Two defections and one selection…

THE deputy chairman of the DUP’s youth association, Edward Hanna (25), has announced he will be joining the Ulster Unionists. The ex-DUP executive member claimed: “The centre of DUP politics has moved from its community base and people have taken to being very arrogant and not entirely out of touch but certainly politics driven by the people. The DUP completely ripped up their manifestos after the elections. There was no consultation with the people, there was no consultation anywhere.” The DUP responded: “In this case it would be best described as sour grapes. It is up to Mr Hanna if he wishes to use arrogance and rumours as an excuse and cover.” More unusually, the former chairman of the SDLP’s Bangor branch, Andrew Muir (pictured), is joining the Alliance Party. And in the Foyle constituency, Sinn Fein has selected Martina Anderson to take Mark Durkan on in the next general election.Muir told the Belfast Telegraph his decision was in no way a criticism of leader Mark Durkan.

But he argued that with the SDLP on course to merge with Fianna Fail this year, the time was right to realign himself with a party “in tune with the real issues facing Northern Ireland today”.

“The politics of Northern Ireland are now fundamentally different than in 1998, when the Good Friday Agreement was signed, never mind 1970 when the SDLP was formed,” he said.

“As a passionate supporter of the Good Friday Agreement, the Alliance Party provides me with a natural centrist home in the post-nationalist era we now live.

“The threat of terrorism and environmental catastrophe now means that the need for European unity outweighs desires for old fashioned Irish unity.

But an SDLP spokesman claimed Mr Muir’s departure was motivated by personal ambition.

  • Twinbrook

    Its funny the posters come on this site pretending to be from an area and they are unable to compare the record of the sdlp against SF…

    Now this shows that one, the poster is out of his depth and by not being from this area, hasn`t the ability to compare like for like and party for party…

    Now do you agree that the sdlp`s dwindling electorate and non-existent membership is a reflection on and relation to that said parties inability to to work with the communities it was supposed to serve when they had a clear field before the onset of the peace process…

    Could it be that the electorate have turned their backs on the sdlp simply because they have witnessed first hand the truth about the sdlp`s brand of politics, a brand that didn`t achieve anything for the majority in our area, a brand, inwhich the sdlp`s idea of consulting, was to talk down to our communities without feeling the need to get involved on a local basis….

    The sdlp didn`t do community politics and are now paying dearly for taking our community for granted…

    Finally since you seem to only address one of my points and demand answers without answering any of the points I`ve raised speaks volumes for your lack of knowledge about West Belfast, its communities, and the apparent records of SF and the SDLP!

  • Pancho’s Horse

    I resent being called ‘Poncho’ which to my mind is a shapeless blanket which conceals all manner of irregularities – much like that party that used to dominate northern post-nationalist politics!!

  • brendan,belfast

    Twinbrook – can you point out for me where in my posts i ‘pretend’ to come from west Belfast? whether i do or do not come from the area i would have thought to be irrelevant but it is a point you appear to want to return to again and again.

    Thanks. if you could copy and paste the actual line that’d be great.

    Anything yet on the job creation efforts you saw “in person”?

  • Ulidian

    Great to see the entire membership of Queen’s DUA get involved in the Blog here!

    I laugh to hear these claims of such a huge membership!

    You dont! You couldnt even hold SRC, which was handed to you! After generations of holding a Unionist majority the DUA leadership this year came back with the worst result EVER!!!!!!

    You couldnt even arrange voting properly on the night the committee positions were voted for!

    A Great success their lads!

    Perhaps you would do better to forget slagging Ed Hannah and take a long hard look at the mess you have made yourselves!

  • Bigger Picture

    Ah great to see this thread, to see it great. I posted on i think, this thread or another that Eddie Hanna was posting on slugger under DUP2LOSE i now think that is a bit unfair considering i have only heard about the guy’s reptation rather than met him in the flesh.

    Ulidian

    If you have something to contribute then please do so without the diatribe of abuse. I would actually prefer to debate issues with you rather tha you simply respond with a spout of abuse back every time. Really shows a lack of conviction in your views when you cannot explain your views and can instead only abuse others. (Actually very same writing style to DUP2LOSE on closer inspection!)

    I think a number of points should be answered

    1. Is this how sparse news is when an unelected party member of the DUP or SDLP is given publicity for defecting? I could really see the Times making an article about an unelected lib dem member in Ipswich defecting to the Tories. Personally i think it is a tremendous comment on how far the media will go to pick holes in political parties.

    2. As others have pointed out why when Mr Hanna left the DUP ‘for broken pledges’ did he go to the party that wrote the textbook on the subject.

    3. What way did Mr Hanna vote at the executive meeting in March to go into government?

    4. What does Michal Shilliday think of his new branch member?? He’s been quiet. I would have expecteda warm note of congratulations on thier new acquisition

    5. I went across the water for my degree but i do not understand the comments about the DUA. Why is having young members a problem?? I think that is the best way forward, more for the future. Non-sensical.

    6. How the hell is a 25 year old in the youth wing of any party?!?! Daithi McKay is 24 and he’s in the Assembley!

    7. When on earth where the stoops ever a force in North Down!?!

    8. Sammy, you will always be the first member of the gay communtiy i have met in politics and happy to say it.

  • Twinbrook

    again the T`ìnternet warrior and creation refuses to compare the records of SF and the SDLP when it comes not only to West Belfast but anywhere else…..

    now how can you make any kind of rational judgement concerning and area and a community you clearly know nothing about…

    Or do you just believe what the sdlp press office feed you?

    Now you actually accuse me of refusing to answer ONE single point when you have conviently ignored EVERY point and ISSUE I`ve raised….

    Talk about fudging and misdirection!!!

    Typical example of someone clearly without any idea what happens or what has happened in the communities of West Belfast…

    Someone who gets “the feel” of our communities through the medium of his keyboard!

    So are you still trying to imply that the communities of West Belfast and further afield are stupid, clueless and ignorant of the issues when they overwhelmingly vote SF and ignore the small group now labelled the sdlp?

    Do you still deny that the dwindling near defunct sdlp have to go into bed with any Southern party that will have them at present FF, just so those few SDLP MEMBERS remainming still in a job can keep them?

    Do you still ignore the plain fact that the sdlp is rife with dissatisfaction with the direction of durkan and his south derry brigade! That the sdlp is close to imploding with members choosing with their feet inwhich direction they are going and with the Nationalist electorate using their votes to turn their back on the stoopies…

    Maybe my lurker friend you can stoop(sorry for the pun)to a new level…..and start with the old favourite….my daddies bigger than yours!!!!!!

  • Ulidian

    Bigger picture,

    I will respond in like to those who are attacking someone i know when they are clearly in the wrong!

  • Atticus

    Look apologies for my recent disappearance, but Twinbrooks seems incessant on his little Anti-SDLP rants, which he thinks will in some way upset me. (Nationalist parties are periodically destroyed by their own community, and this will probably happen to the current SF in around 30-40 years’ time)

    but still I’ll respond to
    “Secondly I live in West Belfast and unlike the poster and the majority of stoops, don`t just visit it!

    Now that qualifies me to comment… ”

    I work in West Belfast one day a week (the most active political organisation I’ve noted is the Workers’ party) I feel I’m entitled to say what I will (unless SF ‘persuade’ me otherwise), oh and I’m not a stoop.

    “Now off course we have deprivation, high unemployment and other numerous social problems…but no party alone would be able to allievate these”

    Indeed. I am in firm agreement. I therefore logically conclude that no party alone would be able to alleviate similar problems in Londonderry/Derry, and so Ms Anderson’s claims that she can do so are farfetched and ludacris.

    Twinbrook added

    “All SF can do is the work with our communities to try and address these….
    And this is what they do on a daily basis and this is undeniable…”

    If you think that sitting in a building with a Bobby Sands mural on the side of it is an effective reponse to these then you are the one in denial

    Twinbrook has engaged me in a “who knows more about West Belfast competition”. Even if he/SF do win this pointless argument, I can’t see exactly how that is relevant to the next GE result in Foyle

  • Buggerhed

    On the subject of West Belfast improvement (paying particular attention to the employment issue) I shall quote you a profile of the area:

    “Adams won with a majority of nearly 5,500 (12.3%) as a result of moderate Catholic supporters being split between Fitt and the SDLP’s Joe Hendron. But the ennoblement of Fitt did not help Hendron in 1987 when Adams again won with a smaller majority of 2,221 (5.4%). It is often forgotten that there is a Protestant minority based on the Shankill, Highfield and Glencairn wards and in 1987 they voted Official Unionist boosting the party’s support to 18.7%. Clearly many of them had voted for Fitt in 1983 when the joint Unionist vote was 10.9%. Hendron was able to defeat Adams in 1992 by repeating Fitt’s success in drawing tactical support from Protestants. Hendron’s vote went up by 7.8% and the Ulster Unionist vote went down by 6.7%. In the May 1996 elections for the Northern Ireland Forum Sinn Fein won more than half the votes cast and so many have predicted that Joe Hendron could lose to Gerry Adams. Belfast West is one of the most deprived constituencies in the United Kingdom, with high unemployment and poor housing. It includes Catholic areas made famous by the Troubles including: the Falls Road, Andersontown, the Divis Flats, Ballymurphy and Springfield. The constituency benefited from inward investment during the ceasefires of 1994 and 1995 – companies new to the area make silicon wafers, cutting equipment, IT systems & services and diesel generating sets.”

    Looks like jobs came into the area in the mid ’90s when the seat was held by ummm lazy Joe Hendron.

    source :http://www.bbc.co.uk/election97/constituencies/45.htm

  • Dromore Voter

    Bigger Picture “What does Michal Shilliday think of his new branch member?? He’s been quiet. I would have expected a warm note of congratulations on their new acquisition”

    Michael is in quarantine till after the Dromore by-election! He stuck his brass neck out too far a few days ago – Reg became concerned at the number of clangers he was dropping all over the place.

    One illusion about the UUP is that it would like plenty of vibrant self motivated new members – nothing could be further from the truth. Like Basils IRA style election cell structure, they want a big enough membership to do the job – the way those already on the gravy train want it done, but, small enough – so that it can be controlled by those already on the gravy train. Best that they be very compliant as well. Michaels position in the YU is not secure, most would be glad to see him disappear to Outer Mongolia on the next plane (sorry O M), why should Michael welcome a contender who has already shown that he will not be pushed around.

    Michael was also thrown by Edward Hanna’s statement “The centre of DUP politics has moved from its community base and people have taken to being very arrogant…….” Sounded too much like the way the UUP Lagan Valley Association is run, and Michael likes it that way. Edward has a lot to learn about the UUP.

  • URQUHART

    Who says that SDLP defections are bad?

    Each time we get one, we can enjoy incisive, far seeing and objective analysis of nationalist politics. On this thread, we have Twinbrook to thank. Go raibh maith agat Twinbrook.

    In fact, the last time we enjoyed this sort of searing analysis was around the time of the last ‘high profile SDLP defection’:

    http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/espie_resignation_letter/

    The similarities in style are, I’m sure, a conicidental symptom of the problem we’re solving here.

    So, Brendan Belfast, I expect the reason you’re unlikely to get an answer about SF’s job creation programme in West Belfast is simply that Twinbrook doesn’t know. So leave him alone.

    Those Attwoods are a shower of c**ts though, right?

  • Twinbrook

    great to see the sdlp press office has returned to the only thing its good at…..

    innuendo…

    Strange no-one has asked the lurker to answer any of the points addressed to him…

    but then when do the stoops answer direct questions!

  • Aghalee Unionist

    Dromore Voter:

    I think you are right re: Shilliday not being secure in the YU. I have spoken to several YUs in past days and there seems to be a degree of discontentment over Mr. Shilliday’s divisive nature.

    Apparently at the YU AGM Mr. Shilliday sold the YU silver and ‘jumped into bed’ with age old YU enemies like Kenny Donaldson, Rebecca Black and the broader UUP hierarchy. At this meeting he was able to stuff the YU Officers with literally children with no experience, mostly from Lagan Valley and who collectively appear unable to hold a conversation, explain their views and simply nod their heads to Mr. Shilliday’s idiotic, arrogant and misguided utterances. Strangely, the current Chairman of the YU, by all accounts, is happy to allow Mr. Shilliday to run the organisation solely along his tunnel vision. Mr. Shilliday seems busy trying to please his masters by silencing any meaningful political discussion, weakening the YU to the extent that it cannot possibly be a vehicle to derive benefit to young UUPers save the odd BBQ or Basil worship session.

    Happily for the YU, or according to the YUs I spoke to, Mr. Shilliday can only run around the country for so long, evading the democratic judgment that awaits him. Slugger readers and posters know Mr. Shilliday well. His judgment stands as a lonely testament to an age drawing to its close.

  • Brendan, Belfast

    so this is the pattern as i undestand it. Twinbrook makes party politically biased and untrue claims in his post;

    I ask him a direct and precise question based entirely on what he has specifically said;

    because he is too stupid or unwilling to answer he goes into a frankly unintelligible rant and accusses me of not coming from west Belfast.

    The winter nights in the Laurel Glen must fly by!!

  • Brendan, Belfast

    By the way Twinbrook, what’s a ‘lurker’?

    surely even you can answer that??

  • nineteensixtyseven

    Twinbrook,

    I am sure SDLP Press Office have better things to do than argue with idiots on blogs.

  • URQUHART

    Twinbrook
    You can take some comfort from the fact that if it’s me you’re accusing of being from the SDLP press office, you’re going to make them very irritated indeed.

  • Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. It has proven to be extremely enlightening.

    When the SDLP were made aware of my decision to move to the Alliance Party they condemned me for having ambition.

    I am not ashamed to admit that I do indeed have ambition.

    Ambition for a Shared Society.

    Ambition for a strong economy.

    Ambition for a sustainable environment.

    Ambition for the Alliance Party.

    Ambition for Northern Ireland.

    The SDLP should be encouraging ambition not condemning it.

    Now that the SDLP have largely delivered John Hume’s vision I was finding it increasingly difficult to remain within a party that lacked ambition for the future.

    I recently asked a senior member of the party what was the SDLP’s future vision for Northern Ireland. Half an hour later he was still speaking, largely about the past.

    After many poor election results I am still shocked that the SDLP don’t understand that the electorate don’t care what you did in the past, however good and laudable it was. They want to know what you are going to do in the future in a few simple words.

    If anyone asks me what is the Alliance Party vision for the future I can easily summarise it in two simple words. “Shared Society”.

    I can’t tell you the SDLP vision for the future is in a few simple words.

    In the absence of any clear direction it’s not surprising that many within the SDLP favour a speedy merger with Fianna Fail. A SDLP Fianna Fail merger won’t however address the core problem with the SDLP needs to address, namely that a “United Ireland” is no longer relevant in 2008.

    In the post nationalist era we now live neither climate change nor share prices observe national boundaries. Ireland should be united not just with Northern Ireland but also with France, Germany and all its European neighbours in common cause to protect the world’s environment and deliver economic success.

    It is in this context that I decided to leave the SDLP and join The Alliance Party.

    I now intend to leave others to debate the future of the SDLP.

    My focus is strongly on the future of Northern Ireland.

  • Twinbrook

    so the T`internet lurker contains to address and ignore all the points raised…

    and then has the audacity of accusing me of ranting…

    Fudging and disinformation seem to be the lurkers only abilities….

    Now as to direct questions still awaiting one single reply….

    Finally why did the lurker feel the need to post under another name to talk about of all things the sdlp press office and the word idiot!!!!!!

  • Twinbrook

    Sorry lurker I`m still waiting for you to provide any information to refute anything I`ve said….

    as to making biased political rants….

    kettle and pot comes to mind T`internet warrior…

    love your vain attempts at abuse!!!!!

  • Blooper

    “After generations of holding a Unionist majority the DUA leadership this year came back with the worst result EVER!!!!!!”

    Presumably Andrew, you define generations as a decade?

  • [I]Twinbrook,

    I am sure SDLP Press Office have better things to do than argue with idiots on blogs.

    Posted by nineteensixtyseven on Feb 12, 2008 @ 10:10 PM[/I]

    Doesn’t look like it Seamus. No wonder your party is failing and members and voters alike are deserting you.

  • lib2016

    Any party which continually relies on negative campaigning will eventually collapse because the voters don’t like it. The SDLP will have to move onto a more positive message, probably stolen from a Christian Democrat party on the mainland, if they are to win the middleground back from Sinn Fein.

    Can’t see anybody buying the ‘compassionate conservative’ slogans of the British or American rightwing for another decade at least and the SDLP can’t wait that long. Maybe Fianna Fail have some suggestions?

  • kensei

    In the absence of any clear direction it’s not surprising that many within the SDLP favour a speedy merger with Fianna Fail. A SDLP Fianna Fail merger won’t however address the core problem with the SDLP needs to address, namely that a “United Ireland” is no longer relevant in 2008.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. Sovereignty still matters. When your tax rate – business and personal – is set for the needs of an area of an entirely different country, a United Ireland is still relevant. When the police can detain you for the equivalent of a custodial sentence, you’ll find that sovereignty still matters. When you don’t get a say on the latest EU treaty you’ll find the Constitutional provisions of the Republic still startlingly relevant. When you look at the change in your pocket, you might also get a big hint.

    Argue against it, or for the status quo by all means — but the suggestion that it doesn’t really matter is just plain, flat wrong. This isn’t simply about flags and emblems, and never has been.

    In the post nationalist era we now live neither climate change nor share prices observe national boundaries. Ireland should be united not just with Northern Ireland but also with France, Germany and all its European neighbours in common cause to protect the world’s environment and deliver economic success.

    I think you’ll find that patriotism is still very much alive and well in the US; and I’ll think you’ll find no appetite for a superstate in the bulk of Europe.

    Moreover, on one hand you say your policy is “Shared Future”, and on the other you say cite problems like Climate Change. How does one solve the other? How does the absence of sovereignty make it any easier to take steps to tackle the problem?

    Completely wholly thinking. Don’t worry, you’ll fit right in.

  • Well Ken, for a start if people get togeather to develop a shared future instead of pissing and moaning about what fecking flag to fly or what is the national anthem etc actual important things like climate change can be debated and solved rationally instead of tribal politicians trying to make “Them’uns” look like chumps.

  • kensei

    Well Ken, for a start if people get togeather to develop a shared future instead of pissing and moaning about what fecking flag to fly or what is the national anthem etc actual important things like climate change can be debated and solved rationally instead of tribal politicians trying to make “Them’uns” look like chumps.

    Weak. Disagreement on one issue does not prelude agreement on another, nor is climate change particularly likely to be high up the list before economics under any system. Try again.

  • happy lundy

    I’ll repeat myself,

    Alliance need to win 1st preferences away from Unionists and transfers from the SDLP to consolidate their position in Antrim and Down. They don’t yet have much of one elsewhere.

    It follows that Alliance’s focus needs to be on the failures and contradictions of reactionary Unionism in, for example, the constituency I’m sitting in now; East Belfast.

    There is little tactical advantage in squabbling with the SDLP. Attacking the SDLP for a lack of post-modern detachment from “nationalist projects” won’t lend much credibility to Alliance’s accusations of cynical photo-opportunism in the Paisley-McGuinness partnership.

    What Alliance argues is that a shared, peaceful and prosperous society should be our first, middle and last priority and that if that society (assuming it is indeed shared, peaceful and prosperous) decides on Irish unity, joint sovereignty or federal union with England, Scotland and Wales, that needs to be OK for all of us despite our own first preferences..and that we’re allowed to keep arguing for peaceful change to that decision if that’s our continuing ambition and if we can be arsed.

    The SDLP need to take votes from SF so; although they may agree entirely with the position outlined above, they need to sell a shared society as the only valid or likely route by which a peaceful, prosperous, united Ireland can be built.

    Both positions are right. Neither conflict. In fact I’d claim that they’re almost entirely the same.

    The only difference is that Alliance is effectively the liberal opposition to reactionary Unionism and the SDLP the liberal opposition to “revolutionary” SF…and that because of these differing missions they need to use different spin.

    They are territorial/community franchises on (almost) the same product. Fighting between themselves helps neither.

    In fact if Alliance can’t be civil with the SDLP we may as well give up.

  • Are you seriously saying that Alliance should only be concentrating on being unionists with a small u? Are you also suggesting that there are no catholics will vote for Alliance and no protestant will vote for SDLP? You are very innocent and blinkered if thats really your view.

  • happy lundy

    Take a look at Alliance’s electoral and territorial base Pounder.

    I don’t think Alliance need to be small “u” unionists. They need to be “post-nationalists” or even “post-unionists” (and unionism is another nationalism) to persuade unionists of the benefits (and lack of risk in) a shared future. This is what they are.

    And for some small “n” nationalists Alliance is the only way to get elected in some constituencies.

    I’m a prod. I give the SDLP my first preference vote in North Down partly to register than North Down is not entirely free of all_Ireland aspiration.

    I am a member of the Alliance party because as an east Belfast chap I care more about taking the walls down around Short Strand than I do about the border.

    Also, while my first preference is a united Ireland, as I come from “the unionist” community” (and as I’m neither blinkered nor innocent) I know that developing a stronger liberal constituency and a greater esteem/affection for nationalist/catholics within unionist/prod land (by which I mean more every day contact and friendship) is the only way to build towards what I’d like – a normalised and united Ireland for my kids so they don’t have to waste their time on all this shit.

    Does that help?

  • kensei

    Are you seriously saying that Alliance should only be concentrating on being unionists with a small u?

    Er, they are unionists with a small u.

  • Bigger Picture

    Did anyone see today’s newsletter with the latest Eddie Hanna installment?? Apparently headquarters dug out his resignation letter and apparently it didn’t bear much resemblance to his comments over the weekend