Daphne an Outsider

Bookies don’t seem to fancy Daphne Trimble’s chances in Lagan Valley, quoting her at 33-1 to beat incumbent Donaldson.

  • Davros

    33-1? Even at 100-1 it wouldn’t be worth a bet.
    Now if it were 33-1 on her getting half his votes, that would be a different matter.

  • Keith M

    LV is one of the easiest constituencies to call next year. You wonder who advised Mrs.Trimble to stand and turn it into another high profile loss for the UUP? Trimble himself will be lucky to hold Upper Bann (he will need nationalists to vote tactically).

    After that East Antrim would appear to be gone, South Antrim too close to call and North Down likewise (especially as APNI and the DUP are likely to stand this time out).

    From dominating Northern Irish politics for 80 years it appears the UUP are heading the way of Faulkner’s UPNI. I don’t think there has been a leader who has led his party into such decline since Lloyd-George. Timble’s position in the records book is likely to last longer than in the history book.

  • Butterknife

    Here speakith DUP spin…

  • davidbrew

    Maybe Paddy Power could run a book with handicapping. I reckon the surname “Trimble” must be a handicap of at least 10,000 votes in any constituency.Might make it a worthwhile bet then.

  • Rebecca Black

    “After that East Antrim would appear to be gone, South Antrim too close to call and North Down likewise (especially as APNI and the DUP are likely to stand this time out).”

    As I said on another thread – utter froth!

    Best give your crystal ball a thump, it seems to have “duptowin” still plastered all over it.

    Speculating that the DUP will win south antrim, north down and east antrim is optimism gone mad!

  • davidbrew

    Keith-you forgot John Major’s 1997 triumph

  • Butterknife

    Hearts and Minds (Thursday 7/10/4)

    Well no one is a natural public speaker, that comes with practice but she sounded far to honest. That will be her biggest downfall;)

  • jonty

    The DUP are in for a shock in 2005, already the public are catching on to the fact that their new deal is one cooked up between themeselves and sinn fein.
    If the UUP have any wits theyll let Big Ian or wee Peter waltz into power aided an abetted by Gerry Adams and Martin Mcguinnes..Now that will look a lovely picture

  • yer_man

    Why is the threat of losing East Antrim ‘utter froth’???

    Lets look at the facts (i know you dont like doing that, but bear with me for a minute.) In 2001 Sammy Wilson surprised everyone (even himself by all accounts) by running Beggs to within 100 or so votes of the Westminster seat. Since that the DUP have obviously been actively targetting the seat and Wilson himself has moved to the area and is now putting in work on the ground.

    In 2003 the DUP were over 1500 votes ahead of the UUP and it doesnt seem that the DUP are going to let go of that lead they already have. Indeed it looks like the majority at the next Westminster election could well be over 2,500 votes.

    South Antrim is probably too close to call, but lest remember, again in 2003 the DUP outpolled the Ulster Unionists – even when the UUP had Burnside in the field and the DUP (with the greatest respect) were not the highest profile candidates in the world. If the DUP put their candidate in place any time soon then they can start the campaign and take on Burnside. After all, I dont think there is going to just just as much warmth of feeling from nationalists to him now as there was in 2001 so less tactical voting there, and again the Alliance Party need to pull their finger out and run a good campaign to boost their chances in future Assembly elections.

    Good to see the record hasnt changed with your good self. I have to say that I must mix with different unionists than your good self because I dont get any sense of unease within the unionist community regarding the DUP proposals – indeed quite the opposite. The DUP went to Leeds Castle and withstood the attempts by the Government to pressure them into a quick deal, conveniently in time for the Labour conference. Instead the held their ground and you dont get much better proof of that than when you get Mark Durkan saying the DUP seem to have “won the jackpot without putting any money in the machine”.

    I’m sure Mr Durkan could get a job writing DUP manifesto quotes if he wanted it with lines like that at his disposal.

  • jonty

    Yer Man, so having Martin McGuinnes and Gerry Adams as Deputy First minister and Justice Minister is OK with you and the DUP

    Great, I wont be supporting it thats for sure!

  • davidbrew

    strange you supported Provos in government before then Jonty-such shameless opportunism and disreagard for the facts marks you down for advancement,,,but sadly you haven’t the courage of your convictions to come out from behind your alias

  • Butterknife


    “won the jackpot without putting any money in the machine”.[Durkan]

    As the DUP do not gamble then they are not obliged to hand back the jackpot

    Back to the subject heading…. Opinions?

  • jonty

    David Brew the 98 agreement was between the UUP and the SDLP the 2005 agreement will be between the DUP and SInn Fein. The DUP are currently cooking a deal with the reps of the IRA!

  • Davros

    Jonty- Martin said it had to be agreed in 2004 between Gerry and Ian 😉

  • jonty

    Davros, sorry just thinkin about Gregory Campbells slip on H+M

  • Michael Shilliday

    anyone see his slip in the news letter today?

    “no one will rush the DUP into accepting the belfast agreement”

    no no greg, you take as long as you want (that is assuming it hasn’t already happened)

  • Davros

    Adams still has to accept the Belfast agreement if he thinks that the British only “claim” NI .

  • jonty

    what ever happened to the DUP smashing all ireland bodies?
    Why arent they complaining about aritcles 2 and 3 of the irish constitution, why did they visit dublin when they still disagreed with dublin illegal claim to us..
    this is what the DUPes said following the 98 Agreement “the illegal claims contained in Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution are merely amended….. Other parts of the Irish Constitution which form the basis of Dublin’s illegal claim remain intact.[ Annex B – proposed new Article 3]”

    I dont even rememerbt the DUPes raising the issue, something else swept under the carpet as a sweetie to republicans

  • yer_man

    A nice attempt… I suppose we do have to give you some credit for trying. No-one will rush the DUP into accepting the Belfast Agreement because it is unacceptable. You really are in the Trimble Youth – that’s the sort of point I can hear him trying to make and then thinking he’s awfully clever for doing it. Trouble is, everyone knows the UUP and doesnt trust them – and they know the DUP and do trust them.

    It is clear the the Government’s agenda at Leeds Castle was to press the issue of decommissioning etc and then try to bounce the DUP into signing up to the Belfast Agreement minus the IRA. The DUP have shown that they arnt going to buy that – there must be the required changes and a new Agreement.

    Show me the quote where the DUP said it was opposed to neighbourly relations with the Rep of Ireland? The position, anytime I have read it, has been that the DUP seeks accountable co-operation with our nearest neighbour on issues which are of mutual benfit to both countries, not just for political reasons.

    By the way, I see both yourself and Michael have failed to explain to us all why the UUP were quite happy to sit in Government alongside Sinn Fein while the IRA was still armed, active, carrying out punishment beatings, murders, gunrunning, extorition rackets etc etc but have decided that in a situation where there is full decommissioning and an end to all paramilitary and criminal activity – where SF have shown a committment to solely peaceful and democratic means that then it is totally unacceptable to form a government and would sit in opposition?

    How do you explain that to your average punter on the street?

  • jonty

    Yer_man we were in the same government you were.
    But were not the ones who will make martin mcguinness deputy first minister, you are

    What about the quotes above. in 98 The Dup didnt accept the changes to the irish constitution, when did that position change?

  • jonty

    Yer Man how are you going to prove to the punter on the street that the PROVOS have gone forever, noone will believe that.
    Remember, youre beloved deputy leader said only a fool would believe the ira would decommission .
    An you cant accept the word of the IMC , according to your own party its not trustworthy.

    Cant wait to see Ian and Martin on the steps of stormont issuing in a new golden age.

  • yer_man

    The DUP wernt in the Executive taking decisions alongside SF/IRA. The way power was devolved to Departments meant the DUP could take their posts and operate the Ministries without any need to sit in the Executive. The UUP however were quite happy in that Executive.

    Two things – the nationalist community have put SF in the position where they are the largest nationalist party – I nor any unionist is in any position to control that. However, should Martin McGuinness or any SF member hold any Ministerial position, be that DFM or anything else, in a system where the DUP supports it – they will have to completely decommission, end all of their paramilitary and criminal activity and have shown a committment to democracy.

    “Yer Man how are you going to prove to the punter on the street that the PROVOS have gone forever, noone will believe that.”
    No need to capatalise provos, I can read lower case text too you know. I think that complete and verifiable decommissioning which everyone can have confidence in is a good start. The IMC plus security reports and all the sources of information available can certainly tell whether SF is serious about democracy or not.

    Jonty, you have still failed to answer the question about why you sat in Government with armed and active terrorists but would oppose a newly democratised SF in Government? What tests do you suggest that would prove SF were serious about democracy? I’m sure even you cant be wrong all the time and may have some glowing nugget of information which would help us all……

  • jonty

    The IMC plus security reports and all the sources of information available can certainly tell whether SF is serious about democracy or not.

    Yer man , your party opposes the IMC, didnt you know

    Also your party was in the executive, thats how they got their ministries

  • Butterknife

    So Tom Cruise is to play Jeffrey
    Donaldson in a film based on his book.

  • yer_man

    The DUP opposed the makeup of the IMC as far as I am aware. They were concerned at the lack of unionist representation on it. However, as it is now in operation, why would they dismiss its findings. So far, from what I can see of it, it seems to be doing its job, and will not be pressurised by Government into producing a report which is seem to be ‘good for the process’.

    Also, the DUP didnt get its Ministries because it was on the Executive – it never attended an Executive meeeting, hence the constant sniping about the DUP not being there. The DUP got its Ministries through the d’Hondt system – they were allocated on a proportional basis relative to each Party’s strength within the Assembly.

    I dont see one single item based in anything remotely relating to actual fact in your rather lengthy post. It is entirely based on supposition – your own, rather colourful, imagination.

    “Why is Jeffery Donaldson getting little to no TV exposure? Surely he must be DUP Spokesman for something.”
    You must watch different TV channels to myself.

    “Contrast the above to his tenure as UUP MP. He appeared regularly on TV as Spokesman as a, b or c; as an MP in his own right, defending the interests of Lagan Valley etc.; and/or attacking the policies of his own party or Trimble (The question of or, or, either I leave to the reader).

    In my opinion if Jeffrey was not trusted in the UUP then he is even less so in the DUP for he was an accomplice in helping draft the Belfast Agreement.”
    Firstly, lets look at his TV etc exposure when in the UUP – the vast majority of it, post 1998 was due to his opposition to his Party policies and its leader. That has now gone – he has joined a Party with which he agrees and doenst see the need to criticise either its policies or leadership. He’s still on the media regarding constituency matters – I heard him on talking about the issue in that School in Lagan Valley where the strike was taking place, just the other day.

    Is this deliberate by Robinson et al.? Does this mean he really is kept in a

  • Michael Shilliday

    The DUP Lagan Valley core vote is minimal, its less that Alliance

    “the DUP seeks accountable co-operation with our nearest neighbour”

    Really? When did we lose “shots across the boarder”!?

  • Rebecca Black

    “We saw Ms Black here on SoT recently attempting to portray a split in the DUP which was actually just the rantings of a PUP activist”

    what about the splits in Strangford DUP? Don’t be so foolish as to deny they exist, everyone in all the parties in Strangford knows they exist – sure Iris Robinson and Jim Shannon can’t even share the same office!

  • yer_man

    At the last Assembly election the DUP vote was over 8,000. (I wouldnt go using terms like referring to 8,000 members of the electorate as “minimal” if I were you Michael, that could be the sorts of figures you are achieveing in ‘traditional Ulster Unionist areas’ after the next election. In fact, dearest Daphnie mightnt be that many thousand votes above 8,000 herself next year)

    I use the term ‘core’ vote in that post meaning the vote the DUP recieved before Jeffrey Donaldson joined.

    I dont know how people in Lagan Valley DUP feel, but I would imagine that one of the biggest factors restricting the growth of the DUP in that area post ’98, while other areas such as Strangford, E Londonderry etc etc have all flourished, was the presence of Jeffrey Donaldson within the constituency.

    That has changed now, and with ‘core’ DUP votes and former anti-Agreement UUP votes etc I think that Jeffrey Donaldson will be comfortably returning to Westminster.

    I do hear however, that he is going to be out furiously canvassing against Trimble — yes that’s right, I did read somewhere that the DUP are going to use him in their Upper Bann campaign!

  • jonty

    From the Newsletter:

    Watchdog is Doomed to Failure – DUP

    Friday 22nd August 2003

    By Ciaran McKeown, Political Correspondent

    WHILE Ulster Unionist divisions currently hang on the shape of the new sanctions body, senior DUP man Nigel Dodds yesterday dismissed the proposed International Monitoring Body as unacceptable in any form.

    The North Belfast MP said the IMB would not only be ineffective but was “designed to be ineffective”.

    “Ulster Unionist claims that an International Monitoring Body in any way brings IRA decommissioning closer is nothing short of fantasy. This so-called unionist concession is yet another expensive, toothless talking shop designed to do nothing but save David Trimble,” Mr Dodds said.

    “The International Monitoring Body, whilst heralded as a great Ulster Unionist gain, on closer examination is nothing more than a smokescreen, ineffective in dealing with unionist concerns.

    “The International Monitoring Body merely discusses alleged bad behaviour and brings forward a motion to the Assembly.

    “Why will the Government be so willing to act now when they have ignored repeated transgressions by republicans and have failed to act when they have breached their ceasefire?” Mr Dodds asked.

    The International Monitoring Body will not bring about the desired outcome it will not only be ineffective but is designed to be ineffective,” he said.

  • Michael Shilliday

    I did read somewhere that the DUP are going to use him in their Upper Bann campaign!

    wouldn’t have been an internal memo would it?

  • Butterknife

    The suppositions you see above are based on observations and well place
    sources. Daniel O’Donnell’s doubleganger in Lagan Valley should not be trusted:
    e.g. For a person to adopt a new political philosophy so shortly after winning
    the seat which belonged to another is very suspicious. For him to authorise the
    publication of private and confidential meetings may earn him an extra bob for
    his retirement but it will not endear him to those persons who depend on
    confidentiality QED.

  • yer_man

    I might be wrong but I’m nearly sure it was on a link from this very wonderful site – may have been the Suzanne Breen Village Magazine piece. I dont have a habit of rooting through the bins at DUP central office looking for any discarded memmos – maybe you find that an interesting way to pass your evenings though.

    Nice try – have to admire the research skills – you surpass yourself.

    The thinking behind the UUP was that an IMC report could be used to put SF out of Government – because you do remember Jonty that the UUP put an armed SF into Government dont you?

    The IMC didnt have, and still doesnt have, any real powers as stated in what you (correctly, i presume) posted. What the UUP wanted it to do was to present a report to the Assembly – now maybe you could tell me exactly how that would have forced the provos from office, yet prevented absolute collapse? (Remember, the UUP told us they wanted SF excluded, not the entire collapse).

    The IMC was powerless to do anything about this, it would have taken the SDLP to vote for it and there was absolutely no indication they were ever prepared to do this. Again, your post confirms this.

    “The International Monitoring Body merely discusses alleged bad behaviour and brings forward a motion to the Assembly.”

    So in that scenario, the IMC would be a worthless, and fairly expensive talking shop. However, the DUP have said that SF wont get into Government without decommissioning and ending their activities. In that case, the IMC report can be of use to the DUP because they are able to act upon it and use it unlike the UUP who were relying on a failed exclusion mechanism within the Assembly.

    Before you quote the section to me that he said, “dismissed the proposed International Monitoring Body as unacceptable in any form.”, just remember that those words arnt in Nigel Dodds’ quotes, those were the words of someone who I rank a the journalist who most crossed the line between political reporting and giving us his analysis – Ciaran McKeown.

    Jonty, lets remember why the UUP needed the IMC – two reasons – firstly, if they hadnt put armed SF into Government then they wouldnt have had to exclude them.

    Secondly, Trimble’s much vaunted exclusion mechanism failed. He assured the people of Northern Ireland in 1998 that unionists alone could exclude SF if they did not meet democratic standards.

    Newsletter – 9th May 1998 (David Trimble)
    “I think the unionist community has confidence in itself. We have the capacity ourselves” (i.e Unionists in the Assembly) “to exclude Sinn Fein from office, if we so wish, because we are going to have a majority in the Assembly, now that is clearly going to be the case. Why then should people worry what an Assembly will do if they are going to have the majority in it?

    I see you still havent answered why you would support the UUP sitting in Government with an armed Sinn Fein, but oppose a Government with a democratised Sinn Fein. However, I know from past experience that you dont actually like answering questions – must easier just to repeat drilled mantras.

  • Moderate Unionist

    Do you think that moderate unionists voters voted for the DUP (and Donaldson)in frustration at the IRA’s refusal to decommission and that this was a single issue?

    Do you think that Jeffrey Donaldson failed to understand the sophisticated political strategy of the Ulster Unionist party and that his lack of vision lead directly to the situation where the IRA were not placed under sufficient political pressure to disarm?

    If so does this mean that Jeffery Donaldson is directly responsible for the lack of political progress over the last number of years, resulting in an economic meltdown in farming, manual labour, and public sector sections of the community?

  • yer_man

    “For a person to adopt a new political philosophy so shortly after winning the seat which belonged to another is very suspicious”

    You sort of allude to the answer to this in your next paragraph. No-one in their right mind voted for Donaldson in the thought he was pro the Belfast Agreement. Also, in the run up to the election, Donaldson was not only anti-Agreement but extremely close to the DUP line. He talked about the need for ‘substantial changes’ and more or less talked about renegotiation without possibly actually using that exact phrase. Therefore, there was no change in political ‘philosiphy’. I think going by the comments made by himself and the others who joined, they were actually surprised at just how close their own position was to the DUP. They barely even had to alter the minutia of their political stance.

    As for the publishing the meetings – obviously a matter for his own judgement. However, he’ll only be able to publish details of backroom meetings in the DUP planning to overthrow the leader or anyone else if they are actually taking place. If they are taking place, then if he publishes them, we’ll all know – if not then he wont have anything to write about should he even wish to.

    “. If this line of argument is to followed then it means that he believes in the cult of personality. This is the very same MP that when interviewed on TV would argue time and again that it was not about personality! This is a clear deception to the electorate.”

    You seem to have a different take on what is meant there than I do. We all know that people vote for politicians partly on a personality vote – whether we like it or not some (probably not huge numbers, but still some) vote for the ‘biggest name’. That works for Trimble in Upper Bann just as it works for Donaldson in Lagan Valley.

    The ‘personality’ issue in the Trimble vs Donaldson debate within the UUP is a different matter surely. That was about as he argued then, changing the policy of the Ulster Unionist Party to one which was acceptable to unionists, not making the issue entirely into a ‘replace Trimble’ one.

    “However his transfers etc did not go to his colleague who shared his political outlook. Instead it went to the DUP. This is not really strange if you entertain the idea that he and the DUP where in cahoots all along.”

    I presume the colleague you talk of is Norah Beare, Donaldson running mate who was subsequently elected on his transfers and now sits as a DUP Assembly Member. The first DUP candidate Edwin Poots was just slightly under quota on first count but was subsequently elected, however the second DUP candidate Andrew Hunter was eliminated, mainly, as I recall, because transfers went more to Norah Beare than himself. If the DUP and Donaldson had some kind of masterplan then surely they would have cooked the transfers a little differently?

    It seems that some of your political observations and ‘sources’ arnt exactly that well placed are they? I was able to find electoral statistics for the Assembly election after a 30 second google search.

    There was another candidate who is harder to place on the political spectrum. Kirkpatrick seemed to sway all over the place during the campaign and while he claimed to be anti-Agreement didnt want renegotiation etc and as far as I remember, wasnt part of the ‘mini-manifesto’ gang which included Donaldson, Foster and Beare (i may be wrong there, but that is my recollection).

    “their traits which may or may not be based on truth”

    I think the key part of your phrase there is may or may not be based on truth. I’ve seen the programme and it is quite good, but personally I think it has slipped a little in the past few weeks. Are you seriously suggesting that Peter Robinson accosts Alex Attwood in the grounds of Stormont to take his dinner money? Or that when he fends off the nasty Robinson, it is Mark Durkan who nicks the money???

    There are a few obvious examples where characteristics are exaggerated – mostly in those court-case sketches, however if you wish to believe that Jeffrey Donaldson plies his political trade from a broom cupboard somewhere in Stormont or elsewhere I’ll leave you to that little delusion. As I said, if you intend taking serious analysis from a cartoon, satirical or otherwise, then I think that just about sums it up.

  • davidbrew

    moderate Unionist
    (ugh-what a horrible name-how can one be moderate about nationality?)
    In answer to your question-and forgive me for answering as not directly addressed to me-the answers are
    and no

    Hope that clears things up

  • Butterknife

    As observation, the reasonable person is entitled to agree or disagree. Using
    a satirical cartoon as the only source of political analyse would be ludicrous
    but to dismiss it out of hand entirely

  • yer_man

    Moderate Unionist
    I think David sums up the answers to your questions quite succintly.

    I will add my own observation: If you think Jeffrey Donaldson is responsible for the problems in Agriculture then please provide me with the evidence for his involvement in the BSE crisis and resulting export ban, the straglehold supermarkets hold on farmers, European exchange rates and wet weather. Perhaps Mr Donaldson has also been personally responsible for the closure of the shipyard and the 13 match run where Northern Ireland failed to score.

    I would contend that ‘satire’ in its truest sense of the word only forms part of that particular programme. The rest of it is based on the same crap unfunny programmes like Give My Head Peace are based on: steriotypes. You think I place too little emphasis on its importance, I think you grossly overestimate the insight the creators have.

    I tend to believe that given the stunning lack of insight quite a few journalists and reporters in Northern Ireland have, if the writers of this programme are so near to the truth then get them writing in the newspapers I read – PLEASE! It would save me from the same old ill prepared and ill researched rubbish we normally read in our papers and listen to/view on the other media.

    The DUP has not ‘shifted’ from decommissioning to accountability. What is has done actually is to require decommissioning, ending of criminal and paramilitary activity and accountability, plus the other changes for good govermne that are required. I know its a shock to find a unionist party which can think about more than one thing at a time, but hey, that’s just life nowadays.

  • Butterknife

    I do not hear Jeffrey on TV preaching about decommissioning much anymore or
    was that yesterday’s news programme? But it is nice to know that the
    DUP has turned its attention to the weaponry of protestant paramilitaries, for i
    know of one famous example of where a DUP councillor resigned due to party’s
    interpretation of “turning another cheek” and looking at the issue with its
    blind eye.

    The trouble with being in front is that you have no one to follow. So i will
    overlook the fact that you disregard the points i have made in which you know
    you can not

  • willowfield

    The DUP has not ‘shifted’ from decommissioning to accountability. What is has done actually is to require decommissioning, ending of criminal and paramilitary activity and accountability, plus the other changes for good govermne that are required.

    While accepting all the other parts of the Agreement that they so loudly denounced!

    The biggest U-turn in NI’s political history?

  • Butterknife

    Hush Willowfield. Humour him or her:)

  • yer_man

    Which parts of the Agreement which were so loudly denouced are now being accepted?

    Prisoner releases, RUC disbandment etc are all things which no matter how much I would personally like to see reversed, just arnt going to happen. We cant yet reverse time.

    However, terrorists in government can be resolved by ensuring that all parties fully embrace democracy before the enter government. Their unaccountability and the unaccountability or n-s instutitions – well I think we both know what will solve that.

    What other aspects do you suggest?

  • yer_man

    Btw, I do know there are other aspects. I just prefer you to do the work in listing them for me…. lazy I know, but my perogative.

  • Moderate Unionist


    Dissappointed in your response to a request for a discussion. In other bloggs you have engaged curteously and intelligently with someone from the opposite side of the fence. A very useful, informative and postive discussion.

    Obviously, my use of the term moderate unionist put you(and davidbrew)off. This has the unfortunate effect of reinforcing the sterotype of the DUP as uncompromising, unsophisticated and unable to engage with people except on their own terms.

    Truth to tell the majority of ordinary people are sick and tired of all local politicians who with a few notable exceptions appear to be unable to negoitate with each other and mainly interested in maintaining their salaries for which they do precious little other than offer sympathy and blame “the British Government” (or anybody else but them).

    I had hoped that these forums would have provided a channel for those of different opinions to bypass such intransigence and discuss things openly and frankly.

    The real issue for the politians is the low esteem with which they are held by the majority (Somewhere below estate agents apparently).

    Less and less of us vote each election and those that do, vote with reluctance aimed at keeping someone worse out. Meanwhile, jobs losses mount, CAP II reforms decimate farming, public services cost a fortune but deliver little but good pensions for those sufficiently high up the tree and yet the headline figure of unemployment has never been so low!? Something is wrong. Can our politician’s explain it?

    What advice do most parents give their children regarding their future in Northern Ireland? Any suggestions?

  • Michael Shilliday

    and no

    Hope that clears things up

    Theres a word unusual for the DUP! Well done, you’ve found party line.

  • Davros

    Enjoyed your letter in the Irish News Friday Michael.

  • Butterknife

    The pen is truely mighter than the sword…

  • yer_man

    Moderate Unionist.
    Apologies for seemingly so badly offending you. As for your posting name. I do have a bit of a problem with someone who self-proclaims themselves as a ‘moderate’ unionist. My unionism is a firm belief that we our future best lies as a part of the United Kindom – where is the ‘hardline’ or ‘moderate’ within that.

    Your first post did push the bounds of credibility just a little. You tried to blame Jeffrey Donaldson solely and personally for the fact that the IRA did not decommission. That, by any stretch of the imagination, is a ludicrous claim. Jeffrey Donaldson did not somehow throw a spanner into the works of some cunning UUP plan.

    Also, people do not and did not vote for Jeffrey Donaldson or any DUP member solely on the decommissioning issue. The decommissioning and ending of IRA activities is a major area of DUP focus, but it seems to have entirely passed you by that the DUP in the last 2 elections particularly have widened their issue base – just look at the number of documents on their website to with issues like rates, water charging, education etc etc – all important issues which can reassure ‘moderates’ like yourself that not only can you trust the DUP with the constitutional future of your country, but they arnt just a one trick pony – they dont intend to hit you in the pocket with massive rates rises if and when they are in Government (check the difference between that and a RRI where investment in our country’s infrastructure is solely dependant on at least a 10% increase in the regional rate).

    The level of voter turnout at elections shouldnt be ignored by anyone, but I feel its all a little too easy to blame the DUP for that. We all have to go out there and energise the electorate – encourage them to vote for whatever political party you support.

    My personal view is that the unionist community has been demoralised with years upon years of unionist failures (going way back before the Belfast Agreement). I think a stable Assembly and a new agreement where unionists can see that their political representatives got their community a good deal and didnt cave into republican demands at every turn can help in no small way to restore unionist confidence and get them out to vote in increasing numbers.

    The other problems you mention – the most recent CAP reforms most farmers here I think would tell you arnt by any means the biggest problem they have to face – there could have been a much worse deal. However, they do still face a beef ban, bad weather etc, and there is a limited role, if any in some cases, a local assembly etc can play in resolving that issue.

    Problems in the public services could be helped by an Assembly up and running. Cutting out the waste and inefficiency from our civil service could be a start and use the money to actually target front-line services. Job losses – lets be brutally honest here – sometimes there cant be that much done to prevent some job losses – we live in a global marketplace now and the global economy sometimes works against us.

    Its returning to a vaguely agricultural theme, but the most recent job losses were also probably unpreventable – I dont for one minute know how you make Sainsbury’s decide that they are going to go to a single supplier for their beef. We can work on stable inward investment though.

    Good to see that you also are giving your usual level of insight and adding lots to the debate.

  • jonty

    Unionists arent so much disillusioned as FED UP with politics as a whole. Only 50% bother to vote now,even at the 98 referendum only 80% bothered.

    most people wouldnt care if the DUPs Fair Deal For Repulicans never came about and we were left with permanent direct rule.

  • George

    The idea that any form of direct rule will somehow prove to be permanent is dillusional.

    How are the unionist parties going to explain year after year their lack of control over water charges and every other cost cutting measure coming down the line in the next decade to reduce the 8 billion annual bill to run Northern Ireland.

    Sinn Fein can just point out to their electorate “Well we’ve always said it’s a failed entity so what do you expect?”

  • Butterknife

    The lower the turn-out at election time; the better it favours the DUP, that much is certain.

  • Michael Shilliday

    yerman, if I said anything erroneous I will be delighted to apologise!

  • Moderate Unionist


    No offense taken. I just wanted to join the debate and to provoke a response (without antagonising anyone) from people on the issues I raised.

    My use of the word moderate was meant to reflect the fact that I live in a community where the people (although of Unionist persusion)are increasingly disillusioned with politics. We did vote for the agreement, we are disillusioned by the fact that the IRA has not decommissioned, and some of us have now voted for the DUP to illustrate their frustration at this turn of events. The majority however don’t vote at all.

    The DUP have not convinced us that they offer a positive vision of the future (certainly not one that they can deliver). The mindset seems to be entrenched in the old days of “Ulster says No”. Surely, there is a better way, a more sophisticated approach. I understand the frustrations but such an approach seems counter productive and ultimately futile.

    I did favour the Ulster Unionist approach and I can tell you that Jeffrey Donaldson is not universally admired in his constituency. However, he was the sitting MP and that counts for alot. Whether people will vote for someone that changes sides to a party, that then appears to soften it’s line on the agreement (you can argue but I am only reporting perception)is open to question.

    In any case, the real problem is that people are losing trust in the political system, the politicians are failing to focus on the real issues and the longer these issues are not dealt with, the worse our position will become.

    Thanks for taking the trouble to reply.

  • alex s

    In this weeks Ulster Star there is an article about the schools funding crisis in Lisburn, it contains quotes from local UUP Councillors and an Alliance MLA expressing their concerns, next to it there is a picture of Donaldson and a bus. It seems that while the Councillors are trying to sort out the funding deficit worrying thousands of parents Donaldson thinks he can secure re-election organising a bus for a dozen local pensioners, and people think he can’t be beaten, bring it on!!!

  • Butterknife

    If a job is normally 9 to 5 then how can an MP whose case-load is suppose to take him beyond 12 hours a day expect to be an MLA and br running for council too?

    One thinks he is doing a Robinson.

  • alex s

    Simple Butterknike, he spends his time getting photographed looking into holes in the roads and standing beside buses, makes you wonder why he needs a London housing allowance in his case 19K.
    We need more MPs who do the job of an MP, not a local councillor

  • Moderate Unionist

    Yes, Alex S

    Mr. Donaldson does like to get his photograph in the paper. Is this good use of his time, or is he just in full time election mode?

    As the sitting MP, and MLA apparently he also intends to stand for Lisburn council (and presumably has aspirations of a ministerial role).

    As noted in the thread about “the Robinson’s expenses”, there are only so many hours in a day and it is hard to be in two places at once. Mr. Donaldson’s attendance record at Westminster illustrates the point nicely.

    It is important that the local issues are dealt with but this should be within the context of an integrated political process. Local councillors, MLAs and the MP all have their different roles to play. There are other issues such as the Rates issue, Education, the Economy, Infrastructure which must be addressed and one person cannot do it all, even if they try to give that impression.

  • Butterknife

    For it has occurred to me that at all the many AGMs etc. that he has called,
    or he has procured through his supporters, that he at no stage has stood against
    Trimble; the only instance of someone of note is Smyth. Why was this? Surely if
    a person had so strong a conviction and vanity as testified in his book, he
    would have stood for leadership, or tried to at least once in the many
    gatherings of the Council.

    In my opinion it was not a case of Jeffrey waiting to be pushed it was a case
    of Jeffrey choosing his moment to leave: e.g. a tell tail sign was how the MP
    and Cllr. Poots MLA of the DUP in Lisburn went silent in their criticism of each
    other in Lisburn – The Ulster Star for example.

    But then it is the UUP’s fault and who can blame him for wanting to do a

  • Moderate Unionist

    What you think Mr. Donaldson had a plan?

    A long term goal, a strategy, a vision, an alternative? Perhaps, but I don’t think so … but then others might have had the plan and Jeffrey might not have been in on it! (If he had he would have told everybody about it in his book).

    Mr. Donaldson might just have been a victim.

  • alex s

    moderate unionist, surely you mean a puppet

  • Moderate Unionist

    Alex S
    I don’t quite know what to make of Mr. Donaldson.

    I have been thinking about Butterknife’s statement. It is strange that with all those trips to the Waterfront, he didn’t challenge the leadership, and if he had stayed where he was, he might have had a chance for the leadership himself after Mr. Trimble.

    So why did he leave? Presumably, he thought his views on the agreement, made his position in the UUP untenable, but the DUP’s position on the agreement (arguably) has softened, but not a word out of him (maybe I missed it).

  • alex s

    Moderate Unionist, I saw Donaldson up close, he was a small time operator cast in a big role for which he didn’t have the ability or the nerve, thats why he never fought for the leadership out in the open.

    As an example, in May/June 03 I was present when Trimble spoke at a Hillsborough Hotel to an invited audience of local party members about his future plans, that Donaldson wasn’t invited had been picked up by the media, as a result it was assumed by many he would appear anyway and tackle Trimble head-on, afterall Trimble was in his constituency, he failed to show, instead one of his supporters asked why the local MP hadn’t been invited, on recieving her answer she rushed from the room phone in hand, that’s Jeffrey, its one thing to ring ‘Talkback’but debate face to face, no way.

  • Butterknife

    So it seems we have 3 theories here:

    Well putting to one side all the jokes that goes with being a puppet etc. we
    are left with interesting questions:

    He is a politician so the only thing that matters is the cross beside you
    name at election time and everything else is secondary to this purpose. OK this
    is cynical but it is true – does it follow then that even if what is right is
    unpopular in the eyes of your electorate then the MP in order to remain an MP
    must succumb to the converse argument?

    Finally maybe he just woke up one morning and a metaphorical bold of lighting
    struck him and he chose to depart due to his conscience. If so then is it not
    strange that his leaving was so well stage managed to take 2 other MLAs.


    Your thought?  

  • Butterknife

    Sorry went OTT with the formatting:)

  • George

    My humble view based on nothing in particular:

    he can’t be considered Machiavellian because while theoretically he had some kind of outside chance of one day leading the UUP, he’ll never become leader of the DUP.

    I personally believe he simply wasn’t a capable enough politician to lead anything never mind to take on Trimble, which is why he never launched a leadership challenge. He’s a lightweight compared to Trimble. If he lost the challenge, which is what he should have done if he honestly wanted to move the UUP away from its policy, he couldn’t have gone to the DUP in my view. That would have been politically unacceptable.
    I don’t accept the decision so I’ll leave. By not having a challenge he could always say it was unreformable whereas if he challenged he obviously thought the UUP was reformable.

    He seems to me to be the type of guy who was in the UUP because it was the establishment party although his views were never those of the average ABC1 Protestant.
    Maybe once he had the chance to move to where he felt more at home, the DUP, he took it.

    When you consider the amount of newsprint on Jeffrey, it’s a pretty poor return that he couldn’t bring more than 2 MLA’s.

    Maybe a lot in the UUP didn’t like Trimble but maybe they also knew Donaldson would be worse.

    Puppet no – muppet maybe

  • Davros

    My thoughts – strikes me as a natural lieutenant.
    And although I’m not a fan of his politics, I think he is, for a politician, genuine, decent and straight- which makes him good MP but unsuitable for high office.

  • alex s

    Back to the orginal issue and Daphne Trimble’s chances, a lot better than the bookies odds, and remember she isn’t the only one in the running for nomination, if the result is a forgone conclusion why would they waste their time?

  • Butterknife

    Its a double edged sword really. Again you have Trimble, a known brand but with baggage and and unknown ‘X, who may come with clean hands. Its a case of who can put a bigger dent into Donaldson’s majority. I would give Trimble 2-1 for the DUP will not be running Poots (common sense there), The nationalist vote will probally all go to the SF brand type, wow wouldn’t it be amazing if SF won Lagan Valley lol *Muck raking*

  • alex s

    yer man, which wing of the DUP are you in, the ‘Taliban’ wing or the ‘Robinson’ wing.

  • yer_man

    alex s
    I’m firmly in the wing of the DUP that wants a new agreement for Northern Ireland. As far as I know that puts me along with all of the other members.

    I’m also firmly in the wing that will see Daphnie Trimble soundly beaten in Lagan Valley and who sit back and laugh loudly at some of the ridiculous conspiracy theories which have been expounded on this thread – again that would put me alongside all of the other members.

  • willowfield

    yerm an

    I’m firmly in the wing of the DUP that wants a new agreement for Northern Ireland.

    A new agreement? You mean the Belfast Agreement? That’s over six years old.

  • Butterknife


    The conspiracy theory that suggested a split, which I have defined as being Pragmatism v. Paisleyism, or more crudely and probably more accurately, ‘Taliban’ politics could have died away but the fact that Robinson felt obliged to dismiss the split in print: i.e. The News Letter suggests to me that there is a split – Its normal bad PR procedure from one of their baby spin doctors to come out the way he did.
    Proof of this is seen in Antrim where a branch protested in disgust of the antics of the party officers etc. The councillor in Larne who left because of the DUP/UDA continuing relationship; in Lisburn for example they have been seen putting up DUP posters for goodness sake!

    With that kind of backing I am not surprised that they will win seats in disenchanted Protestant areas. As was said before and with credible sources the DUP received their mandate by destroying the smaller right-wing political partys. They did not destroy the UUP.

  • jonty

    is it true that the DUPes will be fielding a candidate in Lisburnwho is the wife of a local uda commander??

  • Butterknife

    No its not; she is the sister

  • willowfield

    I guess it’s no different to the SDLP fielding the brother of an INLA terrorist?

  • Butterknife

    Well there is nothing wrong in it but one suspects an unfair advantage to Donaldson lol
    Another point to make is the ward is also represented by Paul Porter (the DUP DPP chairman who allegedly wrote a letter to the local police asking them to review their investigations of intimidation against ex-Councillor and UDP member David Adams) and Donaldson

  • Michael Shilliday

    Actually alex, from my memory it was your branch chairman who rushed from the room phone in hand!

    Lisburn Town South will be an interesting ward indeed given the appaling quality of the DUP candiates (which included the DUP asking voters to elect an empty seat). Very interesting that the DUP have moved fromer UUP man Joe Lockhert from Town South to the third candiate in two seat Downshire!

  • Butterknife

    Do i detect that Mr Shilliday may run for council?

  • Rebecca Black

    I think he may be too young.

  • Butterknife

    So what, most of the coucillors are too old:P Whats the difference?

  • willowfield

    He’s probably got a life?

  • Butterknife

    Thats the best reason i have heard so far Willowfield.

  • Rebecca Black

    well, you need to be 21 to run for council and Michael isn’t.

  • Butterknife

    The UUP need to get their figure out if they are to be swamped by DUPers in that City *cough*

  • Butterknife

    But if Donaldson gets elected, which is near cert. he will, will he try and rule Lisburn like his new mentor Robinson and his fiefdom of Castlereigh.