“Poor Edwin”

So says Jim Allister on last night’s H&M.Many will say that one cannot draw too many conclusions from a local government by-election. And they’re right. I worked a bit on the Larne Lough DEA by-election in 2004, occasional Slugger commenter Andy Wilson won the election, yet Roy Beggs still lost the following Westminster election heavily. Yet there are significant differences here (one being that Andy had the good forethought to become a father during the campaign). The preceding council election in Larne Lough had the UUP well ahead of the DUP, the following council election UUP and DUP were roughly equal. In Dromore we overturned a significant DUP lead from 2005 to be neck and neck in 2008. DUP strategists were telling UUP canvassers they would be amazed if we failed to win in Larne. In Dromore, the media wrote us off as an afterthought, and to an extent, they have been embarrassed every bit as acutely as the DUP.

I wont go into any where as much detail as fair deal and Turgon have, I think that in particular Turgon’s analysis covers the bases that I would have, had I been quicker off the mark. My only further thought is that we could meander into a position where those who believe that power sharing is in the medium term best interests of Northern Ireland vote UUP, those who don’t vote TUV, and the question of “what are they for again?” turns from my party, to the DUP. And wow but don’t they deserve it.

The next major election is Europe 2009. The DUP’s fox of standing two candidates has probably been shot by a small by-election in Co Down, and the broader Euro election looks now like it could be a three way fight for two Unionist seats. People will cry Unionism will lose a seat as a result, I don’t believe that it will. I reckon the next Euro election will be a much more exciting affair following yesterday, and all because the DUP aren’t today the invincible electoral machine they were thought to be at the start of the week.

  • Bigger Picture

    Well well well Michael Shilliday comes back in from the cold now that he has something to shout about. I take no lectures from a party that tells me i am not a decent person simply because i do not vote UUP. The arrogance of you and your party still to this day Michael. Please compare and contrast these two following statements:

    “one cannot draw too many conclusions from a local government by-election. And they’re right”

    with

    “the question of “what are they for again?” turns from my party, to the DUP. And wow but don’t they deserve it.”

    Seems to be vastly overestimating the impotance of a by election result does it not?? A by election victory that was won on the basis of a DUP split is hardly a victory for the UUP in fact they simply played the part of the SDLP in South Belfast in 2005. I admit that i worte off Carol Black in this election but i do not see it as a ringing endorsement for the UUP either. In fact i think Reg will see this as an endorsement of his (non)strategy for winning back all those lost UUP voters stuck in their gardens. To be honest i am quite happy with that, the arrogant we’re here so of course we should be at the centre of things didn’t work for the UUP last year, so i have no problems in them prolonging their strategy.

    BTW as Basil McCrea’s spin doc i was wondering when the welcome bash is being held for your new member?? To be a fly on the wall……..

  • ABC

    Don’t know what Michael’s gloating about – the UUP vote was down by 7% also. Though its interesting to watch all those UUs sucking up to Jim now – “enemy of my enemy is my friend” – new UU strategy?

  • Michael Shilliday

    I said that it COULD happen, not that it HAS happened. Do keep up.

  • joeCanuck

    For something that everyone seems to agree was an inconsequential happening, it sure has generated a lot of comment and analysis.
    Maybe we should sacrifice a goat and have a look at its entrails to be more sure of what the future holds.

  • suchard

    Michael Shilliday,
    When Mark Twain returned from college he was amazed how much his father had learnt in the meantime.You have now had three cracks at this university/polytechnic lark and it would appear to some of us that both you must have not taken a lot on board to pass on. By the way where was the LVA vice chairperson during this campaign?

  • The Penguin

    Must say, irrespective of my opinion on current arrangements, Allister tore Poots to shreds last night.
    Striking as well that Poots sounded so much like a post-GFA Trimbleite and Allister like an articulate DUPper of that time. It really was deja vu with different actors.

  • Loyal Ulster Unionist

    Well done Michael!

    Jim Nicholson is so gonna top the poll in the next Euro elections!

    I do hope Reg appoints you or someone who shares your charisma and intelligence to the post of Chief Election Strategist! You are very worthy of the post of noble one.

  • Dewi

    Good programme – clips at end very funny. As for the “debate” Poots showed his bigoted colurs through his comments on Irish and Allister was his usual mocking self.
    The difference between the two – the DUP say no to republicans to their face whilst TUV won’t talk to them at all.
    I repeat what is so noticeable about politics there is the sheer intensity of it all – two thirds of the main political programme on a council by-election. Remarkable (and 885 threads on slugger!).

  • Rapunsel

    The Penguin

    Do you think so? I am not so sure. Allister might be a better public speaker but he came over as the hectoring, arrogant bully that he is . His blindness to his own personality faults a la Robert McCartney in my view means that he is going nowhere and I expect he has only beentolerated in the DUP due to being able to sideline him to Europe. Mr Poots rose in my esteem slightly due to his seeming reasonableness and to me genuine talk about a better future for his own children.

    Facts are that Allister is talking about getting 700 odd votes of the @ 3700 cast in total with 80% of the local electorate voting for pro agreement devolution parties.

  • Loyal Ulster Unionist

    What exactly does Jim Allister offer the electorate?

    He is a protest candidate just as his puppet Keith Harbinson was.

  • Could we have back whatever used to prevent the term bigot being weilded all the time? Otherwise everyone you don’t agree with becomes a bigot. Or with our nationalist posters everyone who is a unionist gets written off as a bigot/

  • [i]What exactly does Jim Allister offer the electorate?

    Posted by Loyal Ulster Unionist on Feb 15, 2008 @ 04:03 PM[/i]

    I remember similar questions being asked of the DUP as recently as the last election. It’s very easy to be dogmatic when you have no power, the rules of the game changes somewhat when you face a higher fall from grace.

  • Buggerhed

    Naughty Naughty Michael, sucking up to that.

    I am of the opinion UUP yoof offisur Kenneth Donaldson would not approve

    http://uuptoday.org/newsroom/2007/09/21/the-prospect-of-another-unionist-party-is-deja-vu-says-donaldson/

  • Dewi

    Bigot definition:

    a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own

    Poots “(If Allister had his way)…you would have faced the position where the Irish language was being brought into Northern Ireland- when you crossed the border tou would have seen no difference between what was going on in Northern Ireland and the Republic”

    Donaldson “In the kind of future offered by Jim Allister, you won’t be able to tell the difference between Dromore and Drogheda.”

    I use the term when it fits.

  • Loyal Ulster Unionist

    When the IRA Army Council goes would Jim Allister enter a power-sharing executive?

    Would Jim Allister like to be First Minister?

  • Paul P

    Many will say that one cannot draw too many conclusions from a local government by-election. So says Michael Shilliday.

    Two conclusions can be drawn (1) The DUP vote went down alot (2) The UUP vote is still going down….after already going down a lot.

  • Ulidian

    Its quite easy to see what JA stands for,

    No terrorists in government.
    A change to the un-democratic system of Mandatory coalition.
    Opposing the dismanteling of our education system.
    etc etc etc……

    This is just the usual DUP line! Everyone who doesnt support us is a nut, a flat earther or a has been.

    The reality is that JA has made his position and policy very clear. The DUP is just choosing to not listen!

    Hope the leadership of the DUP have fun in Portugal this weekend! Over paid? NEVER!

  • joeCanuck

    As mentioned before, we can no longer get H&M;outside of the UK.
    Does anyone have a youtube link?

  • PaddyReilly

    Otherwise everyone you don’t agree with becomes a bigot. Or with our nationalist posters everyone who is a unionist gets written off as a bigot

    I think that we can generally agree that almost all Unionists are bigots and almost all Nationalists terrorists.

  • RG Cuan

    What struck me about the interview is how a Government Minister, who is supposedly neutral, can openly admit on tv that he is against the promotion of NI’s native language.

    We all knew it to be true but to publicly state that he does not want ‘to bring the Irish language into Northern Ireland’ is not only shockingly biased but also insulting to the thousands of people who speak Gaelic here every day.

    Only here could a Minister get away with such an out-dated and bigoted statement.

  • Dewi

    Agreed RG Cuan (Bad news from here btw – Mae’n ben ar Y BYD)

  • Twinbrook

    Speaking of dinosaurs….

    always wondered how creationists deal with the possibility of life on other planets….

  • Alex S

    A common thread through all the by-election blogs, the DUPes are hurting, on a more serious note, how many of the Ulster Unionists that defected with wee Jeff are still in the DUP, word is not many?

  • Aslan

    Jim did perform well, problem is that he is just so unlikeable.

    He has exactly the same voice and way of talking that the guy who played Tash, the ultimate embodiment of evil, in the Narnian tales!

  • BonarLaw

    Dewi

    you say bigot, I say language fascist, let’s call the whole thing off…

  • BonarLaw

    RG Cuan

    “What struck me about the interview is how a Government Minister, who is supposedly neutral, can openly admit on tv that he is against the promotion of NI’s native language.”

    Catch yourself on. Poots may be a tube but he is an elected one with a mandate to oppose an ILA. See what happens when you demand your precious institutions back.

    BTW why should any unionist promote a key element of narrow Irish nationalism?

  • The__Raven

    A bit off-topic, but:

    “In Dromore, the media wrote us off as an afterthought, and to an extent, they have been embarrassed every bit as acutely as the DUP.”

    I think there’s a point to be made here; something to examine in terms of equal (or something that is kinda near-ish approximating) coverage which reflects the fact that this is not a two party system.

    Also, does anyone else think that Edwin needs a little media coaching…?

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘key element of narrow Irish nationalism’

    you seem hilariously ignorant of the fact that it is a key element of the Island in which you live. Ireland. The irish language is seen by many unionists as a battle still to be won or lost. The british couldn’t eradicate it completely so, unionists will try their hardest to do what they couldn’t, even to the point of crying to the EU to get a dialect/accented english to be seen as an entire language on its own. Laughable.

  • Ahem

    Yeah, yeah Stoner, the Irish (the real ones – the ones that live in the Republic), they’ve made such a roaring success of ‘Irish’, haven’t that? Can’t walk around down there five minutes without, every day every other month meeting one person in a hundred who speaks, Happens *all* the time, a tiny little bit of the time in another monoglot anglophone society.

  • Buggerhed

    “how many of the Ulster Unionists that defected with wee Jeff are still in the DUP, word is not many?”

    Perhaps Darth would know about that?

  • Éireannach Saolta

    From the hearts and minds prog you get the impression Unionist politicians get elected on how bigotted they are as opposed to any real policies that they may have. Poots just showed that in the interview throughout. He also managed to rubbish paisley’s claims from a few years back of a better agreement than the GF agreement. So what the hell were the DUP doing all these years.

    All the DUP succeded in doing was making Sinn Féin the largest nationalist party

  • Dewi

    “you say bigot, I say language fascist, let’s call the whole thing off…”

    Not at all Bonar Law. I have no problem with you speaking English anywhere you want. You, on the other hand, will not allow Irish to be spoken in courts in Ireland (along with your bigoted Culture!!! minister) – Barbaric.

  • joeCanuck

    Might our Culture Minister be fairly called a culchie?

  • RG Cuan

    BONARLAW, AHEM et al.

    It’s hard to believe that after all the discussions on Slugger and living here in NI/Ireland that you still think Irish Gaelic is an element of Nationalism or a language spoken by a few fanatics.

    Have you not seen Imeall Geal on BBC 2? Or tuned into the pop music shows on TG4? Or heard about the new magazine that covers film, travel, technology, sex etc?

    Irish has a diverse community of speakers, just like any other tongue, and Edwin Poots’s comments have no place in the 21st century.

  • Ahem

    One almost wonders why you bother to waste your time speaking the alien tongue of the oppressor.

  • Buggerhed

    “Might our Culture Minister be fairly called a culchie? ”

    Might?

  • RG Cuan

    One almost wonders why you bother to waste your time speaking the alien tongue of the oppressor.

    I speak English AHEM because i can and it’s one of the most useful languages in the world. It’s also the most spoken tongue in Ireland and enables me to take part in this discussion.

    As for Poots being a culchie, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the fact that is believes the earth is flat and discriminates against Gaelic speakers worries me.

  • Ahem

    Thanks, by the way, RG, for *entirely* disproving the fanciful notion that “Irish Gaelic is an element of Nationalism or a language spoken by a few fanatics”. You’re a credit to your native tongue.

  • RG Cuan

    Stop being ridiculous AHEM, you used those words in jest, i didn’t use them at all.

    Seems Na Ceithearna Coille have picked up on Poots’s biased statements too: http://www.ceithearnacoille.com/page1/page1.html

    The text beside his image reads, ‘Edwin Poots: Minister of Ignorance and Bigotry.’

  • Boyne

    Fearing a language? lmao numbnuts!

  • Séamaí

    Exactly BOYNE, some of these guys seem paranoid about a lot of things but trying to stop the Irish language ‘entering NI’ takes the biscuit.

    But then again, what more could we expect from a looney Minister for Culture who believes the Earth was created 6,000 years ago!

  • darth rumsfeld

    “how many of the Ulster Unionists that defected with wee Jeff are still in the DUP, word is not many?”

    Perhaps Darth would know about that? ”

    Ahem. I’m setting myself up for a fall here, but I know that the DUP constituency chairman was once the UUP constituency chairman- saw him at the count. A leading UUP defector- who would have taken a bullet for Jeffrey- was at the TUV meeting and is now a member, and was reported to have said that a lot of the UUP defectors have left in disgust. No way to verify that though. Most of the TUVvies I know are ex-UUP.

    Funny how Jeffrey didn’t show up at the count- he’d still have had time to catch his plane to sunny Portugal for the night’s plotting to oust the Ould Croc with Nige n’Pete

    Pootsie’s weak as water arguments were interesting- and show that he has no strategy for dealing with the Irish language- which deserves support in an apolitical context. It’s no more threatening than the teaching of irish history in the context of UK/world events of course. Irish isn’t going to go away, and he needs to wake up to that fact.

    Yes Jim Allister doesn’t have a fluffy personality, but that can axctually be an advantage. He has independent means, and no craving to be part of the establishment ( or a wife and weans who do) so he can’t be buttered up by privy councillorships, wedding anniversary gifts etc.
    His legal skills work well in debate, and at a time of uncertainty for Unionists his ability to expose the clear contradictions in the DUP is far more effective than the UUP’s bletherers. My guess is that people who just feel unease about Juniorgate, chuckle brothers etc will appreciate his approach, on the basis that “he might be a bastard, but he’s our bastard”. A man you’d want beside you in a street fight always has his uses.

    And he’s been stupidly gifted a platform by this unnecessary by election which proves there is a large enough element of “rejectionist Unionists”
    (proud to wear that name) which could deliver a larger group in the next assembly than Bob Mccartney’s grouping.
    A bloc of even six or seven could completely gum up devolution. If the Shinners became the largest party could anyone see Punt as deppity FM to McGuinness? As he rightly said, he can no longer be dismissed as a one man band.

    But this morning let’s think of those less fortunate than ourselves, like Richard Bullick Punt’s ammanuensis, who thought it would be a cunning plan to tempt Jim back into politics to block the nightmare of RTW McCrea MEP. Punt won’t forgive. Also Wullie Hay, who’ll have to grovel to the other parties in Londonderry for a cooption if he’s to get off the city council rather than face another by election challenge from TUV. Hopefully the UUP will see another chance to make Dundela Avenue squirm.

    As for 2009, who’s to say that the UUP won’t transfer to Jim instead of Plug, or even bypass entirely their own colourless and ineffective Jimmy Nick? Not entirely fanciful.

  • Dewi

    “Pootsie’s weak as water arguments were interesting- and show that he has no strategy for dealing with the Irish language- which deserves support in an apolitical context. It’s no more threatening than the teaching of irish history in the context of UK/world events of course. Irish isn’t going to go away, and he needs to wake up to that fact.”

    Thank the Lord for some sense at last.

  • gaelgannaire

    I found myself astounded by Poots’ remarks re Irish on Hearts and Minds.

    I know that he holds such views of course but I never thought he would be so direct, so clumsy frankly.

    I thought that he would at least manage to keep some semblence of ministerial neutrality and integrity.

    It is a phrase quoted too often but this is a turning point I feel.

  • darth rumsfeld

    I’m sick to the back teeth with this “Dromore will be just like Drogheda” schtick.

    Dromore isn’t Dorking, and Drogheda isn’t Darfur. Dromore and Drogheda were two small Irish towns in 1922 and the border was quite secure. There’s no threat to the Union if they retain or even develop many similar characteristics. Good neighbours ought to have mutual respect. It’s far more important to keep both towns free from the control of people unfit to hold public office because of their terrorist and criminal connections.
    Poots thinks having some power in his hands is the way to achieve this. But he’s complicit in putting these people into the very heart of government. They’ve lifted the siege by inviting the enemy into the house and signing over the title deeds into joint names, and the doting head of the house can continue to feel it’s his property because he sits at the head of the table at dinnertime.

  • Paul P

    Darth,

    Your ananlysis of the inner happenings of Unionist parties is always so enlightening. One always gets the impression that this boy could have went far if he actually had been elected into a significant position.

    So after your “bastard” aka Jim Allister manages to get some Ulster Unionists and SF MP’s elected in 2009, and then builds on that to get a few of his own MLA’s elcted at the next assembly election, what is his great strategy for a sustainable future in which Unionists have some say over their governance. As I think I said before to you, everything changed after 1998, changed irreversibly. Now its all about neutering the influence of SF and the Irish republic in the internal affairs of N.I. Perhaps history will judge that the DUP’s greatest mistake was overpromising to right the wrongs that your former party enabled through the Belfast Agreement. We are where we are. What can the TUVies do to right the wrongs? Some of their supporters are integrationists, some are majoritarians and others wouldn’t share power with the Aliance party simply because they have Catholic members.

  • Buggerhed

    “others wouldn’t share power with the Aliance party simply because they have Catholic members.”

    I understand that most wouldn’t share power with Sinn Fein simply because they have IRA members.

  • Truth & Justice

    I see John McCallister MLA for UUP has photo in the News Letter on Thursday thats why he missed his Health Committee at Stormont as he was in Dromore not representing them.

  • Truth & Justice

    problem for next European election based on the by election if copied is that DUP TUC and UUP could split the Unionist vote three way fairly even and allow Sinn Fein to top the poll and even allow the SDLP in for the third seat, the minute Sinn Fein top the poll they will call for a boarder poll for a United Ireland, Jim Allistair needs to think this through what he is doing!

  • Buggerhed

    “the minute Sinn Fein top the poll they will call for a boarder poll for a United Ireland”

    Would that poll only be open to people residing in boarding houses?

    No biggie:

    1. Why would SF be granted this poll wish?
    2. If unionist votes continue to exceed 50% no UI
    3. SDLP topped 1998 Stormont poll and that meant squat

  • Jo

    “Allister was his usual mocking self.”

    Which is all he offers, along with other extreme unionist *commentators* also of independent means. Unfortunate thing is, fools follow fools.

    I wonder how long before JA has a distant relationship with some harder individuals, who will, this time, not get so close as to see the colour of his wallpaper.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Buggerhed, for a change, has a point. SF topping the poll is a daft argument put out by the DUP to scare unionists into voting for them. Jim’s problem dismissing this next year is that he spent 2004 spreading it. Nonetheless it means nothing at all so long as Unionists keep two seats. And I reckon its unlikely that Unionism will lose a seat provided unionists transfer to unionists. But with the DUP joined at the hip with SF…….does it matter?

  • Dewi
  • Dewi
  • Dewi
  • Dewi

    And this the absolute best Before Slugger and You Tube I had a life.

  • Dewi

    And this the absolute best Dewi – cer i’r gwely nawr.

  • PaddyReilly

    Am I better than Bono?

    No. A little more volume is necessary, a little less llais llygoden.

  • PaddyReilly

    I reckon its unlikely that Unionism will lose a seat provided unionists transfer to unionists

    Fair enough. I calculated (assuming only two Unionist parties) that in the final count (without achieving a quota) the vote for the UUP would exceed that for the SDLP by 4,500 votes. With an error margin of 10,000 votes either way. Which is another way of saying it’s too close to call.

    With three candidates it is more problematic and dependant on transfers which work best from extreme to centre and not the other way round. In the unlikely event of Jim Allister being the second most popular Unionist candidate, this could spoil Unionism’s chances of a second seat because he would not attract as many transfers as the UUP candidate does.

    However, looking at the Dromore voting in the cold light of dawn I would urge caution. Keith Harbinson’s 700 odd votes doesn’t really amount to much once you subtract the votes cast by his mother, his aunties and the various women around town who fancy him. It is a little early to be making the expected rise and rise of the TUV part of our psephological calculations.

  • gaelgannaire

    Over 2500 at Saturdays pro-Irish march in Belfast.

    Thanks Edwin.

  • Cuaiteoir

    I really can’t believe Edwin Poots can get away with what are basically racist comments.

    He and his fellow mono-cultural, anti-multilingual neanderthals must be some of the most ignorant and unreasonable government officials in Europe.

    You think they just arrived off a boat in 1620s, or crawled out of some dark hole in southern Alabama.

  • Buggerhed

    “Buggerhed, for a change, has a point.”

    A little personal Michael don’t you think? You big daft twit

  • dewi

    Sorry 4 all those posts – alcohol and Slugger do not mix. Nice to read Darth’s stuff – perhaps there is hope. Edwin can’t be culture minister though – it’s a joke – he lectures GAA on inclusivity – totally absolutely unbelievable.