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Week in politics…

Here’s some links from the week in politics:

– PRIME MINISTER David Cameron and Ulster Unionist Party leader Tom Elliott have agreed that the formal alliance between the two parties is over, saying that “it is not acceptable in its current form”. (The Irish Times)

– BBC journalist Stephen Walker at the Conservative conference on the UCUNF project: ‘Looking back, activists on both sides know mistakes were made and they now have to recapture lost ground. Never mind a week being a long time in politics – for some, the last year must seem like an eternity.’ (BBC Online)

– First Minister Peter Robinson has called for the number of MLAs and government departments to be reduced after the Assembly Election. (BBC Online)

– Sinn Féin has accused Peter Robinson of using the issue of red tape at Stormont as a smoke screen, after the DUP leader called for a reduction in the number of MLAs and Executive departments to save money. (UTV Live)

– DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds MP has welcomed the proposals put forward by First Minister, Peter Robinson concerning the reduction in the size of government in Northern Ireland. (

– Finance Minister Sammy Wilson is to stay on in the post as the Executive awaits swingeing public spending cuts. (The Belfast Telegraph)

– Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott has said the resignation of party member and former rugby international Trevor Ringland was unnecessary. (UTV Live)

– A second high-profile member has quit the UUP in as many days, less than a fortnight after the election of new leader Tom Elliott. (UTV Live)

Though Elliott is a decent and principled man, it’s hard to see how he can arrest his party’s decline any more than the equally decent Margaret Ritchie can transform the SDLP into a vibrant fighting force, says Ruth Dudley Edward. (The News Letter)

– Tom Elliott may not be a step backwards for unionism but there is certainly nothing to suggest he is a step forwards. For now, Elliott appears little more than a step to the side, and that is not what the UUP needs at the present time. (

– THE DUP is being disingenuous by calling for “unionist unity” while attacking rival unionists, TUV leader Jim Allister has said. (The News Letter)

– ULSTER Unionist MLA Ken Robinson is to step down from the Assembly. The East Antrim representative told his constituency Association on Friday he would not put his name forward for next year’s election. (Newtownabbey Times)

– Ulster Unionist Party members Sandra Overend, Women’s Development Officer, cllr Carol Black and cllr Jo-Anne Dobson have expressed their disappointment at “determined efforts” to ignore their core roles within the UUP. (

– If the UUP, SDLP and Alliance Party joined forces they could form a dominant party of the centre, says academic Michael Kerr (The News Letter)

Filed under: week in politics

Ball, taken home!

Here’s Paula Bradshaw’s take on things following her resignation… « From the Front Line.

Filed under: UUP, week in politics, , ,

Week in politics…

Here’s some links from the week in politics:

  • Tony Blair has spoken of his admiration for Ian Paisley — and how his hardline Protestant granny “loved” the future First Minister at the peak of his firebrand days (The Belfast Telegraph).
  • Reviewing Tony Blair’s memoirs, Dermott Nesbitt says it’s up to history to decide if the former PM was sincere (Belfast Telegraph). He added: “Overall I am reminded of the quote, attributed to Anonymous: “To succeed in public life, you have to be sincere. Once you can fake that, you have got it made.” It will be up to the historians to decide whether Tony Blair was sincere or not.
  • Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has admitted that he sometimes “distorted” the truth to prevent the Northern Ireland peace process from collapsing (UTV). DUP East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said: “When negotiating with Tony Blair our emphasis always lay on actions not words. We never accepted words because we knew how easily they had been ditched in the past.”
  • The UUP race hots up after rivals clash over GAA and gays (Belfast Telegraph). Despite appeals that the race should not become personal, Mr McCrea bitterly criticised his opponent over remarks that he had not, and has no intention of, attending GAA matches or Gay Pride marches.
  • Many more people are now open about their sexuality, meaning a great many more have friends, relatives and colleagues who are gay, according to David Gordon (The Belfast Telegraph). He adds: ‘And they all have votes — a commodity the Ulster Unionist Party has been shedding for many years.’
  • Over at her new blog (From the Front Line), Paula Bradshaw writes: ‘Whoever wins later this month will have to display leadership. However, it is equally if not more important that the rest of the party displays the integrity to unify under that leadership and behave as a disciplined, modern political party.’
  • THE UUP–Tory alliance spent almost twice as much on its failed general election campaign as any rival party, it has emerged (The News Letter). The UCUNF alliance – which both candidates for the Ulster Unionist leadership have pledged to scrap – spent £126,500.
  • Have I missed something over here in London or am I the only one to be struck by the absence of the smack of firm leadership in the DUP? asks Brian Walker at Slugger O’Toole. Fair Deal challenges him.
  • DUP culture minister Nelson McCausland has blamed the “sectarian intolerance of some republicans” after it emerged that policing the riots in north Belfast over the Twelfth cost more than £1 million (The News Letter).
  • agendaNi asked a number of floor-crossers and independents (from a Unionist persuasion) whether they considered resigning their seat and to explain their duty to their constituents.
  • Northern Ireland needs to look beyond the Troubles and address its “crippling level of social breakdown”, according to an independent think tank *(BBC). The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) says high levels of unemployment, family breakdown, mental illness and addiction need to be tackled.

Filed under: DUP, some links, This week, week in politics, , , ,

Week in politics…

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?

Filed under: week in politics, , ,

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