Voters choosing a communial carve up…

Despite the early criticism of Reg Empey, the boundaries of where the party is taking its fight have begun to change already. Michael McGimpsey has a think piece in the Andersonstown News. In it he argues that voting for the DUP and Sinn Fein people are choosing a communial carve up rather than voting to work together across the divide. He will surely need to provide some evidence that his party (and presumably the SDLP) can provide that alternative, if they are to incentivise their increasingly disillusioned middle class former voters to come back to them.

  • fair_deal

    “choosing a commual carve up”

    Did he not read the Belfast Agreement?

  • Waitnsee

    Well exactly Mick, this is all very well for McGimpsey to write but what’s his party’s programme for an alternative? Blithering on about parades and ignoring loyalist attacks?
    A step in the right direction – with no shoes on.

  • reality check

    What with with Empey labelling sinn fein and their supporters as “travellers”we nationalists will no doubt embrace this.Aye right McGimpsey

  • Dick Doggins

    Both the UUP and especially the SDLP have a long way to go before the electorate gaves them anything near a respectful vote again.
    In the case of the UUP its back to the tactics of out DUPing the DUP and dropping that pathetic, “only decent people vote” logic.

    In the SDLP`s case, do they even have a way back?
    Their middle class vote base has been moving gradually towards SF, election after election and with so many schisms and power groupings within such a small membership base… many egos in otherwards, their only hope again rests on a re-alignment of Irish politics….

    Ok guys on the toss of a coin do we join with FF or FG to halt the SF bandwagon!!!!!

  • Baluba

    Mmm…didn’t Empey pledge to put parades at the top of his agenda? Talk apart communial carve ups – nthing carves us up better Reggie boyo!

    As for Mc Gimpsey, I’ve seen livelier and more charismatic corpses.

    Less people voting DUP however, can only be a good thing. If Paisley ever becomes First Minister of this place I don’t think I’ll be able to face the shame in front of the world. The idiot who thinks the Pope is the anti-christ and trying to take over the world.

    If I believed in a god I’d ask him to save me from the likes of big Ian.

  • Mick


    “Their middle class vote base has been moving gradually towards SF…”

    Is this really the case? I’ve not seen any tangible evidence that there’s a direct move over. Rather Sinn Fein seems to be benefiting from a switching off of the middle voter segment from politics in general.

  • bertie

    Poor Micheal can’t come to terms with the fact that so many people voted DUP in South Belfast because they couldn’t abide HIM. Its easier for him to thnik it was down to something else.

  • yerman

    How exactly does whinging about the alledged ‘carve-up’ change anything now? The UUP used a large portion of their election campaign to highlight the supposed dangers of (on the unionist side) voting for the DUP and used that phrase, or very similar ones, in an attempt to frighten the (unionist) electorate from voting DUP. They have now done so and the sky hasn’t fallen in, so why go back to voting for the UUP?

    I think there is an analagy with the Tories in mainland UK. Many people have steadfastly refused to go back to voting for the Tories, even though they now have no love for Labour because they have refused to acknowledge their past wrongs, and make any apology for them. No-one doubts that they may well want to move on and change direction, but the whiff of arrogance is hard to get rid off if you wont say sorry.

    The UUP also have the problem of continued mixed messages. They want the mythical ‘garden centre prods’ back on one hand so keep trying to nick Alliance territory, then they swing the other way and try to win back the traditional unionist voter. Unfortunately its practically impossible to successfully do both and so they fail on both counts.

  • Gonzo

    It’s ‘communal’ folks. Don’t tink its been spelld rite on this thred yet.

  • irishman

    Wrong Mick.

    You’re making the mistake of assuming that m/c nationalists aren’t voting and Sinn Fein are retaining their vote by simply getting the core out on polling day.

    This ignores the critical impact electoral registration has had on the overall electorate here, but particularly on the working class areas.

    Thus, for Sinn Fein to get upwards of 24,000 in West Belfast this year- and for the SDLP to further collapse in the constituency- illustrates a level of m/c shift.

    This is repeated in other areas of the north, most clearly by looking at local government results.

    Across N Antrim for instance, Sinn Fein experienced a surge in support precisely because of m/c nationalists switching to the party- likewise in parts of Coleraine and Limavady councils.

    You are right, however, to point to this being a rather sketchy development. Apart from electoral registration, nationalist apathy has grown since 2001, affecting the SDLP more than Sinn Fein- though it could be the case that a large chink of this electoral bloc is made up of disillusioned SDLP voters who were turned off voting Sinn Fein due to the McCartney/ Bank episodes- in Antrim Council, the number of nationalist voters actuelly dropped in the constituency incorporating Crumlin, one of the fastest growing areas of the north.

    Likewise in the neighbouring constituency in Lisburn which incorporates Glenavy. My suspicion would be that these m/c nationalists, most of whom made the move from N/W Belfast, were switched off the election and more specifically Sinn Fein due to the adverse situation the party found itself in in the early part of this year.

  • Henry94

    I must say I loughed out loud at the end of the article

    The tradition of generosity towards others, acceptance of others’ beliefs and the confidence to allow everyone to celebrate their own culture in a spirit that sees tolerance as a strength rather than a weakness, and an understanding that cultural diversity is something which can enrich us all.

    In other words the solution to the communal carve-up is to let the Orange Order march in nationalist areas. What a joke.

  • Crow


    I would agree that the impact of the Electoral Register shake-out continues to have a far bigger impact on the nationalist electorate than m/c disillusionment, albeit still a factor.

    However the example you gave in Antrim was incorrect. Both the overall nationalist vote and the nationalist percentage of the total poll increased in Antrim South East, the electoral area that contains the Crumlin ward.

  • Dessertspoon

    Most voters, well people with the ability to vote, are not choosing anyone or anything because they don’t feel there is a real choice to be made. I can understand that feeling and have even felt like giving in to voter apathy myself at times. That said never trust the people to make the right choice, the people are the ones who go out and buy all those awful singles like the Crazy Frog or Mr Blobby or worse still watch and vote for reality TV constestants. Perhaps some sort of benevolent dictatorship is required or rotating Presidency with no-one actually getting long enough to do too much damage – can’t be any worse than what we have now.

    I would like to be considered for the position of benevolent Dictator should Norn Iron choose to go that way – Thanks.

  • fair_deal

    I bags the second term 😉

  • irishman


    You’re forgetting to add the votes garnered by the independent candidate in 2001 in Antrim S East, who was a clear nationalist and would’ve taken his 330+ votes from nationalists.

  • George

    McGimpsey goes on about communality.

    If unionists have so much in common with nationalists then they must have a lot in common with the other Irish people on this island, those from the the Irish Republic. But we’re foreigners apparently, as alien as the French or Germans.

    McGimpsey says we have “far more in common than we have points of difference” but the idea of actually working with the whole of the Irish people for the good of all of us would be considered treason. How does he square that circle?

    You already live in a benevolent dictatorship, it’s called Direct Rule.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist


    The overall turnout in SE.Antrim was down 1000 from 2001.Interestingly the SDLP’s vote rose by 200 while SF’s decreased by 50. This may have something to do with the independent but both Unionist and Nationalist turnouts were down this year.


    “But we’re foreigners apparently”
    Well you do live in a completely different country. It does not get much simpler than that.

  • George

    but there are 300,000 foreigners (Irish passport holders) living in Northern Ireland at the moment, a 900% increase in the last 8 years. This number is only going to grow.

    This is the issue unionism has to address. Under the GFA, one can be Irish, British or both and so far nearly 300,000 have taken the Irish option (there were just 28,000 Irish passport holders in NI pre 1998).

    But unionism still hasn’t got its head around this development and thinks that it can somehow keep things as they are.

    I’m just wondering how Empey in this case (and unionism in general) can square this circle.

    The UUP can’t go on about how much both traditions have in common in one breath and in the other call Irish people living in Ireland foreigners. How can you be a foreigner in your own country?

    This is the root problem of the simply British policy and British unionism in general. The death of the Irish unionist means unionism in Ireland is dying but for some reason Northern Ireland unionism doesn’t realise this.

    I accept trying to address this opens up the charge of the UUP being Free State unionists but what other direction is there to go in?

    More British and more Protestant than the British and Protestant DUP?