Jockeying for position in North Down

One of the tougher fights for the DUP in the next election will be in one of the most protestant constituencies in Northern Ireland – North Down. The party is currently applying gentle pressure to former MP Bob McCartney, to stand down in favour of their man Peter Weir. Weir, who after a short period as an independent defected from the UUP, hopes to unseat the current encumbant Lady Sylvia Hermon.

  • Keith M

    It’s not only the UKUP that Weir needs to worry about. If the APNI decide to once again make a doormat of itself and stand aside then the UUP should take the seat. One thing for sure is that McCartney cannot possibly re-take the seat but given his previous record I cannot see him standing aside. At the moment I don’t see Harmon losing, as Weir needs too many things to go his way, but given the collapse of the UUP, anything is possible.

    Does anyone know Martin Smyth’s intentions? I wonder what odds you’d get on the UUP having no seats in Westminister in June 2005?

  • Rebecca Black

    If Peter Weird takes the seat I will be most depressed, even Bob McCartney would be preferable to that baby barrister.

    “but given the collapse of the UUP”

    woot? a party with 24 MLAs is a party that has collasped? You are raving!

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I think Smyth is standing down. I think it unlikely that APNI will be standing aside in North Down as things stand.

  • Keith M

    Rebecca,
    Denial is as they say a river in Africa. When Trimble became leader the UUP had 9 of 17 MPs (53%) and today it has 5 of 18 (28%). How many of those 5 are likely to hold their seatsnext year?

    Don’t be fooled by the fact that the nodding donkeys in the UUP have seen to keep Trimble in position (when he would be out on his year in any other party), this is a collapse, and it hasn’t finished yet.

  • Rebecca Black

    Keith

    the mere fact of the matter is that my party still has a formidable assembly team, an MEP and our parliamentary team is nothing to be ashamed of, we finished the last westminster election as the biggest party, only for the fact that Mr Donaldson moved to the DUP were we nudged into second place.

    This is typical DUP froth! The UUP are still a formidable force in Northern Ireland, this is a fact.

    “How many of those 5 are likely to hold their seatsnext year?”

    I could ask the same of the DUP, Ms Robinson hasn’t got a huge majority in Strangford and given how little work she did this summer and her treatment of others in the Strangford DUP, I’d say things are a little tenuous…..
    Is the leader going to run again despite ill health? Is Peter Robinson up to the task or will the shrewd folks of East Belfast reject his recent style of politics? Things are never certain Keith, a crest of a wave lasts only so long.

  • davidbrew

    I’m not sure whether to be pleased or concerned that Young Unionist students are so obviously imbibing hallucinogenic substances. If I thought Rebecca was seriously contending the UUP was a force to be reckoned with, she’d be up there with Hitler when the Red Army was at the gates of Berlin challenging him for the “most delusional analysis of reality ” award.

    The UUP Assembly team is-to turn a phrase- donkeys led by jellyfish; the MEP has sunk back into terminal obscurity after his abysmal performance in June; and the MPs…..Just so that you can see how ludicrous it would look I’m going to type out a sentence which is positively surreal in its departure from reality viz-

    David and Sylvia were joined at Westminster by David McClarty MP, Dermot Nesbitt MP, Tom Elliott MP, Daphne Trimble MP, Baby Beggs MP, Michael McGimpsey MP, who regained all their “traditional Ulster Unionist ” seats in the general election.

    Now-how silly does that honestly look , Becky on the wacky baccy?

  • davidbrew

    oh Rebecca, before I forget, what’s the offical version on your chief executive jumping from the sinking ship after only 12 weeks?

  • Rebecca Black

    “what’s the offical version on your chief executive jumping from the sinking ship after only 12 weeks?”

    I don’t know, I don’t work at Cunningham House, maybe like the reason most people leave a job he was just not suited to the post.

    Thank you for your patronising comments but I think you should realise the Young Unionists have changed alot since your day, I was in the old young unionists too – I remember far tighter control then, being made to feel like Peter Weir, Jeffrey Donaldson and Arlene Foster were people to whom we should bow down and worship, the whole air of it being a presbyterian church group…..I much prefer the new Young Unionists, I like being able to debate equally and express my views as a woman.

    Furthermore, you can parrot off as much anti UUP bile as you like, the basic facts of the matter do not change. Just because they have fallen behind the DUP does not mean they have fallen off the face of the earth. Again, I will repeat for the slow learners, the Ulster Unionists have only 1 MP less than the DUP, they have an MEP, they have 24 MLAs. They are one of the three biggest parties in Northern Ireland. I am well aware you feel you have reasons to be bitter towards the UUP, but please do not let that distort these basic facts – it makes you look somewhat ridiculous.

  • Michael Shilliday

    so david, the agreement now in line with DUP fundamentals?

    and this business of not letting persons with terrorist related convictions into the executive, kinda puts paid to Peters chances of being 1st minister don’t it! Or don’t invasions of foreign countries count?

  • yer_man

    Thanks for the laugh Rebecca – really great to see that the new young unionists have such depth of perception and political analysis. The Ulster Unionist Party will be well served with those such as yourself…. comments so shallow you can see the bottom.

    “the matter is that my party still has a formidable assembly team,”

    Yes, Billy Armstrong and Tom Elliot really are the political version of a WWF tag wrestling team!!

    “an MEP”
    Good to see you enter into such a fullsome description of your ‘hardworking’ European representative. No mention of the dismal vote or the fact that he could only trail home in last place with the aid of DUP transfers, and horror of horrors there wasnt even the ‘Paisley factor’ to use as an excuse for the DUP vote.

    “our parliamentary team is nothing to be ashamed of,”
    Well your embarassment threshold must be a great deal higher than mine, or that of the average Unionist for that matter. Sylvia Hermon is such a jewel in the crown. When she’s not lounging around in Westminster (which is very infrequently) she’s at home releasing press releases about non-existant job losses and sending the unfortunate workers into not unwarrented panic, but then explaining it away by telling us that it was prepared by one of the office monkies, and you cant really expect them to get that sort of thing right all the time.

    Rebecca, I’ll bet my house and all my worldly possessions on Iris Robinson returning as the Member for Strangford with an increased majority. Its just going to be so much the sweeter when she beats Dermot Nesbitt……

    Dont think we even need mention Mrs Trimble…. at 33-1 she’d have more chance of winning if she stuck a saddle on and headed to Down Royal (and i wont make any more personal comment than that 😉 )

    All these ‘traditional ulster unionist seats’ that are going to be won back…. isnt it strange how these ‘traditional UUP seats’ are becoming harder to find these days. After all, its not that long ago that every seat in the country was a UUP stronghold. North Antrim used to be ‘traditional UUP territory’, so was East Belfast, so was East Londonderry, so was Strangford….. times change and now Lagan Valley, East Antrim etc etc can no longer be put into that neat little category without thinking first…. something ulster unionists did for far too long – take advantage of the voters without ever once giving them a thought.

    And finally, as well as briefly, to return to the subject of the intial posting here. Peter Weir can win North Down. As much as Bob McCartney has a big ego, I think his sense and moreso, hatred of the UUP will see him step down in North Down. That combined with the Alliance Party re-finding their ‘spherical objects’ and running a campaing this time instead of running away may just mean that old Sylv wont be coming home at just the canter she imagines and it might be that the DUP take the gold coast……

  • yer_man

    Michael,
    Nice to see that you’ve obviously been told to trot out the ‘fundamentals’ lines at the moment. Seems to be UUP theme of the week at the minute.

    Maybe you could tell us what these much vaunted fundamentals of the Agreement are…..

    But then again, I’ll save you the bother and give them as described by Paul Murphy:

    1)Committment to exclusively peaceful and democratic means
    2)Committment to the principle of consent
    3)Committment to working on a cross-community basis in government

    These arnt exactly what I would describe as constrictive now….. From what I see, a cunning politician could construct an agreement quite different to the Belfast Agreement which still met all of these fundamentals.

    I know it might be tricky given that they have to work within these tight guidelines, but they might just manage it……

  • Rebecca Black

    “really great to see that the new young unionists have such depth of perception and political analysis. The Ulster Unionist Party will be well served with those such as yourself”

    yerman, I am a young unionist as such I do not know the inner workings of the party – which I think is a positive thing. I joined the Young Unionists like any young person would join a youth organisation – for a bit of fun and some politics, not for it to take over my life like it has seemed to have taken over yours. I am a 22 year old student, there are things I am more interested in than spending my days completely immersed in politics.

    I am a real person, not a mere political hack, you see this is the point that escapes you – the Young Unionists are made up of real people living real lives.

    As for all the points you made above – all froth, the facts remain, the Ulster Unionists are the second largest party in Northern Ireland, I feel they represent me and I am proud to be in this party. Save your bile for DUP meetings.

  • Rebecca Black

    Yerman

    get out there and get a life, maybe then you’ll get a bit of sense and perspective – the world doesn’t begin and end in Northern Ireland.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Rebecca

    Right or wrong – the DUP outpolled the Ulster Unionists by a margin of nearly 2:1 in June?

    “get out there and get a life”

    Get out where? The Irish Republic perhaps?

  • Rebecca Black

    A life that is not entirely taken over by politics perhaps? I tried that lifestyle over the summer and now have an insight into why duppers are so off the wall – break free every once in a while, you’re only young!!

  • Christopher Stalford

    I see you aren’t answering the question re. June.

  • Rebecca Black

    what question re. June?

    I appreciate you may have little better to do than remember inane arguments, but you may have to jog my memory

  • Christopher Stalford

    Clearly reading what’s in front of you is problematic. For the second time:

    Right or wrong – the DUP outpolled the Ulster Unionists by a margin of nearly 2:1 in June?

  • Christopher Stalford

    Much as I’ve enjoyed this – I have more pressing matters to attend to. Au revoir.

  • Rebecca Black

    I’m quite sure whatever you say is correct Christopher, I have never tried to dispute figures, although I do feel that they can be misleading.

    Furthermore, a crest of a wave does not last forever.

  • Rebecca Black

    Cheerio, I have a medieval battle to organise in Trinity! If anyone is in Dublin they should come and watch it – cricket green in TCD!

  • Michael Shilliday

    so yerman/brewster, on how many door steps last year did you proclaim “the fundamentals of the Belfast agreement are consistent with those of the DUP”? How many people victims of republican violence did you tell would have to “live with” perpetrators holding government office?

  • davidbrew

    “being made to feel like Peter Weir, Jeffrey Donaldson and Arlene Foster were people to whom we should bow down and worship, the whole air of it being a presbyterian church group” saith Rebecca-

    seems fair enough to me. Better than the North Down UUP BBQ in the Tatler last month- what a shower of Hyacinths and Tarquins!

  • yer_man

    Michael,
    The Secretary of State actually only clarified what the so-called ‘fundamentals’ of the Belfast Agreement were at the beginning of the renegotiation process earlier this year.

    The DUP have set out what they want to achieve and so long as that goal is met i see little benefit in arguing over what people call it or what mechanisms are put in place in an attempt to cover peoples blushes because of the plain fact that a new agreement is going to come about which will replace the failure implemented in 1998.

  • davidbrew

    Oh, and as for your chief executive…. I hear he could soon be in the DUP, like your Westminster office manager etc etc etc… Just remember the Titanic hadn’t enough lifeboats for all those who wanted rescued. Time to leave while you still can

  • yer_man

    Michael,
    Also, the DUP has pointed out that people may well have to live with Sinn Fein Ministers in Government after they have broken all their links with the IRA, after decommissioning all of their weapons and giving up all of their terrorist activity, yet still recognising that many people will find this painful.

    The UUP solution on the other hand – well, simply stick McGuinness and deBrun into unaccountable Ministerial office while the Provos are importing arms from Florida, training terrorists in Colombia, carrying out punishment beatings, making millions from smuggling, and oh yes, murdering a few people along the way as well. I think I know which one I prefer.

  • Rebecca Black

    “being made to feel like Peter Weir, Jeffrey Donaldson and Arlene Foster were people to whom we should bow down and worship, the whole air of it being a presbyterian church group” saith Rebecca-

    seems fair enough to me. Better than the North Down UUP BBQ in the Tatler last month- what a shower of Hyacinths and Tarquins!”

    well if thats your opinion, god help you! At least the “Hyacinths and Tarquins” are friendly and talk to people, unlike the other three mentioned above who think they are so much better than everyone else and make you feel about as welcome as an ice cube in antartica

  • Kris B

    I think you’ve all wondered off topic ;o)

    I personally hope that Bob does stand again. You all have to remember that he recorded his largest ever vote at the last Westminster election, and was only beaten because APNI told their voters to go for the UUP!

    Wier is a disaster area, and wont attract many votes with such a gormless expression on his face. Bob is the ONLY liberal unionist in NI politics (I’m not including the PUP), and we need more like him.

    Go Bob go!!

  • yer_man

    Kris,
    I respect Bob McCartney too, but you have to remember that his 2001 vote came only because the DUP stood aside for him as the larger anti-Agreement party within the Constituency.

    That has changed now however. In 2003 the UKUP was soundly outpolled by the DUP, and Bob himself was even beten by the DUP’s second candidate Alex Easton (although he would have finished about a dozen votes ahead of Easton if his running mates votes were added). However, overall the DUP got 6,000 more votes than the UKUP in North Down and I think Bob will be man enough to respect that in the way that the DUP respected his position in 2001.

  • Sam Maguire

    Jockeying for position you say? Well out of all of them I wouldn’t mind jockeying Lady Sylvia into several positions 😉

    Yes, I’m bored this morning.

  • Michael Shilliday

    yerman, remember the three times the assembly cvame down? why do you want to think that happened? If we had done it the OLD dup way, and sat finger pointing, joint authority would be rolled out by now.

    But now we have the new DUP way, the Belfast Agreement with a few safeguards disposed of.

  • WindsorRocker

    Just had a read at some of the laughable UUP predictions on this thread.

    South Belfast is gone – McGimpsey will win the selection in the wake of Martin Smyth’s retirement and he may even have enough control over the local association to turf Martin out if he decides to go for selection again. This will mean that the essential characteristic of previous UUP candidates, being able to unite the entire South Belfast unionist family, will be lost. Another unionist will stand and the seat could go to nationalists. The blame for that will lie with the UUP for selecting such a divisive figure. The only thing is that the winner of the seat will be the SDLP not SF which means that next time around (c. 2010) the seat will still be an open contest as SF will have eaten further into the SDLP vote and a new united unionist candidate could be successful.

  • davidbrew

    Being a charitable soul I logged on the new YU website as exhorted by Mr Sillyboy in my local paper, only to find he claims to be a member of an organisation dating back to 1949. I hope Mr Brown and the real YUs are drafting their injunctions, because -as we know here- Michael’s clique is only a few months old a,d has no connection . By the way-one page doesn’t really constitute a website. When cann we see lots of pictures of these young personages round at McGimski’s for sherry, or worshipping at the Turtle’s feet? After all, there’s only about 5 of them

  • jonty

    If the DUP think theyre going to win north down or anywhere else in 2005 then they need their heads examined.

    Just wait til the pictures of the assembly are beamed to everyhome with BIG IAN or PETER ROBINSON shown to be sharing power with MR IRA himself, Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister.

    That`ll be great.

    “SMASH SINN FEIN” and other great one liners are available from DUP HQ

  • Michael Shilliday

    click on the text Brewster you clever man.

    And also note the strategic use of the words “they” and “we”

  • Michael Shilliday

    Secondly, how can Brown and the “real” YUs draft injunctions? They voted themselves out of existance, there is no entity to take legal action on behalf of.

    But then I will of course bow to your surperior knowledge, you being the lawyer and all.

  • yer_man

    The YU’s obviously havent got that many people signed up. I also read the drivel in my local paper about the new super-energised Trimble Youth and their claims to have a provincewide network of constituency contacts. Seems however that their numbers cant extend all over. They have the same representative for both Mid Ulster and West Tyrone and Ms Black who signs her letters in the Newsletter as being from Newtownards seems to be the North Down representative (via Dublin of course – but then how apt.)

    Can the so-called ‘jewel in the crown of Ulster Unionism’ not actually produce any young people who want to be members?

  • Davros

    Have you a link for the YU site ?

  • yer_man

    There’s a link from the main UUP site Davros….. think the address is http://www.youngunionists.org.uk or something like that.

  • Davros

    Thanks YM- it’s very basic.

  • Michael Shilliday

    well of course we once had the same MP for what are now Mid Ulster and West Tyrone.

    Sad that you have to resort to such semantics for criticism.

  • Michael Shilliday

    What would you like Davros? Pretty pictures?

  • Davros

    That’s wasn’t a criticism Michael. I approve of brevity – and if I hadn’t been booted by TypeKey I would have already have pointed out that you show impeccable taste in the Links. Slugger and Nuzhound.

  • yer_man

    Michael,
    No explanation for the North Down situation i notice. And what on earth does the old Mid Ulster constituency boundaries have to do with anything – to think you accuse the DUP of living in the past. What i was alluding to was the fact your statement seemed to indicate some massive network of people yet you cant even get one person from each constituency in Northern Ireland.

    The site itself isnt badly designed. As for my criticisms of the YU’s – well I cant really be bothered. They seem to make a good enough job of making fools of themselves. Shame for them that trumped up letters to the papers dont actually equal support.

  • Michael Shilliday

    What my statement said was

    …we have every constituency and University Campus covered with a Young Unionist contact…

    Point to the lie for me yerman.

  • yer_man

    Michael,
    Dont think I used the word lie anywhere. Just that your statement seemed to me (and nod doubt others) that you had some kind of mass movement.

    I should have known better…… We can keep track of all the Trimble Youth because they seem to have been ordered to keep writing letters to the papers. Is that in the rulebook??

  • Michael Shilliday

    as far as i’ve been able to see only myself and rebecca have written letters, and stephen warke.

    Nowhere did i or we state we have a mass movement, however having more than five members on display will no doubt have done down rather badly in DUP fairy land where the ulster unionists consist of David Trimble, James Cooper and Jack Allen alone. The young unionists are stronger now than they have been in several years – there is no mass movement, however there is a large movement getting larger (40 – 50 new members at freshers days, that is minus a coupple who are ineligable for membership given their DUP membership cards)

  • Rebecca Black

    Yerman

    so hows the Young Democrat website coming along?