ULSTER Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey told the first minister on Saturday that there would be no “back room deal” on policing and justice. Oh yes … and the executive is a “four party coalition”. He had strong words for the education minister too – “Caitríona, schools are not meant to be a battle ground for class war and narrow ideological prejudices”. Fighting talk from the UU leader who was addressing the party faithful at their annual conference in Belfast.
Just back from Washington and talks with his new best friend US secretary Hilary Clinton, Conservative deputy leader William Hague provided the warm up act. Mr Hague used the first part of his speech to focus on Northern Ireland - Tory-UU link up good for the union; sectarian politics bad thing; political double-jobbing in NI to end; Presbyterian Mutual members let down; no more historical inquiries.
Hague who is also shadow foreign secretary then turned to the bigger picture – Westminster, Europe, the World. Yes, there is a world outside ‘our wee’ country.
The punters (for the most part) liked what they heard. Whether you love or loath Hague’s politics, its difficult not be seduced by his oratory.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to stay around for Sir Reg’s barn stormer. Constituency business in Yorkshire beckoned.