Thursday, 31 March 2011


In his latest column Alex Kane reflects on the "diem horribilem" of the UUP.  As regards the McGimpsey's decision on the Altnagelvin Cancer Unit he describes it as:

" a bizarrely ill-judged and ill-timed decision..."

While on the internal splits he highlights how that this was not a low level spat but caused by senior party members who simply should have known better:

"One is a former chief whip; one a former leadership contender; and the other is presently the deputy leader. All are senior figures, all are candidates and all are breaking the rules and causing yet more existing and potential voters to delete the UUP from their list of options."

Neither is a good backdrop for a party trying to claim that it is dedicated to deliver and to making Stormont work for you.

However Kane's proposed solution is problematic.  He believes that the party rules should now be enforced against all three to ensure they toe the line and that this would prove popular with the party membership.  This would simply guarantee that the story continued during the campaign - three senior members in key constituencies being subject to disciplinary charges would do little to assist an already faltering campaign.

The time for enforcement was in the past few years since the rules were introduced.  It is not like any of these three do not have form for example McCallister broke with the party position on water charges, McNarry is a repeat offender across numerous issues with McCrea a close second.

Kane also argues that this type of situation wouldn't arise in the DUP because the party's action would be:

"... immediate and brutal."

This is a common perception which I have previously argued is a misconception.  The DUP's culture is as much a product of common sense rather than enforcement.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


It appears the election fever has gone to the TUV economics spokesperson head.  David Vance is now deeply disturbed about the potential cuts to the public sector and accusing others of U-turns over the issue of Corporation tax. With furrowed brow he states:

"Four years of such annual corporate cuts would mean more than a billion pounds being removed from the block grant by a delighted Treasury."

His worries for the public sector are something of a revelation. He displayed no such concern about the public sector before he chose to run as a candidate.  He previously stated (scroll down to comments):

" I would happily reduce the public sector – shred it."

Vance even feigns concern for public sector workers stating that:

"Having to sack teachers and nurses in order to boost business profits is an intolerable asking price"

He was not so concerned about public workers when he declared on his blog:

"Let's put the public sector parasites under the microscope - either let them perform or be sacked. Better still, privatise them all anyway!"

On when he dismissed teachers and nurses as part of a parasite sector that:

"These are the people who take the most sick leave, who enjoy the most generous holiday provision, who are guaranteed indulgent pension provision, but yet they need more. If they can’t afford to buy houses in 7/10 UK towns, then I’m surprised any houses at all are sold to their less well off private sector counterparts. This is pure spin, more moaning from the State workers — give us MORE!" 

Where were nurses in his thoughts when he made the demand to:

"Axe our NHS!"

As to U-turns he's doing one of his own, on Corporation tax he used to be a cheerleader for it:

"(I favour a 10% rate myself, let’s CHALLENGE the Republic and watch the corporate exodus Northwards!)...With my commercial head on I can fully understand and support the push for low corporation tax. I can see all kinds of benefits for all of the peopl of NI."

Although his flip flop on this is not surprising when his boss Jim Allister has done the same.

"I happen to believe that being in politics tends to lead to corruption - it's one reason I am glad I'm not on the front-line."

It appears that his attempts to enter the front-line has led to a corruption of his beliefs.

Thursday, 24 March 2011


It has been a day of schoolboy errors in the media.  In the Belfast Telegraph their political editor Liam Clarke's column can't get basic facts correct:

"They [Sinn Fein] came out ahead in the European Election in 2009 but the DUP had replaced their key vote-getter - Ian Paisley - with a new candidate in Diane Dodds, who had just lost a council seat."

Ian Paisley had stood down at the previous European Election in 2004 not the 2009 election and Diane Dodds lost her Assembly seat not her Council seat.  

Meanwhile the BBC NI website can't get the name of the Deputy Leader of the Ulster Unionist Assembly group, John McCallister, correct.  On its report of the latest UUP split/spat it manages to call him two different things "John McAllister" in the text and "Jim McAllister" under the photo of McNarry.

Friday, 18 March 2011


Welcome news on Libya.  An aircraft carrier, perhaps the Ark Royal, would be very useful for the UK to deploy to the Mediterranean right now to help enforce the no fly zone etc.  Oh yes that's right the Government's Strategic Defence Review reached the conclusion we wouldn't really need such a capability and the Ark Royal was scrapped.  This will also add to the pressure on our Armed Forces.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


"The House responded warmly to the announcement that Wootton Bassett is to be given the title "Royal" in recognition of the dignified way it has honoured soldiers repatriated to the UK."

Friday, 11 March 2011


A Pint of Unionist Lite highlights everyone's favourite quangocrat, Monica McWilliams, doing whatever she wishes - accountability is for other people after all. 




Part of the difficulties that UCUNF ran into was the legislation governing our elections had not considered/allowed for alliances between or joint endorsement of candidates by parties.  Now it seems the Tories are going to legislate to allow for it.  The justification is problems that Labour and Co-operative Party candidates face but the suspicion is that it is more to do with keeping the option of Coalition government candidates open.  However, it would likely solve the 'local' difficulties as well.

Each attempt to clarify what the relationship between the UUP and Conservatives usually falls flat because the next day someone says something different.  Overall the attempt seems to be put greater distance between them the closer we get to election day but still claim a relationship exists so that distance can be narrowed after the election.  Has the relationship descended to the level of a couple conning the social?  Telling people they are separated when they really aren't to try and gain extra benefit.

Thursday, 10 March 2011


I am now in possession of a large quantity of leaflets to promote the No2AV debate in the Ulster Hall.  Anyone who is interested in getting copies to promote the event or distribute themselves drop me an email -

Monday, 7 March 2011


In his latest column Alex Kane examines the issue of Sinn Fein's growth in the recent Irish elections.  In it he argues that whatever Sinn Fein will try to make of it, it is a largely meaningless development. He makes clear that:

"Sinn Fein has been sucked in, screwed over and spat back out by the Brits."

He concludes that:

"Sinn Fein is just arrogant, absurd, deluded and trapped. The balaclavas have been swapped for suits, P O’Neill replaced by a senior civil servant and anti-British rhetoric drowned out by talk of budgets and the need to implement Tory cuts. So yep, Gerry, your day has come: and Northern Ireland remains firmly anchored in the United Kingdom."

I have found Alex's columns tend to have a cyclical feel to them with periods of positivity and negativity.  He has been in a rather over-despondent mood of late and I hope this column is a sign his writing will be heading in a more positive direction again.

Thursday, 3 March 2011