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Sunday, June 18, 2006

 

Queer Street

There is something irresistible about a story that combines secret bank accounts, the UUP and Ken Maginnis. Liam Clarke covers the story in todays' Sunday Times. Notwithstanding the source (my money is on a recently departed party officer), the story raises some interesting issues.

Seemingly to decision to call in the police has triggered a bout of bluster not seen since Jeffrey Donaldson was Kens' bete noire.
"In an angry letter delivered to the commission on Friday night, Ken Maginnis, the UUP treasurer, has accused the body of “conspiring to destroy” its heritage. UUP sources say that the money in the account was mainly used for the upkeep of an office in America and was introduced into party accounts in 2005."
What exactly is the heritage of the Ulster Unionist Party? The Patton Report? Prisoner releases? Or the squandering of seventy years of public good will by committing the political Hari Kari that was Trimbleism? Answers on a post card please.

The Electoral Commission has published the latest UUP accounts here. Are there any accountants who would care to comment on the almost £100,000.00 deficit the party is running? Or the fact that there is a "fundamental uncertainty" in the report given that the party is dependant upon banks and members for continued financial support?

All this negative press and unwelcome scrutiny could have been avoided if full and frank financial disclosure had been made by the UUP. That degree of openness, however, does not form part of the cherished heritage. The hubris of the ruling clique has seen to that in years past.

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