A FAIR run against young Murphy

Turlough Murphy is running for a vacant council seat in the Fews dsitrict of Newry and Mourne. Not much news there, but it gets more interesting. Turlough is the brother of Conor Murphy MP for the South Armagh. And his opponent is none other than Willie Frasier Frazer from FAIR. Both the UU and DUP stood aside to let Wille have a clear run at the seat. Nomination papers were handed in to the council on Friday for the seat, which was vacated by Sinn Fein councillor Brendan Lewis in May.
Mr Frazer, a prominent campaigner from Markethill, said he was standing for the seat to give a voice to victims in south Armagh.

“It’s not the Nationalist community I have a problem with, it’s the Republican community,” he said. “The reasons I am standing for the seat is, one, it shows that the DUP and UUP, who have offered their full support for me, can come together for important issues. The second reason is to highlight what is going on in the south Armagh area. The people of this area now have a choice; vote for the perpetrator or vote for the victim. I want to give the victims in south Armagh a proper voice.”

The provisional date for the by-election is Wednesday August 9.

  • Stephen Copeland

    … Willie Frasier from FAIR …

    You’re watching too much TV, Miss Fitz. He is a Frazer, not a Frasier!

    About the election, though, it is a bit disingenious to present it as a Frazer-Murphy head-to-head. The total unionist vote in Fews in 2005 was barely more than the SF vote (2446 against 2387), but since a council by-election is essentially a first-past-the-post election the real winner will be the SDLP, who got 3393 votes in 2005 (or over 41% of the vote).

    So barring an SDLP melt-down, this is a bit of a non-story. Obviously a meltdown would make it more interesting, but we’re not going to know that till after August 9.

  • Pete Baker

    Sheila

    Probably worth noting some of the background to the decision by the previous SF councillor to resign from office – leading to this by-election contest.

    I don’t, unfortunately, have a more recent update than this post from October last year, although I think the courts may still be involved?

    There’s just this article on the resignation and the attempt to co-opt Turlough Murphy

    Worth pointing out too that, despite the accusation by SF in the Newry and Mourne case, the auditor has not been selective when censuring councillors

  • Stephen Copeland

    Addendum: my post above assumes that the SDLP will stand a candidate, which is not obvious from the article in the Newry Democrat. If they do not, they are handing a potential seat over, which would be a strange thing to do.

  • Keith M

    I’m not sure where you are getting your figures from Stephen. Nick Whyte’s almost always reliable site shows the breakdown in The Fews as follows ;

    SF: 3,571 (43.4%), 3 seats
    SDLP: 2,209 (26.9%), 1 seat
    UUP: 1,765 (21.5%), 1 seat
    DUP: 681 (8.3%), 1 seat

    With the best will in the world Frazer hasn’t a hope unless the SDLP direct their supporters to go for him rather than Murphy as there’s as much chance of that as pigs flying in formation.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Blast the evil effects of a good bottle of bordeaux. My figures above are all wrong. The total SF vote was actually 3571 (or 43.4%), and the SDLP vote was 2209 (26.9%). So it is a safish SF seat for young Turlough, and a mountain to climb for Willie, who has only the 29.7% unionist base to rely on (and I presume some of them can’t stand the man either).

  • Keith M

    Thanks Pete, in copuncils in this country co-option is normally the we go and I really don’t see the point of a by-election in what is such a powerless position. Either allow co-option by the party that has lost the councilor, have a vote of the other council members or just let the seat empty until the next full council election.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Keith M,

    Yeah, there was a glitch in my spreadsheet. All sorted out now, thanks!

  • Pete Baker

    Co-option is normally the way things go up here too, Keith.. although not always that way recently.

    But these are specific circumstances. The resignation seems to have been connected to the potential fallout from the surcharging and wilful misconduct – which, in turn, relates to an equality case brought by Willie Frazer.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Stephen

    The SDLP have publicly stated that they will not be standing in this election and, furthermore, have directed their supporters to ignore the election and not vote on the day.

    Shouldn’t matter though, as Sinn Fein will safely will this election on the accurate figures set out above.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Chris,

    If the SDLP voters do stay at home, then this really is a non-story. No SF voter is going to switch to vote for Frazer, so his vote is stuck at the ceiling of 29.7%. On the other hand, if the drift from SDLP to SF continues, then their base should be over 45%.

    (caveat: that does not mean that a vote below 45% is a ‘defeat’ for SF, as many voters tend not to bother themselves if their preferred candidate seems to be a shoe-in)

    Maybe Willie is just keeping his pot simmering in anticipation of the next election, when the new super-council will give him a better chance, as its DEAs will have to be bigger.

  • Fenian Bastard

    Given that Fraiser claims that the protestants community was ethnically cleansed from the area surely on that basis he won’t get a single vote…..well except those who vote alphabetically.

  • Rory

    Living a quiet sheltered life in London as I do I had not hithertofore been much aware of Mr Fraser. Nevertheless, whatever of the political ethnography of the constituency, I was most impressed by the day-glo technicolour presentation of his website.

    It is a style most favoured by ardent right wingers, survivalists and pornographers (often the same people) across the web and if there is a surfeit of solitary, lonely masturbators in the Mournes he may yet do well

    But that is not my memory of experience of that fair place.

    Perhaps Mr Fraser is confusing it with crude Hollywood representations of the Ozarks – another most maligned and misunderstood beauty spot in the USA.

    I perhaps ought to wish Mr Fraser well in his endeavours but somehow I do not think that I will.

  • harpo

    ‘It is a style most favoured by ardent right wingers, survivalists and pornographers (often the same people) across the web’

    Rory:

    How do you know that? Are you a consumer of material posted on the inter-web by ardent right wingers, survivalists and pornographers? You must be as you are pretty sure about this style that is favoured by such people ‘across the web’. Presumably this means that you aren’t just talking on the basis of having seen a small sample of such material, but a wide range of it.

    ‘Perhaps Mr Fraser is confusing it with crude Hollywood representations of the Ozarks’

    No – again that seems to be you. Why are you projecting what you consume onto another person?

    The very fact that you had to comment about the FAIR web-site – in a crude and unsuccessful attempt to put it down – shows once again that Willie Frazer gets under the skin of many people. And such people routinely engage in stupid attempted put-downs – like your one here – while pretending that they don’t care about Frazer. You obviously do care about Frazer since you felt the need to post such nonsense.

    I say good for Frazer for getting to people like you. For all your attempts to say that you don’t care about him, you quite obviously do.

  • bertie

    I wish Willie Frazer all the best and I would definitly give him my vote.

  • “It’s not the Nationalist community I have a problem with, it’s the Republican community,”

    The fact that over 3/4 of those who vote in South Armagh vote for Sinn Féin says it all.

    vote for the perpetrator or vote for the victim.

    Ah right, he can stick that innocent victims nonsense where the sun don’t shine. People in South Armagh are more than aware of some of his family members AKA ‘Innocent victims’ past association/membership of the Gleanne Gang and the activites that they were involved in.

    It isn’t even a contest!

  • páid

    Let’s not forget in all of this (as Gerry would say) that “election” is a dodgy description of this contest; implying some kind of democracy at work.

    There will be one issue – the Border.

    No one alive ever voted in any political election in South Armagh on any other subject.

    And the result will be determined by the pencilled boundary of the electorate.

    No-one will vote on the basis of Willie’s taxation policy or Turlough’s environmental record.

    I don’t agree with the aforementioned Mr Adams on very much at all, but when he described NI as a “political slum”, he had a point.

  • harpo

    ‘People in South Armagh are more than aware of some of his family members AKA ‘Innocent victims’ past’

    So because there are accusations about the supposed activities of members of his family, that he means that he can’t be trusted? Is that it?

    The name Pat Finucane comes to mind.

    But then Pat Finucane is called a human rights activist. How does that work? Don’t the actual activities of his brothers work against him?

    Double standards again here Chris. Care to explain the difference?

    Oh, and does your ‘he can stick that innocent victims nonsense where the sun don’t shine’ apply in the case of Finucane?

    I really fail to see how lashing out at the supposed activities of members of Frazer’s family means that people who were murdered by the PIRA and other IR terror gangs weren’t actually innocent victims.

    Are you saying that they weren’t actually innocent victims? If they weren’t then what were they?

    I’d say you are scared to address the crimes carried out by IRs. Instead you engage in whataboutery, in this case,
    ‘whatabout certain family members of this guy who talks about innocent victims?’.

    Explain yourself Chris.

  • john

    Willie Frazer was quoted as “having a lot of time for Billy Wright”

    Hardly someone to lead a victims group, if he held a mass murderer in such high regard.

  • Rory

    Hi, Harpo.

    Of course I have seen a lot of nutty right wing, survivalist and ponongraphic sites on the web. Haven’t you? Good God, I can see the same sort of stuff in printed form at my local newsagent and all much in a similar garish ‘look at me’ format, no doubt designed for gullible idiots such as I. That is how I recognise Mr Fraser’s style.

    Bit like the gals on the other sites – good for an old bit of a fleeting auto erotic thrill of emptiness – but not someone you might want to bring home and introduce to mother.

    However I am sure that Mr Fraser is simply a type of chap who likes a lot of pink and purple and day-glo about the place. Nothing wrong with that.

    In fact I was just about to take some old tapes down to Oxfam and I wonder should I send him the ABBA one and perhaps the Judy Garland?

    They may help to console the poor fellow after the election results.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Stop it Rory, you are killing me;¬)

    Oor Wullie, seems to thrive on attention. Without it he is just another grumbling fenian-hater. Well the tax-payer is again paying for sectarian coat trailing. This is not about democracy, it’s about exhibitionism.

  • Loyalist

    Frazer will undoubetly be hammered at the polls, but if he gets above 31% we can safely assume that there are a significant number of nationalists who gave him their votes. This will be a victory for him.

  • Stephen Copeland

    loyalist,

    … if he gets above 31% we can safely assume that there are a significant number of nationalists who gave him their votes …

    Not necessarily. If turn-out is lower amongst nationalists (because they assume their votes aren’t necessary as Turlough will walk it), then Frazer could get over 31% purely on the unionist voters.

    The whole picture; turn-out, actual votes, percentage votes, will need to be examined and analysed before we’ll know what (if anything) happened. Anoraks like me are already salivating at the thought ….

  • Chris Donnelly

    … if he gets above 31% we can safely assume that there are a significant number of nationalists who gave him their votes …

    Loyalist
    By this logic, if Murphy takes over 71% of the vote, then are we to assume a ‘significant number of unionists’ voted for him????

    I think it’s safe to assume that, whatever else happens in this contest, neither Frazer nor Murphy are likely to benefit from significant cross-community voting. If you believe otherwise, you’re only kidding yourself.

  • So because there are accusations about the supposed activities of members of his family, that he means that he can’t be trusted? Is that it?

    No thatis not it, it has everything to do with integrity. Frazer presents a hierarchy of victimhood and presents some of his own family members as ‘innocent victims’ killed because of their religion.

    That is a lie!

    The Gleanne Gang were responsible for the Dublin Monaghan bombings, the bombing of Kay’s tavern in Dundalk, the bombing of the bar at silverbridge and a host of sectarian killings along the South Armagh and North Louth/monaghan border.

    Don’t the actual activities of his brothers work against him?

    Of course not but then again none of his family members are telling lies about their history.

    Are you saying that they weren’t actually innocent victims? If they weren’t then what were they?

    Of course they were victims but they were combatants, they were not non-combatents as Frazer suggests.

    That is the difference!

  • Stephen Copeland

    loyalist,

    The unionist vote in Fews has been relatively stable over the past four local elections;

    1993: 2559
    1997: 2562
    2001: 2651
    2005: 2446

    So, if Frazer can pull in over 2700, then he will really have something to crow about. They most certainly won’t be nationalist votes, of course, but they may be ‘natural’ unionist voters who have not bothered to vote over the past decade or so.

    If he scores less than 2400, then it will be clear that even his ‘natural’ constituency doesn’t like him. But again with a caveat – if unionists are convinced that he hasn’t a prayer, then they mightn’t waste a half-hour going to vote, even if they are sympathetic to him.

  • Rory

    … if he gets above 31% we can safely assume that there are a significant number of nationalists who gave him their votes …

    If your assumption should prove to be correct, Stephen, and Fraser does win a “significant number of nationalist (votes)” then I think questions will have to be raised about mental health care in the Mourne District.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Rory, Rory, Rory …

    Please re-read the thread!

    I most certainly did not make that assumption. I was quoting from a post by loyalist (I thought the fact that I put the quote in italics might have given that away). I don’t think that Frazer will get one single nationalist vote, any more than Murphy will get a unionist vote. We’re talking strictly ‘two tribes’ here.

  • Greenflag

    The fact that this ‘waste’ of an election will cost thousands of pounds of taxpayers money does not seem to have dawned on any posters . Co option should have been used to fill the seat .

    As always in NI the only issue will be the border . Why not just use the results of the last census ?

  • Keith M

    Greenflag “As always in NI the only issue will be the border.” I’m sorry but I can’t let this simplistic nonsense go unchallenged.

    People in Northern Ireland (and indeed in broader Ulster) voted along sectarian lines for decades before the border was introduced. The border didn’t instigate sectarian voting, it was simply a manifestation of it.

    Read the history of places like Portadown and you’ll see it was a troublespot for generations before the IFS left the U.K.

  • Frazer will undoubetly be hammered at the polls, but if he gets above 31% we can safely assume that there are a significant number of nationalists who gave him their votes

    ———————————

    Not at all accurate. If Sinn Féin keep their percentage vote solid from the last election and Frazer gets the same percentage as the UUP and DUP combined vote then Frazer will receive 41% of the vote provided that the SDLP supporters stay at home as their party has asked them to do.

    There is not a chance of Frazer attracting cross community support.

  • Rory

    My profound apologies, Stephen. On rereading I see that I have mistakenly given you credit for what was actually a quotation by you from remarks made by Loyalist.

    I really should have rechecked before posting and I did have a slightly uneasy feeling later that the quotation didn’t really seem to fit in with the general tenor of your contributions on this topic.

    Again, apologies. Please don’t cut me out of the will.

  • Turbo Paul

    With name recognition at a premium in South Armagh,
    Willie Frazer’s best chance is to change his name to

    Murphy, Murphy,

    I am sure this may get him 50% of the vote!!!!!

  • Viewer

    When thinking about costs of this by-election, what about the hundreds of thousands being spent in this area of the border on cleaning up fuel laundering acid sludge? Who cares?

    Do you really think unionists in this area will feel safe being spotted voting by republicans, or will they just play safe and stay at home?

    Do you really think Willie Frazer wants to win this election?

    Do you really think Sinn Fein haven’t forced a by-election in Newry and Mourne in recent years?

    Nuff said.
    Viewer