South Belfast UUP dump another of their Westminster candidates…

UUP banner logo - slightly croppedI cannot think of another political party that would spend the money and effort on a candidate in one election, only to dump them in the next. And Paula Bradshaw could be forgiven for wondering whether Reg Empey meant it when he promised the Ulster Unionist party would prioritise bringing women into the Assembly party.

To be fair to Sir Reg he is no longer leader. And by all accounts he will shortly be giving up his ministerial post. But his great ambition for bringing new faces just two years ago now lies in tatters.

Last night the South Belfast Ulster Unionist Association unceremoniously dumped their impressive Westminster candidate Paula Bradshaw into fourth place, making it unlikely her name will be one of the three to go forward to party headquarters to be put on the candidates list.

It means that Michael McGimpsey will have a free run for the only seat the party is likely to get in next year’s Assembly elections. Bradshaw was the only other candidate with sufficient exposure and traction with the voters of south Belfast to make it past the winning post.

She’s not the only Westminster candidate to be dumped by the party. Harry Hamilton has been dumped, ostensibly in favour of Harold McCusker’s son, Colin. And with a recount pending in East Londonderry, the odds may be turning against Lesley Macaulay in favour of the incumbent, David McClarty.

It creates the impression of a party now in full flight from the future, resiling to the names and faces they (and we) have known for several generations. Accordingly it is likely to remain what it has been for some time now: a dwindling and aging gentlemen only club. Until death (or the Alliance party) do it part.

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  • Comrade Stalin

    Don’t forget “where did God come from?”

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    “There you have it. It’s the DUP’s fault because Jim Allister said so.”

    You will need a new line when the UUP and the OO say the same.

  • Granni Trixie

    FJH: like some others here, you appear to have a false idea of how politics works. From my experience, if someone publically expresses dissatisfaction with their current party (say the UUP) there would not be overtures to that
    person(s) from (say,Alliance. Rather, that individual could approach Alliance to ask to join if they were so inclined. In recent years for instance 2 people defected from SDLP to APNI. One was already a local councillor and another worked his way up to being selected and is now a Councillor. This is different to doing deals eg targetting and saying “if you join APNI you will be selected as a candidate” or we will give you such and such a position on one of our bodies. They would have to take their chances like anybody else. Scooping up a swathe of UUP notables as you portray aint gonna happen.

  • Greenflag

    ‘If they go back past 1517, all members of the party and OO will automatically become Roman Catholics. ‘

    Has’nt the RC Church got enough problems ? The titanic is sinking . Throwing any more dead weight on board will not refloat the boat . It might however expedite the sinking . Full speed astern then to 1517 Captain 😉

  • Greenflag

    ‘Time for Integration with mainland UK.’

    The Chihuahua may long to mate with Mr Great Dane but if the Great Dane says I’ m not for turning or stooping to your level and anyway that Irish setter over there looks more attractive theres not a lot Mr Chihuahua Molyneux can do about it eh ? I believe he tried for almost two decades and even with Enoch Powell’s assistance the Great Dane ( a notorious bitch ) when in heat went off to sign the Anglo Irish Agreement instead !

    SF alas know exactly where the UK is and where it isn’t . The BNP do not get and are unlikeley ever to get over 30% of the vote in the UK whereas SF exceed 50% in quite a few NI constituencies .

    Poor analogy Drift even if your general thesis re the poverty of NI political though and the backwardness of it’s politics are credible enough at least to an outsider.

  • Outsider

    Getting rid of Paula Bradshaw is an extremely good movie, she performed very poorly at the Westminster elections and she broke party disciplinary rules when she wrote a condescending letter in the Newsletter following Tom Elliott’s election as leader.

    If the UUP can weed out more people like this such as McCallister and Ringland, they will be the better party for it.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Given that the election of Tommo looks like a victory for ‘traditional unionist values’ (sectarianism) over its ‘liberal’ wing perhaps there will be some in the DUP who may be unhappy with their recent souring of relations with the OO and the fact that they are bedding down with SF and might now see the new firmer leadership and crpyto-anti agreement UUP as more atractive.

  • slug

    Progressive politics is a bit overused. But SDLP is more progressive (after watching Conal last night) than SF and UUP is more than DUP (not difficult).

    That said I do think some in the DUP are good and reasonably progressive – Sammy Wilson I like.

    I used to see UUP’s role as being the best vehicle for progressives to actually enter a large party and achieve something. Trimble did this. Others in UUPs history too.

    But now I see UUP’s role as opposition party to DUP and Alliance, getting bigger, have a role of challenging conservative politics.

    If enough people vote Alliance, then politics changes. Each MLAs from Alliance challengest the consensus.

    A hard task though, but Naomi and Anna Lo shows what can be done in terms of increasing representation.

  • slug


  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Post GFA integration will require the consent of the Plain People of Ireland (North and South) and that will not be forthcoming.

  • Outsider

    Nobody who is a Unionist can vote Alliance, what do they actually stand for except wishy washy left wing liberalism?

    Did the UUP learn no lessons from the previous elections? They fielded the most left wing liberal bunch of candidates ever and came back with their worst ever result.

  • Granni Trixie

    They way Basil responded to tricky questions on the news this morning leads me to think he has been offered a sweeetie. Ostensibly, he was to be talking about a Stormont Committee which he chairs. But ofcourse they asked him about Bradshaw and about Tom Es ‘no gays about the place’ attitude. Unlike Trev he did not get tore in, glossing over these q’s diplomatically! More experienced than Trev, I would have expected him to shaft whilst not appeearing to do so whilst instead he sailed through the questions.

    So it could be a Ministry for Basil and/or a place at the top table of the UUP. Surely changing Ministers at this particular time when cuts have to be negotiated would be really bad timing? And bad judgement.

    But before you all say it, this is just my speculation (but you heard it here first should I be right).

  • fin

    “As British as Fish and Chips” was the election slogan, sadly today the verdict is “You’ve had your chips”

    Is it true that Tom “We’re Doomed” Elliott has retreated to the Tora Bora region of Fermanagh and is planning a Maoist revolution among the rural farming community.

  • fin

    “Getting rid of Paula Bradshaw is an extremely good movie”

    Geez the film is out already…..

  • fin

    Could be right Sammy, I think Turgon has been making those eyes at him!!!

  • Wouldn’t describe McGimpsey as ‘traditional’. Core to Trimble period etc. Bradshaw was Westminster because McGimpsey probably made correct choice not to ‘lose’ an election and with double-jobbing on the agenda etc picked Assembly over Westminster.

  • Seriously? First chance to trough with the rest of them and Ford rushed to the feeding tray.

  • GoldenFleece

    Yeah slug, I can’t think what the alliance actually stand for other than non-secretarism. Which while a noble aim in during the troubles is not what a political party should be. Like the UUP, Alliance is a big tent – full of socialists, liberals even a few conservatives dotted about. Big tent parties are always victim to changing societies, like the UUP is finding out now and what Alliance will eventually find out. At least Alliance can take comfort that they will outlive the UUP though.

  • JOHN

    who is playing paula in the hollywood blockbuster?

  • Framer

    Alliance’s history suggests it got Catholic votes in buckets in the early days but the rise of nationalism put an end to that.

    Remember they had councillors in west Belfast where the SDLP now has difficulty in getting them. Their presence west of the Bann was almost always non-existent.

    Once an area reaches a critical Catholic percentage, those voters switch to nationalist parties, first the SDLP and then Sinn Fein.

    Cross-community politics no longer matter when the Prods are dying off or departing. So Alliance MLAs are all from a ring in and around Belfast in Protestant majority constituencies.

  • Yes, but the interesting thing about Bradshaw is that even after a respectable showing in the general election she still came fourth in her constituency vote. Fourth! That’s not losing out to an incumbent, that’s a calculated insult.

  • john greene

    Granni – thats not the way I saw basil’s interview.
    As always he committed to nothing and left himself open to defecting if he wants

  • slug

    Good grief. What a sectarian dinosaur.

  • cynic47

    Thought that the letter in the News Letter displayed bad judgement. When people start to believe their own propaganda and the false back slapping from those around them they forget that sometimes silence speaks a thousand words.

    Ms Bradshaw had the opportunity of a political lifetime to receive the endorsement of two parties to stand for a Westminster seat that she must have quite fancied getting her hands on. Why would she now want an Assembly seat? Is it not logical that she should concentrate on the greater things that she aspired to and continue to grow a profile between now and the next Westminster election? Of course if she is merely another political opportunist seeking paid politcal office anywhere then I could understand her saying that she is considering her future in politics. Politicans understand setbacks but opportunists can’t handle anything that upsets their ambitious plans.

  • Shamie Og O’Britsout

    I think you make a good point. We nationalists are happy for stupid wish washy types to vote in the Alliance in Unionist areas (and so keep out another prod MLA). But when it comes to our areas the Alliance are ignored, and crash and burn.

  • DC


  • fitzjameshorse1745

    On the contrary Granni Trixie, I think I have a pretty good idea how Politics works. I think my record here speaks for itself.
    But you seem to be mis-reading what I am saying.
    First off on Parsley. I think Comrade Stalin and I are reading this differently from you. Of course he could re-join the Party. I pose the question would they take him back? Well of course they would.
    But would the Party give him any kind of chance of representing them again after the fiasco of 2009 Euros. Maybe…but Comrade Stalin (your party colleague) and I tend to agree that many activists would not stomache. In fact his political career is now over. From being the AP candidate in Europe with I suspect an eye to MLA in 2011…..he blew it by throwing in his lot with “conservatives” within the UUP. In January it would still have looked a reasonable prospect as a UUP man within the assembly and possibly even an outside chance of MP for North own if Hermon had stood down.
    But these conservatives over-talked themselves and are now a minority within the UUP which is hell bent on self destruction.
    Parsley could still be a candidate in North Down next year or enough “conservatives” might jump ship in North Down leaving him unlikely to get the nod in Elliotts UUP. He might himself stand as a Conservative and get a quota…but being one of three or four Tories in Stormont is prolly not what he had in mind..and a Tory Party which will implode anyway.

    As to the broader question of ex UUP people fetching up in the Alliance Party. Again this seems to be almost an internal debate that AP is having. Again I think Comrade Stalin reads it better. If these people were naturally AP they would already be there. I cant see them rushing to join…..and while AP should pick up recruits it would be foolish to have a Press Conference where Ford triumphantly announces that Ringland, Bradshaw, Hamilton, Parsley (again), McCrea and Macauley were now AP people along with a handful of councillors.
    I make the point that if these mostly very public “conservatives” join with AP (mostly to save careers) then it would not be good in the long term for AP. These careers (in the hard ball world of politics which you think I dont understand) NEED to be sacrificed. The people who vote for these people are the REAL prize for the Alliance Party. Again as Comrade Stalin points out its a long game but with UUP committing very public poilitical suicide and a Conservative Party being a non starter, these votes will trickle thru to AP without any “poaching”. It will take more than one election of course but its on the cards.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    A point that I have often made. When Catholics see a nationalist quota they desert Alliance. But the West Belfast thing is a bit misleading. Remember in 1973 when AP won an Assembly seat SDLP only took two. and assorted unionists (Laird, Smyth, Coulter) took the other three. Republican abstentionism cost nationalists a seat.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    just to add that if we take 5% of the vote as having a viable presence Alliance had such a presence in 11 of 12 constituencies in its early days. Including votes of around 7% to 8% in South Down and Armagh and Derry. They most certainly DID have a presence and likely to do so again as the UUP implodes.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    The Media like Basil.
    He is a politician……Ringland is not a politician.
    The question is however how many Ministerial cars will be at the disposal of Tom Elliotts Party. Only two at the moment and while that may not change….its unlikely to be three(could even be one). With Elliott a shoo-in for one……that leaves Basil not very secure.
    Where would that leave McGimpsey? Kennedy? Cobain? and UUP is not exactly over-burdened with talent.
    I dont think McCrea has got anything from Elliott.
    Nor do I think he was pitching anything at Elliott. Just looking like a loyal party member for a different wider audience. An appeal to “liberals” not to leave.
    There will likely be another election for UUP leader when Elliott leads them over the cliff next year.

  • Cynic

    “Don’t forget “where did God come from?”

    They already know that – he didn’t but we don’t tell anyone that:-

    1 in case it scares them

    2 because otherwise we would have to think up some RATIONAL basis for some of our policies

    Hey, perhaps its immoral, but that’s politics for you

  • Granni Trixie

    FJH: I stand corrected (but unchastrened!) to some extent in that I now see that you have a sound reading of ‘the IJP case’. You could also be correct in claiming that CS and I see things differently (suspect that in general I out-moderate him).

    But it just does not make sense to me to say that “anyone Alliance inclined would already be there”. Is there a core of “pure” or “real” Alliance appealing to a particular kind of person? I think not. Believe me when I say that I am constantly surprised at the variety of thinking I come across in the party,much of it unlike my own. What comes into play are dynamics connected to particular values etc which people contribute to and are influenced by. So I guarantee that someone who left one party to join APNI would end up different.
    Also, if a full blown unionist/UUP person joined Alliance they would surely have to be prepared to give up something.
    Now that I think about it, it must be a bit like joining a new church.

  • Munsterview


    Retired and my own time scale. Blessing and curse of the net….live academic and other exchanges with North America must be on their on their time scale. Was never much of a morning person anyway, but 100% Munster based!

  • Munsterview


    “…..Maybe…but Comrade Stalin (your party colleague)…..”

    Interesting that…… very interesting indeed. Would not have associated rudeness with Alliance…..Ah well, live and learn I suppose !

    Must re-evaluate my image of granni t standing at the table with flour on her dimples making apple pies and dashing off the odd comment to slugger while they are baking !

    Image of taking the big carving knife quietly from the cutlery drawer misplaced ?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Yes, as Turgers is more TUV than DUP maybe Tommo is casting his net even further.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    “Now that I think about it, it must be a bit like joining a new church”.

    Actually when I was thinking of precedents earlier in this thread I was tempted to include the example of the likes of Anne Widdicombe and John Selwyn Gummer leaving the Church of England to join the Catholic Church.
    As they entered thru the front door loudly proclaiming that the CofE was too liberal…a lot of liberal minded Catholics decided to leave thru the side door.
    In other words Widdicome and Gummer and the like change the nature of the Catholic Church.

    My point is that Ringland, Bradshaw and the rest WOULD (if the numbers were big enough) bring some change to AP values.
    Best case scenario perhaps is McCrea, Parsley etc staying on in UUP getting elected and then leaving the Party to set up a UPNI (Faulkner type party) a rump………they would not get elected if they wore their real colours….which is possibly why Elliott is anxious to keep the likes of Bradshaw off the UUP ticket…..and why McCrea is anxious to be on it.
    Better for Elliott if the dissenters leave before the Assembly Elections than be a trojan horse after it…when a few gather round Basil in the Geat Hall to “sadly” (sic) announce their decision to go.
    Now of course thats good news for the centre ground. But AP can get those “liberal votes” (as the Belmont Bowling Club experience in May clearly shows) WITHOUT having the baggage of damaged good UUP politicians.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    while they are baking.

    Having referenced both GT and CS in the same post are you suggesting their alliance is not purely political?

  • FJH,

    That’s the second time you’ve got Parsley’s affiliation wrong.

  • dennis

    UUP is more (progressive) than DUP (not difficult)

    reallly in what way?

    Which party has no female assembly members? which party had members who banned gays from a B+B? which party criticised a muslim for being made head of the BBCs religious affairs. Which party leader has ruled out going to a GAA match?

    Progressive? Shurely not?

  • Munsterview


    All political parties have an ideal image they collectively believe and wish to project and then there is the reality of how that party is perceived by other political parties and especially by the electorate it needs to appeal to.

    In all my conversations with Northern Nationalists and Catholics I have seldom heard of Alliance regarded as other than Unionists with a small ‘u’.

    There may be situations where there will be a ‘put them in to keep the others out’ vote in catholic / nationalist circles but while the unionist / nationalist divide continue in Northern politics, that nationalist perception will continue in mass, whatever of individuals and pockets voters who will, for whatever reason, vote outside the box.

    Recall the South and what Macmillan referred to as ‘events dear boy, events’ At the outbreak of the 1916 revolution politics was still by in large the Unionist / Nationalist divide with some Labor and stagnated in a stymied situation that uncannily parallels the current Northern situation in that Unionists could then stymie then Commons as they now do Stormount.

    Within a few short years in the Twenty Six these political moulds had been shattered and the old certainties gone. The former ‘Big Beast’ parties and names that dominated the political landscape then and for previous decades were gone and forgotten.

    Politics must be relevant, if not they must be simply radical or redundant ! To be radical they need to have outreach. A party needs a growing voting electorate in its traditional base or to have an outreach to attract new voters.

    My personal feeling is that most nationalists will see all this speculation of possible transfers from the UUP to Alliance as ‘changing rooms in the same house.’ ……. or more to the point, moving deck-chairs in the Unionist Titanic !

  • Munsterview

    “…..They fielded the most left wing liberal bunch of candidates ever….”

    “God between us all and small praties” as my late grandmother would say!

    ‘Outsider’ what planet did you drop in from anyway and just how right wing ate things back home ?

    ‘..left wing liberal bunch…’ ……the mind surely boggles!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Mr Gallagher,
    Personally I wouldnt use the words Parsley” an “affiliation” in the same sentence.
    He was AP.
    Hell will freeze over before I use the UNCCF thingy. Anybody who took the time to learn the unwieldy handle wasted precious days of their lives. It will never be seen again
    Parsley was within the same Party as the UUP and is a “Tory”.
    If you spotted me “getting” it wrong twice, you can look forward to me getting it wrong again and again.

    Its a sorry lot of folks who tried to change the face of the UUP by tying up with the Tories. Yet in January, February, March, many posters here talked them up. You gotta laugh.

  • Munsterview

    Oh my goodness no !

    Just shows the pitfalls that await for an innocent Southerner commenting on unionist politics !

    However now that you have broached to the subject and given Irisgate and ‘Big Maggie’ trying for particular items of male clothing and now this that you have zeroed in on this, the thought did cross my mind, is it possible that politics is only a secondary occupation in unionist circles ?

    Just what are they up to behind closed doors ?

  • Granni Trixie

    FGH: gsoh is tops in my book.But I fear its lost to many here (pearls to swine?).

  • Comrade Stalin

    OK, so if Ruari O’Bradaigh criticizes SF and calls them traitors, we should take him seriously ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m not sure my views are that different from GT’s on this matter. But I agree with most of what you are saying here.

    On the question “Would Alliance take Parsley back”, I don’t see anybody arguing that the party would not, as a member. What I am less sure about is whether or not it would be possible for him to run as a candidate. How could we as a party ask our supporters to vote for a guy who switched sides twice within the space of as many years ? It’s politically not possible, even if we did manage to find a way to smooth over ruffled fur and let bygones be bygones etc – not a trivial matter in itself.

    It’s sad though, because (as you have said) the guy really did shoot himself in the foot in so many ways. North Down could have worked out so nicely. He’d still be friends with Sylvia and something could possibly have been worked out to obtain her support/endorsement in the future which may well have led to him being an (Alliance) MP. Those bridges have all been burnt, and that is the really unforgiveable part. The thing is that when I knew him in the party he did have a rather incisive knack for seeing what worked and what didn’t, and I remember having a few good discussions about presentation and what messages were the right ones to get across. There are a number of theories as to why he suddenly seemed to lose those, I’ll leave those as an exercise for the viewer at home.

    The really interesting part is that there is a recent, rather sad and reflective, series of entries on his blog where is observing that (a) neither he nor the Conservative Party can work with the Elliott-led UUP, (b) he has ruled out running as a UUP candidate, (c) the Conservative Party appear to be completely ignoring Northern Ireland and Scotland, where he observes that an allegation in The Scotsman that David Cameron hasn’t spoken to the Scottish Conservative leader since May, and (d) that if the Tories and UUP don’t sort themselves out he will be voting Alliance. I’m sure among all that there is a tinge of regret at was a badly thought out decision.

    If by “internal debate” you mean some sort of meeting intended by delegates where lots of people are advocating or discussing the question of whether or not UUP types should be wooed or head-hunted, I can tell you categorically that this isn’t happening. I am sure the matter is discussed among party members, much as Granni and I are discussing it (publicly) here. I am also quite sure that most people would be of the same conclusion. I would be up for headhunting people who had a work ethic, a track record with the electorate, or some other kind of special talent or skill. That doesn’t apply to any of the UUP “liberals” I can think of, most of whom have nothing beyond the fact that they are nice people. I definitely would not be up for headhunting people who run to the papers and dump on the party because they think that they have some sort of entitlement to take a shortcut and get themselves a safe seat somewhere without spending the years toiling on councils and/or as researchers or assistants, just because they are either a woman or a prod who likes GAA. So that would rule out Bradshaw and Ringland, and I daresay a few others as well.

    As GT is saying we have actually had a few approaches from people in the past where they’ve said “if I defect will you give me a job/support my nomination/x/y/z”. In all cases that I’ve been aware of the answer has been “no, you will be made very welcome in our party but you will have to make your own case”. I could never see the party putting out a press release about a defection, not unless it was a sitting MLA or MP (that’s not going to happen). I’m not up for stroking egos.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Interesting that…… very interesting indeed. Would not have associated rudeness with Alliance…..Ah well, live and learn I suppose !

    I have a low tolerance level for dipshits. But why don’t you go and jerk off some more about how to congratulated John Hume in the name of the Irish people.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Is it not logical that she should concentrate on the greater things that she aspired to and continue to grow a profile between now and the next Westminster election?

    I think this is the most important point.

    This is the problem with the UUP liberals, there is an entitlement complex going on there. If you look at most of our high profile politicians in NI, they are folks who spent many years toiling away, losing elections here and there until they eventually began winning. As far as I know none of these people have worked in politics or made any serious attempts to obtain political office further down the trough.

    If you pin all your hopes on one shot and then throw your toys out of the pram when it doesn’t work out, you’re not fit to be in politics.

    Aside from all that there was some incredible naivety on display from the UCUNF candidates. They seemed to genuinely think that you could make a boil-in-the-bag political career by just applying a formula and then waiting for the results. Take a nice person, add the Tories, talk about tribal politics and “new”ness, and hey presto you start winning seats. The fact that they are all so disappointed and all talking about quitting politics at this early stage shows how green they really are and shows how they completely overestimated themselves.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I don’t want to overcook Alliance’s success here. There is a real danger of people getting complacent. These candidates are doing well, perhaps to some extent because some people are beginning to believe the Alliance message is one whose time has come, but because people like Anna and Naomi, and indeed Sean and David, are people who roll up their sleeves and run a good constituency service. There are people in the UUP who understand this and (food for thought) they seem to be the people who are aligned with Elliott.

  • Comrade Stalin

    what do they actually stand for except wishy washy left wing liberalism?

    Yup, we completely agree – Alliance cannot and never will be able to obtain the support of people who find the concept of nuance to be abhorrent.

  • Comrade Stalin

    FJH, are you sure you don’t have that backwards ? To me the church attracting someone like Widdecombe says more about them than it does about her. What sort of change do you think they would cause ? In other places I might interpret your observation as “you can’t trust those sneaky ex-Prods who surely must have ulterior motives”. And this stuff doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The best contribution I remember reading was the one where a UCUNF supporter argued that, after triumphing here in NI, the party should begin to expand to the remaining 3 Ulster counties. And there was of course David McNarry’s prediction that the party would win, what was it, six seats ? I also loved being lectured about how Alliance were running scared.

    Where the fuck is Shilliday when you need him ?

  • Granni Trixie

    Ringland brings to mind a general point which gave rise to conflict in ‘the peace movement’/cr groups during the troubles. You can even go back to a the NUM in 69 for this. I am referring to what to some peace activists was “dirty politics”,infact it lead to a split when Oliver Napier et al broke away from NUM to form the APNI.

    Then there was a small group in the Peace People (when McKeown came back again!) in mid 90s who set up a new party to contest the elections (called “Democratic Something”). It got few votes. But there were many other individuals who on occasion threw their hat in the ring of politics as prospective independent candidates. They never got anywhere either as a rule (eg EB _ David Bleakley, June Campion etc). TR fits this mould insofar as he was active in community relations work but unusal in joining a political party. In practice the two identities dont seem to mix in the publics eyes.

    There is also however a strand (like myself,usually women) who take backseat roles in formal politics, CR/Peace activism AND integrated schools movement. Reminds me I once attended PP Talks around 1994 when Trimble in addressing a full room full of activists, managed to slag off all these arenas. Had style that man.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Well back in early months of this year,I was new here and frankly the names of contributors didnt mean much to me in terms of party affiliation. Actually they still dont mean a lot as very few are as open as say you and Granni Trixie. And anyway, I am not hung up on labels.
    But its clear that many of UUPs loudest cheerleaders are lying low with embarrassment. Some continue to plough the same integrationalist furrow.
    Gotta admire that…you dont see that kinda irrational optimism every day.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    You know AP statistics better than I do but its established that in the western democracies membership of political parties is in decline while membership of community orientated or charities or pressure groups are rising.

    The NUM was in a sense a pressure group and they dont always translate effectively into political parties. I suppose thats to be expected as a pressure group is effectively single issue while political parties are necessarily more complex.
    Certainly my limited experience of folks wh were in NUM (and in fairness Im talking of people I knew and havent seen in 20 years) is that they are still a little sore at those who went “political” in the Alliance Party. Napier in particular…..well actually ONLY Napier…who some seem to dismiss as an opportunist.
    Clearly I cant comment as I never formally met him and theres at least as much credible evidence to suggest that he was NOT an opportunist.
    McKeown I have met….its important to realise that he was largely instrumental as a journalist in giving some organisation to the Peace People. Certainly his comeback as a foreground figure rather than a backround figure changed the dynamics of the Peace People…amid a lot of acrimony.
    There IS a theory to be worked out here……NUM/AP …PeacePeople/PeacePeople with attitude.
    Can we go back further?
    If the NUM begat the AP (with NUM dissidents claiming there is no legitimacy) …I think AP can claim a kind of legitimacy from then.
    the same might be said of the NICRA…..some of their disparate membership might attempt to deny the SDLP are the legitimate inheritors of that movement.
    Actually there is a parallel. Whether AP or SDLP claim inheritence…..they are certainly the benefactors of that inheritence.
    Amusing as it is to hear SF-IRA speak of their roles in NICRA….always more amusing when they were supporting NICRA from their mothers womb.
    Amusing as it is to hear the old students from QUB talk up their role.
    But i throw out this thought…….not thought thru by myself…..if the NUM (pressure group) indirectly begat AP (political party) was the NIWC a step back into a pressure group. Eating into AP vote in say South Belfast they were I think a step back from politics. While there are serious academic works going on analysing NIWC, it might just be too soon.
    But certainly a lot the vitriol Ive heard against NIWC seems to come from AP members.

  • slug have you joined alliance.??

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Yes I am surprisingly unpopular on Slugger. Cant think why 🙂

  • Progressive Unionist

    Completely respect your viewpoint Slug. That said, I’m sure you’ll consider carefully a decision of such magnitude.

    Personally, I’ve also been impressed with the likes of Anna Lo, Naomi Long and by their willingness to advance younger candidates like Brendan Heading. I’d be tempted to vote Alliance (if tens of thousands of us do it, it may get the UUP back on track), but probably not join them – but that’s just me.

    We’ve each got our own mind to make up and I suppose many ‘moderate/liberal/progressive’ UUP folks will be having some long dark nights of the soul in the months ahead, unless Tom Elliott suddenly surprises us all somehow.

    For what it’s worth, I think the best argument for staying in the UUP and arguing the corner is that Elliott’s politics really are a dead end and the result in next year’s election is just likely to be the next installment in the series of disappointing results since 2003 as the UUP move further and further away from the centre.

    People may seem wisdom after next year’s election and do what needs to be done. (Ringland for Leader?) – but then that could just be hopeless naivete on my part.

    If you do go and join Alliance, best of luck to you.

  • lamhdearg

    I have come to the conclusion the the Uup are creating a single unionist party in as much as they (the Uup) will in theory still exist but they will receive so few votes the unionist voteing bloc shall be as one, sneaky buggers.

  • lamhdearg

    voting, if i do not correct myself i shall not learn.

  • Granni Trixie

    How interesting that you bring up the NIWC as I have thought in the past that it bears comparison with the NUM and Alliance. For what is not generally grasped is that the WC evolved within months from women activists from across the board aorund 1996, aggrieved because a blueprint for the future of NI was being determined with very little input from women.

    I attended a series of meetings in the Ulster Peoples College (where Bronagh was Director,geddit?) and have vivid memories of men of all descriptions from political parties who came to speak to the group before it was a pol party.But they just didnt get it.
    I saw at the time that the wm group-WC was like how the f NUM spawned the APNI and that each had a moral legitimacy. But I left the group when it became a pol party (couldn’t belong to 2 pol parties,could I). I have no regrets,made the right choice.

    I agree with you some of the most surprising people have strong feelings against the NIWC – but I am not one of them.
    It was a brave attempt and served a purpose.

  • Driftwood

    NUM is Scargill’s crowd, Mineworkers Union, who lost out to some guy in the electronic sector, correct?

  • Munsterview


    “……I have a low tolerance level for dip shits. But why don’t you go and jerk off some more……..”

    And would you and fellow travelers not just love that !

    In your face sunshine : we have not gone away you know and not going to either!

    Tactics and strategy adapted to the changed circumstances we brought about, but the goals remain the very same.

    Hearts & minds etc

    “…..I have a low tolerance level for dip shits……”

    Ours is very high actually….. it was one of the pre-requisites all republicans had to develop for negotiating with unionism !

    When that senior Orange Order grade a idiot, in an exercise of crass stupidity unrivaled in modern European politics, told British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a man who then held enough power to start an International war and who also had the personal choice to spend or withhold billions of pounds in Northern Ireland, that Blair’s wife…..”was nothing other than a painted jezebel’ ect… that was put down to ‘backwoods men’

    We were told that they did not speak for Unionism and especially those cultured, tolerant types in the Alliance always talking of outreach…..yet here we are with

    “…..I have a low tolerance level for dip shits……”

    For goodness sake, is there not anyone in Alliance with enough nonuse to realize that this is the internet age, that this is not something on a card on the notice board of the local unionist post office, but an open post going out there Internationally and irrevocably for all to see.?

    Who is handling Alliance PR….the village idiot?

    My problem comradStalin is not with you, all parties have their, shall we say ‘characters’ it is that regular Alliance posters like….. ‘granni trix’…… who seem to have some appreciation of party image, are prepared to allow a person or persona identified with the party to carry on in this vein.

    So speaks one……so speaks all Alliance?

    While your views remain uncontradictid from other Alliance sources in sufficient quantity and quality to prove otherwise, this is but more of the taig baiting and disrespect that is a prominent feature of one of the two larger unionist parties and a more low key but never the less prevalent trait of the other.

    I expected different from Alliance….. not any more….live and learn I suppose.

    comradS…..I refer to our last ‘exchange’ or rather more aptly in the light of the foregoing, spate of cross postings on the thread…Parading, The Hillsborough etc, on Sept 30th, @ 12.47AM, @ 9.22AM, @ 7.27 PM etc

    I have already said that I also write and respond when serious on slugger for a larger slugger readership than I cross swords with in these postings and for a wider International audience. I am content to allow that audience to be the jury on that and the current thread postings as to how sincere Alliance members are about engaging in real exchange of views and upholding it’s much expoused values!

    I would also suggest that the purpose of the Sept 30th, @ 12.47AM, @ 9.22AM, @ 7.27 PM etc was not about communication and just more of the taig bating I referred to !

  • John East Belfast

    I have just learned who number 2 and 3 were on the selection list – in no way could those two individuals be considered as a hardening of the Association – probably quite the opposite

    Therefore anyone saying this is a purge of liberals is barking up the wrong tree – that is really not the story here

  • Big Bad Bob

    The point, John, is that the other two haven’t a hope in hell of being elected; whereas Bradshaw could have taken the seat from McGimpsey.

    Hence McGimpsey instructed his supporters to vote Finlay second.

  • Granni Trixie

    Sorry. The NUM I refer to stands for “The New Ulster Movement”, (1969) intended as a cross comm. ginger group. It was lead by Brian Walker a methodist and other peacey types.I have read that it gathered up 10,000-30-signatures for peace. It has no relationship with the trade unions.

  • Munsterview


    This quip is over ten years old and came from a northerner talking part in a Southern cultural event and came from general discussion afterwards about Northern politics. His take on unionism….

    The UUP is the fur coat and landed estates unionism now reduced to oxfam shops and farms,

    The DUP is the sunday suit and overalls back street unionism who have taken to wearing suits for the rest of the week as well,

    The Alliance unionism is for dup who are upgrading or uup who have left but cannot kick the habit and have no place else to go.

    Incidently he was also a protestant as opposed to physical force republicanism as he was to obstructionist unionism !

    He also voted person rather than party on the merits of the person standing.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Jesus Christ, I post a three line response and get a 2000 word missive back from you. You seriously need to find something else to do with your time.

  • Munsterview

    Ever hear the advice ….’when you find yourself in a hole stop digging’ ?

  • John East Belfast


    or maybe she could have split the vote and cost the seat.
    However it is up to individual candidates to work their own constituencies and win them over – that is how the game works in every party.

    The point I was making was there are a lot of comments on this thread putting two and two together and not getting 4. There are also desperation comments from UUP voters thinking they no longer have a home.

    All that is nonsense – Based on who they preferred Paula’s deselection is not an indication of some concerted purge against liberals and modernisers.

  • Comrade Stalin

    or maybe she could have split the vote and cost the seat.

    If she’d been selected as #2, the more likely possibilty (assuming that people transferred according to party loyalties) is that she might have gained the seat at the expense of McGimpsey. Relatively unlikely IMO, but McGimpsey will have sought to eliminate that risk.

  • randomjoe

    Dont worry guys tom elliot will step in here and show real leadership by saying we cant continue to have a bunch of old men standing at assembly elections…..Wont he????

  • Comrade Stalin

    Nope. Tom Elliott and others within unionism think that the party was at it’s strongest when Jim Molyneaux was in control and grey old men polled well by doing bugger all.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Again I tend to agree…..and let me say that there is not much difference between your position, mine or Granni Trixies. Just degrees of emphasis and nuance.
    And I am of course an interested observer not a party member.
    When I spoke of “internal debate” I did not envisage some great conference, more the informality as displayed here.
    A point worth considering is that the people most mentioned here are individuals..not a group. And the reaction to each individual would be different.
    Ringland WOULD be a catch….although perhaps for a sportsman (as Granni Trixie observes) is not exactly a team player. Parsley would only be a catch in terms of his membership subscription and the degree of insights which youve probably correctly observed…….but as a candidate he is damaged goods……and I think it would take him ten years to regain the trust he squandered.

    Close observation over decades of local politicians has convinced me that they are closer to each other accross party lines..than they often are to their own members. To a greater or lesser extent ALL party leaderships regard the membership as slightly inconvenient.
    The point Im making (and its academic) is that the public stance of ANY party will always be that we made no concessions ..we made no offers……but realpolitick is different.
    For example if John McCallister decided to defect….not only has he shown himself to be capable……but he would be a bigger vote winner for AP than David Griffin (530 votes). Regardless of whether there was an actual offer to McCallister…the AP would be foolish not to use him.
    The offer would be implied.
    Again this is academic.
    But let me emphasise that I believe Elliotts UUP will not suffer any defections by SELECTED candidates such as McCrea before the Assembly Election.
    More likely the defectors (if any) will jump ship after de-selection (Bradshaw for example) or after the Assembly Election.
    To minimise damage its in Elliotts interest to weed them out now.
    I know that ALL MLAs claim they are representatives not delegates but the fact is that they are elected primarily on party ticket.
    For all my life I have resented that people leave parties and hold on to their seats. THere is a hypocrisy in all parties about calling for by-elections when the other side does it.