Strangford: UUP looking for an incremental improvement

It’s been suggested to Slugger that Strangford could conceiveably be the scene of an electoral upset in this year’s Westminster election. The basis for UUP optimism seems to be placed on the energy and youthfulness of their candidate, Gareth McGimpsey, and (possibly) an underestimation of their opponent, Iris Robinson. The Irish Times had an interesting constituency report (subs only) on Saturday.

Robinson’s parliamentary pitch looks good at first sight:

Certainly she gives the impression of activity. She claims to have “questioned more ministers” than all but one of the 659 members of the House of Commons. A local councillor, MLA and MP, she runs “satellite surgeries” in local Orange halls and claims to have just one Saturday a month off.

But, McGimpsey retorts, “she has only spoken in 17 debates in the House of Commons, I will be a full-time MP.” It’s a formidable, but one paper at least not an insurmountable task:

Robinson claimed the seat by 1,110 votes in 2001 after then sitting MP John Taylor (now Lord Kilclooney) dropped out of the contest before election day.

However, in the wake of the Assembly elections in November 2003, McGimpsey is fairly modest in his own personal target:

I’ve got to be realistic. I’m a serious underdog, and it’s always extremely hard to shift a sitting MP. In 2003, we were over 7,000 votes behind. So anything less than 7,000 will be an improvement.

  • Indeed

    Whats the next blog about….

    McCune to unseat Paisley?

  • queens_unionist

    so he claims “I will be a full-time MP”
    yet ” In 2003, we were over 7,000 votes behind. So anything less than 7,000 will be an improvement.”
    so does he think he’s going to win or not?
    or is he having a senior moment like the other youngsters in the UUP

  • The Gent

    Iris to romp home – 8,500 majority.

    McGimpsey AKA Damien (judging by his posters) to limp back to the Transylvanian family retreat.

  • GavBelfast

    ‘The Gent’ succumbs to the customary DUP mocking-mode, in the absence of any substantive point whatsover.

    How sad that this type of rhetoric and cat-calling has achieved quite a following here.

  • yerman

    Yes,
    Lets look at how Junior Gimp is going to steal away Strangford – because the DUP vote is drifting away..

    1998 Assembly election – 28%
    2001 Westminster election – 43%
    2003 Assembly election – 48%

    The DUP vote in Strangford has nearly doubled in the last few years. Far from losing the seat Iris will be pushing close to (and probably will break through) the 50% barrier in Strangford. It could well be the DUP’s safest seat!

  • Dessertspoon

    Stop having so many jobs Iris – give wee Gareth a chance.

  • Karl Rove

    Here and now I offer to any reader of Slugger 500 quid, should Robinson’s majority fall from 2001, provided they’re prepared to offer me merely £100 should it in fact rise. For YUs, make that five quid for £1.

    Junior Gimp, Senior Gimp, Gimps in the West, Gimps in the press room: one and all, they’re going to preside over and account in large part for, a fall in the UUP’s vote everyhwere their clammy, undead hands lay touch.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Email me and I might take you up on that Karl

  • queens_unionist

    A fool and his money eh?

  • Karl Rove

    Would it be safe to assume that’s the one quid student offer you want to take up?

  • La Dolorosa

    I hope that Iris(h) Robinson now knows the difference between French and Irish

  • Rebecca Black

    “Junior Gimp, Senior Gimp, Gimps in the West, Gimps in the press room: one and all, they’re going to preside over and account in large part for, a fall in the UUP’s vote everyhwere their clammy, undead hands lay touch.”

    ha! two mc gimpseys running for Westminster doesn’t even touch on the Robinson family empire, the husband and wife team of Iris and Peter displays new meanings of the word greed. They are both MPs, both MLAs, both councillors for different constituencies. The time for that sort of thing is gone methinks.

  • Mehmet

    Is it true that McGimsey Senior,s smile had to be digitally added to his posters?

  • Karl Rove

    Rebecca dearest, three. Controversial I know, but Gareth [Strangford] technically counts as human, in addition to paw in South Belfast, and Uncle Chris (‘the nice one’) in West Belfast. Though personally I hope it’s not too late for the DUP to come to their senses, and eg give us Fermanagh & South Tyrone in exchange for giving them first crack at West Belfast. Imagine that: three Gimps in Parliament! It’s enough to make anyone hope for a military coup.

  • yerman

    Rebecca
    Interesting that as someone from Strangford you managed to post without making any reference to how you think the UUP will perform in that area.

    Is the mighty Gareth McGimpsey going to topple Iris or will she squeeze over the 50% barrier. It is interesting how in these ‘traditional Ulster Unionist’ seats the battle now for the UUP is an attempt to cut majorities rather than win the seat. McGimpsey’s “its always hard to shift a sitting MP” doesn’t really wash. If Iris Robinson is such a terrible MP as the Trimble Youth would have us believe then the people of Strangford would be queueing up to boot her out, just like the people of North Belfast were queueing to get rid of dead wood like Cecil Walker.

  • ctron

    This thread is rather a yawn – Iris will win and I suspect, whisper it for Rebecca and Michael, it will be the best DUP result in a romp.

  • Rebecca Black

    “Interesting that as someone from Strangford you managed to post without making any reference to how you think the UUP will perform in that area.”

    Quite simply yerman because I am revising for my finals here in Dublin. I haven’t ventured home in around 2 months so i have no idea what is going on in Strangford.

    *by the way, I don’t think Iris is a terrible MP, I am sure she would be a great MP if she wasn’t also having to cope with being an alderman in Castlereagh Borough Council, being an MLA, being on the DUP talks team and thats all before we think about the fact she is a working mother. I am surprised she has time to breath, let alone be any sort of MP for Strangford. Most people could barely manage to do one of those jobs effectively. Her greed has crippled her.

  • Carrington

    Rebecca

    So once again – how is the UUP going to fare in Strangford? Less than 30% or more than 30% – lets start at that point.

    And please don’t use exams as an excuse for not answering – if you’re in a good enough position to pass judgement on the incumbent then you can tell us all how you think your party’s challenger will do also.

  • yerman

    Rebecca
    Surely if you feel able to comment on Iris Robinson’s performance as an MP without having set foot in Strangford “for months” you can comment on the position of the UUP within that constituency.

  • Stalford

    Rebecca

    “I haven’t ventured home in around 2 months”

    So it wasn’t you I said hello to in Central Station about a fortnight ago?

  • Rebecca Black

    Stalford

    yeah, yeah, it was a flying visit during which i spent all my time in the library working on my dissertation. (by the way, I didn’t mean to practically snub you, it was early in the morning and I have only met you a couple of times so it took a couple of seconds to recognise who it was saying hello!)

    Yerman

    Yes but Iris has been MP for longer than a few months, plus the few monthes leading up to an election are hardly representative of what an MP has been like during his/her term in office. Furthermore I don’t have to be living in Strangford to note that with the number of jobs that woman has taken on she is unlikely to be a particularly effective MP, thats called a dose of realism, something that is missing from most duppers.