And it gets worse…

THE South Belfast branch of the UUP imploded earlier today after the 15 members of the Willowfield branch said they did not support the party’s candidate Michael McGimpsey, preferring the DUP candidate, Jimmy Spratt, instead.

  • queens_unionist

    Oh darn,
    well all i can say is there are still decent UU’s left.
    How anyone could back M McGimp is beyond me!

  • Visioner

    Q_U,

    It’s not a fact of whether their decent or not (however the UUP slogan may well suggest otherwise). They just don’t support the selected candidate.

    If they can’t except a democratic vote within a party as democratic as the UUP, compared to the DUP, then can they call themselves democrats?

    Was Spratt elected to be the candidate?

  • Visioner

    Ironically, two members of the branch – Mr & Mrs Clarke – have backed Spratt already as individuals. So you could probably say that this was inevitable.

    Not everyone wants to vote DUP and the longer the DUP continue fighting and eating away at the UUP instead of aiming to defeat the real enemies of Northern Ireland – being Sinn Fein/IRA, the more pro-union voters in large numbers just won’t vote. These thousands of people will do this so easily and willingly.

    Unionism holds a broad spectrum of support, not everyone can unite under the DUP. The only people ‘uniting’ under the DUP are the people only interested in money and power, instead of traditional unionist values. Question: Is the DUP a ‘true’ party of the Union?

    The only reason people like Hiddleston, the Clarkes, Donaldson et all are criticising the UUP is that they are just annoyed with the party leadership. The more that follow them out, the longer the leadership stays as it is. If Jeffery Donaldson had stayed in the UUP, he would now hold the reins of power. Perhaps if he had, had the balls to stand in 2000 against Trimble he may well have become leader then and we would have seen how much a better job he would have done.

  • Scarlet

    The end is nigh for the UUP but never mind there is always the Aliance to vote for.

  • Tiny

    queen_unionist, exactly how was Mr Spratt selected by the DUP members in South Belfast, did he win the selection contest by many votes?

  • queens_unionist

    have we heard many compliants about Jimmy’s selection?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Visioner, I’m not a DUP supporter but we don’t all have short memories. Either Donaldson or someone else challenged the UUP leadership a total of about ten times. At the time people said that he should accept the democratic vote and quit to join the DUP. It’s odd that you would now argue that he should stay in the UUP and change it, having failed publicly several times over a period of about five years to do so.

    Politics in Northern Ireland is going to be a hell of a lot simpler now that this pretence of moderacy is being erased and we essentially have to deal with two extremes. Since no credible extreme alternative exists to counteract the DUP, I wonder what unionist voters will find themselves doing, or indeed voting for, once the DUP enters a government with Sinn Fein having secured some sort of compromise with the IRA.

  • yerman

    I dont remember anyone ever claiming that the DUP was ever going to represent every single unionist, either now or ever – in exactly the same way the UUP never has or will.

    What the DUP is moving towards, with an increasing pace, is representing the clear majority of unionists, heading towards an overwhelming majority.

    There will always be those unionists who will not vote for the DUP and there will always be a place for the UUP to represent those people – I’m sure they will be happy with the odd UUP councillor that they elect. You dont have to represent everyone to unite unionism, but you cant do it, like McGimpsey if you cannot even unite your own party members.

    This decision tonight shows that Jimmy Spratt is managing to unite unionists from across the unionist divide – exactly what is needed. The choice for the people of South Belfast is fairly clear: Spratt of McDonnell, your choice.

  • ctron

    how was Mr Spratt selected by the DUP members in South Belfast, did he win the selection contest by many votes?

    er he was the only candidate so 100% support I guess

  • fair_deal

    Visioner

    “Not everyone wants to vote DUP and the longer the DUP continue fighting and eating away at the UUP instead of aiming to defeat the real enemies of Northern Ireland – being Sinn Fein/IRA, the more pro-union voters in large numbers just won’t vote.”

    Is there any emperical evidence you know of that it is Unionist infighting that is the cause of non-voting?

  • Indeed

    Tiny,

    Maybe you could remind us of just how convincingly McGimp won his selection contest?

  • mnob

    fair deal, not emperical evidence I know, but I wont be voting this time round for exactly that reason. The UUP have tried to become like the DUP and that has turned me off.

    My view (and I know this is only 1 persons view/vote) is that the UUP have not been strong enough in defending the agreement. Their vote has been falling because of their mixed messages. Last time I only just managed to persuade myself to vote because I was voting for a party that accepted the agreement but a candidate who didn’t. What sort of a choice is that ?

    This time round they’ve lost the plot completely. The rise and rise of the DUP has more to do with the fall and fall of the UUP rather than anything positive.

    Personally I want to vote Tory/Labour or Lib Dem who have a chance of governing me but there you go I know I’m a voice in the wilderness.

  • bob wilson

    mnob
    Are you a member of Tories or Lib Dem or the Labour campaign?
    If not, then get your finger out! Dont just whinge

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    mnob I’m with you. Are you registered in the South Belfast constituency as well?

    I studied politics at A-level in school (hardly an expert I realise, but I have an interest) and as such believe it to be something of a duty to vote, but given the current situation in South Belfast it’s extremely hard to find anyone worth voting for.

    If McGimpsey does get it, it will be because I just don’t want to vote for an extremist, not because of his own credentials as a candidate.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    To qualify that, I don’t want to vote for an extremist party. I don’t know enough about Spratt to say how extreme or not he is.

  • Alan2

    “I wonder what unionist voters will find themselves doing, or indeed voting for, once the DUP enters a government with Sinn Fein having secured some sort of compromise with the IRA.”

    Well that is EXACTLY what is needed. If Paisley and Adams can do a deal then it really is A DEAL..for good…for keeps…clear cut..so everyone knows what they have to do and what others have to do..not some wishy washy deal that can be intepreted 100 different ways by 100 different people. Get a deal done. Get it sorted and get down to the business of sorting out Northern Ireland.

    I respect Trimble for having the courage to jump first but to do so three times and be made to look like a fool is not the actions of someone who learns from their mistakes. The second mistake was not actively selling the deal they signed up to. If you make a deal then fine go out and sell it for all your worth don`t mish mash about hmming and haaaing half in half out. Get it sorted, sell it or don`t sign up for it in the first place.

    Also the message that the Unionists are centrist and against this polarisation is absolutely absurd. It is totally enshrined in the “holy GFA” that all decision have majority consent from both Unionist and Nationalists which of course has legitimised the voluntary benign apartheid we currently seem to be heading for. That was was Alliance have been complaining about from the very start.

  • Dessertspoon

    Here people go again with “traditional unionist values”. What are they? Will they help to ensure my long term security (physical and financial) in Norn Iron? Will they make waiting lists shorter, improve my childrens education, bring inward investment?? Or are they just the rubbish the UUP and DUP fall back in place of policies and because they haven’t the courage to admit they just don’t want to share.

  • fair_deal

    Dessertspoon

    I agree I can’t stand that phrase

  • Young Fogey

    I take it Jimmy Spratt is the gentleman formerly known as Finlay Spratt of the Northern Ireland Prison Officers’ Association?

  • Jo

    …what are these “traditional values again?

    – “spirit of 1912/Drumcree”? 😉

  • Jo

    ..I think I recall the phrase first used by Rev. McCrea when he won south Antrim. I may be wrong…

  • fair_deal

    Young Fogey

    NO it isnt

  • Keith M

    South Belfast is very quickly going from being the most boring Westminster constituency to the most interesting. I’m not sure whether I’d prefer Spratt or McDonald to win. An SDLP win would certainly put one up the shinners after their comments on McDowell.

  • The Watchman

    “UUs in SB start to implode over the Gimp.”

    No surprise – I’ve been saying that since the Gimp was selected.

  • Visioner

    “Is there any emperical evidence you know of that it is Unionist infighting that is the cause of non-voting?

    Posted by: fair_deal at April 20, 2005 09:18 AM”

    fair_deal,

    The pro-union vote is falling, its there, but they either don’t vote and/or don’t register. The EU elections is an example of this.

    Unionist voters see this fighting and get sick of hearing about it. They turn off because they are fed up with it.

    Neither Unionist party is offering the electorate something to vote for.

  • fair_deal

    I know about the fall (there are similar issues in nationalism to a lesser degree).

    It’s evidence for the cause or causes i’m looking for.

  • Alan2

    I think however there is a similar fall in GB also, particularly younger people, just like religion.