Sir Reg wouldn’t have a gay about the B&B either…

THERE’S been a fair bit of speculation that UUP leader Sir Reg Empey might be the Ucunf candidate in South Antrim. This comes after his party colleague Adrian Watson was blocked by the Tories because of his view that gay couples would not be welcome in his family’s bed and breakfast – a view defended by the Shadow Home Secretary.

But it is also a view shared by Sir Reg himself, if his vote in the transitional Assembly is anything to go by. East Antrim Alliance candidate Gerry Lynch noted:

UUP Leader Reg Empey, who is now being touted as Adrian Watson’s replacement in South Antrim, voted in the Assembly to ask the Westminster government to withdraw the amendment to the Equality Act. This law prevents gay people being discriminated against by guest-house owners, as well as in every other area of the provision of goods and services.

The Ulster Unionists claim to believe in equal treatment for gay and lesbian people, but they voted to make it legal to discriminate against gay people in the provision of goods and services. That means they want to allow people to refuse me service if I want to stay in a guest house, sit down for a meal in a restaurant or even pop into a shop to buy something. What century do they live in exactly?

There is no difference between Adrian Watson’s point of view and Reg Empey’s point of view. Neither believe that gay and lesbian people are entitled to equality of treatment. If David Cameron’s Notting Hill clique have a problem with that, they should have carried out due dilligence before they shacked the Tory Party up in the UCUNF marriage of convenience.

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  • union mack

    insightful

  • NMCNSA

    Sir Reg has made a couragous stand on principle and should be commended! And at least he wouldn’t try and cure them!

  • Harry J

    #

    Sir Reg has made a couragous stand on principle and should be commended! And at least he wouldn’t try and cure them!
    Posted by NMCNSA on Apr 07, 2010 @ 05:21 PM

    lol why didnt reg say that about mr watson then? bye bye reg

  • Drumlins Rock

    Actually all that Sir Reg (and all unionists) voted on in that occasion was that the matter should have been deferred and put through Stormont not Westminister as is solely related to NI.

  • Actually all that Sir Reg (and all unionists) voted on in that occasion was that the matter should have been deferred and put through Stormont not Westminister as is solely related to NI.

    But why let facts get in the way of a good slabber

  • Framer

    Just remind me which Alliance MLAs and councillors voted to deny the use of the Cherry Room to gay couples celebrating their civil partnerships in Lisburn City Hall?

    Or which Alliance Law Reform Minister refused to decriminalise homosexuality?

    Great being liberal when it is easy.

  • Harry J

    So the UUP are planning to swap one homophobe for another…way to go guys

  • joeCanuck

    Who will get the blame by the DUP this year when the gay rights people get the subsidy for the annual parade? Surely the NIO can’t be blamed forever.
    Will Peter just say “Marty made me do it”.

  • Bob Wilson

    Ooops an entire thread based on a wrong assumption or rather two wrong assumptions.
    Adrian Watson was not ‘blocked’ by the Conservatives he was turned down by the entire Joint Committee
    Secondly he was not turned down for his views on homosexually – no matter how much it suits him to spin it that way

  • Drumlins Rock

    HarryJ, do you think the DUP should also swap one homo…

    got distracted there forgot what i was going to say.

  • Dec

    Secondly he was not turned down for his views on homosexually – no matter how much it suits him to spin it that way

    It must have been for his views on travellers, then ie ‘the scum of the earth’?

    Hold on, who am I kidding?

  • granni trixie

    Several years ago I asked someone from UU circles why Stephen King (a clever strategist as far as I could see) did not stand in a forthcoming election. I was shocked when that person said, “No, they wouldnt select a man who is gay”.

    Only one anecdote, but looks like it was on the button – looks like things haven’t changed in the ‘new’ UU/Tory party either.

    Framer: re Cherrygate: Seamus Close was in trouble within Alliance for his comments which went completely against party policy. Significantly, he has resigned as MLA and will not be standing as Councillor for Lagonvalley next time round. Alliance has had success in attracting diversity amongst its ranks,including people who are gay.

  • Michaelhenry

    whats the orange orders view on this affair.

  • union mack

    what the fuck does it matter?

  • Reader

    granni trixie: – looks like things haven’t changed in the ‘new’ UU/Tory party either
    Going by the correction about the nature of the vote that was posted by ‘Drumlins Rock’, hasn’t your evidence evaporated?
    After all – Reg is only trying to offer the likes of Seamus Close a chance to vote on the matter in the Assembly, isn’t he? The test for Alliance would have been if SC was expelled. After all – that’s the test you would apply to any other party.

  • Reader

    And by the way – what Seamus Close did was far worse than what Adrian Watson did. SC was referring to public facilities and public employees.
    And it took him 16 months to announce his retirement from politics.

  • dodrade

    For Empey to stand in South Antrim is kamikaze politics, defeat would not only finish him and the UCUNF alliance but quite possibly the UUP itself.

    Even if he were to win, he would be forced to lead the party from outside stormont, effectively making Danny Kennedy joint leader, add Cameron to the mix and you effectively have a junta.

  • Cynic2

    My my the anti Tories are in today.

    Presumably all that guff is the reason why there are so many gay Tory MPs.

    And isn’t it true the the DUP have a number of gay members in the closet? Some of them quite prominent? And good luck to them whether they decide to stay in the closet, come out or take court action to stop anyone outing them. Certainly the UUP have too and I am sure there are many others in SF and the SDLP. So what? The reality is that most people in Northern Ireland under the age of 50 don’t give a damn if someone is gay.

    As for Adrian Watson I understand he had recanted his anti gay comments so were there perhaps some other problems. If NI politics has ever taught us anything perhaps it is that we should take great care in whom we select as candidates. If he didn’t get through then I am sorry and understand his disappointment…..so let’s see who they do pick

  • Michaelhenry

    you get to the point union mack,if the gay couple were members of the orange order would they be allowed to stay at the b and b,is there a clause.

  • Rory Carr

    This issue, Drumlin’s Rock is hardly “solely related to NI”.

    If a gay couple from say, Brighton were to take a vacation in Northern Ireland they may find themselves being refused accomodation in a guest house if N.I. were to be excluded from the benefits of this legislation. So UK citizens would be able to be victimised in N.I. in a way which was illegal throughout the rest of the UK.

    Nothing new there of course since such discrimination has long been taken as a right by unionism which, while insisting upon the total Britishness of N.I. yet felt that it was unionism’s right to deny any rights or priveleges in British law that might be of benefit to those sectors of society aginst whom it felt necessary to discriminate.

    The one flaw in my argument of course is in trying to get one’s head around why any couple would leave the haven of gay-friendly Brighton for the dubious pleasures of two weeks in a B&B in downtown Cullybeckey (including Ulster Fry).

  • Reader

    Rory Carr: This issue, Drumlin’s Rock is hardly “solely related to NI”.
    Then how about abortion – should the matter be devolved or not?
    There’s a whole quango devoted to promoting a local bill of rights that would distinguish NI from the rest of the UK. Is it your case that rights should be utterly uniform?

  • Procrasnow

    Where were all the religious people during the troubles?

    when protestant paramilitaries were doing their worst did we hear the bible being quoted against their sin?

    I mean in a similar way and similar loudness that they preach against gays.

    Did ever a church take out a full page add against the protestant paramilitary sin of Murder during the troubles?

  • Harry J

    got distracted there forgot what i was going to say.
    Posted by Drumlins Rock on Apr 07, 2010 @ 06:07 PM

    it was the UUP, ordered by the Tories, that blocked Mr Watson for his homophobe comments. Sir Reg has now shown the same attitude. Where are the calls to get rid of him…oh sorry, that will have in about 5 weeks time

  • granni trixie

    Reader: I have always made the point that as Alliance is very diverse we have to work at it to get consensus. The experience is light years ahead of our image as nice people who automatically agree.

    Sometimes some people cannot adhere to important principles/policies which the majority agree to and they might wither on the vine or go. SC seems to have been one of those.

    I must say if Seamusgate had not happened I would not have believed it as I just had never come across homophobia in Alliance before. But it kept us alert to be on our toes on this one!

  • I must say I’m loving the granni trixie logic on this one:

    one comment made by an anon member of UUP = that party’s all bigots.

    Homophobic stance taken by MLA = Alliance has a diversity of views.

  • granni trixie

    First of all, although I used one anecdote to illustrate attitudes in UUP (now Tory/UUP)some years ago, I agree that one swallow does not make a summer. EXCEPT its not one anecdote/swallow, is it? We have much recent evidence as you know.

    And yes, the example of a homophic person in Alliance who could not survive = good for diversity.

    What I might have said was that I would not remain in any Party which tolerated homophobia.
    I welcome your amusement at my logic.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Conquistador:

    one comment made by an anon member of UUP = that party’s all bigots.

    Actually, we’re talking about the voting preferences of the UUP leader and all of its MLAs (who were present) together with the rejected candidate for South Antrim, and presumably the other 20 South Antrim members who resigned when his selection was overruled. Not the views of a single member who dropped out of politics shortly after his flagrantly homophobic public stance. Perhaps a person might speculate that he felt strongly enough about the issue that he decided he couldn’t remain involved with the party.

    The UUP is consistently homophobic. Alliance is consistently not homophobic. You can spin all you want, but you can’t change that.

    The reason why we’re having this debate in the first place is because the Tory party is desperately trying to gloss over the homophobic grassroots of the party of the sectarian establishment. It would make a lot more sense, of course, if they got their own house in order first.

  • Reader

    Comrade Stalin: It would make a lot more sense, of course, if they got their own house in order first.
    Aren’t you going to give the Conservatives 16 months to ease out Grayling just like it took Alliance 16 months to lose Seamus Close? And when you say ‘shortly after’, do you always mean 16 months?

  • Framer

    it is not just Close it is his MLA successor Lunn who is a homophobe in his Lisburn voting record.

  • alan56

    Granny T
    ‘First of all’ gosh… thats how Gerry Adams begins his answer to most media questions. Its a good technique used mainly to avoid answering the question asked!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Reader, you’ll just have to sue me. I’m not justifying any aspect of the whole thing, it could have been handled better. But the event is a blip, during what was generally a low period for the party, in an entirely consistent record of anti-homophobia campaigning and policy by Alliance.

    The same cannot be said of UCUNF. Close’s action was illegal and, IIRC, ultimately overturned. If the UCUNF had their way, it would have been entirely legal.

  • Framer

    “It could have been handled better” – Yes Seamus Close and his homophobic cronies could have been booted out of the LibDem-linked Alliance Party but instead they were tolerated and selected for greater things.

    UCUNF like Alliance have grown up as parties do.

    However Lady Hermon voted against the reform in Westminster! Did that presage her alliance with the DUP?

  • Procrasnow

    confusing this,

    is anyone worth voting for?

    Pity we dont have the monster raving loony party here , or is it called the UUP here?

  • Harry J

    Looks like Rev McCrea will have a clear run in S Antrim. Even if the UUP can get the Tories to approve one of thier homophobes its too little , too late

  • The Raven

    A clear run at what, Harry? Or does a gagging order prevent you from saying?

  • Harry J

    raven if you know something then say it. have the balls.

  • The Raven

    I know ***k all, mate. So is the Rev, like, a “poster boy” for you?

  • alan56

    I wish we could all come clean on the gossip. Most bloggers on here know the score about the rumours… its suureal…. and these alleged injunctions are bad for democracy

  • Harry J

    #

    I wish we could all come clean on the gossip. Most bloggers on here know the score about the rumours… its suureal…. and these alleged injunctions are bad for democracy
    Posted by alan56 on Apr 07, 2010 @ 10:07 PM

    hold on, so were talking about rumours and rumours of an injunction ,,,what a load of crap

    come on then alan spill the beans

  • alan56

    Harry J
    All I am saying is that you and I both well know the rumours that are circulating. If they amount to nothing then so be it. If not then its a cover up. Either way this is not healthy debate and transparency. The truth will out in the end and if it proves we were all being spun…. then that is unhealthy and if it proves we were being ‘protected’ from defamitory information then that is bad too. Don’t you agree?

  • Harry J

    graylings comments not hitting bbc election site and on question time

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/election2010/liveevent/

    see 22.15 comments

  • alan56

    PS.
    I really don’t think this is a party political issue

  • Harry J

    All I am saying is that you and I both well know the rumours that are circulating.

    no alan i dont, please id love to know what they are

  • The Raven

    Anyway getting back to the topic, because to-ing and fro-ing over the duplicity of political parties will get us nowhere….

  • I am not one bit interested in the reason why Adrian Watson did not get selected by the Joint Committee. I accept that the decision was unanimous and not the result of a veto by the Conservatives. I also accept there were other reasons for the non-selection. That should be that.

    Now onto the wider issue – homophobia. Firstly, a note about the Conservative Party and why open homophobia is likely to be a bar to selection.

    Historically, the Conservative Party has been regarded as the party of multiple bigotry. “The nasty party” was one of the euphamisms for a party which had a racist and homophobic wing. Enoch Powell epitomised Conservative racism with his speeches in the late 1960s. Although Margaret Thatcher was certainly not racist, she was attacked as being racist whenever she raised the issue of immigration. It took a long time to shake off the racist tag. Michael Howard, who was of Jewish descent and related to victims of the Holocaust, had the necessary credentials to satisfy people once and for all, that the conservatives were not a racist party.

    David Cameron has made giant strides in the direction of moving Conservative Party away from being regarded as homophobic. One of his speeches, acknowledging the importance of marriage included a reference to Civil Partnerships.

    The Conservative Party has not been a sectarian party in living memory. However, the Conservatives have taken a risk by allowing selection of the UCUNF candidates that are members of the Orange Order. You can be absolutely sure that the Labour Party will try to exploit that fact indirectly during the campaign. That is why any whiff of bigotry on any other front is totally unacceptable.

    I am particularly surprised by Chris Grayling’s comments. To me, that smacks of incompetence as a politician. I would be very surprised if he was appointed as Home Secretary in Mr. Cameron’s first cabinet.

    Homophobics are probably more numerous amongst Unionists. Liam Clarke once described “Vile Unionist Homophobia”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article666585.ece

    as the reason why the UK Government would not let the Assembly get in the way of the enactment of the Civil Partnerships Act in Northern Ireland. I cant speak for Sir Reg but if he is homophobic and wants to be a UCUNF candidate, he would be well advised to keep his mouth shut on the subject.

  • granni trixie

    Does this include Lady H?. It amazes me that she is not considered in the same light.

  • alan56

    Harry

    Just trying to have a sensible discussion. If you don’t know the rumours that are circulating then I suspect you are in the wrong blog. Ah well it seems debate is dead. If you wait a while I suppose you will be able to catch up. If you send me you’re phone number I will tell you in confidence.

  • alan56

    Wonder how many of our politicians have had extra marital affairs and indeed who cares?

  • Harry J

    If you send me you’re phone number I will tell you in confidence.
    Posted by alan56 on Apr 07, 2010 @ 10:29 PM

    if its a rumour then why tell me in confidence? if you belive it to be true then say it, if y ou believe it to be a lie then dont.

  • The Raven

    Seymour, that really is all very noble and admirable, but in this case…or the other in England, I think there is more to it.

    Grayling said: “I think we need to allow people to have their own consciences…I took the view that if it’s a question of somebody who’s doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn’t come into their own home. If they are running a hotel on the High Street, I really don’t think that it is right in this day and age that a gay couple should walk into a hotel and be turned away because they are a gay couple, and I think that is where the dividing line comes.”

    This chap voted for civil partnerships. He voted for the very law that is supposed to stop B&B owners discrimating. And yet to read here, you would think that both he and Adrian Watson – and more importantly Adrian Watson’s wife who raised the objection in the first place – had rampaged through a gay bar with a shotgun and a crucifix.

    He may be at odds with the party line. There may well be homophobes in the UUP. There are certainly, in my perception, plenty of them in the DUP, or Paul Berry could have had a massage in peace. But yet again, we have the problem of the one-size-fits-all law, in a society (moreso across the water) where Christians feel that they are pressurised out of the system for their own faith and beliefs.

    Incompetence, Seymour? I personally would like to see more individual views coming forward from politicians. That way we might be getting some laws which actually meet the needs of a multi-faith/ethnic/sexuality society, rather than the one-size-fits-all regulations that we constantly get now.

    There you go. I’ll just sit back now and wait for Harry J to call me anti-gay.

  • Harry J

    raven, im just pointing out the hypocrisy of the UUP/TOries.

    Watson gets punished for something reg and grayling support.

  • alan56

    Harry J
    If you know anything about how the legal system works then you will know very well why its impossible to talk about these things in a public forum. Just to challenge me or anyone else to come clean is fine but its not the whole story and people out there know that. ‘Put up or shut up’ was once the defence but I think many now see through that. As you well know I am not making any allegations but the prevailing climate of ‘nods’ and ‘winks’ is not healthy.

  • slug

    alan-I would drop the innuendo. It’s gutter stuff and yuo are better than that.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Harry, the rumours can’t be legally repeated.

    If those are the rumours that everyone appears to know, then please don’t mention them or even hint at them. I made a reference to the matter a few days ago – unintentionally I might add – and a whole post of mine was pulled. The legal threat is very serious.

    The ridiculousness of this censorship (which has been forced on the media) is being taken to new heights by the presence of the internet.

  • alan56

    slug
    Are you serious… have you read the threads on here? Just hoping for some honesty. BTW I have not made any allegations about anyone or contributed to the innuendo. But to deny that there is none is fantasy.I despise the sideways swipes against anyone but to ignore the ‘elephant in the room’ is disingenuous. Lets play fair I say

  • slug

    Alan

    This whole thread is very tacky. Ignore the rumours and focus on the actual issues that are decided at Westminster.

  • alan56

    Slug
    The thread may well be tacky. The question is about being hyprocitical. All parties need to look in their own back yard before prounouncing on moral issues. Lets have some honesty. Whats so wrong with that?

  • joeCanuck

    They don’t make them like the Duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesley)anymore: Publish and be damned.
    Instead they run off to the courts to get an injunction against the tart publishing and….

  • Sammy Morse

    I’m not sure what’s so grubby about this thread, Slug. One of the reasons I released this is that I’ve been in exactly this position – his nibs and I being met with suprise and dismay at a guest house when they found out the double room that nice man had booked on the phone was actually for two men. I’m not sure that we wouldn’t have been turned away if the SORs weren’t in force and hadn’t received such wonderful publicity thanks to their opponents. In the end, we all got on famously, perhaps each walking away thinking that evangelical guest house owners and gay couples respectively were a tad more decent than we may have previously thought.

    And the Chris Grayling solution would have been no solution for us. It was a Friday in summer and every hotel in town was booked out. We would have faced a frantic evening phoning and driving around the Fermanagh countryside or a two hour drive back to Belfast. And had we been from outside Northern Ireland, who knows what we would have said about the place when we got back home.

    Taken to extremes, political correctness can be extremely stupid, but at it’s core is the idea of treating people decently no matter who they are or where they come from. To me, that’s not such a bad basis for people to relate to one another in the public sphere.

    There is a principled libertarian ground for opposing laws like the SORs. I disagree with that view, but at least it’s a principled one. I am not hearing that articulated here. For example, I am not hearing anyone defend the right of guest house owners to refuse a room to a black couple or a Protestant couple, however regrettable that may be, on property rights grounds. What I am hearing is homophobia, pure and simple.

    I would have thought those claiming a right to exclude gay people from accommodation would join the majority of their Evangelical brethren in wanting to project an image in accordance with the biblical principles of living in peace with all as far as possible, going the extra mile and loving their neighbours as themselves. But then what do I know.

  • Sammy Morse

    And the BBC has just confirmed what many of us thought – Adrian Watson’s comments were just an excuse to throw him under a bus so Reg could get the South Antrim nomination.

  • Cynic2

    Sammy

    So which is the candidate most likely to win? Reg or an almost unknown guest house owner?

  • Garza

    Sammy the day the government tell you who you can or cannot have in your own house is the day we should all be scared.

  • Cynic2

    Sammy

    I agree completely and I think that once you start running a business from home it becomes a place of work and the law should apply to you – and it is a just law – no-one should be discriminated against in this way.

    Yes, a lot of this threat has been juvenile and grubby. It appears that there is allegedly something legally going on around allegations and when that happens things do get grubby as people try to find a way around the restrictions. This isn’t new. The case of the King and Mrs Simpson comes to mind. Whatever it is eventually truth will out.

    I just wish NI could reach a point where people can be comfortable enough to be themselves, whoever they are and whatever they may be.

  • The Raven

    “Sammy the day the government tell you who you can or cannot have in your own house is the day we should all be scared.”

    But to a degree, and what I alluded to earlier, that has already happened.

    “I just wish NI could reach a point where people can be comfortable enough to be themselves, whoever they are and whatever they may be.”

    And simply playing devil’s advocate – where do (and I use only this as an example – I take on board the “substitute gay for black” argument) a B&B-owning couple using their own home for business purposes fit into that – when they feel they are vilified for being “comfortable enough to be themselves”…?

    Anyway. It’s all conjecture.

  • Sammy Morse

    Sammy the day the government tell you who you can or cannot have in your own house is the day we should all be scared.

    Governments have always, and probably always will, possess powers that should rightly scare any citizen. Running a business from home involves tangling with government at its scariest. Have you ever heard what happens to some poor cratur sole trader who had poor filing systems and then got hit with a VAT inspection? That’s the nature of the beast.

    I’m not an anarchist of a minarchist libertarian, so I accept that governments are going to have the *capacity* to do terrible things. That’s why free elections, a free media, freedom of assembly, free speech and similar freedoms we take too much for granted are so important, so we can make sure they don’t act on that capacity, and are brought to book when they do.

    In the past, some guest houses refused to take in guests who were black. That is now illegal. Are you seriously telling me it’s wrong that that’s now illegal?

  • Marlaghman

    Reggie is standing in south antrim but will not be staying in any B&B’s

  • Drumlins Rock

    its amazing how a total non-story can keep yous talking for hours!

  • Framer

    Do I detect a serious amount of homophobia from people who suggest or hint at homosexual episodes as inherently wrong?

  • joeCanuck

    The Government is not, in any way, telling you whom you can have in your home. They are telling you that if you use part of your house for business purposes you cannot discriminate against people on certain grounds. If, for example, a loud drunk arrives at your B&B, you can refuse admittance.

    I have taken the liberty of equating “your own house” with “home”.

  • Driftwood

    Well I got Reg at 3/1, Naomi at 100/1 (with sidebet on probable winner Trevor Ringland at 4/1)Lesley in East Londonderry at 7/1 and a few others at odds on (Sylvia at 1/3).

    I had Bayern, Inter, Lyon and Barca to go through to semis so i must be doing something right.

    Watson was/is wrong. The DUP might see Blcks/Catholics/Gays/atheists etc as aberrations but we live in the United Kingdom, not little ulster. And therein lies the difference.

  • Driftwood

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8608573.stm

    So there we go. Inter (Willie) with their ‘coming in from behind’ record and managed by the special one- against Barcelona (Sir Reg)- has he got the Messi magic?

  • Comrade Stalin

    UCUNF like Alliance have grown up as parties do.

    Framer, I’m sorry to drag this out, but can you explain this one more time. I must be a slow learner.

    How is an isolated stupid action by an ex-Alliance councillor in violation of party policy, equivalent to Sir Reg, all of his MLAs, and apparently the South Antrim membership, voting in favour of striking down legislation that enshrines equality ?

  • NMCNSA

    Driftwood excellent comment.
    Its a valid point though. After the questions about Adrian, Would Willie McCrea let a gay couple stay in a B&B if he owned it?

  • Framer

    Comrade

    Seamus Close was not just a councillor but an MLA and deputy party leader at one time. His successor MLA Trevor Lunn voted with him as did another Alliance councillor so it was neither isolated nor went challenged within the party.

  • Cynic2

    “The DUP might see Blcks/Catholics/Gays/atheists etc as aberrations ”

    Driftwood

    I bet it would be different if they were developers with worthless slivers of land.