Allister caught the DUP napping in Stormont

Jim Allister is as pleased as punch… his latest Press Release is headed Unhappy Valentine, was trumped only by Danny Kennedy’s Valentine’s Day Massacre. Indeed, Kennedy and his party have some reason to crow since they were written off by many observers as not having a pup’s chance in this one. The summer re-organisation, and sheer hard work locally, tipped them into the lead. On the other hand, Allister’s statement may cihll the blood of some in the DUP since he’s clearly after their base.

“My message to the very many DUP activists, councillors and others, and some Ulster Unionists, whom I know to be unhappy about what has been done in their name, is to urgently reassess their position and ponder whether by their presence and acquiescence they are not propping up the very thing which concerns them. Its time to draw courage from this result and follow your conscience.

“I note some DUP spokesman have promised to listen to the people – though the leader has thoughts only of defeating the messenger –however, its not only the personalities at the top which need changed, but the policies of unrepentant terrorists in government and partnering a Party with a military wing and an Army Council.”

It may also afford some second thoughts to those voices within the party that presume local councillors are unimportant. The DUP seems to have been underprepared for this fight: the debacle at Banbridge Council in the middle of the council campaign was apparently completely unforeseen by party headquarters.

Clearly the spirited and well focused on the ground campaigning of the TUV gave this fight a frisson it might not otherwise have had. Indeed one party election agent was heard to say earlier today he had never seen transfers shift in so many different directions at once.

But Councillors are the bedrock of any party’s political support. They are what keep a party close to its base. Underinvest and you run the risk of serious disconnection. It so happens that Paul from www.councillor.info is visiting a whole range of local councils this week, and getting a very positive response.

In the flurry ofhard work and committment to the new Stormont institutions, perhaps its time for a radical return to roots, and begin to take local councils and councillors more seriously in future?

  • Dromore Voter

    “The summer re-organisation, and sheer hard work locally, tipped them into the lead.”

    Pity about the shambles of a selection process.

    It will be interesting to see the results of Sir Reg’s investigation into that!

  • pith

    Looks like Dromore Voter is one Ulster Unionist who is not pleased by his party’s unexpected success today. Get over it son.

    As to the amazing UUP comeback, if ever one swallow didn’t make a summer wouldn’t this be it?

    There is only one story here and that is the DUP’s failure to deal with Allister. Hoping he is going to go away quietly is what Molyneaux used to wish of Paisley. It clearly is not going to happen just yet. Allister’s biggest weakness is himself but that could take some time to show.

  • Paul P

    This is not a great comeback for the UUP. Danny Kennedy may have had some good soundbites recentlly but his ananlysis that the Dromore by-election is eveidence that Unionist voters are coming home to the UUP is absurd. The UUP only retained this seat because of the TUV taking 1st preference (protest) votes from the DUP and also getting transfers from TUV. The UUP’s percentage share of 1st preference votes was also down. It would seem that the UUP are no real threat to the DUP.

    However as for Allister and the TUV, it would seem that if the DUP be as arrogant as he is they will be severely damaged by his ability to get protest votes. On todays result the DUP could lose up to 10 MLA’s. This is what the DUP needs right now. This may give more impotence to speeding up the “retirement” of Paisley who is becoming a liability in Unionist heartlands.

  • pith

    Paul P,

    Well said. I agree we need more Freud.

  • Kinallen reader

    1 The UUP can rightly claim they won, when they were supposed to lose. Fair point.

    2 But they didn’t actually see many voters “coming back” to them, as they lost 5% – mostly (figures suggest) moderates to Alliance.

    3 And they needed half of the TUV transfers (as well as large sections of Alliance, some SDLP and a few Sinn Fein) to win. I can understand Alliance and SDLP people transferring to UUP, but was there a deal with TUV?

  • noel adams

    The point of yerterday for local elections in the 2011 era is stark.With one person eleted per ward topping the poll may not be all that is needed a 2nd or 3rd place on first preferences might win if transfers went the right way.

  • Paul P

    Noel,

    Does that mean that if the DUP contemplate this election result properly they could soften the anger of the protest voters and gain enough transfers to save their skin?

    Does Allister/TUV really have the political skill to build momentum over various elections to become a real player, like the DUP did since the South Antrim by election when Forsythe died (was it 2000 or 2001?)

  • Just saw Hearts and Minds there, who’s great idea was it to put Poots up against Allister. Poots shouldn’t be allowed to cross the street alone let alone go up on TV against a shrewd politician like Allister. Allister ripped him apart and made him look like aprize chump.

    Poots did ask the pertinant question, what does the TUV offer voters, a question I can remember asking more than once of the DUP when they wanted to play silly beggers with the first NI Assembly.

  • I have watched the parallel thread with considerable interest, particularly those with local knowledge and expertise.

    It’s easy to be wise after the event; but a lot of people saw this one coming.

    For a start, this was no ordinary by-election: a turn-out of 40%, when little except party pride was at stake, proves that. The electorate decided to retain the balance as before, and definitely chose to refuse the DUP bragging rights. That happened, too, in the local organiser’s ultimate horror: the “unnecessary” by-election (i.e. your elected candidate buggers off and leaves you), which is why the DUP upped the ante.

    Nor is it enough to have

    never seen transfers shift in so many different directions at once.

    Research indicates that there still are quite few voters who switch parties. What tends to happen is that those who exercise their franchise opt in, or out of the “total valid vote” as circumstances motivate them. In other words, it comes down to the party being able to turn out its vote. This time round the TUV did, from a standing start. It also seems (on first sight) to have managed its transfers with some small success, to achieve its next-best-thing.

    On a small sample, I cannot find any particular statistical significances in the transfers, except that in aggregate they represent a general antipathy to the DUP. This is to be noted for the future: as I implied above, it’s not just who supports you, it’s also who you antagonize.

    Finally, as an ex-Councillor, I’m not entirely convinced by the proposition:

    Councillors are the bedrock of any party’s political support. They are what keep a party close to its base. Underinvest and you run the risk of serious disconnection.

    Far more valuable than your political “mouthpiece”, who’s probably making up the quorum for the Allotments Panel at any key moment, is your ward-heeler. Once you have one of those on the ground, you are made.

  • Paul P

    Poots was terrible on hearts and minds. As for Jim Allister being a shrewd politican, time will tell.

    To date his new TUV party has given the DUP a bloody nose and got a UUP candidate elected at one council by-election.

  • Alex S

    There’s a very dark cloud over Lagan Valley UUP

    Posted by Legal Eagle on Feb 14, 2008 @ 08:46 PM

    Grow up!

  • Mark McGregor

    The DUP hacks posing a disgruntled UUPers really don’t realise how transparent and pathetic this all looks?

    At least they’re giving the rest of us a laugh.

  • Alex S

    are you going to say that everything that took place within the Selection Meeting of 15th December was right and proper ??

    Begin to talk sense and I will treat you with the respect u crave

    Posted by Legal Eagle on Feb 14, 2008 @ 08:53 PM

    The selected canadiate won, hard to argue with that

  • Dromore Voter

    “Looks like Dromore Voter is one Ulster Unionist who is not pleased by his party’s unexpected success today. Get over it son. “

    You clearly do not have all the facts – well, I will be happy to get, and supply more of them here over the next while. You could also read / re-read all the postings on this issue on Slugger going back to 15 December.

    The end does not justify the means. That is old style UUP tactics. It is to be expected that the old guard will continue to indulge them selves, but to find new faces indulging is a disaster for the party.

    All elected representatives, in any democratic party system, are first of all elected by the local membership of the party. If that process is bastardised, the very foundation of our party political system is destroyed. It simply becomes more and more jobs for the boys. Surely recent events in Westminster have shown the corrupting effect that can have.

    You may be content for the democratic system to be undermined – I certainly am not. The UUP will, at the end of the day, benefit from a clean out, and the sooner the better.

    I am not a young man, and have no personal political ambition. However, I do have one ambition, and that is to hand over a revitalised and modern UUP to the young generation, and not see them mimicking the bad old ways of the past which have driven the party, I have supported for nearly fifty years, to the verge of extinction.

  • Mark McGregor

    Heck, I’ll put them up if verified. If 1. It stops the sock puppeteering 2. They are genuine.

    My email address is there. Now fancy putting up or shutting up? I for one ain’t buying any of this.

  • Dromore Voter

    Alic S “The selected candidate won, hard to argue with that”

    Hitler won an election – suppose that made him ok!

    Do you by any chance know a guy who told a fellow member of the Lagan Valley Association Management Committee to “forget about the rules”?

    Do you know anybody whose day job has to do with obeying the ‘rules’? Ask him what happens to people who don’t?

  • Turgon

    It is franky amazing that when the assorted UUP posters should be talking up their election victory some of them are actually more interested in indulging in infighting.

  • Mark McGregor

    Turgon,

    Depends on if you believe they are UUP or not. This kind of thing usually turns out to be something else entirely.

  • Alex S

    Do you know anybody whose day job has to do with obeying the ‘rules’? Ask him what happens to people who don’t?

    Posted by Dromore Voter on Feb 14, 2008 @ 09:31 PM

    Perhaps they end up selling door to door?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Dromore Voter :

    Hitler won an election – suppose that made him ok!

    Actually, he didn’t win an election at all.