Little electoral challenge from Unionist right?

Mark Devenport interviews Robert McCartney QC MLA about the upcoming election (Realplayer reqd about 7 minutes 30 seconds in). His responses give the strong impression that there will not be a major electoral challenge from the UKUP at the next election. The call to his banner appears to have been unsuccessful despite rumours of NIO polls giving anti-St Andrews candidates a chance in a number of East Ulster constituencies. Instead he pushes the anti-agreement mantle towards the ‘heavy-hitter’ sceptics within the DUP. If this lack of direct electoral challenge holds true then “sit at home” becomes the DUP’s problem. (Hat tip to interested).

  • joeCanuck

    I think that “sit at home” potential voters will be a big problem for both S.F. and the D.U.P.
    It will certainly be interesting.
    I’m looking forward to a comparison between the actual outcome and your (extremely well researched) predictions F.D.

  • Percival

    Given that Bob’ll be facing an uphill struggle to hold on to his seat, I wouldn’t be too cocky if I were him. Maybe Bob could tell us all if he will work with ex-terrorists like Clifford Peeples in this campaign.

  • bootman

    There’s also an interview with Ruairi O’Bradaigh at the beginning of the programme,.

  • Plum Duff

    Hmmm. Two species of dinosaur on the same programme competing for the crown of Canute.

  • joeCanuck

    Nice turn of phrase Plum Duff.

  • I Wonder

    “I wouldn’t be too cocky if I were him.”

    At least you have the choice – he can’t be anything else. 🙂

  • Elvis Parker

    Plum Duff
    somewhere i actually still have one of Bob’s leaflets from 1995 entitled ‘Turning the Tide’ – methinks Bob’s looking pretty damp and salty these days

  • Sarah

    “Maybe Bob could tell us all if he will work with ex-terrorists like Clifford Peeples in this campaign.”

    You are a rank hypocrit Percival. Why do you defernd the DUP going into gov with terrorists?

  • Inspector Clouseau

    Did Bob McCartney say that Paul Berry will be getting behind him for this election?

  • Even Voice4Democracy seem to be pinning their hopes on orthodox DUP defectors these days.

    Interesting how non-sectarian secular socialist Bob’s friends use one of the clarion calls of extreme Protestant seperatism, “Come out from among them and be separate” in their leaflets.

  • FWIW I think the Unionist dissidents’ best hopes are North Down (only because Bob is already there), North Antrim (if that solicitor who writes boring letters to the Newsletter runs), South Antrim (if Girvan runs as an anti), Lagan Valley (the Reverend William Beattie has always had a tenuous relationship with the DUP at best). East Antrim might be a possibility if enough people don’t know how mad Jack McKee is. Upper Bann also ought to have a solid fundie core vote but the constituency may not be Unionist enough to elect a dissident these days (David Jones? – although his star is very much on the wane). Strangford has no obvious candidate.

    East Derry – now there’s a thought. If our own Darth Rumsfeld fancied his chances his name would probably count for something in that neck of the woods; but is he in with the DUP and pro-deal these days?

  • Dispassionately, and as an admirer of technique, not intent, just one thing: the DUP are managing their base better than the UUP managed its.

    When people like me, Darth, Watchers et al said, world without end, “… fair enough, but if you’re going to do *that*, be prepared to lose votes …” we were assured by Turtle toadies [or Turdies for short] that we were talking out of our hats (top, bowler and fedora respectively). Well, let’s look at how Robinson’s going about his snake-oiling. I don’t see how anyone who’s interested in the purely professional, as well as the dogmatic side of political life can’t but sneak admiration for the skill on display here.

  • Gold Coaster

    “His responses give the strong impression that there will not be a major electoral challenge from the UKUP at the next election.”

    You really are the king of the understatement.

  • Peter Brown

    Although a little disappointed to be left off the list Karl except as an et al (if I hadn’t already left the Party I might have had to resign over the slight which is how unionist politicians tend to react to such persoanl insults) I would qualify your accurate observations with 2 caveats.

    The UUP’s problems were compounded by the fact that the dissenters tended to occupy a disproprotionately high number of offices at every level in the Party and therefore always punched above their weight (and to my amazement seemed to retain these positions often unchallenged until we chose to leave!) and were also the Party’s workers bith at elections time and keeping the Party machine ticking over which is why in so many areas it has ground to a halt in our absence.

    Point 2 dilutes point 1 somewhat but is that despite the apparent facade that everything was fine in the Party the and the Party leader being told by his small band of yes men and telling the Party as a whole that everything would be fine while he wrestled for control of the Party the electorate were not as gullible or forgiving as the UUC and deserted the Party in droves.

    Are both these things, although perhaps not on the same scale, not also true of the rumblings in the DUP? They may never erupt as publically and as damagingly as they did in the UUP but they can still cause serious if purely internal problems and will ultimately being decided in the Paisley succession which if it becomes the crisis that it now might could split the DUP as well.

  • Truth and Justice

    I have to laugh at Bob this is the same Unionist leader that allowed Connor O Cruise to join his party who advocated that Unionists negotiate themselves into a United Ireland,Bob has no suppport in North Down he does no work on the ground and is only seen at an election,plus he has no alternative. Lets be honest what is there to vote for.

  • fair_deal

    Gold coast

    1. In the cyber world understatement rarely comes back to bite you in the ass.
    2. He added a few caveats to leave some doubt.


    “admiration for the skill on display here”

    If the skill had been applied to getting a better deal there would be less need to apply it to base management.

  • Token Dissent

    Amongst those unionists still opposed to the Good Friday Agreement (or St Andrews if it makes you DUP-ers feel better) the majority hope for Direct Rule to continue. Within this group there is genuine fear for the future, which id directing them towards dis-engagement with the political process.

    Due to a lack of electoral alternatives, and utter confusion due to the ending of old certainties, I believe that there will be a low turn out in the heartlands. The leadership of unionism lack the moral courage and the intelligence to sell the Agreement to these people.

    More broadly it is unrealistic to expect unionists to be confident about the future, when the very people who are now ‘leading’ them into power-sharing are those who have spent their entire lives preaching conspiracy theories and “sell out!” regarding power sharing with cuddly nationalists like the SDLP, never mind Gerry et al.

  • Rubicon

    A little aside from the important politics of the last Transitional Assembly debate before dissolution – I don’t think it was broadcast and it’s not in Hansard.

    It was Dawn Purvis’ first day and she took her seat in the chamber – the up-front one assigned to be shared by the UKUP and PUP. While she relaxed in her new role and was listening to the eloquence of her fellow members she was rudely interrupted.

    “You’re in my seat – get out!” demanded angry Bob.
    “I’m in the seat I was told to sit in” replied Dawn.
    “You’re in my seat and you’d better get out!” retorted Bob.
    “Leave her alone – it’s her first day” defended Paul Berry.
    “I’m not moving – you can take it up with them-‘uns” insisted Dawn while pointing to the Speaker.

    Bob stormed to the Speaker’s podium. Not sure what happened there – but he wasn’t pleased and left announcing, “I’ve had enough of this place. I’m leaving!”.

    Is Bob good to his word?

  • Crataegus

    Peter Brown

    The big difference between the UUP and DUP is, to put it bluntly, that everyone knows the sands are running out for Paisley.

    As for Bob it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he will lose his seat. Than would be a moment to savour.

  • Percival


    Did that actually happen? If so, I think its hilarious!

  • Peter Brown

    “everyone knows the sands are running out for Paisley”

    What difference does that actually make though? An inevitable rather than possible succession?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “East Derry – now there’s a thought. If our own Darth Rumsfeld fancied his chances his name would probably count for something in that neck of the woods; but is he in with the DUP and pro-deal these days? ”

    No and no- and I’m not from East Derry either, whereever that is

  • Crataegus

    Peter Brown

    The main players will all hang together for the succession. Whereas in the UUP you had to remove and undermine Trimble in the DUP you need to be mindful of how you tread as the inevitable succession will come soon. (Been saying that for years though).

  • Valenciano

    Where’s the surprise here? I’ve been saying for some time on a number of threads that the UKUP are a busted flush and that predictions of as many as 4 UKUP MLAs are very wide of the mark. He’ll do well to hold his own seat nevermind gain any more for his one man band on Bangor high street. One of the things that wins elections is strength on the ground in terms of number of activists and McCartney just doesn’t haven’t that. I expect the UKUP to go the same way as other dodos like the NIUP, NIWC, UUUP, IIP and UPNI after this election.

  • and I’m not from East Derry either, whereever that is


    I’ve been saying for some time on a number of threads that the UKUP are a busted flush

    Oh, UKUP are a busted flush alright. But I don’t think it’s beyond the bounds of possibility that a group of Independent Unionists could get elected on an anti-St. AA ticket based on local profile (whether via the Orange, writing boring letters to the Newsletter, etc.). But as the days pass with little sign of action the chances of that seem to recede.

  • Rubicon

    Parcival – it’s true as reported by MLAs and spectators who saw the incident. I could have added more – like Billy Armstrong walking in to the chamber to see Bob glowering at the Speaker while standing next to seat Dawn was sitting in (after getting no joy from the Speaker/Clerk). Bob just stood there and glowered. Dawn didn’t move. Billy asked “What’s up with Bob?” It was then that Bob made his exiting statement.

    It was probably Dawn’s first and last day at the Assembly. I can’t see her being re-elected – but was pleased to see she wasn’t to be intimidated by the bullying tactics of McCartney.

    McCartney has disappointed everyone who set up camp with him. He’s an exceptionally intelligent man with valid points to make – particularly on the NI economy. But – he behaves like a bully, wins no friends and believes himself the 2nd coming of Christ. Even those sympathetic to his politics cannot work with him.

    For all this – I hope he does stand again and get elected. I couldn’t vote for him – but his views are not ill informed and are worth considering. He may behave like a fool from time to time but he’s no fool.

    I’ve funnier anecdotes about Bob than the one above. I’ll keep them for another time ;).

  • Reader

    Sammy Morse: Oh, UKUP are a busted flush alright.
    Well – the UKUP was born as a secular integrationist party. Then McC turned into the ultimate GFA rejectionist. Since integrationism is dead for a generation, and only the zealots will respond to powersharing with abstentionism, where is the UKUP voter base for the next election? Let Bob write newspaper columns, but don’t waste a vote on him.

  • Percival


    Don’t worry, I’m sure the VD group will be desparately scrambling around looking for red-neck candidates.