Upper Bann is the one to watch…

Mark Devenport is on the money, when he takes a nod from the bookies and suggests that David Trimble’s constituency is the one to watch. We agree, and when Slugger hits the ground running this week, the Trimble constituency is one of those we’ll be keeping the closest eye on. The UUP leader himself is rather sanguine that in his own back yard he can buck the poll trends and actually increase his 2,000 majority.

  • Valenciano

    “Mr Trimble could become the first party leader to lose his seat since Labour’s Ramsay Macdonald back in 1918.”

    Hardly. One of his predecessors Harry West lost Fermanagh&ST to Nationalists in 1974. Bob McCartney (2001), Gerry Adams (1992) , Gordon Wilson (SNP – 1987) are other examples that spring to mind off hand.

    Trimble´s constituency is hardly one to watch either. The most surprising thing about his defeat when it happens in a couple of weeks is that it will not be a surprise at all. Neither will it be necessarily a bad thing as the turkeys on the UUP´s council of Guardians will then have to replace him with someone who can actually do the job. The man has been a poor leader and the UUP decline can be laid squarely at his feet.

  • David Vance

    Here in Upper Bann, we await the fall of the house of Trimble will some sense of relish.

    We sure don’t need Mark Devenport or any of the other sickening media apologists for Trimblism over the past years suddenly now discerning that there “may” be a change because Eastwoods the Bookmakers think it. Had the media elite here ANY sense of Unionist feeling in Upper Bann, they would KNOW it.

    When Trimble falls, along with the rest of his wannabees, then perhaps the Belfast Agreement sycophantics that infest local media may waken up. In a sense it doesn’t matter – because the pro-Union electorate has.

    Trimble has less than two weeks to run here, in Upper Bann, in this former bastion of Ulster Unionism. Perhaps the laser-brained Devenport and those other great minds that analyse our politics may want to start thinking WHY?

  • peter

    The ghosts of Harold McCusker, Robert Bradford, Brookeborough and Craig will be turning in their graves at the state of the UUP.

    S.Belfast is the only constituency worth watching in this election. Trimble is a goner, the only thing of interest will be the size of the DUP majority.

  • Davros

    Do ghosts rest in graves ?

  • Travis

    Can non-unionists join in this dance on the grave of Ulster Unionism? Or are to conserve our energies for another ten years while we await the sure demise and fragmentation of the self-styled ‘Democratic’ variety?

    No matter. Think Trimble 1995. Now think Trimble 2005.

    Think Dodds ’05. Think Dodds 2015.

    You can hold back history, friends. Things happen anyway.

  • Tiny

    “Here in Upper Bann, we await the fall of the house of Trimble will some sense of relish”. David Vance

    Better a has been than a never been!

  • Visioner

    The people of Upper Bann have endorsed Trimble for 15 years. He may fall this time round as his legacy is over and has been dead for a while now.

    DV — Trimble has been supported for his policies. He has driven Northern Ireland forward for peace. He has done alot more for Ulster and Unionism than someone like you could have ever done. If all Unionists thought the same way you do, the last ten years of peace and prosperity seen in N.I. would not have existed. Under you David V, N.I. would be back to the dark days.

    Trimble has taken risks for peace, a peace that may not have been prefect but Trimble deserves alot more gratitude and respect than he currently is not receiving for the likes of you.

    I hope Trimble holds Upper Bann, but he should do the noble thing and step down as leader of the UUP. Something that is long over due. The UUP needs a fresh directional approach to lead it over and above the biggoted and hypocritical DUP.

  • Mick

    Travis, that is some game plan. Fancy a Slugger interview to expound a little further on it?

  • valenciano

    As a centrist I certainly have no love for Simpson who represents everything nasty about the DUP, however I still think that Trimble´s defeat will be a bit of a step forward. He´s an Albatross with little credibility either in his own party or outside it and fresh direction under a new leader is clearly what the UUP needs.

    That said it´s difficult to identify an obvious candidate to succeed him!

  • Keith M

    I can understanmd how the over overdue political demise of Trimble might make this the “one to watch”, but it’s far from being the most interesting constituency.

    If you use the odds at Eastwoods as a guide 9 seats are donme and dusted;

    DUP gets
    East Belfast
    North Belfast
    Lagan Valley (a notional gain on 2001)
    North Antrim
    Strangford

    SF/IRA gets
    West Belfast
    Mid-Ulster
    West Tyrone
    Fermanagh/South Tyrone

    Three more are virtually decided with the favourites being a ridiculously low odds;
    DUP gets
    East Londonderry
    East Antrim (a gain on 2001)

    SDLP gets
    Newry & Armagh

    That leaves 6 seats in play;
    The SDLP will lose both South Down and Foyle to SF/IRA.

    The only seat that could be left for the UUP is North Down where Harmon leads Weir.

    The DUP will take in decreasing order of certainty;
    Upper Bann 3/1 on
    South Antrim 5/2 on
    South Belfast 5/4 on

    So the final shake-out;
    UUP and SDLP : 1 each
    SF/IRA : 6
    DUP : 10

    If that is the final result there will only be one story on May 6th. Given the way the polls in Scotland an Wales are going, the DUP appear to be certain of being the 4th biggest party in the U.K.

  • Chris Gaskin

    “SDLP gets
    Newry & Armagh”

    How in the name of god can you see the sdlp keeping Newry and Armagh?

  • Keith M

    Sorry I got South Down and Newry and Armagh switched on this. SDLP loses N+A but holds SD.

  • Chris Gaskin

    Your a PD Keith but I’ll forgive you 😉

  • PatMcLarnon

    I have heard that as many as two thousand nationalists voted for Trimble last time around in order to save him from the Dupers. Could be that even more might decide that his carcass should be spared this time around, so he still might make it.

  • David Vance

    Tiny,

    Better to retain your principles than sell them along with your soul to be First Minister.

    Valenciano,

    I agree with your 5.35pm post.

    Visioner,

    I am sorry you hold such a poor view of me but all I can offer is that on May 5th, the electorate here in Upper Bann will reject Trimble so he won’t have the choice to step down, it will be taken for him.

    Perhaps the big debate should be: What purpose does the UUP have post May 5th and will Unionists unite – under the DUP umbrella. The Bookies seems to think that the tide is going out over the UUP and this begs the question, are they washed up for good, or bad?

  • Mick

    Keith, an honest man, if ever there was one!

  • Mick

    Interesting Pat. We should talk when I land!!

  • kitty

    Just Watched the UUP political party broadcast. Trimble came over quite well, forceful and convincing- if you are of the Unionist persuasion that is.
    With all his obvious faults, In all fairness to Trimble, he took big risks for the past 10 years and Nationalists should find no joy in the fact that he may be facing defeat.
    I think he might hang in. Pat I heard approximately the same figures- about 1500-2000 nationalists voted for him. Wonder if they are likely to do so again- out of utter dismay at the DUP!

  • kitty

    ” Trimble has been supported for his policies. He has driven Northern Ireland forward for peace. He has done alot more for Ulster and Unionism than someone like you could have ever done. If all Unionists thought the same way you do, the last ten years of peace and prosperity seen in N.I. would not have existed. Under you David V, N.I. would be back to the dark days.”

    Trimble definately took risks and does not deserve to be banished because of them.

    “Trimble has taken risks for peace, a peace that may not have been prefect but Trimble deserves alot more gratitude and respect than he currently is not receiving for the likes of you.”

    Trimble took steps toward peace but so too did many others, including Adams, McGuiness, etc I agree that they all deserve our gratitude. if we think back to the early 90’s and the plunge into darkness we had taken with sectarian murders happening on a weekly basis, the risks taken by all were worth it.He does deserve some gratitude.

    “I hope Trimble holds Upper Bann, but he should do the noble thing and step down as leader of the UUP. Something that is long over due. The UUP needs a fresh directional approach to lead it over and above the biggoted and hypocritical DUP.”

    I hope he holds the seat as well. And agreed he probably does need to step down before the UUP heads the way of the SDLP.

  • Rethinking Uniuonism

    When Trimble falls, along with the rest of his wannabees, then perhaps the Belfast Agreement sycophantics that infest local media may waken up. In a sense it doesn’t matter – because the pro-Union electorate has.

    It may be the case that Trimble will lose Upper Bann although his ability to hang on when everyone has written his political obituary is remarkable. But just remind me again David how exactly did the DUP deal at Christmas differ substantively from the principles and the architecture of the Belfast Agreement. You will require all the casuistry you can muster to persuade any objective onlooker on that one. The DUP may reach a temporary high water mark borne out of the frustration of unionist voters that more has not changed and Sinn Fein retain a private army, but ultimately they cannot hold sway. Firstly because they don’t do original ideas or constructive thought that has the remotest chance of working…merely reaction secondly, because they are despised by the British public who eschew their bigotry and inability to move beyond the narrow confines of a Free Presbyterian perspective and thirdly because when given the opportunity in any Council they hold a majority they systematically exclude any nationalist from any post of importance.Yes they have through Robinson and Dodds effectively organised tmeselves politically and the poltical climate suits their stance at present but they will never be able to reach out or inspire the broader pro union voter or the hundreds of thousands of non voters (mostly unionist) who have given up on poltics). We are not in 1912 anymore and ironicaly it is the broader pro union voter who must be reached. Trimble tried and his legacy is secure. Paisley hasnt as yet and I doubt ever will….so if things turn out on May 5th as you predict enjoy your “victory”, like Drumcree, the 1974 strike, the opposition to the Anglo Irish Agreement, etc it will be Pyrrhic one and sooner or later you will have to face again the same challenges as Trimble. He did so with courage and vision, the DUP, in contrast have always retreated when the going got tough to the old familiar pietys. I see nothing in their present rhetoric or attitude which augurs well for the people of Northern Ireland

  • Visioner

    Rethinking Unionism – I would agree with you.

    Particularly —

    “they will never be able to reach out or inspire the broader pro union voter or the hundreds of thousands of non voters (mostly unionist) who have given up on poltics)”

    True. The DUP cannot reach out to the broader pro-union voter.

  • Concerned unionist

    Trimble no longer represents unionism when he needs to rely so heavily on nationlist votes.

    Pat interesting point about 1500-2000 nationalists voting for Trimble and here is another point how many more unionists would have voted for the DUP if they had known how close they would come to beating Trimble (quite a few I think)

    If Trimble goes there could be a reallignment within Unionism making it stronger and better than before and more United.

    The difference between the DUP at Christmas and the Trimble approach was that the DUP were not going to accept government before guns and they wanted photgraphic proof that the IRA has decommissioned and not more stunts.

    It is important that unionists dont get complacent and ensure that the DUP DO take this seat it would be a nightmare if Trimble held on.

    One final note Trimble thinks he will hold this seat and that Burnside will hold his and Herman will hold hers that would be bad for unionism as there is the chance that Sinn might become the largest party ahead of the DUP.

  • David Vance

    Re-thinking Unionism.

    I do not require casuistry to explain the DUP position as I am not a DUP supporter. My position is;

    1. Trimble’s legacy is one of u-turn, ambivalence and betrayal. I have suggested that he takes the title Lord Vichy when Tony sends him to the Lords after he loses his eat.

    2. Unionism has coalesced around opposition to Sinn Fein/IRA in power. I hold a more radical view but I’ll settle for this as a stop gap.

  • Visioner

    “The difference between the DUP at Christmas and the Trimble approach was that”

    There was no difference.

    What was the difference between the DUP view in November 2003 and December 2004. Major difference!

    They lied to the electorate. They previously indicated that they would not share power with Sinn Fein/IRA then last December that all changed. They where more than happy to form a Government with Sinn Fein/IRA as long a photgraph was given as evidence of decommissioning and to top all that off a new Government would include the devolved powers of Policing and Justice and more extensively devloped N/S Bodies.

  • Rethinking Uniuonism

    David,

    With respect you don’t deal with the issues. You merely indulge in abuse of Trimble and state the obvious regarding present antagonism towards Sinn Fein

    You seem to have a future cunning plan. Do tell us all about it. Is it likely to fly? What are the prospects that it will be acceptable where power lies at Westminster. Maybe you could map out a way forward for Unionism. What is your realistic alternative to the Good Friday Agreement which will be acceptable to London Dublin and Washington.

    If you don’t support the DUP or the UUP how do you hope to contribute politically. Surely not another quasi UKUP/NIUP/etc etc.

    How do you think you can reach the broader pro union community…Remember the census percentage alone means you have to.

    Choleric abuse of Trimble may be fun and no doubt cathartic but we wait with bated breath to here of your blueprint.

  • Valenciano

    Pat: “I have heard that as many as two thousand nationalists voted for Trimble last time around in order to save him from the Dupers. Could be that even more might decide that his carcass should be spared this time around, so he still might make it.”

    I doubt it. In fact I suspect it will be the opposite. Trimble surviving and maybe entering into government with a disarmed republican movement was a possibility back then. The Assembly election results of 2003 have killed that possibility.

    It’s clear to everyone that the DUP are going to trounce the UUP and emerge as the spokesmen for Unionism. So why save Trimble as a bit player when Nationalists will have to do a deal with Robinson and Dodds after the election in any case?

    Moreover the DUP wolf looks tamer now than it did in 2001. Then a DUP victory seemed to be the prelude to the end of the Good Friday Agreement, now they seem prepared to accept some sort of power sharing albeit with numerous conditions.

    The SDLP will be fighting hard in the seat in a vain attempt to prove that they are still relevant and Sinn Fein will be aiming to get in a position to challenge in the future.

    Alliance have already decided that Trimble isn’t worth the sacrifice of their own withdrawal and those votes rather than Nationalist ones are the crux. Trimble will go down and to some degree he only has himself to blame.

  • kitty

    In an ideal world( of which Northern Ireland is not a part of as yet), we would be voting for all parties not based on their religious affiliations, but based on their policies- economic, political etc. etc.
    Isn’t it ironic that we are all upset when ‘one of our own’ crosses the religious line to vote for ‘the other side’. I look forward to the day we can all cross that line and vote on real issues.
    As I stated before, in another climate I would have no problem voting for the PUP, their policies suit my politics. So what is stopping us?

  • Honesty

    The PUP and Sinn Fein both represent violent paramilitarism.

    At least the main parties on Northern Ireland do either represent Protestant or Catholic at least they are being reflective of the Northern Ireland Community.

    That may not be the answer your looking for but there is is.

  • PatMcLarnon

    kitty,

    Valenciano has done an excellent analysis of nationalist intentions that I tend to agree with, although it would take you to be on the ground in the constituency to get a feel of the race itself.

  • jim

    The fact that the pup/uvf are heavily involved in extortion (donegall pass-two weeks ago)and the drugs trade within the north runs a bit contrary to their alleged socialist leanings.

    The are also still active in whipping up sectarian tensions in flashpoint areas in North and East belfast

    I fear an ideal world is a long way off as regards the pup

  • David Vance

    Rethinking Unionism.

    There are several issues you will have to face in less than two weeks.

    The first is that Trimble and his Vichy form of Unionism will have been comprehensively routed. Whether you, or others like that, the fact is that there will be no more push-over unionism for Government to manipulate.

    Next, like many other pro-Agreement types, you are in denial of the rather obvious fact that it is dead. Buried. Perhaps you require time to grieve?

    Third, Independent political thought may strike you as amusing – I find the lack of it depressing.

    Fourth, My political support will go to those who most closely represent what I think. I think the IRA should be put into well deserved oblivion. I think that there are several constituional models that allow for progress – including reshaped direct rule. If you pay me..mm, let’s see how much an MLA costs – I’ll detail this in the form you want and when you want. Otherwise, I will provide in as much detail as any other commentator, if that’s ok.

    Reaching out to the broad pro-Union community is a worthy goal – Trimble failed. Paisley looks like he may. 9 MP’s out of 10 looks pretty good.

  • Snapper

    David Vance –

    On the plus side it gives me the opportunity to challenge the right-wing nonsense that you peddle with such passion.

    En Garde!

    Please limit yourself to debating politics, not attacking the man A.U.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    I hope Trimble does pull through, but if the UUP get the trouncing it seems like they may, they should learn from it and next time not allow themselves to be accused of taking votes for granted.

  • johnhidd

    Interesting that the general nationalist attitude towards Trimble’s demise is one of sorrow that the “useful idiot” (c Karl Marx) will lose out but they will not vote to save him.

  • Chris Gaskin

    I will shed no tears for Trimble

    He had no back bone and he tried to shaft Republicans so hard luck Dave.

    We won’t miss you, that said he might still save his seat

  • Alan2

    “True. The DUP cannot reach out to the broader pro-union voter.”

    They can and they will. The UUP ar musty, stale big house Tories and like the toeries themselves have lost contact with people on the ground and are devoid of vitality. The DUP will engage for the betterment of ALL in Northern Ireland. There is no going back to 1912 and there is no going back to terrorism. The way forward is a fair deal for ALL.
    I have said it before and I will say it again. Trimble initially got my respect for taking risks for peace and jumping first only to be left to hand by his so called partners…and he then proceeded to do the same thing again and AGAIN. thats when he started to lose his appeal and the weakness and wishy washy substance of the deal was its downfall. In reality it is the polar opposites that need to come to a permanent deal of some sort so it is perhaps in the best interests of NI to go the route it is going.

  • DUP Win not certain

    An impartial view wouuld be that the DUP is much more modern and efficient in its approach with young and old members, male and female, tradionalists and modernists, charisma and tacticians and it is tighly controlled. They have expanded in many areas and have many advise centres their MEP is representing unionism well and that is appreciated.

    The UUP is dieing its members are old and mainly male and they are loosing votes and not attracting any worthy new members, its has a weak leader and no strong potential waitng in the wings to take over, it is corrupt and when it was at the height of its power under trimble it IGNORED US the unionist voter and for this I am making it pay at this election.

    We cannot afford to take a DUP wion for granted and if truth be told Trimble is the favourite to hold out that is why every vote counts the DUP needs every vote it can get to rid Northern Ireland of weak pushover unionism.

  • IJP

    No, Foyle is the one to watch.

    The only interesting thing about Upper Bann is the Alliance candidate – a veritable maverick in the very best sense who deserves 20,000 more votes than he’ll get!

  • IJP

    its members are… mainly male

    ‘Well the thing is we try to bring the women in but they just won’t… but there are a lot of women behind what we men say…’ to quote David McNarry directly from a NICVA event. Couldn’t find any ‘decent’ women, eh, David?

    Not that Joe ‘We have a policy of positive discrimination’ O’Donnell was much better…

  • davidbrew

    True. The DUP cannot reach out to the broader pro-union voter.

    Well the UUP sure as hell haven’t, and if post Unionists arenj’t activated by the thought of the gangsters in SF IRA controlling their future then they should be written off.
    The magic 100,000 extra Yes voters didn’t vote for Trimble, in spite of what UUP strategists think- they voted for Blair and Bono, and both of those two balloons aren’t in the frame for the forseeable future

  • David Vance

    davidbrew,

    Come on – are you seriously saying that the charismatic Trimble did not sway those thousands of discerning voters with his winning ways, his easy grace? Forget Bono and Blair, the Upper Bann Nobel Laureate is a winner and the fact that the Bookies, and the pro-Union electorate don’t get it is an outrage. I’m thinking of writing to mt MP about this but I fear the letter will be marked Return to Sender. Thank God for lickspittles..sorry, political insiders like the BBC’s own Mark Devenport who really know what’s going on……

  • Snapper

    A.U.

    What a pathetic piece of censorship – what is the point of this webite? Just so I understand how it works – Alec Maskey can be accused of being a murderer(falsely), but I can’t say that I don’t like David Vance!

    What the hell is going on here?

    My comment was completely ruined to the point that it was useless printing what was left.

    I am beginning to feel a bias coming from the regulators on this site.

    I suggest you do the decent thing and reply to me personally on my email and provide an explanation.

  • Travis

    Mick, I’m flattered, but I don’t do interviews.:-)

    My point is simple: the DUP are in the ascendant now as the strong voice of Unionism, they are dynamic, confident, and full of purpose.

    But it’s the purpose that’s gonna get them in the end. Like all varieties of Unionism it is based on an ideology that is fundamentally non-progressive. It was formed and defined in relation to what it was not. It is entirely negative.

    Now and again, some unionists will point to being part of the great multi-cultural mosaic of the UK, but this doesn’t go down too well in the less well-off heartlands. The fear of that which is other: Nationalists and the dark figure of Sinn Fein and The IRA goes down a storm.

    It’s a point made on these pages many times before: unionists cannot debate with eachother for long without mentioning Gerry Adams, the IRA, concessions to nationalists etc.

    Therefore, their whole political thinking revolves around the axis of who can get tough with Sinn Fein.

    It is also based on the myth of ‘winning back the concessions Trimble gave away’. Concessions like: equality, equity, mutual respect, neutral working environments, legislation governing contentious parades, elected representatives taking their seat in government…

    There ain’t no way these are ever going to be overturned – so it is like promising to invent a time machine and then inviting the entire unionist electorate to get inside and go back to the summer of 1963.

    Which brings me back to the point I made earlier: who can be the toughest of the tough guys.

    Back in 1995, when the Ulster Unionist Party was in the ascendant, the Council voted to bring in the hardman who had established his no-nonsense credentials at Drumcree. That was Trimble.

    Now, the DUP is the hard man of Unionism – and their leader-in-waiting Nigel Dodds will be the public face of it after the election (IMHO). He can go on and on about standing up to republicans and winning back concessions – but it just isn’t going to happen, because the policy of the British government is to press on with devolution in some form or other, and there’s no waaay they’re going to do anything which excludes Sinn Fein.

    So, after the elections, the dying embers of political negotiation will start up again, with Bertie and Tony blowing gently to start with, and at the first flicker (IRA statement on going away) the pressure will be on.

    And then it will be the DUPes in the dentist’s chair being squeezed…

    The first thing to go on the fire of the intensive political negotiations that follow will be those manifesto pledges.

    And where there was certainty and direction, there’ll be confusion and drift, and as with the UUP before them, once the certainty goes the ‘broad church’ (which the DUP is at present: young and old, male and female, rural and urban) will start to fragment – all proclaiming to represent the one true Unionist faith.

    And one final point: if the DUP think that Blair will return to power with such a reduced majority that he will be dependent on their MPs at Westminster in the way Major was on the UUP, then it really is time to check in to the reality clinic.

    Still, it’ll be fun to see the DUP’s ‘broad church’ go the way of the UUP’s broad church – and it’ll be very hard to keep a lid on it, away from the prying eyes of an army of hacks with grudges.

  • Jo

    Perhaps the laser-brained Devenport and those other great minds that analyse our politics

    xxxx.

    o I see someone fresh from a little airtime on “7 Days” thinks they are up for Analyst of the year? Well, perhaps as far as the first 4 letters of that title are concerned…
    Do I detect someone who didnt do terribly well in a BBC/UTV job interview?

  • Jo

    2. Unionism has coalesced around opposition to Sinn Fein/IRA in power. I hold a more radical view but I’ll settle for this as a stop gap.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    …war?

  • Jo

    Thank you Travis, for highlighting the true nature of that word “concession” which we hear day and daily without any *laser-brained* interviewer asking what concessions are these then? It reminds me of the phrase used by Thatcherites – *holding the country to ransom* was how they criminalised Trade Unions, paving the way for the destruction of mass unemployment.

  • Rethinking Unionism

    David,

    Happy not to constrain independent thought and mindful of the need for more laconic communication in the absence of remuneration I would respond as follows:

    (i)no more push-over unionism for Government to manipulate. ….Let me see like the Unionism which united around opposition to the Anglo Irish Agreement…successful campaign that one.The UK governement will ultimately do what it wants whether unionism is united are not.Further there can be no unity with bigots who seek a Balkanisation of Northern Ireland and dont ever desire to share power unless they are legislatively threatened.

    (ii) you are in denial of the rather obvious fact that it is dead. Buried. Perhaps you require time to grieve?

    Still not answering the question how does the latest DUP deal proposal differ in substance

    (iii)I think that there are several constituional models that allow for progress – including reshaped direct rule.

    Direct rule in the long terms further atrophys whatever is left of a poltical class and fatally undermines civic responsibility. Is that what you want some kind of constant toadying to Direct Rule ministers who care not a jot for this place.

    The DUP cannoit by definition inspire the broader pro union vote or current non voters.

    A Pyrrhic victory may be worse than a defeat.

  • Roger

    I’m worried the DUP will not take this seat if they dont it will increase Sinn Fein chances of being the largest NI party

  • IJP

    I’m worried the DUP will not take this seat if they dont it will increase Sinn Fein chances of being the largest NI party

    Stop talking deliberate rubbish.

    There isn’t a chance in hell of SF winning more seats than the DUP, as you well know.

    If there’s good reason to vote DUP, state it. If there isn’t, admit it. But don’t just make stuff up.

    Scare tactics might get the DUP somewhere electorally, but as a society they get us nowhere.

  • Roger

    I dont see them taking south Belfas Upper bann norther down and east Antrim isnt definate.

    I want a party to stand up to terroism and I DONT want it shouted across the world Sinn Fein are the largest party in NI

  • Travis

    I want a party to stand up to terroism and I DONT want it shouted across the world Sinn Fein are the largest party in NI

    There’s one thing guaranteed to swing former SDLP voters into voting for the Shinners and that is a preception that the DUP will consolidate its position as the main voice of unionism after the election.

    Such a course would make Sinn Fein the biggest party in Northern Ireland.

    Therefore, vote DUP – and Sinn Fein take over the asylum.

  • Davros

    As long as the GFA provision about referendum holds, who cares if Sf are the biggest party?

    The referendum will still be at worst 60% pro UK 40% UI.

  • Davros

    In fact- if SF did become the largest party, the unionists could demand a referendum and put SF on the spot. How could they oppose a referendum ? Red faces in Connolly house when the people of NI reject a United Ireland by a sizeable margin 😉

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    The more I hear the DUP shouting that we have to vote for them or SF will be the biggest party in NI, the more I want to vote for the Ulster Unionists, despite not being on the best of terms with McGimpsey (M).

    This negative scaremongering really f**ks me right off!

  • George

    Davros,
    under the GFA, a referendum will only be called if it appears likely a majority will vote for a united Ireland. Sinn Fein becoming the largest party would not precipitate such a referendum.

    Should the combined SDLP, SF vote exceed 50% of the voting electorate in this election, then the argument for a referendum could be made.

    This was put in specifically to stop people stoking the flames of hatred just so they could wallow in the pleasure of seeing their opponents’ red faces.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Davros what Unionist is going to take the risk with current record numbers of unionist non-voters? I know a referendum would encourage more out to vote, but the Unionist parties would need to do a hell of a lot more work in convincing people to vote than they’ve done so far in this election.

  • Davros

    under the GFA, a referendum will only be called

    where does it say that a referendum can only be called in the circumstances you quote ? It says when he “shall” call it. It does not say that he can only call it unless it seems likely that the vote will be for a United Ireland.

    There is nothing to prevent the secretary of State calling a referendum tomorrow IF he made that decision.

    It says :

    1. The Secretary of State may by order direct the holding of a poll for the purposes of section 1 on a date specified in the order.

    2. Subject to paragraph 3, the Secretary of State shall exercise the power under paragraph 1 if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland.

    3. The Secretary of State shall not make an order under paragraph 1 earlier than seven years after the holding of a previous poll under this Schedule.

  • Davros

    beano – on a referendum, Unionist voters wouldn’t be staying at home because of their poor quality politicians. This wouldn’t be a party political issue. This wouldn’t be UUP vs DUP.

  • Jo

    …postpone a deal – and you get water charging, a bread n butter issue if EVER there was one.

    Its clearly how the ordinary punters are going to get punished for the continuing stalemate.

  • George

    Davros,
    you know damn well that even the totally unanswerable NIO will not call a referendum unless (paragraph 2 of your own post) “it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland”.

    Why? To stop it being used to stoke hatred.

    I repeat: Should the combined SDLP, SF vote exceed 50% of the voting electorate in this election, then the argument for a referendum could be made.

    I tell you what, I’ll wager you any amount that there will not be a referendum on unification while the majority of the NI voting electorate vote for unionist parties.

  • Davros

    George – you implied that the referendum could ONLY be called under certain circumstances. I have shown
    that you are wrong.

    Please don’t twist what I wrote.

    And watch the language 🙂

  • A.U.

    Snapper – there is a rule here. Play the ball, not the man. Your feelings about David Vance are of no great relevence, and you can always visit his website and express yourself there.

    I shall not be e-mailing you as this “ball not man” rule is not negotiable and the only person to whom I have to justify my actions is Mick. However you do have the option of contacting him and discussing your grievances.

  • George

    Davros,
    I said the referendum “will” only be called (not can, we don’t have shall in Hiberno-English) if the Secretary of state believes “that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland”.

    If that makes me wrong in the Davros world of game playing (you always declare yourself winner in these games of yours) because i didn’t stipulate that theoretically the Secretary of State could call one tomorrow because he is answerable to nobody in Northern Ireland and felt like stirring the sh*t, I really couldn’t care less.

    It’s like me saying the sun will rise tomorrow and you saying I’m wrong because armageddon might happen in between.

    Theoretically possible but I think it’s safe to say it won’t happen.

  • Davros

    George – I asked in return where the GFA said that that was the only circumstance in which a referendum could be held ?

    I was looking at options if SF did become the largest Party in NI. If it did happen the Unionists could and should ask for a referendum. The Secretary of State doesn’t have to say yes, but it’s dishonest to claim or imply that he HAS to say no.

  • IJP

    Travis is spot on.

    The ridiculous reality is that people vote for the extremes to keep the other extreme out – which only serves to strenghten the other extreme!

    It is quite pathetic that people should make the only case for voting one party to stop another!

    Debate on the issues, anyone…?

    Thought not…

    George is also correct about the referendum. UK v UI is for a referendum to decide, not an election. If Unionists are so certain of their case, why are they so worried about such a vote?!

  • George

    Davros,
    firstly, there is no dishonesty in this so please stop cranking up the character assassination again.

    I said the argument for a referendum could be made (note: could be made as in the NIO is under no obligation to do anything as it is an unelected body answerable to no one in NI) only in a situation where the majority of the voting electorate vote for unification parties.

    I don’t believe the argument can be made if SF is the largest party but unionists still constitute a majority.

    I don’t believe for an instant that I am “wrong” for saying that and I certainly refute the claim that I am somehow being “dishonest”.

    Answer me this:

    Do you honestly believe that the NIO would countenance a referendum on unification while unionist parties made up a majority of the voting electorate?

  • Davros

    George -Your exact words

    “under the GFA, a referendum will only be called if it appears likely a majority will vote for a united Ireland. Sinn Fein becoming the largest party would not precipitate such a referendum.”

    That seriously misrepresents the GFA. NOWHERE does it say that a referendum will only be called “if it appears likely a majority will vote for a united Ireland”

    Please admit that you were wrong.

  • Davros

    George – it is dishonest when proven wrong to keep repeating something which is wrong. I was happy to allow that you might have been mistaken in your understanding of the GFA. Your behaviour since I quoted the relevent part of the GFA speaks for itself.

    Answer me this:

    Do you honestly believe that the NIO would countenance a referendum on unification while unionist parties made up a majority of the voting electorate?

    irrelevent to your implied claim that the GFA ruled that a referendum could only be held if ….

    Please don’t move the goal posts.

  • George

    Davros,
    there is no goalpost moving and no game to be lost or won.

    I wrote:
    “under the GFA, a referendum will only be called if it appears likely a majority will vote for a united Ireland. Sinn Fein becoming the largest party would not precipitate such a referendum.”

    There is absolutely nothing dishonest in that statement. Now could you perhaps show a bit of honesty rather than slinging mud and answer the question below:

    Do you honestly believe the opposite, namely that the NIO would countenance a referendum on unification while unionist parties made up a majority of the voting electorate?”

    It’s a simple yes or no question.

  • David Vance

    Rethinking Unionism,

    I’ll outline a direct rule alternative that works on ATW when I get the chance later today.

  • George

    Davros,
    Theoretically the British can up sticks and leave Northern Ireland tomorrow and the GFA would be history overnight.

    However, I am trying to discuss within the realms of what I would call “accepted reality”.

    The accepted reality in this case states that there will not be a referendum on unification unless “a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland”.

    Please tell me under what other circumstances a referendum on unification will be held other than the one outlined in the Good Friday Agreement.

  • Davros

    George – are you conceding that the Secretary of State COULD call a referendum if he wished ?

    Yes or No please.

    Whether he would want to , or is likely to is a different issue. Hence the goal post movement 🙂

  • Chris Gaskin

    “Please tell me under what other circumstances a referendum on unification will be held other than the one outlined in the Good Friday Agreement.”

    There is a flipside George

    Once that referendum is called there muct be one every seven years by law

  • George

    Davros,
    the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland could announce anything he wants, including that Britain is pulling out of Northern Ireland with immediate effect.

    He could also decide to hold a referendum on banning line dancing or introducing the rouble as national currency and Ulster-Scots as the official “language” of Antrim.

    But in the real world he won’t, just like he won’t call a referendum on unification unless it appeared likely “a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland”.

    This won’t happen unless unification parties make up the majority of the voting electorate.

    If you want to start telling me I’m wrong, dishonest etc. etc. for as we say in Dublin, stating the bleedin’ obvious, then I honestly don’t know how to progress this.

    Maybe you could tell me another situation in which you envisage a referendum taking place?

  • Davros

    Chris – another “loophole” – if a referendum is called outside of the terms of the GFA then it can be repeated as often or as infrequently as the Secretarty of State chooses. The seven year rule only applies to those called using the GFA 🙂

  • Henry94

    From the Agreement

    1. The Secretary of State may by order direct the holding of a poll for the purposes of section 1 on a date specified in the order.

    2. Subject to paragraph 3, the Secretary of State shall exercise the power under paragraph 1 if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland.

  • Davros

    Already quoted Henry.

  • Henry94

    Davros

    Then why are you still arguing with it?

  • Davros

    Davros,
    the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland could announce anything he wants, including that Britain is pulling out of Northern Ireland with immediate effect.

    George – thank you for admitting that it is wrong to claim or imply that the GFA prevents a referendum.

  • Chris Gaskin

    Boys what are you arguing for/about? drink more!

    You are like an old married couple arguing for the sake of it 😉

  • George

    Davros,
    could you answer the question:

    Do you honestly believe the NIO would countenance a referendum on unification while unionist parties made up a majority of the voting electorate?

    It’s a simple yes or no question.

  • Snapper

    AU

    Strange how the rules were negotiable with the shameful and libellious attack on Alec MAskey went uncensored.

    Just who is this site catering for?

  • peter

    I think the SDLP will easily win Foyle and S.Down.
    S.Belfast is a possibility but I dont think they have the 15000 votes there required to win a Westminster seat.

    Fermanagh and West Tyrone are not as clear cut as seems. Fermanagh last time on a split Unionist vote was very tight. W.Tyrone could still fall to Deeny . Time will tell.

  • Snapper

    Peter,

    Keep dreamin son!

  • spirit-level

    George
    “Do you honestly believe the NIO would countenance a referendum on unification while unionist parties made up a majority of the voting electorate?”
    Yes,
    because things on the ground may change.
    Walls crumble, remember the Berlin Wall, who could have honestly predicted that?

  • Sam Maguire

    I dunno about dreaming snapper, but I’ll have 2 or 3 of whatever he’s taking

  • Davros

    Davros

    Then why are you still arguing with it?

    I quoted it Henry mate as it disproved what George was implying 🙂 I’m happy that you re-post it !

  • The Gent.

    Peter,

    Dependant on the turnout on the day and the relative vote distribution, it is entirely possible for the winning candidate in South Belfast to “romp home” with a figure between 10 and 12 thousand!

  • davidbrew

    good to see – on Nick Whyte’s election predictions contest- that our old mate Duncan Shipley Dalton has also called Upper Bann for the DUP. Perhaps Dunc has become more clearly focussed from a distance :0)