Twelfth Musings

Fair_deal has mentioned his twelfth below. I also had an excellent twelfth in Maghera marching with the accordion band, which I have not had much opportunity to do recently, since I have been working away from home. The twelfth is a good chance to meet and chat to friends you do not see that often. I took the opportunity to confess to several people from home that I was now a member (even if a lowly one) of the TUV. I also met for the first time ever in the flesh a fellow sluggerite. Unlike me he seemed quite a normal person blessed with social skills and the ability to speak without rambling pointlessly. Anyhow my discussion with normal people set me to thinking about unionist realignment.

One thing I did notice was the degree of sympathy which many UUP supporters and indeed members have for Jim Allister and the TUV. I suppose my part of South Londonderry might be somewhat atypical being quite hard line yet having been represented at Westminster by the UUP for many years, albeit in the form of the highly non liberal, Willie Ross. The extent to which UUP members and supporters would consider voting for (or giving a preference to) the TUV surprised me. I suppose many UUP types still harbour a degree of resentment that (as they see it) the DUP complained continuously about the Belfast Agreement and then accepted the (again as UUP supporters see it) barely changed St. Andrews Agreement. I suppose they feel that the TUV and Allister have not shifted their position and give them some respect for that.

Of course DUP supporters will claim that St. Andrews represents a considerable advance and will say that the idea of the TUV and UUP being friendly represents an unholy alliance of malcontents angry that they lack political power and bitter that they failed whereas the DUP succeeded. That may well have some elements of truth in it but I thought it interesting and surprising to see the lack of antagonism with which typical UUP supporters viewed the TUV. This probably does not explain much of TUV to UUP transfer seen at Dromore but it would be interesting to see how UUP first preferences would have transferred at Dromore.

This idea of attracting TUV support to the UUP may seem bizarre in “The Pale” around Belfast where the UUP face a challenge from Alliance but might have greater relevance in the rest of Northern Ireland. Such an analysis might help explain some of Reg Empey’s latest ideas about a UUP comeback and it is noteworthy that Sir Reg avoided any attacks on the TUV. His and other party leaders hard line on the devolution of P+J might also been seen at least partly in this context.

I have previously suggested that the “Crossing the T” strategy (with the UUP ending up to the right of the DUP) was extremely unlikely as a plan for the UUP but one would wonder, looking at recent UUP utterances whether or not such a strategy is being considered. Many traditional UUP and new TUV supporters might find such a concept incredible but it is worth remembering that the way in which the UUP rebuilt itself and eroded DUP support in the 1980s was by adopting Jim Molyneaux’s strategy of “out righting” Paisley.

I personally remain extremely doubtful that the UUP has the leaders capable of pulling off such a manoeuvre and I very much doubt that TUV members and its leader are about to embrace the UUP. Much more likely is Alex Kane’s assessment that the DUP are the ones more likely to be interested in realignment in order to offset potential further losses to the TUV but I thought it was an interesting way of looking at what the UUP are doing at the moment.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    If the DUP are trying to move more ‘right’ and so is the UUP, who’s going to be the pro-active force? I’m guessing this is the main reason Robinson wants talks with all those who are Unionist minded, including the parimilitaries. It’s time for a new strategy, but I’m not so sure if the time is right for a single Unionist party.

  • Turgon

    Ulster’s my homeland,

    A fair point. I think one of the problems is that unionist leaders have always feared loss of support to their right and so have always tried to bolster themselves against that. When they have little opposition they tend to drift to the left.

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    This is great. Anyone else want to tell us what they did over the weekend? And please, don’t spare any details no matter how banal, speculative or repetitive.

  • He who met Turgon at the twelth

    I think that I, with my TUV sympathies may have mislead you Turgon, because I certainly didn’t speak for all in my party.

    The UUP being an umbrella orginisation attracts all sorts of unionists from the pseudo-Jim lot to those who “can’t fly the union jack because the BNP do that”. There are even those who believe our future lies in closer ties with the SDLP! Whilst I have no qulams working with them (in government or in opposition), any sort of electoral closeness would be absurd.

    I myslef joined because the chuckle brothers were a new phenomenem and that it because clear that the DUP simly wasn’t honourable. At that time there was no TUV and there was much talk of the UUP going into opposion. A ship which might have sailed.

  • Turgon

    He who met Turgon at the twelth

    No not blaming you at all and my analysis of the above was more to do with other folk I met and talked to but thank you for your comments. I think the UUP is a pretty broad church and it will be interesting to see how it continues to position itself. Remember that Reg Empey was in Vanguard at a time (then again so was Trimble if memory serves correctly).

    Anyhow really nice to meet you and do email me some time.

    Regards

  • Yvonne

    What I did over the weekend.

    Commented on slugger.

    Wait. I did not.

    Right.

    I just did!

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Turgon

    Is the sluggerite known to us or just an avid reader.

    >>Unlike me he seemed quite a normal person blessed with social skills and the ability to speak without rambling pointlessly<< This self abasement always makes me chuckle, how can someone with such a seemingly good sense of humour be involved with the groups you are? Must be the auld nurture/nature thingy.

  • Turgon, that wasn’t the accordion band that was having trouble trying to play the Sash on the way up Tobermore Rd?

  • Basil Brush

    Interesting topic this I would have to say that as a member of the UUP who just joined in September I know a lot of people in the party who object to the powersharing administration at the minute.In my own view I have some sympathy with what the TUV say especially in regards to the lack of an opposition.In my view this a major problem with the assembly in that the”government” cant be voted out.

  • Bigger Picture

    Turgon, Basil and anyone else who cares for that matter

    First of all I hope everyone had a good day yesterday. I myself spent a very enjoyable day musing around Dromara and meeting various relatives that I had long since forgotten about.

    Anyway… the UUP/TUV thing is interesting. As a lifetime DUP voter I would be very hard pushed to actually believe anything the UUP have to say. That may sound old and crusty but it’s the truth when we consider that this is a party that is so arrogant in it’s ways as to make people think, well at least we’re an honest bunch of sell outs. What rubbish, no guns no government anyone?

    I think David McNarry’s speech was also a very good one. It is absurd that we now have terrorists in government I totally agree with that, as do many within the DUP, however as McNarry pointed out, putting ourselves on the sidelines is no longer an option it is up to us as unionists to take on the enemy. Leave the fight to the British Government and we would have had an Irish Language Act, no parity forthe Ulster-Scots and the devolution of p+j over unionists heads.

    The point of this being that while they’re may be a degree of sympathy from UUP types to TUV types I doubt that it is nothing more than a mutual dislike of the DUP. That may explain some vote transfer behaviour but I doubt any type of formal alliance.

    I agree with Basil Brush and others above who say that the major problem is a lack of an opposition. However the TUV solution to this is to tear the whole thing down and start all over again. Why be so nuclear? Building pressure within the assembly through mutual unity between the parties on this issue can bring about change on how the government is constructed. I actually welcome that people in NI want proper democracy instead of some sort of tribal carve up. The thing however, is, that many many people within the DUP agree with these issues, the difference being that while others piss and moan the DUP is actually taking the fight to SF and making them squel over the inadequacies of the system as well.

  • Bigger Picture

    There is another way to view the voluntary coalition model. Say unionists do effect change and move away from d’hondt to voluntray coalition. In the short term this may lead to a situation where unionists are in control, however pissing off the nationalist population is hardly a wise tactic. In the short term it would seem great. However could it possibly quicken any republican agenda as the to sides of the community become almost 50/50 in representation?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I was parading at the South Londonderry demonstration in Maghera too! My local Twelfth is North Londonderry, held in Coleraine this year, but the past three years I’ve walked with my band at the South Londonderry parade.
    What is the name of your Accordion Band, Turgon? Did you visit any of the local bars or did you stay in the field? We were out the back of Crooks’ Bar in the town centre during the break…

  • picador

    CL

    I understand your band’s decision to go to Maghera rather than Coleraine. After all there are more uppity Fenians to annoy in Maghera. What is your band’s name and to which paramilitary organisation is it linked? Based on your previous postings I would guess UDA. Am I right?

  • Rustle

    “We have the Orange order. We have the B-Specials. What need have we of fascism?”

    Is that terrorists you do not want in government or just taigs?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    picador,
    Band’s don’t decide which parade they attend. They lead a Lodge, usually from their local area, and attend this Lodge’s Twelfth demonstration. Our band and our Lodge come under South Londonderry’s jurisdiction, so it is natural for us to attend this parade.

    As to which band I belong and the politics of its members…quite frankly, it’s none of your goddamn business!

  • truth and justice

    Cedric Wilson tried to give out some TUV leaflets for the TUV in Portavogie he was chased from the feild there did not seem to be any hostility towards the DUP and everybodu seemed reasonable happy and a good day was had by all.

  • CS Parnell

    Turgon,

    I deeply despise SF. I have seen this close up and personal and it is not pretty.

    But on the other hand TUV just looks like “No taigs about the place” to me.

    And that is precisely the politics that drives Catholics/Nationalists to vote for SF. Remember, so long as the republicans relied on violence then their vote was capped (or even in decline).

    A vote for SF is *not* a vote for violence but so long as there are serious people saying that nationalists need to be excluded from power then their vote will grow.

  • picador

    CL,

    Our band and our Lodge come under South Londonderry’s jurisdiction, so it is natural for us to attend this parade.

    This was not clear from your first post. And if you can show me that you are not part of a paramilitary affiliated band I might even offer you an apology!

  • CS Parnell

    Oh, and I’ll say this too: how are working class unionists served by having three parties that fall over themselves in their desire to destroy the bed rock of the north’s economy – the public sector – and demand the retention of an education system that is bleeding them dry. Every voter on the Shankill ought to tell these fakes to take a hike.

  • graduate

    If the UUP do decide to link with TUV, even if just vote transfer, they’ll do themselves immeasurable harm. Too many UUP voters lean towards Alliance. Also, a shed load of middle class UUP types see themsleves as reasonable and TUV sure ain’t!

  • Smithsonian

    graduate
    The TUV may not be reasonable, but at least they don’t lie to the electorate.

  • POL

    The TUV may not be reasonable, but at least they don’t lie to the electorate.

    Not yet!

  • picador

    CL

    How come it was OK for you to ask Turgon what band he was in but you told me to mind my own goddamn business? I thought you were proud.

    BTW, is it Moneydig?

  • Ultan

    Are Orange Lodges the same as Freemason Lodges? Or are they more integrated allowing any decent person to join?

    Why do many marching bands sound so out of tune? Would it not be better to get in a Salvation Army band to lead your Lodges? At least they would be in tune and harmony with each other!

  • Comrade Stalin

    The TUV may not be reasonable, but at least they don’t lie to the electorate.

    This is wrong on several levels.

    For one thing, Jim Allister has listed a number of different criteria before accepting Sinn Fein in government – such as disbandment of the IRA army council. It’s reasonably likely that said disbandment will happen within the next 12-24 months. Given that scenario, do you, or the people who support the TUV, really believe that Jim Allister will back off, say “the game’s up lads, time to go home” and close his party down ? Why doesn’t Jim just say “we don’t want powersharing with taigs” ? That would simplify things a lot.

    The second problem is the fact that the TUV are able to repudiate terrorism, while still somehow accomodating the support of people like Clifford Peoples and various other shady characters. You might like to explain to me why Clifford feels that he can support a party that opposes the involvement of convicted terrorists, just like a turkey voting for Christmas. Perhaps he and Jim Allister share a definition of certain words, such as “terrorism”, that the rest of us don’t ?

  • LURIG

    I see some of you are still rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. TUV/DUP/UUP whatever, the fact is that there will be NO return to the ‘Bangor Pickypool days of the 50’s where Seamus knew his place and minded the cows on the Twelfth’ that many Unionists long for. The sooner that some of you poor wee tortured souls realise and accept this the better for your mental well being. You are beating yourselves up over something you have ABSOLUTELY NO control over, especially when this island is as close to political & economic unity as it ever was. Let’s face it if Big Ian was forced to back down does ANYONE with a titter of wit think that Jim Allister is going to change London and Dublin policy (OR should that be Dublin AND London policy)? Did Gordon Brown’s recent ‘Britishness’ campaign when he left out Norn Iron not say something obvious to Unionism i.e. Britain doesn’t consider you British BUT Irish?

    ***PLEASE NOTE THAT THE EARTH IS ROUND AND THE MOON IS NOT MADE OF CHEESE.

  • cynic

    CS

    “the bed rock of the north’s economy – the public sector ”

    The Public Sector is only the bedrock of the economy when Westminister pays for it. We have a Civil Service that is years behind in terms of culture, operational delivery and internal management If Westminister starts to cut the NI Block Grant (and what do you think will soon happen) then NI’s bloated and inefficient public sector will be the millstone that sinks this place faster than anything.

  • cynic

    “especially when this island is as close to political & economic unity as it ever was”

    Lurig

    I dont think you intended to say that – read it again – but ironically I disagree with you.

    The last 30 years have pushed the North and South even further apart. Not because of internal Northern Ireland issues but those southerners have seen this place in its true light and wouldnt want to touch it with a barge pole. They dont want to import its economic problems, huge debt and dependency culture, nor its poisonous politics without a very long period of decontamination.

    Clearly they want to find a road towards unity ….but prefereably a long one.

  • dub

    turgon,

    when are you going to drop the self deprecatory nice guy image? You admit that you live in Ireland but refuse to self describe as Irish and you openly admit being a member of a disustingly opportunist primitively anti- Irish and anti- Catholic political party.

    nationalists are not the enemy as one brain dead unionist says here. They are the vast majority of the population on this island. i was talking to a church of ireland girl in dublin the other day and once again the sheer level of conempt towrads the Orange Order of decent Southern Irish Protestants blew me away. Maybe becuase they are not pc like us nationalists… they see the truly malfunctional disease of having 3000 + parades a year to celebrate victory over the natives as the grossly primeval and racist ritual that it acutally is.

    Sorry to be so blunt but your nicey nicey guy image has never fooled me. You are a bigot and proud to be one.

  • Turgon

    dub,
    Pot kettle calling and black. Rearrange these words as you deem appropriate.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    CL

    How come it was OK for you to ask Turgon what band he was in but you told me to mind my own goddamn business? I thought you were proud.

    BTW, is it Moneydig?

    Posted by picador on Jul 13, 2008 @ 08:53 PM…………………………………………

    I am proud of my band, but in case you haven’t noticed we live in a region of the UK where people are regularly attacked because of their religion and/or politics. If I told you the band I belonged to I could be putting at jeopardy the safety of myself and my fellow band members, something I am not willing to do. At the very least I don’t want to give you more reason to heckle the band because you despise my politics, at the heart of which is my love for my country.

    Is that fair enough?

    By the way, there are two Flute Bands from Moneydig – Moneydig Lily-O and Moneydig Young Conquerors…

  • CL, I noticed Turgon wrote “I also had an excellent twelfth in Maghera marching with the accordion band…” I’m still waiting to hear if the accordion band he was marching with was the one who couldn’t even play the Sash.There were a few other bands with members playing that out of tune that I’m not surprised people don’t want them near them. I wonder do the Parades Commission take into consideration the quality of the music played by the bands when they make their decisions where and when they can march?

  • Turgon

    d@\/e,

    We are not a brillant band but I think we play most tunes acceptably. I thought we were in tune all day but then again I am biased.

  • Turgon,the accordion band had a good sense of humour which I’m sure is essential.I’ll blame their minor musical problem on the incline of the road they had to march up. The worst band I heard in Maghera that afternoon was a trumpeter in a brass band. I’d wished someone had shoved the trumpet somewhere that would’ve muffled it forever 😉

  • Ms Wiz

    I love the way so many bands have such quaint names like ‘Moneydig Young Conquerors’. How wonderfully subtle.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    I’d imagine any subtlety would be wholly unintentional MW.

  • Peat Blog

    Did Gordon Brown’s recent ‘Britishness’ campaign when he left out Norn Iron not say something obvious to Unionism i.e. Britain doesn’t consider you British BUT Irish?

    Lurig,

    You’re absolutely correct that most Brits couldn’t give a damn about Norn Iron and that they would consider its residents as Irish (albeit part of the UK). Trouble is, whilst many southerners consider northerners Irish (also including Unionists) they certainly don’t want unity anytime soon. They are just as bewildered by us “nordies” as the Brits, as they have had the fortune of living lifes free of the pseudo-religous and ethno-identity politics and violence that we have excelled at here (world leaders in fact). Experience in Germany would suggest that it isn’t easy absorbing a basket-case economy as well as a population which has “evolved” along different lines (regardless of claims of ethnicity). Even if there wasn’t a tacit loyalist threat of violence should unification raise its head (and I believe there are many Prods that would quietly accept it but it only takes a minority…) the costs would be huge. With Ireland becoming a net contributor to the EU, do you think they have the financial stomach for it in the dying days of the pussy cat economy?

  • roger

    “I love the way so many bands have such quaint names like ‘Moneydig Young Conquerors’. How wonderfully subtle”

    The band also seems to style its flags on those of the uda.

    http://www.geocities.com/garvaghmyc/bandpics.html

    This from the Raharkin residents group

    Moneydig Young Conquerors – This band carried a UDA-style flag that incorporated the colours, emblems and mottoes of the UDA. This band also carried a UYM-style flag that incorporated the colours, emblems and motto (‘Terrae filius’ of
    that organisation. Banner also showed the clinched red fist of the UFF

    http://rasharkn.tripod.com/id5.html