Any Insight from Larne?

UTV tonight aired the first of its two election specials. In Larne tonight we had Sammy Wilson, Roy Beggs, David Ford, Alban Maginnis and Mitchel McLaughlin.

While the debate inevitably had a particular focus on the inter-unionist battle there was also a particularly spirited performance from David Ford who challenged Roy Beggs to rule out any UUP involvement in a leaflet being circulated in East Antrim and North Down which accuses the Alliance party of vote shredding.

  • Chris Gaskin

    I thought the stuff with Ford was priceless, I was waiting for him to deck Beggs LOL

  • peter

    Well isnt that what the Alliance are doing?. Whats the bet that in both seats the DUP majority is less than the vote the Alliance gets.

  • la redoute

    A truly depressing programme, the odd ford the useless beggs, the depressing alban, and in my opinion the best of a very bad bunch wilson who at least seems to have some personality. Jesus if i was a voter in east antrim i wouldnt vote at all.

  • David Vance

    la redoute,

    You and me both! A wretched performance. I suppose it was a laugh watching Beggs try to think up answers and watching Sammy squirm at some of the DUP’s double standards.

  • la redoute

    DV
    Totally agree with what you have said is it any wonder less and less unionist people vote,if thats the best that can be thrown up i ask you.

    What this country really needs is a party that has clear principles and a clear ideaolgy that works for the betterment of everybody than simply talking about the border at every single oportunity. However i wont hold my breath.

  • Hansolo

    I thought two things were interesting about the programme.

    Firstly, the media did a very good job of putting the politicians to task on some of the main issues of the election. The dual mandate issue was a good one for example.

    What was most interesting though was what happened after the programme.

    Having attacked Roy Beggs on the programme for sending out leaflets that Beggs clearly knew nothing about, the Alliance Party Leader privately gave his backing to the UUP East Antrim candidate. He said had they been asked to endorse Beggs alone they would have done so.

    It is sad that the Alliance, clearly under pressure, could not do this publically. But perhaps they will…as they say, a week is a long time in politics.

  • la redoute

    Hansolo if david ford said that off air and wasnt prepared to say it live its simply disgraceful,always preaching about the higher moral ground and he has the backbone of a jellyfish.

  • kitty

    It was truly hilarious watching wee Sammy answer/ waffle over the duel mandate issue. Roy Beggs answer over the water chargeswas a non answer went off on the SDLP housing protest of the early 70’s. Even funnier, the constant jibbing between wee Sammy and Roy Beggs. Unionism is in serious trouble. The alliance never had any backbone- in standing up to Unionism down through the years. Does anyone still take Alliance seriously?

  • alan

    Can any Alliance SDLP or SF supporters explain why their actual candidiates in the constituency did not front up. I mean Sean Neeson for example is a former Party Leader, he is standing in East Antrim… so why was David Ford even there??

  • la redoute

    perhaps thats the only way ford can get the media to pay any interest in him or his party.

  • Hansolo

    Perhaps Neeson’s absence was an endorsement for Beggs. If David Ford was serious about putting Beggs out and letting the DUP in then he would have put his man on the spot.

    After all, there is only one candidate he can support.

  • Dessertspoon

    Missed this programme. What was said about the dual/triple mandate issue? This is a bug bear of mine so I’d be interested to know. Thanks.

  • yerman

    I really wish that someone could give a reasonable explanation as to what is wrong with David Ford fighting for all the votes he can – that’s democracy. Its not down to the UUP to decide how many candidates fight an election or how many people vote for you (unfortunately for them) – the people will ultimately decide.

    Roy Beggs has one piece of, relatively ineffective, ammunition to use against Sammy Wilson and that is the fact that he happens to be a Belfast City Councillor. However it was amusing to see that Sammy obviously knew a lot more about EU regulations with regard to Government subsidies of ports etc than either any of the interviewers or the other candidates.

    He certainly dealt with what could have been considered a tricky question much more competently than Beggs dealt with water charging or his constituency record.

    Let’s get the water charging stuff right for a minute. Unless my ears decieved me Roy said that he would consider not paying his bills (I’m sure someone will come and see you in Maghaberry Roy), and seemed to follow that line up until all the other representatives didnt agree whereupon he convieniently u-turned and said that of course there was no way he would ever consider supporting a campaign of non-payment. Very nice of him to offer himself up as a martyr though.

    Not the first u-turn in Boggs’ career though. It was verging on surreal to see someone who I sat in the Ulster Hall and listened to in 1998 condemn the Belfast Agreement then stand in Larne 10 2005 and hear him extol the virtures of the Belfast Agreement and the Patten report.

    Really cant wait to hear the views of the Trimble Youth. Do they still despise Beggs for opposing Trimble in 1998 or has all been forgiven and is he back in the fold after forsaking what he supposedly believed in (if he ever did) simply because the Purple One offered him the job of Whip at Westminster.

  • IJP

    Beggs clearly knew nothing about, the Alliance Party Leader privately gave his backing to the UUP East Antrim candidate.

    Hansolo, that is complete garbage.

    What David Ford said was that he could have had no objection to the Ulster Unionists sending out such leaflets, provided they had done so openly. A totally different thing, and you know it.

    First bribes, then dirty tricks, now deliberately misleading comments on Slugger. Shameful.

    Alan

    Alliance did not send its East Antrim candidate for the quite simple reason that it wasn’t asked to.

    UTV’s mistake, not ours (or any other party’s).

    Yerman

    The reason people can’t give a reasonable explanation is that the Ulster Unionists cannot give a reasonable explanation of why anyone should vote for them. They’re afraid of legitimate political debate because they know they’ll lose it.

    Hence the bribes, tricks, and deceit.

  • Alan

    IJP “Alliance did not send its East Antrim candidate for the quite simple reason that it wasn’t asked to.”

    Thats bizarre, would it not be obvious to give your local candidate the chance to shine on national TV? He was your leader and has been a representative in Carrick for ages

    What was most interesting about this programme was the body language between Sammy Wilson and Mitchel McLaughlin. They seemed most comfortable in each other’s company, and even smiled and laughed at each other’s little quips. Lovely

  • A.U.

    Please don’t make derogatory remarks about the people involved Alan.

  • IJP

    Alan

    These attempts to have a go at Alliance get curiouser and curiouser!

    This was a regional programme, and to be fair you perhaps weren’t aware this is the only pre-election panel to which UTV invited an Alliance representative. It would have been bizarre not to send the Party Leader!

    Sean Neeson’s constituency record will stand him in perfectly good stead. But just for you, he’ll also be on the BBC Webcast this afternoon… 🙂

  • pakman

    IJP

    I did see Neeson on “Newsline 6.30” the other night. He was on the stump and canvassing hard without the look of a man eager to save the sitting members’ bacon.

    BTW did I also see on the telly a certain Holywood council candidate featuring at the APNI manifesto launch? Between you and me it (the set, not the NDBC hopeful) looked a bit cheap.

  • IJP

    pakman

    You may well have done, yes – said candidate was also out on the stump so didn’t see it!

    And point taken, although I hope you’ll agree it’s more important to expend resources getting the message right than the set.

  • davidbrew

    Any background on the leaflets Ford referred to in North Down IJP? He would need to be pretty certain they’re from the UUP camp to make such a serious allegation on tv (don’t worry- I wouldn’t take beggs as a client!). Beggs looked tired, while Sammy was irritatingly hyper as usual. At least Beggs was less obviously clapped out than Sir Cecil of the Crum in 2001, but I don’t see any floating voter jumping to the UUP on that performance

    Interesting that the UUP see the need to squeeze Alliance for votes- I cna’t see too many of your voters plumping for Beggs, the hero of Drumcree, never mind Trimble. And surely they have too much class to back Sylvia. The UUP needed another titled female to save them- Lady penelope, and International Rescue ( though it might be too much of a culture shock for them to have someone working for them called Brains :0))

  • la redoute

    The same way you helped Mr Ross hold onto his westminster seat oh sorry i got that wrong david didnt i?

  • Hansolo

    Alan

    You sound as pissed off as David Ford…but
    I guess it makes sense to hold your nose and give Sammy a one way ticket to Belfast.

    I’ve always been an Alliance voter and I’m not going to suffer 5 years of the DUP on my conscience. Are you?

    Its not that tough a choice.

  • davidbrew

    “The same way you helped Mr Ross hold onto his westminster seat oh sorry i got that wrong david didnt i?”

    aren’t you sending this to the wrong David, my froggie chum? try David the Turtle, c/o Comingdown House Belfast

  • IJP

    Sorry, Hansolo, but that’s also complete rubbish. The bookies make Wilson 1/66 and Alderdice 33/1 – in other words, there’s more chance of Alliance winning North Down than of the DUP failing to win East Antrim. But you knew that anyway.

    Sean Neeson is the best candidate in East Antrim, no real Alliance voter would think twice about who to vote for.

    But still, maybe you could explain the Ulster Unionists’ plan to deliver this magical ‘shared future’?

    DB

    The leaflets call on people to vote UU, can be traced to the Holywood Rd to a company about to fold which admits they are for an anonymous client.

    Add in a mysterious ‘Alliance voter’ or two on internet forums and, well, you’re the legal expert…

  • Warm Storage

    Why didn’t the smug Susan McKay ask the SDLP to stand aside for pro-agreement Unionism (whatever that is exactly nowadays) while she was at it? Well, it would have made as much sense as asking Alliance to bow out. Whatever people’s views on the Alliance Party, people like myself should have the opportunity not to have to align ourselves with either side in a sectarian headcount. Oversimplification that may be, but it shouldn’t have to be.

  • Hansolo

    IJP

    You’ll need more than a magic wand to get rid of the DUP.

    Not all Allaince voters, like myself, will be so dogmatic about it.

    Poll last week had Beggs just less than 1200 behind Wilson.

    Now all it will take is 600 middle of the road voters to vote tactically. They did so in Upper Bann last time, why not East Antrim.

    I’m sure come next thursday you’ll be having doubts yourself.

    I don’t live in North Down. I live in East Antrim. But I might well do a swap next weekend if your predictions come true.

  • Nicholas Whyte

    Those who haven’t received the leaflets may be interested to look at them – front and back. You can see why the casual observer might leap to the conclusion that they were done by the UUP!

  • yerman

    Of course you can see how one might come to the conclusion that they are produced by the UUP.

    They have all the arguments and phrases on them which the UUP have been using as the central planks of their campaign: – “balkanisation”, “sectarian carve-up-” etc. They only thing missing is some mention of decency!

  • Alan

    IJP
    Sean Neeson is the best candidate in East Antrim
    If Sean Neeson IS the best candidate in East Antrim why did your party (1) get rid of him as leader (2) de select him as Westminster candidate last time around (3) Not have him appear on an East Antrim ‘election special’ in Larne.

    Are you sure this isn’t about a cut in grant from the electoral commission to parties who decline to contest Westminster elections??

    Hansolo
    I’ve always been an Alliance voter and I’m not going to suffer 5 years of the DUP on my conscience. Are you?

    Have voted Alliance at Council level in the past during Alderdice leadership period, but in first past the post system there are only 2 possible outcomes in this constituency, and at least Beggsy doesn’t have a Belfast accent or a team of Councillors behind him who are akin to the Protestant jihad.

  • la redoute

    No David i got it spot on,btw as a lover of the beautiful game who do think will win the russian lunatic,or the scouse hub cap steelers!

  • Alan

    IJP.

    Thought you might like to know that there is a second Alan posting to Slugger.

  • IJP

    Hansolo

    Sorry, but it’s as simple as this: I don’t believe for a second you are an Alliance voter.

    Quite aside from the fact that Hermon and Wilson are easily odds-on to win (so ‘lending votes’ in either constituency is pointless), if you were, you could explain:
    a) the distinction between Ulster Unionist and DUP; and
    b) what is so attractive about the Ulster Unionists’ policy on a ‘shared future’.

    The problem is:
    a) there isn’t a distinction (at least not politically); and
    b) the UUs don’t have a policy on a ‘shared future’.

    If the UUs had a coherent policy they would defend it in the open.

    For the record, you are writing to someone who spoiled his vote rather than vote Unionist last time (despite the fact I have a lot of personal respect for the candidate concerned), so the chances of me having any doubts are similar to the chances of Wilson not winning!

    (Indeed, as my 1997 vote was by proxy, I look forward to casting my ‘X’ for the Alliance candidate for the first time ever!)

  • IJP

    I realized that Alan (the real one!)

    Lots of mysterious ‘Alliance voters’, several ‘Alans’, but not a defender of actual Unionist policy in sight…

  • Hansolo

    Quite right Alan
    The reason Beggs is behind is because he has had the guts to try and leave the Prod fundmentalist in EA behind and ACTUALLY achieve everything the Alliance party wishes it could. i.e. a non sectarian society.

    yerman

    these are not UUP slogans. S Mallon talked of a sectarian carve up in the House of Commons this year and about balkanisation in this morning’s newsletter.

    There is a reason the UUP/All./SDLP slogans are the same you know.

  • Warm Storage

    “at least Beggsy doesn’t have a Belfast accent or a team of Councillors behind him who are akin to the Protestant jihad.”

    Add to this “or much ability”. He was Cecil Walker all over again. Granted, it wasn’t the complete UUP-candidate-on-Insight meltdown of four years ago, but the memories of that night in tandem with Beggs’s failure to prepare meant that it may well have the same impact on 5 May as it did on North Belfast UUP voters in 2001.

    Never mind what party the politicians hail from, sometimes there’s a lot to be said for nous and a bit of wit, and Beggs showed neither last night.

  • Hansolo

    IJP

    I repeat that I have voted Alliance since i was 18, along with UUP and the SDLP. I vote tactically to narrow the extremes etc…logic i think political scientists call it or rational choice might be better suited.

    As I said, Beggs needs hundreds of votes according to polling info last week. There is nothing pointless or foregone about EA.

  • davidbrew

    “No David i got it spot on,btw as a lover of the beautiful game who do think will win the russian lunatic,or the scouse hub cap steelers!”

    ..er, wasn’t the Champions'(sic) League cancelled this year after the quarter final due to lack of interest? I sort of veer to the chelski, since they will be devastated by their imminent collapse allowing the mighty Arsenal to roar past them and retain our title ( and you thought trimble was an optimist). Then again, Liverpool was founded by and run by Orangemen….oh sod it, there’s an obvious answer… come on you PSV!!!!

  • davidbrew

    many thanks nicholas. Now if Sylvia wins, and Weir decided to launch a petition on the basis that there has been dirty tricks or failure to declare full expenses I might be prepared to act for him ( for a large consideration, natch). I think pakman, led by Jim Allister might be just the ticket. It might be quite interesting , provided all those Alliance bloodhounds are out searching for UUP connections at the BBQs and wine and cheese evenings of Holywood.

    BTW, Why have the UUP backers not put their name to this plea directly, and avoided the suspicion of (shock horror) indecent behaviour? Or alternatively , what balloon pushing the Comingdown House clique decided to invent a phony group and put an address on the leaflet? And why not an address like , oh 3 Glengall Street Belfast BT12 , rather less obviusly close to UUP HQ? What next? Attacking the N Down Tories for their pigmy vote? Desperate times obviously require desperate measures.

  • la redoute

    Couldnt agree more david though in fairness if man city (my team) ever qualified for the champions league that would be it for me.
    I could retire from the beautiful game btw the arsenal look an entirely different team when they have giberto back fine player.
    Ive often thought actually having t henry in your team prevents your team fro going the full distance you need a cannier player who can play against the zonal defence so loved by the european teams

  • IJP

    Hansolo

    Your earlier posts clearly indicated you were affiliated specifically to the Alliance Party. Thank you for clarifying, as I suspected, that that is not the case.

    So, suddenly it becomes a different question: speaking to you as a moderate floating voter, why should you vote Alliance rather than UU or SDLP?

    Well, firstly presumably someone in the UUs lied to you about what David Ford said yesterday evening. Does that fill you with confidence that the UUs are a party you can trust? Secondly, the UUs have no policy on community relations and a true ‘shared future’ – so if you’re interested in one, which I believe you are, why on earth would you vote for a party which doesn’t even attempt to deliver it? Thirdly, they’ve had 100 years – do you not think that’s long enough?

    As for the SDLP, it has a proud heritage of resolute opposition to violence, but frankly its leadership is away with the fairies. Its policy is to act as a cover for SF while the IRA dillies and dallies. The outcome of the SDLP’s block on progress is that the people of Ireland, North and South, are entirely reliant upon a criminal, mafia organization for progress – would you not prefer the process to be reliant on democrats?

    Alliance offers the only real alternative. Political progress based upon voluntary coalition and power-sharing. Economic progress based upon reinvesting millions wasted on segregation in improved, integrated public facilities and services. Social progress based on looking out for all and treating every individual fairly, rather than tribal carve-up.

    Don’t be fooled, the DUP will win East Antrim easily. Yet despite recent difficulties Alliance scored a significant increase in Larne in ’01 and recorded its highest vote-share since the ’70s in Carrick.

    So, are you going to give Alliance a popular mandate when lobbying government for its clear and progressive way forward, and a platform to challenge for the seat next time around? Or are you going to waste your vote on a party in freefall whose ideas are so irrelevant that it resorts to bribes and deceit rather than defend them?

  • IJP

    Alan

    (1) get rid of him as leader

    Wasn’t in the Party at the time, but the reason he’s the best candidate is that his constituency work is second to none and his record on understanding inward investment is exceptional.

    (2) de select him as Westminster candidate last time around

    Wasn’t in the Party at the time, but it did select him this time!

    (3) Not have him appear on an East Antrim ‘election special’ in Larne.

    It really does get tiresome answering the same question over and over. The answer is above, and he’s on the webcast right now!

  • Hansolo

    IJP

    1 no one lied to me about what Ford said last night. I know for a fact he said it.

    2 the UUP do have a policy for a shared future. Its the GFA… and they have won the argument with anti agreement unionism over it.

    3 as far as the SDLP are concerned, i agree, but give credit where it is due – uup fought for a shared future against the tide of unionism. SDLP were negotiating with the Irish Government in their team. UUP were split, had the DUP/FUKUP in the carpark, and were negotiating with the NI parties, the Irish and the British Governments. In my eyes that is a policy.

    3 I have seen NIO polls from last week that puts beggs behind by the margin i suggested plus/minus 3%

    in my view there is all to play for.

  • George

    IJP,
    let’s say the IRA stood down this year but not to the satisfaction of the DUP/UUP but to the satisfaction of the Irish/British governments and SDLP would you/Alliance be for forming an Assembly without Sinn Fein even if it was the largest nationalist party and the SDLP refused?

    In other words, is there a scenario you can envisage where the Alliance voluntary coalition would work with no nationalist representation whatsover.

  • Scarlet

    Hansolo

    Remember the advice of IJP is that of a political zealot. When people make proclamations like, “Alliance offers the only real alternative”, you know it is time to run. I admire his unshaken loyalty but there are lots of alternatives it all depends on your perspective. I regard Alliance as ‘Unionist Light’ and IJP has argued long and hard that it is not, but I still think they lean that way.

    In East Antrim in my opinion it really does not matter which Unionist wins. Why would anyone prefer Beggs to Wilson or visa versa?

    Wilson will take the seat.

    So in your case vote first for those you want and the wasted vote is the vote for someone you don’t want just to keep out someone you like even less. A disastrous election for the UUP and SDLP may be no bad thing in the long run.

  • Hansolo

    Scarlet

    the difference between Wilson and Beggs is the dark side and the light, and that is coming from someone who is sceptical of the force 😉

  • Young Fogey

    no one lied to me about what Ford said last night. I know for a fact he said it.

    Evidence?

    I have seen NIO polls from last week that puts beggs behind by the margin i suggested plus/minus 3%

    This is such complete and utter bull I don’t even know where to begin deconstructing it:

    1. Do you have any information on which polling company carried out the poll, sample size, dates of sampling etc.? If you have already leaked inside info on a secret NIO poll this extra info will hardly matter.

    2. Are you aware that every single opinion poll in the history of Northern Ireland has massively overstated both the DUP and SF? E.g. in the British Election Survey post-election recall in 2001, 8% of people claimed to have voted SF and 13% DUP a few weeks before in the General Election. In reality, the DUP had polled 23% and SF 22%. If polls have Wilson a nose in front, in reality he’s probably going to break the 50% barrier.

    3. If Wilson is 1200 votes ahead in polling – what a suspiciously accurate poll that is – we don’t even know the turnout yet, for God’s sake! Anyway, if Wilson is 1200 votes ahead, it would take 1200 Alliance/Nat voters to vote tactically to save Beggs’ hoop, not 600. Think about it. Wilson’s margin will be closer to 12,000 than 1,200 I would guess.

    Reality check, please.

  • Julian Robertson

    Scarlet is right.

    The UUP and SDLP hanging on will only prolong the agony with the unionist side always competing to be the hardest. Absolutely no bloody good for anyone quite frankly. Better to sweep them away and force a rethink in the centre ground. Ha! I feel better now.

  • Gonzo

    I tend to agree with Julian. The feeling amongst some Alliance members I have spoken to recently is that whatever the reasons for standing down for UUP (and SDLP) candidates in certain constituencies in 2001, those reasons no longer exist.

    “They had their chance. They blew it,” seems to be the once bitten, twice shy thinking.

    Relations between the DUP and Alliance are probably better than between Alliance and the UUP. And you might be surprised to learn that there’s a few Alliance types that regard the Shinners as less sectarian than the SDLP in certain areas.

    Nevertheless, the UUP is a busted flush, and it might not be a bad idea for Alliance to give two fingers to a party that actually HELD BACK the publication of ‘A Shared Future’ – the new policy on community relations that languished for over a year while UUP and SDLP ‘advisers’ failed to agree on what the problem and potential solutions were.

    IMHO, both parties promote segregation, not integration, and the pathetic appeals to the centre are falling on deaf ears. In order to really build the (true) centre ground over the next few years, Alliance voters thinking about voting tactically might consider that in order to build, sometimes you have to demolish something in the way first.

    And that should start with the UUP, I reckon. It is not a centre party, it is a unionist party with all the baggage that carries.

    The leaflet itself is quite clever, but I hope that Alliance will take this further, legally.

  • IJP

    Hansolo

    David Ford said nothing of the sort, as you well know. It’d help if you’d stop lying.

    First mysterious leaflets, then mysterious letters in the Newsletter, then mysterious Sluggerettes. All anonymous. Do those boys at Holywood Road seriously think they’re fooling anyone?

    How about this slogan: ‘Desperate people vote Ulster Unionist.’

    George

    The voluntary coalition with weighted majority means it would be impossible for it to function without Nationalist representation. That’s the whole point – while we have tribal politics, it ensures full representation, but it also allows us to work towards a time when we don’t.

    Scarlet

    Not unreasonable, but…

    “Alliance offers the only real alternative”, you know it is time to run.

    No. It’s time to show, through reasoned debate, that it isn’t.

    So far no one has even attempted!

    Julian

    Spot on, good to see you earlier today.

  • Hansolo

    IJP
    I resent that comment about lying.
    I only repeated what I heard someone saying. You do not have to believe it or take my word for it. If you are concerned about about the truth of the matter I suggest you ask David Ford. He should be able to tell you what he said. It was off the record i guess, but it can hardly come as any surprise. He wants Sammy to win about as much as you do. he wants his party to hold their vote. I guess that explains the difference between what he said on and off the record.

    Young Fogie

    There is a reason NIO polls are not made public. Clearly the Government do not want to damage the centre ground. The polls are conducted by political scientists from London.
    Of course you are right that, and i take it you meant understate, they understate SFDUP. Yes of course we do not know the turn out either.

    The point I was making, and i am sorry i did not make myself clear, was that last week’s poll shows a very marked change from that of nine weeks ago and indeed the Bel Tel.

    None of the questions in the NIO polls are misleading or loaded in anyway and the frequency with which they are conducted gives one a good impression of trends and also an indication of what issues are influencing voters.

    My analysis would be, having seen the polls, that the DUP has failed to capitalise on, or hold, the moderate voters they took from the UUP at the last election. Why? There is a power struggle going on in the DUP.

    Robinson wants to get back to the agreement with a disarmed SF asap after the election. His opponents in the DUP do not. McCrea and Paisley Jnr have won for the moment. Why? Becasue the language of the DUP’s campaign has been of the past – sectarian, bigoted and prod nationionalist.
    This is exactly why the DUP never developed into a serious party prior to the GFA.

    The voters they have taken from the DUP will be thinking twice, and according to the polls, are thinking twice. Robinson has failed to get his party to pretend or stretch onto the centre ground and it shows.

    No bull intended…

  • A.W.

    When going out to vote remember the role of the UUP and SDLP in the Reinvestment and Reform Initiative (RRI). This little deal was agreed with the exchequer and was dependent on reform of the Water Service. The UUP and SDLP signed us up to water rates.

    These Parties are not worth saving they are in the way. Don’t vote tactically and just let the devil take the hindmost. Is Beggs worth saving, I don’t think so. If SF and the UUP wipe them out what are we actually now loosing?

    A sharp jolt is in the interests of NI politics for it also puts the DUP and SF in positions where they are clearly in the driving seat and responsible for success or failure.

    Also remember that it is hard to stay at the top of the mountain and for the DUP and SF all roads can then only head in the one direction. In future years with ageing stars could SF deal effectively with future reversals? It is easy to hold morale when advancing but hard to manage a retreat. What will the DUP look like in a few years as Paisley wanes?

    I think there is fundamental chance coming and paradoxically the worse this election the sooner it will come. The results could be a good wake up call to many..

  • Hansolo

    Luckily for me I live in Holland.

  • Rebecca Black

    “I really wish that someone could give a reasonable explanation as to what is wrong with David Ford fighting for all the votes he can – that’s democracy. Its not down to the UUP to decide how many candidates fight an election or how many people vote for you (unfortunately for them) – the people will ultimately decide.”

    hehe, curiously noble sentiments from Yerman.

    but would he really give two hoots about Alliance and the Alliance vote if it wasn’t for the adverse affect it will have on the UUP?

  • NorthernIrishGobshite

    “The UUP and SDLP hanging on will only prolong the agony with the unionist side always competing to be the hardest. Absolutely no bloody good for anyone quite frankly. Better to sweep them away and force a rethink in the centre ground. Ha! I feel better now.”

    What ARE you talking about Julian, sweeping away the UUP and the SDLP is sweeping away the centre ground. You really think Paisley and Volunteer Adams will be able to form a middle ground? Get a grip!

  • Hansolo

    Rebecca

    You don’t live in a democracy, thats the problem.

  • Rebecca Black

    I live in the same democracy as yerman, I welcome his sentiments, he doesn’t usually come out with something like that which makes me cynical of his motives.

  • yerman

    Rebecca
    “but would he really give two hoots about Alliance and the Alliance vote if it wasn’t for the adverse affect it will have on the UUP?”

    Like I said Rebecca – that’s democracy. No party has a duty to save any other.

  • Rebecca Black

    “that’s democracy. No party has a duty to save any other.”

    indeed, yet, you and others in your party are accusing the UUP of splitting votes by not standing down in West Tyrone and Fermanagh/South Tyrone….

    Your pseudo conviction is laughable.

  • Young Fogey

    There is a reason NIO polls are not made public. Clearly the Government do not want to damage the centre ground.

    If the NIO didn’t want to damage the centre ground, why has it spent the last 10 years asking paramilitaries how far it should bend over?

    The polls are conducted by political scientists from London.

    Mysterious political scientists (credentials? independent academics or a polling company? a reputable polling company?) from London whose bona fides and experience of Northern Ireland we can’t verify. Political scientists who may know nothing about Northern Ireland, who may be completely unaware of how the Northern Ireland polling spiral of silence works, who may, like a lot of nice, well meaning, English election geeks, be desperately keen to talk up the middle ground.

    I have my doubts this poll really exists. Look, if this poll really claimed to estimate the numerical vote lead of a candidate it is either done by complete morons and statistically worthless or, more likely, whoever told you this story is telling lies and didn’t even have the wit to tell a credible one. No opinion poll I have ever seen in any country in the world, speaking as a trained political scientist, has ever quoted figures in numbers of votes cast rather than percentages. Ever.

    last week’s poll shows a very marked change from that of nine weeks ago and indeed the Bel Tel.

    If this poll actually exists, this is more likely to be the result of bad poll design and insufficient understanding of the Northern Ireland electorate than any real shift in voting intention.

    None of the questions in the NIO polls are misleading or loaded in anyway and the frequency with which they are conducted gives one a good impression of trends and also an indication of what issues are influencing voters.

    I’d have to see the poll, the questions, the sample size and the methodology before accepting that. But if the poll attempts to estimate the number of votes cast for candidates, it has failed even to understand what an opinion poll is and what it aims to study and it is bull, simple as that.

    My analysis would be, having seen the polls, that the DUP has failed to capitalise on, or hold, the moderate voters they took from the UUP at the last election. Why? There is a power struggle going on in the DUP.

    There is no evidence for this. Northern Bank and the McCartney murder only help copper fasten the DUP’s position. They can also tell their more moderate voters, “look, we tried to make a deal with Adams but the IRA blew it up.”

    Becasue the language of the DUP’s campaign has been of the past – sectarian, bigoted and prod nationionalist.

    And the Ulster Unionists are, like, sooooo different? Decent People are Simply British? If I vote tactically for the Ulster Unionists, am I not voting for Michael McGimpsey to backslap thugs for intimidating innocent people out of their homes in Sandy Row? How does that help avoid a Balkanised society?

    and according to the polls, are thinking twice.

    According to mysterious polls not in the public domain, which apparently use a methodology different from any ever used in the history of political science.

    Look, I want to believe as much as you do, but let’s face facts. The DUP are going to win East Antrim comfortably. Anyone voting tactically for the UUP would be wasting their vote. Better to show there is some support for a really progressive agenda in NI, not just DUP/SF lite.

  • yerman

    Rebecca
    There is no contradiction between seeking a fair voting pact in two constituencies and supporting a free fight in others.

    The UUP allegedly wanted an ‘anti-Sinn Fein’ pact – how exactly does Alliance standing aside deliver that? What the UUP wanted was a ‘save Dave’ pact.

    I’m happy now that after a satisfactory pact could not be reached – that the parties fight it out. I dont recall the DUP ever trying to bribe the UUP out of either South Belfast or Fermanagh South Tyrone. That is exactly what the UUP have tried in South Antrim – and they’re now backing it up with ‘anonymous’ leaflets!

  • Hansolo

    Young Fogey

    The reason the civil service very often use academics is becasue they cost thousands of pounds less than consultants. As a political scientist you should know they contract all sorts of research out to Universities and many political scientists advise and write the questions for poll.

    Why? other than the fact that they inexpensive, they are experts on NI usually or have a good deal of knowledge.

    Of course the figures are an estimate of the number of votes behind. But previous estimates were a lot lower I can assure you.

    The NIO runs these polls on a regular basis.
    As you quite rightly pointed out the Government have ditched the centre ground. I imagine they formulated that policy on the basis of their private polls. If the Government formulates policy on the basis of polls, and we know Blair is a believer, then you can be sure they are close to the bone.

    No, the UUP are not sooo different in some respects. The DUP have accepted the UUPs analysis of the conflict – power sharing and a shared future – well Robinson’s side that is. Look at the statements JD and PR have been making over the last month and look were the fundamentalist have been at.

    Paisley said on GMU this morning that ‘Ian paisley’s policy would live on in the DUP after his death’, he then repeated it and said that that position was secure.

    So split down the middle is where the DUP are in that one. However that is old stuff and its more complicated than that.

    I also want to believe, but you can be sure that my actions will speak as loud as…
    vote wisely my friend!

  • Young Fogey

    Have you actually seen this poll, hansolo?

  • Nicholas

    The reason the civil service very often use academics is becasue they cost thousands of pounds less than consultants.

    Rubbish – for something like this, academics will charge the going rate, and rightly so.

  • Young Fogey

    Nicholas, do you know anything about these mysterious NIO polls? They seem harder to nail down than a pile of spit.

  • Gonzo

    AFAIK, the NIO leaked the results of private polling before the election was called. It basically said that the DUP and SF were going to overtake the UUP and SDLP.

    Startling analysis, I know.

  • Roger

    This thread is ridiculas it is full of liberal nonsense. If an outsider was reading this s/he would think all good dare I say it DECENT people vote sdlp, alliane and uup.

    The fact is that IF the DUP are returned as the largest party it will not necessarily be a bad thing. The DUP can attract a not to insignificant ammount of catholic votes itself look at Paisleys constituency. So less of the ‘oh lets vote tactically to keep out the party that represents protestants(ie the DUP) and start recongnising that if the DUP are returned and a deal is done it will have more chance of lasting than the failed GFA.

    For east Antrim I recommend that people vote for Wilson and when voting for their councillors they vote 1,2 etc for the DUP and then 3,4 for the UUP to maximise unionist representation.

  • Young Fogey

    Startling analysis, I know.

    Well, better than average for the NIO.

  • Nicholas Whyte

    Young Fogey,

    I haven’t seen the polls, and mysteriously my NIO contacts don’t seem to have heard about them, but since according to Hansolo they are being more or less circulated freely in Holland I imagine they’ll turn up sooner or later!

  • pakman

    Young Fogey

    like Nicholas I’ve done my share of ringing around and neither the mystery poll being discussed on this thread nor the equally incredible S.Belfast one being discussed elswhere have been tracked down by those in the know within the NIO. When I get a moment I’ll try the Dutch Embassy.

  • IJP

    Hansolo

    I resent that comment about lying. I only repeated what I heard someone saying.

    Garbage. You stated that you knew for a fact that David Ford said what he said.

    You don’t know it for a fact, therefore you are lying.

    Likewise this mysterious (and nonsensical) polling info. Is it ‘decent’ to make stuff up as you go along…?