Here’s some links from the week in politics:
- THE UUP may strike a deal with the DUP if the government does not change the rules on choosing the first minister, the party’s chief whip has said (The News Letter). Cobain explained that ‘… if the Conservatives do not deliver changes to the St Andrews Act his party would be justified in choosing Peter Robinson’s party over that of David Cameron.’
Responding to Fred Cobain’s article, Ian Parsley says on his blog:’In short, recent pronouncements from senior Ulster Unionists have all been about technicalities, not values; about politicians’ quality of life, not the public’s.’ (Ian Parsley’s blog)
THE DUP has said that there should be ‘unionist unity’ even if the original Belfast Agreement rules on selecting the first minister are re-instated (The News Letter). Diane Dodds said: “Whilst Tom Elliott and Fred Cobain may base their unity decisions on Sinn Fein’s potential to be the first minister, I don’t take such a narrow view.”
- UUP leadership contender Tom Elliott has rejected calls for a single unionist party (from UTV). ‘Launching his leadership bid in Antrim, the Fermanagh and South Tyrone Assembly MLA instead called for better unionist cooperation, if respect is shown for the UUP.’
- The UUP leadership candidates represent such different strands of unionism it’s hard to see how they can create a party attractive to the electorate, argues Alex Kane (The Belfast Telegraph). ‘From what I have seen and heard so far I’m not convinced that either McCrea or Elliott actually appreciates the scale of the task they could face from September 22.’
- Nicholas Whyte has put together an excellent comparative analysis on the UUP leadership contest – essential reading.
- Just hours before the Historical Enquiries Team revealed it is to probe the unsolved murder of nine people in the 1972 Claudy bombing, a delegation from the Ulster Unionist Party has met with Northern Ireland’s Commission for Victims and Survivors as part of an ongoing set of meetings on issues pertaining to the past (from 4ni).
- SENIOR UNIONIST politicians have insisted the Catholic Church still has serious questions to answer over the Claudy bombing (from The Irish Times). Gregory Campbell said: “The report on the Claudy bomb is now concluded, but like the victims of atrocities such as Enniskillen, Omagh, Kingsmill, Darkley, Teebane and others, they are left with a bitter taste that the lives of their loved ones were secondary to those who died in the Bogside in January 1972.”
- AN Ulster Unionist councillor, who was injured in the Claudy bombing, says the release of the report serves only to reveal “how much more investigation the atrocity requires” (from The News Letter). Mary Hamilton said: “I would appeal to those within our own Assembly, the NIO, the Catholic Church, the British Government and the now PSNI to come forward with any information. These families deserve the truth.”
- Michelle Bostock replaces Michael McGimpsey (from UTV) and Fred Rodgers replaces Fred Cobain (from BBC) on Belfast City Council .
NB. If there are any links / stories which you think would be of interest, do email them in and I’ll post them up.
PS. Interesting message from the DUP in the ‘unity’ links. Looks to me like the DUP are nimbly making their ‘unity’ appear broad and pluralist, while branding the UUP’s ‘unity’ as narrow and sectarian. How will the UUP (and Tom Elliott’s campaign) respond? In my opinion, the DUP has managed to appear big and generous throughout the ‘unity’ debate. The UUP on the other hand seem to have fallen into the trap of largely selling ‘unity’ on an anti-nationalist (sectarian) platform. The DUP’s strategy is clear – but what strategy has the UUP been following?