Can David Cameron be sure he understands the intentions of the Ulster Unionists?

Some of those getting hot under the collar at my bringing to the surface the spectrum of opinion in the thinking of Conservatives and Unionists can expect ongoing commentary. I recall the Speaker’s Conference promoted by Enoch Powell, which started in 1978. Powell’s contention was that Northern Ireland was democratically under-represented at Westminster. He set about correcting that and moved Northern Ireland from being represented by 12 members of parliament to 17 and eventually to 18 in 1983.I got to know Mr. Powell quite well in the sense that we knew each other sufficiently to engage each other. He was intellectually fascinating despite my differences with him on the obvious issues. He was however a big thinker by Northern Ireland political standards.

He saw increased representation as a victory for democracy in Northern Ireland and in the United Kingdom. But many in his Ulster Unionist Party didn’t celebrate the outcome of the Speaker’s Conference. Indeed, I heard Ulster Unionists hyper-ventilating on this matter at an Ulster Unionist party Conference in the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle.

Why? Simply that Powell had engineered an opening of the doors of Westminster to Hume, to be followed by Mallon, Mc Grady and so on. More Nationalist MPs joining Gerry Fitt were not what Unionists desired.

In those days, the SDLP was a greater enemy than Sinn Fein with Hume increasingly internationalising the Northern Ireland problem in Europe and in America. Ulster Unionists did not see this as an advance while Powell, the enlightened one, saw this as democracy and normality at work.

The point I am making is, however noble the Conservatives are in seeking to organise in Northern Ireland with the goal of “lifting politics here onto the national stage and stopping politics being dragged down into the gutter,” Unionists of all shades are craving unionist unity to stop Sinn Fein becoming the biggest political party in Parliament Buildings.

Republicans always need of necessity Unionism of some cue to be in bed with them but a blind man or woman on a galloping horse can see at the heart of their ‘project’ is the fragmentation of Unionism. That project is currently on track aided by Jim Allister of the TUV. That is his prerogative.

When I quoted a Unionist source previously who stated that the Hatfield Talks were about “forming an electoral entity” ahead of the Assembly elections this angered some of Slugger’s readers. Therein, may well hang the tale.

Jonathan Caine and other Conservatives have stated they are not into “head counts.” But the problem for them is that many of their Ulster Unionist bedfellows are precisely into “head counts.”

These people are not rookies. They are at the highest level in the Ulster Unionist Party and in the top echelons of the DUP. And I am told the Conservatives are bankrolling the Ulster Unionist party to fight the Westminster election.

Is there not a danger that David Cameron and his colleagues are going to be duped at the end of the day?

Ulster Unionists and Democratic Unionists are openly declaring Sinn Fein must be stopped from getting into a position where Martin Mc Guinness becomes First Minister after the next Assembly election. To definitively put a stop such an outcome, possibly the only instrument, clever device, or cunning plan means putting in place “a formal electoral entity.”

This is a euphemism for Unionist unity which, in Cameron’s own self selected terms, would be the quintessence of a sectarian head-count.

Should Sinn Fein and the SDLP engage in a parallel exercise many thinking Catholics of the Hume school would head for the boat and rightly so. If orange head-counting is wrong so is green head-counting.

Conservatives may yet show themselves to be innocents. Has David Cameron a post dated letter of guarantee ( It is de rigueur for every party leader to give one now) from Reg Empey that he will not opt for head counting? Are Ulster Unionists going to be glad to take the money but remain local in disposition?

There are certainly many Unionists and Conservatives who share this analysis.

From David Cameron’s point of view forewarned should be fore-armed.

  • Brian Walker

    Eamonn, if the republican movement can take the long route of the peace process, why can’t the DUP shed some of its sectarian skin and socially modernise enough to satisfy the Cameroons? The political disappearance of Iris gives them a great cue to change their image, if not in time for the Westminster election, then for the next Stormont election. In the meantime,doesn’t Arlene Foster’s offer to stand down in Fermanagh, if it means what it appears to mean, present an interesting challenge to Ucunf? It also makes the obvious point, that the gap between the two parties is narrow in many cases, when you remember her personal history. I only ask; I’m not arguing for unionist unity.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Will Eamonn ever condescend to reply to comments made on his postings?

  • Brian, I don’t think the constitutional question is going to go away any time soon. Most Protestants will continue to vote for Unionist parties and most Catholics for Nationalist parties. It’s mainly about ‘head counts’ but its also about ‘internal’ competition.

    I’m a little surprised that you should continue to heap opprobrium on Protestants when Catholics can vote for Sinn Fein (a party linked to the PRM’s organised crime wing) with plaudits.

    I think the Conservative-UUP alliance is a mismatch and will fall apart through its own contradictions. The Conservatives might need support at Westminster but the UUP needs money.

  • “Some of those getting hot under the collar at my bringing to the surface the spectrum of opinion”

    Eamonn, no one was getting hot under the collar. It was perfectly reasonable to call you on the use of unnamed sources and your publication of the official party line presumably could have been ascertained before you rushed into print.

    It’s good to get the spectrum of opinion; it’s also good to get a measure of the significance of each opinion.

  • “many thinking Catholics of the Hume school”

    I seems Hume didn’t even involve some of his party colleagues when it came to decision taking let alone these thinking Catholics.

    Were there any thinking Catholics in attendance at those conclaves of Nationalist councillors chaired by a senior member of the Catholic clergy in advance of council meetings where the council was mainly of a Nationalist hue?

    Nationalist unity candidates have stood in a number of constituencies and there was no headlong rush to the coracles or to be away with the ferries.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Anyways he has raised a few good points here, but I dont think he has got the thinking inside the UUP right yet, going back to basics having an electoral pact with the Conservatives is a major decision, but apart from Lady Hermon it has broadly been acepted by the rank and file, no-one should under-estimate how big a move that is for such a “conservative” party.
    We also know it has got the DUPs back up and they would be more than happy to see it fall apart, remember it was not so long ago they were predicting the demise of the UUP and their becoming the sole voice of unionism, therefore the DUP actions have to looked at in that light, they are seeking to destroy the pact whilst pretending they dont really care about it.
    Bearing this in mind lets look at Eamonns version of the Hatfield talks, a version he has been fed by a DUP source ( maybe he should name that source? ) according to Eamonn the talks were organised and hosted by the Conservatives so that the DUP and UUP could form an electoral pact at Stormont. Eamonn I think your alot smarter than that and know full well you are being used by the DUP to stir up trouble. Far from the talks resulting in an agreement between the unionist parties it has widened the gap because the DUP have shown once again they cant be trusted. Arlenes offer must also be viewed in this light, it is well hedged and caged in to ensure it is enough to grab the headlines but in reality is meaningless.

  • I think the problem with Cameron, is people still do not trust his motives.

    It’s time for change though, Brown is a done deal.

  • David Crookes

    Will UCUNF wither away in the face of a new UUUC? In one of the 1974 Westminster elections the UUUC won eleven out of the then available twelve seats. Gerry Fitt held on to his own seat only after conducting a nakedly sectarian press campaign.

    EP and the OUP leader were pursuing an integrationist agenda in seeking increased Westminster representation. They appeared not to realize that ten or so unionists out of twelve would be followed by eleven or so unionists out of eighteen, and that in relative terms non-unionists would be the greater beneficiaries.

    The only real principle in politics is GET POWER. If the price of Mr Cameron becoming Prime Minister in the second week of May is some kind of deal with the DUP MPS, that deal may well be done. The three main British parties should agree among themselves before May 6 that none of them will ever act so as to undermine the GFA and the SAA. No nonsense about voluntary coalition, or parades, in other words: but keep the door open to a change in NI corporation tax.

    Hung parliaments with little tails wagging big dogs are not good for the tail-parties in the long term. The OUP took great pleasure in ‘extracting’ advantage from its relationship with the Labour govermnent of 1974-49, but in 1985 it was out in the cold with zero influence. And when all the unionist MPS resigned to fight elections on the matter of the AIA, their own electorate treated them overall without enthusiasm. In fact, Seamus Mallon, the greatest bore in world history, got into Westminster on the back of the AIA elections.

    The lessons are: live in the real world, prepare your ground, and stay in touch with your voters. If the DUP can maintain its present number of MPS, it will be able to face a Stormont election with enhanced confidence. Not so long ago a lot of commentators were declaring that Peter Robinson was finished. Sometimes it pays you to houl yer tongue. Look at the line-up for this year’s St Patrick’s Day in the USA. PR and MMcG are in charge of their own parties, and getting on well with each other. (RE hasn’t a clue what he himself or anyone else is doing. And MR is promising that when she talks to Irish Americans she’ll thcweam and thcweam and thcweam about how bad everything is. That’ll be really good for business investment, Margaret.)

    Arlene Foster’s latest statement must be seen as representing part of an astute DUP war-plan. If the DUP can see off the TUV on May 6, they’ll be able to say to Jim Allister, ‘You can’t win a single election. People don’t want you. Be quiet and go away.’ Then they’ll have a year to prepare the ground for the Stormont election in which they will make a strong appeal to moderate voters.

    In other words, the DUP probably don’t need a new UUUC. In time it will be possible for the DUP to make a case for a reduction in the number of Scottish and NI MPS.

  • Greenflag

    Enoch Powell was a black and white ‘thinker’ at least in politics . He was an ‘intelligent’ Unionist even if a bit of an oddball in the Unionist Party of the time which was in a state of disarray , from which to judge by recent events it has yet to emerge.

    Powell was an ‘integrationist’ Unionist . He understood that NI ‘unionism ‘ left to itself within Northern Ireland could only ever be perceived as the anti Irish -anti Catholic anti ROI party, and thus never truly become part of mainstream British politics which had moved on from the 1920’s .

    ragewarrior,

    ‘I think the problem with Cameron, is people still do not trust his motives.’

    It’s worse than that . They don’t KNOW what the Tories plan to do if elected . The Tories ‘political speak’ is couched in enough spin thread to make a spiders web the size of Hampshire 😉

    Brown bloodied but unbowed will make it back with a reduced majority if any and will become Prime Minister with the help of the LD’s for the next couple of years at which time the current financial woes if they haven’t cleared by then it will be seen whether present and previous government efforts are having the desired outcome.

  • Brian Walker

    Nevin, I’m not “heaping opprobrium” here. I just think there is a quite a demand for some form of unionist unity which Ucunf couldn’t possibly satisfy. The supposed Hatfield agenda they publicly deny exists at least makes long term strategic sense, from the unionist point of view. On the nationalist side, we don’t really know do we, but I assume voters have been backing the winner in recent rounds of the zero sum game, more than endorsing the IRA/Adams narrative. Voters on both sides I suspect are much less committed to their foundation myths than the activists. But I don’t know- who does? The polls are unreliable and we can all opine with impunity to our hearts’ content. Perhaps the upcoming general election will register movement because of the severe jolts of recent months but at this distance far from the action, I wouldn’t count on it.

    Despite flirtations, on the nationalist side there seems no real demand on either side of the border for integration with the main Dublin-based parties and SF, as everybody points out, has lost monementum in the south.

    So on both sides of the northern divide, “headcount politics” remains just that, with the parties unable to satisfy aspirations most people aren’t obsessing about but unwlling to reconstruct to suit the practical realities they face. Without some political realignment or alliance across the communal groups, the so-called “voluntary coalition” idea will remain a dead duck. Next up for a fight, 50:50 police recruitment and the big one, a SF FM. Somehow, though I feel they’ll stagger through them. The common interest may triumph, but will remain largely unacknowledged in political discouse.

  • Greenflag

    ‘More people identify themselves as Irish than British in Northern Ireland according to a new poll in Monday’s Belfast Telegraph.’

    And one in four ‘protestants’ don’t believe there will be a NI in 2021 .

    I wonder where it’ll be 😉

    Still in a convoluted mess of tribal politics with occasional interjections of common sense politics to lift the gloom long enough to prevent most people from going back to the ‘glorious’ past .

    So NI is definitely not Finchley North then according to the Telegraph ;)?

    They’ll stagger or muddle through for there is nowhere else to go for now .

  • Brian, where’s your negative commentary on the republican movement? Why throw in the ‘sectarian’ tag when pan-Unionism and pan-Nationalism often mimic each other? Don’t voters on either side of the fence back ‘winners’?

    I don’t see how we can have the realignment of which you speak without an official form of shared sovereignty and the parallel development of ‘external’ relationships.

    Is there any chance that our public servants might be held to account – in the common interest? It’s my opinion that some ‘outsiders’ are being shafted with the help of public finances whilst some public servants carry on regardless.

  • Garza

    Greenflag

    You forgot to mention that 1 in 4 catholics prefere the union to a united Ireland. A United Ireland is not inevitable as long as unionists wake up and play their cards right.

    What is interesting though that the BT poll today parrots another yearly infamous poll that people are always very quick to discredit.

    25% of catholics are political civic unionsts, unionists need to wake up and abandon the culutral unionist aspect in politics. Only then will the union be secure.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Well indeed I might be that blind man on the galloping horse as Ive constantly said that the Republican/nationalist intention is to divide unionism.
    If we take 1959 as a starting date we will see that Unionists….only one kinda Unionist in those days had all 12 seats at Westminster. They had 77.2% of the vote. NILP had 7.7%. The Nationalists didnt stand (it hardly bothered unionism that it didnt) SF had 11%.
    (Figures courtesy of ark)

    These are the glory days for which Jim Allister and the “unionist family” yearn.
    Contrast this with 2005. The 12/8 split and unionists on 51.8% and SDLP/SF on 41.8%. Unionism divided on power sharing…..now called mandatory coalition.
    And of course the social and cultural climate has changed. No RUC. No God Save The Queen at QUB graduations, Irish language more acceptable socially than an Orange march in Portadown.

    Some might call this normalisation. The acceptance of the State by Catholics. But frankly unionism has always been divided between those who want Catholics “in” the system and those who wouldnt have one about the place.
    Hume, Adams, Durkan knew or know this.
    Not Rocket Science.
    Sooner or later unionists retreat to the garden centre, vote Alliance, go to Uni at Stirling, select Trevor Ringland, select a Catholic as sign of their liberalism, maybe even attend funeral of a Catholic friend, accept power sharing, sign up to equality legislation, celebrate diversity, reject homosexuality, come out of the bunker, retreat to the bunker, want integration, reject it, call for unionist unity, reject it.
    All these and more fault lines..and all the time those pesky SF/SDLP types keep pressing for more.

    Over forty years ago O’Neill argued (and maybe Powell was in that mode) that you normalise society, give Catholics a job and a hous and they become unionist….ship them from West Belfast to Carryduff…and to the chagrin not just of Unionists and the Belfast Telegraph……they just want more.
    Unionism does of course have victories…no violence is a big plus, occasional deals in Westminster and winning FST in 2010…but it is a bit like Italy winning a Rugby match. In the great scheme of things its not important.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Which brings us right back to where we started Garza, the UUP have made a massive step in that direction, they arent fully there yet but I think have gone quite a bit further down that road than anyone would have thought possible even just 2 or 3 yrs ago, yes there are occasional problems, but strangely they arent from the “cultural unionist” but most have been caused by Lady Herman and the NI conservatives on the inside and the DUP stirring things on the outside, often via Mr Mallie.
    I think this idea of Cultural & Civic unionism is a myth at best, at worst its a thinly disgused attack on membership of the OO, and in many ways the pecieved differences probably reflect much of the same variety of views within the mainland Tory party, ie. socially conservative but economically liberal rural and vice versa suburban, with inner cities depending on the local mix. It is going to take time to win over the 25% of catholics who support the union, but that will never happen if you loose most of you traditional supporters in the process, so far (with the exception oh lady H) that hasnt happened, I guess its on to the the next step, but it would really help if the local conservatives would grow up, quit banning, orangemen or putting up candidates who compare the opposition to the Nazis.

  • Marcionite

    I agreew with Drumlin’s first point, Eamonn, if you post a thread, can you at least comment on the comments from your lofty towers? It feels rather patronising to be honest. It feels as if you throw a threads us little Sluggerites to feast on while you watch with glee from a god or journalist-like distance.

  • moved Northern Ireland from being represented by 12 members of parliament to 17 and eventually to 18 in 1983

    It was 17 by 1983. The 18th (West Tyrone) was created in 1997 (or 1996 if you count the forum).

  • Greenflag

    garza ,

    ‘You forgot to mention that 1 in 4 catholics prefer the union to a united Ireland’

    No I did’nt . The Belfast Telegraph forgot. I’m not the BT 😉 They obviously did not takeinto consideration your point re the 1 in 4 red white and blue sterling fenians 😉

    ‘A United Ireland is not inevitable as long as unionists wake up and play their cards right.’

    Eh ? I did’nt state a UI was inevitable. It’s the one in four NI protestants who appear to see the greengraffitti on the wall . The first half of your above quoted comment is possibly true. However the part about ‘unionists’ and in particular ‘unionist ‘ politicians waking up and playing their cards right seems a bridge too far to expect at least for another century by which time neither of us will have any further interest in proceedings thank christ .

  • The question should really be the other way around. We have a general election approaching. Pursuant to an agreement between the UUP and the Conservatives, all of the NI Parliamentary Candidates from the UUP will be representing policies for National Government formulated by the Conservative Party.

    Perhaps you are trying to infer that the UUP are actually not interested in Northern Ireland having greater participation in National Politics. You have, after all, alluded to Enoch Powell’s era.

    The comparison of that era with today should be very wide of the mark. After all, the Conservatives and the UUP are signed up to a written memorandum of understanding. That is much better than a “post dated letter of guarantee” and for your information, it does cover the subject of tribal headcounting. I have pasted below, its pre-amble

    “1 Both parties believe that a strong and stable Union of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom offers the best future for all its citizens.

    2 Both parties believe that Northern Ireland has been isolated for too long from the politics of the United Kingdom.

    3 Both parties believe that all the citizens of the United Kingdom should have the opportunity to vote for, and potentially participate in, their national government.

    4 Both parties recognize the need to change politics in Northern Ireland, are committed to reaching out to the increasing numbers of alienated voters, and developing non sectarian politics in Northern Ireland.”

  • Garza

    [quote]No I did’nt . The Belfast Telegraph forgot. I’m not the BT 😉 They obviously did not takeinto consideration your point re the 1 in 4 red white and blue sterling fenians 😉 [/quote]

    Well i got the paper and it does say :-).

    Not necessarily “red, white and blue” fenians. I’m sure many of those catholic unionists regard themselves as Irish. They are just probably very content with being in the UK and don’t want a major change based on a mere nationlistic whim.

    [quote] Eh ? I did’nt state a UI was inevitable. [/quote]

    Sorry that statement was not meant to be a response to your post.
    [quote]
    However the part about ‘unionists’ and in particular ‘unionist ’ politicians waking up and playing their cards right seems a bridge too far to expect at least for another century by which time neither of us will have any further interest in proceedings thank christ . [/quote]

    It is said the biggest mistake one can make in politics is to assume the future will be like the past.

    I think its a pretty big assumption that unionism will not change in the next 100 years.

  • Greenflag

    fitzer ,

    ‘unionism does of course have victories…no violence is a big plus, occasional deals in Westminster and winning FST in 2010…but it is a bit like Italy winning a Rugby match. In the great scheme of things its not important.’

    True comment . NI in it’s 6 county format was never a good idea. It was bad for Britain -even worse for Ireland but it has proved worst of all for Northern Ireland itself.

    When one looks at any system -political , social or economic and in particular in respect of NI in it’s present format where the ‘problems’ are persistent and recurring – then the conclusion has to be that the ‘problem’ is systemic and the ‘patient’ cannot be cured in the present mode .

    But we all know that don’t we ? Apart from the still believers in the D’hondt school of hope and GFA optimists of course ?;)

  • Manfarang

    Greenflag
    The problem for the Tories is that many people know exactly what they will do if elected: slash public spending,increase unemployment and have years of economic stagnation.

  • Greenflag

    garza ,

    ‘Well i got the paper and it does say :-).’

    Feck -you win ;( I read the short BBC report of the Telegraph article 🙁 I don’t know what’s happening to the BBC NI reporting but the other day I saw a report on Michelle Gidernew which stated she won the FST Westminster election by 56 votes in 2005 and then later in the same report they referred to a 53 vote SF majority in 2001 ? An earlier report referred to Gildernew’s election win of 2005 by a naarrow 4,000 vote margin ?

    ‘It is said the biggest mistake one can make in politics is to assume the future will be like the past.’

    Indeed but in the case of NI the exception may once again prove the rule 😉

    ‘I think its a pretty big assumption that unionism will not change in the next 100 years.’

    That it is but as I don’t expect either ‘Unionism ‘or myself to be around then I’ll not lose any sleep over the either issue or the assumption 😉

  • abc123

    Wow – Mr Mallie is really worried about the C&U linkup. So the link up must be a good thing!

    Mallie – “Ulster Unionists and Democratic Unionists are openly declaring Sinn Fein must be stopped from getting into a position where Martin Mc Guinness becomes First Minister after the next Assembly election.”

    That isn’t sectarian. The Conservative Party also suffered at the hands of the terrorist organisation that McGuinness has helped control. Wanting to stop him is normal politics. If it was the SDLP in with a chance of becoming FM it would be a different matter.

    Mallie “Should Sinn Fein and the SDLP engage in a parallel exercise many thinking Catholics of the Hume school would head for the boat and rightly so.”

    It didn’t stop them having a pact for Bobby Sands whose election helped cause further violence. And it didn’t stop Hume from ignoring calls from the Unionists to work the Assembly. Instead he prefered the Pan-Nationalist Front while the Provos killers were carrying out their terrorism.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Greenflag, NI has worked pretty well for nearly 90 years now, much longer than many independant countries in the UN have been in existance. The standard of living for the first 60 years far outstripped the South, even for Catholics, and considering the length and scale of the conflict it has survived remarkably well in the past 30, much of that due to British tax payer to be fair. I has had many faults and still has some, but civil government has continuously functioned throughout and even those once most opped to its existance are trying to make it work, therfore i cant see how it has failed.

  • Greenflag

    Manfarang ,

    ‘many people know exactly what they will do if elected: slash public spending,increase unemployment and have years of economic stagnation.’

    Perhaps the word is people ‘expect’ the Tories to follow their traditional remedies rather than know exactly .

    People should take a closer look at what happened in other parts of the world when the IMF at the instigation of the USA forced countries like Indonesia among others to pursue the path of righteous ‘economics ‘ Up to now neither President Obama nor Bush before him nor Tony Blair nor Gordon Brown seem convinced that that particular medicine would do more good than harm to their economies over the past couple of years .

    If the Tories win prepare for a lost decade of Japanese style stagnation . If Labour wins a decade of economic stagnation may just be avoided – I say may .

  • Greenflag

    Drumlin’s Rock ,

    ‘The standard of living for the first 60 years far outstripped the South,’

    Not true . Prof Joe Lee in his excellent Ireland 1912-1985 gives the facts re the economic development for both NI and the Free State/ROI and while it is true that by the mid 1960’s that the NI standard of living was estimated to be 30% higher than for ROI that was not the case in the period 1920 through 1939 to the end of the war . Post war NI economic growth began to make a difference and the British Welfare State reforms of the mid 1950’s under Bevan also gave NI a plus . Since 1980 approx it’s been even and in recent decades the Republic moved ahead .

    ‘therefore i cant see how it has failed.’

    I did’nt say it had failed . But it has been on life support for an extended period and without the UK financial subvention it would have failed .

    Longevity is not in itself proof of success. The NI State in it’s present format is fundamentally flawed imo . But that doesn’t mean it can’t be directed around in a wheelchair and strapped to an intravenous feed for another decade or more .

    que sera

  • joeCanuck

    Referring to the title of this blog, I’m not sure that the UUP even truly knows what they want anymore. They’re lost in the wilderness when they should have the DUP on the back foot.

  • Drumlins Rock

    LOL, knew you would take the bait on that one greeflag, TBH every state is flawed in someway or other, guess what I was saying is NI could, and maybe should, have been in alot worse condition under the circumstances of the last 30 yrs. Paradoxically it could and maybe should have been in a much better position if ran properly for the first 60 years, the UUP should not to harking back to past glories as even most unionist hold them accountable for missed oportunities.
    Joe, as for the future, the UUP is still getting back on its feet after a severe hiding only 3 yrs ago, many were saying it might not even survive this far, they do have one thing in common with the Tories, someone else has stolen their “clothes”, to be honest if you look at normal political cycles, its still a bit soon for the DUP to fall from grace, a bit more time is needed to rebuild and allowed the DUP enough rope to finish the job.

  • Neil

    its still a bit soon for the DUP to fall from grace, a bit more time is needed to rebuild and allowed the DUP enough rope to finish the job.

    Huh? What more do you want? Is the UUP slyly hanging on, waiting for a prominent DUP member to go on a murder rampage or declare they’re getting married to a Thai ladyboy ex-hooker? I would have thought that between the Robinsons, the expenses scandals and the cronyism which seems to exist that the DUP had just about run out of rope. If Reg can’t maintain a half succesful attack through all of that then my guess is that Reg hasn’t got the balls to finish the job.

    He’s probably just distracted by who he wants to form a pact with next. Obviously the PUP one is pretty much forgotten about, the UCUNF one is sticking at the minute and the DUP one is mooted at this point. Who do you reckon might be next? The BNP would probably take them on, if just for a few extra column inches.

  • Greenflag

    drumlin’s rock,

    ‘TBH every state is flawed in someway or other’

    This is undeniably true but as the big piggie might have paraphrased from Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’

    ‘All states may be flawed but some states are more flawed than others ‘

    The important question is not whether it’s more flawed than others but whether the flaws can be overcome in time .

    I suspect that that one in four ‘protestants’ may be as skeptical as I am re the possibility .

    joe canuck,

    ‘ I’m not sure that the UUP even truly knows what they want anymore. ‘

    Eh I am . They don’t .

    ‘They’re lost in the wilderness ‘

    And have been for decades . The never ending maze has no exit sign on either near or far horizons.

    ‘when they should have the DUP on the back foot.’

    Exactly -now how did that happen ? Will somebody remind me of how ? On second thought I’d rather not know ;(!

  • dwatch

    [i]Can David Cameron be sure he understands the intentions of the Ulster Unionists?[/i]

    Not according to our wee Sammy he can’t.

    Cameron will regret inept handling of Ulster issues
    15 March 2010 By SAMMY WILSON
    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/columnists/Cameron-will-regret-inept-handling.6151495.jp

  • Manfarang

    David Cameron doesn’t understand the intentions of his wife let alone the Ulster Unionists.
    She once voted for the new Labour Party, that is of course the Social Democratic Party, the party led by David Owen.

Can David Cameron be sure he understands the intentions of the Ulster Unionists?

Bobballs argues that Gerry Adams is losing his touch. That’s not quite what I argued last summer, although I did say that his was a diminishing asset to his party and that he should use his considerable political strengths whilst they were still close to their height to the advantage of the party. Yesterday’s St Patrick’s breakfast was a demonstration of both his strength and weaknesses. That they love him in south Boston has much to do with the similar self identity of a tough place where tough people dealt a poor hand by fate (and the British) did well for themselves, despite all the bad breaks. Andthere is some considerable true to that

, ,