On the hunt for a few extra votes and preferences

Both the DUP and UUP have taken out adverts in today’s edition of Andersonstown News (AFAIK the first time this has happened). The Diane Dodds ad is targeted at social conservatives, focusing on the recent LGB regulations that the Churches opposed and pro-life issues. (Full-size ad here). Louie West’s ad takes a broad approach stressing his community work and commitment to a restored Executive. (Full size ad here). These ads raise the question, how can parties start appealing beyond their natural constituencies, especially to the most difficult audiences?

  • joeCanuck

    A positive development, even though I may not agree with the message..

  • Chris Donnelly

    Saw the ads this morning. Reminded me of a rumour I heard two weeks ago that the DUP had canvassed a number of houses in the Mount Eagles development in Lagmore: Interesting, but really a waste of time and energy (and in this regard, money.)

    The fact remains that the readership of the Andersonstown News are more than likely to be bouyed into turning out on election day to vote against these two candidates then they are to transfer allegiance across the political chasm by these adverts.

  • Mick Fealty

    A colleague asks:

    “What’s actually in it for the DUP?” – ie, will it actually bring them any votes? Or is it more likely to create difficulties for Sinn Fein and the SDLP, both which have a record of fudging it, to different degrees?

  • Yokel

    No harm poking the stick in there and seeing what results.

  • If they were going to attack the Shinners and Stoops on gay marriage, they should have done it directly. ‘Hain’s anti-family agenda’ is much too cryptic a statement.

    Much as I disagree with the message, a clever tactic, poorly executed.

  • slug

    It does point to the future, however. As we move towards the socioeconomic, parties can start to appeal to people outside the traditional fold. For instance, on grammar schools, etc.

  • cynical

    Very 1950s both in message and design, clearly shows the DUP do not understand the catholic populace that they are trying to attract transfers from.

  • willis

    Hopefully by next time Diane will be photographed with a bishop and Jim Molyneaux.

  • wee ulsterman

    Interesting how the UUP message went for a more mainstream appeal and gave reasons why anyone could vote for their candidate.

    The DUPs by contrast went straight for thinly disguised gay-bashing and appealing to the anti-choice vote…

  • Mick Fealty

    Indeed. And it is likely there is going to be a very tight margin in this contest. Andersonstown is not as homeogenous as it seems. At least one of the Unionist parties have several members there.

  • sms

    this would seem to be a clever tactic by D.U.P.
    there are catholics in the west Belfast constituency who feel very strongly about pro life issues and are frequently in the company of the Rev Mcilveen a free presbyterian minister and strong anti abortionist.Remember that the last seat here will be won or lost by a handful of votes.

  • I did wonder what Hain’s “anti-family agenda” was, thanks for clearing that up.

    Personally I’m glad to see they at least feel it’s worthwhile, let’s see if it makes any difference on Wednesday.

  • Bohereen

    wasn’t Dianne Dodds elected on the last count, last time?
    There’s a unionistic seat to be had in Occidental Belfast and the ATN is the local paper, like it or not.

  • Crataegus

    I regard this as a really positive development and hope it continues and increases in future elections. Can’t wait for the SF canvass in Mount Merrion or Monkstown.

  • Yokel

    As an aside, I’ve heard the register on the unionist side is down over 1000 on last election in West Belfast. Admittedly an incraese in unionist turnout, which is very possible this time, would probably see Dodds through.

    Overall registration is down in West Belfast but it looks a bit disproportionate on the unionist side.

    Modest increase in the postal votes in W Belfast I notice…

  • 811 is a high number of postal votes for a Belfast constituency in the past couple of decades. I wonder what the addresses on them are???

    The register in West Belfast is well down on 2005 but actually slightly up on the last Assembly elections in 2003.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    It could have something to do with many from West Belfast heading to Milan for the Celtic champions league encounter and wishing to ensure their vote is registered and in good time.

  • Yokel

    I can certainly guess where the addresses are but I’d be accused of kneejerk bias.

    Thanks for the context Sammy on the register. I haven’t heard of any panic on the unionist side of the Reservation. I suspect its going to be the usual problem, getting them out to vote esocially in thsi pigging weather.

  • SuperSoupy


    Worth remembering the 2005 register had a carry over of voters that didn’t send in a form. I know this leads to two families being registered at the same house – the old and new occupants.

  • StarHound

    Sinn Féin did some publicity on postal votes to Celtic fans as soon as the dates clash became evident.

    Surely an example of good planning rather than anything else.

  • Worth remembering the 2005 register had a carry over of voters that didn’t send in a form.

    Sure. They really need to sort out whether we have compulsory annual registration or not; it seems to change from year to year, although I’d heard this was to be the last year with it.

  • Truth and Justice

    Good move by DUP and UUP

  • John Farrell

    Its reminiscent of a pro-life meeting I attended in 1983.
    At that time there was a pro-life newspaper advert signed by some of the most reactionary Tories and David Alton (Liberal)….no Labour men or women raising their heads above the parapets on this delicate issue (Labour at that time in the control of dungaree wearing uber feminists).

    Anyway we were shown gory images of abortions and reminded that SDLP UUP DUP and Sinn Fein were all anti extendending “UK” abortion laws to NI but Alliance favoured the extension.
    As people here know, I have no time for Alliance holier than thou types but for once I felt sorry for them.
    The message was that abortion is bad.
    But favouring nuclear weapons wasnt so bad.
    Shoot to kill was bearable.
    Shooting farmers UDR sons on tractors on the Fermanagh border was tolerable.
    But abortion was uniquely bad.

  • Re West Belfast: I make it 7051 voters in Protestant parts of Court DEA (i.e. minus Mountainview and Springdale Gardens). And there’s a few hundred in Suffolk on top of that. It is still the DUP’s to lose.

  • bohereen

    hence the ads in the Andytown News.
    Not much to do with crossing the great divide, I would imagine.

  • Nobody’s arguing that it isn’t totally self-serving, but they’re clearly targeting nationalists or at least “members of the Catholic community” with these ads. Perhaps they’re finally waking up to the realisation that there are limits to how much the local parties can grow within their own narrowly defined support bases.

  • Comrade Stalin

    This tactic is about trying to get votes from Catholic conservatives, particularly over abortion. These exist and I have encountered them on the doorsteps, long ago. As Sammy has said, it’s so well executed but it is plain what they’re trying to do.

  • interested

    Of course its about reaching out to people who wouldnt normally vote unionist – lets put it plainly, Prods in West Belfast dont buy the Andytown News.

    The Dodds one does try a particular tactic with the pro-life issue, which may only be worth a few dozen votes in Catholic West Belfast but then this is a seat which could well turn on less than 100 votes.

    The Dodds advert is more subtle in one aspect though. That little line which says “or other preference” is the most interesting. Could be a few SDLP transfers in there somewhere. A few third preferences from SDLP voters could be very useful.

  • smcgiff

    “Don’t be Stupid, Be a Smarty
    Go and vote, for the UUP party”