Let battle commence..

A sudden flurry of activity within the elderly ranks of the UUP. We asked – Who else is there? The answer came today. David McNarry officially joins the race for leadership of the UUP, Ken Maginnis is hanging in there hoping for a younger candidate with more experience *ahem* .. John Taylor, AKA Lord Kilcloney has offered himself up as interim leader (until when?).. and Reg Empey is, still, to officially declare.. but he is expected to do so on Thursday. Gentlemen… Start your engines!

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    You forgot to mention Alan McFarland as well.

  • davidbrew

    I see that Colonel Garner, that scion of County Down Ulster Unionism has just celebrated his 100th birthday. Surely he is the ideal candidate for leader? Only problem is that he might outlive the party… :0)

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Might as well include all the runners I reckon.

    I see you haven’t lost your razor wit DB.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Actually withdraw that remark. I can’t very well bitch about people having a go at me and then do the same to DB. Sorry David uncalled for and I promise to keep it civil.

  • peteb

    “Might as well include all the runners I reckon”

    True, Duncan.

    But with the exception of Reg Empey.. who is just about certain to join the race.. the rest have already declared their intentions.. unless there’s something you’d like to tell us about what Alan McFarland’s decision will be?.. ūüėČ

  • la redoute

    David Brewster if you had stayed in the party you could have been a candidate.

  • steve48

    Apart from Ronnie Ferguson (who works for him) is anyone else supporting McNarry.

  • la redoute

    According to talkback his wife and two daughters!

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    No secrets to share sorry. Just noting what the BBC had on their story that “It is thought that a third candidate will be the North Down MLA Alan McFarland.” He hasnt declared yet as far as I know but that puts him in the same place as Sir Reg so I figure he should at least get a mention.

  • fair_deal

    It’s almost becoming a candidate for each functioning UUP constituency association. Hands up who doesn’t want to be leader. The recent articles by Lord Laird (wanting to stick to believeing in one thing, be more professional wanting to expand the base by talking about new ideas although none are given – he at least wants to put up a fight on all fronts) and Roy Garland (still no clarity on what the UUP is for other than not being the DUP) this bunch is no nearer a consensus on where to go from here.

    Also as Garland’s piece points out they have started talking to the ‘grassroots’ party. The party membership was unrepresentative in my day and time has not been kind to it. A ‘rump’ talking to itself is not a recipe for success.

    Don’t talk to boys and girls reinforcing your own prejudices. Talk to your remaining voters. Talk to the 100,000 voters who switched to the DUP over the past decade, most especially the 40,000 who switched in May. Talk to the 30,000 of your voters who stayed at home on election day (for the first time). Talk to those who don’t vote (but don’t become obsessed with them as you have in the past two elections).

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    I dont want to understate the depth of the UUP problems but how did you get 100,000 votes moving to the DUP in the last decade? If you go from Westminster 1997 its a gain of 134,508 for the DUP against 131,125 lost from the W1997 UUP total. The bulk of those could be said to have moved in 1998 post the Agreement when at the A1998 election the UUP dropped to 172,225 vs 146,917 DUP. Thats a drop of 86,214 UUP votes but only a gain of 39,569 for the DUP. The remainder is probably accounted for by the 36,541 UKUP and 13,889 misc independent unionists at A1998. These votes seem to have turned into DUP votes in A2003. So by my calculations the main movement away from the UUP occurred at 1998 in response to the Agreement with the UUP vote declining by 86,214 votes or 65% of the votes lost to the UUP in the last 8 years. If you further modify the reults to take account of the Donaldson personal vote I think the remaining 44,911 mostly moved between 1998 and 2003. The movement between 2003 and 2005 is probably much lower, maybe only 10,000 or so.

    Out of interest how did you identify a stay at home vote of 30,000?

    Anybody better at maths than me feel free to correct and share your analysis. As i see it if you wnat to figure out how to get the UUP back to an upwrd trend you at least need to figure out what happened.

  • Young Fogey

    What about Basil McWho?

  • AGal


    the 1997 Westminster figures should be treated with caution as the DUP did not fight all the seats and artifically reduce their total.

  • fair_deal


    I was using ball park figures and the 100,000 was trying to take some account of the seats the DUP did not run in 1997.

    The 30,000 is basically looking at constituencies like Strangford. Between 2001 and 2005 the UUP vote dropped by about 10,000 votes but the DUP vote rose by a couple of thousand (and there were no corresponding rises in other parties), thus 8,000 missing voters, repeat across the constituencies and you get around 30,000.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Good point on the 1997 figures so the 1997 Р1998 UUP reduction may be lower than the postulated 86,000 because of the DUP borrowed votes for single unionist candidates. What do people estimate the magnitude of that effect to be in W1997? If you roughly modify for this effect in 2001 and remove around 33,000 DUP borrows I reckon you get left with around 183,000 UUP votes in 2001, although that’s a very rough guess and may understate the UUP vote as I estimated the DUP borrows by reference to the 2005 figures so it would understate the amount of 2001 -2005 UUP- DUP switches. That still gives you a decline of potentially 56,000 UUP votes from W2001- W2005. The DUP picked up 59,000 from W2001- W2005 including the returning borrowed DUP votes so that gives them a net gain of more like 26,000 actual new votes while the UUP actually lost maybe 56,000. That would fit with fair_deals estimate of around 30,000 UUP votes being lost to the stay at home effect as well.

    Fair_deal. Yes I noticed that drop in some places as well. In South Antrim ( I know that one best) the UUP lost 5307 votes from W2001 РW2005 but the DUP also lost 848. Turnout dropped by 5.8% but its worth noting that the electoral roll reduced by around 8000 in 2001-2002 as well. At a local government level the UUP lost 2500 votes in Antrim whereas the DUP only gained 858(don’t know Newtownabbey as they haven’t published their full results). So at that level it does seem to suggest a stay at home effect with the UUP losing more votes to abstaining than the DUP. As I said above if you try to estimate the DUP borrows out of the 2001 numbers that 30,000 figure seems about right.

  • martin

    Sometimes some very strange things happen in politics.at the last general election in the south Finn geal was almost wiped out as the second party in the state and Ahern seemed invincible ,THE leadership was given to the young Enda Kenny, now with the passage of 3 years things have altered radically Finn gael have the largest no of seats of any southern party in the European parliament and equal number of local government seats with FF,which would be destroyed if a general election were held right now ,not least due to the unpopularity of its leader.

    So dont be so defeatist ulster unionists and remember Paisley that nothing lasts forever

  • T.Ruth

    It is abundantly clear that Sir Reg will be the new party leader. I am surprised though he has not yet been elevated to the Upper House as all those who previously opposed Peter Robinson in East Belfast were so rewarded -to wit Lord Alderdice and Lord Napier from the Alliance party.
    Lords Laird,Rogan,Haughey,Kilclooney,Maginnes(of 50/50 recruitmentfame)Rana,etc.have all been well rewarded for slavishly supporting David “No guns no government” Trimble,who betrayed Unionism, so very few are left with credentials or credibility.
    The real question is to where will the new leader lead the party? One degree to the leftis the Alliance Party who now have ten tests for future inclusion in government that fairly reflect DUP policy.Two degrees to the left is the SDLP. Sir Reg’s best move would be to seek an immediate alliance with the DUP-there is no other brand of Unionism that can win the support of the Unionist community and the 100,000 who did not vote knew that already.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    T.ruth or is it st.ruth? Anyway asuuming nom de plume aside I have question or two. If the 100,000 that did not vote already know the DUP is the brand of unionism that can win the support of the unionist community why didnt they vote for them already? As they didnt do so do you assume that the DUP be a better place for the addition of some extra UUP members? Burnside, Empey, Me? and why would that cause the 100,000 to rush out to vote for the combined power of a UUP/DUP merger? Just out of interest would I be welcome in the DUP at all? I am a unionist so if not why? and if theres not room for the likes of me how can such a political movement reflect the entire unionist community?

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    st.truth my typing really get worse and worse!

  • Young Fogey

    I think a pan-Unionist front would be a great idea. Lots of potential for Alliance to make electoral gains in that scenario.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    oh for goodness sake that should have been struth and gets. I give up. Time to go and get some milk from the store and to stop staring at the screen for a while I think.

  • Rebecca Black

    “Apart from Ronnie Ferguson (who works for him) is anyone else supporting McNarry.”

    McNarry is probably the best choice out of those running, he is the only one with a strong enough personality to lead the party.

  • thesingingbrickie

    But surely Rebecca you have got to agree McNarry is by far and away the most divisive character in the race and as we stand today probably the one you would get the longest odds on, 100 – 1 outsider, me thinks.

  • T.Ruth

    I am off to a wedding in Wales Duncan, but before I go let me continue with my predictions.

    Very soon there will be one Unionist party centred around traditional unionist core values and beliefs. You will be very welcome.

    It is good to live in interesting times and I am really confident that a united Unionism can help build a new Northern Ireland where we pursue peace,and prosperity and a better more democratic future for us all.

    We must be strong in our negotiating stance and create a new paradigm of negotiation that requires Sinn Fein to develop its democratic credentials and make concessions if it wishes to be included at the executive level of a local power sharing administration. It is up to Republicans to convince the rest of us that they are ready to embrace genuine democracy. In that context for Unionists “Unity is Strength.”
    We must hope the UUP elects a leader who can help achieve this united position. Any other course of action will postpone solutions to our problems.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Very kind of you to offer. It’s always nice to be welcome.

    Personally I don’t think I really know what traditional unionist core values and beliefs actually are. It’s a phrase that’s bandied about a lot but what does it actually mean in policy terms? So if I am in favour of gay marriage is that a unionist traditional core value? PFI? EU Constitution (may be a moot point now!)?

    My concern with this notion of building some kind of monolithic unity around ¬Ďtraditional core unionist values¬í was and remains that it reduces everything down to a point where all we actually agree on is that the union is basically a good thing that we would like to see continued. But we don¬ít even really agree on what kind of form that union takes anyway? direct rule? devolution? How much of reflection of the Irish dimension should there be in Northern Ireland¬ís culture? It¬ís an utterly artificial kind of unity with no real depth. It¬ís a bit like saying well all Christians believe in Jesus so let¬ís have one united church! Not sure that¬ís the model the Doc would go for.

    I understand why a large number of unionists hanker after this mythical unity but in t.ruth its not actually about strength or certainty its reflection of deep seated cultural fears that unionism is under threat and thus we must all band together to face the common enemy. It’s a really nice myth with a solid cultural resonance but its just not practical, possible or desirable. So thanks for the welcome but I view unionist unity as a retrograde step and a sign of weakness and uncertainty not strength so I will pass this time.

  • McNarry fan club

    so thats mcnarry, ferguson and black. three votes, sure to win.

  • David

    Duncan I can’t help thinking that a lot of the “core unionist values” that people want to recapture are matters of style and symbolism rather than policy. All the flags, badges and loyal orders stuff which the post-GFA UUP seems to have forgotten about.

  • davidbrew

    “David Brewster if you had stayed in the party you could have been a candidate.”

    Retract or I will hunt you down and rip you limb from limb.

    Dunc- please be assured that I don’t believe you were being uncivil, and I never object to a bit of knockabout. I’ve often had a go at you on Slugger, as you know, so I can’t complain. I may have a razor wit, though I doubt it, but noone can accuse me of having a razor :0)

  • davidbrew

    BTW T.ruth your assertion that all Peter Robinson’s opponents got peerages is wrong-rememebr poor old Bill Craig from 1979? Not to mention mysterious director of elections in the recent “one seat is a great victory ” campaign, Lord Lemon, who lost in 2001

  • steve48

    We have already had one leader whose “strong” personality got us to the point we are now in. The issue is whether or not we have a leader who will now listen rather than dictate his own views. All evidence suggests that McNarry will be incapable of listening to any view other than his own.

  • la redoute

    David i will retract my statement i wouldnt wish that fate on my worst enemy,although you are a gunners fan i may make an exception for you!

  • la redoute

    David i will retract my statement i wouldnt wish that fate on my worst enemy,although you are a gunners fan i may make an exception for you!

  • DCB


    Oliver Napier never got a peerage, though he did a lot more to deserve one that Aldernice

  • G2


    Mr Gregory Campbell
    Mrs Iris Robinson
    Mr Nigel Dodds
    Mr Peter Robinson
    Rev William McCrea
    * 5

       That this House acknowledges the results of the General Election, particularly in Northern Ireland, where nine Democratic Unionist honourable Members were returned compared with one Ulster Unionist honourable Member; accepts that this is the clearest possible expression of the will of the Unionist community in Northern Ireland; urges the Government to recognise this fact; and, in the obvious absence of the Provisional IRA winding up its organisation, demands that the Direct Rule system of Government be made much more open, accountable and responsive to the needs of the people in the Province.