Tom Elliott kicks off campaign with UUP ideas on how to reform Stormont by 2015

Gathered for breakfast in The Mount conference centre in East Belfast, the local business representatives, UUP candidates and Young Unionists were nearly all decked out in dark pin-striped suits and dresses. Tom Elliott looked confident and relaxed as he arrived in the room and got up following Danny Kennedy’s introduction.

It was clear that the UUP were launching their election campaign as Tom Elliott stood at the perspex podium and delivered an end of term report on the past four years of Assembly and executive business as well as setting out his stall for economic policy, reforms to agree a programme of government before running d’Hondt and a roadmap towards introducing a formal opposition up at Stormont.

[The full speech is now available on the UUP website.]

Firstly, he set electoral expectations by suggesting that UUP success shouldn’t be purely measured in terms of the number of seats won. The party are clearly nervous about their chances of retaining their current number of MLAs.

An Election is about winning seats, no doubt about that, and clearly, the Ulster Unionist Party will be trying as hard as the rest to maximise our return to the 2011 Assembly. But, at this stage of the devolved government’s development, the people seek – and deserve – to measure the way they are governed in terms other than pure quantity.

Think about quantity for a moment. When it comes to numbers, Northern Ireland has no shortage. Indeed, in my judgement, when it comes to numbers, Northern Ireland is horrendously over-governed. 3 MEPs, 18 MPs, 108 MLAs, almost 600 councillors, and endless consultants, Commissioners and Quangoes. When it comes to numbers, we are very well served. When it comes to numbers, the business people here this morning will acknowledge that the input is massive!

But when it comes to outputs and outcomes, it’s massively disappointing. When we start measuring our governance in terms of delivery, Northern Ireland is, in fact, horrendously under-governed. But government shouldn’t just be a numbers game. Government is about delivery; expectation; relevance; efficiency; response and meeting the needs of the people.

Get all of that right and people will not be overly concerned about the numbers involved.

He accused the DUP and Sinn Fein of choosing “to put the interests of their own parties about the overall interests of Northern Ireland”.

The 2011 Assembly must deliver a step change in the way it does business. Because, with 36 days to go, it is crystal clear that the greatest achievement of the 2007 Assembly is that it actually survived. I don’t know about you, but when I go to meet my Maker, I hope He will judge me to have achieved a little more than just survival. I would like to be judged to have done some good, noble and honest things in my life. I want to rest easy in the knowledge that I cleared obstacles in other people’s lives. I want to help create the conditions where my children can grow up in a Northern Ireland where they can thrive and not just simply survive. I want an Assembly filled with people who can be true to themselves and their parties, yet trusted to ensure the greater good comes first.

If the 2010 mantra for local parties was “change”, 2011 seems to be the year of “delivery”.

Given that part of the audience wa made up of local business leaders, it was no surprise that be addressed corporation tax and “red tape”. Yet it’s nearly impossible to talk simply about corporation tax without getting bogged down in figures and percentages.

As you know, the Ulster Unionists have taken the lead in promoting Corporation Tax as a key element for taking our economy to the next level, generating new jobs and growing the private sector.

We have stuck with that belief as others faltered. We stuck firm when Sir David Varney reported to the then Labour Government and others threw their hands up in surrender. And we still stick firm as others speculate about what it will cost, who will pay, and what little return it will generate.

To listen to some commentators, you would think that lowering corporation tax was all about allowing fat-cat business people to keep more of their profits, and making the least well off pay for it, by taking the money out of the Block Grant, meaning less support and services for the most needy. If that was the case, I wouldn’t support it, I wouldn’t promote it. I wouldn’t be here today.

This isn’t about making a few rich people richer, it’s about ensuring we generate the wealth we – as a government and a nation – all need to grow our private sector to the point where we are no longer so deeply dependent on state aid for our survival. My vision is of an economy where employment hits new peaks, but again, not just in quantities, in quality as well. My vision is of an economy where people work not only for the money to put bread on the table, but for the satisfaction of knowing their job helps fulfil their lives.

He “saluted” public sector workers and said that rebalancing the economy was about three things:

1. It’s about growing the private sector.

2. It’s about developing the social economy, to broaden access to services and our commitment to social inclusion for all.

3. It’s about tackling waste in the public sector.

He added:

This is not the day to commit to the specifics of that incremental change process. This is the day for you and me – the Ulster Unionist Party and the business community – to agree to work together to run and monitor the business models which best predict the impacts of changes in Corporation Tax.

Along the way, we have a choice. We can be lazy and accept the thoughtless assumption that what we gain in Corporation Tax, we lose from the Block Grant. Or, we can devise imaginative methods of helping pay for the changes in the short-term.

He singled out two areas of private sector growth:

We also need to look forward and embrace the possibilities that will inevitably arise from the growth in green and renewable energies. There may be tens of thousands of new jobs generated UK-wide in the next couple of decades in this area. Northern Ireland must seize its share – and I do mean seize, not demand. This is not about handing out the begging bowl to our national politicians. This is about our local politicians, led by the Ulster Unionist Party, creating the environment in which entrepreneurs can seize the moment.

We must make the most of developing areas of opportunities. The creative industries in Northern Ireland are thriving, however, we need to focus on their needs in order to ensure they can continue to grow, continue to employ more people and continue to bring sizeable investment into Northern Ireland. With this in mind the Ulster Unionist Party will be focusing on ensuring we make the most out of Project Kelvin.

And so the speeched moved to the section dealing with reform of NI’s devolved administration.

I sincerely hope you have been more successful at your business than the Assembly has been at its over the last 4 years!

But if we are to revitalise our economy, we need a political game changer first …

Here is how I see we effect change. After the 2007 Election, the parties ran D’Hondt, divided up the government departments, and then agreed a Programme for Government that wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Because once a party has a Department, its Minister is really accountable only to his or her Party, not to the Executive. Look at the mess Conor Murphy in DRD made of NI Water, yet he’s still in post, because he is Untouchable.

That last line about Conor Murphy being untouchable was clearly one of the soundbites embedded in the speech. Unfortunately, nearly all the sound bites were fluffed in delivery, diminishing their impact in the room, as well on today’s radio and TV s news bulletins. Perhaps the peril of a long speech …

It introduces the temptation to play party political interests ahead of the needs of the country. For example, an Education Minister can ignore the wishes of the people who want to end the 11-Plus but to keep academic selection, and try to abolish both, resulting in unregulated testing, heartache and uncertainty for families, and chaos as the state loses control of state education.

But next time – this May – lets switch things around, and agree the Programme for Government before we run D’Hondt. That way, all the parties agree what needs to be done first. We begin by sorting out the likes of education, RPA and the Maze/Long Kesh before we start wasting money disagreeing! Then we appoint the Ministers to make it happen.

We agree how much we have to spend as a government, and how we want to spend it, as a government – then run d’Hondt, to form a government to make it happen.

If the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats can do it in five days for whole of the UK, local parties should be able to manage it pretty quickly.

Others will tell you there is no mechanism in legislation to allow this to happen, that there is no time between the election of the First Minister and deputy First Minster and running D’Hondt.

I say, where there is a will, there is a way and it’s up to us as politicians to make that happen.

Tom Elliott was keen to stress that the UUP are not preparing to withdraw from the Executive immediately. Just setting out their proposals for the way forward.

So, moving from the transitional to the next phase, I propose we set a four year period, in which we agree the changes we need. Changes like reducing the number of constituencies from; cutting the number of MLAs; and cutting the number of government departments.

BUT, as I seek to cut our over-governance in numbers and inputs, and address our under-governance in outputs and outcomes, it is time to set our sights on a review of the devolved government that paves the way for the next elections, in 2015, to be about electing a Government and an Opposition.

So, the Ulster Unionists are NOT preparing our members for Opposition in 2011. We are paving the way for better government at Stormont.

They say the trouble with the original Stormont Government is that you could call as many elections as you wanted, but you would never see a change of government, because of one-party dominance.

A four year transition seems very long. Would it not be better to review (which is already part of the St Andrew’s agreement) and agree in the first two years of the next Assembly session, and then demonstrate to voters how the revised government arrangements work for the second half before going to the polls in 2015?

He drew to a close with a list of UUP committments around the “change from a mandatory all-party coalition to a system of government and opposition” and the “gamechanger” of agreeing the programme for government before running d’Hondt. One of the eleven points sums the rest up:

We are committed to providing a form of government which will encourage voters to the polls for the right reasons; and which will also encourage our brightest and best to get involved in politics.

The speech ended with the assertion:

Ladies and gentlemen, the Ulster Unionist Party is back on its feet, back in business and ready to continue the job WE started in 1998! Thank you. And a safe onward journey, in every sense.

While restating the UUP’s position on Corporation Tax, it didn’t seem to offer anything substantially new for the business leaders in the room. While it did begin to articulate what the UUP might want to be known for standing for … stating the obvious that there’s room for improvement up at Stormont and starting the debate over reform won’t win many votes?

The light at the end of the UUP’s tunnel still feels faint.

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  • Delta Omega

    UUP still playing the follower I see, and targeting the TUV space

  • CliffNI

    Delta Omega,

    Exactly how do you deduct that the UUP are targeting the TUV space by what Elliott said this morning? Somebody has to start the debate about bringing reality to Stormont. Elliott has started it. Listening to the local media programmes, the local electorate seem completely peeved at the inaction and inability of Stormont to deliver.

  • Have they offered anything new here that can actually be achieved?

    Interesting to hear that there was no McCrea, McNarry and McGimpsey but a host of the new candidates there. Wonder what the old guard’s excuses were for not going to an early morning ‘gamechanger’ launch?

  • 241934 john brennan

    When unionists speak of voluntary coalitions is that not code for a return to majority government by unionists – and the days of nationalism’s solitary boast – the wild bird act.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Rearding Corpo Tax the UU should be commended for this and there is agreement with SF and the SDLP – though the DUP positon I think is less clear.

    Any Stormo ‘reform’ however requires Nationalist consent and that will probably only be available at a cost – something that Tommo probably doesnt want to talk about for fear of having an arse-kicking from the DUP.

  • CliffNI

    How does anyone know that reform is not possible? I am sure that as many nationalists are as fed up with Stormont as Unionists. As the years move on, reform will have to come about if this society is to normalise further. Otherwise the present arrangements will lead to perpetual stalemate. This might suit Sinn Fein and the DUP, but it certainly doesn`t suit the rest of us.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    “This might suit Sinn Fein and the DUP, but it certainly doesn`t suit the rest of us.”

    Over 50% electorate vote for SF and the DUP – so that statement doesn’t hold.

  • Eglise en bois

    Sammy, while it would be good for nationalists to support this suggestion, it actually doesn’t need nationalist support.

    If the UUs want to make a virtue out of getting an agreed programme for Government before allocating departments that makes sense. the only snag is, if the other parties decide to stick with the status quo then the UUs can’t now enter the executive without looking foolish.

    The real question is will the SDLP want to enter the executive under the current system, with the probable same outcome as this thime – no delivery

  • PaulT

    perhaps someone connected to the UUP could expand on the whole sorting things out before running d’Holt bit,

    is it done through cross community support, because surely Tom doesn’t think Nationalists are crazy enough just to have a show of hands in the Assembly, last time I looked it had a unionist majority

  • Neil

    How to reform Stormont eh? Probably start by winning a few seats and prove that your party’s not lying, twitching, dead on the floor. Then when you haven’t been rejected by the vastest majority you can look at reforming thiungs as you would have them.

    Unfortunately at the minute it’s not possible for them to do that, as having the UUP reform Stormont would involve one of the smallest mandates in NI getting one of the biggest roles.

    It is TUV space as it involves a small number of people weilding power not comensurate with their numbers. Ya know, traditional. Unionist. Just like the good ole days.

  • CliffNI


    You can argue all day long about the number of seats, and have a “who`s belly`s the biggest” competition if you like, but the debate has to move on to real issues and real reform and the not the usual blame game eminating from DUP/Sinn Fein. At the end of the day if the TUV, SDLP, UUP and whoever else agree on reform, let them get on with it. The present arrangements aren`t working. DUP/Sinn Fein don`t like change.


    “This might suit Sinn Fein and the DUP, but it certainly doesn`t suit the rest of us.”

    Over 50% electorate vote for SF and the DUP – so that statement doesn’t hold.

    Er, yes it does. Irrespective if DUP/Sinn Fein hold 60% or 40% of the vote, it certainly doesn`t suit the rest of us and probably most of the rest of the voters too.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Its rather funny reading some of the comments, on one hand some saying there is a lack of policy, on the other some saying your too small a party for policy! cant be both.

    In basically a 5 party state getting near 20% makes you a player so the UUP view is worth considering, but wont have enough weight to sway things, but going on past form its only a matter of tiem before the DUP steals the ideas, so patience is needed.

    As for Unionist rule, there are many ways a fairer powersharing system can be worked out, that dosnt have to split down the traditional lines, as is naturally developing at present, the key is to encourage these, opposition as well as government should be on a powersharing basis!

  • Zig70

    Sounded pretty fair, but I notice the attacks are reserved for mainly SF ministers. Grownup politics is still to wait for.

  • Rory Carr

    Elliot may pretend that the ‘numbers game’ is unimportant but how is he to measure support for the policies which he claims will provide “a form of government which will encourage voters to the polls for the right reasons; and which will also encourage our brightest and best to get involved in politics” other than by winning the seats necessary to make that possible?

    Even a die-hard Gooner like myself can get a bit fed up nowadays when Arsene Wenger bleats on about the beautiful, pure football that the Gunners play after drawing a game in which they had a 4-0 lead at half-time. I expect UUP supporters know the feeling after listening to Elliot wittering on over breakfast earlier today.

  • All three Unionist Parties – DUP, UUP, TUV – share much the same attitude to reform of Stormont, with varying takes on Corporation Tax for which there has still not been a realistic argument made for change. The DUP went to St Andrews to argue around it, and came back empty and ended up endorsing the status quo. The UUP negotiated the system in the first instance with no ‘time to move on’ clause. However both share the same inability as the TUV to map out a pathway, roadmap, call it what you will to instigate the process that would bring about the desired change. While SF have absolutely no incentive or desire to change, still stuck in a pseudo-Marxist liberation ideologicmindset circa 1969-79, then it is all stand still for everyone. The one thing that might kick-start that process, but effectively ruled out in Tom Elliott’s presentation, is to go into opposition: which is the probably the right thing for the UUP to do, but it appears to lack the imagination, or principle, or guts or or leadership to do tha

  • dupper – you’re right that McCrea, McNarry and McGimpsey were notable by their absence – should have mentioned that in the main post. Perhaps staying up to 2 or 3am took its toll. Not all the new candidates were there either.

  • Kevin Barry

    Haven’t listened to Tom’s speech yet, however, from what has been highlighted above it seems fairly middle of the road stuff framed with a local business crowd in mind.

    I would like to see some movement away from compulsory coalition, however, as a nationalist I would be lying if I said I didn’t see this as some opportunity to keep SF out of the decision making process. Btw, I am not for one instance saying that SF have to always be part of the process for instance if their electoral support were to collapse then they shouldn’t have the same influence as now, however, I would envisage that there would be a far greater chance of Unionist parties playing ball with the SDLP than ever voluntarily working with SF.

  • PaulT

    From being as “British as Fish and Chips” to Red Herrings………..

  • Carsons Cat

    So this is the “game changer”? A load of rehashed stuff – most of it first announced by the DUP a good few years ago.

    Fewer Departments & MLAs isn’t a game changer – its not even remotely new any more. There simply isn’t a single real headline coming out of this. There were no details, and from listening to the speech precious little charisma to paper over the voids of detail.

    This speech was about papering over the divisions in the UUP about whether they stay in the Executive or not. Mind you, McNasty & Basil have opened up a new front on that one as to whether they stay in the Police Board or not.

    As with Tom in general, there was nothing disastrous here but he’s just terminally mediocre.

  • Fair Deal

    “The light at the end of the UUP’s tunnel still feels faint.”

    Can’t resist the Terry Pratchett quote
    “There was light at the end of the tunnel. It was a flame-thrower.”

  • Much of Tom’s reform agenda has already been espoused by the other unionist parties or Alliance (about a decade ago).

    There’s no mechanism for Tom’s PfG plan, but if anyone bowed to his wisdom (unlikely), the temptation would be for the DUP to scupper the UUP’s deadline and put it up to them to do something about it. Like go into opposition. Which Tom said he wouldn’t.

    Until Elliott grows a pair, its hard to take this stuff seriously. Remember the Budget kerfuffle? The UUP position is one thing one minute and another the next. If they’re agin it, go into opposition. If not, back it. Instead, they just fanny about like the SDLP in a bad period.

  • 241934 john brennan

    People deserve and expect more than the mere fact of devolution. They want a government that delivers for them and has imaginative ideas to create jobs and protect frontline services. Instead we have a DUP/Sinn Féin exclusive carve-up.

    The failures of the present government are due to two parties working only in their own interest – and so failing the people.

    ‘Blame the workmen not the tools’. Bad politics, not a bad system, produces bad results for families, businesses and workers. Just look at the bad two party ‘like it or lump it’ draft budget.

    The SDLP always said that parts of the GFA were designed to be evolutionary (“remove the ugly scaffolding”). But evolution requires maturity – and SF/DUP still act like spoiled children (rattles out of prams)

    It is quite clear that neither is ready for fruitful partnership, nor power-sharing, nor to allow any serious conversation of this nature to even begin. They have yet to start work on building trust in each other, never mind trust in a government that they can only ever be part of – unless they grow up and can be trusted to go solo.

    The SDLP wants government reform, and a leaner Assembly and Executive that impacts more positively on all people, particularly the neediest. Apart from SF/DUP, who doesn’t?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Tom Elliott kicks off campaign with UUP ideas on how to reform Stormont by 2015’

    Wasn’t that a typographical error in the thread headline . Surely they meant 2051 ?

    It’s as good as it gets until the people get tired of DUP/SF and replace them with UUP/SDLP/AP . But for the latter to happen these three parties have to learn how to stand on their heads while doing the Lambeth Walk and talking out of both corners of their several mouths simultaneously professing that black is white -green is orange and blue is really just a sad red .

    If the DUP/SF can do it ? Why can’t the three junior parties ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Tom’s occupying some sort of weird fantasy world.

    But next time – this May – lets switch things around, and agree the Programme for Government before we run D’Hondt. That way, all the parties agree what needs to be done first.

    So by simply changing the order that things are done in, the parties all magically start agreeing on stuff ? How do you get to there from here ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think Elliott would be better off making sure that people like David “Slasher” McNarry and Basil “Calculator” McCrea are on message rather than simultaneously issuing contradictory press statements – on the same day. Contradiction and incoherence is a UUP hallmark – a Minister who opposes the budget he’s been given but who won’t resign to make his point. I’m not at all sure that people won’t buy the idea that his department can’t make a few economies here and there, like the rest of us are being compelled to.

  • Rocketeer

    I think that it is quite strange that Michael McGimpsey was not present, particularly given the fact that I did not see him at the Assembly last night. When McGimpsey was savaged by Robinson and McGuinness at the Executive table it is reported that his own party colleague, Danny Kennedy remained silent and did not defend him. Very interesting.

  • Kevin Barry

    I just listened to Tom’s speech in it’s entirety.

    Robbo has nothing to fear…

  • Comrade Stalin

    When McGimpsey was savaged by Robinson and McGuinness at the Executive table it is reported that his own party colleague, Danny Kennedy remained silent and did not defend him. Very interesting.

    Executive meetings are supposed to be confidential. I wonder who is leaking this stuff and whether or not they are leaking it accurately ?

    I think McGimpsey is quite a good Minister but he should have known better than to back himself into a corner here.

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk


    “Sounded pretty fair, but I notice the attacks are reserved for mainly SF ministers. Grownup politics is still to wait for”

    I couldn’t agreee more. I am a Nationalist but not a SF supporter (BTW no-one could be a bigger critic of Ruane than I).

    However, it is not only SF Ministers who are open to criticism – McGimpsey is hardly anything to write home about ( critical of the budget but not enough backbone to resign), Foster hasn’t done anything, Ritchie was on an ego trip and Attwood isn’t much better, Campbell was a joke etc.

    I don’t rate Elliott but his main point is quite valid – the Executive hasn’t delivered and is unlikely to do so in it’s present form.

    However, I (and I suspect the majority of Nationalists) are distrustful. There would need to be strong safeguards for any proposed changes to ensure that Unionists are not attempting to return to their Shangri-La of majority rule – that’s never going to happen.

    They cannot be trusted with power without safeguards – the fact that Elliott aimed his criticism solely at SF ministers while ignoring the many shortcomings of various Unionist ministers is an illustration of that.

    You are quite right – while the idea of opposition may be laudable, Elliott and the UUP have shown that they are not ready for grown-up politics yet.

    There is still to much of a fond remembrance for the pre 1968 Stormont regime and the “croppie lie down” attitude – it may take a generation but, if the UU is to survive (which is doubtful) they need to realise that those days are gone and are never comning back.

    The UUP, or at least the older generation, (excluding Basil McCrea to be fair) haven’t reached that point yet.

  • Alan in Belfast. The first thing Elliot should do is leave the UUP as he seems to be killing it by staying as leader[if that is the right term]. It’s badly in need of a reform. He shouldn’t worry about Stormont as his present party is unlikely to be troubling it for seats anytime soon.

  • MonkdeWDH. That’s right, if anything they need more of what Durkan called ‘ugly scaffolding’ if anything to prevent any stitchup.Or would if there was any chance of SF agreeing to any changes. They have it where they want it up there. This whole row over the FM post gives the lie to unionist claims that they are only concerned that the union is safe and since they bait SF about administratinting british rule, they should be happy, but clearly they aren’t and this exposes their bigotry. the failed attempt in FST at westminster election, inmn depriving unionist voters of choice shows the neurotic siege mentality at work. not only must NI be in the union, it must present a unionist face to the world, so even the perception of nats encroaching on that is enough to give UUP and DUP sleepless nights. so much for democrats.

  • dwatch

    madraj55: “He shouldn’t worry about Stormont as his present party is unlikely to be troubling it for seats anytime soon.”

    In Stormont’s next devolved government unless the UUP & SDLP receive funding from Westminster to form an opposition and shadow cabinet Tom Elliott and the UUP will still be eligible to hold one or two ministerial posts after the May election.

    SF may have gained a 3% increase in the recent election but are still the smallest party in the Dail Eireann holding 14 TD’s. Fianna Fail with 20 TD’s will be the opposition party with Michael Martin as their leader will not be seen to let Gerry Adams and SF anywhere close to Fianna Fail. So unlike the position Tom Elliott and the Ulster Unionists have in the Northern Ireland devolved government, [of holding ministerial seats or going into opposition with the SDLP ] Sinn Fein on the other hand will not be in government and don’t even qualify to go into opposition in Dail Eireann.

  • dwatch. I was dealing with Elliot on his own in the post you’re replyingto, not comparing his to the SF in the south. I agree with you that SF will have to wait for the next election in the south to make sure it’s not just a protest vote they benefitted from. The UUP will survive if only because there’s a upper limit to the numbers of protestants willing to vote for them, the rest wouldn’t touch the DUP with a barge pole.Elliot has no future as leader as the other candidate last time McCrea is still around and his backers are waiting to pounce in May and they’ll dump him.

  • Politics Student

    Does anybody see any prospect of the UUP decline reversing, or will the UUP’s downward trend continue?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Politics Student

    I would say they’re one or possibly two poor elections and/or a handful of key defections or resignations away from being a salted snail of a party. Hope and expect so. If Elliott dosn’t have the cop on to de-orange his party and go for bust on building a genuinely progressive alternative to the DUPes then he deserves to be the party leader who is remembered best for being its last. The DUP must pinch themselves every time they hear Elliott and his lot speak to remind themselves just how fortunate they are to have such a moribund and feeble opposition as the UUs.

  • Greenflag

    Mr Elliot’s comment

    ‘It is crystal clear that the greatest achievement of the 2007 Assembly is that it actually survived. ‘

    Indeed and I would’nt underrate ‘survival ‘ in the present economic context .

    ‘I don’t know about you, but when I go to meet my Maker, ‘

    Ah the oul Protestant God dragged out for an airing once again:( .Shure where would any Unionist politician be without the help of Jehovah ? . Mr Eliot might pause to consider that it’s perhaps because the Assembly ‘survived ‘ that he has not yet or indeed neither have many others on all sides of the heaven magician divide had reason for a premature meeting with their chosen idol .

    Sadly Mr Eliot and indeed the other NI political leaders and their equivalents in Dublin and London will have to wait until the ‘banking sector ‘ is tamed or reformed sufficiently to enable the ‘wishes and visions ‘ of Mr Eliot or or Mr Noonan or Mr Osborne to have any chance of becoming more than just election verbiage .

    ‘Government is about delivery; expectation; relevance; efficiency; response and meeting the needs of the people.’

    Now that’s a joke surely -Government in the UK today , yesterday and for some considerable time has been about bending over for the banking and financial sectors mainly in the SE of England and to hell or Connaught with the rest of the economy .

    ‘Get all of that right and people will not be overly concerned about the numbers involved.’

    All right ? Look at the UK unemployment numbers and the coming double dip recession and pray that it ‘not bad enough to consign the Tory Party to another 14 years on the opposition benches and the Liberals back to rump size and the UUP to electoral extinction .

    But a good man Tom -a good man as they all are but they have NO power to do other than what the Governor of the Bank of England and IMF will dictate over the coming few years .

  • joeCanuck

    I think the only thing that they can look forward to is that someone, presumably the electorate, will finally put them out of their misery. They’re long past their best by date and will be welcomed by all the other parties that they drift to.

  • “Go ask the DUP when they warned Gordon Brown he was bankrupting the United Kingdom”.

    The UUP did this themselves….when and how loudly ?