Leaders of 'moderates' to battle for political lives

There’s no doubt this election is likely to see a battle to the death for both the UUP and the SDLP. Mark Durkan faces a grim battle to hang on John Hume’s old seat in Foyle. But the real story fo the election could be loss of David Trimble’s seat in Upper Bann. If he does manage to hang on in their party may have also avoided the meltdown that it’s political opponents (and some independent commentators have been predicting for it). But it’s going to be every bit as tight as the SDLP leader’s battle in Derry.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    It’ll be a sad day for Northern Ireland if the 2 ‘not an inch’ parties really do romp home.

  • fair_deal

    “It’ll be a sad day for Northern Ireland if the 2 ‘not an inch’ parties really do romp home.”

    An outdated generalisation.

  • Gonzo

    “It’ll be a sad day for Northern Ireland if the 2 ‘not an inch’ parties really do romp home.”

    An outdated generalisation.

    Not a centimetre then.

  • fair_deal

    Gonzo

    LOL

  • Rebecca Black

    “It’ll be a sad day for Northern Ireland if the 2 ‘not an inch’ parties really do romp home.”

    Definitely in terms of the image it sends across the world of Northern Ireland. Oh for the day that normal left and right wing parties will dominate Northern Irish politics.

  • Keith M

    What did these parties expect when they signed up to a consocianalist agreement in 1998? Were they really stupid enough to believe that Northern Ireland was the new Switzerland? Fools and their parliamentary seats are soon parted.

    One of the most interesting aspects of the election is how both the DUP and SF/IRA are going for the decapitation route. If either or both succeed, then I think the days of the UUP and/or the SDLP are very limited.

  • J Kelly

    I believe that it is unfair to say that SF are going for the decapitation route as if the SDLP wouldn’t do the same. Does anyone remember Joe Hendron and the UDA election. How many times did SF offer the SDLP pacts or agreed candidates. If the SDLP are decapitated at this election on their own head be it.

  • Two Nations

    I have always voted Trimble but this time I have been thinking of voting Simpson.

    It is not a case of me being impressed with the the DUP (far from it) but I am so sick of the unionist infighting. I just want one unionist party that will focus solely on the Ulster-British people and the state of the Union. All this infighting has crippled the unionist people for a long time. Unionist politics has just become about point scoring, not saving the union or promoting the cause. Enough is enough, let the DUP have the throne, so some real goals can be acvieved.

    It is tough that my side has lost (UUP) but there you have it. It is time to move on and focus on other things. I believe in the long run our proGFA unionism will win out in the end.
    (Haven’t the DUP signed up to the GFA anyway?)

    so for the sake of no more bickering let’s have the DUP in the top spot, then the unionist cause may actually be advanced. They may even focus on real issues.

    So sorry David I don’t think I’ll vote for you this time but I am sure a man with as much forward thinking as you will be rewarded in due time.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Interesting thinking Two Nations, but I can’t bring myself to vote for political protestantism to satisfy big Ian’s ego trip.

    I can’t help but remember whey the divide exists and that’s Paisley’s ego, combined with the idea that the 1960s unionists were too soft!! Paisley has split everything he ever joined, the Presbyterian church, Unionists and the Orange Order. I could maybe forgive him for dividing unionists if his policies and his followers weren’t so fanatical, and if his party now didn’t seem more intent on defeating the Ulster Unionists and enforcing neo-facist ultra-religious views more at home in the Catholic church on the people of Northern Ireland than defending the Union.

    I’m not sure I could look myself in the mirror if I cast a vote for any of these people.

  • Stalford

    beano

    Ian Paisley was never a member of the Presbyterian Church, or the Ulster Unionist Party, nor for that matter is/was he a member of the Independent Orange Order.

  • Stalford

    One other point – the Independent Orange Order was formed in 1905, following a dispute in South Belfast Unionist Association. It was formed by a man named Thomas Sloan, twenty-odd years befor Ian Paisley was born, so I don’t think he can be expected to take the fall for that one either.

  • Two Nations

    Pain will be great at first but the UUP should do a Obi Wan Kenobi and offer themselves up for the greater good of the Force (Unionism) (if they even have a choice).

    Let the DUP become the Unionist establishment

    In a few years, things will become more interesting and the benefit will be felt by moderate Unionists like ourselves.

    Where once the DUP could be the ‘grassroots’/protest/alternative unionist voice, there will be a vacuum. The UUP, if defeated in May, will splinter and dissolve.

    What will replace the DUP position? The REAL grassroots unionist voice. It will come from the loyalist estates and from people like ourselves. It will be dynamic and forward-thinking. More Glenn Barr than John White would be the hope.

    There are many of us out there, that are not attracted by the dumbness of the DUP or the elitism of the UUP. We have not found our voices yet, but in a political vacuum that could well happen.

  • George

    “It’ll be a sad day for Northern Ireland if the 2 ‘not an inch’ parties really do romp home.”

    Taking as read the rise of “not an inch” SF on the nationalist side, it is interesting to note that even way back in 1987 the large majority of unionism was also “not an inch”.

    We are seeing nothing new as the list below shows, we are now returning to type. The GFA was an abberation.

    Cecil Walker – pro
    Rev Martin Smyth – anti
    Roy Beggs – anti
    Clifford Forsythe – anti
    Jim Molyneaux – anti
    William Ross – anti
    John Taylor – he of “collapse the agreement and pocket the removal of Articles 2 and 3” fame
    Harold McCusker ?
    Peter Robininson – anti
    Ian Paisley – anti
    Rev William McCrea – anti
    Jim Kilfedder – ?
    Ken Maginnis – pro

  • Keith M

    Rebecca ” Oh for the day that normal left and right wing parties will dominate Northern Irish politics.” So you wantr to move from the 19th century to the 20th century. Hardly a major step forward.

    Ironically the split in Northern Ireland is more represtative of how politics in Europe is shaking up in the 21st century, strong showing for nationalist parties as a backlash to the European project.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    My apologies Stalford, I’ll bow to your superior knowledge on the Independent Orange Order. Sorry about the presbyterian church – he was previously a Baptist. He still had to be the leader though. I find it hard to accept that Ian Paisley isn’t largely motivated by his ego.

  • Stalford

    beano

    Ten minutes in the man’s company and you would see this isn’t the case at all.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “Does anyone remember Joe Hendron and the UDA election.”

    How can anyone forget that smear given the number of times it gets trotted out? To my mind it’s probably the clearest illustration of SF’s inherent sectarianism.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    I’m not sure I could stand 10 minutes in his company – genuinely – or he in mine. But I doubt we’ll ever know.

  • kitty

    “SF’s inherent sectarianism.”

    Does Billy Leonard know about this?

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    I don’t think Billy Leonard knows much about anything.

  • Comrade Stalin

    “Europe is shaking up in the 21st century, strong showing for nationalist parties as a backlash to the European project.”

    Are you sure you don’t mean the mid-C20th Keith, look how European nationalist politics took us forward then. It appears that some of us have not learned that lesson.

  • barnshee

    Get real.The advance of SF guarantees the advance of the DUP(and vice versa)- the OUP will wither and die over the next few years with more defections as the DUPERS advance. In a sense the SF voters are ensuring the success of the DUP -be careful you may get what you vote for.

  • Whistleblower

    Michael Shilliday is the editor of the YU Weblog!

  • PatMcLarnon

    The simple fact is you make yorrself electable, if not, tough.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Pat is right. The likes of me can rant all we like about this unholy alliance of IRA and protestant jihad but the voters really do seem to prefer it this way.

  • Davros

    “Does anyone remember Joe Hendron and the UDA election.”

    Can someone remind me ?

  • Jimmy Sands

    When Adams lost his seat to Hendron, Hendron cheated by getting protestants to vote for him. It is an article of faith for some that the UDA had a hand in it.

  • Davros

    When Adams lost his seat to Hendron, Hendron cheated by getting protestants to vote for him. It is an article of faith for some that the UDA had a hand in it.

    Thanks jimmy – I can see that those stupid enough to believe in the bearded one might be stupid enough to
    swallow that one 😉

  • Rebecca_Black

    “When Adams lost his seat to Hendron, Hendron cheated by getting protestants to vote for him”

    How is that cheating, the majority of people in his constituency voted for him – thats democracy. Cheating would be residents of graveyards voting surely?

  • Jimmy Sands

    You’d certainly think so, but the attacks on Hendron certainly suggested that there was something underhand in seeking votes from both communities.

  • Rebecca Black

    Its quite sad that you think receiving cross commnunity support is somehow underhand Jimmy.

    To me underhand would be things like dead people voting, and intimidating and attacking members of another political party. Any of this ring any bells? The treatment of Eugene McMenamin in Strabane is particularly appalling, the man is a member of a nationalist and left wing party, on paper Sinn Fein should have nothing against the man but because he is a rival to them, he is attacked frequently in a sad attempt to bully him out of politics.

    That is underhand, not a man attracting cross community support.

  • Chris Gaskin

    People in glass houses Rebecca…

  • Rebecca Black

    Oh is my secret second life of running after DUP representatives with baseball bats in an attempt to intimidate them out at last?!

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    “Its quite sad that you think receiving cross commnunity support is somehow underhand Jimmy.”

    Rebecca either you or I is being incredibly stupid here, for I was under the impression Jimmy was using sarcasm to imply that the Shinners were so incensed that any nationalist would dare to try and attract votes from Protestants, that they must have cheated.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Rebecca,

    I think you misunderstood me. I’m not suggesting it was underhand, rather that those who bring this up believe so.

  • Rebecca Black

    ah right, sorry jimmy, my wrath was meant for whoever said that!! I’m 15 hours away from a big deadline, my head is mush 😉

  • PS

    Of course Joe Hendron was entitled to get Protestants to vote for him in 1992. What he would not have been entitled to do would be to have claimed that he was the preferred choice of nationalists in West Belfast.

    Personally I believe people should vote for the party that best represents their views and objectives. I doubt the United Ireland advocated by the SDLP is the preferred choice of many of those who voted for Joe Hendron in 1992.

    In any case the real villian here is the archaic and unfair British first past the post electoral system!

  • Jimmy Sands

    “What he would not have been entitled to do would be to have claimed that he was the preferred choice of nationalists in West Belfast.”

    Did he claim that?

    “In any case the real villian here is the archaic and unfair British first past the post electoral system!”

    I agree, but presumably that would also have led to SDLP victories in the previous two elections.

  • Davros

    Personally I believe people should vote for the party that best represents their views and objectives. I doubt the United Ireland advocated by the SDLP is the preferred choice of many of those who voted for Joe Hendron in 1992.

    Prior to SEA arriving the SDLP were the only party I felt that I could in any conscience give my vote Paddy.

  • PS

    Oh is my secret second life of running after DUP representatives with baseball bats in an attempt to intimidate them out at last?!

    Rebecca i think Chris was refering to your accusations of vote rigging. As he points out, the only person ever to convicted this offence in the north is a member of your party, I believe, so people in glass houses……….

    As far as your question above is concerned, what you and Stalford get up to in your own time is no concern of any of us though his wife may take a dim view.

    Jimmy

    Under PR, the constituency of West Belfast would almost certainly not exist, Belfast would probably be one single constituency so the issue wouldn’t really arise.

  • Davros

    PR ? Careful Paddy, that’s Lib-Dem territory 😉

  • PS

    And its also the fairest way to run an election!

  • Alan McDonald

    PS,

    If you don’t like first past the post don’t ever come to the USA. Aren’t Canadian elections also first past the post?

  • Davros

    Out of interest – has anybody looked at how results would have differed over the past few elections, where applicable, if it had been in place instead of FPTP ?

  • PS

    Just had a look at the most obvious constituency for PR – a hypothetical 4 seat Belfast constituency incorporating exactly the existing 4 constituencies in the city.

    In 2001 Belfast would have worked out –

    Sinn Féin 41,558 – 26.3%
    DUP 35,026 – 22.2%
    UUP 32913 – 20.8%
    SDLP 28,843 – 18.3%

    Sinn Féin would have topped the poll and their candidate would have been elected having reached the quota along with the candidate from the DUP and UUP. The SDLP candidate would have been pushed over the quota by SF transfers leaving the 4 main parties with a seat apiece which based on what actually happened would give a DUP seat to the SDLP.

    These figures are distorted somewhat by the fact that the DUP didn’t stand in South Beflast in 01 which would have increased their lead over the UUP, though probably wouldn’t have changed the hypothetical result. What’s interesting is wondering who the DUP candidate would have been. Robinson or Dodds?! There’s a selection meeting I’d pay good money to see!

  • Davros

    That would be an interesting meeting LOL

  • Gonzo

    To return to Mick’s blog entry for a moment…

    How on earth can the UUP and SDLP reasonably be described as ‘moderate’ when they both spend their time trying to appear more extreme than the DUP and Sinn Fein?

    Or does the absence of a militant tendency or paramilitary wing automatically qualify a party in Northern Ireland to occupy the centre ground?

  • Michael Shilliday

    I’ll bow to your superior knowledge on the Independent Orange Order

    Your point is still valid, Chris is blurring it by mentioning the Independant Orange Order, Paisley has split the Orange Order. And no, I’m not a member, but I know the DUP is split by standing on the outside too.

  • Tiny

    It’s a bit rich to claim that in the 2001 election trimble was forced into a recount, as he was 2000 votes adrift the only reason the DUP’s David Simpson called for a recount was to give time for a DUP mob to gather

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    “as he was 2000 votes adrift the only reason the DUP’s David Simpson called for a recount was to give time for a DUP mob to gather”

    and these are the people of our biggest political party? *sigh*

  • Stalford

    Shilliday

    His point isn’t valid. I’d be interested to know how exactly Ian Paisley split the Orange Order – and organisation that he hasn’t been a member of for donkeys years?

    Really you should stop listening to Jim Dillon’s propaganda!

    BTW, how many seats do you think your lot will be coming back to Lisburn council with?

  • Stalford

    Tiny (Tim Lemon)?

    Read Godson’s book – I think you’ll find that our erstwhile First Minister admits that he delibiratly provoked the crowd outside the election count in Bandbridge in order to capture a headline and deflect from the UUP’s bad result.

    And as for a “DUP Mob” – at least half of the crowd that day were members of Trimble’s own party!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Well Stalford, it didn’t take too long for you to descend into loyalist paramilitary mealy-mouted verbiage. “provoked” ? Yeah right, like the whole crowd were just there spontaneously minding their own business.

    “Yes officer, I was standing here enjoying the weather and that nasty man over there provoked me into throwing this brick”

  • JOnty

    Chris Stalford, is paisley pleased that the anti-christ and servant of satan, the pope is dead? Or is he holding back his glee till after the election. (i take it youir master sitll believes the pope to be the anti christ?)

  • Paul P

    Jonty

    Millions of protestants from all over the world belive the pope to be the(an) anti-christ. Are they intitled to hold that theolgical position or not?

    Ian Paisley made a pretty magnanimous statement regarding the death of John Paul II, but I guess that will not quell the hatred of Paisley from some quarters.

    (I personally think that pope John Paul II was a great world leader who made an impact for freedom)

  • Jonty

    Paul P given paisleys past performance in the EU parliament when the pope was there i think its a legitiatmite question. Is paisley pleased that, what he considers to be the anti-christ / servant or satan is dead?

  • Paul P

    Jonty

    I dont know if Paisley is pleased that the pope is dead or not because I haven’t asked him.

    But I have asked you if you think millions protestants are intitled to hold the theological postion that the pope is an/the anti-Christ?

  • Jonty

    paul p thats why i was asking chris stalford, not you in particuluar

  • Paul P

    Jonty

    May I ask you in particular.

    Are protestants intitled to hold the belief that the pope is an/the anti-Christ?

  • cladycowboy

    Paul P,

    Oh,searcher of theological impunity, i think Stalford is an/the anti-christ….but that’s only my own opinion, guardian of theology

  • No to Sinn Fein/IRA, No to the Pope, No to Dublin, & No to Socialism

    Haven’t Christians of whatever sort had a couple of thousand years to prove their fundamental tenets? Where is God? What’s his nature? His Origin? Show us he is. Show us a miracle. Tell God to show us a miracle. How about a demonstration? Let’s work out a testing protocol and apply intellectual rigor. Instead Christians employ tricks of rhetoric and logic, claim God is unknowable to the mind of man or that belief without reason (faith) is a virtue, shift the burden of proof onto challengers, offer insults for their temerity,and tell you to read a book. Of course, uncritical thinking has been man’s curse, his willingness to swallow slop and call it good. So, no need for knickers to get twisted over sect A’s supernatural dogma #69 or sect B’s supernatural dogma #96. It’s all bollocks.

  • No to Sinn Fein/IRA, No to the Pope, No to Dublin, & No to Socialism

    Haven’t Christians of whatever sort had a couple of thousand years to prove their fundamental tenets? Where is God? What’s his nature? His Origin? Show us he is. Show us a miracle. Tell God to show us a miracle. How about a demonstration? Let’s work out a testing protocol and apply intellectual rigor. Instead Christians employ tricks of rhetoric and logic, claim God is unknowable to the mind of man or that belief without reason (faith) is a virtue, shift the burden of proof onto challengers, offer insults for their temerity,and tell you to read a book. Of course, uncritical thinking has been man’s curse, his willingness to swallow slop and call it good. So, no need for knickers to get twisted over sect A’s supernatural dogma #69 or sect B’s supernatural dogma #96. It’s all bollocks.

  • No to Sinn Fein/IRA, No to the Pope, No to Dublin, & No to Socialism

    Haven’t Christians of whatever sort had a couple of thousand years to prove their fundamental tenets? Where is God? What’s his nature? His Origin? Show us he is. Show us a miracle. Tell God to show us a miracle. How about a demonstration? Let’s work out a testing protocol and apply intellectual rigor. Instead Christians employ tricks of rhetoric and logic, claim God is unknowable to the mind of man or that belief without reason (faith) is a virtue, shift the burden of proof onto challengers, offer insults for their temerity,and tell you to read a book. Of course, uncritical thinking has been man’s curse, his willingness to swallow slop and call it good. So, no need for knickers to get twisted over sect A’s supernatural dogma #69 or sect B’s supernatural dogma #96. It’s all bollocks.

  • No to Sinn Fein/IRA, No to the Pope, No to Dublin, & No to Socialism

    Haven’t Christians of whatever sort had a couple of thousand years to prove their fundamental tenets? Where is God? What’s his nature? His Origin? Show us he is. Show us a miracle. Tell God to show us a miracle. How about a demonstration? Let’s work out a testing protocol and apply intellectual rigor. Instead Christians employ tricks of rhetoric and logic, claim God is unknowable to the mind of man or that belief without reason (faith) is a virtue, shift the burden of proof onto challengers, offer insults for their temerity,and tell you to read a book. Of course, uncritical thinking has been man’s curse, his willingness to swallow slop and call it good. So, no need for knickers to get twisted over sect A’s supernatural dogma #69 or sect B’s supernatural dogma #96. It’s all bollocks.

  • Davros

    Tell God to show us a miracle.

    Attend the birth of one of your children. That’s good enough for me.

  • Alan2

    “is paisley pleased that the anti-christ and servant of satan, the pope is dead? Or is he holding back his glee till after the election.”

    Why would you or he be pleased? There will surely be another Pope. Do you really think he is that shallow, that the anti-popery stance is synonomous with a racist?

    Really you need to read a bit more theology.
    Here is the Lutheran Church stance on the anti-Christ:-
    http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2217

    And the Protestant Reformed Churches Of America
    http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_3.html

  • jonty

    alan2 im just asking a question. If i believed some to be the personificaiton of evil (and that is what the antichrist is) then i guess i would be slightly pleased that he has departed even if for a season
    (btw i dont belive the pope to be the antichrist)