Uncertainty of opinion

Lagan Valley, being my home constituency, is probably the most important contest as far as I am concerned in the General Election campaign. Despite DUP claims that they will have a “five figure majority”, not only is Lagan Valley unpredictable given the defection of the incumbent, it is at this moment too close to call.

Basil McCrea in his interview on A Tangled Web said that Jeffrey Donaldson needs a personal vote of 10,001 to win, and I agree with him that “he will not achieve this”. The DUP are and always have been the third Party in Lagan Valley in General Elections. This will change at the forthcoming election; however their belief that they are now suddenly top dog by a margin is misguided. This is perhaps ironically best articulated in Daily Ireland:

How the defection of the now DUP man will impact on the general election remains to be seen. It is not clear whether previous election results were more politically motivated or reflective of Mr Donaldson’s own popularity. At this stage, it cannot be said with any certainty whether or not the constituency will follow Mr Donaldson in changing parties

I can say in all honesty that I will be in no way surprised if Jeffrey Donaldson does not sit on the green benches in the next Parliament. The DUP brush it off as irrelevant, but the fact remains that every solitary one of the 14,000 votes cast for Jeffrey Donaldson in November 2003 was a vote for the Ulster Unionist Party – this is why the DUP urged the electorate in their manifesto not to vote for “so called anti-agreement Ulster Unionists”.

Lagan Valley cannot be predicted at this stage with any degree certainty. The electorate have not taken kindly to the actions of Mr Donaldson following the last time they entrusted him with their vote, they tell Ulster Unionist canvassers this day and daily. These people will I am sure vote Ulster Unionist again on 5th May 2005 and as a result make Lagan Valley one of the most exciting races in the UK.

  • Mehmet

    Micheal I suggest you take a look at the odds being offered on both Eastwoods and Sean Graham sites Jeffery Donaldson is the runaway favourite. Over the years they get most seats spot-on

  • Stalford

    Dear dear dear Shillers, sometimes you get too close to a thing to be able to see reality – I think this might be your problem in the case of LV. A question was posed earlier by Pakman on another thread, perhaps you’d care to reply?

  • peter

    If Donaldson lost LV to an unknown Michael Howard would be PM. It would be that much of a surprise.
    Donaldson was right from the very beginning about the GFA. It was not workable. You cannot have an agreement where both sides were declared the victor and where a blatantly sectarian government was set up to the exclusion of the Alliance party which was the only ever cross community party.

    The GFA was flawed. Before any government was set up under its auspices the IRA should have disbanded. Instead Gerry Adams led the UUP a merry dance. Infact he utterly humiliated them and in this election the UUP will pay the price for that humiliation.

  • aquifer

    Donaldson is very busy around the constituency, engaging with all sorts of residents. He would have made a very good electrical contractor.

  • Alan2

    Decent people vote…..Jerffrey Donaldson. Ahem.
    I think you will be in for a shock. He didnt get the biggest vote for no reason. People voted for HIM I would suggest.

  • fair_deal

    I am getting genuinely concerned what state the Trimble youth will be in come the results on 6th May.

    The Samaritan national help line is 08457 90 90 90, for the cost of a local call.

  • The Watchman

    Given that BJs have Basil Brush at 20-1, perhaps Mr Shilliday can tell us how much he is putting on him if he thinks that Jeffrey the Fallen Angel is going to lose?

  • The Watchman

    Oops, I see Eastwoods aren’t even taking bets on Lagan Valley. Shows I know nothing about the wicked ways of gambling, just as Mr Shilliday knows nothing about his party’s decline.

  • Colm

    Does anyone know if there has been any published opinion polls on voting intentions in N.I. so far in this election ?

  • fair_deal

    Colm

    The last poll was the Belfast telegraph/Newsnight poll a couple of months back. DUP beating UUP considerably and SF/SDLP neck and neck (although take it with the caveat that polls tend to underestimate SF and DUPO support)

  • Colm

    Thanks fair_deal

    Consider that over on the mainland we are plagued with polls on a daily basis I wonder why there seems to be such a dearth of them in N.I. and not one so far since the date was called.

  • peter

    The only question really to be answered is how irrelevant the 18 N.Ireland MPS will be in the next parliament.There seems no chance of the GFA being revived so it could well be scrapped.

    With up to 10 DUP MPS,maybe no UUP, 6SF that abtain and two possibly three or even one SDLP it should be fun to watch them at Westminster, well on the few times any of them actually turn up.

  • fair_deal

    Colm

    Cost puts the local papers off (about £12-15K for a region wide survey) much more expensive if you want a constituency by constituency report. The same happens in scotland where there is much less pollling than in comparison with the national polling

  • The Watchman

    Could Michael Shilliday tell us why Basil Brush has chosen to put light green on his election posters around Lagan Valley? Not the most advisable colour, I think.

  • Tiny

    Why isn’t Donaldson out on the ground like McCrea, last time no stone was left unturned in the search for votes, seems he is counting on his re-election being seen as a dead cert with moderate voters choosing to stay at home rather than waste their time, he knows he cannot afford to be seen being told to F…OFF, not good for the image, McCrea on the other hand is on the streets and getting more confident all the time.

  • Davy Sideburns

    Tiny

    McCrea on the other hand is on the streets and getting more confident all the time

    Surely, Basil being Basil, you mean cocky.

    As for any suggestion that Jeffrey’s not on the ground ………. he’s closer to the ground than most!

    BTW Any ETA on a reply to Watchman’s 6:20?

  • irishman

    Michael

    Lagan Valley will be interesting for the local results at Lisburn level. Will Jeffrey bring in a DUP majority within unionism in your opinion? Can Sinn Fein wipe out the SDLP, leaving only Lewsley with a seat on Council?

  • kitty

    “As for any suggestion that Jeffrey’s not on the ground ………. he’s closer to the ground than most! “

    Indeed! So are reptiles.

  • Portcullis

    As a member of the DUP in Lagan Valley, I can confirm that Donaldson is out on the ground every single day (except Sundays) and is getting an excellent reception. I have canvassed with DUP candidates in previous elections and we have never had it this good. McCrea is rarely mentioned on the doors….a complete unknown. Wise up Shillers. The DUP soundly defeated the UUP in the Euro elections in Lagan Valley and Donaldson is heading for a clear win. As for ‘Tiny’, stick to your day job Mr Plod!

  • Tiny

    Portcullis, time will tell, remember McCrea has come from nowhere to take on the man who was talked of as the next leader of the UUP, how close does he have to get to hurt Jeffrey, remember elections come round again!