And then there were seven….

Another DUP councillor, Banbridge’s Stephen Herron, has announced his resignation from the party, bringing the total number of post-Adams/Paisley Kodak moment walkout DUP councillors to seven across the north. Whilst the trickle of disaffected deserters won’t pose any real threat to the DUP leadership, it is an indication of the continuing shock within a section of the DUP (formerly?) faithful at the pace of change as we move towards Devolution Day in May. Meanwhile, newly-declared Independent Unionist MEP, Jim Allister, has been reacting to Sinn Fein’s choice of ministries ahead of the new Executive’s formation.

  • SuperSoupy

    Chris,

    Allister’s angst over SF ministries may have less to do with ‘Marxism’ and more to do with the areas he concentrates on in the European Parliament.

    He sits on 3 committees – Agriculture, Fisheries and Constituitional Affairs.

    His previous strong lobbying activity on Agriculture and Fisheries will be greatly disrupted by a SF regional minister. He must be gutted.

    Anyone know if former Slugger regular Christopher Stalford has resigned from his office?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Wee Willie Wilkinson in Ballymena is considering his position, although his disciplinary may affect this.

    The other ex-DUPEs in Ballymena are thinking about forming some kind of coalition.

  • rapunsel

    If what I hear about his ” management ” of the FAIR organisation is true. Wee Willie Wilkinson will be no loss to the DUP. Was it not the case that he was only selected in the first place due to a certain high profile within the FAIR group? How must relationships be in that workplace with William Frazer running against the DUP in a number of constituencies. I expect that party managers knew that Mr Wilkinson was never really with them anyway

  • Dave

    People can’t keep dismissing all these defections from the DUP as trivial.

  • Dave, lets remember that SF also lost a few councillors after signing up to policing. The fact still remains that no MLA has left the DUP yet which I think would be a bigger story, despite some obvious reservations. Allister was no big surprise but I think the DUP can live with that as it is unlikely he will stand in next Euro election, and they will hope to get this seat back then.

  • SuperSoupy

    Dave,

    You want to bet? Mick dismissed questions of problems pre-election as there weren’t enough resignations. Now the multiple resignations will be dismissed as of too low quality (ignore Allister, party founders etc).

    Haven’t you worked it out? Problems are only big when they’re SF’s.

  • Dave, there’s no easy bridge for those who adopt a “religious and morally certain superiority” and the practical realities and demands of politics.

    obviously we must strive to apply principles of perfection to a world of imperfection.

    I think this is what is doing their nut in, but this superiority is unattainable, esp in a place marred by conflict.

    Reaching out to each other across the divide is in my opinion morally superior to NOT doing that, given the conditions. So I just think these 7 dudes are just plain WRONG.

    But its not an easy place to be in of course.

  • Dave

    Parcifal

    I’m not necessarily against what you are saying but I do feel that the DUP has went completely back on many of the pledges it has made and requirements it laid down before Sinn Fein could enter government.

    This is why I feel in the future problems could arise. One person who will loose a lot of credibility if he does not back up his words with actions is Mcrea, he wont be a favourite among voters if he doesn’t register some protest.

  • Dave,
    weren’t those supposed pledges just statements; off the cuff if you like, made by guys like Simpson in January, ie a life-time before Policing and Justice powers are transferred.

    By reasonable standards SF have done well in word and deed supporting the PSNI; and there’s no going back.

    I wonder if these 7 just simply cannot contemplate the possibility of ever sharing power with SF , whatever the circumstances, for the above reasons in my first post.

    Also Paisley insisted he needed more time to prepare unionists before May 8th; so in a way that can be construed as an “unofficial” testing period.

    Maybe these guys are being too unreasonable.
    God love them.

  • Dave

    Parcifal

    I won’t make any presumptions as to whether you are a Unionist/Nationalist/Neither or other but for ME from a Unionist perspective its very difficult to stomach Sinn Fein in government due to their past terrorist activities and due to their continual promotion of so called Repbublican martyrs.

  • well Dave, straight up. I appreciate that.

    The natives disagree of course and argue they had no voice; and as a result violence poured out onto the streets!

    Jaw jaw not war war
    Maybe thats the lesson here.

    I’m glad you’re prepared to give it a go though; despite your reservation. I feel certain norn iron’s best days are ahead of her, ina shared future.

  • Sam Flanagan

    I would love to hear a FP minister preach upon the subject — “Why I support Pope Lundy the first going into government with IRA/MI5 mass-murderers”, I would travel anywhere just to hear it!

  • páid

    I think the BBC is a pro-British, anti-Irish influence in NI. And a well-funded one at that.

    É sin ráite, BBC Newsline’s report on the resignations last night was interesting.

    Me no fan of Ballymena backwoodsmen but the report bordered on taking the piss. Old clips of daft councillors and a well-edited vox pop.

    Anyone would think they were working to a pro-Agreement agenda.

  • Rubicon

    Dave – you were DUPed (if you were duped) because you wanted to be. To the right of the DUP is a cliff. Some think it courageous to jump, most think they’re lemmings when they do but there’s precious little sympathy for the weak kneed who quiver and whinge on the cliff’s edge.

    Either unionism shares power NOW or it’ll return to the table in “x” years with a worse deal. Unionism should be celebrating their constitutional success – but – it can’t. It couldn’t in ’98 and the weak-kneed bigots can’t do it now. Don’t be blaming Paisley for your own lack of back bone! Do you dream of being an orange superhero? When you wake up – are you living that dream?

    You’re on a cliff edge. Jump! Which way is your choice – but for God’s sake stop being a big girls blouse!

  • SuperSoupy

    Paíd,

    How do I LOL as gaelige?

    Do sheangháire a ligean? dSal? (too much?)

  • SuperSoupy

    Páid,

    Apologies for the badly placed síneadh fada.

  • abucs

    Agree with ‘A Point of View’. Like the UUP, it will only damage the DUP if they start losing assembly members.

    As long as SF and HMG were true to their word, the DUP really only had one direction they could go in.

  • Lumpenprole

    Sam Flanagan – you clearly don’t believe in the concept of civil and religous liberty at all – you would rather Northern Ireland were some sort of a Taliban state ruled by the likes of you, Ivan Foster err, that’s it!

    Did you ever stop to think that Ian Paisley – a deeply religous person may have pondered long and hard over this decision and prayed about it? Talk about making God in your own image! God must be a anti-St. Andrews Agreement curmudgeon – a sort of cross between Wesley McDowell and Bob McCartney – what a nice thought!

    Your don’t have a monopoly on religous conviction and your own religous views are not the only legitimate ones. So please spare us the “Pope Lundy” crap – if that’s the best you can do, I suggest you stay on V4D were such contributions appear to be appreciated.

  • Philip

    Did Jesus not say: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers …’
    I’ll duck now lol (dSal)

  • Lumpenprole

    Philip – you’re wasting your time.

  • I Wonder

    I think we have to take talk of defection and loss of credibility for DUP MLAs with a pinch of salt.

    There was an election last month. If there was an election next month, even in the aftermath of the pledge to share power, does anyone seriously believe that Bob McCartney would win six times over?

    I say: Never, never NEVER!! 🙂

  • Lumpenprole

    Have to agree with IW, it’s interesting to note on the V4D group website that they are now objecting to the timing rather than the principle of power-sharing, which includes SF. The fact also that their arguments of a late have boiled down to nothing greater than personal vitriol and poison (see Sam F above), indicates that they have comprehensively lost the argument within Unionism. Robins Stirling et al – how many times have they embarrassed the DUP with their uber-right/religous extremist rants? No loss at all.

  • I Wonder

    L:
    I can understand frustrations in some quarters which are at least partly based – now – on having nowhere else to go.

    I still don’t think there is a credible alternative or anyone credible to articulate it even if there was one.

    Ultimately, politics is for the pragmatic and if you can’t contemplate that, then you shouldn’t be in the business. Those leaving are faced finally with the ultimate choice – what is possible and what isn’t tenable any more.

  • interested

    Maybe Wilkinson is hanging around because he can’t really claim that the electorate put him in on a tide of anti-SF feeling. The electorate didn’t even put him in at all given that he was co-opted onto a previously SDLP seat. It would hardly be a surprise to have Willie Frazers assistant resigning from the DUP – frankly the only discussion should be around why he hasn’t gone sooner.

    Frankly, losing a few Councillors in Ballymena can only help the DUP, its not like Ballymena Council was ever seen as a shining light of the DUP. From what I can see it was always viewed as something of a family embarassment, a bit like that drunk uncle at a wedding (if that’s not a very bad analogy given the personnel involved. When Michael McIlveen was murdered, who could be relied on by the Daily Ireland to put his foot firmly in the middle of it but Robin Stirling. Whenever there were Muslims to be offended then Ballymena Councillors would ‘helpfully’ step forward.

    The Voice4Democracy cranks like Sam Flan have been comprehensively beaten – and seem to be constantly searching for the great new leader who will take them to their republican-free utopia. Bob McCartney was to do it, but even he seen the fact that the people had a different view, the they hoped Jim Allister would do it, but he made it clear that he doesn’t want to lead anyone.

    There have been a grand total of about 6 or 7 resignations from the DUP – with the vast majority seeming to be in the Ballymena area, and as pointed out many times, those Councillors have hardly had a history of being either visionary, or in showing what could even sometimes be described as human decency to other people. The sheer lack of resignations from the DUP is the real story here.

  • Ian

    Chris,

    Just to be pedantic one of the seven (Davy Tweed) was pre- the Kodak moment.

  • naysayer

    “no MLA has left the DUP yet”

    Well thats not strictly true – George Ennis resigned just before the election and if you say that doesn’t count because it was before the election than neither does Davy Tweed!

  • Bigger Picture

    Unfortunatley for those involved the real result of their resignations will only lead to a strengthening of the DUP position. By getting rid of the few dissenting voices from the past the Doc will only extend his reach further into Ulster Unionist ground as he has shown that he can be the strong leading voice for unionism in Northern Ireland.

    Personally i think across the water Cameron’s also itching for a fight with the far right, to cast them off and appeal to more voters out there.

  • Bigger Picture

    Naysayer,

    George Ennis ran for selection for the DUP in Strangford and was rejected. He then conveniently realised that the whole idea was not for him and re-appeared in UKUP form, getting around 800 votes for his trouble.

  • whistling gypsy rover

    Young Master Stalford will apparently be contiuing to work for Jim Allister for the time being.
    One thing thet has me rolling in the aisles today is the mayor of Ballymena telling people that he’s been in DUP for 40years!! In fact DUP is only 36years old,and Mayor quit DUP once before in 1980s and couldn’t get elected as independent so sucked up to UUP and left them in disgust over GFA!
    Wee Willie Wilkinson could start a fight in a graveyard so between him and Robin Stirling the egomaniac there might be very little agreement within the rebel camp in Ballymena.
    BTW gotta put DUP vote up getting rid of these clowns!!