Ulster Unionists look poised to explode into another
'Dump Dave' campaign as the party's increasingly
vocal liberal wing becomes really furious with UVF
apologist David Ervine joining the Assembly team.
prominent Down councillor and former Young Unionists
boss Peter Bowles has jumped ship to the fringe
North Down MP Sylvia Hermon wife of the former
RUC Chief Constable Sir Jack has been venting
her spleen about the decision to allow the PUP leader
into its Assembly party ranks.
bosses are now praying Bowles' departure does not
spark another Jeffrey Donaldson-style walkout
only this time by the party's liberals.
the UUP spent six years imploding with its 'Dump
Dave' rave against former party boss David Trimble.
Now it seems, there's going to be more internal
blood letting over the PUP supremo climbing into
bed (politically) with the UUP's so-called 'decent'
Fur Coat Brigade.
the recent Mark Haddock and Loughinisland fiascos,
the hairs are really standing on end as the Ervine
Must Go bandwagon gains momentum.
party rumour mongers have suggested if the UUP needs
a 25th man in the Stormont squad to keep the Shinners
out of a ministerial post, then the hand of friendship
should be extended to Independent Unionist Paul
Berry from Newry and Armagh.
believe the alleged baggage surrounding young Berry's
private life can be borne more easily than the UVF
and Red Hand Commando's four decades of sectarian
rumour also has it the Paisley camp may be prepared
to view Berry as the Biblical Prodigal Son, forgive
him of any alleged indiscretions, and kill the fatted
calf to welcome him back into the DUP ranks.
Berry doesn't bite, there are even more rumours
former Alliance deputy leader and ex-Lisburn mayor
Seamus Close could be wooed into defecting to the
would also be seen as a clever move by some party
officials to develop the Catholic unionist tradition
as clearly the majority of Northern Prods don't
Suck Up To Seamus squad would be particularly enthusiastic
in the now liberal unionist strongholds of North
Down and Lagan Valley.
again, if Empey can ride out the Ervine hurricane
and survive the mooted leadership challenge next
year, what's next for the UUP's new Pick Up the
Paramilitary Prod Vote Campaign?
now the ruling Ulster Unionist Council has neutered
the troublesome dissident Orange Order vote, it
could assign delegate seats to members of the Combined
Loyalist Military Command the umbrella body
representing the UVF and UDA which called the October
'94 loyalist ceasefire.
about the UUP ensuring top UDA adviser Sammy Duddy
is given a safe Assembly seat? Surely Empey has
not dismissed his own alleged paramilitary baggage?
Isn't the UUP boss the same Reg Empey who was a
former chairman of the ultra Right wing Vanguard
once had its own neo-fascist paramilitary group,
the Vanguard Service Corps. But the UUC shouldn't
also forget its paramilitary history. No sooner
was the UUC established in 1905 than the father
of modern unionism, Edward Carson, went a step further
in 1912 and set up the original UVF, which he armed
with German guns a year later.
where would the unionist politicians have been in
1974 without the UDA muscle to help bring down the
power-sharing Sunningdale Executive?
this new bonding between the UUP and PUP will help
the UVF remember where it stashed its shipment of
South African weapons brought into the North by
the Brit agent, the late Brian Nelson of the UDA?
before the DUP goes off on a Bible-thumping rant
about the UUP and Ervine, the Paisleyites should
come clean on where the batch of South African weapons
bound for Ulster Resistance caches are hidden. You
do remember Big Ian and Peter 'Punt' Robinson donning
their famous Resistance red berets?
fact, let's not forget the role of loyalist paramilitaries
over the years in helping the Paisley camp become
unionism's top dog. As well as Ulster Resistance,
there was also the Third Force and the Ulster Protestant
we should mention the notorious roles of two leading
Paisley supporters and paramilitary figures
the late John McKeague who founded the Red Hand
Commando, and the late William McGrath, the sex
beast of Kincora who founded the vehemently anti-Catholic
well as political Prods and praying Prods, we now
have the paramilitary Prods seeking a slice of the
Stormont action. The quagmire of unionist politics
just gets even more dirty.
again, maybe in the mindset of Northern politics,
that's the reason the Women's Coalition collapsed
and Alliance is near electoral extinction
neither have a paramilitary wing.
McWilliams should have launched Monica's Marauders
and Alliance's Davy Ford should have had his Freedom
just keep an eye on the Press conference following
the now usual Monday meeting of the UUP/PUP Assembly
team for the official launch of the latest paramilitary
wing of unionism the RRR, that's Reg's Renegade
Stormont Roadshow really has become even more amusing
than the Muppet Show. The trouble is, the families
and friends of the thousands of people killed or
maimed by paramilitary violence certainly won't
see the funny side.
took a massive gamble on the Belfast Agreement and
lost. Empey has taken an even bigger gamble with
the PUP. For the UUP's sake, let's hope we don't
read the headline Reg Ruined.