Think big in Lagan Valley

Basil McCrea launched his campaign to unseat Jeffrey Donaldson last week by unveiling the largest poster ever used in an election in Northern Ireland. The 20 foot long 96 sheet displays the message “Anything is possible when you…Think Big…And decent people make their votes count”

With such uncertainty as to the lie of the electorate in Lagan Valley and the confidence of the McCrea campaign, anything is possible on polling day. Jeffrey’s first test as a DUP candidate will certainly be interesting.

  • yerman

    Such unswerving optimism from the Trimble Youth.

    A big poster – fair enough its not a bad gimmick, but it takes more than that to win an election.

    “with such uncertainty as to the lie of the electorate in Lagan Valley”

    REALLY? Please provide one objective commentator who even thinks that Basil McCrea will get within 5,000 votes of Jeffrey Donaldson.

  • fair_deal

    This is almost certainly the most shameless propagandist piece for a party political line I have ever read as a blog on slugger.

  • fair_deal

    “With such uncertainty as to the lie of the electorate in Lagan Valley and the confidence of the McCrea campaign, anything is possible on polling day.”


  • arp

    Interesting start to the campaign – best of luck to Basil.

    I think with work he may just unseat Mr. Donaldson. The people of Lagan Valley voted UUP last time…

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    What do the non-UUP, non-DUPers on the site think? Is this report very biased towards the UUP or do they actually stand a reasonable chance in LV? (Or do any of you care? lol)

  • David Vance

    Talking of shameless plugs – I hope Slugger won’t mind me informing readers that Lagan Valley hopeful and UUP poster boy Basil McCrea will be answering some tough questions over on ATW in the next few days. Make sure you discover if Basil can deal with the big issues as well as a big poster!

  • jimmyquickswipe

    I’m thinking big, I’m thinking how the f*ck do you easily drive a 20 foot long truck through the streets and estates of Lisburn and Dromore etc?

    Typical UUP strategy.

  • queens_unionist

    ‘This is almost certainly the most shameless propagandist piece for a party political line I have ever read as a blog on slugger.’

    I have to agree with you fair deal! this stinks of UUP.

    Basil Fawlty erm Brush erm…MCREA! was descirbed as the UUP youth…well theres a joke in itself!

    The people of Lagan Valley voted For UUP candidate, Jeffry Donaldson, and will vote Jeffry again.

    I think that a big poster will merely scream, DESPERATE to the potential voters!

    Jeffry’s first test…TEST?????

  • Radical Cleric

    I think Basil has a good chance in LV. As has been said, Donaldson has not been tested under the DUP banner.

    Indeed, this is the first election in which Jeffrey will be standing as a pro-Agreement candidate.

  • fair_deal

    I am SO going to enjoy 6th and 7th May on here.

  • queens_unionist

    at least these blogs are kept for prosperity fair deal. so we can refer back to them!
    but we’ll be gracious in victory 😉

  • joc

    I think Basil has a reasonable chance.

    A lot of UUP folks are pretty fed up with Jeffrey’s behaviour.

  • Radical Cleric

    Fair Deal

    And so you should. All Duppers should be allowed to wallow in what is shaping up to be the DUP and Sinn Fein/IRA ‘s most successful election to date.

    Will there be long term peace and prosperity? Maybe.

    Will there be a sectarian carve up of all arts and parts on NI in some uber ghettoisation by DUP/SF. Probably.

    Will there be DUP – SF/IRA negotiations with a view of putting SF/IRA into government after the election? Yes.

    But then, in days to come moderate, pluralists and non-sepratist partys will have to pick up the broken pieces of NI after Gerry and the sharp shooters and Ian and the evangilists have had their way.

    One does not blame the electorate. With leaders in the ascendany who are terrified of leadership, who pump electors full of fear and lies and biggorty – fear drives people to do the most unusual or unadvisable of things.

  • queens_unionist


    ‘A lot of UUP folks are pretty fed up with Jeffrey’s behaviour.’

    David trimble, reg empy need i go on?

  • carlosblancos

    I ain’t a DUP or UUP supporter and in my opinion the original post is biased. Basil McCrea has as much chance as Basil Brush of winning this election.

  • queens_unionist

    a truly great comment!

    I ain’t a DUP or UUP supporter and in my opinion … …Basil McCrea has as much chance as Basil Brush of winning this election.
    I think il remember that one!

  • yerman

    Basil McCrea has absolutely no hope of winning…. the only thing Michael Shilliday has done to himself here is to reduce his own credibility.

    Again, can anyone find one single commentator from a newspaper or any credible independent source who seriously thinks that never mind winning, that Basil McCrea will even put Jeffrey Donaldson under any real pressure?

  • Davy Sideburns

    “UUP” + “Credibility” in the same sentence – Is that what Dermot Nesbitt means when he talks about ‘zero sum’ politics?

  • Michael Shilliday

    First, objectivity isn’t in my brief.

    Second, I don’t remember using the word “win” anywhere, I said anything is possible. No one knows how much of a swing is required, Lagan Valley is unpredictable in this election.

  • queens_unionist

    seems to me like the rest of you party michael you dont act too well when under pressure.
    I would think the aim of this weblog is to post objective comments and wait for debate rather than turning the site into a propaganda area :S

  • yerman

    You didnt say win, OK. So when you say, “anything is possible” you also dont rule out the possibility of complete UUP meltdown? Or would that only have happened had Daphne Trimble been the candidate?

  • davidbrew

    well actually I think Basil has an outside chance of winning…..a seat on the Council. See, Baz, the secret is to think SMALL, That way, elected on the 13th count subquota won’t be a disappointment.

    radical cleric (Earl Storey perchance?)
    you’re not radical at all. That’s just the usual watery Ken Newell handwringing drivel which every ecumenical dogcollar has spouted for forty years, and failed the people totally. A good solid blast of Calvinism, with the country run by the elect- now THAT’S radical! And maybe coming sooner than you think

  • queens_unionist

    “A good solid blast of Calvinism, with the country run by the elect- now THAT’S radical! And maybe coming sooner than you think”

    and heres hoping, the sooner the better.

  • You Must Be Earl Storey

    Radical Cleric

    Load of old barf!

  • insider

    What do you think of Basil getting his picture taken in front of the RIR band when he didnt ask permission and didnt even bother actually attending to the event at which they were playing. He just turned up, stood in front of them, got his picture taken and then left.

  • fair_deal

    Radical Cleric

    “All Duppers should be allowed to wallow in what is shaping up to be the DUP”

    Soory but not in the DUP, presently unaligned and enjoying it ;). Certainly more fun that being a member of the Utterly Useless Party.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster
  • fair_deal

    A bias is fine. Propaganda is bullshit.

  • queens_unionist

    “A bias is fine. Propaganda is bullshit.”


  • Anon

    Mr. Shilliday – the propagandist responsible for this thread seems to have a nervous disposition about his identity as editor of the YU Weblog being revealed. Why is that I wonder?

  • peter

    Donaldson will walk Laganvalley. 30000 votes easy.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Anon, South Belfast Voter, You Must Be Earl Storey, Bangorian, Weirfan, Tony the Tiger, Nepotist and a surname which I won’t reveal.

    All the same person. Funny that.

    I emailed you the other day and you ignored it then. Maybe you’ll listen now – grow up.

  • Keith M

    There’s about as much chance of the UUP unseating Donaldson as Paisley getting a call from Rome in a few weeks offering him the Papacy.

  • tiny

    Basil McCrea walked into a selection meeting a virtual unknown and easily defeated David Trimbl’e wife, his election slogan of a ‘new face new ideas’ is going down well, afterall a lot of people are fed up with Donaldson’s behaviour, anti-aggreement in the DUP, pro-aggreement in the DUP, a trouble maker

  • Tin

    Should read: fed up with Donaldson’s behaviour, anti-aggreement in the UUP, pro-aggreement in the DUP, a trouble maker.

  • yerman

    Hate to burst your idealistic bubble, but a party selection meeting doesnt equate to election results.

    The fact that he beat Daphne Trimble, I would humbly sugggest, reflects more on the relative lack of abilty of Mrs Trimble than it does on any political greatness on the part of Basil.

    “a lot of people are fed up with Donaldson’s behaviour” – I suggest that most of those people are Lagan Valley UUP members.

    Also, all this UUP harping on about ‘decency’ is in my opinion, a huge mistake. Inferring that people who vote for Jeffrey Donaldson are somehow ‘indecent’ stretches credibility just a little. Jeffrey Donaldson might be a lot of things, but indecent isnt one of them. How will all the wee ‘oul dolls who love “wee Jeffrey” feel about being referred to as indecent?

  • Tiny

    yeman, you fail to realise that a lot of the delegates prior to the selection meeting were convinced that Daphne Trimble was the one to go for, also those who were anti-trimble had left the UUP at that stage, as for decency issue, it goes a lot further than wee Jeff, ask the members of Drumbo Pres who allowed the DUP the use of their hall for their fund raising ‘gospel concert’ compared by the pope joke telling Rev Dickinson, when the ‘shit hit the fan’ wee Jeff and the local DUP members with one notable execption allowed the church take the blame. When he was interviewed on Talkback wee Jeff spoke of being in the audience of a ‘gospel concert’, no word of it being a DUP fundraiser organised by the DUP’s Downshire Chairman.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Hmm, McCrea “new face, new ideas”. I’d love to hear what his new ideas are.

    I’d be interested if someone, particularly one of those supporting the DUP on here, could spell out some of the policy differences between Basil and Jeffrey. I don’t doubt that Jeffrey will walk it on his personal vote alone, but I can’t understand what he offers unionist voters that McCrea does not.

  • Tiny

    Comrade Stalin, Honesty & Judgement and a fresh face, if you look at wee Jeff’s news-sheet, his ‘Westminster Report’ you will see him outside Hillsborough’s new Primary School, look closer and you can see where he has been pasted onto the photogragh, could the reason be that he oppossed the building of the new school from the start, now he’s dishonestly trying to claim the credit for it. As for his political judgement, how many times did he try to topple Trimble without having the courage to attack from the front, then what about his threat to resign, again displaying not only a lack of judgement in making the threat but a lack of courage in failing to follow it throug. As for the benifit of being a ‘fresh face’ for those voters keen to move on from the past, it may well be an attraction.
    As for the outcome, parties go down and go up, Donaldson may well win with the DUP on the way up, will he survive on the way down?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Tiny, all of the above didn’t seem to stop him getting a significant vote in the Assembly election.

  • Tiny

    Comrade Stalin, in 2001 wee Jeff won with 25,966 votes, a majority of 18,342 over the DUP’s Edwin Poots vote of 6,164.

    In the assembly elections of 2003 he was elected on the first count with 14,104 votes, 11,862 down on 2001. Edwin Poots was elected on the second count with 5,175, a drop of only 989, now I know you can’t accurately compare ‘PR’ with ‘1st Past The Post’ but never the less wee Jeff’s vote dropped by almost 11,000 more than Poot’s and that was before he jumped ship, a move that will cost him votes.
    It could be a lot closer than people think.

  • Rebecca Black

    I’m curious here, does anyone have any objections to Basil McCrea other than the fact he is called Basil?

    He’s a new face with big ideas, some probably too big but he is a lot more representative of the average person in Lagan Valley than some happy clapping blow in from Kilkeel.

  • Sam Maguire

    Tiny, you’re forgeting the Nora Beare’s vote who also jumped. I can’t be bothered checking ark but if Basil gets a larger vote than Edwin poots did in 01 I’ll be surprised.

  • Davros

    objections to Basil McCrea other than the fact he is called Basil?

    Basil’s not so bad, the next bit is a worry ….

  • Rebecca Black

    In fairness, Norah Beare just scrapped in by clinging to Jeffrey’s coat tails.

    Beare got one and a half thousand votes, whereas Billy Bell got 2700 and Ivan Davis got 2223, that 5000 will not be going to Donaldson. It would be interesting to know what percentage of Donaldsons first preference votes transferred to UUP candidates, it could indicate the true picture in Lagan Valley.

  • Tiny

    Sam, Norah Beare, is that the same Norah who wee Jeff assured us was going to play a full part in the talks following her defection, another wee lie from the wee man, well if it is she got elected with 1508 votes, does that make it look better for Jeff?

  • Alex S

    Basil could be the big surprise of the election, decent people don’t like turn coats.

  • yerman

    Decent people dont really like being referred to as indecent just because they vote for someone like Jeffrey Donaldson.

    Also, ‘turn-coats’ as you refer to them are simply people who have decided to abandon their party rather than abandon their principles. Of course its very nice for you to believe that the unionist community dont support them. I’m sure the next MP for North Down, Peter Weir wouldnt back up that view though!

  • fair_deal

    2003 Assembly election

    Jeffrey Donaldson 14104
    Norah Beare 1508
    Jim Kirkpatrick 675
    Edwin Poots 5175
    Andrew Hunter 3300
    Total 24762

    Billy Bell 2782
    Ivan Davis 2223

    To use a horrible Americanism, do the maths.

  • Tiny

    Are you seriously suggesting all wee Jeff’s assembly voters will vote DUP this time? I only hope you work in DUP election planning!

    Donaldson left the DUP only weeks after standing for election in the UUP, principal didn’t come into it, he didn’t have the ‘balls’ to resign close to the election having backed down from his threat to resign in June, as for his performance in the DUP, if Trimble had agreed to the concessions the DUP agreed to before Christmas wee Jeff would have been booking the Waterfront himself!
    British MEPs and MPs being allowed to sit in the Irish Parliament with speaking rights, and no doubt voting rights in the future. Agreement to devolve Policing and Justice with the british dictating the timeframe and opening the way for a Sinn Fein Minister to take charge.
    The acceptance of two new all Ireland bodies, and finally not one change in any of the Good Friday Agreements thirty pages!

  • yerman

    It seems you have been reading the propaganda plastered across our morning newspapers today. (Probably being paid for with the proceeds of the sale of a seat in the House of Lords). Interestingly enough they provide a link to the NIO website, whereupon you will find little or nothing which actually compares to what the UUP allege.

    Combined with that we have a further attack of “Decent people vote Ulster Unionist”. Not only are DUP voters indecent, but Alliance, SDLP, and the Monster Raving Loony Party – we’re all indecent just because we have the cheek to choose someone other than the purple turtle.

  • fair_deal


    JD vote will take the lion share of his Assembly vote add that to the DUP vote and Basil is nowhere. JD has consistently had a strong personal vote. Voters are generally creatures of habit, this is why it took the DUP so many elections after the Agreement to overtake the UUP. They have developed the habit of voting for JD and they will largely stick to that.

    “I only hope you work in DUP election planning!”

    LOL, that’ll be the day.

  • fair_deal

    UUP new slogan

    This is the decent party for decent people, we’ll have no voters here.

    (Apologies to the League of Gentlemen.)

  • Rebecca Black

    fair deal

    to reiterate what Tiny said, you don’t really believe that every vote for Jeffrey Donaldson as a UUP candidate will automatically become a vote for Jeffrey Donaldson DUP?

  • yerman

    I dont believe that every single last vote that JD got previously will come across to the DUP. However, I believe he carries a fairly weighty personal vote, and the DUP ‘party’ vote has been increasing in recent years – that trend probably wasnt expressed as clearly in somewhere like Lagan Valley precisely because of the presence of Jeffrey Donaldson in that constituency. There were a lot of people who were probably agreeing with the DUP and quite supportive of the DUP, but felt that they were able to get those views expressed equally (and who knows, possibly better) by voting Jeffrey Donaldson.

    Of course, those people are now classed as not being decent by the UUP. Do you think the new slogan is a good one Rebecca, Michael or any of the other UUP people on here? Views please.

  • Rebecca Black


    I think it is a good slogan. However just because UUP candidates are using that word doesn’t mean they are implying that every other candidate isn’t. That would be paranoia.

    However in the case of Donaldson, I think McCrea has a point. Donaldson arguably has never lived in the real world, he has been involved in politics almost all his life. What does he know about the issues that affect the average business man or worker in Lagan Valley? McCrea has been a successful business man for many years. He knows what the people in Lagan Valley need in terms of their MP. He is outward looking with big ideas, a quality that is so far fairly lacking in most of Northern Irelands MPs.

    Furthermore on the matter of decency, Donaldsons act of fighting an election in the UUP, getting his secretary (Beare) in on his tranfers and then clearing off to the DUP leaving Lagan Valley is disarray, then attacking the Young Unionists, his former supporters reeks of treachery.

  • yerman

    Do you think that it is advisable to label the people who vote for Jeffrey Donaldson being in some way ‘indecent’. Even if it is only a loose reference, I’m getting the impression that this is how people are interpreting the UUP use of ‘decent people vote UUP’.

  • Rebecca Black


    You missed the point, I am questioning Donaldson’s decency, not the decency of his voters.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    I think the “decent people vote UUP” is rubbish. It means nothing. Eg 2 decent people could vote UUP and it’s true, the remaining decent people could vote for whoever they like and its no less true.

    However I could see how it would be interpreted as arrogance. Plenty of people vote DUP – I wouldn’t say they’re indecent, just misguided 😉

  • yerman

    OK – you, and possibly a lot of Ulster Unionists, possibly even voters might be unhappy at what he has done.

    However, look at the UUP advert – and these aren’t targetted at Lagan Valley – from what I have seen today they are in the Belfast Telegraph and Daily Mirror: These adverts state “Decent people VOTE Ulster Unionist”.

    This advert isnt targetting the DUP as a party, its not even targetting DUP candidates as individuals. What they are doing is targetting the ordinary man on the street, the pensioner in their bunglaow and inferring that they are somehow not decent because they choose to vote for (presumably) the DUP.

    Lagan Valley isnt a bad one to look at though. I personally doubt that many people think Jeffrey Donaldson isn’t decent – however, many many less of them think they aren’t decent for voting for him!

    So Rebecca, why do you think your party is labelling the majority of unionist voters (at the last 2 elections) as indecent. This isn’t a party or even its members they are insulting – its the ordinary man and woman on the street.

  • Rebecca Black

    Again yerman, you are wilfully misunderstanding the campaign and trying to twist it for propaganda purposes.

    The UUP are not labelling ordinary voters as not decent. They are letting the public know that they are decent candidates and worthy of a vote.

    You are desparately over analysing.

  • yerman

    Maybe that isnt the UUP’s intention – however, I dont think it takes overanalysing to come to that conclusion.

    The first impression that a lot of people come to when reading that advert is that they are being targetted directly and inferred as indecent by the UUP.

    If the UUP were telling people that they had decent candidates – then why not use UUP people in the picture? They have just used joe public therefore they are saying that its the UUP voters who are decent – ergo DUP voters are indecent.

    The Enniskillen people might start to wonder though how decent their local UUP Councillor currently up on fraud charges is.

  • queens_unionist

    Well the UUPs last slogan wasnt exactly sheer class either was it…promoting Bavarian and the local chippy….Simply British?
    we’d hardly be “simply British” if the UUP [and martin and gerry in suit] had a credible say!
    The fact also that David Trimble refers to the DUP as extremist etc so he is refering to a lot of voters as extremists and former high ranking policemen [Jimmy Spratt] as extremist etc…therefore insulting a lot of other former RUC officers, [who also have a vote! :)]
    I think there campaign need a big shake up, no hold on keep up the good work lads+ladettes!! :p

  • davidbrew

    don’t think so, Rebeca, and if the UUP are so stupid as to use a slogan that easily misinterpreted, what do they expect the DUP to do- ignore the present?
    Interestingly the SDLP also use the word “Decent” in their literature, perhaps in a subliminal attempt to push the same buttons in their electorate. Or maybe they’re both just desperate.

    As for your analysis of the merits of the repsective candidates in LV, you’re saying essentially the gentleman amateur is preferable to the professional. Not even sport believes that any more-and certainly not politicians. Your candidate is a puddin’ , and will come nowhere- and we all know you know it. Shouldn’t you be helping Sylvia in her life or death struggle to keep the UUP in Westminster, rather than waste effort on this forlorn hope?

  • fair_deal


    Look on the bright side. If the UUP slogan is true there will be hundreds of thousands of people up on charges of public indecency, should get you some business 😉

  • Ted

    Decent people ……………… don’t get Legal Aid?

  • davidbrew

    LOL lads

    While we’re at it, which party is going to increase legal aid rates? I’m getting paid the same as in 1996. Bet there aren’t too many of you who haven’t had a pay rise for nine years. It’s almost enough to make one go back into politics…. sitting about all day drinking tea at the public’s expenses, with juvenile ticks puttingout statements in my name about things of which i neither know nor care. I’d have to practise, but I’m sure I’d get the hang of it.