Bad, but who is to blame?

Its probably fair to say that the Ulster Unionist Party hasnt had the ideal campaign so far in the election. Some lows can be attributed to the Party themselves, but have the ad men had a part to play too?

The UUP has come under fire from both the Alliance Party and the DUP for their “Decent People Vote Ulster Unionist” slogan. Liam Clarke also gave his views on the UUP campaign in the Sunday Times.

Maybe all the problems were the reason that Michael McGimpsey ducked out of yesterday’s Seven Days on Radio Ulster.

The UUP has also been criticised for their 2003 Assembly Campaign (page 20 of pdf). However, it seems certainly for that campaign they were relying on the advice of an advertising agency. Maybe the ad men have got it wrong again.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    I think the “Decent People…” thing was a mistake, but one that has been taken out of context, especially on the posters that state “Decent People… on May 5th Vote Ulster Unionist” which definitely makes it sound more like a request than a statement.

  • Clive McFarland

    That very well may be true – but surely its foolish of a party to use a slogan which could so easily be interpreted as a slur and insult to the community.

    It is even worse if the UUP have paid out large sums of cash to an advertising agency to come up with it!

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    I won’t disagree on either point, but I think it was more foolish than condescending, which is the way their opposition are trying to portray it.

  • True Blue

    that slur might just cost them my transfers in the council elections. part of me wants to shun them but then on the other hand i want to transfer to other unionists.

  • Lafcadio

    Not that it matters much to the UUP (I live in London presently) but the whingeing flyer which appeared on Slugger recently with “Simply British” emblazoned across it ensured that they lost my vote or transfer, possibly for good.

    If any party feels that “Simply British” accurately or appropriately captures a Northern Irish identity or experience, they are “Simply Mistaken” in my book.

  • Roger

    For me their finished I have had enough of their pointless aims and changing attitudes at election times.

  • queens_unionist

    They are falling at ever hurdle.
    I feel it is time for the DUP to clean up and so eliminate the UUP from NI politics.
    Upper Bann is the key seat IMO if the “llleeaaadddeeerrr” can’t keep his seat i see the rest of the party faultering!

  • pakman

    the last (ever) UUP MP for Strangford has aired his views on Cunningham Houses’ efforts thus far here

  • pakman
  • sean west

    The dear leader brought all this on himself.
    He was in the assembly one week, then he was out the next. Even worse if he allowed Blair to trick him. If after all these years in public life, he could not see through Teflon Tony, then he derserves his fate.

    It is pathetic to watch him try and out dup the dup. All this fuss over a dinner in Dublin.

    The good thing is after the election, Sinn Fein and Big Ian can cut a deal. And TB will be consigned to the house of lords. Just like Gerry Fitt.

  • Gonzo

    The ‘Simply British’ campaign and this new one illustrates the lack of understanding the UUP has of Northern Ireland.

    Our favourite takeaway is not fish and chips – it’s curry.

    The new Mini is built in Germany.

    The old red double decker bus is a historical anachronism in modern day London.

    Like Orangemen wearing a bowler hat, all of the above symbolism hankers back to some ‘golden age’ of ‘Britishness’ that never actually existed in Northern Ireland.

    The UUP vision seems to be of living in a 1960s Ealing comedy.

    Let’s hope the UUP can maintain the only vestige of ‘Britishness’ that would suit them after the election – a stiff upper lip in the face of crisis.

  • David Vance


    Not often we agree – but we do on this! This is timewarped tripe served up by advertising folk who are selling it to dummies.

    An effective advertising campaign could have helped the UUP but this one – like the last one -is more comedic than anything else. Have the UUP no advisers in touch with reality here? Is there no residue of common sense in Cunningham House.

    You don’t blame the ad men – you blame those morons who bought bad ideas. It’s wipe out time shortly – and the UUP may follow that other once great British name – Rover – to the knackers yard. You know, I’m surprised they didn’t launch their campaign from the site of the Titanic – there would at least have been some poetic justice????

  • middle-class taig

    “Our favourite takeaway is not fish and chips – it’s curry.”

    I dispute that – if true, that would make us more British even than Bradford. I suspect a chip/pastie/sausage/fish supper is up there for you plebs. If not, I’m betting on pizza or Chinese to outdo curry. Or are you using “our” here to refer to the British?

    “Like Orangemen wearing a bowler hat, all of the above symbolism hankers back to some ‘golden age’ of ‘Britishness’ that never actually existed in Northern Ireland.”

    The problem is that it DID exist here (it certainly didn’t exist anywhere else). That’s what they want back. That’s why Alliance refusing funding for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations is dancing to their tune.

    “Let’s hope the UUP can maintain the only vestige of ‘Britishness’ that would suit them after the election – a stiff upper lip in the face of crisis.”

    No, no. They’ve still got left the other national pastimes of caricature of foreigners, recrimination, scapegoating and spurious claims of cheating by the other side. I expect all to be deployed liberally.

  • pakman

    So who are the guilty men of Cunningham House? Whose prints are all over the “Decent People” nonsense? Who decided that wreath laying in election year was a good idea?

    I know you’re out there, please step forward and take a bow.

  • slug9987


    “The new Mini is built in Germany.”

    Incorrect. It is built in Oxford, England.

  • slug9987

    And the Mini at Oxford is very successful, getting big new investent

    Sorry Gonzo.

  • moyle rover

    I just received a flyer from the UUP man/boy McCune up here ( by post of course). It appears he loves our constituency so much he has decided to live in London all his adult life working as a barrister. This I am sure puts him right in touch with the needs of sheep farmers on the Antrim Plateau.

    If the UUP cannot get a candidate who lives within 300 miles of the constituency why bother standing.

  • The Hawk

    To discover why the UUP publicity campaign is so inept, investigate the relationship between a recently “married” person and a certain advertising agency.

  • pakman

    The Hawk

    surely he alone cannot be to blame? The campaign has the whif of a committee designed beast. The thing had to be planned, approved and then rolled out. Individual constituency associations had to be in contact with a central authority. This is a team effort so I think that, for forms sake, credit be given to all envolved not just the prima donna.

  • yerman

    Surely the problem partly arises because the UUP have no people in place who can do a job anymore. Therefore their solution to the problem is just to chuck a wad of Ballyedmond tenners at the problem and hire an ad agency to do it all for them.(though why the agency is showing off the work to attract customers is beyond me!).

    This agency obviously doesnt have a great deal of political insight (possibly something they have in common with the UUP) and hey presto, the end result is an ad campaign which is something approaching disastrous. – Typical of some highly paid smug git in a suit thinking something is terribly, terribly, clever when the average person on the street just thinks its crass, and a little smug.

    Would be interested to know the links between any newlywed and the agecny though!

  • The Watchman

    Moyle Rover,

    Don’t be so parochial. There’s a world beyond North Antrim sheep farms. Surely it’s more important that a candidate has the ability to represent an area than where he lives? Far too many people in Ulster can’t see beyond the end of their noses.

    And what’s so wrong with an expat putting himself out to attempt Mission Impossible?