Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

General Election 2010 – Sinn Féin

Tue 7 September 2010, 12:56pm

With 25.5% of the vote SF beat the DUP by 3,700 to get the highest vote of all parties (helped, of course, by DUP absence in FST and North Down). That’s the first time ever in General Elections. (One of the things you wonder about late at night is what would have happened in 1921 with today’s demography?)
Obviously FST was the highlight although the falling nationalist turnout there and, indeed, everywhere must be a big worry to the party – Total SF vote 172k cf. 180k in Assembly 2007 and 174k in Westminster 2005.
Apart from holding what they had SF’s big effort came in North Belfast – Kelly now within 2224 votes of Dodds (interestingly UCUNF not squeezed here, although below the SDLP.). If this constituency exists at the next GE (and the coalition could fall apart over Coulson or AV or appalling Lib Dem results in Scottish and Welsh elections) then SF are favourites IMHO.

As to becoming the biggest party in the Assembly? It does look like that relies on UCUNF / TUV & Alliance revivals and some nationalist co-operation in the Antrim seats outside Belfast. The game changing outcome would be for SF to become the biggest party and nominate a Unionist First Minister……what odds could I get on that?

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Comments (59)

  1. Politico68 (profile) says:

    Sinn Fein becoming the giggest party?

    Now we’re hurling Slug !

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  2. Politico68 (profile) says:

    giggest = biggest LOL

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  3. Greenflag says:

    ‘The game changing outcome would be for SF to become the biggest party and nominate a Unionist First Minister……what odds could I get on that?

    10,000,000,000 to 1 -I’d guess ;)?

    The game can’t change even if there is an SF FM .
    It’s as good as it can get . The game can of course go into reverse mode temporarily but as night follows day or as day follows night the ‘dreary steeples ‘ will reemerge .

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  4. HeinzGuderian (profile) says:

    ‘Always look on the bright side of life’,as our Glorious Leader would sing………..or maybe not,depending on His memory………..Anywhoo,biggest party (of gobshites) or no,they will STILL be administering British Rule up at Stormont !! :-)

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  5. HeinzGuderian (profile) says:

    …………indeed!! And in Fifty years or so,IF there ever is a ui,the dreary steeples will keep reemerging…………only this time,the ‘terrorist’ campaign will come from ‘loyalists’.

    The future’s bright………….or maybe not,as the case may be.

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  6. Dewi (profile) says:

    I’ll put ten bob on that GF…

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  7. “…what odds could I get on that?”

    Whatever odds you get, don’t take them. The DUP isn’t going to take more of a hit next time out unless there are a raft of new scandals, or perhaps a deeper dive into the past ones, in the interim. Otherwise they appear unlikely to dip below around 32-33. Even if they dropped to 31 or so, the SDLP and Alliance appear more likely beneficiaries and not SF.
    To be the largest party, SF need a perfect storm: upping the vote to between 27% and 28% (which would probably mean further eats into the SDLP vote) or a solid UUP revival back to the dizzy heights of 20%. Mainly, I think the theory of a SF First Minister is just a phantasm to try and scare *unionist* voters. In the unlikely event that that SF are in a position to nominate, I’d imagine Eamon McCann will be their second choice after Martin McGuinness…

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  8. Politico68 (profile) says:

    Heinz,

    We will keep on administering British rule untill we have the power to break it.

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  9. slug says:

    Are you a member of SF?

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  10. no offence but.... says:

    “or a solid UUP revival back to the dizzy heights of 20%”

    This must be more likely. Surely they cant get any worse?

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  11. Politico68 (profile) says:

    I actually live in Dublin and I am a SF supporter.
    I hand out leaflets at elections, does that make me a member?

    When i said ‘we’ in the above post i meant Pro UI nationalists.

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  12. slug says:

    Fair enough. I have always believed in powersharing .

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  13. Dewi (profile) says:

    Yes I agree John…however I’m not dismissing TUV – whatever the disappointments Stormont was always going to be their big effort – and what of North Down? I wonder if Lady Sylvia will be giving advice at the very least….

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  14. fitzjameshorse1745 (profile) says:

    Robinson aside……the DUP held their ground against both the TUV and UUP just four months after the Party was on its knees.
    With talk of defections to TUV and of Ringland, Nesbitt and Empey (and his Catholics) the DUP was being written off. Its hard to imagine how they could possibly be hit by bigger scandals in the next 12 months.
    They are safe I think as the biggest party.
    As the thread is specifically about Sinn Féin……but frankly theres not much to say. They seem on target for the same result they had in 2007. A loss in Lagan Valley but thats it.
    Maybe a gain elsewhere.

    But in the early part of 2010……people on Slugger O’Toole talked up SFs meltdown……dissidents taking votes, Jean McConville, Gerry Adams family, Darkie Hughes from the grave, Caitriona Ruane………and now those posters will be at it again next year..

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  15. TUV will no doubt pick up a North Antrim seat plus maybe one or two more but have they yet shown they can be anything more than UKUP 2.0?
    I think what happens next in North Down may be determined by the UUP leadership battle.

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  16. PaddyReilly says:

    One of the things you wonder about late at night is what would have happened in 1921 with today’s demography?

    They did have today’s demography in 1921. So they had to sacrifice three counties. In democracy the people choose the government: in Ulster it is the reverse, the government choses the people who favour them, and then pretends that it has been elected by them.

    So with today’s demography the heroes of 1921 would have chosen to sacrifice Fermanagh and Tyrone and bits of the other four counties.

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  17. PaddyReilly says:

    SF was only the biggest party in 2010 because of the Fermanagh S Tyrone abstention.

    But on the other hand, you would expect a higher TUV vote in a PR system. We’ll have to wait and see.

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  18. Drumlin Rock says:

    FJH, history seems to tell us the longer a party rides the Up, the deeper the fall, and occasionally it can be fatal. The conservatives and Labour are good examples on the middle ground for both, the UUP after being in total charge for 50 years obviously face a long recovery, the DUP & SF are at their peak, both much to strong to be shaken yet, in 4 years time though it could be a different matter…

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  19. Greenflag says:

    You would Dewi -you would ;)

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  20. Drumlin Rock says:

    prob not that much bigger though and spread out more. I think it might actually fall, and they will get no seats.

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  21. Dewi (profile) says:

    Yes – see 1st sentence…

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  22. Greenflag says:

    paddyreilly ,

    ‘They did have today’s demography in 1921.’

    Comparing apples to oranges paddy ;) Comparing 6 county NI 2010 to 9 county Ulster in 1920 ?

    . In the 9 county Ulster province of circa 1920 Unionists outnumbered Irish nationalists by about 51% to 49% which was too slim a majority on which to build a Unionist majority. . Fast forward to 2010 and the ‘Irish Nationalist ‘ majority in a 9 county Ulster would be circa 150,000 given that Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan are all 95% Nationalist.

    Strictly speaking the 9 county Ulster demographic has made an about face since 1920 .

    The main reason I believe ‘Unionists ‘ seem not to keen on ‘repartition’ is that a two county size Unionist State might even have less credibility than the 6 county creation of 1920 apart altogether from the financial underpinnings of such a state much less it’s ability to attract the kind of political support from the majority of people on these islands.

    That said and despite the Horseman ‘apocalypse’ facing ‘unionism’ there are no guarantees re the demographic future even if earlier trends point in the one direction. Differential emigration rates could yet leave ‘unionism’ hanging on to the ‘union’ cliff edge by the proverbial fingertips 50 years from now ?

    For those who favour a UI the better policy is to breed instead of bleed :)?

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  23. Politico68 (profile) says:

    The TUV will take two seats in the assembly. North Antrim, Lagan Valley and possibly a third in East Derry. They could’nt win a seat in The westie election because of their size but I think they will do better under PR.

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  24. fitzjameshorse1745 (profile) says:

    yes it “could”.
    Four years…..Eight years…..Twelve years.
    But when the Tories started their “up” in 1979 it lasted to 1997 by which time British society had been transformed and did not go into reverse in 1997 when Labour began their 13 year “up”.
    The logic therefore is that if and when SF fail to maintain their “up” they will have transformed society and History has no reverse gear.

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  25. PaddyReilly says:

    In the 2009 European Election the TUV vote was 66,197 (1st Pref), the DUP gaining 88,346.

    In the 2010 General Election the TUV got 26,300 and the DUP 168,216 votes. (non-transferable.)

    Unfans of the TUV state that this was because the electorate had lost interest in the TUV in the intervening 11 months. Bullshit. It is a different type of election, and TUV did not stand in very constituency.

    The Assembly elections provide a very good occasion for the reversal of this trend. While it may not be as favourable as the 6:8 ratio established in 2009, which would give the DUP 21 and TUV 14, (assuming, wrongly, that DUP will not lose any to Alliance or Nationalists) the conditions do exist for the TUV to take the 3rd DUP seat in those constituencies where there are at least three DUP members.

    What would this give them, about 5? So Sinn Féin largest party, at least in terms of 1st prefs?

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  26. HeinzGuderian (profile) says:

    Good luck with that……………..I call it ‘A Notion Once Again’ syndrome…………..:-)

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  27. Politico68 (profile) says:

    Paddy,

    You are right on the button there mate.

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  28. Greenflag says:

    ‘Surely they cant get any worse?’

    I would’nt bet on it :( The UUP appear to be devoted followers of the IAMLSS (International Association of Murphy’s Law Syndrome Sufferers) :(

    Not only can they make a bad situation worse but they’ve been known to take the very worst situation and disimprove on it by making it even worse than worst ;)

    When David Trimble led the party I recall one of the logos or slogans of the UUP being a plate of fish and chips complete with the British flag (the Italian origins of this great dish were written out of the history :(

    Now when I think of the UUP the image that comes to mind is of one Wily Coyote hanging in mid air over a southwestern USA mesa having once again been DUPED (pun intended) by the Acme corporation – with Wiley again looking downward aghast at the rising ground hurtling towards him and yet still oblivious of the boulder hurtling earthwards right above him .

    I hope the UUP plump for Basil Mc Crea as leader . He at least seems to want the shake the ‘shit’ out of the organisation . Elliot supporters may fear that if that feat is accomplished by the bould Basil there may be nothing left to shake – They may have a point ;)?

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  29. slug says:

    Some countries such as the SOUTH tend, it seems, to have one dominant party, into perpetuity.

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  30. HeinzGuderian (profile) says:

    Yes,but the 15% turn out,(as it will be snowing that day),added to the 24.5% apathy,not forgetting a pinch of the ‘vote early,vote often’ brigade……….take away the first number you thought of,and hey presto……………..the Swingometer is anywhere between sunny with showers,or cold,with the odd outbreak of sunshine !! :-)

    Right on the button……………………….

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  31. billy says:

    If North Belfast stays the same boundary-wise then the SDLP is going to face another McKinney moment come the next election.

    I mean, what was the point of Alban Maginnes standing this year apart from to keep Kelly out? This became blatantly obvious when Maginnes’ derisory vote came in.

    If the battle lines remain the same then it’s a SF seat. people have long memories here.

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  32. HeinzGuderian (profile) says:

    Now I must oft and hand out leaflets to the great unwashed !!! Our Glorious Leader demands it………………all hail Armani…………….(and British Rule) :-)

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  33. Jean Meslier says:

    Heinzy,
    go polish your helmet.

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  34. JOHN says:

    Interesting review of all the parties performances at the election however in 5 years time if the consitituency number drops to 15 then anything can happen. I pity the boundary commision as no matter what they do people will not be happy – should provide great entertainment watching some MPs crying realising they are about to be jobless. I think Dodds has already started to panic – ironically he could be one of the mps to gain the most with any changes!

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  35. PaddyReilly says:

    Actually, for those of us of the Civil Rights and People’s Democracy era, that was exactly what we were asking for. British rights for British subjects was the slogan, I seem to remember.

    Someone asked Michael Farrell why he, a Revolutionary Socialist or something, was wasting his time on such flimflam, and he said that the Unionist state was so utterly wedded to petty injustices that their removal was an act of revolution.

    Sgt Andrews has just been sent to jail for 6 months for throwing a woman into a cell! This is the true face of modern Britain, not the sectarian alliance of RUC, DUP, OO and FP that the Ulster wannabe British seem to imagine.

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  36. Alan Maskey black spot says:

    Michael Farrell. Ah, yes. Stil trotting away and being true to himself and doing some good work.
    Paddy: Don’t hang your hat on Sgt Andrews. Britain remains a fascist state and the alliance you mention in NI, The Orange State, includes such luminaries as Martin Shoot the Touts McGuinness.
    Whilst SF have done well, perhaps the North’s real cute hoors are the co-opting Orangies. They have been groming their favourite sons for a long time now.
    To my Orange friends with the Nazi general names: if there is ever a real return to violence, logically it would have to be more violent, with the gloves off. That would not suit you.

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  37. slug says:

    I certainly think there will be quite a shake-up come 2015. The exact number of constituencies depends on the number of registered voters after individual voter registration is introduced in the rest of the UK, so whether its 15 or 16 remains to be seen.

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  38. aquifer says:

    ‘Britain remains a fascist state ‘

    You are very liberal with the term fascist.

    Best to keep it in reserve for someone who shoves a gun in your face and tells you to change your mind.

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  39. johnny boy says:

    D’oh.

    We’ve had this before Billy, SDLP people have no reason to stand aside for an IRA hard amn like Gerry Kelly.

    Didn’t stop Sinn Fein standing all those years the SDLP were ahead in Mid Ulster, S. Down, Newry/Armagh, Fermanagh.

    What you should really do is be a bit more respectful an appeal for second preferences.

    All the more reason to have AV. North Belfast could be won by Sinn Fein at the next election with SDLP transfers…

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  40. Mark McGregor says:

    Recent trends seem to indicate SF has reached its high water mark but there is no indication of the tide going out on them. The SDLP certainly don’t seem able to claw anything back and dissenters have either given up, accepted defeat or afraid to try.

    I don’t see potential for serious growth from SF in terms of abolute vote or percentage in the immediate future, similarly I can’t see any real challenge to them maintaining what they have. Others problems and some small factors could see them pick up some extra seats but the days of spectacular rises seem over in the north and a pipedream in the south.

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  41. Billy – chances are that the Belfast constituencies may be re-jigged. If not, Kelly may top the Westminister poll next time out, but there has always been co-operation between the unionists in North Belfast (note, despite the bluster, the TUV happily stood aside to give Dodds a good run). I wouldn’t be surprised to see the UUP stand aside as well as the DUP stood aside in previous elections.

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  42. Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit (profile) says:

    It may well be that Nationalists are considerably less entusiastic about the Westminster elections than they are about the Stomo ones – after all SF dont bother to take their seats and tell their supporters that Stormo will be the driver for change. (Still puzzling that North Belfast should show a good turn out but FST not particulalry so).

    If the Nationalist electorate are indeed not bothering to vote in the Westminsters but keener on the Stormo elections then SF should show growth and particularly if the Unionists as usal kick the red-white-and-blue-and-orange out of each other – this time about who is to blame for the possibility of Marty being First Minister.

    But if SF stagnate then those on Slugger who have been predicting Grizzly’s demise (and salivating at the prospect) might at last have something solid to base their negative prognosis on.

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  43. Sammy, I think the effort in North Belfast was a bit of R&D to see how high the vote could be pushed. Partly with an eye on the Assembly and partly to debunk the idea that there is a decline in support in favour of the dissidents. If the truth be told – since the ceasefires in the 1990s there has been a significant non-voting protest by some republicans in the general New Lodge and Ardoyne areas anyway. Much of the SF growth is from across North Belfast and not just concentrated in those two areas.

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  44. fitzjameshorse1745 (profile) says:

    Alas the PD folks and the other revolutionaries were an odd mix.
    Michael Farrell is I think in some big Dublin European “human rights industry” job. Kevin Boyle is somewhere in Essex doing the same thing and Paul “I was at Burntollet” Bew is in the Henry Jackson Society and the House of Lords.
    Dunno what happened Eamonn McCann.

    Yet they all managed to turn up at QUB in October 2008 to celebrate (honestly) QUBs role in the Civil Rights movement 40 years on…….theres some stuff you just cant make up.

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  45. fitzjameshorse1745 (profile) says:

    I think some of the non voting republicans are more a product of middle aged angst (grumpy old man syndrome) than actual politics.
    Rather like those English WW2 veterans who berate anyone who will listen that they didnt storm the Normandy Beaches so that the Belgians dictate everything……or that they were not a prisoner of the japanese so that their grandson could buy a Honda.
    Bunch of Victor O’Meldrews.

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  46. Yeah, I wonder how often many of them actually voted beforehand, anyway. Partly, though, SF seems to have grown it’s vote in North Belfast by not being too tied down in mollifying parts of it’s own base.

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  47. slug says:

    I don’t think Gerry Adams leadership will come into question any time soon.

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  48. slug says:

    “English WW2 veterans who berate anyone who will listen that they didnt storm the Normandy Beaches so that the Belgians dictate everything……or that they were not a prisoner of the japanese so that their grandson could buy a Honda.”

    The WW2 veterans in my family hold the opposite views-the European ideal is great because there has been no more wars and they DID fight the war for freedoms such as hoodies.

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  49. Alias (profile) says:

    “The WW2 veterans in my family hold the opposite views-the European ideal is great because there has been no more wars…”

    There weren’t any major wars in Europe after WW1 & WW2 because a divided Germany wasn’t in a position to start any. That had nothing to do with the EU. However, there will be war when the EU eventually becomes a single state with its own army. The difference then will be that you will be won’t be able to stay out of European wars whereas before you had that option. The good news is that the only war that you’d then have to worry about would be with Russia over border disputes or the emergent global superpower, China, over the EU’s neo-colonial aspirations in Africa. That’s good news because both of those states have the capacity to wipe the stain of the EU off the earth, so the next major European war, in contrast to the former examples, will be over in a few days…

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  50. Alias (profile) says:

    “The game changing outcome would be…”

    The ‘game’ changed years ago. It’s now about a forming monolith party from each sectarian bloc. There is no reason at all to suppose that dynamic will change.

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  51. Finbar says:

    Do you know what China is doing in Africa?

    Making the orginal colonizers look like humanitarians, is what.

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  52. Finbar says:

    What is Bernadette up to?

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  53. Finbar says:

    “There weren’t any major wars in Europe after WW1 & WW2 because a divided Germany wasn’t in a position to start any.”

    No, because of MAD. The proxy wars had to be fought elsewhere.

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  54. HeinzGuderian (profile) says:

    Ermmm…………..the balls over there……….see ?? :-)

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  55. Back to the bad old days, then? You’re essentially talking about the reconstitution of the pre-1960s Unionist and Nationalist parties. You may be right, although there is one ray of hope: that the entrenchment of the principle of consent might allow the constitutional issue to slip down the list of political priorities and for a policy-based dialogue to replace the current identity-based one.

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  56. slug says:

    Recent voting patterns on the unionist side suggest a lack of concern for maintaining DUP as largest party, or even voting unionist. The constutional position is such that its obvious that each election is no longer a referendum-the union is not in threat from DUP losing votes.

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  57. HeinzGuderian (profile) says:

    :-) ‘leadership’ ??? :-)

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  58. fitzjameshorse1745 (profile) says:

    There could of course be a European Civil War.

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  59. fitzjameshorse1745 (profile) says:

    slug…for the record, I believe that many WW2 veterans are exactly like the ones in your own family. Indeed many leading Europhiles like Ted Heath were motivated in part by their WW2 experiences.
    Many are not…and exactly like the ones I described.
    Not sure how Nick Griffins RAF ground crew daddy feels about European integration.
    I cant invoke the memory of any WW1 or WW2 veterans in my family. But my Uncle drove a Volkswagen.

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