Conservatives: Hatfield was about promoting political stability…

Being in the States for the last few days, I’ve been a little behind the times. My apologies to the Conservative party for the tardiness in getting this statement to press, which comes in response to Eamonn’s story yesterday. A party spokesman writes:

“As somebody who was actually at Hatfield throughout, I can say that while one of the parties might have arrived with that agenda it was most definitely not the basis on which the Conservative Party brought the participants together.

“As we made clear at the time, the purpose was to help promote political stability and in particular explore means of overcoming the impasse on policing and justice and avoiding a collapse.

“There is only one electoral pact – between the Conservative Party and the Ulster Unionist Party. That is what both parties are committed to making work.”

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  • Garza

    The DUP have played everyone for fools (including journalists) in order to distablise U&C. Fair play, I suppose that is politics. But I hope people reflect on the trustworthiness of the DUP’s word.

  • Paul

    No Garza the DUP havnt done anything the UCUNF project is a shambles so blaming the DUP is pathetic the problem is the fact that its two separate parties who simply cannot get things done the selection of candidates has being a farce the vote for P and J was a farce do you want me to go on.?.

  • From a guarantee for a referendum on Lisbon to a guarantee not to have one and from a guarantee to end tribal politics in Ulster to the organising of tribal politics in Ulster – and that is before they even get into government – could these be a some kind of record?

  • alan56

    So many people seem scared of any attempt to end tribal politics, even if that attempt sometimes appears a bit cack handed

  • Garza

    Its not surprising alan56.

    The majority of votes that go SF and the DUP is because people fear/distrust the other side. Once that distrust is gone, the radical elements will shrink.

    Tribal politics is what keeps SF and DUP breathing.

  • alan56

    Observing media and other reaction in the past few months it certainly seems that many parties see C&U as a very unwelcome development. Perhaps this is borne from genuine concern at the move but it might also be a fear that this alignment might just be a political threat. Its so much easier when you know who’s who and can pigeon hole parties in terms of orange and green.

  • Paul

    does anyone know when the next batch the final nine candidates of UCUNF will be announced.It really is a complete shambles

  • alan56

    With such unprecedented interest mabe they are enjoying keeping us waiting. SDLP and other still have to confirm candidates too, but all interest is centered around C & U. They must be loving it!

  • alan56

    PS:
    wonder when the Lady Sylvia Party will select in ND?

  • dwatch

    ‘[i]does anyone know when the next batch the final nine candidates of UCUNF will be announced.It really is a complete shambles[/i]’

    Ex alliance Ian Parsley tory candidate for ND is the only single conservative candidate. No other Tories have come forward after three candidates from EB, SB and LV withdrew their nominations.

    So much for Cameron and Patterson’s promises Conservatives would put forward candidates for all 18 seats.

  • On the points made about tribal politics, Sometimes the shortest, simplist, pieces of analysis are the best. Garza has summed it up so very well.

    “Once that distrust has gone, the radical elements will shrink”

    I agree completely with that comment. So also does Sinn Fein and the DUP. They do their utmost to annoy and crawl under the sking of voters from the other community. The DUP tells us that they are “smashing” Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein does not need to employ such heavy handed ‘dont trust me’ tactics. They will never be trusted because their leaders past association with the IRA. They are content that the majority of Unionists are incapable of comming to terms with that and moving on.

    The paradox is that they have to work together to keep power sharing alive. The result is political Schizophrenia and an executive which moves from crisis to crisis.

    It is hard to tell whether this sort of dysfunctional politics will eventually lead to loss of support. I think it might well do within the next 10 years but the Moderate parties should not bank on it. Their quickest and most likely route to electoral success is to show the NI electorate that they are the strongest on their “side.” If I may add, a party does not have to be extreme in order to be strong.

    It is hard to see the SDLP ever appearing “stronger” than Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein does have a slick party machine and fund-raising capability which the SDLP can never hope to match.

    On the Unionist side, it is the political skills and talents of their political leaders which make the running.

    As to UCUNF, it will not look strong to anybody in Northern Ireland whilst the leaders its component parties fail to sing from the same hymnsheet.

  • Paul

    seymour you are right however the best course of action should of being to incorporate the conservative name into the ulster unionist name and become the ulster conservative and unionist party a single party.Then there would of being a single party a single selection process instead of the mess there is at present.If UCUNF is to survive I suggest it becomes one party. The ulster conservative and unionist party is better than being known as UCUNF.

  • joeCanuck

    The link up, I believe, was an honest attempt by Cameron to bring non-tribal politics to N.I. It seems that the experiment is largely over despite the protestations to the contrary. Lying with dogs and getting fleas comes to mind.
    For once I agree with Paul. A single party as it used to be would probably fare much better. As long as sectarianism is truly buried.

  • Paul

    I agree joe and I cannot beleive for once we both are in agreement.I think it would be best to disband the NI conservatives and to press on with the mainland conservatives and the UUP merging and the local NI party then can be launched as the ulster conservative and unionist party then to.Peel and others in the NI conservatives have caused nothing but trouble better to cut them loose.

  • joeCanuck

    Paul,
    You are probably too young to remember, perhaps even know, that the title of the UK party used to be The Conservative and Unionist Party. That was before the fall of Stormont and I can’t remember when the split happened or why.
    There was a problem in that the Unionist Party in N.I. was a broad “church” and not all of their voters would have been conservatives. But back then we did have a N.I. Labour Party which did have some electoral success. It largely disappeared with the foundation of the SDLP and the Alliance Parties. Some believed in the “Labour” part of the SDLP although they really have turned out to be largely a “Catholic” conservative party.
    It would be nice if the UK Labour Party ignored their fraternal link with the SDLP and organized in N.I. also. Then the young generation might escape the tribalism.

  • dwatch

    To have a merger between the UUP and Conservatives all paid up UUP members would have to approve in a democratic vote (referendum) at the UUP conference (Ulster Unionist Council)

    UCUNF only concerns elected UUP MP’s taking the Conservative whip at Westminister. Once this election is over both parties go their separate ways. In fact at the next 2011/12 council & assembly elections the UUP & NI Conservatives will be competing against each other for seats on the new 11 local councils and the Stormont assembly.

  • Kevsterino

    Joe, I seem to remember a story of the founding of the SDLP, where there were those who wanted the name to feature the Labour link first, but St. John refused to be part of the LSD party.

  • joeCanuck

    That’s funny kev.
    How about this one: when the Conservative party in Canada totally imploded in the early 90s, going from a majority in parliament to 2 seats, a number of parties sprung up from the remnants. One main one was the western Reform Party. Eventually, due to lack of electoral success they and the remnants of the conservatives formed a merged party. They initially called it the Conservative Reform Alliance Party; yep, CRAP.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Kevsterino, yes, but it’s not like you can’t have fun with the initials “SDLP” :

    “Stoop Down Low Party”
    “Still Don’t Like Prods”
    “Schoolteachers, Doctors and Lawyers Party” or a variation on the theme, “Schoolteachers, Doctors, Lawyers and Priests”
    “Sell Derry Loaded Promises”
    “Stupid Durkan Lost the Plot”
    “Sit Down Look Puzzled”
    “Screw Durkan Let’s Party”
    “South Down and Londonderry Party” [(c) a certain Slugger contributor .. ]

  • John K Lund / Lllamedos / Suchard

    The Unionist in the name Conservative and Unionist was in fact referring to the Scottish Unionists not the Ulster Unionists. Though now it is becoming a UK generic party nomenclature. The sooner the merger takes place the better.

  • dwatch

    The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Conservative Unionist parties are all one political UK party under one leader David Cameron. See websites:

    The Conservative and Unionist Party, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_Party_(UK)

    The Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Conservative_Party

    The Welsh Conservative & Unionist Party
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_Conservative_Party

    The Conservatives in Northern Ireland
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatives_in_Northern_Ireland

    Rather than a merger it would just be a takeover. For this to happen the UUP would have to disband its 105 year old party completely and its office holders and members transfer to the Conservatives Northern Ireland. Sir Reg Empey would no longer be a leader of any party. 15 of the 18 UUP MLA;s are members of the Orange Order.

    Would the Conservatives NI accept these Orange MLA’s into their party seeing they are so anti Orange Order?

    I doubt if this would ever happen under the present UUP executive. Many remaining UUP members would just leave to join other Unionist parties instead of becoming Conservatives.

  • lamhdearg

    Did the uup not just ” move across the floor” back in the 80s,

  • George

    “The link up, I believe, was an honest attempt by Cameron to bring non-tribal politics to N.I.”

    Cameron’s “Selfish strategic interest” comment says the exact opposite.

  • lamhdearg

    The link up was an attempt to get 1 or 2 seats for the Torys, Every little helps.

  • LabourNIman

    dwatch – I have no doubt that at least have of those MLA’s in the OO are purely members for show and to get the hardcore vote.

    The UUC will never vote to join the Con’s due to the power of the OO and the fact that the MLA’s etc will not switch as they could well lose their seats.

    The talk was before the ‘link’ with cameron was that DC would be leader with reg as treasurer (and defecto leader of Con’s in NI).

    DC would have been better spending the cash on a good advertising campaign in NI to attract more members and therefore actually have candidates to stand. Does anyone know what the membership numbers are for Con’s in NI?

  • LabourNIman

    ignore my last question – it was 342 at the end of 2008. Not bad considering..

  • Garza

    [quote]The UUC will never vote to join the Con’s due to the power of the OO and the fact that the MLA’s etc will not switch as they could well lose their seats.[/quote]

    The “power” of the OO is vastly overrated and the majority of unionists couldn’t give a damn what they think politically. That doesn’t stop them from being the loudest though.

    The fact is that many many moderate unionists dont vote because of the nature of our politics. Our politics is shite that is concentrated on shite that on the radicals are interested in, why should they vote? Case and point, the DUP bringing in parades for a condition to P&J, or SF bring in an Irish language act. What the hell had that to do with P&J?

    But I bet sure it looked purdy for the radicals who actually vote.

    I just hope that alliances shared future comes into fruitition. But I suspect that SF and DUP just payed lip service to it to get hillsborough through. I hope im wrong tho.

  • dwatch

    ‘[i]The UUC will never vote to join the Con’s due to the power of the OO and the fact that the MLA’s etc will not switch as they could well lose their seats.[/i]’

    Good point, The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland broke its links with the UUP and technically no representatives from the OO have been present at UUC meetings since 2005. However there is still over 1000 UUP OO members examples like David McNarry, Sir Reg Empey & Danny Kennedy who as Orangemen would still represent the OO in important decisions at UUC meetings in an unofficial capacity.

  • Impartial Reporter

    The partnership between the Conseratives and the UUP has seen many new faces (including a number of ‘garden centre prods’) to join the UUP.

    Looking through the list of 9 candidates released for Westminster shows that the ‘future’ of the UUP is much less OO and much more ‘real politik’.

    This is why every miniscule issue is being played by others as ‘the end of the partnership’.

    I think the DUP have started to understand what a successful UUP / Conservative partnership could do to their vote, and they don’t like it.

    dwatch – my information is that there are at least 3 potential Conservative candidates (including Parsley), but as has already been mentioned, all parties have still candidates to announce so the C&U ‘back nine’ is not really an issue.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I dont think the “orange wing” are that much of an obstacle, so long as they are not discriminated against, Jeff Peels ranting were the one thing that could have sunk the whole project, most orangemen have very diverse views and def do not slavishly follow GOLI rulings. So long as things arent deliberately stirried by “no orange candidates allowed” then I think most will run with there own feelings, but if such a ruling was made them just close the doors there will be no party left in most of the country, certainly west of the Bann, even most of the women involved here are in the orange.

  • dwatch

    ‘[i]I think the DUP have started to understand what a successful UUP / Conservative partnership could do to their vote, and they don’t like it.[/i]’

    Wishful thinking IR, the DUP are more worried about losing votes to the TUV than to UCUNF. After all, the recent three, UUP MEP & 2 council by-election successes were only possible because of TUV involvement. It is debatable (after the UUP no vote and contradictory approval by the Conservatives in P&J devolution) how TUV involvement will manifest into success for UCUNF in the Westminster election.

  • Dwatch

    “After all, the recent three, UUP MEP & 2 council by-election successes were only possible because of TUV involvement.”

    Nicholson would surely still have been voted in as one of the 3 candidates minus Allister’s involvement? In the Craigavon by-election when the UUP romped home, the DUP did not even compete, was that because of TUV involvement or some other reason?

    “It is debatable (after the UUP no vote and contradictory approval by the Conservatives in P&J devolution) how TUV involvement will manifest into success for UCUNF in the Westminster election.”

    I suspect you’re right in saying the DUP vote is more at risk from the TUV, but if you what you say is correct, that TUV vote would come from the DUP not UUP total which can only be for the latter party’s benefit.

    Secondly, it is indeed debatable how the “no vote” will affect the UUP; however, meekly falling in line with the DUP/SF coalition on this one would have raised the obvious question on the door-steps, “If you think the Executive is so dysfunctional, why do you not do something about it?”.

    They have and standing firm against the combined might of Woodward, Irish America, the US Adminstration and yes, even Cameron on this occasion won’t have done them any harm at all amongs their potential voter-base. It’s been proven that although still strong allies in a Pan-UK link-up with the Conservatives, they still, despite the DUP’s assertions to the contrary, maintain the necessary autonomy on occasions like this.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think the DUP have started to understand what a successful UUP / Conservative partnership could do to their vote, and they don’t like it.

    It’s a good thing the DUP don’t have a successful partnership to worry about then, isn’t it ?

  • oneill,

    “They have and standing firm against the combined might of Woodward, Irish America, the US Adminstration and yes, even Cameron on this occasion won’t have done them any harm at all amongs their potential voter-base”

    That may well be true, and if so, you will have the pleasure of knowing that a fellow moderate Unionist has hade to cough up £50 but that does not mean that the irresponsible behaviour of the UUP that embarassed – good god fearing, bowler hat wearing moderate Unionists like myself and the Tory party – are fit and proper partners for that British (English) Tory party to be in cahoots with.

    Appealing to the lowest common denominator is often a good trick (unless you aim to low) but hardly what we were promised (and end to tribalism and ‘new’ politics ) with the launch of project UCUNF.

  • Appealing to the lowest common denominator is often a good trick (unless you aim to low) but hardly what we were promised (and end to tribalism and ‘new’ politics ) with the launch of project UCUNF.

    Mod U,

    There is a clear difference in the argument against the devolution of P&J between the TUVs and the UUP. Put at its bluntest, Jimbo’s opinion would be “Never, Never, Never” whilst there remains a Shinner about the place; the UUP’s is “Yes, when the Executive can prove itself capable of coping with the responsibility”. That’s an honourable position to hold and one that does not reflect badly on the link-up concept.

    If due to the (unnecessary) pressure put on by the likes of the terrorist sympathiser, Congressman Peter King in the US and Woodward at home (not to mention Marty chasing the UUP MLAs out of the office), the UUP (and Conservatives don’t forget) pull in a few extra votes that is merely a happy indirect consequence.

  • Paul

    people talk about the OO involved there are plenty of OO members who are conservatives in scotland and vote tory and canvass for the tories.Its only the bigots that make an issue of the OO the name calling by J peel calling members of the OO and people that join must have certain psychopathic tendencies says more about him(PEEL and co than anybody else.There doesn’t have to be any take over simply disband the NI conservatives they have show there true colours and caused nothing but trouble. Put to the entire UUP membership that the conservative name be incorporated into the Ulster Unionist name to become the ulster conservative and unionist party and register the name with the electoral commission.A compromise all round.

  • oneill,

    sometimes in politicis as in life things are very simple – you are either for something or you are agin it and you get to express that in terms of YES or NO on an issue where YES means progress and NO does not.

    Leaving aside that they are out of step with political opinion other than extreme right wing Unionism both inside and outside their own party how can it be credible for the UUP to both claim that the executive is dysfunctional and effectively vote to collapse the Assembly and then continue to serve as part of that administration?

    Also can you point to one mainland politician who supports the UUP position? Possible candidates are Norman Tebbitt or perhaps Nick Griffin.

  • MU

    “…how can it be credible for the UUP to both claim that the executive is dysfunctional and effectively vote to collapse the Assembly and then continue to serve as part of that administration”

    A very convincing argument can be made for both them and the SDLP to pull out of the Executive.

    Re mainland politicians- how mnay can you name that have stated a position on the subject?
    Mr Griffin certainly hasn’t

  • Paul

    how can it be credible for the UUP to both claim that the executive is dysfunctional and effectively vote to collapse the Assembly and then continue to serve as part of that administration?

    A
    Posted by Moderate Unionist on Mar 14, 2010 @ 03:08 PM

    I agree its an absurd position the UUP are taking they have said this for the last three years yet the UUP are in the same so called dysfunctional executive.One foot in and one foot out a bit like hokey poky lol. why don’t they go into opposition then they might just have some credibility.The UUP at present are a laughing stock

  • oneill,

    ” very convincing argument can be made for both them and the SDLP to pull out of the Executive.”

    no the SDLP voted YES you geat twit so fair enough for them to continue – they were not in favour of the collapse of the hillsborough deal which took years/months to negotiate.

    ” mainland politicians- how mnay can you name that have stated a position on the subject?
    Mr Griffin certainly hasn’t ”

    The Labour Party and the Tory party – based on the utternaces of their leaders and no doubt the wibbly wobbly liberal democrats. I will email Mr Griffin’s party to find out if they have a view, I would guess they are quite keen on hearing from good Unionists such as my goodself. I suspect I may be able to confirm Nick’s support for yours and the UUP’s position.

  • Comrade Stalin

    oneill,

    the UUP’s is “Yes, when the Executive can prove itself capable of coping with the responsibility”

    Arguing that the collective government that you yourself are a part of is incapable is highly inconsistent. Is that what you’re going to say to the electorate – “vote for us, to continue our participation in an executive which isn’t fit to take on further responsibility” ?

  • Reader

    Comrade Stalin: Arguing that the collective government that you yourself are a part of is incapable is highly inconsistent.
    Once David Ford joins the Executive will the executive immediately become competent?

  • To go back to the essential question (one that will not be answered until May), it looks to me remarkably similar to that posed by Anthony Wells, earlier this week. Wells, of course, was glozing the post, last Monday, by Mark Devenport.

    Accepting Devenport’s warning about both polls needing “caution”, I noted that declared Tory support was running at the same level as the Workers’ Party, about half that of the Greens, and a quarter that of Alliance.

    However one reads those figures, which now need further adjusting for Sylvia Hermon and her adherents, it stretches credulity to foresee any imminent UCUNF break-through. And after that, after the money and the froth, comes the blame-game. So, watch this space.

  • Malcolm Redfellow,

    so my good man what is your prediction for the number of UU seats?

    oneill,

    Perhaps we should ask Mick to accept £10 for predictions on the 17 seats with a tie-break on the size of the winning majority for a particular seat e.g. West Belfast which is presumably the safest seat.

  • BryanS

    Stalin
    the next election is to westminster not the dysfunctional stormont county council. The UUP stand on P & J is entirely credible. In fact I am surprised that Reg managed to take a stand at last. As for Lady H and her purple rinse supporters if she succeeds in ND it is time for us all to forget about real politics.

  • “Accepting Devenport’s warning about both polls needing “caution”, I noted that declared Tory support was running at the same level as the Workers’ Party, about half that of the Greens, and a quarter that of Alliance”

    Malcolm,

    I think “caution” is putting it mildly, eg do you think the SDLP will out poll SF as both suggest?
    Exactly.

    MU

    “Perhaps we should ask Mick to accept £10 for predictions on the 17 seats with a tie-break on the size of the winning majority for a particular seat e.g. West Belfast which is presumably the safest seat.”

    Perhaps not. More than happy with what you’ve given me.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Once David Ford joins the Executive will the executive immediately become competent?

    Nope, I wouldn’t (and did not) argue that.

    I’m contrasting the UUP’s adoption of an anti-agreement stance in the face of 12 years of being pro-agreement and then trying to present this as business as usual. The UUP have made a u-turn which is completley inconsistent with what they have been doing up until now.

    BryanS:

    the next election is to westminster not the dysfunctional stormont county council.

    Thanks for reminding me. I’m far too thick to figure these things out for myself.

    The UUP stand on P & J is entirely credible.

    No, it is an anti-agreement stance and it is completely inconsistent with the party’s stance for the past 12 years.

    In fact I am surprised that Reg managed to take a stand at last.

    This is the trouble with unionism. You guys think that “taking a stand”, even if it results in your own destruction, is the mark of true leadership. A good leader would have found something that the DUP would want and go off and bargained with him for it. A good leader might even have sought out the SDLP and, yes, Alliance, and moved to challenge the DUP/SF carveup by participating in a cross-community initiative to leave the executive to them and form a constructive opposition.

    Epic fail on all counts.

    As for Lady H and her purple rinse supporters if she succeeds in ND it is time for us all to forget about real politics.

    She’s the sitting MP. What was wrong with her whenever you ran her yourselves ?

  • Mike

    “Moderate Unionist” (cough)

    If you don’t mind me asking…what exactly is your game with the whole masquerading-as-a-unionist shtick?

    Seems like the Conservative and Unionist project has you more than a little rattled…

  • 0b101010

    It speaks volumes that the UUP rank and file are getting so wound up about what they’re trying to dismiss this all as hearsay. The UUP doth protest to much, methinks.

    These Orangemen are an albatross around the Conservatives neck. Everyone in the know warned them of this at the time and, for whatever reason, David Cameron went ahead. The first chink in the “New” Conservatives armour was this naïve belief they cut put manners on these pickled old bigots.

    Also finding it hilarious that all you have to do is stick a designation in your name to drive people wild with confusion and anger. Better if we were all required to wear Prod and Taig patches to save these poor souls from having to think, no?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Seems like the Conservative and Unionist project has you more than a little rattled…

    You guys reel off this line like clockwork any time someone offers a criticism of the UCUNF project. Can’t you come up with something more original ?

    I’ll get worried when the UCUNF starts talking sense and putting up candidates with a bit of backbone to them. But as long as UCUNF fields people like Mike Nesbitt to remind us all how disconnected from the real world they are, the rest of us have nothing to worry about.

  • Mike

    Comrade Stalin

    “You guys reel off this line like clockwork any time someone offers a criticism of the UCUNF project. Can’t you come up with something more original ?”

    Who are “you guys”? I’m simply an ordinary voter. I don’t even have a single member of the UUP or the NI Conservatives as a personal acquiantance, never mind belonging to either party, if some sort of party involvement is what you’re getting at.

    The silly little gambit by the deliberately misnamed “Moderate Unionist” does suggest he’s rattled by the project in question.

    As for your own shrill attacks – to the uninvolved observer (i.e. me, for one) it does seem that you as an Alliance member feel threatened by the Conservative-UUP tie-up.

  • Drumlins Rock

    So Mr Stalin, can you list the Alliance partys 18 candidates with “ultra backbone” ? I persume they are standing in this election?

  • Being “threatened by the Conservative – UUP tie up”

    For all the banana skins that have got in the way of the UCUNF march, those who would like things here to carry on as they are know very well that there is unquestionably a very large proportion of the Northern Irish population who would like to see this region move on from where we are now.

    The UCUNF project may not be the path that most of these people would chose. What is is important (and this could yet still become a potent message) is that UCUNF do offer something new – a chance for Northern Ireland voters to vote for one of the parties that oould form the Government of their nation and the chance to vote for a party on the basis of shared values, as opposed to tribal politics.

    If that message, which is actually very short and very simple, gets through to the average voter in a slick campaign which concentrates on getting it acrss, there is still an outside chance of a game-changing result.

    I suggest this is probably the real reason why opponents of the UCUNF project are still feeling threatened by its existance.