Interesting that James Cooper directs his response to criticism over his party’s ‘decent people’ campaign to the DUP, and ignores Seamus Close’s attack from yesterday:From James Cooper:
The intention behind the slogan is to rally ‘decent people’ to the Ulster Unionist Party: in other words, it recognises that there are decent people throughout the community, voting for a variety of parties.
Our Party is seeking to reach those who have voted DUP, Alliance or who haven’t voted, as well as core Ulster Unionist voters. We are reaching out to people who share our values – hardworking, law-abiding citizens with a stake in society, who seek a peaceful and tolerant Northern Ireland. We entirely respect the judgment of voters who disagree with us – but our firm conviction is that Ulster Unionism is the surest and safest political home for the values of decent people.
That the DUP have focused on a purely negative connotation of the slogan speaks volumes. But now they come to mention it, the fact they feel affronted is a vindication of our slogan.
After all is it decent for the DUP to focus their entire election broadcast – with its untruths, divisiveness, fear-mongering, entirely negative tone, and deliberate omission of any reference to the DUP’s deal with SF in December 2004 – slating fellow Unionists? Is it decent for the DUP Leadership to brand any catholic, whether independent, nationalist or Republican as ‘all of the same sow’s litter’ as they did in electoral pact discussions?
Is it decent to publicly brand the pope an anti-Christ? Is it decent that the DUP tell the electorate one thing yet do another? Is it decent that the DUP are proposing 25 years of stalemate? Is it decent that the DUP are happy to split the Unionist vote in certain constituencies for purely selfish self-interest knowing full well they cannot win the seat, only heighten the chances of nationalists or republicans winning? No on all counts.
The DUP are a political party employing values contrary to Ulster Unionist values. The campaign slogan – ‘Decent People … Vote Ulster Unionist’ – is a call to those who share our values to vote Ulster Unionist.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty