Tory research uncovers a politically ‘orphaned’ Catholic middle class?

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Liam Clarke had an analysis piece in the BelTel yesterday (I still want to say last night) in which he cited some party polling by Lucid Talk for the Conservatives. [Nationalists, you may want to look away from the screen for a while, since this is what the Tories consider their best battleground territory].

It’s worth noting that this is both more and less than your average poll. Only the Tories could afford to put in the field a survey of 12,000 voters in key battleground areas.

The results are non trivial (not least for the Tories themselves).

First, those who would consider voting Conservative or Labour is high, especially amongst those self identifying as Catholic or Protestant:

The poll showed that 76% of voters in the area covered would consider voting Conservative or Labour if they had the chance. Opinion was fairly evenly spread between Protestants (78%) and Catholics (79%), but those outside the two main faith groups were less enthusiastic (68%).

Not sure what to make of that other than in these areas that’s a demographic that already identifies strongly with the Alliance Party, which has strong ties to the Lib Dems.

The kicker though is somewhat devastating to those who might take this as an indication people are ready for the big UK parties are set to clean up here any time soon. Just 7% want them to organise here.

And that’s despite the fact that only 15% of the local electorate think the party they voted for last time out have performed well.

The figures on education are interesting. Bearing in mind the caveat I lodged at the beginning, we can’t extrapolate these as representative of wider nationalist sentiment.

However, they indicate a strong pro selection view amongst a Catholic middle class that currently has no representation within party politics on this issue:

Of those expressing an opinion nearly three-quarters (73%) wanted selection “at key stages” in the education system with 43% saying that it should take place at age 11 and the rest at age 14.

For Catholics, the figures were 42% and 27%. Despite opposition to selection by the Catholic Church, the SDLP and Sinn Fein, only 26% of Catholics favoured a comprehensive education system, slightly higher than the proportion of Protestants — 19%.

That seven per cent should be read advisedly. Like those who, according to a previous Lucid Talk poll, want a united Ireland now, it probably reflects a sense of what’s currently likely rather than the limits of realistic ambition.

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  • ayeYerMa

    Labour recently announced again that it does not want to upset the SDLP — yes, that is the same SDLP who only last week reaffirmed the desire for the renaming of a children’s play-area in Newry after a PIRA gunman with links to the Kingsmills Massacre (the absence of said story in most of our media saying everything we need to know about the current media bias).

  • ayeYerMa

    The statistics here on education are the most interesting, especially that Catholics are MORE keen on integration despite the major stumbling block on integration being both the Catholic Church and the Nationalist political parties.

  • Mick Fealty

    See the caveat above AYM? Try to keep tribalism needling to a minimum, and apply yourself to the detail?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “only 15% of the local electorate think the party they voted for last time out have performed well.”

    The Protestant sample took a much less optimistic view:

    15% of people who voted in 2011 rated their chosen party’s performance as good or excellent. For Protestants it was 8%

  • FuturePhysicist

    “Also 15% of the local electorate think the party they voted for last time out have performed well.”

    Let’s remember that the Tories have been on the ballot paper in one form or another here since partition, they’ve not been wanted really by any mainstream class or demographic since their peak in the days of the official union where the Unionists were part of the Conservative and Unionist Party.

    Let’s remember that the Conservatives killed off a lot of Catholic sympathies they had by the inability to field a Catholic candidate, field a non-tribal candidate in Fermanagh and South Tyrone and field any real candidates at all outside of Belfast in the last governmental elections.

    It seems they are stuck in the “reinvention and clutch at straws” cycle.

    I am not surprised by the 7% argument, even though both parties are legally entitled to organize here, as indeed so are Fianna Fáil and Irish Labour from the Republic of Ireland and many European parties such as the European Federalist Party and various others, and popular opinion would not stop them.

    I would guess the 93% feel that both the Labour party and the Conservative party have an unearned sense of entitlement to representation in Northern Ireland because they usually form the Government of the UK. This isn’t an electorate orphaned from political parties, it’s political parties orphaned from the electorate they want, and all the power and glory that comes with it. Nothing more.

    Saying that I would say I am in the 7%, the Conservatives should feel free to organize wherever they want, so long as they pay taxes there … so essentially they should stick to Belize.

  • oakleaf

    Plenty of room in the market for a conservative nationalist party. The war is over and the sdlp and sinn fein are the mirror image of each other.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “in the days of the official union where the Unionists were part of the Conservative and Unionist Party.”

    FP, back in the earlier days of the Union, there were Conservative and Liberal MPs in Ireland. Gladstone’s proposals for Home Rule led to the fracturing of the Liberal Party and the Ulster Unionists grew out of a merger between Conservatives and Liberal Unionists in the province of Ulster. Unionists from Northern Ireland took the Conservative and (Liberal) Unionist whip at Westminster but they remained a broad based coalition in Northern Ireland. Pressure from the Paisleyite faction led to fracturing of the Unionist Party and we now have the DUP, UUP, TUV and PUP. The recent UCUNF coalition was going nowhere because the UUP remains broadly based and the Conservative Party would be fishing in a very small local pool.

  • OneNI

    I wonder has any analysis been done about how many Catholics Did vote Conservative in 2010? Over 100,000 people voted UCUNF – and they could be in no doubt they were voting for Cameron and a Conservative manifesto.
    Certainly the vote for the UUP was lower at the following Assembly elections.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Labour recently announced again that it does not want to upset the SDLP — yes, that is the same SDLP who only last week reaffirmed the desire for the renaming of a children’s play-area in Newry after a PIRA gunman with links to the Kingsmills Massacre (the absence of said story in most of our media saying everything we need to know about the current media bias).

    I believe the SDLP have allowed the Labour party to contest PR-STV elections. Fighting on FPTP terms suits neither party to be honest, though I could see some ground even given there in a place like East Belfast or North Down, then again in both those areas the incumbents would be better for the LPNI than the alternatives. I’d imagine though with regards to the European candidate an SDLP candidate would have the backing of sister parties in Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

    John McDonnell and Ken Livingston other leading figures of the British Labour Party have made pro-IRA statements that would never be issued by any SDLP representative. While Boris Johnson of the Tories accused public sector workers in the fire brigade who happened to be Irish of being in IRA/Sinn Féin because he hates paying tax to those who might need the fire brigade every so once in a while, for say I dunno a terrorist attack maybe?

    The SDLP representative for N&A area has by contrast spoken of the Kingsmills massacre has called on the PIRA to “publicly accept that the HET’s forensic evidence on the firearms used puts Provisional responsibility beyond question” and cease “deny[ing] that the Provisional IRA was in the business of organising sectarian killings on a large scale”. The former deputy leader of the SDLP has spoken on similar terms the issue.

    I’m not going to speak about the 9 SDLP Councillors in N&M, I’m sure they will speak for themselves. I probably would not have done so.

  • Ulidian

    FuturePhysicist

    “leading figures”? On the loony left perhaps, but nothing more.

  • FuturePhysicist

    The recent UCUNF coalition was going nowhere because the UUP remains broadly based and the Conservative Party would be fishing in a very small local pool.

    I’m aware of the history of the Conservatives in Ireland, and indeed the many Irish Conservatives such as Edmund Burke who modern Conservative representatives do nothing to defile with keeping to old Hibernophobic prejudices and anti-multi-culturalist rhetoric and attitudes.

    A recent British Irish Council meeting took place and the British government could send a democratic representative to it, such is the Anglocentricity of those in Westminster, doing their best to vindicate the separatist attitudes of Salmond and McGuinness.

    The Ulster Unionists are a broad church, indeed so are the Conservatives too (in Britain), it’s just that while the UUP have a defined purpose and grassroots connection to the electorate, the local Conservatives don’t and they’ve being going through reinventions to try and shape their views into the psyche of the local people here.

    They have already a mission definer in the NIO, someone who’s policy impact is judged and assessed here and someone who they can market to the people. Frankly the local Conservatives and the Conservatives in Britain, haven’t seen eye to eye on everything either, particularly on the GFA for starters.

    While I would never vote for either, I certainly would transfer down the preferences to the UUP before NICP, they seem more of a liberal and pluralist party than the latter.

  • FuturePhysicist

    FuturePhysicist

    “leading figures”? On the loony left perhaps, but nothing more

    I would consider a London mayoral candidate a leading figure.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8s8faPBbGM

  • DoppiaVu

    Mick – actually, I think AYM’s contribution here is incredibly relevant to this specific post. Worth reviewing the link:

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/headlines/playground-named-after-ira-gunman-raymond-mccreesh-1-4516659

    Now, are you telling me that the average middle-class catholic supports this sort of SF/SDLP nonsense? Is this what they want their political representatives to be doing?

    And ditto for the vote to release Gerry McGeough? Is that what an average catholic middle class person wants their local councillor to do? (I suspect that SDLP’s subsequent back-tracking at Stormont on this issue gives you the answer to that)

  • BarneyT

    Whilst providing Con, Lib, Lab in NI might allow for real politics and opposition\accountability, and offer electoral vehicles for most, the history particularly with (Tory\lib) will continue to encourage tribalism.

    Lets look at how the existing parties map on to the British model

    UUP\Con
    Alliance\LIB
    SDLP\ Labour

    Now it gets complicated and with SF below, seemingly ludicrous

    DUP/….UKIP? Perhaps some might go with Labour
    SF/….judging by their NI supporters the first party that politically springs to mind is oddly the Torys. That would absorb 70% of the SF electorate I would guess. The rest might go with Labour
    The Workers Party/Labour
    PUP/ Labour
    TUV/UKIP
    So, are the SF supporters the real political orphans here?

  • Ruarai

    The most significant aspect of this poll is its source and audience selection bias. Such polls aren’t worth a damn.

  • Dec

    ‘http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/headlines/playground-named-after-ira-gunman-raymond-mccreesh-1-4516659

    Now, are you telling me that the average middle-class catholic supports this sort of SF/SDLP nonsense? Is this what they want their political representatives to be doing?

    Well, 84% of residents supported the name change so the answer to both of your questions is yes.

  • oakleaf

    Kevin Lynch from Dungiven came from a middle class Catholic family but sure they’re unionists honestly.

    The big gap in the market is a socially conservative nationalist party as both the sdlp and sinn fein are heading in liberal directions.

    A hib from rural co Derry or a republican from the same neck of the woods has nothing in commom with these two parties any longer. They vote for the bigger picture but if another party came along who knows what might happen.

  • DoppiaVu

    Dec

    “Well, 84% of residents supported the name change so the answer to both of your questions is yes.”

    Well actually, no, it’s not.

    If you were paying attention you’d have noticed that my comments – and indeed this entire thread – are focused upon catholic middle class representation.

    Now, the 84% that you refer to was from the consultation, which was entirely restricted to the Daisy Hill area. So if we look at the socioeconomic data for Daisy Hill, you’ll find that Daisy Hill is within the top 10% of deprived wards in NI. It has a crime rate well in excess of the average for NI. The percentage of adults with higher education qualification is well below the NI average. Rates of economic participation, house ownership and car ownership are all well below the NI average.

    Certainly, it’s a catholic area all right – by a whopping 96%. But middle class? I don’t think so.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Barney, SF = BNP ,

    logical really, working class reactive anti establishment Nationalist Socialists.

  • BarneyT

    oh…now that puts the cat amongst the pigeons :-)

  • Kevsterino

    Doppiavu, I’m confused. You make the point that AYM’s concerns regarding the name of the park are relevant in one post, then make a contrary point in a subsequent post, ie it is not a middle class area.

    Am I missing something?

  • DoppiaVu

    Kevsterino – sorry if I’m not making myself clear.

    I guess I’m presenting evidence that may support Mick’s assertion – that there is a catholic middle class which is poorly represented by the current nationalist parties.

    The examples I’m using are to illustrate positions taken by SF and SDLP that I would not expect a middle class (or maybe politically moderate?) catholic to be supportive of. In that regard, it doesn’t especially matter where it took place.

    Is that any clearer?

    And obviously, this isn’t just a one-way street. Garden-centre prods have been discussed plenty on this site. Maybe the religious mix in those garden centres is evening out a bit.

  • BarneyT

    Rural communities, I think in many cases are going to lean towards the right and rarely form bastions of socialism. I’m guessing the Labour element of SDLP alludes so some degree of socialism or socially favourable policy, and we know the ghostly links to socialism within SF. I can think of many areas where SF and SDLP do quite nicely from the “remote” communities…which again demonstrates the misalignment between voter and governing bedfellow. However whilst there are “single issues” and no generic suitable party emerges, this will continue.

    I suppose thats how the left felt in Britain during the Blair years :-) Its power than matters.

    This is not an issue solely for the nationalist and repulican communities.

  • Dec

    DoppiaVu

    Define middle class then? Clearly ‘not living in Daisy Hill’ is one of your criteria. My own best guess is that the vast majority of the ‘Catholic middle class’ aren’t lying awake at night worrying about the naming of playgrounds.

  • FuturePhysicist

    I see someone took offence to my comments:

    The Conservatives struggled for 300 years to fight for the hearts and minds of Catholics in England, never mind the “Celtic fringe”. The Conservatives are not a normal European right wing party and separate themselves from the EPP flock like the UUP do with the Conservatives. It’s actually more normal to form regional parties in Europe than broad church left right ones, and ironically enough the current UKIP Tory pact speak is just another link in that chain.

    Secondly, their demographics seem to be off, the largest sections of Catholics not voting are actually working class. Higher middle class Catholic areas like Fermanagh-South Tyrone, West Tyrone and South Down have higher turnouts than more working class areas like Foyle and West Belfast.

    Thirdly, with regards to single issue … The Conservatives in Northern Ireland have been nothing but a single issue party, their only goal is to get representation that “links” with the one in Britain, that is the only single issue that separates them from all the other Unionist parties here. Indeed the NI Conservatives are nothing more than a ginger group separate but equal to the main party.

  • DoppiaVu

    I think you’re clutching at straws there Dec. Anyway, read it for yourself and make your own mind up.

    http://www.ninis.nisra.gov.uk/mapxtreme/pf_report.asp?sLevel=WARD&sID=95VV10&sName=Daisy%20Hill

  • RegisterForThisSite

    surely the middle class in NI read newspapers and are fully aware that neither the Tories or Labour do much for the middle class in GB

    “squeezed middle” is the catchphase, at the moment.

    But the Tories have really put the boot into them this time round.

    Do the middle class care more about what a playground is called somewhere or the fact they’re lost much needed child allowance? ergo would they vote SDLP or Tory.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Middle class Catholics have been known to vote DUP before Tory. Indeed a Conservative in Northern Ireland voted SDLP in Protest against the tribalism seen in Fermanagh-South Tyrone … vibrant middle-class Catholic territory apparently.

    Surely the bigger argument is what do Conservative party policies actually mean to actual Catholics, indeed middle class or otherwise, than trying to target a rope-a-dope strategy to get them in.

    If they want to appeal to Catholic right-wingers on a basis that the UUP and DUP may not go to then maybe should they ask are they simply trying to be nothing more than a “British substitute” for Fine Gael?

  • Red Lion

    Oakleaf at 1.21

    No the biggest gap in the market is a liberal unionist party, as the DUP are beginning to talk a more liberal game but talk is cheap, and the UUp have consistently rejected the very good liberal individuals in their party.

    A liberal union party slightly left of centre yet pro business (Tony Blair’s dream?!) could be a home for some catholic conservatives or middle classses. Yes, i know, a bit off the wall. Ive just read my last para and sniggered but sure i’ll fire it up anyway.

  • BluesJazz

    The Conservatives haven’t a hope here because most of the middle classes ,of all communities, work in the bloated public sector. Thousands depend on massively overpaid civil service non-jobs with gold plated pensions.

    They’re living the life of Reilly, knowing they wouldn’t survive working in the real world. That big subvention from the Treasury keeps the gravy train running.

    The Conservatives are cutting the fat in England and eventually will make the Assembly do the same here.

    That’s why even North Down is off limits to them. Imagine having to get a real job!

  • FuturePhysicist

    The Conservatives haven’t a hope here because most of the middle classes ,of all communities, work in the bloated public sector. Thousands depend on massively overpaid civil service non-jobs with gold plated pensions.

    I disagree, first ALL of Conservative MP’s also work in the bloated public sector, with the possible exceptions of those ponying up freelance work elsewhere.

    Most of them do a non-job, indeed one of the few Conservatives in cabinet that has actually any business experience does some sort of non job called Minister without Portfolio, now if that doesn’t sound like an overpaid civil service non-jobs with a gold plated pension, I don’t know what does?

    But back to my point, how many Conservative Cabinet ministers have been nothing more than people who got their Politics, Philosophy and/or Economics degree from some Oxbridge university, never applied in in the real world and then just milked publicity to get to the top?

    Welfare minister – IDS – former British army soldier (publicly funded organisation), then also took benefits until he could make his way inside the party. Also worth noting he’s a rare Con-Catholic for what it’s worth.

    Foreign Affairs minister – Hague – a brief tenure as management consultant between two degrees and his career in politics, which began arguably with a public sector paid role as Student Union leader at Oxford.

    Education – Gove – another former Oxford Union leader, had a stint as a journalist before getting a job at the public sector bought and paid for BBC.

    Home Secretary – May – graduated from degree and then into the publicly funded Bank of England before starting her career in politics.

    Chancellor of Exchequer – Osborne – between his degree and his job as a political researcher for the Tories he spent time as a data entry clerk at none other than for the NHS.

    Prime Minister – Cameron – Spent three months working on his gap year before working in Politics, paid for by his dad. Rejoined the publicly funded Conservative Research group for five years to help parachute himself into commercial television for five years, before giving up and returning to the Conservatives again.

    The only one I can actually see who has actually lead a business Ken Clarke, and done it without a public sector push me up to even get a private sector job is ironically the only one who doesn’t have a real job in the Cabinet.

    Imagine having to get a real job indeed!

  • BluesJazz

    FP
    The make up of most western democracies is very similar to the UK’s, and has been since WW2. Career politicians.
    Stormont is little better though Peter tried his hand as an estate agent. Gerry was a barman. Martin was a butcher, his choice of animal just moved up the evolutionary scale a bit in the 1980’s. (As the Mathers family will verify).
    The old unionist regime post 1965 had at least some good Army officers (O’Neill and Chichester Clarke served with the Irish Guards at Normandy and Anzio respectively). Faulkner was an astute businessman.
    Paisley didn’t serve (though of age) maybe he was a concientious objector?

    The point is that NI has a dependency culture.
    Civil Service jobs for life for the guardians of mediocrity.
    DLA and free housing for the feckle and lazy.

    Why would anyone want to vote for a party that wants to upset the cosy applecart?

  • FuturePhysicist

    Northern Ireland also has real disability need, real housing need and necessary civil service jobs, some of which are high skilled.

    The majority of these cabinet ministers haven’t set foot inside the private sector, at employee or manager level and yet they and what they know from a few lecturers in the confines of a few square kilometers are supposed to stimulate private sector growth?

    With career politicians like this, it’s unsurprising that the civil service even in Britain under a Conservative led government is considered “too” large. If it were left to the brains of many of these politicians the state of business in the UK would be as feckless and unprofessional as a student dormitory.

  • BluesJazz

    “Northern Ireland also has real disability need, real housing need and necessary civil service jobs, some of which are high skilled. ”

    ‘real disability’ need at exceptionally high levels compared to the mainland, obesity being the main one.

    NI has a glut of housing, far more than is needed, give all those empty apartments to those in real need, though most of the ‘single mothers’ involved will soon find romance with their ex partners rekindled.

    “civil service jobs, some of which are highly skilled”

    YoHo.

    Feathernesting can be a skilled task. But less so than making products that people need or want. Why are Volkswagen not head hunting these ‘skilled’ civil servants from Stormont to Wolfsburg?

    Catch yerself on.

    Everyone in NI knows that the Civil Service is a joke.

  • forthman

    This poll means little, although if it furthers a debate along class issues, then it is to be welcomed. Although, the class based alliance, based on some dubious sense of superiority over the great unwashed versus the wearing of the very nice blazers brigade, will defend their privilege to the hilt. So don’t be getting over excited!!

  • BluesJazz

    NI has some real people with disabilities (1%)
    NI has some unemployed people (6%)
    NI has some chancers, living off the state (27%) That includes MLA’s and their families.
    NI has a large portion of its population living the life of Reilly in the public sector (civil service) (38%)
    NI has some real public sector jobs-nurses etc (10%)
    NI has some real private sector workers (up to 18%)

    That’s the way the Westminster cookie crumbles.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Load of ad-hoc numbers with no source, even Westminster do their research. This is simply lazy banter.