Kilcloney: UUP could lose half Assembly seats!

John D Taylor (aka Lord Kilclooney) has warned his party that any new leader must concentrate on turning round the party’s finances and preparing itself for a bruising contest with the DUP should an Assembly election be called in the wake of a new comprehensive deal.

…time is short for the UUP to respond to its present vacuum. If we waste time and simply drift as before than I fear that at least half of our MLAs will lose their seats,” he warned. The former deputy leader of the Assembly group is offering to be an interim leader until the next annual meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council in April of next year, when he would resign.

“This would give everyone time to reflect upon who would be suitable as a longer term leader yet, at the same time, ensure that urgent decisions, which are now necessary, are taken. We do not have the luxury of indecision throughout the summer as the Northern Ireland Office has already commenced with the political parties and we should be preparing for an Assembly election,” the peer went on.

  • slug9987

    Kilklooney or Kilkloney? Your spelling is inconsistent!

  • Elvis Parker

    “a clear alternative to DUP policy”

    “In policy terms we need to win back the support of over 100,000 unionist electors who have been abstaining due to their rejection of the sniping between the UUP and the DUP”

    Methinks Lord Bargepole is preparing the ground for a merger with the Tories?

  • fair_deal

    I had thought that an interim leader, to allow some serious analysis of the hole the UUP is in, was in was good idea. However, this comment from Taylor;

    “who have been abstaining due to their rejection of the sniping between the UUP and the DUP”

    Shows a repitition of past patterns. The UUP should not jump to assumptions or conclusions about why the voters did or didn’t vote – do some serious research and voter engagement, don’t sit around talk to yourselves reinforcing your own prejudices.

    The UUP have spent the last number of years making lots of different assumptions about the mythical beast of the Garden Centre Prod and none of their assumptions or conclusions resulted in getting this vote out. Before that you had the perpetual ramblings about Catholic Unionists where all Unionists did was talk to one another rather.

  • steve48

    “Lord Kilclooney warned the party would not win back the support of electors unless it promoted a clear alternative to DUP policy.”

    The fact that the dup have now adopted uup policy is no reason for the uup to surrender our traditional territory. Our problem in the past is that we did not keep to our stated policy i.e. no guns no government. The solution is to actually keep the policy and our word. The dup have yet to deliver anything to anyone and Lord Kilclooney’s suggestion that we change policy, when the last election showed that unionism was happy with the policy (given there was no difference between uup and dup on the key issues)but just not happy with our delivery, is premature

  • steve48

    “Lord Kilclooney warned the party would not win back the support of electors unless it promoted a clear alternative to DUP policy.”

    The fact that the dup have now adopted uup policy is no reason for the uup to surrender our traditional territory. Our problem in the past is that we did not keep to our stated policy i.e. no guns no government. The solution is to actually keep the policy and our word. The dup have yet to deliver anything to anyone and Lord Kilclooney’s suggestion that we change policy, when the last election showed that unionism was happy with the policy (given there was no difference between uup and dup on the key issues)but just not happy with our delivery, is premature

  • steve48

    “Lord Kilclooney warned the party would not win back the support of electors unless it promoted a clear alternative to DUP policy.”

    The fact that the dup have now adopted uup policy is no reason for the uup to surrender our traditional territory. Our problem in the past is that we did not keep to our stated policy i.e. no guns no government. The solution is to actually keep the policy and our word. The dup have yet to deliver anything to anyone and Lord Kilclooney’s suggestion that we change policy, when the last election showed that unionism was happy with the policy (given there was no difference between uup and dup on the key issues)but just not happy with our delivery, is premature

  • Fermanagh Not-So-Young Unionist

    That was a leadership election broadcast by David Burnside.

  • Keith M

    Peter Robionson was right last week when he said that it was completly irrelevant who the UUP elected as leader, as what remains of a once great party are all tainted by the fact that they hung around as Trimble conducted political hari kiri. They should merge with someone (APNI or better still the Conservatives) because one MP does not a party make.

  • IJP

    Keith M

    Let me tell you, my party will have nothing to do with a party with such a tainted past and directionless future.

    Of course there are many ‘decent people’ in the Ulster Unionists who, unlike some of their colleagues, are genuine in their commitment to non-violence, inclusiveness, and taking NI forward. They should strongly consider which party really best represents their views.

    (A UU merger with the Tories is such a good and obvious move that I have no doubt whatsoever that it won’t happen…)

  • Rebecca Black

    Alliance appear to be becoming increasingly arrogant of late.

  • crat

    Rebecca,

    The DUP pulled a stroke on APNI and UUP in BCC, it must still smart. Cutting both parties out of the loop and negotiating a DUP/SDLP carve up was genius.

  • IJP

    Rebecca

    As an Ulster Unionist after the campaign your party has just run, you’re in no position to accuse others of arrogance!

    It is fact, rather than arrogance, to say that I know many Ulster Unionists whose views are in fact better represented by other parties.

    But by all means enter the debate. To what purpose would anyone wanting a genuinely inclusive NI remain in the Ulster Unionists?

  • ulsterman

    The SDLP and DUP do not have a majority on BCC. But it was interesting though. Could this be the fore runner to an SDLP and DUP government at Stormont?.

    It is extremely likely that if there were new elections that the SDLP and the DUP would easily have a majority of Assembly seats between them.

  • cladycowboy

    ‘It is extremely likely that if there were new elections that the SDLP and the DUP would easily have a majority of Assembly seats between them.’

    What do you base this on?

  • Rebecca Black

    IJP

    hmm, my feelings are more depressed than arrogant after that election! Then getting kicked when ur down by a party with no MPs whom I transferred to is even more depressing.

    I remain in the UUP because I do think they are the party who can lead Northern Ireland into the future and to an inclusive future which is what my political goals are. With the best will in the world I still cannot see that potential in any other party except the SDLP.

  • Rebecca Black

    when I say transfer, I mean, transfer my vote to!

  • IJP

    Rebecca

    Politics is a tough game. My party gets kicked often enough – mainly off the ball by your party in the run-up to this election!

    I remain in the UUP because I do think they are the party who can lead Northern Ireland into the future

    But also with the best will in the world, you can’t just say that and hope it’s true! Where’s your evidence?

    Out of interest also, why do you assume the solutions must come from parties as currently constituted?

  • bob wilson

    Keith M
    I really dont think Lady Hermon would be welcome in the Conservative Party – having foolishly aligned herself with Labour

    Rebecca
    Your loyalty to the UUP is admirable – but don’t let it cloud your judgement!

    IJP
    Re merger – there is no one at the top of the UUP (by which I mean MLAs I guess) who has the vision to or courage to go down this road. Mainly because it would spilt the UUP so things would have to get worse before they get better! So I predict a slow and painful death for UUP.

  • IJP

    Bob

    110% correct.

  • bob wilson

    IJP
    Of course my prediction of a slow UUP Death may proved wrong if their finances are as woeful as I am lead to believe. Also if DUP did a deal I suspect a new election would be a precondition – this would destroy UUP politcally and finacially.

    Tories should of course hasten this demise by getting their act together.

    We you an I will have to agree to disagree is on my belief that APNI should become Liberal Democratic Alliance and suck up considerable number of ex UUP and possible ‘non voters’. (Althou admittedly I wouldn’t fancy your chances of selling a local income tax in NI anymore that Lib Dems could in GB – althou I believe they are ditching this one!)

  • Julian Robertson

    Rebecca – no, not tne Alliance getting arrogant, just IJP.

    IJP – well councillor, power gone to your head yet?

    UUP merging with Tories? Ha! Some UU may well be Conservatives at heart as are some Alliance, some SDLP, some DUP but certainly not the lot of them. Besides, to believe in inclusive politics and actually do soemthing about it means not clinging to the old tatterered comfort blanket but actually making some hard choices and acting on principle. Did you see what happened there, the “p” word crept in – a stange word for those UU who in GB are Conservatives and hoped Michael Howard would win but in NI mess about with a six county pressure group and are reduced to trying to be harder than the DUP.

  • Traditional Unionist

    in comparison to you, worked didn’t it?

  • Carrington

    TU

    Ouch!!!!

  • IJP

    TU

    He asked for that… 🙂

    Julian

    I’ll get arrogant when I’ve something to be arrogant about.

    But if people keep clinging to this ridiculous idea that the same old ideas will deliver anything other than the same old results, I’ll point it out – forcefully. It’s stupid and it’s damaging and people are suffering because of it.

    It’s difficult to be nasty and moderate… but not impossible! 🙂

  • Bob Wilson

    “Lord Kilclooney warned the party would not win back the support of electors unless it promoted a clear alternative to DUP policy.”

    Anybody any idea what this would consist of? What does the UUP actually stand for? What is its raison d’etre?

    Anybody want to try to articulate this on UUP behalf or even to speculate?

    Rebecca? TU?

  • Traditional Unionist

    What does the UUP actually stand for? What is its raison d’etre?

    a unionist party, raison d’etre, protect the union. the packaging is different and always will be different to the dup, but the primary reason for existance will never change.

  • bob wilson

    TU
    On that level one could argue that by pandering to Protestant Tribalism both DUP and UUP have been a dismal failure. Nationalism is stronger than ever – and backing hard line version in SF. The vote for so called unionist parties continues to decline (perhaps with a brief blip this time).
    If you want 6 county Protestant Unionism you have the DUP. If you want inclusive unionism you could back Alliance or even one of the three main UK parties (well Tories or Lib Dems anyhow) what is distinctive about UUP?

  • barnshee

    half? he must be joking –they will be wiped out

  • barnshee

    half? he must be joking –they will be wiped out

  • Young Fogey

    Star Wars 2 1/2 – Attack of the Kilcloneys (sic)!

  • Young Fogey

    Bob, I know you’re a keen integrationist but I really don’t see what Alliance joining the LDs would accomplish. I don’t believe it would hoover up thousands of ex-UUP voters as I don’t believe that many of them are too worried about full political integration with GB – a phrase which essentially has no meaning in these post-devolution days, anyway, and I don’t think all that many of them are natural LibDem voters.

    Besides, as an inherently Unionist concept it hardly sits with Alliance’s core values.

    I think there is much more potential for Alliance to hoover up ex-UUP voters by being a strong voice for pragmatic moderates of all stripes who recognise Northern Ireland is going to be something of a place apart for the foreseeable future and would like to see it fairly and decently governed.

    Besides, I don’t see where these thousands of voters who want to vote for ‘mainland’ parties are? If Julian Robertson can’t get his vote into four figures in North Down, then how well would the Tories do in North Belfast? Upper Bann? Foyle?

    What’s so great about the English (for that is what we’re talking about these days) party system, anyway? Every country has it’s own arrangement of parties emerged from its own specific culture and history. If anything the current British Party system looks a bit battered with the lowest Lab+Con share of the vote since 1921 and the lowest share of the vote for a party with a winning share of the vote ever. We also have a parliamentary system held in contempt by the Chief Executive, which fails dismally to keep the Executive to account and in which parliament is more irrelevant than it was even under the landslide governments of 1931-1950.

    Sure, it’s better than the farcical political system we have, but its hardly the acme of representative perfection, is it?

  • stevie ‘wonder’

    ********BREAKING NEWS**********

    Following a downbeat prediction from John Taylor that the Ulster Unionist Party may well lose half their assembly seat at the next elections, there worst fears have become a reality. For the first time in ther history they,ve slipped to being the smallest party in Northern Ireland. The Alliance Party has now overtaken them and has returned more assembly members than the Ulster Unionists!

    it may seem far fetched but…

    (THIS COULD BE A FUTURE NEWS STORY)

    your day has come and gone …… farewell!

    Lets look at the causes of the demise of the Ulster Unionists ….

    (1) terrorists in goverment x
    (2) Demise and demorlisation of the RUC x
    (3) release of mass murderers x
    (4) countless broken pledges x
    (5) weak leadership x
    (6) failed negotiaters x

    ……The list could go on. IN SUMMERY, the problems are of your own making.

    ….also an open question …Theres is stories going around that the Ulster Unionist Party has went bankrupt, can anyone comment on this?

  • Young Fogey

    Sure, it’s better than the farcical political system we have, but its hardly the acme of representative perfection, is it?

    No answer. Integrationists never like to answer difficult questions.

  • bertie

    YF

    I know that this was not addressed to me but as an integrationist I thought I’d respond.

    I go for improvement any time. The one thing I would say in Alliance’s favour is that it is nominally pro consent, so if that principle was properly applied, as a unionist I would be happy for that to stnd by its strenght of will and numbers and not to have to vote for it specifically at every election. I am not a devolutionist, especislly in NI because I do not approve of power enshrined in law sharing, it is bad government. It is virtually impossible to vote the b@@@@@@s out, which is a prerequisite for democracy. If we had party system like in Scotland, wher the nationalists set themselves apart spwcifically on the constitutional question, if they want to, but everyone has the chance to vote on something different.

    I agree that the Tories have not had much sucess here, but lately there has been a revolution in how unionists at least have cast their votes, so who knows. The catch 22 is that the main political parties cannot be trusted to work in NI’s interests nd they wont until they hsve an electoral stake in it. They will not have an electoral stake in it until they can be trusted. I still live in hope that we can break out of this.

    Niw Bob can come and give you a better answer.

  • bob wilson

    YF
    Still fighting the old integration/devolution debate in your London garret?
    ‘an inherently Unionist concept’
    Why is it inherently unionist to be concerned about real political issues about tax, etc?
    Why must people in Northern Ireland be frozen out of the General Election?
    I have views on inheritance tax, national insurance, stamp duty, the overall level of taxation versus public expenditure .. I could go on. Everyone in NI has some form of views on these issues. Even people with nationalist sympathies!
    We should have the right to be fully involved in the 3 main parties that will decide these issues – and have the right to expect that they treat their members and voters here in the same fashion they treat voters in Scotland, Wales and England.
    The underlining thrust of your argument is that people in NI must accept their lot!
    You give the game away by referring it as a ‘English’ system – it IS the party system of the UK. Simple fact and for all its flaws it will remain so and NI is very likely remain under that Parliament for the lifetime of everyone alive today.
    If Alliance said it was a left of centre party or a right of centre party you might have a leg to stand on but it is just all things to all men. And its vote is going down and down.
    Sure Robertson and the NI Tories may not have made a break through yet but Laurence Kennedy showed it was possible.
    Furthermore you may not have noticed from afar but our much joked about high turnout (often early, vote often) has PLUMMETED to GB levels – particularly in pro Union areas. This hardly suggests huge satisfaction with the current system.
    For the record this is not integration it is democracy. Nationalists can still be nationalists. Protestant Unionists will still have the UUP and DUP

  • Young Fogey

    bob wilson

    It’s been a while since I’ve read a post littered with ad hominem abuse like that – it’s ironic that the man who wants us to adopt the English party system attacks somebody for living in London! You can make your points without being bitchy – look at bertie’s post.

    As to your substantive point: one Great Britain party fights elections here – and hasn’t a single elected representative in the country. Another one organises in NI and its members choose to support a local party instead. Even the Labour Party now allows NI membership, although in a rather discriminatory way, I agree, but there’s no evidence whatsoever that they’d poll a significant vote even if they did fight elections. Your problem seems to be less that people in Northern Ireland are denied ‘democracy’ but that people in Northern Ireland choose to deny themselves democracy in your terms. Are you sure you don’t want to dissolve the people and elect another?

    Of course, it’s not ‘Unionist’ to be concerned about tax, etc., and Northern Ireland parties do have representatives in the UK parliament who could talk about those issues, but generally don’t. I think it sucks too. However, that’s what people vote for! You know, like, representative democracy and all that?

    The NI Tories don’t seem to going anywhere any time soon, and despite what bertie says about there being some Alliance and SDLP voters who would vote Tory in GB (undoubtedly true) in the Northern Ireland context the Tories have turned themselves into an ethnic Unionist party. In its brief heyday its elected representatives seemed entirely to be people who had a fall out with the UUs but were too posh for the DUP. Does the Tory Party even exist in places like Derry and North Belfast where you have well-heeled right-leaning nationalists in large number?

    I wish you the best of luck, and who knows what might emerge from the decaying corpse of the Ulster Unionist Party, but I don’t rate your chances.

    Now to the petty bitchiness…

    I don’t see how it’s revealing that I refer to it as the English party system, as Scotland and Wales do, indeed have different party systems, with 6 parties having substantial representation in the Scottish parliament (and UKIP not being one of them). That’s just a fact.

    Finally, you say that Northern Ireland turnout has fallen to GB levels. Actually at every general election since WW2 except for November 1970, 1983 and 2001 turnout in GB has been higher, usually much higher than in NI, so I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to say to me. An awful lot of people in Northern Ireland are put off by politics. I never said anything different. I seem to be more aware of NI voting behaviour this from my London garret than you are in NI.

    For the record this is not integration it is democracy. Nationalists can still be nationalists. Protestant Unionists will still have the UUP and DUP.

    And the three ‘mehnlend’ parties can get 4% of the vote between them? What’s the point?

  • Bob Wilson

    Not sure where you get the bitchyness idea from – not me.
    The point is you suffer from a poverty of ambition. You seem to accept that we must remain stuck with sectarian politcs – with Alliance holding the ring of course
    In what way have the NI Tories turned themselves into an ethnic unionist party ?- that is what APNI supporters might want people to believe but there is not a shred of evidence to support that assertion.
    Interesting that you refer to Scotland and Wales. They successful have nationalist and the three main parties and a few others. Couldn’t we go down that road? Lib Dems should either put up candidates or merger with Alliance. The present melarky is a nonsense – ‘yes do join but dont upset the Alliance Party! – even if they are going nowhere’

  • Young Fogey

    You seem to accept that we must remain stuck with sectarian politcs

    To a certain extent I do, sadly. That’s not the point I’m making, however. The point I’m making is that who says non-sectarian politics has to happen only through the GB parties organising here – does the Republic have sectarian politics? Germany? Taiwan? In Holland the Liberals are to the Right, the Tories in the Centre. In Portugal the Social Democrats are the main right of centre party. Does that make them somehow flawed political systems because they don’t follow the British model? If we ever do develop non-sectarian politics here, it will be on a model in consonance with out culture and society, not that in Great Britain in the 1920s.

    To be honest, I think the best we might end up with is a Belgian-type situation with Taig and Prod left- and right- of centre parties, unlike Belgium having a genuinely cross community Liberal and Green Party. Better than the status quo, although, not necessarily much!

    My bigger problem is that Integrationists seem to think that if you somehow force the GB parties to fight elections in NI then people will flock to vote for them and then all our intra-communal problems will disappear as people see the benefits of Equal British Citizenship. I don’t think that has much connection with reality.

    Lib Dems should either put up candidates or merger with Alliance

    Again, that’s a matter for their NI Branch. The NI Branch members don’t want to fight elections – I should know, I was a member of it for long enough. That’s a matter for them in a democracy, surely?

    Surely, the NI Tories should do more than fight more than three, overwhelmingly Protestant, constituencies at the general election?

  • bob wilson

    ‘You seem to accept that we must remain stuck with sectarian politcs
    To a certain extent I do, sadly.’
    No wonder you left then!
    Your point about other countries is misleading on two counts.
    1. Most of the countries you mention do have – to a greater or lesser extent left/right politcs – the names are irrelevant.

    2. Forgeting v briefly about devolution for a moment you talk about:
    “If we ever do develop non-sectarian politics here, it will be on a model in consonance with out culture and society, not that in Great Britain in the 1920s.”
    Is the 1920s mention some Lib Dem dig at the voting system or something? The Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems are the political culture of the UK TODAY – NI needs and has a right to be drawn into that as no ones expects a united Ireland in the lifetime of anyone alive today. People should try to lift their eyes towards that culture (althou it should be a distinctively NI version just as Scotland and Wales have there own versions)- and those in positions of influence in those parties should be encouraging people to move away from sectarianism into real politics.
    Devolution – especially one built on sectarian designation will bring about the development of a NI right/left culture – even the APNI knows that.
    ‘force the GB parties to fight elections in NI then people will flock to vote for them’
    No they should not be forced they should be persuaded to exercise leadership. Charles Kennedy has a duty to seek support and members – including voters throughout the UK including NI because he aspires to set our taxes, etc. At present he is saying – stay in limbo until sectarian parties decide to vote themselves out of existence.
    ‘The NI Branch members don’t want to fight elections – I should know, I was a member of it for long enough. That’s a matter for them in a democracy, surely?’
    Absolutely they are following their leader in deciding not to exercise leadership that is their prerogative – how low would Alliance’s fortunes have to get before they change their mind or would they never actually try to do anything?
    ‘Surely, the NI Tories should do more than fight more than three, overwhelmingly Protestant, constituencies at the general election?’
    Yes they should and I hope they will in the future. Esp following demise of UUP

  • bob wilson

    ‘To be honest, I think the best we might end up with is a Belgian-type situation with Taig and Prod left- and right- of centre parties’
    Missed this bit. That is a strong argument against the APNI?
    Yes maybe we will have Conservatives and FG, Irish Labour and UK Labour?

  • bob wilson

    OOPS
    Devolution – especially one built on sectarian designation will NEVER bring about the development of a NI right/left culture – even the APNI knows that.

  • IJP

    Bob

    I agree with everything YF has said – I admire your idealism, but his is the realistic position.

    The simple fact is Finaghy is not Finchley, however much you might like it to be. NI is a place apart – not because ‘mainland’ parties don’t stand here, but because its people have chosen to make it a place apart. The basic pillars of ‘real democracy’ here – who makes the law and who applies it – are contested, in a way unlike anywhere else in Northern Europe.

    Frankly, I think it utterly ludicrous for those opposed to the sectarian political system to divide themselves up three ways (and even more ludicrous to show a clear bias towards one side of that sectarian system while doing so).

    What is required is a single, united movement seeking to overcome the sectarian political system for the good of everyone, by making clear, coherent points about why it does not work us. The aim of that movement would be a society where the basic pillars of democracy are agreed upon. Only then is civic society, with a multi-party democracy, possible.

  • bob wilson

    ‘What is required is a single, united movement seeking to overcome the sectarian political system for the good of everyone, by making clear, coherent points about why it does not work us’
    35 years after APNI formation your vote is going down?
    Also being comfortable with being classified as pro Union does not make NI tories side with one side in NI
    Last bit of what YF said – about having two left and two right parties – was an admission APNI is going nowhere

  • bertie

    TF & IJP

    no offence lads (if lads ye both be), but if you were only going to espouse popular electoral causes you would not be Alliance supporters! :o)

    The fact that at the moment, even if the national parties organised properly in NI they would not poll significanly is something that I regretfully accept. Some say that politics is the art of the possible. I prefer to consider it the art of making things possible. I applaud the efforts of the Tories in NI and of movements like Democracy Now, (which I was a member of.) It is from these small oaks………. I think that I am a bit of a jinx to political movements I support – the Campaign for Equal Citizenship folded just as soon as I joined!

    I have just seen my previous post on this thread. It looks like it has be written by an illiterate baboon that has happened to come across a typewriter. I’m afraid my fingers can’t keep up with my brain.

  • IJP

    Bob

    Sorry but that makes no sense at all! Alliance should give up because its electoral base is low. But the Tories shouldn’t despite the fact their electoral base isn’t even on the radar? With logic like that…

    As discussed before, a large part of Alliance’s difficulty is selling its message properly. YF was merely indicating that if it doesn’t get its act together in that regard soon, we could well be left with the situation he indicates.

    And if you think Belgium is a model democracy, just watch the racist Vlaams Blok vote rising right across Flanders…

    Bertie

    but if you were only going to espouse popular electoral causes you would not be Alliance supporters!

    No offence taken at all, that’s exactly my point.

    Your post is spot on.

  • bertie

    I omitted perhaps the most important point, that of choice. I would rather the electorate rejected the national parties at the ballot box than that they not be given the choice. That has to be step one. In PR elections people can take a chance without “wasteing” their vote. This can allow for support to grow and be manifest.

    I once voted Workers Party no. 1, in a council election. Although they were probably all nationalists, many with dodgy pasts, they were so vociferous about opposing terrorism and accepting the unionist right, by virtue of their majority to maintain the Union, without interferrence from Dublin and they were more interested in just making the lives of all the people of NI better, I wanted to support them. It could be said that it was a safe PR vote because they did not have a hope of getting in and so my vote would go intact to my 2nd pref, the UUP, but I would have been happy for the guy to get elected. I remember being pleased when my mother (who would have been a safe Tory vote on the mainland) said to me “oh yes I think the Workers Party is great and I voted for them too, until it transpired that she had given them the next preference after she ran out of UUP (and perhaps DUP as well, can’t remember).

    I think that we are coming into an era when more and more of us are breaking out of long established voting patterns and where parties are actually going to have to earn the support of the electorate, so it is all to play for.

    BTW I am not adocating PR in Wetminster elections. I am solidly behind STV.

  • garret

    “I think that we are coming into an era when more and more of us are breaking out of long established voting patterns and where parties are actually going to have to earn the support of the electorate, so it is all to play for.”

    Sorry Bertis but nationalists will continue to vote for nationalist parties until partition is ended.

    Get over it.

  • garret

    “I think that we are coming into an era when more and more of us are breaking out of long established voting patterns and where parties are actually going to have to earn the support of the electorate, so it is all to play for.”

    People have been saying this for years. There is no evidence.

  • bertie

    The number of people voting DUP instead of UUP for the first time in their lives is evidence.

  • bertie

    nationalist may continue to vote for nationalist parties but we should all have the choice. Scottish nationalists can vote for SNP, but they and non nationalists have the chance to vote for national parties (and some nationalists do).

    Partition will not be ended – get over it!

    (unless you mean the artifical partitioning of Ulster of course – roll on the day when we will have the United Kingdom of Great Britian and Ulster) ;o)

  • PS

    IJP and Young Fogey

    Re the election results.

    Have either of you any idea why the Alliance vote in 03 and 05 was so far behind John Gilliland’s vote share in 04? Surely as Gilliland was fit to poll 6.6%, the Alliance party should be fit to poll at least 6% of this total. I’m not trying to be bitchy, it’s a genuine question.

    As for the “integrationalist” arguement, I fit it insulting to Nationalism to suggest that all it takes is for the British parties to organise here and we’ll just forget our aspirations and behave like good Brits as we’re supposed to.

  • IJP

    Hi PS

    It’s a reasonable question. It has been discussed, and there are all kinds of reasons coming up – candidate calibre, image, finances available, etc etc. But I’ll leave that to YF who’s better at it than I am!

    For now I’ll point out that if you add Kieran Deeny’s General Election result to Alliance’s local election result you get… 6.7%

    (I don’t think anyone’s suggesting Nationalists would ‘just behave like good Brits’, but if I understand correctly, what you’re saying is that having GB parties in NI at this stage would be only of interest to Unionists and therefore would not do anything to ease the division here – and that, broadly, is the point I’m making.)