UUP Tory link to be maintained

The UUP have just issued a Press Release on the status of their relationship with the Conservative Party. I will reproduce it below:

UUP statement on discussions with the Conservative Party

After a meeting yesterday, it has been agreed that the Conservative Party and the Ulster Unionist Party will continue to engage in a serious and constructive dialogue about an on-going political and electoral relationship between the two parties as we look ahead to the next European and General Elections. The UUP intend to put forward proposals for approval by their Executive committee in January 2011 which will then be considered by the Board of the Conservative Party. These proposals will include the understanding that any future UUP MP’s and current and future MEP’s will take the Conservative Party Whip.

In the meantime, both parties are conscious of the forthcoming District Council and Assembly elections in May 2011. In this regard, it has been agreed that:

1. Both parties will put up candidates in the District Council Elections, with a view to elected councillors co-operating in Local Government, as rules currently permit this to happen.

2. In the Assembly elections only the UUP will put up candidates. This is because under the current rules parties are unable to fight elections in coalition and once the elections have taken place are unable to enter a post election coalition within the Assembly.

It seems contrary to the rumours suggested that the link between the UUP and the Tories has not been dissolved. This agreement seems to give the UUP more of what it wants than the NI Conservatives. Indeed the arrangement (apart from the councillors issue) appears to leave the situation somewhat similar to the relationship between the parties in the old Stormont. There is also a rumour that Irwin Armstrong the Chairman of the NI Conservative Party has resigned over the decision not to run assembly candidattes but that is as yet unconfirmed.

Ed – update from Chekov on Three Thousand Versts that confirms Irwin Armstrong’s resignation as chair of NI Conservatives …

I had hoped we could build our party as a non sectarian party in Northern Ireland that could honestly represent all. In my opinion the Conservative party has now abandoned any serious attempt to change politics in Northern Ireland and has accepted the narrow one community politics of the UUP to attempt to gain one or two MP’s at the next Westminster election

  • It is a shame for NI Conservatives that they have once again been prevented for running candidates for the Assembly. I can understand Ian Parsley’s frustration with them even more so now.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Oh please Gawd let Bawb Wilson come on here and tell us: this is what he always wanted; what he has always said he has always wanted; and, natch, that it’s the local Tories getting their way.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    I can understand Parsley’s frustration too – the scunners couldn’t even get him elected in a good year and he’s had to start crawling back to the Alliance. Who wouldn’t be frustrated about all of that?

  • Elliott last night apparently called for the NI Conservatives to be disbanded full stop:

    http://tinyurl.com/35zn7zy

  • Stroke City Emboli

    The UUP has bled the Tories dry in having their 2010 election campaign funded. They did little to show the arrangement was an equal partnership as it was supposed to be. The Tories coughed up the cash but only, I gather, were allowed 2 out of the 17 joint candidates.

    Now the Conservatives are the party of government I hope they don’t agree to this botched suggestion from the UUP. With no MPs the UUP can offer to take the Conservative whip outside NI as a sop to get the Tories locally to stand aside at the Asembly elections.

    Why should the UUP get a clear run at the Assembly? It’s time the link was severed. NI voters can then vote for the party of government or the one in permanent decline.

  • Barry the Blender

    There is little by the way of actual news here. Tom Elliott had always maintained that he was for keeping the link with the Conservatives; he just thought UCUNF was a stupid name.

    The story is that they have sorted the candidates for the assembly row. I don’t anticipate that even the local Conservatives will be too upset – unless certain individuals really enjoy finishing bottom of the poll. However, expect the usual suspects, the seymour majors and jeff peels of this world to fill blogosphere with their shouts of “sectarianism”

  • Barry the Blender

    Why should the UUP get a clear run at the Assembly? It’s time the link was severed. NI voters can then vote for the party of government or the one in permanent decline.

    But surely at assembly level the UUP are a party of government.

  • Elliott is also, again apparently. predicting 24 seats next year, the Conservatives were threatening “2” of those gains.

  • Drumlins Rock

    sounds quite logical to me, the original agreement was for both the Euro & Westminster elections, the MEP was elected under this agreement, but the Westminster election did not deliver, and as much of that was to do with the local Tories and mainland Tories as it was to do with the UUP.
    lets be Blunt the NI Conservatives are a non entity, getting 0.5% in the last assembly vote , and having ZERO representatives elected under their banner, they whined and yapped through the whole period of the “New Force” and spent more time undermining their partners than the opponents.
    The Conservative and Unionist Party should be represented in NI by the Ulster Unionist Party, and in Europe and Westminster the UUP should sit as Conservatives.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    And at national level, we’re (tilting my hat Torywards) not “the” party of government, we’re merely “a” party of government (‘well done David’, as someone else once said of someone else).

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Hear, hear to DR: it’s really not that hard – Toryism should work through the brands that work. The Peel/Bawb/+ co tainted ‘local Tory’ brand here just doesn’t work. *Every* election proves that. If you want Toryism in NI, it has to come through the agency of the, or, a Unionist Party. But once it delivers elected reps to Westminster – I couldn’t care less about Strasbourg, and think Quick Jim is a suitably insulting signal to send – they should be Tories. Thank God we’ve lost a lot of our recent blow-in, self-serving careerist “liberal” 5th columnists – a few more to go and then we can get back to being a properly (small & big C, small and big U) Conservative & Unionist Party.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    It is sensible for a Unionist party to aspire to having close links to a British political party if they share a common constitutional ideology .

    But It is a complete nonsense and gross hypocricy for the Tories to lecture the Plain People of Ulster on the evils of tribal politics and then to align themselves politically with their historical tribal allies. Alignments between Unionists and Tories will of course be
    the source of much embarassment for the latter as they find themselves having to defend anti-Catholic marches, sectarian and anti-GAA and anti-GAY outbursts and receving the odd boot up the hole from the Yankees(as for Police and Justice) .

    Ulster Unionist attitudes and the behaviour of their leaders in the Orange Order would be considered totally unacceptable in Britian so hopefully, for the Tories, Middle-England-man wont get to hear about their new bedfellows overseas.

    And of course we can look forward to more electoral humilaitions as per FST.

  • john

    To be honest Im not suprised the Tory party gave in to the UUP regarding the Assembly elections. As much as I dont like Ian Parsley I can understand now why he left as the Tory party are spineless. They had a real chance to win a couple of seats but instead have given up to appease Mr Elliot. There are people in Northern Ireland who would vote for a centre right party without the orange baggage of the UUP. As for 24 seats thats complete dream world. The UUP would be lucky to hold onto their 18 with 16 probably being the reality in 6 months time.

  • Irwin has resigned. I carry his statement on my blog.

  • john

    If Irwin has resigned then who even made the agreement did the NI torys even have a say?

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    You’ll be off too? Hold the door for the other ‘liberals’. I suppose, in all fairness, I should say this: I’m no fan of David Cameron, but in his policy towards NI (and therefore, towards the UUP), he’s called the big things right and he deserves every praise for that. He’s totally sincere in his unionism (which is more than you can say for some of the preening, self-styled ‘liberals’ who have infected the UUP in recent years). Good riddance to election non-winning rubbish.

  • Just don’t understand the electoral strategy here. The NI Conservatives are marginal electorally. A collaboration at Assembly and Councils would have made sense, with Assembly transfers benefiting the UUP and probably here and there UUP transfers helping Conservatives. Now, Conservative transfers are probably mostly lost, and at that level the is a risk to the UUP Council presence where it has a strength on which to build. At the Assembly level, the UUP now risks losing transfers which ironically could mean the loss of two seats anyway. In a PR election there is every sense to parties collaborating for vote transfer.

    This analysis is based on the general disillusionment with UUP and DUP and smaller parties being able to pick up on that comtempt/resentment and basically hold the total unionist vote up – as happened at Westminster. Is the prediction of 24 UUP seats based on the same thinking that had the Conservatives thinking they were in the frame to win up to four seats at Westminster in 2010?

  • james

    Just to recap:
    The UUP and Conservatives will compete for council elections and then co-operate so a vote for the UUP is actually a vote for the Conservates or vice versa, dunno

    The conservatives and UUP won’t contest the Assembly elections in this format and the Conservatives won’t won’t have candidates standing.

    However for GE and EU elections which are several years away the UUP and Conservatives will have joint candidates probably standing under a different name

    So in short

    Council – compete, but not really
    Assembly – UUP solo run
    GE&EU – joint effort under different banner.

    How do the different strands communicate, a “insert party’s name here” MP or MEP (should one be elected) will be aligned to UUP MLAs who are alligned with either UUP or Conservative Councillors who agree with each other.

    Surely the UUP will now need to change their policies to that of the Conservatives or else it doesn’t work, in which case the UUP becomes the NI Conservative Party, and with a few years until the next GE or EU elections is ample time to rebrand.

    Anyone know if this featured on any off the ‘post-it’ notes at the UUP AGM

  • Barry the Blender

    When you think of it David Cameron had only really three choices here:

    1 Allow the Conservatives to stand for Assembly:
    This would have annihilated the link with the UUP (for better or for worse) but would have kept his local party happy, who could go on to pile up literally tens of votes next.

    2 Not allow them to stand for Assembly:
    Keep the UUP sweet and probably save CCHQ a few quid fighting fighting pointless elections.

    3. Change Legislation to allow parties within the assembly to sit as one block for the purpose of D’Hont.
    And threaten the sacrosanct “peace process”.

  • james

    Has anyone asked the most senior conservative in NI for a soundbite, surely its important to hear from Owen Paterson what his relationship will be with Elliot.

  • John K Lund

    I first joined the Wetherby Young Conservatives in 1957. I come from a background of Altruistic One Nation atruistic Toryism. In my seventieth year all I can say is that David Cameron appears to have joined the Orange Order this has now taken us back to the days of the Home Rule Issue.

  • I don’t always agree with Sammy, but on this one he’s called it right. Conservative Central Office and the UUP have one thing in common: neither of them have any comprehension of the Ulster Catholic demographic. The local Conservatives are making an honest effort to move beyond sectarian politics but are being undermined from all sides by people who either don’t understand the problem or don’t care. Many of the disaffected UUP members now drifting towards Alliance would be natural members of a non-sectarian centre-right party, but so long as the NI Tories remain at the mercy of CCO they will be (justifiably) overlooked by potential recruits.

    Laughable (Tory) Unionist: How you can praise Cameron’s disastrous NI policy with a straight face is beyond me. Not only did it fail to win any seats, but it has managed to destroy both the NI Conservatives and the UUP in the process. Don’t mistake sincerity for competence – on Northern Ireland (and Scotland) the Conservative Party are clueless.

  • UUP Supporter

    This is excellent news, the UUP continue to work towards ‘mainstreaming local politics’.

    Another brave and bold move by the Ulster Unionists.

    Funny how the voices that have proclaimed Elliott as a throwback are being proven to be knee-jerk reactionaries with no clue to the man or his ability.

    Unionism under the UUP has turned a corner, and now has the opportunity to become the pluralist, non-sectarian movement that focusses on improving our society for everyone.

    Elliott is showing that he has a passion to move Northern Ireland forward, something the whingers are just going to have to accept.

  • Truth & Justice

    Has anyone heard if Cedric Wilson has left the TUV????

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    If you miss one Cedric Wilson resignation, wait half an hour and there’ll be another one along. I shouldn’t think the snow will delay this vital public service.

  • Sean

    Just because Enoch Powell got to hide out in South Down after going a bit verbose doesn’t mean that there is a rich untapped market for them. The Tories are only interested in the rich, uber elite. They spend the rest of the time giving an image of patrician-like wisdom to the lower middle classes and the working class. They failed to take root in N.ireland for normal reasons. The SDLP-Fianna Fail love fest is much more of a sure thing.

  • UUP Supporter:

    Unionism under the UUP has turned a corner, and now has the opportunity to become the pluralist, non-sectarian movement […]

    Can you point to a single thing that Elliott has done so far that makes him or his party more attractive to the Catholic/Nationalist voter?

  • John East Belfast

    the dissenter

    “Just don’t understand the electoral strategy here. The NI Conservatives are marginal electorally. A collaboration at Assembly and Councils would have made sense, with Assembly transfers benefiting the UUP and probably here and there UUP transfers helping Conservatives. Now, Conservative transfers are probably mostly lost, and at that level the is a risk to the UUP Council presence where it has a strength on which to build. At the Assembly level, the UUP now risks losing transfers which ironically could mean the loss of two seats anyway. In a PR election there is every sense to parties collaborating for vote transfer.”

    That association cost the UUP a lot of Left leaning unionists at Westminster – the transfers between the parties will come anyway without a formal agreement for those so inclined.

    The problem is the NI Conservatives need a major break through and they will only do that with a charismatic leader and/or major big hitters fronting it. At the minute they dont have either and hence will remain bit players.

    The GB Tories know they will only make an electoral breakthrough in NI in association with the UUP – UCUNF was a disaster but that doesnt mean we cant continue to investigate another strategy.

    This will keep the relationship warm.

  • Greenflag

    A good move for the Tories . They won’t have to struggle to find ‘Catholic candidates ‘ that ‘eh’ big society thing they have going somewhere in the stratosphere and they can leave the UUP to ensure that only Protestant or OO members will be selected for the Assembly election .

    All in all not a bad move move for the UUP or the Tories . The former get to move 2 steps forward while proceeding 3 steps backward and the Tories can always claim that it’s not their party who doesn’t want RC candidates trumpeting the benefits of Union but just the Ulster Unionists as per usual . No news there then eh ?

    The DUP and SF at this stage must be feeling that the upcoming May election is looking more and more like a comfortable canter home.

  • UUP Supporter

    Andrew

    The UUP is a pro-union party, so I can’t see how it can appeal to Nationalist voters any more than you would expect Sinn Fein to appeal to Unionist voters.

    If you listen to a lot of what Elliott, and the candidates selected for the Assembly campaign are saying, there is a real desire to deliver for everyone in Northern Ireland.

    Lesley Macaulay, Mark Finley and Bill Manwaring are just three of those candidates who are very proactive in working to build the catholic pro-union vote.

    What you have to do Andrew is stop the catholic=nationalist / protestant=unionist argument. The moderate candidates put forward by the UUP are all working to show that modern moderate unionism does not require membership of any organisation or faith in any particular church to work. I have seen that in action and I have seen the results.

  • “Unionism under the UUP has turned a corner, and now has the opportunity to become the pluralist, non-sectarian movement that focusses on improving our society for everyone.”

    Are you mad? The UUP through Tom Eliott as leader has just reafirrmed that their business is going to be same old same old.

  • “If you listen to a lot of what Elliott, and the candidates selected for the Assembly campaign are saying, there is a real desire to deliver for everyone in Northern Ireland.”

    What a silly generic line. Any supporter of any party could use this one.

    If you listen to a lot of what Adams/McGuinness, and the candidates selected for the Assembly/Dail campaign are saying, there is a real desire to deliver for everyone in Ireland.

    If you listen to a lot of what Robinson, and the candidates selected for the Assembly campaign are saying, there is a real desire to deliver for everyone in Northern Ireland.

    If you listen to a lot of what Ritchie, and the candidates selected for the Assembly campaign are saying, there is a real desire to deliver for everyone in Northern Ireland.

  • john

    According to the Belfast Telegraph

    Irwin Armstarong claimed Secretary of State Owen Paterson and another senior party figure in Northern Ireland told him last month that Prime Minister David Cameron had decided to contest the Assembly election.

    “I took them at face value and organised members to do things in Northern Ireland on the basis that we would be running in the election,” he said.

    He said the subsequent agreement between the Tories and UUP had been struck without consulting him.

    Looks like David Cameron learnt a trick after the FIFA vote, promise one thing to someone and then 2 minutes later go back on your word – well done David

  • “The moderate candidates put forward by the UUP are all working to show that modern moderate unionism does not require membership of any organisation or faith in any particular church to work. I have seen that in action and I have seen the results.”

    So a non-Orangman could lead it? Or the leader could attend a GAA match? I wonder how far someone from the gay community could climb up the UUP ladder?

    At least explain these ‘results’ to us.

  • WhiteKnight

    Non-Orangemen hold key positions.

    MLAs have attended GAA matches

    Steven King (a homosexual) was chief political advisor to Trimble.

    WhiteKnight

  • snowman

    Do I perceive the hands of some UUp peers manipulation in this U-turn by the Conservatives in CHQ??

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    WhiteKnight,

    The leader of the UUP is an Orangeman and during his election battle with a rival more Liberal rival he distanced himself from the GAA and Gays. You would have to be naive not see those remarks as designed to appeal to the less enlightened instincts of his party.

    Regarding the Orange Order, I would suggest that any Tory in Britain would be oxtered oot (out) of the Party if they took part in anti-Catholic marches.

    What % of elected unionists officers (MLAs, councillors) are members of the OO? A few bad (Orange) apples or a barrel load ?

  • mister moderate

    mehawind

    Your last post shows just how blinkered some of the commentators on Slugger are.

    The candidates that UUP Supporter highlighted do not belong (as far as I know) to the Orange Order, at least one of them is a party officer (so therefore quite senior in the party structure) and most importantly, all of them stand on a inclusion for al platform.

    Just because you have this ‘historic’ preconception of the UUP does not mean that it fits your view of it.

    Why not talk to some of these moderate candidates and ask them about the Orange Order, the GAA or gays?

    Maybe then you will see that the UUP today is very different from what you see through your particular timted glasses.

  • Mick this inability to respond to posts (reply) is making conversation very difficult.

    @John East Belfast

    You would have a better argument if today’s announcement was about breaking the Conservative link. If the two had run and cross-transfered then that would have had potential to create the sort of space for ‘left-leaning’ unionists to vote for the UUP, possibly – didn’t stop Fred Cobain standing under the Tory banner! This however has the potential to close down conservative voters to no gain either way.

    BTW if there are left-leaning unionists who want to engage politically beyond voting they should be in the Labour Party and fighting that corner: that is if they are left and unionist rather than Unionist and left. That would provide real choice and a real and valuable political challenge.

  • mister moderate,

    I do see what you’re saying. However, surely rather than asking a few of the more liberal members of the UUP on these topics, a better understanding of the attitude of the UUP towards the OO, or the GAA, or the gay community would be garnered by the actions of the leadership and the party as a whole.

  • Barry the Blender

    Sammy McNally’s only ever contributions are “Tom Elliott is in the OO & therefore a bigot” or “The tories backed Rodney Connor aren’t they sectarian”.

    Just ignore him.

    It worked whenever he used to post under the name “Moderate Unionist”.

  • 2 frys 2 teas

    just like back in May – this link up/co-operation issue means nothing. save your typing fingers….

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Barry the Blender ,

    “It worked whenever he used to post under the name “Moderate Unionist”. ”

    Jeez you will set of a few of my loyal ‘fans’ with the suggestion that my old friend “Moderate Unionist” posts ‘worked’.

    … anyone think the UUP might share with us what % of their elected officers are OO members?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Northern Observer,

    It is unlikley that Oweny is operating without the full backing of Cameron – who is a self proclaimed/admitted Unionist enthusiast.

    It is always good Nationlaist politics to have a go at a Tory adminsitration particulalry one that is not even popular with Unionists in spite of their wading awkwardy and disastrously into the tribal politics here.

    Obama (as mentioned above) has already given Davey Cam a kick up the hole for allowing ‘his’ party (the UUP ) to try and wreck Stormo over the transfer of Police and Justice and poor embarassed Davey had to go before the worlds meida and tell everybody that the UUP were out of his control. lol

    If there are any further Tory/Unionist shananigans expect another sharp one to Davey’s rear-end.

  • Michael Shilliday

    UUP Supporter looks a bit like the new me, wouldn’t you say L(T)U?

    Good to see the negotiating balls up of 2 years ago being fixed. I gather it wasn’t anyone who has been mentioned who actually did it, but I don’t really care about that.

    What did the NI Tories actually *do*? They did nothing. No electoral support at all, no campaigning, little canvassing. They had supper and felt superior. Even the Alliance Party does that better.

    Also good to see the UUP’s information management is as awful as it ever was. I wont go into any detail, and some people are quite lucky about that, but the idea that process is everything and message is nothing still prevails amongst people who matter, but frankly shouldn’t given track records.

    Now to wait for the outraged phone call……

  • UUP Supporter:

    The UUP is a pro-union party, so I can’t see how it can appeal to Nationalist voters any more than you would expect Sinn Fein to appeal to Unionist voters.

    Do you think the Conservatives came to power by saying “we can’t see how we can appeal to Labour voters”? Of course not – that’s how you win elections in the real world. The UUP is incapable of promoting policies that would appeal to current SDLP or Sinn Fein voters, and that’s why they’re losing. It’s not because Elliott is a bigot – he’s plainly not. But he’s beholden to the UUP’s greying core vote.

    If Margaret Ritchie can wear a poppy (for example), then surely at the very least Elliott could make some sort of gesture re the GAA or the Irish language. But he knows his electoral base would desert him. This is the UUP’s tragedy – there are no gradual paths from where they are now to where they need to be to survive. If they do move to attract existing nationalist support then they’ll lose existing voters faster than they will gain new ones – the only way to the other side of the chasm is radical change, to the point of losing their identity. The frog in the saucepan comes to mind.

  • Tim Lewis

    The Conservative Party is pursuing a one nation Conservative plan on the Mainland to occupy the centre ground of politics.

    It is therefore even more incredible that high command is tying itself into a leadership that is neanderthal (and trust me, I have had to deal with the back room organ grinders as Conservative NI Chairman), declining and unlikely to provide the Conservative Party with its side of the equation: a seat or seats.

    I am sorry to say that this is a misjudgement that will reverberate into the years ahead: do not underestimate the ability of these guys to screw things up for Cameron at exactly the wrong moment.

  • james

    “According to the Belfast Telegraph

    Irwin Armstarong claimed Secretary of State Owen Paterson and another senior party figure in Northern Ireland told him last month that Prime Minister David Cameron had decided to contest the Assembly election.

    “I took them at face value and organised members to do things in Northern Ireland on the basis that we would be running in the election,” he said.

    He said the subsequent agreement between the Tories and UUP had been struck without consulting him.”

    “Last month” is a bit vague, but isn’t that circa when Owen was pontificating on all things Northern Irish, including telling the DUP and SF that he was ‘the Daddy’ on all things budget related.

    He has gone quiet again, I wonder if Owen had a little plan cooking for Tories in the Assembly and answerable to him.

    Did Cameron, baulk at the idea and how it might be viewed and changed his mind.

    Indeed, will Owen be facilitating anymore unionist unity talks, or is that now a no no

    Final thought, what are the most important forums in NI, Council, Westminister, Brussels or Stormont, because I wonder why the Tories are shying away from Stormont

  • Drumlins Rock

    Sammy, Obama has a lot more to worry about at home, he is getting close to becoming a lame duck president, and in case you havnt noticed Cameron and Patterson are senior members of the Conservative and UNIONIST Party.

  • IJP

    NO

    You’re on the money there.

    When John McCallister said that Owen Paterson had assured him there would be no Conservative Assembly candidates, the problem for Owen was that he was telling the truth.

    The caveat should always have been the proviso that there would be a “clear commitment to mainstream, non-sectarian politics”. Conservatives centrally, naively taking such a proviso for granted, kept failing to note that caveat.

  • UUP Supporter

    Andrew

    You miss my point completely, it is simplistic (and inaccurate) to equate Conservative and Labour to Nationalist and Unionist.

    You are trying to convince me that SNP voters would consider voting Conservative or Labour because of their policies, even though they fundamentally object to the Union.

    I do believe that there a sizable number of catholics voters who are pro-union and can be convinced that ‘unionism’ has moved beyond ‘us and them’.

    That is the battle that the UUP must be fighting, and I believe that the moderate candidates are perfectly placed to start that work.

  • “…there [is] a sizable number of catholics voters who are pro-union and can be convinced that ‘unionism’ has moved beyond ‘us and them’… I believe that the moderate candidates are perfectly placed to start that work”.

    Those candidates will be powerless to ‘convince’ those catholics until the UUP leadership shows it has moved beyond ‘us and them’. As for ‘a sizable number’… don’t think so.

  • NWM

    The fact that the Conservative party have decided to give the UUP a free run in the assembly election is a slight untruth. The fact is that the NI Conservatives are a bit of a joke and had no realistic possibility of winning a single seat in Mays election. The party had no desire to see another pummelling in NI and instead quietly support their NI Franchise, the UUP.
    The UUP is the only centre right party with a realistic hope of winning seats and I’m sure ‘Just Call me Dave’ will be able to live with the NI Tories disappointment, if there are any left in the party by tonight.

  • slug

    The kind of deal that is here outlined conforms to my own analysis of what is the best way forward.

    Something that allows local branding and image, allows an autonomous local party on devolved issues, but that links fully into national Conservative policies with the whip-taking arrangement.

    It will be closer than the SDLP-Labour arrangement I imagine (because there are no complications arising from nationalism). However it also means that there is a little room for UUP to distance themselves culturally from “Tory” image, which does seem to put some people off.

    This is like the CDU/CSU arrangement in Germany, and does allow voters to vote for or against a government policy agenda at the appropriate level – Westminster, Local, EU, and regional.

    This builds on UCUNF – learns its lessons – and allows the voter to vote for national policies at the national election.

    As I called for something like this after the election, I think it is a reasonable response to the election result. Not to throw away the good ideas on UCUNF, but rather to build on the lessons of it.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    drumlins rock,

    Obama wont be losing any sleep over Ulster but his unpopulairty stems from the domestic scene and foreign affairs is probably a healthy option for him as a distraction.

    ps I wouldnt be suprised if some anti-Democratic/pro-Republican Party Tory stuff seeps out from Wikileaks.

  • UUPS:

    it is simplistic (and inaccurate) to equate Conservative and Labour to Nationalist and Unionist.

    Of course it is simplistic. But the fact remains: you need nationalist (or previously-nationalist) votes and you’ve done nothing so far to deserve them.

    You are trying to convince me that SNP voters would consider voting Conservative or Labour because of their policies, even though they fundamentally object to the Union.

    If they object to the Union, then maybe they have good reason. If you truly believe in maintaining the Union, then you should be willing to adapt it to broaden its appeal. You don’t win at politics by destroying your enemies, but by beguiling them.

  • John East Belfast

    UUP Supporter

    “You are trying to convince me that SNP voters would consider voting Conservative or Labour because of their policies, even though they fundamentally object to the Union”.

    That is not strictly true.

    There are many SNP voters in Scotland who do so because they cant stand Scottish “Catholic” Labour or English Toryism.
    Among them are the people who waive Union Jacks at Rangers’ matches.

    There really is a place for a Scottish Unionist Party – loosely alligned to the UK Conservatve Party. I think that model could work well for the Cosnervatives both in NI and Scotland and methinks this is where all this might be headed

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    @Shillers: there’ll never be a new you – well, not unless he starts predicting that there’s actually, oh, 40 new yous, each with a majority over the non-DUP you of 90% each or so.

    Still, it looks like it will soon only be you, me and Tobermore (Tom’s pet badger) left in the party. Cosy, innit? Nice & Right & Tight, eh? Squeeze over, it’s farking cold in here. Ohhhh, the lights have gone out. Where’s Scunner Campbell?! I knew we should never have accepted a prepaid lecky meter . . . someone lend us a quid? Gawn, give us some of your Short Money, you fancy $£&%ards

  • john

    Following on from my Cameron/FIFA comment I found this quote on the BBC – talk about the pot calling the kettle black over promises – tw#t!

    Cameron made a jibe at Fifa on Wednesday when he was asked in Parliament what he thought about soccer’s governing body after his experience of the bid.

    “I certainly learned one thing which is when it comes to breaking promises – politicians have got nothing on football management,” he said, laughing.

  • Michael Shilliday

    The caveat should always have been the proviso that there would be a “clear commitment to mainstream, non-sectarian politics”.

    Wind yer neck in Ian. SOME members of the UUP are sectarian, that doesn’t make it a sectarian party. SOME members of the Alliance are middle class zealots with no philosophy beyond their own sense of superiority, that doesn’t……….wait……..

  • Michael Shilliday

    And LTU, I’m not for any meaningful purpose in the party anymore, so it’s getting lonelier still!

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Why oh why is Bawb hiding over there – http://tiny.cc/tg21h – when he could be playing here with us? C’mon y’big sawftie: snow balls only, no ice, promise.

    Seriously, if we don’t get your Single Transferrable Post soon about how [whatever has happened] is for the best of all possible worlds, and represents the inflexible unfurling of CCHQ’s Heaven-mandated infallibility, some of us will begin to worry. And long-established Alliance members will start bricking themselves . . .

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Jayzus Tobermore, d’ye hear that? Make some more room then you bristling hoor. Shift over I said, and stop your moaning. Fat Rodders was joking. He does not want to eat to you. He doesn’t. Well, maybe if you were served up in a nice tempura batter. He has lived in London you know.

  • Shilliday:

    SOME members of the UUP are sectarian, that doesn’t make it a sectarian party.

    Some members are bigoted, and that doesn’t make it a bigoted party. I’ll agree with that wholeheartedly. But sectarian? That’s not the same thing at all. From dictionary.com: (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sectarian)

    [sek-tair-ee-uhn]
    –adjective
    1. of or pertaining to sectaries or sects.
    2. narrowly confined or devoted to a particular sect.
    3. narrowly confined or limited in interest, purpose, scope, etc.
    (Random House)

    sectarian (sɛkˈtɛərɪən)
    — adj
    1. of, belonging or relating to, or characteristic of sects or sectaries
    2. adhering to a particular sect, faction, or doctrine
    3. narrow-minded, esp as a result of rigid adherence to a particular sect
    (Collins)

    I think the UUP falls neatly under heading 3 of both definitions, as do all other major political parties in NI.

    Now, I appreciate that there are many people within the UUP who are genuinely trying to change this. But I haven’t seen many successes so far.

  • Barry the Blender

    Jeez you will set of a few of my loyal ‘fans’ with the suggestion that my old friend “Moderate Unionist” posts ‘worked’.

    I consider it libel for you to even slightly infere that I’m saying that the Moderate Unionist phase ‘worked’. Ignoring you worked. You got bored

    … anyone think the UUP might share with us what % of their elected officers are OO members?

    Here’s your same old bull once again. Who in God’s earth cares who party officers are? Lest still about those of the UUP. If you can name me a handful off the top of your head (no running to google to cheat) we can speculate on their membership of a wicked vile sectarian organisation whose members are bigotted walk past your house a few times a year.

  • mister moderate

    AG

    Let’s face it, the UUP have been torn apart after 1998 and have only really started getting their act together in the last few years. The number of new members who fit the ‘modernisation’ or ‘moderate’ definition is growing steadily and the message coming out of the senior party is very positive.

    This is a party that until just over a decade ago was the voice of unionism, and not always in a good way.

    Unionism must adapt as the political situation in Northern Ireland normalises – I think that the UUP are in the best position to deliver what is needed to make unionism much less secular and much more inclusive.

  • plainly speaking

    The Tories new shiny Oxford brogues have trod on a great big dog turd which it can’t seem to scrape off. It’s now embedded itself into the tread of the sole and can only be winkled out with an old lollipop stick – a messy job, as you know. The beleagured NI Tories will never be able to stand over their non-sectarian credentials so long as bits of the stinking dog mess clings on. For whatever reason, and it can’t possibly be a sensible one, Tory HQ seems not to mind that with every step they take in NI, they’ll be stuck with the remnants of the UUP turd.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Barry the Blender,

    “I consider it libel for you to even slightly infere that I’m saying that the Moderate Unionist phase ‘worked’

    This a most dreadfully poor attempt at a retraction. lol

    Regarding the UUP – it does seem a litle strange to try and say that in establisihng the extent of sectarianism in the party we should not know how many of their elected politicans are members of an anti-Catholic organisation such as the OO. Denial may be comforting for you but its not terribly convincing.

  • Barry the Blender

    This a most dreadfully poor attempt at a retraction. lol

    You’re the expert in those MU.

    Regarding the UUP – it does seem a litle strange to try and say that in establisihng the extent of sectarianism in the party we should not know how many of their elected politicans are members of an anti-Catholic organisation such as the OO. Denial may be comforting for you but its not terribly convincing.

    Whoa let’s go back to the question. Who are the UUP party officers?

    Can’t get past the OO can you? Seem to have quite a in built bigoted sectarian streak in your character there.

  • IJP

    Slug

    It’s rare I know, but I disagree entirely.

    On the contrary, they’ve left in place all the bad bits of UCUNF and thrown away the good bits!

    The good bits were the Conservative influence on candidate selection (which saw the freshest and most progressive slate ever selected); the anti-sectarian message (early on there was a genuine attempt to attract candidates and votes from across the whole community); and the potential for NI influence on government policy (ranging from welfare reform to a 25-year economic plan). In this case, candidates have already been selected (the grey old men are back); sectarianism is alive and well (GAA matches and gay pride anyone?); and the UUP will be bound by Conservative policy national while having no say whatsoever over it.

    The bad bits were mismanagement (which saw the candidates selected far too late); debacles such as Hatfield and Fermanagh (which wrecked any anti-sectarian credibility); and the lack of practical NI influence over government policy (proposals on welfare reform were ignored and the 25-year plan has not appeared). The same people responsible for that mismanagement remain in place (not least the bitter pro-Unionist Unity UUP Chair), the sectarian side deals are already in the offing (e.g. with the DUP on Belfast City Council, meaning the Tories have signed up to Unionist Unity), and the Conservatives’ calls for integrated and shared education have been rejected.

    The fact that the most important thing for Tom Elliott was that this was a good deal “for the Unionist people of Northern Ireland” sums it all up. The UK Government’s job is to represent (and seek support from) *all* the people.

    In short, the values that underpinned UCUNF have been binned by both parties associated with it – small wonder, therefore, that a third of the candidates have become unassociated!

  • Framer

    I thought the link with the Conservatives was about involving werselves in mainland politics, not some juvenile attempt to prove anti-sectarianism, whatever that means.

    Anyway UCUNF was by definition an alliance with a local Unionist communalist party, perceived as Protestant, and was always going to be seen as such.

    If anybody thought you could graft an Alliance Party-style neutrality on to the UUP and fool the electorate, they were as witless as they proved themselves to be.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    IJP,

    Presumably there are still some/quite a few/many in the UUP who share your view that the party should be demonstrably non sectarian and see the Tories as a welcome way to help achieve that and to integrate with British politics?

    But in retrospect, would you not agree that it was naive for all those involved in project UCUNF to believe they could somehow magic away the tribal/sectarian instincts of a party, particulalry in an environment where moving towards the centre ground might mean the loss of more support to the DUP and/or greater difficulty in winning back the support lost to the DUP.

  • slug

    IJP

    Yes it is rare for us to disagree. So I am interested in your arguments and I will reflect on them and hopefully you on mine.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Slugger’s got to make a choice: either it’s full of stuff that’s made up, or, it’s not. If it’s the former, for what little it matters, those of us opposed to stuff being made up will just leave it to the fantasists. We really do have better things to do. So consider yourselves on a very jaundiced yellow card.

  • john

    LTU – What are you talking about – Of all the posts on this discussion – yours have been the most random and obscure so give yourself a yellow card for talking rubbish.

    ”Jayzus Tobermore, d’ye hear that? Make some more room then you bristling hoor. Shift over I said, and stop your moaning. Fat Rodders was joking. He does not want to eat to you. He doesn’t. Well, maybe if you were served up in a nice tempura batter. He has lived in London you know.”

    ”@Shillers: there’ll never be a new you – well, not unless he starts predicting that there’s actually, oh, 40 new yous, each with a majority over the non-DUP you of 90% each or so.

    Still, it looks like it will soon only be you, me and Tobermore (Tom’s pet badger) left in the party. Cosy, innit? Nice & Right & Tight, eh? Squeeze over, it’s farking cold in here. Ohhhh, the lights have gone out. Where’s Scunner Campbell?! I knew we should never have accepted a prepaid lecky meter . . . someone lend us a quid? Gawn, give us some of your Short Money, you fancy $£&%ards”

    Thats just an example Ill try and locate my enigma machine to try and figure out what you are on about!

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Tobermore’s a badger: fact; Fat Rodders is a thrusting young UUP candidate: fact; ‘Shillers’ is a well-known UUP psephological savant: fact; Scunner Campbell is a villain from ITV’s beloved Supergran series: fact; and Short Money is something we in the UUP have decided we are better off leaving to the hoors of the DUP: double-treble super-fact.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist
  • Glencoppagagh

    This discussion is just so much hot air.
    The last election clearly demonstrated that the NI electorate is overwhelmingly attached to big government – the bigger the better. Therefore, no hope for a party advocating shrinkage of the state.
    The UUP is as wedded to state dependency as every other party in NI even though it occasionally voices aspirations for something better.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    To be fair, while it’s true that neither Unionist party is wedded to sound finance any more, Sammy Wilson has, by the standards of devolved finance ministers, said some very agreeably realistic things about budget settlements. The less said about UUP unrealism on Health the better, mind you.

  • john

    LTU – cheers for the translation although to be honest Im still lost but thanks anyway

  • GoldenFleece

    Could be a shroud move by the conservatives actually.

    There is no point competing with the UUP directly for seats at the present time – the UUP are not yet weak enough. The conservatives will bide their time and when the DUP destroy or even swallow up the UUP the Conservatives will turn the screw on the UUP when they are weak.

    Elliott thinks that UUP could win 25 seats hahahahahahahahahhahaha.

  • Well, what awful news for local Conservatives. I had been away for a few days and noticed a huge spike on my blog, even though I had posted nothing. I have now posted something and below is more or less what I have written on my blog.

    *****************************************

    Until a few days ago, it seemed that the Northern Ireland Conservatives were about to be given the “green light” by CCHQ to pursue a long term campaign to build the party in Northern Ireland. In a remarkable last minute “u” turn, CCHQ has acted upon an utterly desperate plea from the UUP.

    CCHQ had already calculated that a Conservative election campaign would severely damage the UUP’s prospects without much chance of short term electoral success for the local Conservatives. Factored into that calculation was the near certainty that a substantial number of defections by UUP members from its liberal wing would have occurred once the Conservatives had decided to contest assembly elections. So what exactly has brought about this change of mind?

    The interests of CCHQ and the Northern Ireland Conservatives were never exactly the same. At the heart of CCHQ thinking is the knowledge that David Cameron only has a limited amount of time within which to benefit from any possible political changes in Northern Ireland. If the UUP are capable of winning seats at the 2015 Parliamentary elections, only then have they something to offer the main Conservative Party.

    The abandoned plan, which Irwin Armstrong had been working towards, was about to have been endorsed by CCHQ on the assumption that the UUP had no chance of securing an elected MP at Westminster. The UUP is now suggesting that it has “turned the corner” and is rebuilding its membership and popularity. Less than a week ago, the UUP held is annual party Conference. The Conference was upbeat, leaving the clear impression of a perception of a change in fortune.

    Unfortunately, there is not yet any available independent evidence to back this up. This “whimsical” decision by CCHQ comes at a very high price. It has resulted in hurt and betrayal felt by many Northern Ireland Conservatives. Furthermore, even if CCHQ eventually throws its weight behind the regional party, the task of building it will have been made much harder by this decision.

    The UUP are not satisfied with CCHQ’s decision either. They still believe that the Conservatives will damage them by allowing them to contest Council elections. Tom Elliott has now called for the full disbanding of the Northern Ireland regional Conservative Party.

    Mark Devonport warned about the likelihood of a fudge. He was absolutely right. CCHQ are stuck on the horns of their own dilemma. They have managed to severely damage their relationship with the Northern Ireland Conservatives whilst hardly giving the UUP what it wants. Only Peter Robinson and his colleagues can benefit from this whole sorry saga.

  • Meanwhile, back in the real world: no more stepping forward to The Sash.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-11962403

    Glasgow City Council has passed measures which will effectively put a cap on the number of Orange parades allowed on its streets.

    Under new rules, the authority will not allow marches which may cause too much disruption or congestion.

    Plans to publish the estimated policing costs for marches in the city have been dropped.

    The Orange Order has described the new policy as “discriminatory and illegal” and is planning a legal challenge.

    Councillor Jim Coleman said Glasgow’s new approach to marches and parades was “a significant step forward”.

  • John K Lund

    Tom Elliott told the Friends of the Union in the House of Commons that “the Northern Ireland Conservatives are very detrimental to the relationship we can build” No doubt he is capable of justifying this statement in an open forum. I first joined the Young Conservatives in Wetherby, Yorkshire in 1957 approx 26 years before Mr Elliott was born. It is only thanks to the British War Effort that I was conceived in 1940 after Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain. If the Germans had invaded the UK then successfully then I would not exist and Tom Elliott would have been born as an Irish Citizen. He has no right to deny the Northern Ireland Conservatives the right to choose what party to vote for or to attempt to tell HM First Lord of the Treasury how to run his party. This is a breach of their Human Rights.
    David Campbell and Tom Elliott have always teated the NI Conservatives with complete and total contempt depite £220,000/00 being raised locally by them for him to squander through complete ineptitude with his election strategy.
    I am certain The Terry Wright Report will substantiate what I have said.The Elected Officer team of the UUP should table and pass a vote of no confidence in him as soon as possible.

  • dwatch

    Conservative members living in Northern ireland could now start a breakaway party called the (ICP) “Independent Conservative Party”. Then they could put their own candidates up for MLA election in May 2011 without interference by David Cameron or Tom Elliott.

  • john

    dwatch – sounds like a good idea but im sure such a party would get even fewer votes than the regular Tory party. Mr Cameron really shafted his party members here and there is not much they can do about Im afraid to say.

  • Biggest Baddest Bobby

    John L

    What planet is all this happening on? Human rights?!!

    When you joined, mate, the Scottish Unionists were separate as well, and their support was primarily “Orange” too. Even as late as 1970 the Powellite vote was crucial to a Tory election win. You’ve obviously forgotten that, or developed such scruples late in life.

    The Conservative Party has a right to determine its own alliances anywhere in the country and has done so.

    Anyone listening to you for the last six months would have thought you yourself were at the top table while all this was going on! So it’s a bit odd you now seem so surprised. Turns out “Call Me Dave” hasn’t got the first idea who you are after all!

    dwatch

    Brilliant idea. They could struggle with the Workers’ Party and the Vote for Yourself Rainbow Coalition to see which one can fail to make it into triple figures most spectacularly!

    The Conservative Party has decided to align itself with the UUP. End of.

  • dwatch

    ‘The Conservative Party has decided to align itself with the UUP. End of.’

    Only when the numbers suits them BBB. Its about time the Conservatives in Northern Ireland stood up for themselves without being f**ked around with by Cameron & Paterson. Ofcourse they all the anti Orange NI Tories could go over and join the non sectarian Alliance party. Elliott and the UUP would indeed be extremely pleased especially when they see 2/3 hundred ex tories all out canvassing for Alliance candidates in North Down, East Belfast & Lagan Valley in May 2011.

  • Biggest Baddest Bobby

    If you get f**ked around by your own Leaders, you probably shouldn’t waste your time in that party.

    The local Tories have nothing to stand up *for*. They are non-existent apart from, well, on blogs like these.

    If canvassing for the APNI, they would at least be doing something which may get people elected!

  • Barry the Blender

    Factored into that calculation was the near certainty that a substantial number of defections by UUP members from its liberal wing would have occurred once the Conservatives had decided to contest assembly elections. So what exactly has brought about this change of mind?

    Now this has to be the biggest load of balls I have heard in a long time. And what’s with you NI Conservatives’ obsession with “liberal” types? Why can’t you have a more mainstream view akin to a mainland political party and seek to attract the Philip Davies, Nick Wintertons, William Hagues, David Burrowes or Kris Hopkins that a true nationwide political party like the Conservatives do?

    Conservative members living in Northern ireland could now start a breakaway party called the (ICP) “Independent Conservative Party”. Then they could put their own candidates up for MLA election in May 2011 without interference by David Cameron or Tom Elliott.
    I have it on good authority that this idea was seriously mooted at a meeting of the NI Conservatives following the general election. Key proponents were regulars to this site, some have maybe commented on this very entry. The theme was a party that was neutral on the union but centre right on the political spectrum. Genius.

  • randomjoe

    so basicaly the alliance party?

  • IJP

    John KL

    Leaving aside your Coulter-like logic that only people of a certain age should be involved in politics, I’m going to go with you on this one… could you confirm that Mr Wright completed his report, but that it has not yet been released its entirety to the Ulster Unionist Party membership?

  • IJP

    Slug

    Will do!

    Like I say, in principle, from the Conservative point of view (generally), it is the right decision but in my opinion made so late that it’s now the wrong one!

    From the UUP point of view, I’m also coming to the position that this is a mistake, although I think it’s less obviously so. People were just about beginning to buy that the whole UCUNF thing was a bad dream, when they go and revive it (only without even the pretence of any real influence over the Conservatives). What happens when the Conservatives do nothing over First Minister designations, or SF expenses, or frankly anything else the UUP wants? Even if there’s money in it, they’ll merely be accused of trying to buy the electorate again.

    But time will tell!

  • Barry the Blender

    randomjoe 10 December 2010 at 2:28 pm
    so basicaly the alliance party?

    In essence, yes. As a (relatively) more rational member of the NI Tories pointed out it would be the alliance but on the centre right of the spectrum.

    The effect of electoral legislation surrounding the naming of political parties would make it interesting. They can’t nick anything copyrighted by the Cons which might confuse the voters, although if they’re stuck I can suggest naming themselves “The Conservative but not Unionist party”.

  • Barry:

    The effect of electoral legislation surrounding the naming of political parties would make it interesting. They can’t nick anything copyrighted by the Cons which might confuse the voters

    The “Conservative” brand isn’t worth much in NI anyway – a clean break might be more useful.

  • Barry the Blender

    The “Conservative” brand isn’t worth much in NI anyway – a clean break might be more useful.

    Agreed. I wonder if they’d look to European centre right parties for inspiration. Christian Democrats? (Don’t suggest that one to Jeff Peel though)

  • I have previously suggested “People’s Party” as a suitable name for a centre-right Alliance.

  • dennis the menace

    does anyone know yet if David McClarty will stand as an
    independent or for a party? was he in favour of the Tory link
    up????