UUP to back Alban Maguinness for Justice Ministry…

Yesterday the DUP were running spoilers on the UUP’s expected announcement that they would be backing an SDLP candidate for the Justice Ministry. It’s thought by some that this was the ‘big announcement’ flagged up for 2pm Tuesday that failed to materialise. In today’s Newsletter Sam McBride reveals that senior party members argued for the SDLP man, because he was a barrister, and that if deHondt were reactivated, the next post would naturally fall to that party. As Gonzo noted yesterday, this would be something of a U turn on the UUP leader’s part. Hmmm… who would be a ‘moderate’…?

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  • What has been obvious for over a year is that whatever the UUP can do to embarrass the DUP irrespective of it’s consequences for Project Ulster and the transfer of Police and Justice they will do it.

    Cameron must be both disappointed at the shambles that UCUNF has sunk into but also relieved that the Plain People of Ulster dont appear to be too keen on the reckless anti-agreement poisiton taken up by his electroal partners.

    Protocol warning: Please adjust your mindset
    For those of a particulalry tribal and/or sensitive disposition and those unable to judge an arguement on it’s merits please be aware that the term Unionist in my name is not an accurate reflection of my political views though it should also be noted that my paternal grandfather was a keen supporter of the Union and I am invoking the FIFA grandparent rule and am opting to call myself so. (I’m sure he would have approved.)

  • Comrade Stalin

    What many people probably do not know is that d’Hondt is still being used in the selection of the chair of the new Justice Committee, which will hold the minister to account. The interesting detail is that in this case, d’Hondt is being re-run from the top so all the committee chairs will be re-selected. That smells like a precedent to me.

  • slug

    Good politics from the UUP-it opposes a carve-up between its two main competitors, Alliance and DUP, and shows a common cause with moderate nationalists. Gets people talking about it.

  • dwatch

    [i]That smells like a precedent to me.[/i]

    Any bets who wants the education ministry post?

  • granni trixie

    I welcome this move by the UU/Tories if it is a new beginning for their party, to show by example that they will have a taig about the place despite all evidence to the contrary.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I like the idea, and agree with Stalin that in the light of a failure to run D’Hont from the top then it has some logic, but mainly as a way of annoying both the DUP and Alliance, it would be great to see the UUP and SDLP working closer together on many other issues, on the P&J vote they were saying the same things, just the SDLP bottled it when it came to the vote.

  • Cynic2

    Absolutely right decision. The post should go to the SDLP under d’Hondt but SF and the DUP did a sectarian carve up to keep them out. So come the election SF can see them doing a deal with the DUPs to stop a nationalist becoming Justice Minister … that should be a vote winner. Perhaps they wont have a catholic about them – unless he’s a member or relative of the Great Leader whose m=not a member but just happens to run the local Cumman?

  • bobballs

    Here’s some analysis on why the UUP move re. Alban might be a good thing. http://openunionism.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/analysis-uup-choice-for-justice-minister

  • Framer

    Why back a loser who is very much a nationalist?

    Have the UUP MLAS a death wish?

    Anyway in 2012 the issue gets re-opened and the Minister of Justice will be Gerry Kelly or Gerry Adams because the DUP can’t risk bringing the whole show down.

  • granni trixie

    Bobballs:thanks for the link, on a point of info, is that Alban MacGs son who wrote the analysis? (not that it matters).

  • bobballs

    hi granni – silly me, hadn’t spotted closeness in surnames! While I’d love to have serious analysis from Alban Jnr, alas this was merely a pseudonym.

  • dwatch

    [i]Anyway in 2012 the issue gets re-opened and the Minister of Justice will be Gerry Kelly or Gerry Adams because the DUP can’t risk bringing the whole show down.[/i]

    Doubt it, the Minister of Justice post has to have cross community support, and no Unionist will give a SF MLA that support in the foreseeable future.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    “all evidence” Granni?

  • granni trixie

    Slugger O’Toole admin:
    Many posts on this very website build up to a consensus on this matter (much commenting Peter McCanns withdrawal etc) but I am curious – are you quizzing me for admin purposes?
    Or are you selectively policing me?

    Or,more legitimately, are you a nom de plume?

  • Rory Carr

    Praise to Bobballs for linking us to Conall’s post of 24 August 2009 which quoted a press release from Empey taking issue with one Stephen Douglas, an Alliance “senior member of staff” who had apparently trumpeted the Alliance’s “consistent agnosticism on the question of either the union or a united Ireland”.

    “And this does matter,” argues Empey, ” because … David Ford has given a very clear indication that the Alliance Party is prepared to take the Justice Ministry. Many unionists—-those who are not agnostic on the issue—-would be very concerned that our first Justice Minister could therefore be someone who is not pro-Union.” (My emphasis).

    On the assumption that Alban Maguinness would be included among those “who is not pro-union” can we now assume that, in the light of the UUP’s intention to support his nomination for the Justice ministry, that the UUP themselves have become agnostic on the matter of the Union?

  • cushy glenn

    cripes- the Unionist party is really beyond parody now.

    If they actually got Alban in post, how soon before they’d be squealing? Remember how they invited Ritchie to their conference a couple of years ago because she was seen as squaring up to Punt- well that really worked brilliantly. She’s definitely set her course for a new moderate inclusive nationalism…er

    and he ought to get the gig because he’s a barrister!!! Even JH Allister QC might be reluctant to accept this as an endorsement.

  • bohereen

    Grannie,
    it is always very dangerous to state that there is a consensus view on any website,

    and there is no evidence to the contrary.

  • dodrade

    Let me get this straight…

    The SDLP are against Ford because Atwood says he’s a unionist.

    The UUP are against Ford because Empey says he’s not a unionist.

    The UUP are against devolving P&J at this time, so they’re going to vote for Alban Maguinness as justice minister.

    They whom the gods would destroy…

  • [i]The SDLP are against Ford because Atwood says he’s a unionist.[/i]

    No, because the SDLP believe that a party with 5.2% of the vote has no entitlement to such an important ministry and that the rules have been changes to suit the party-political interests of the two main parties.

  • Reader

    Rory Carr: that the UUP themselves have become agnostic on the matter of the Union?
    No; that they “are not agnostic on the issue” – the *issue* being whether the P&J minister is unionist or nationalist.
    Look – do you realise how much fun this all is? Suppose the DUP also voted for Alban – would they vote before or after SF – and in either case, how would SF respond? When the vote is called, will the DUP and SF sit and watch each other, waiting for the other lot to move first? What are the mechanics of Assembly voting?
    How’s this – SF will vote for Alban unless they think the DUP will..

  • Comrade Stalin

    1967:
    No, because the SDLP believe that a party with 5.2% of the vote has no entitlement to such an important ministry and that the rules have been changes to suit the party-political interests of the two main parties.

    Which is exactly what the SDLP did when it was the largest nationalist party. And the Green party, the SDLP sister party’s coalition partner, has less than 5.2% of the vote.

    cynic2:

    Absolutely right decision. The post should go to the SDLP under d’Hondt but SF and the DUP did a sectarian carve up to keep them out.

    Let’s get real here. The Ulster Unionist Party seldom, if ever, voluntarily offer positions of power or authority to left-footers. Sir Reg Empey said so himself when he wrote of the travesty of granting the justice ministry to a nationalist as noted above.

    The UUP are only voting for Alban as a protest vote and because they know that he won’t actually get elected. Get back to me when the Ulster Unionists start actually working with nationalists rather than engaging in voting stunts in the Assembly.

  • granni trixie

    Thanks CS, I too will feel/be different when UU/Tories actually start working with everyone else.

    And you know, I don’t think that the stunts actually work with the public – I mean the public in NI who are probably the most educated elecorate anywhere.

  • Alias

    You begin to see why the Alliance dislikes the UUP/Tory link. It sells product to their punters, giving them competition in a market they monopolised. Now they’ll actually have to do some work to keep market share. When/if the Tories form the next government then the link becomes very important. After all, even Peter Robinson is telling his party that Westminster is the place where he needs to be to have influence for his party’s voters, so he can hardly turn around after the UUP have direct influence and declare that Westminster is irrelevant.

  • granni trixie

    Alias:what a joke. The up/tory link is the least party which competes with APNI whichever party leads on the mainland.

  • dodrade

    1967, i’m aware the SDLP’s main objection to Ford is their misplaced sense of entitlement to the justice ministry, but Atwood also considers him too orange for the job.

    [url]http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ford-ready-to-take-role-as-justice-minister-but-sdlp-cry-foul-over-his-accession-14700182.html[/url]

  • granni trixie

    1967:just a thought but wasn’t it the case that originally Atwood considered himself the person for the job, then allofasudden, Alban ws the SDLP choice? Now why was that?