Tuesday, May 30, 2006


UUP-PUP link justifiable?

I think Mr Andrews is struggling I came across this letter in the Belfast Telegraph by Johnny Andrews of the Ulster Unionist Party (pictured left) who attempts to justify the recent hypocritical decision by Reg Empey and the Ulster Unionists to reach out to the Progressive Unionist party, the political wing of the UVF.

Andrews writes:

"In response to John Sutherland (Writeback, May 23), the UUP's tactical decision to ally with David Ervine in the Assembly is entirely compatible with reaching out to pro-Union Catholic voters. This twin strategy is radical but logical and consistent with the new Ulster Unionist vision of inclusivity and tolerance in a secular society; the main potential beneficiaries are nationalists from reduced sectarian conflict. This policy shows loyalists they can come in from the cold and engage.

"Until we recognise that maintaining the Union means making Northern Ireland work we are consigning our children to under achievement, especially in deprived loyalist communities.

"The UUP is taking a lead and engaging with the PUP, showing there is an alternative. While some within unionism understandably may find this strategy uncomfortable and may wrestle with their conscience on this issue, politicians have a duty to engage. This strategy in no way condones the atrocities perpetrated by the UVF; the emphasis remains to see decommissioning of paramilitarism. David Ervine and others in the PUP represent a constructive voice within loyalism through their attempts to change mindsets away from criminality, build a shared future and make Northern Ireland work and be at ease with itself."

Johnny Andrews, Ulster Unionist Party

It's funny to think that the Ulster Unionists once condemned John Hume for his strategy of reaching out to Sinn Féin only for them to go and do the very same thing with regard to the UVF.

What's more pathetic about the Ulster Unionist's position however is that, according to reports, the Ulster Unionists actually contacted other political figures before they turned to Ervine in their silly quest to garner more power and influence for unionism.

Thus it's hard to take seriously the words of people like Mr Andrews who are trying to spin this as some great endeavour on the part of Reg Empey to put a stop to loyalist terrorism when in reality, Empey has found himself in the unenviable position of having to rely on loyalist paramilitary figures to justify his party's political greed.

One wonders if Reg Empey will soon come to rue the day that he got into bed with the PUP.


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