Brian Wilson running as independent against Green candidate in Bangor West

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A couple of weeks ago, the (Bangor) Spectator ran a story about UUP councillor Roberta Dunlop’s resignation from the party after not being reselected to stand for her Abbey Ward seat. Her husband and fellow North Down councillor Harry Dunlop had defected from the UUP to the DUP in January,

But the other half of the short article is much more intriguing.

Brian Wilson, the Green Party’s only MLA, is standing down from the Assembly in May, and new NI party leader Steven Agnew will be running in North Down. He’s also currently a Green councillor in North Down. His wife Anne is an Alliance councillor and is running alongside Stephen Farry in North Down as Alliance’s second candidate in May’s Stormont elections.

While Brian is standing down from the Assembly, he’s planning to run for council again … but as an independent. The Spectator explains:

In another twist, North Down’s only Green Party councillor, Alderman Brian Wilson, has announced he will be standing as an Independent at May’s local elections …

“When I stepped down as party leader last year I told my successor that I wouldn’t be standing for the Greens again,” he told the Spectator.

“I want to focus on fighting council issues rather than just green issues. I am still a member of the Green Party but I don’t want to keep running everything I do past the party first. There are so many different issues I feel strongly about and feel they will be best dealt with as an Independent.”

Quite naturally, long-serving councillor Anne Wilson is expected to inherit some of her husband’s green vote in the Assembly election, harming Steven Agnew’s chances of holding on to the seat. But Brian Wilson will surely damage the Green’s Joanne Dunlop who is running in the same Bangor West ward.

Back at the end of January – days before the Spectator article – Brian Wilson “enthusiastically endorsed” the Green’s candidates in North Down.

Current Green Party North Down MLA Brian Wilson has enthusiastically endorsed the party’s selection “On May 5, The Green Party will again provide an alternative choice at the ballot box to the failed political parties which are responsible for the social and economic mess we find ourselves in today,” Mr Wilson said. “North Down has previously proved itself to one of the most politically progressive areas in Northern Ireland and I believe that vision for a better future will again be reflected at the ballot box at the upcoming elections.

“Our candidates selected to fight for council seats will be a breath of fresh air for the constituents in North Down and their mix of ages and backgrounds will ensure that everyone in the Borough will have a political representative that they can relate to.

“They will bring a combination of energy, experience and commitment to their roles which will be of huge benefit to the town of Bangor and to the borough as a whole.”

While Joanne Dunlop must feel a bit like she’s stitched up like a kipper rather than being wholeheartedly endorsed, the Green Party are being incredibly gracious in their statements about the situation in North Down. Praising Brian Wilson’s achievement of being elected as the Green Party’s first MLA.

Brian remains a member and active supporter of the Green Party and continues to support the policies and principles on which the party is based.

At this stage of his long political career, he now wants to focus his energies as an independent candidate for local council so that he can concentrate solely on issues relating to the North Down area.

We are delighted that he remains a member of the party and will continue to offer us invaluable advice based on his considerable political experience.

Party leader Steven Agnew echoes that sentiment and gives Brian’s decision his blessing:

The Green Party owes Brian Wilson an enormous debt of gratitude for the tireless work he has put in as the first ever Green Party MLA. Brian has decided that he wants to step back from party political activity and focus on being a councillor in North Down. Brian remains a member of the Green Party but wants the freedom that being an independent councillor will give him. Brian has my full support and that of the Party in making this decision.

The Green Party is standing Joanne Dunlop in Bangor West in the local government elections. Brian Wilson has had a significant surplus in past local government elections and we feel that there is the potential for both Brian and Joanne to get elected.

On a personal level, it is thanks to the support and tutelage of Brian that I am where I am today, both in terms of my successful European election campaign and my recent election as Leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland.

I’m genuinely not convinced by Brian Wilson’s excuse that he needs to give up his party designation in order to deal with a full range of local issues on council. Name one other independent local councillor who retains membership of a party organised in Northern Ireland? But I am impressed at the Green Party’s grace and ability to take this on the chin.

In May we’ll find out what effect the Wilson family mayhem will have on the election results in North Down.

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  • john

    North Down must really enjoy trying to be unique in Ulster’s politics. Will the voting slip be long enough for all the canditates for the May elections. The Assembly election alone will have about 25 canditates at this rate!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Brian used to be Alliance and, let’s be honest, has a high personal vote which will follow him into whatever party he is in. He understands this pretty well and that means he’s somewhat free spirited in these matters and I imagine he would feel constrained in any party.

    It’s not really a matter of grace and chin-taking ability. The Greens will have had very little say in the matter. The choice was either to have a public spat with their sitting MLA close to an election, or to let the problem go away quietly.

  • http://newunionism.blogspot.com SimpsonInBangor

    If Brian Wilson genuinely cared about the success of his beloved Green’s he would have stood down as an MLA earlier and allowed Agnew to replace him. It may not have seen Agnew returned in May but it would certainly given the Green Party and Agnew in particular a better chance.

    Running as an Independent for council demonstrates that he believes he is bigger than the party in North Down, and with some justification. But you have to question what it is exactly that he feels he wouldn’t be able to acomplish were he still a member of the party. What has being a member prevented him from doing during this current council?

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    ” I want to focus on fighting council issues rather than just green issues.” Oh dear Brian, I thought the Greens were for life not just for Christmas.

  • Drumlins Rock

    So the Greens are a one issue party? Could they disappear in Northern Ireland as well as the South?

  • http://alaninbelfast.blogspot.com Alan in Belfast

    Drumlins Rock – Steven Agnew’s statements upon becoming leader were fairly clear about the need for the perception of Greens to move away from tree-hugging and move to an economy, environment, well-being triangle.

    To quote from one of his answers back in January:

    The Green Party wants to see all political decisions based on whether they are good for the economy, good for people and good for the environment. That should be the benchmark, but too often the economy is prioritised at the expense of the latter two. The economy must serve the people, not the other way around. We need economy for people and planet.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Alan, so why does Brian think these policies will prevent him being a good councillor? Thats basically what he is saying, the focus on environmental issues prevents him taking action in other areas of greater need is what I take from his discussion.

  • http://alaninbelfast.blogspot.com Alan in Belfast

    DR – I’ve no idea. It’s beyond explanation. All councillors serve the full needs of their local area and for much of the time I doubt any of their interventions require policy clearance to fix local problems and unblock bureaucracy etc.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    I’d like to see more Independents, especially in local councils; I think this would increase the quality of scrutiny and decision-making.

  • cynic49

    I used to think that Mr Wilson was a man of deep principle but recently have come to the conclusion that he is just another chancer who has used people for his own means. This is all about trying to keep an Assembly wage coming into the Wilson household and a few relatives gainfully employed. It is obvious that Mr Wilson’s decisions are totally related to Mrs Wilson standing for the Assembly. It could backfire big time on them as the public are no fools.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Im tempted to agree with “Cynic49″ here. Im not unduly impressed with Mr Wilson. And as “AlaninBelfast” points out, theres not much happening in North Down Council which is likely to exercise the Green Partys Executive.

    Yet surely Anne Wilson would know that there are two “moderate” quotas in North Down. Currently this is Stephen Farry (AP) & Brian Wilson (Green). If she is to make it to Assembly it would be by taking a more senior Party colleagues seat (possible but unlikely) or taking the seat of her hubby…..in the knowledge that hubby is backing his successor.
    The only person who cant lose is Brian Wilson…..who is backing two horses in a two horse race.
    Bangor West is interesting as there are three comfortable “moderate” quotas in a seven seat area. Liam Logan did quite well here last time with half a quota and might well pick up some more votes as SDLP supporters realise he has a chance.
    Holywood (5 seats) is actually more interesting as only six candidates ran there last time. AP took two seats although D Alderdice heavily outscored his running mate Parsley who edged the final seat from the Green. The quota was only 850.
    With Alderdice out of politics and Parsley out of AP (and Holywood? or Politics?) Andrew Muir, one of the young turks in AP should do well. But the SDLP position is a bit strange. No candidate last time, they have around 1,100 votes in play in North Down and probably have more than half a quota in Holywood.
    But it seems to me that two SDLP candidates at council level would have a knock on effect in Assembly (they wont win a seat) but would in effect boost AP transfers. The AP should be hoping for SDLP intervention in Holywood and a strong showing.

    Im obviously not a big fan of the Greens. But possibly their best candidate is Clare Bailey in South Belfast. Could take a surprising number of votes and Anna Lo (who I much admire) could be under threat. They suffered from the flakey intervention of the Womens Coalition in 1998 and took time to recover.

  • oracle

    The greens weren’t going to get elected back to stormont during recession the airey fairy parties get washed away.
    The point about Brian standing down to enable to co opting of his successor to give him maximun profile to enable his election chances is very valid, party interests were given a secondary seat on that bus.

  • orly

    fitzjameshorse

    The SDLP have no chance in North Down. Never have, never will. Only time they were even in with a whiff was when Farrell got a few thousand votes in the 90s…even then she got a kicking once transfers were counted. Honest truth is there ain’t enough catholics in this part of the world for them to make any meaningful impression and the “well to do” ones vote Alliance.

    A lot of the voters here are pretty eclectic. I’m likely be classed as a harder unionist (by North Down standards) but over the years have voted for DUP, TUV and Greens as first preference. Even still I’d vote in say 4th for the SDLP because they’re reasonable folk as opposed to SF who need put to the wall.

    Same story in Strangford except there the SDLP poll even higher but still the transfers bring the Alliance of UUP/DUP candidate home

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    orly,
    First off I didnt claim SDLP had a chance in North Down. I merely looked at the figures and pointed up that their transfers could help Alliance and that a Holywood candidate is something AP should welcome.
    While youre right about Marietta Farrell, (the higher votes for say Sean Hollywood came in old 12 seat days) there is a latent SDLP vote there.
    Our starting point has to be that 2010 (Hermon factor) was not typical…..ie less than 2,000 AP votes and 700 SDLP votes.
    So I think we look at 2007 as a guideline.
    Ignoring Farrell (2000 votes) there are between 1200 and 1,500 votes for SDLP clearly not enough for a quota but enough to possibly affect the outcome.
    The most recent council elections indicate something.
    North Down Assembly will I think still be made up of the four North Down DEAs and one from the Ards Council area (Ards East).
    Last time out SDLP did not run a candidate in the Ards ward. And they did not run a candidate in three of the four North Down DEAs.
    Their sole candidate at Council level (Liam Logan) got over 500 votes just over half the quota….To stand a reasonable chance of a council seat he would need to push it towards 750…..unlikely but not impossible.
    Yet we know there are up to 1,500 votes in the constituency. Few lie in Abbey, Groomsport, Ballyholme or Ards East…………so Id suggest that the bulk of the missing (say) 700 lie in Holywood or Bangor West.
    With a quota of only 850 (there were just six candidates seeking five seats) in Holywood. The person who took the final seat only had about 300 first preferences. The SDLP would be foolish NOT to run a candidate in Holywood……first of all Im a firm believer that all political parties should contest DEAs ……but even if a council seat is beyond them in 2011, there has to be a marker put down.

    For the overall SDLP Assembly vote (and indirectly the Alliance vote) in North Down, it is essential that SDLP voters go to the polls. The possibility of a council seat however unlikely in 2011 has to be a motivating factor. Maximise the vote at Council level will have a knock on effect.
    The situation in Strangford is similar but different as the SDLP were within 50 votes of a seat last time. I dont want to do a detailed analysis at this stage as my figures are in draft form only.
    But suffice to say that SF transfers to SDLP were very high.
    And of the three Ards DEAs in the Strangford Constituency, the SDLP did not run a candidate in Newtownards and Ards West.
    They have a decent vote in the Rowallane DEA (Down Council).
    Two Castlereagh wards (South East) are partly within Strangford. SDLP had a successful candidate in one and no candidate in other.
    The SDLP have two problems. One is the divided nature of the constituency between rural (where they have some strength) and Belfast suburban (also some strength there) but theres a great area where they have no visible presence. There is I suggest a case for bringing out latent support in DEAs….small but crucial.
    This would go some way to addressing the second problem……convincing people its not a wasted vote.

  • orly

    Just hard to see it happening.

    Going tribal – what is it? Like 10-15% catholic in North Down? So many options for these people too. A few nutters always go for SF and then theres the usual long list of other interesting choices for Greens, Independents, Alliance and probably a few even go towards Unionist parties. This just squeezes the SDLP.

    Can’t see their small amount of voters having much effect on things. They haven’t in the past.

  • cynic49

    Will Sylvia Hermon intervene in any shape or form in North Down? How might such an intervention upset the odds? She could be a King/Queen maker.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Orly,
    Much nearer to 10% than 15%. But you have to factor in an elderly population (highest or second highest of 18), the high numbers of natural conservatives and the high number that cannot be classed as one community or another…eg a lot of “English people” and people in and around the military in Holywood.
    But this is where DEAs come into play. If we accept 10% as the base figure then it will be much lower in the Abbey DEA or Ballyholme but higher in Bangor West and Holywood.
    And its in these areas that the SDLP has a chance (I put it no higher) at council level.
    The SDLPs policy of outreach…Ms Ritchies infamous poppy ….to community groups, students and unions, especially in the public sector …has to be a factor. Arguably only Alliance Party can “compete” on outreach.
    If we accept 10% as the “Catholic” figure …..we have to then say that it is dispersed unevenly…….but only about half of them are voting SDLP or SF. The AP need those transfers to take two seats……..while SDLP would see room for improvement…..certainly at council level.

  • Reader

    fitzjameshorse: while SDLP would see room for improvement…..certainly at council level.
    To a North Down nationalist, what use is one councillor? Their interests are better served by an ultra-local candidate, or a stroppy independent, or a competent technocrat.
    But an extra SDLP MLA; that might be worth playing for. If only they could recruit one of a number of prominent local businessmen as a candidate – to gather in the dispersed vote – instead of the usual quangocrats.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Im not a big fan of Independents.

    Aside from an “ordinary” individual raising his/her head above the Bangor parapet and fair play to Liam Logan for doing so, there are other considerations such as finding ten people to sign nomination papers.
    The name of the game for many nationalists/republicans and yes they even exist in Bangor…is to let the neighbours think you vote Alliance.
    Its a variation on a well known theme….eg Merlyn Rees the unlamented Secretary of State was fighting an unwinnable seat and decided to knock on some doors with Tory posters in the windows and to his surprise the door was opened by an old university Labour colleague who explained that the neighbours wouldnt like a Labour poster in her window.
    Just who are the people who would join or stand for SDLP in Bangor area? Well theres a lot of middle ranking civil servants in that area…..clerical, executive……but that presents particular problems in relation to career if its too overt rather than mere membership. Some teachers. And a you say business men but that in itself produces problems of boycott and drawing attention. Some “English” ex trade unionist maybe.
    The only two people I actually know with SDLP connexions in the area are a former civil servant, now about 65 years and his wife.
    As I understand it there are electoral office restrictions on importing/parachuting candidates for COUNCIL elections. Certainly theres enough (occasionally sober) talent at QUB SDLP to put up candidates ….

    (obviously Im only bantering about SDLP students liking a wee drink)

  • Reader

    fitzjameshorse: The name of the game for many nationalists/republicans and yes they even exist in Bangor…is to let the neighbours think you vote Alliance.
    Most of the neighbours won’t care – the siege mentality never really caught on here. And if Nationalists are turning out to vote in North Down, then half of them *are* voting Alliance – and the SDLP wasn’t picking up respectable transfers from even the nicest independents. Unless one of the other rules of thumb doesn’t apply here.

  • http://www.unionistlite.blogspot.com oneill

    Going on anecdotal evidence (ie my mum lives there!) I think Reader’s interpretation is closer to the truth than FJH’s. Bangor has always since the height of the Troubles been a haven for middle-class “mixed” couples. A SDLP “local” could run in Bangor West no problem

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    O’Neill……a SDLP “local” (Liam Logan) already runs and gets a half quota in Bangor West.
    And its my belief that one could easily do so in Holywood.

    Abbey & East Ards would be a problem. Ballyholme/Groomsport there probably wouldnt be the numbers. And Catholics there tend to be Alliance.
    I fully take the point about “mixed” couples. Traditionally they are both repudiating their past.

  • lamhdearg

    Not the Beach Boy then, disapointed.

  • http://nicentreright.wordpress.com/ Seymour Major

    Looks like North Down is getting a reputation for trying to confuse voters.

    Agnew could do worse than canvass the local Conservatives in the constituency. If he is successful, he will end up getting the “green with envy” vote.

  • cedricsneer

    I thought this was old news. Granni Trixie told us this over a year ago. Brian always planned to retire from MLA and party politics after his term at Stormont. When parsley defected Anne Wilson was the obvious choice as the 2nd Alliance candidate given her track record on NDBC and other potential candidates like Michael Bower lacking experience and public profile.

    Brian was green long before he joined the Green Party and from what I can see he has funded the party for the past 4 years:

    http://www.greenpartyni.org/donations.aspx

  • orly

    Born and lived in Bangor all my life and can’t recall ever meeting a local who admits to voting for the SDLP. Still trying to work out where the lunatics who vote SF could possibly be lurking/hiding. There are no “catholic” areas of any description where you could zero in. Of course everyone says Bangor West (Bryansburn ward) because that’s where the Catholic church is but even there they easily outnumbered 3 to 1.

    SF types obviously keep it very quiet because, despite it’s nice reputation, I doubt you’d want to be known as a republican down here. Wouldn’t be long getting a visit from less savoury characters of the loyalist persuasion who number pretty highly in places like Whitehill, Bloomfield and Kilcooley.

    Basically everyone knows the place is a unionist/loyalist heartland and one of the more prosperous ones so life is good. Of course it’s only 80% true but thats good enough to ensure none of the “other sort” mess up the settings ;)

    Alliance is about as “not unionist in the name” as you’re going to get here for the forseeable future.

    As for Agnew, seems like a decent guy and probably would do a good job if given the chance. I voted for him in the EU elections if memory serves me but with Wilson running it fatally compromises his aspirations. Still has more chance than the SDLP though

  • Reader

    orly: Of course everyone says Bangor West (Bryansburn ward) because that’s where the Catholic church is but even there they easily outnumbered 3 to 1.
    There’s a church in Ballyholme too, along with a maintained school. A traffic warden could hit their quota easily round here on a Sunday morning.
    As for the loyalist areas – there are quite a few Catholics in those estates. I keep on getting the suspicion that the police are going easy on loyalist drug dealing in exchange for a bit of behind the scenes community protection work.
    I’m a local, and this place still baffles me.

  • vanhelsing

    Interesting guys,

    I’m local too and the political whims of the North Down voter still confuse. I have a mate who votes SDLP [count him as one of Liams]:)

    Sylvia will back Alan [who came out with her and the UUP ditched her].

    There will be lots of Independants and it will be interesting to see where their 2nd-3rd preferences go. The DUP might squeeze a third down the middle – Alex Easton and Peter Weir as well regarded outside of trad DUP voters and will maintain their share I think. The UUP are in disarray down here.

    The Greens might retain although Brian got a sound personal vote which will fragment a bit this time round.

  • Here Mate

    @ orly

    “There are no “catholic” areas of any description where you could zero in”.

    I’d say the Brunswick Road and some of its environs would have a narrow Catholic majority. It was barricaded by Loyalist protestors during the 1997 Drumcree dispute. Union Jack flags were only up for 5 minutes before they were taken down last summer during the marching season. It’s the only place in North Down that I ever saw Republic of Ireland / GAA tops being worn. It has a Catholic school and church on it. There used to be a protest against Orange marches going past at the shop. At election time it’s all SDLP placards. It’s very tongue-in-cheekly referred to as the “Free” Brunswick Road. There’s a few GAA heads round there as well – I’m guessing that’s where at least some of the Sinn Fein vote comes from. But imo the vast majority of Catholics in North Down tend to vote for whatever moderate Unionist is up in order to keep the hardliners out – the Catholics there are too middle class for Sinn Fein really

  • orly

    @Here Mate

    Don’t think so. Think the most specific information you can get is Super Output Areas from NINIS and Bryansburn 1, where that area is is still Protestant majority by a decent margin. It basically covers Manse Road on the eastern edge and Grange Road on the west with Brunswick Road slicing through the middle. I’m sure you know the area and that it would take minutes to walk from Manse up the Brunswick Road to Grange.Road and the Bryansburn Roundabout. Pretty small area that we get the census info for.

    http://www.ninis.nisra.gov.uk/mapxtreme/DetailedMaps/SOA/WardToSOA/95XX08S1.jpg

    http://www.ninis.nisra.gov.uk/mapxtreme/report.asp?DESC=FromGeneral&CurrentLevel=SOA&ID=95XX08S1&Name=Bryansburn_1

    Just simply aren’t the numbers in any area. Obviously the data is from 2001 in some cases but there won’t be a significant difference today I’d imagine.

  • granni trixie

    I was delighted when I heard that Anne Wilson was upping her game to stand as MLA. She was selected by her local constituency because she has been a hard working Councillor with much experience. It is so unfair to link her with her husband’s decisions, especially the motive ‘to bring in a wage’ which does not stack up with the facts.

  • Here Mate

    I wouldn’t take those NISRA stats as gospel orly – as you know, in NI a street or 2 away can mean a hell of a lot of difference, and the way they divide those OA and SOA areas can be quite strange. For example, only one fella I went to Catholic school with lived on the Manse Road, but there were literally scores of Catholic kids waiting on buses on the Brunswick Road itself. I know calling it a “Catholic area” might be a bit of a stretch, but if anywhere in Bangor is a “Catholic area”, it’s the Brunswick Rd. Some more evidence of mockery of Unionist turmoil on the road here:

    http://www.spectatornewspapers.co.uk/news-and-events.asp?id=709

    Although I admit that similar graffitti may well have sprung up in many Unionist areas round NI in the aftermath of that particular scandal!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Bangor has always given me the impression of being semi detached from the rest of Norn Iron. The people gave me the distinct impression that they held their noses travelling thru East Belfast to Belfast.
    So in a bizarre way, the people probably have as much in common with each other…in class terms…….(like the Hole in the Walls cliched All-Too-Nices from Cultra) than they have with our sectional tribalism.
    Perhaps it is more like Crosby or Southport (detached parts of the Home Counties which ended up on Merseyside). There are of course working class estates in Bangor but thats not the image we get.
    Yet my images of Bangor are not much more than a handful of “Bangor and Back for a bob” (updated) trips from the old railway station (at “Queens Quay ????).

    Yet other things surprise me. The only Bangorian who ever claimed to me that she votes SF is a lady from Western Europe. Not exactly typical.
    At my sons 21st one of the studenty types wasa Bangor girl who played for the womens GAA team there. (they have one???…….Im thinking it is actually in Holywood) but I know that my son and some of his mates were at the clubs annual dinner in Bangor.
    Likewise we raised our eyebrows at the notion that a Gaelic speaking school in West Belfast had its prom in Bangor a few years ago..

    I suppose a lot of things happen under the radar there and the tendency of young single people to live in apartments makes them more anonymous or even invisible. Maybe thats how Bangors Catholics like it.
    But I draw a parallel between Bangor………and say Limerick or Cork…..obviously not bastions of unionism….but which have thriving sports clubs built around cricket and hockey…….in clubs such as Cork Church of Ireland or Limerick Young Mens Protestant Assn.

  • orly

    Don’t know about anyone else but I quite like East Belfast (and South to an extent).

    It’s West and North Belfast that I’d hold my nose.

    But there’s no denying it in my opinion. Best place to live in N.I is Bangor :)

  • Reader

    fitzjameshorse: So in a bizarre way, the people probably have as much in common with each other…in class terms…….(like the Hole in the Walls cliched All-Too-Nices from Cultra) than they have with our sectional tribalism.
    And yet a ‘snobs and yobs’ picture of North Down is only a slight improvement in accuracy over the ‘Gold Coast’ picture. Bangor is a dormitory town, with local shopping and services, and we have some of everyone here. Bangor doubled in size during the troubles, and a lot of the settlers left the troubles behind when they arrived. I really don’t think it’s money that has made the difference here so far. And I really wish I did know what it was; because I am not happy that DUP has made such inroads in recent years.

  • PK

    Reader

    Its easy to see why DUP have made such inroads, the UUP do nothing and falling out with each other in North Down the DUP are see to be working hard on the ground, Easton & Weir are seen out and about, the rest are not.

  • PK

    Perdictions Assembly election for ND

    3 DUP
    2 Alliance
    1UUP

  • orly

    @PK

    Seems right. Having a hard time even remembering who the UUP bods are. Let me just look it up. Ah yes Cree and McFarland…ain’t heard jack out of them since.

    Easton and Weir on the other hand do seem a bit more engaged.

  • http://newunionism.blogspot.com SimpsonInBangor

    orly – In what way are Weir and Easton more engaged than McFarland? What is it that they do which you feel has more substance?

  • cynic49

    PK

    What is your role in the DUP? A MLA perhaps? Me thinks we will be hearing a lot from you between now and the elections under a few guises.

  • orly

    Simpson,

    Actually hear from them for a start. Might only be leaflets but at least they bother.

  • http://newunionism.blogspot.com SimpsonInBangor

    Not to extend this thread any further or take it off on a tangent but it does disappoint me somewhat that when asked for what you consider a substantive contribution they have made over and above that of McFarland, you answer that you have heard from them.

    Is that how we measure the performance of our legislators? If McFarland had put out 1 more leaflet than Easton or Weir would you be happier?