UUPs financial weaknesses make it completely untrustworthy

Last week, it was reported by Mark Devenport and subsequently confirmed by other bloggers, including Chekov that the UUP is now asking the Government to provide finance to enable it to go into opposition.

At the moment, there are two UUP MLAs with ministerial posts on the Executive, which they were allocated under the D’hondt system. From the way this request is being made, it looks as though the party has become partially economically dependent on the salaries of the two Ministers. There is, of course, an election looming and that has to be funded. So how much has this request to do with finance and how much has it to do with political principle?

Jeffrey Peel has already illustrated here and here some of the incidents which appear to have arisen as a result of the UUP’s internal financial difficulties. At the time of his resignation from the Joint Committee two years ago, he made explicit reference to the UUP’s financial problems stating it as a prime reason for going into partnership with the Conservatives:

“… I have come to the conclusion that the UUP does not have the interests of Conservatism at heart.  Rather, as the UUP is facing a severe financial crisis, it sees the Conservatives as a means out of its financial and electoral woes.”

That puts into context a story that I was told recently about a financial incident between the Conservatives and the UUP regarding UCUNF.

It had been agreed between the Conservatives and the UUP that they would set up a joint fund of £100,000. The Conservatives put in their initial £50,000. The UUP did not come up with its share. In the end, senior Conservatives withdrew money held by Northern Ireland Conservatives. It was a sort of “i.o.u.” except that the money has never been repaid by the UUP to the Conservatives.

This brings me to an important point. The credibility of any political party depends, to a certain extent, upon the degree to which it sticks to its principles. Now I appreciate that it is very hard, these days, to find any political party that has a polished halo. Nevertheless, how can anybody trust a political party whose policies and political actions are primarily driven by the need to raise money?

Update

Following Mark Cosgrove’s comment below, I have written a follow-up post here

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3 Responses to UUPs financial weaknesses make it completely untrustworthy

  1. Derek says:

    Seymour, Iam sure you have the right take on this. Elliott comes from the Western Section of the UUP. During the UCUNF experiment I raised the question of the desirability of fusion between the UUP and Consevatives, if all went well, and was told by a Western Party heavyweight that the Unionists had to remain separate ‘just in case’, for there to be any chance of co-operation. ‘Just in case’ I asked? The reply was that it was ‘just in case’ in the future the Conservatives did something adverse to the Unionist view of Ulster politics. During the campaign and certainly thereafter, especially when David Cameron addressed the faithful at Belfast George Best, Airport, the Unionists were miffed and stand offish when they became aware of a strong Conservative representation. In other words some of their higher ups, made plain by their actions that they thought that their party, the UUP, had the Conservative franchise and that the local Conservatives were an irrelevalant nusiance. An extension of this attitude would stretch easily to a belief in their right to Consevative funding for their separate party as an opposition party in the Executive.

    Of course there is some merit in having a sensible and knowledgeable opposition in Stormont, fighting its corner, on behalf of its suporters by questioning the government. It would not be down sectarian lines as the government would be DUP and S F plus, perhaps SDLP, with Allaince somewhere in the middle, or perhaps with the UUP! This means that the government would have an agreed and forceful policy, with no ministerial dissension, leading to clear fiscal planning. We would hope!!

  2. Mark Cosgrove says:

    I do not know your source on the £50,000 from each party from UNCUNF but yet again you are completly mis informed. I was the Treasurer of the Joint Committee and can 100% assure you that the UUP matched the Conservative £50,000 pound for pound. I find it absolutely unbelievable that you think you can go on line and tell out right lies. Total rubbish. Check the Electoral Commission statement of Party Accounts and you will see the facts. All UUP commitments to the Joint Committee were met in full. Seymour. Its as well I am not a letigious individual because if people reading this thought you were a reliable source then the UUP would have to seek a formal retraction of this. Can I ask that you ask the Chairman of the Conservative Party you was a colleague on the Joint Committee and then post a full retraction.

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