosnt seem to partake in the discussions, merely stirrs a bit and hops it.

    As to Mr Mallie’s Slugger job description I have no comment to make, but I suspect that most Sluggeronians welcome his contributions given his contacts.

    “suffiently suspect of your comments to generally ignore them”

    It is also the ‘proper’ thing to concentrate on the issues rather than deflecting from them by playing the man or rather men as you have opted to do in this thread.

    Harry,

    let me know when you have some evidence of the SDLP cheerleading an unwanted triumphalist Nationalist parade through a loyalist area.

  • Alias

    Didn’t some other Tory spokesman use the gutter (and elevation from) metaphor in reference to the link a month or so ago (I recall a Slugger blog about it)? The odds are the unnamed source here is the named source there – unless this provocative image is common currency in Tory circles and reflects their actual sentiment.

  • UlsterScotty

    I think people should stop picking on IJP. All he has done is trade his political principles for a mess of pottage or perhaps some magic beans, an accusation made of many other Alliance (or ex-Alliance) folk and so hasn’t done anything particularly radical or original. I have no doubt the good burghers of North Down will reward him appropriately, if he’s selected to carry the UCUNF banner. Ulster folk sure do love a turncoat.
    Europe in five years? Or perhaps Finchley?

  • Sammy Wilson’s calculator for the sums

    “Or perhaps Finchley?”

    Funny enough IJP received his (private) secondary education quite close to Finchley.

  • joeCanuck

    Driftwood,
    That was an excellent link (Bob Fisk) and very timely. Good work.

  • st etienne

    Mallie got it wrong the last time, he’s got it wrong again.

    His partner in crime Walker cheeps up with an opinion formed from similar preconceived ideas.

    Is this ‘journalism’ really in the public interest?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Poor old IJP. After all that trouble, he gets the job of defending the UUP’s mess – a mess which, with competent leadership, would have been completely avoided.

    Jonathan Kane says: ” David Cameron and Sir Reg Empey made clear their 100 per cent commitment to partnership between Con and UU parties.” eammon mallie on twitter

    Ah yes. Reminds me of the Major years. If the Prime Minister declared that he had total confidence in one of his ministers, you knew that they were up for the chop.