Still hope for Unionist unity in Fermanagh?

The Newsletter is still enthusiastically promoting the possibility that Unionists can do a deal in Fermanagh/South Tyrone, and impose the only likely hit Sinn Fein is likely to take in the Westminster elections, which are expected in early May.

152 thoughts on “Still hope for Unionist unity in Fermanagh?”

  1. FYU
    You seem to somehow indicate the fact that the DUP were able to put posters up on every lamppost in every hole-in-the-hedge somehow indicates a lack of manpower?

    The fact that there were DUP poster up in places they had never been before indicates that they have an increasing strength of members now and can do more than just stick a few up to cover the main areas. Just how many people did the UUP have out and what coverage of posters did they do. From what I seen in Fermanagh it wasnt too much.

    What sort of canvass/poster team would Tom Elliott be able to call on?

    Just for info, what are the age range of the UUP council candidates?

  2. Will,

    I am just making the point that they got over excited with their posters. But my main point was that it was just a few men putting them up all over the place and then the best bit is – the posters were not taken down after the eletion!! After a wile the colours faded and many just got blown away but there are still a few white peices of card clinging to trees and poles around here.
    In this county there are two senior cllrs retiring and they are both being replaced by younger candidates, in north fermanagh we have gary wilson who is is still quite young, then there is Robert Irvine who is already a cllr. We have a MLA and hopefully a soon to be Mp that is still only 42 which we would not call old, just look at some of the other parlimentary candidates.

  3. With Arlene Foster gone, are there any female UUP candidates in Fermanagh? , or do you all follow the ever so slightly sexist comments of Ken Maginnis?

  4. FYU

    “Are you claiming that if Dixon would not have stood then we would still have a SF Mp?

    1. YES. You work on an automatic assumption that a Unionist would simply vote for a Unionist candidate when he was the only one in the field. The electorate are not sheep and they should not be viewed as such.
    2. The UUP analysis on this also too simplistic one candidate would win on a split nationalist vote. The one Unionist candidate could have caused an even bigger collapse in the SDLP vote. This could still happen if there is an agreed Unionist candidate this time.

    “Do you not think that out of his 6000+ votes then at least 53 would voted for cooper if dixon HAD not stood?”

    1. No I don’t think that out of those votes 53 would have voted for Cooper. There was a depth of division over the agreement that meant they would not have voted for Cooper. Those who voted for Jim Dixon were aware of the potential consequences and they still made the effort to leave their home, go to a polling booth and put their ‘X’ against his name. The electorate is not stupid and should not be treated as such.
    2. The Anti-agreement vote in FST was much higher than the near 7000 votes Jim Dixon got. Most of Jim Dixon’s vote came from South Tyrone, so most anti-agreement Unionists in Fermanagh voted for Cooper. Cooper’s total already includes the anti-agreement voters who were prepared to hold their nose and vote for him.

  5. Rebecca

    Re your 11.20 pm last night
    “To be quite honest I don’t know much at all about tallies and I never claimed to – that argument was with Michael Shilliday, not myself. I am sure he does know much more about that topic seeing as how he studies politics at college. I study medieval history and archaeology ie. not much about tallies.”

    Your political affiliation is simply an extension of your academic studies then? 😉

  6. Interesting letter from Gary Wilson (UUP running mate of Tom Elliott in local elections)in yesterday’s News Letter, repeated in today’s Impartial Distorter.

    He praises the role of OO, and correctly captures the mood of many non-aligned Unionists – ie give us a choice of one.

    However, he patently fails to endorse Tom Elliott as that single candidate.

    With friends like that Tom…………………….!

  7. Will,

    There is a female candidate – Jean McVitty is standing in Erne East.

    Fair_deal,

    If you honestly believe what you write here then you have problems. When you consider that there were approx. 30 votes cast after closing time meaning SF only have a majority of around 25. Now this is the bit i find disturbing – you claim that out off Dixons 6 and a half thousand votes not even 25 off them would have voted at all if he hadnt stood. I dont know what part of the world you come from but im sure unionists here are not that pathetic!!

  8. fair_deal
    I would disagree with you on the chances for a unionist win with a united candidate.
    I posted my belief that it can be won based on the figures on the “still hope for unity in fermanagh” thread.

    I think a united candidate would pressurise the SDLP vote, but it would have to practically completely collapse for Sinn Fein to win the seat faced with a single unionist candidate.

    The UUP have a mounting number of questions to answer though about the talks to find a single candidate in Fermanagh and their proposals for constituencies elsewhere.

  9. actually just realised that this is the “still hope for unity thread”!!! reasons posted on “unity still in play thread” – just how many different threads on this topic are there???

    Will have to copy some others from the site and complain that its some kind of conspiracy against unionism 😉

  10. FYU

    I repeat people who voted for Jim Dixon knew the risks but still made the effort to go and vote for him rather than Cooper. It demonstrates their depth of feeling, this same depth of feeling meant they would not vote for Cooper.

    Are you trying to argue that Dixon voters did not know there was a risk of the seat going to SF?

    The 2001 election was about the agreement not the union. Cooper was a pro-agreement pro-Trimble candidate. Gildernew was a pro-agreement candidate. Dixon was anti-agreement simple as that.

    I am not surprised by your comments FYU. I heard the same stuff when i was in the UUP at the time ‘No one would risk letting in Sinn Fein, they’ll ignore Dixon and vote for Cooper” when they were told some felt so strongly on the agreement that they would take that risk they scoffed. Nearly 7000 unionist voters proved them wrong.

    It is also displays the arrogant attitude to the electorate the UUP. The Unionist electorate has undergone a change in what it wants and expects from its representatives. It will not simply do as the UUP tells it too but some still don’t to seem to have got that message.

    Will

    I think a unity candidate stands a good chance but too much thinking in Unionism seems to think its an automatic win with a single candidate. Life isn’t that simple.

  11. Fair_deal,

    I am just making the point that if he had not stood then we would have a unionist MP. Why cant you just accept that?

    Yes nearly 7000 voted for him but if his name was not on the sheet that day then a good few would have bit their tongues and voted for Cooper. Are you denying that?

  12. Fermanagh Young Unionist

    I voted for Jim Dixon and would not have voted for James Cooper even if he was the only candidate. It is not just that Cooper was not an anti-Agreement unionist but th fact that he was so brutal, intolerant and militant towards anti-Agreement Unionists. He would have no more represented them than Gildernew

    While you say that many would have voted for Cooper despite not agreeing with him, and while many traditional unionists did that for Ken Maginnis for years, how come you cannot contemplate Ulster Unionists voting for Arlene Foster despite not agreing with her. Typical UUP humbug.

  13. Will,

    There is a female candidate – Jean McVitty is standing in Erne East.

    Fair_deal,

    If you honestly believe what you write here then you have problems. When you consider that there were approx. 30 votes cast after closing time meaning SF only have a majority of around 25. Now this is the bit i find disturbing – you claim that out off Dixons 6 and a half thousand votes not even 25 off them would have voted at all if he hadnt stood. I dont know what part of the world you come from but im sure unionists here are not that pathetic!!

  14. Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Your argument that FST would currently have a unionist MP had Jim Dixon not stood in 2001 is debatable.

    However, it is nowhere near as compelling as the argument that had the UUP leadership accepted the DUPs proposal that Cooper should stand down and allow Arlene Foster to stand as the UUP candidate instead, they, the DUP would fully endorse and support her campaign.

    But you couldn’t let that happen, huh! We’ll not be told what to do!

    Anti-agreement, indomitable, female and working class!

    How silly would that have made the cabal look.

    Not half as silly as they looked when the result was announced!

  15. Even with a split Unionist vote a Unionist candidate can win the 59 votes required. Ken Maginness in 1992 polled 52% of the vote here.It is a Unionist constituency ever since the boundaries were redrawn.

    SF will deffinately lose.This will more than likely be a UUP gain.However the UUP after the election may soon decide to form some sort of UUUC as their plight will be so dire.

    The Unionists should have been more active generally over the last few years. In Fermanagh there are plenty of Protestant second homes and these Unionists should have been encouraged to register their vote here. Also I was aghast last year when SF called at my door to register me to vote. No Unionist did likewise.Needless to say I set the alsatian on him.

    May 5th will be a glorious victory. We have a great opportunity to kick ass.Lets get out and vote and defeat the pope.

    God Save The Queen.

  16. Ulsterman,
    While I dont disagree that the seat can be won – the seat is no longer 52% unionist. There have been further redrawing of the boundaries since then.

  17. “I am just making the point that if he had not stood then we would have a unionist MP. Why cant you just accept that?”

    Errr becasue i don’t accept yoiur oversimplistic reckoning perhaps?

  18. amarillo,

    But it seems 18,000 unionists thought otherwise last time.

    Ted,

    I dont see why the UU should be blackmailed by the DUP with such pathetic threats. The DUP showed their true colours here when they backed Dixon and it will be a long time before many people forget that, also are you claiming that if Dixon had not stood then the overall turnout would have been down nearly 7000 votes? not even 25 would have came out and voted unionist?

    Fair_deal

    Just look at the facts maybe !!

  19. FYU

    You completely miss the point in my post. You’re not James Cooper in disguise are you?

    Fact: For the record, at the UUP selection meeting in January 2001 the result was as follows:

    Cooper – 178 (51.0%)

    Foster – 169 (48.4%)

    Oliver – 2 ( 0.6%)

    Total – 349
    (or around 400 in Lord Helpus speak!)

    Fact: Cooper, Trimble and co were deluded enough to think that they could force through their rather one-eyed brand of Unionism, in spite of such obvious opposition within the Constituency Association and totally discounting representations made to them by Jim Dixon et al. They completely understimated the significant number of voters, like Amarillo who would not have voted for Cooper if he had been the only candidate.

    Protection of the GFA was seen as more important than retention of a Westminster seat. Why don’t you take advantage of the time at your disposal over the school holidays and go ask Jim Dixon if he would have opposed Arlene Foster in 2001!

    On the other hand, Amarillo and at least 6,842 others were equally determined that they would sooner register their rejection of the GFA even if it meant that the seat was lost to Unionism.

    QED

    Can you answer the following question:

    Had JC deferred and allowed AF to run in 2001, would she have won the seat?

    And sorry to be picky, but had Cooper received 18,000 votes he would have won! Check the facts!

  20. Ted,

    You have made good points and I dont disagree with most of them but how do explain Jim Dixon announcing that he may once again stand even if Arlene is standing??

  21. FYU,
    I dont know whether Jim Dixon would have stood against Arlene Foster in 2001 – maybe he would and maybe he wouldnt.

    However, if Arlene had ran and Jim Dixon stood against her – she would have undoubtedly have won the seat. There were unionists who were quite prepared to go out and vote for someone who wouldnt win because they couldnt vote for Cooper.

    There may well have been some extreme pro-Agreement unionists who wouldnt have voted for Foster but I dont think there would have been as many as there were voted for Dixon.

  22. Ted,

    Just after seeing these questions there now,

    1. She may have possibly won the seat, but this is what I personally think – she would have got elected on the back of the UUP but then once she actually had a bit of power she would have swoped join the DUP, you may all have different views but that is what I think. Many ordinary Unionists would have found it hard to vote for her and then if as you claim there are many anti-gfa people here then how come Arlene could not even recieve 5000 votes in 2003? Hmmmmmm wierd that isnt it….

    2.Ok i did not konw we had to be so precise here. Cooper got 17686 votes which is a hell of a lot more than Dixons 6843.

  23. Ulsterman,
    While I dont disagree that the seat can be won – the seat is no longer 52% unionist. There have been further redrawing of the boundaries since then.

  24. amarillo,

    But it seems 18,000 unionists thought otherwise last time.

    Ted,

    I dont see why the UU should be blackmailed by the DUP with such pathetic threats. The DUP showed their true colours here when they backed Dixon and it will be a long time before many people forget that, also are you claiming that if Dixon had not stood then the overall turnout would have been down nearly 7000 votes? not even 25 would have came out and voted unionist?

    Fair_deal

    Just look at the facts maybe !!

  25. FYU

    Has anyone noticed that lately in the press when Fermanagh UUP decides to attack Arlene Foster before the election it’s never actually Tom Elliott doing the talking? Perhaps this shows just how spinless the cooper-ferguson Enniskillen gentry really are! Does it not speak volumes of the UUPs hopes for the Westminster election that James Cooper is himself to scared to face up to the challenge of Arlene Foster.
    Instead he pushes Tom Elliott forward and watches cowardly from his regal pass hide out. Lets see who will be doing the talking after the election when the DUP out poll the UUP! Cooper will be mysteriously quiet for once.
    How arrogant fot FYU to proclaim that all of Arlene’s assembly votes will go to Elliott of the UUP. Perhaps it is this blind arrogance that has got the UUP into the mess they are in today! I know unionists who voted for Tom Elliott believing that he was an anti-agreement, anti-trimble unionist and trying to maximise that vote in their area! Those voters will now be backing a candidate who is not affraid to stick by her principle through thick and thin; Arlen Foster.

    On the 6th of May the UUP will have a lot of Questions to answer!

    FYDU

  26. Those voters will now be backing a candidate who is not affraid to stick by her principle through thick and thin; Arlen Foster.

    Eh surely some mistake here….You dont stand for one party and resign weeks after an election if you are sticking to principle. Arlene will be outvoted 2:1 by Elliott on the basis of previous elections. They dont much like the bigotry of the DUP in Fermanagh andf Arlene is myopic for having thought she could introduce a kinder gentler variety.

  27. I only hope that when the UUP vote is shown to be greater in both South Belfast and Fermanagh/South Tyrone that it is enough to win both seats. If the DUP are guilty again of gifting seats to sf/ira then they should all fall on their swords. Then again, that’s an honorable thing to do so it probably won’t happen.

  28. Jonathan Mc

    Tell me what is honourable about supporting a political agreement which opens the prison doors early for terrorists?

    Please answer the question directly.

  29. Paul P,
    I have to admire your cheek in asking for a question to be answered directly! When was the last time that a member of the DUP ever answered a question directly? Like, has the “fair deal” sent those released back to jail? Has the “comprehensive agreement” supposedly written by the DUP not been reported by SF/IRA as being a great victory for the republican movement?
    The release of prisoners was a pre-requisite to any agreement that involved the representatives of both loyalist and republican prisoners. If the DUP had stayed on to help other unionists negotiate the GFA perhaps it would have been stronger on mechanisms regarding this, instead the DUP ran away.

  30. Rethinking Unionism (Vote SDLP?)

    Your rather nonsequitir argument begs the question:

    ‘Which past elections would these be?’

    You see, you appear to make the same fundamental mistake as the Royal Family in Regal Pass in identifying ‘Fermanagh’ as if it comprised the whole constituency. Hamstrung with this initial flawed premise, you go on to reach an unsupportable conclusion.

    There are just as many people down here who have no time for ‘uupity (sic) twats’ as ‘DUP bigots’.

    Unless you foresee a revival in UUP fortunes (this would necessitate a significant predilection for narcotics!) then ‘any rational analysis’ (copyright James Cooper – egh!) of the first preference votes in the 2003 Assembly elections indicates that Arlene only needs to retain 43% of her own first preference vote to outpoll the County Fermanagh Orange Order Grand Master! JC plays the Orange card and it’s trumped by his nemesis! (a woman to boot!) (What odd bedfellows, don’t you think, Cooper and Tom! Or maybe James has more in common with Orange plebs than he is prepared to concede! Doh …… it’s the election, stoopid!)

    BTW Tom, Arlene and Tommy Gallagher were at a forum this afternoon in Portora.

    The most remarkable statement of the day belonged to Tom Elliott, who claimed he is absolutely opposed to the Belfast Agreement and yet pro-Trimble. As you say “Eh surely some mistake here…..” And he hasn’t even got the nous to be embarrassed at this contradiction!

    So that’s the Road to Damascus and, apparently, an Epiphany, so far. Mind you, the wind was from a different direction today!

    Overall, I get the distinct impression that Tom wishes he wasn’t in this fight. But he won’t (be allowed to) stand aside for Arlene!

    The ABBA campaign must succeed at any cost!

    Jonathan McCullough

    The UUP have already been offered the solution to the problem in the two constituencies which you identify! Stop jabbering about it here. Go and tell the Purple Turtle, McGimski and Stupor-Cooper (Chairman of the ABBA campaign and chief puppeteer) to pull their fecking heads out of one another’s arses and do a deal to run 1 for 1 with the DUP. Honestly, just because they didn’t think of it first, nobody in the Unionist family will hold it against them, as long as they get there in the end!

    Hmm! ‘Tractor Tom’ or the leader-elect (hee-hee). I wonder?

    Problem is, your hierarchy’s detachment from the electorate, and the opprobrium directed by Regal Pass towards Arlene, may just mean that we’re faced with a little bit of history repeating itself (ask James Cooper for details as appropriate!) Let me know how you get on!

  31. Ted,

    Well done, a very well thought out argument which highlights your intelligence.

    Now read what I wrote again, think it over SLOWLY, now go back and try again Ted! NO, TED!!!! STOP!!! Ahh, forget it, get someone to read it out to you, obviously you can’t read.

  32. Sorry Jonathan if I appear illiterate!

    Try to get out of UUP mode and put it in easily digestible language which even I (and remember, barely able to stand upright let alone breathe unaided, they allow me to vote too) might understand.

    FST – Sinn Fein or UUP or DUP? – South Belfast – UUP or SDLP or DUP?

    What have I missed?

    P.S. What would be the point in replying to someone who couldn’t read?

    And let cladycowboy’s input be a lesson to all about the inherent danger of cousins marrying cousins!

  33. They were only 2nd cousins me maw and paw. I’m offended, i need a hug, come little sheep…

  34. cc

    I’m sure Dr Deeny will prescribe something for you!

    Unless, of course, Jonathan McCullough and Co can get their ‘independent’ ‘It’s Deeny’ ‘Oh No it’s not’, ‘Oh yes it is!’…………… repeat ad nausem (i.e. 2 minutes after meeting McGimski/Trimble/Cooper) elected!

    BTW McGimski say yes, Trimble say yes, Cooper say no! Tom believe all! What u say Jonathan (henceforth know as Obe Wan Kanobe).

  35. Ted,
    “What have I missed” – Doh!!! Perhaps you have missed the fact that both South Belfast and Fermanagh/South Tyrone have always had a majority of unionists voting UUP rather than DUP???? Show me evidence of a stronger DUP vote in either constituency if you would like to try and find it!
    If, by standing in these seats and splitting the unionist vote, they yet again gift seats to republicans it will go to prove that the DUP are more interested in themselves than the Union.

  36. Jonathan

    Sorry, fell asleep counting cladcowboys girlfriends/boyfriends!

    I’ve just seen your reply. So, your argument is based on ‘tradition.’ Well I’d never have guessed that.

    What both parties (and you personally) need to face up to is the fact that neither one can win either seat without the support of the other party.

    James Cooper couldn’t work that out in 2001, and I get the impression that it’s still beyond the compass of anyone in the UUP to work it out now.

    Today’s UUP is about the last 100 glorious years, oh, and ensuring that the same mistakes can be faultlessly replicated. That’s traditional.

    The fawning sycophants in Regal Pass have still not worked out that the reason the UUP is so deep in the brown stuff in because of the odious Trimble-Cooper leadership. But then, to misquote The Waco Kid “You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the traditional West. You know… morons.”

    In spite of this, if a deal could be done between the two parties, and Tom was the chosen one, I would hope that he succeed. However, he wants to go to somewhere called Westminister. Can’t find it on a map. Near Stormount I hear.

    PS You are clearly a graduate of the James Cooper Charm School.

    (No, it didn’t do him much good either.)

  37. Hard luck boys

    It would appear that the seat held by Bobby Sands will still be held by a Republican when that important date of May 5th comes.

  38. Chris

    Now, that’s the sort of argument that might get a deal done.

    Mind you, the UUP have not ruled out backing Tommy Gallagher! (Well if its good enough for elsewhere …………)

  39. Being from Dublin, I’m not quite up to scratch on the demographics, but i always thought that fermanagh would be a safe nationalist seat. For how long was it held by unionists?

  40. Mark

    The seat is not ‘Fermanagh’ but ‘Fermanagh and South Tyrone’, taking in the Clogher Valley and Dungannon, where there is a sizeable Protestant community.

    Most recently the seat was held from 1983 – 2001 by Ken Maginnis (UU) now Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

    In 2001, Michelle Gildernew (SF)won the seat with a majority of just 58 votes over James Cooper(UU), whose vote was diminished by the presence in the field of an independent anti-Agreement unionist, Jim Dixon.

    Prior to that it was held by Owen Carron (Sinn Fein) and briefly in 1981 by the IRA hunger-striker, referred to above in Chris Gaskin’s post, Bobby Sands.

    But Nationalist does not translate directly as terrorist supporter, and the dichotomy between Sinn Fein and the SDLP makes it a winnable seat for Unionists.

    But, as 2001 showed,it takes an agreed Unionist candidate, and the UUP and DUP, as yet, are incapable of agreeing on anything except that it will be the other sides fault if Sinn Fein retains the seat.

    If you go to to http://www.electoralofficeni.gov.uk all should be made clear.

  41. Ted

    I have spoken to a member of the sdlp’s elections committee and even they are conceding that the sdlp vote in FST will plummet in favor of Sinn Féin.

    Even with a pact I don’t believe Unionists would be able to take the seat.

    All the pact would achieve is the polarisation of the electorate and nationalists who would never vote Sinn Féin would do so to stop a Unionist canditate.

  42. Chris

    I don’t for a minute expect a Unionist pact will happen.

    Interstingly, a number of friends who have voted Sinn Fein in recent elections have said to me that they won’t be voting Sinn Fein again, in the light of recent events.

    The elections of Sands and Carron happened in very different times. Gildernew just doesn’t come across as having any presence, political or otherwise. Still, they’ll be voting for her in the graveyard just the same!

    I’ll agree with you, though,that Tommy Gallagher is not going to win it!

  43. Chris

    I’m not a politician,so I couldn’t give you anything other than an honest opinion 😮

    With all parties in the race Gildernew would be the front runner. But, I have this feeling that it’s not going to be as straightforward as that.

    We’ll see!

  44. Jonathan

    Sorry, fell asleep counting cladcowboys girlfriends/boyfriends!

    I’ve just seen your reply. So, your argument is based on ‘tradition.’ Well I’d never have guessed that.

    What both parties (and you personally) need to face up to is the fact that neither one can win either seat without the support of the other party.

    James Cooper couldn’t work that out in 2001, and I get the impression that it’s still beyond the compass of anyone in the UUP to work it out now.

    Today’s UUP is about the last 100 glorious years, oh, and ensuring that the same mistakes can be faultlessly replicated. That’s traditional.

    The fawning sycophants in Regal Pass have still not worked out that the reason the UUP is so deep in the brown stuff in because of the odious Trimble-Cooper leadership. But then, to misquote The Waco Kid “You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the traditional West. You know… morons.”

    In spite of this, if a deal could be done between the two parties, and Tom was the chosen one, I would hope that he succeed. However, he wants to go to somewhere called Westminister. Can’t find it on a map. Near Stormount I hear.

    PS You are clearly a graduate of the James Cooper Charm School.

    (No, it didn’t do him much good either.)

  45. Mark

    The seat is not ‘Fermanagh’ but ‘Fermanagh and South Tyrone’, taking in the Clogher Valley and Dungannon, where there is a sizeable Protestant community.

    Most recently the seat was held from 1983 – 2001 by Ken Maginnis (UU) now Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

    In 2001, Michelle Gildernew (SF)won the seat with a majority of just 58 votes over James Cooper(UU), whose vote was diminished by the presence in the field of an independent anti-Agreement unionist, Jim Dixon.

    Prior to that it was held by Owen Carron (Sinn Fein) and briefly in 1981 by the IRA hunger-striker, referred to above in Chris Gaskin’s post, Bobby Sands.

    But Nationalist does not translate directly as terrorist supporter, and the dichotomy between Sinn Fein and the SDLP makes it a winnable seat for Unionists.

    But, as 2001 showed,it takes an agreed Unionist candidate, and the UUP and DUP, as yet, are incapable of agreeing on anything except that it will be the other sides fault if Sinn Fein retains the seat.

    If you go to to http://www.electoralofficeni.gov.uk all should be made clear.

  46. Chris

    I’m not a politician,so I couldn’t give you anything other than an honest opinion 😮

    With all parties in the race Gildernew would be the front runner. But, I have this feeling that it’s not going to be as straightforward as that.

    We’ll see!

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