The real reasons for the the DUP/Con/UU Hatfield House…

The Conservative/DUP/ UUP secret talks at Hatfield House took place for one purpose only, according to one of those present. That was to halt the march of Sinn Fein and to block any power grab by that party in the eventuality of it becoming the biggest party. One Unionist participant in those discussions at the home of Robert Salisbury’s in Hertfordshire said:

“Hatfield was about forming a common( Unionist ) electoral entity to stop Sinn Fein becoming the biggest party.”

The same source drew attention to the fact that such an arrangement would have to be worked out and settled ahead of an Assembly election being called.

No one can predict the outcome of any election but Unionism figures the gap between the two Unionist blocks with Jim Allister of the TUV in the field is going to narrow and break down at around 24/25 Assembly seats each.

There is a view across the political spectrum that Sinn Fein has steadied the ship due to Martin Mc Guinness’s leadership and to the delivery on policing and justice.

Against this background there is a possibility that Sinn Fein has the potential to grow the party.

To follow the logic of the Conservative party’s affiliation with the Ulster Unionist party and the desire of the Conservatives, out of their own mouths, ‘to elevate politics onto the national stage
‘and not to allow it to be dragged into the gutter of NI tribalism,’ there can be no Tory involvement in Unionist head counts through Unionist unity.

Would their inclusion in such a political potion not be the antithesis of what the Conservative vision purports to be ?

This begs the question then. Why did Owen Patterson want anything to do with the Hatfield House discussions if we are to accept the integrity of the quote attributed to one of the Unionist Talks participants that the real goal was ‘about forming an electoral entity” ahead of the Assembly elections?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Well theres more surely.
    Who is the source?
    Is he credible?
    Does it fall into the category of “well I could have guessed that much”
    How does a story become credible because of an anonymous briefing.

    Is the briefing calculated? A careless John Brooke like gossipy moment that early 1970s journalists loved or something designed to make the sectarian shambles of the aftermath of the Hatfield talks appear almost noble “halting Sinn Féin”.
    Is it a rather obvious attempt to patch things up between UUP and Conservatives?
    To re-calibrate the debate.
    Should journalists appear be “complicit” ?

  • Impartial Reporter

    It’s amazing the lengths the DUP will go to scupper the Conservative / UUP link-up. They know that the only way to ensure their very existence is to stop ‘real’ politics coming to Northern Ireland

    What’s more amazing is that Mr. Mallie is prepared to be used as a vehicle to do the bidding of the DUP.

  • Harry J

    seems that the Tories are more in tune with the DUP than the Ulster Unionists

  • Drumlins Rock

    So is this any more reliable than your last posting Eamonn?

    And guys dont waste your time asking Eamonn to clarify any of his postings, it seems it is beneath him to actually respond to any of our comments.

    Strangely I have also spoke to one of the particiants in the Hatfield talks, and he said the main purpose of the meeting was for the Tories to build bridges with the DUP in case of a hung parliment. It seems that Eamonn is happy to be an agent for the DUP these days and so long as they feed him tit bits now and again.

  • someone

    Eamonn Mallie,

    You have shown yourself (in terms of your posts on Slugger in recent months) to be nothing but the willing mouthpiece of the lies of the DUP spin machine. Why you do it I’d love to know!

  • iluvni

    Does anyone take Mallie seriously anymore after that nonsense about the ‘brutal questions’ (which werent) to Robinson?

  • Neil

    The UCUNFers are funny, attempting to paint the UUP as victims. Why, the UUP didn’t hold meetings with the DUP and the Tories – it wasn’t a 3 way thing, it’s all about the evil DUP attacking the poor respectable UUP – no, the UUP wouldn’t consider something so vulgar as a sectarian headcount to keep ’em fenians out. LOL.

    The problem for the UUP Tory link up is that shit floats, and in that little brigade it won’t be too long before people start to notice the brown foam gathering. The UUP can’t help themselves – they’re sectarianism is as deep as anyone’s yet they laughably think they are above it. Dave will see soon enough he’s handcuffed himself to a turd.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Can just see the DUP MLAs chatting in the stormont canteen, ” right guys here comes Mallie, what story will wee feed him today? “

  • Greenflag

    Don’t kid yourselves lads . If the price of a Conservative Government has to be guttering down into and under the sectarian swamp of NI politics the Tories will arrive complete with wet suits and scuba gear .

    Again for the politically naive out there . Never mind what they say or ‘purport’ to say or profess . Just watch what they do . They did not go to Hatfield House for the cucumber sandwiches .

  • joeCanuck

    Shooting the messenger seems to be in vogue these days.

  • The substantive criticism of the boul Eamonn rests on him not actually telling the truth and although it would not be the first time a journalist made something up it seems very unlikely in this case. With an established and respected reputation why would he risk that for a bit of extra exposure on Slugger – Mickey Fealty should throw half you mother-feckers out until you start behaving properly. Shame.

  • seems that the Tories are more in tune with the DUP than the Ulster Unionists

    How so Harry?

    Do the tories, for instance, think homosexuality is an illness?

  • Justin Case…


    I too know exactly what was dicussed at Hatfield, you are relatively on track on what you have said thus far however you are missing a few of the big issues. Fair enough your ‘source’ told you that much of the discussion focused on SF becoming the biggest party, but did your ‘source’ tell you what was proposed to deal with it? I thought not, for if you did know you would have had it on the front of todays Telegraph.

    You are respected journalist but if you had dug a little deeper you would have truly found a pot of journalistic gold.

  • someone


    No-one is saying that some person did not tell Eamonn what he wrote. He didn’t make it up. He just has reported it uncritically and anonymously – that isn’t on.

    If he had said “a senior DUP” source at Hatfield then (a) we wouldn’t be criticising Eamonn (b) it wouldn’t have been news.

    Single anonymous sources really have no credibility for news purposes.

    PS: why did you choose your new moniker?

  • GavBelfast

    Well, come to think of it, Eamonn Mallie and Big Ian did always seem to get along quite well – judging from news conferences, interviews, etc. Surprisingly well, in fact – if you get my drift.

  • Have the Unionists nothing smarter and more attractive to offer voters to challenge and please Sinn Fein? For that is all that is needed.

    Or are they stuck in an Intellectual Property rut/black hole?

    And how very bizarre that they would think that the Conservatives can offer them anything heavyweight to make a difference, whenever they are so lightweight in content.

  • Reader

    Eamonn Mallie: Why did Owen Patterson want anything to do with the Hatfield House discussions if we are to accept …
    If your source told you what part Owen played, that would be a clue. Did you ask him?
    The other good question your source could answer is – “what was the outcome of the talks?”. Did you ask that question, and, if so, did you get an answer?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Well of course I diassociate myself from any criticism of Eamonn Mallie.
    My initial post #1 was about journalists use of sources and how journalists are used to get a story (or spin on a story out).
    And of course I dont expect a journalist to ever reply to anything I say.
    I am strictly a “no comment” man myself.
    Journalism….is a kinda priesthood.
    Rather like religions use priests to interpret scripture, the Gods, signs etc……journalists elevate themselves or are elevated by us to the status of priests in an ancient religion.

    Interpretating signs, reading runes, or direct contact with a God…..or reliable source.
    While I obviously admire many journos, I think we should know about how these anonymous sources work.

    For example viewers on GMTV today were treated to a journalist fom the Sun telling us that Mark Owen, currently in rehab for various addictions was grateful or the opportunity the Sun gave him for opening up about his drugs/booze/sex hell.
    Rather like Stephen Gately RIP was grateful to the tabloids for allowing him t “out” himself as being gay.
    This kinda thing would be in no way related to tabloid approaching celebs and telling them we can expose your failings or you can expose them yourself and we will be supportive/aggressive.

    Of course our finest journalists would say we are not tabloid journalists. But frankly I see no difference.
    I am just very skeptical about how stories reach the public domain.
    Fearless investigation.
    Or no more effort than answering your cell phone to a “source”

  • granni trixie

    I think it is more interesting to ponder on why some stories which ‘everybody knows’ do not make their way into the public domain. At this moment for instance I am sitting on a pot of gold story. Squirm,squirm.

    Journalists have it in their gift to ask questions and in the case of a ‘certain’ poltiican plainly are just not doing so.
    But for obvious reasons,lips have to be sealed, even on Slugger. But I await a revelation.

  • Harry J

    Do the tories, for instance, think homosexuality is an illness?
    Posted by Conquistador on Mar 12, 2010 @ 04:43 PM

    would the tories band homosexuals from a b+B the UUP does, did the tories complain when a muslim became head of BBC religous affairs? The UUP did. The tories think the Orange Order is a sectarian organisation and whose leader is a member of that organisation…the UUP

  • Harry J

    ban not band.. above

  • Comrade Stalin

    The comments clearly coming from UUP supporters attempting to besmirch the reputation of a respected journalist are outrageous.

    We are told by these UUP supporters that any journalist who quotes an anonymous source is guilty of fabrication. Imagine how many historic whistleblowing media items would have been prevented if this were the case ?

    The UUP wouldn’t be so sore about these stories if they weren’t close to the wire.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    granni trixie,
    The Media decide which stories we see and which we dont see,
    Therefore a “source” tells a journo something on record and the journo simply complies.
    A “source” tells the same story offthe record and the journo doesnt report it.

    Therefore I think all these “a source says” should be taken with a very large pinch of salt (most journos appear to have no critical facility).
    And all these “look what I know….arent I clever” news stories should be greeted by a chorus of “WHO?”

  • granni trixie

    fjh:But that does not explain why journalists do not appear to be following up a rumour directly linked to what is top of news agenda (and concerning someone close to your heart,apparently).

  • joeCanuck

    Forbidden by a higher “authority”, granni?

    How come we heard about Iris, for one?

  • You are respected journalist but if you had dug a little deeper you would have truly found a pot of journalistic gold.

    Justin Case

    Not that difficult to work it out, nor indeed to work out the reason it wouldn’t work out…too many squashed parochial egos.

    I suspect Mr Mallie knows exactly what you’re on about but for the time being, the DUP remain the best source for titbits, so let’s not upset the horses too much, eh?

  • Michaelhenry

    i have always thought of eamonn mallie has one of the brains in journalism a text book truth seeker

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Oh Ive heard that one but again Im wondering where it has come from.
    But in a sense it DOES explain it because the decisions are being made about what we hear.

    In part we heard about Iris because of leaks not investigation. And Peter Robinsson did the Mark Owen sob story with four chosen journalists and the “breakdown” “betrayal” “broken man” thing set the agenda.
    Is the Iris story headlines now?

  • Drumlins Rock

    Stalin & Co. this is slugger, its not journalism, its interactive media if you want use jargon. At last we can question the reporters and challenge what they say.
    Generally I question most stuff I read so I’m glad that sites like slugger give me the chance to push a bit further, probe the stories I read and see if they stand up to scrutiny, I’m sure thats what draws you on here too, which brings me back to Eamonn, he never responds to any comments or allows us to probe his stories, which I dont believe is in the spirit of the site.
    Maybe what he says is 100% accurate in everyway, or maybe as even more holes are poked in it we find out its adding 2 + 2 to make 7, but I would like him to offer some support to back it up.

  • Drumlins Rock

    FJH, I persumed the reason Irisgate got to the front pages was purely to do with the money side, that gave the opening to allow all the rest to come out. Basically you can be as hyocritical and immoral as you want but pocket the change from the tea money and your fair game.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Drumlins Rock,
    A good point well made.
    As a personal preference I prefer journos not to respond. Thats just a preference, not hard and fast rule.
    As I see it….if non-journos read or see a story they are likely to talk about it with other interested non-journos. We have no interchange with the journalists.
    Journalists are loath to enter into debate, it compromises their priestlike status of reading the runes.
    But Mr Mallie if minded to respond he would say “a source told me”. He believes thats enough.
    And pressed further, Id speculate he would say that he “protects his sources”.
    Again for him, thats enough.
    For many reading a Me Mallie story, thats enough.
    He has banked (with them) perhaps enough good will for many of his readers to suspend their normal critical faculty.
    For me..a phone call or “dont quote me but….” conversation with a “source” is not enough for me to suspend the question.
    “Why does this person want me a journalist to know this?”and more importantly
    “why does he want me to get this (the politicians agenda into the public domain”
    and even more importantly
    “should I faciliate it”.