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Sunday, June 11, 2006


Would The Last Person To Leave Cunningham House Please Turn Out The Lights

The inability of the Ulster Unionist Party to hold on to its' more able members must cause concern to those who care about a party seemingly dying on its' feet. The Young Unionists have always had an active role within the party and in days gone by it was seen as a fast track to internal advancement given the delegates to the Ulster Unionist Council which the youth section had of right. In 1998 I was chair of the UYUC and am happy to say the organisation provided both the impetus and the personnel to challenge the pro Agreement policies of the "senior" party. Those were the heady days of UUC meetings after UUC meetings culminating with the Martin Smyth leadership challenge in the cattle shed at Balmoral. I will always regard my political salad days with a great deal of affection.

Since 1998 the UUP has been loosing former key Young Unionists at an alarming rate - remember the party had invested time and money on developing these people. Jeffrey Donaldson, Peter Weir, Arlene Foster and William Humphries are all past YU chairs that now hold elected office representing the DUP. Now it seems the list of former Young Unionists going on to greater things outside the UUP has grown. Peter Bowles has had enough of the UUP/UVF and done the decent thing and joined the Tories. This is a principled move and one for which Bowles deserves the greatest credit. As a North Down voter I suspect I will be seeing more of Cllr. Bowles in about three years time...

I think that they have been floundering about in the dark for some time now Pakman. In fact was it you that turned out the light when you left? And what did you do with the moral compass?

Thank you for your kind words, I appreciate the support.

Peter Bowles

perhaps a dining club of former YU chairs no longer in the UUP is required. Every second Thursday of the month in the Reform Club suit?

It could associate with the society of former UUP voters which, I am given to understand, will require the new Maze stadium for its' monthly gatherings.

In any event good luck with the Tories. Regardless of where your politics take you I can guarantee you will never look back to the UUs.

I feel another Kipling monent:

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools

Peter Bowles and I probably didn't see eye to eye on many things (a bit like pakman and myself!) but I do wish him well with the Tories. I spent a short time with them in the early 90s and, in spite of my problems with Mayhew and Ancram, I found the local members to be genuinely well-intentioned.

Best wishes,


Lidington is a different fish from the oily Ancram and is someone with whom the broad unionist family could, perhaps, do business. My only concern is that the Tory mood music on NI when in opposition is more pro Union than when in government. The way to keep them honest is to offer them (at least) 10 MPs in the next hung parliament.

That sounds like an offer I couldn't refuse, especially since our friend and legal brethren Peter Brown has left also. Let me know the first date and I am there.

Alex, thanks also for your kind words, maybe you would join me some day??


I'm thinking photo op...

Drop me a line at my Bar Library e-mail address.
"My only concern is that the Tory mood music on NI when in opposition is more pro Union than when in government."

My Dad used to say that the Labour was never as bad in governement as it was in opposition and the Tories were never as bad in opposition as they were when in government. He was spared Tony, where his truism fell down.

Oddly enough Bob McCartney used to say the same as your Dad.

"Oddly enough Bob McCartney used to say the same as your Dad."

Didn't Bob indicate he would take the Labour whip during the North Down by-election?

Dunno - wasn't so close to him at that time. I know he had the typical champagne Socialist love of "old labour" - an area where he and I disagreed!
pakman and DV:

I attended one of Bob's rallies during the by-election campaign in 1995. He was in brilliant form, probably the best I have ever heard him.

And yes, he did say he would take the Labour whip. Mind you, he went on to suggest that Labour would win the next election with a paperthin majority and be reliant on him to keep them in office for a full term!

Ah, if only that pesky Blair had just squeaked in with a mere 179 majority!!

Shouldn't have had that 3rd glass of wine during dinner.

Hadn't for had in the last sentence.

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