Creation and the TUV (and zombies)

Voltaire said that “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.” Politics like nature abhors a vacuum and as such I would submit that if the TUV did not exist it would be necessary to invent it. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the moves by the DUP over the last 18 months and whether or not that represents a victory or defeat for unionism, their acceptance of power sharing with SF left a group of unionists without a party to represent their political position. For Jim Allister to create the TUV would seem to be most logical. Whilst I tend not to subscribe to the Great man school of historiography political parties do tend to need a significant and serious political figure to lead them and whatever his detractors may think Allister is in NI terms a serious politician. In his case a serious politician with a track record of independence.

The constituency which Allister and the TUV wishes to attract is of course a coalition like all political parties. It is a coalition of those who support devolution and power sharing with nationalists and maybe even with SF under certain circumstances right round to those who would under no circumstances support power sharing and want either majority rule or full integration. Such differences will of course create internal tensions but that is the case in every political party. These problem are often not visible in the very earliest days of a political party but surface early. One of the best ways to keep them in check is of course electoral success which I will come on to later.

Like all new political parties the TUV have the danger of attracting assorted lunatics. These, like the zombies in the Night of the Living Dead series are attracted towards the living with usually fatal consequences for the living. The fact that the TUV are at one end of the NI political spectrum merely enhances the attraction for the politically insane / undead. Fortunately such people unlike zombies tend to tire rapidly and then to wander aimlessly off muttering about how everyone is wrong other than themselves.

Losing the mad is of course part of the evolution of a political party and periodically other mad people do reanimate. The TUV must evolve in order to survive. That evolution will inevitably require fleshing out more policy positions. However, the party must equally avoid being forced to come to specific positions too early: the political landscape in Northern Ireland is in a continuing state of flux and having flexibility is important. It is also well worth noting that even huge political organisations with hundreds of years of history like the Conservative Party do not have definitive policies on all issues years before an election. Maybe more important at this point is getting the general tenor and ideology sorted out (brand image?) and certainly the TUV have managed to establish a position in that sense; again helped by the relative political vacuum to the right of the DUP. Of course critics might suggest that the DUP has been showing flexibility but I would argue that there is a very considerable difference between flexibility and our former first minister Prospero’s volte face.

Many previous unionist parties have come and gone. Misquoting the hymn without wishing to be blasphemous whilst they have come and gone “Paisley has endured unchanging on.” The litany of failed unionist political parties has been noted previously (there is a list here). Many of the previous failed unionist parties have been to the “right” of the UUP which might imply the extinction of the TUV is very possible. Of course such a thing may happen. However, always previously there has been the DUP and Paisley standing to the UUP’s right and offering rejectionist unionists a party with a track record and an undoubtedly charismatic and easily recognisable leader. With the movement of the DUP into power sharing and acceptance of St. Andrew’s, however, there is no longer a home for rejectionist unionist votes and as I said above politics seems to abhor a vacuum. As such pointing to previous failed hard line unionist parties as an example of the inevitable fate of the TUV may not be valid. The recent developments with the UUP possibly reaching an understanding (or more) with the Tories also has potential benefits for the TUV. This will most likely stop any chance of the UUP trying to “Cross the DUP’s T.” Indeed the UUP is most likely to move further to the “left” (the Tories intervention demonstrates the inaccuracy of the terms left and right in their common NI usage but they remain convenient shorthand). In response it is most unlikely that the DUP will move to the right: they are likely to stay where they are or may even drift leftwards if they perceive a threat from a rejuvenated UUP. That would of course open up more clear (orange?) water between the DUP and TUV.

Of course one of the biggest problems the TUV face is that the next major election is likely to be the European elections; unless that is Labour dump Brown and are forced to call a general election. For Jim Allister to hold the European seat will of course be a big ask for the TUV. It is a new party with only limited membership and resources yet it would be trying to achieve a feat only ever managed by the four main NI parties (and recently well beyond the SDLP). Who the DUP will run and the UUP’s decision to stick with Jim Nicholson are important but no matter what for Allister to hold his seat will be difficult. Of course if he does then I suspect that would send very considerable shock waves through Northern Irish politics. If the TUV lose the seat but put up a good showing that will of course be a significant event. However, no matter how close a miss they might achieve a miss would deprive the TUV’s leader of his electoral platform. Clearly he would have a very high chance of getting elected in any future Stormont election (and might have a good chance in North or East Antrim at the next Westminster election) but a defeat in the European election would at least temporarily provide negative momentum and as I have said in previous blogs momentum in politics is very important.

The TUV’s critics may yet be proven correct in saying that it is a dinosaur which will become extinct. However, for those not interested in my version of supernaturalism do remember that the dinosaurs ruled the earth for rather a long time and it took a large meteor or some such to make them extinct. Those with my supernaturalist slant can of course simply say that it is all predestined. Personally I think it is a project worth running with: then again you all knew that anyway.

Any zombies care to weigh into the debate? Remember the only way to kill them (zombies) is to destroy the brain.

  • Voltaire said that

    For Jim Allister to create the TUV would seem to be most logical

    Voltaire said no such thing.

  • Garibaldy

    I’m glad you recognise the importance of lunacy to NI politics. Often underestimated. But I think you need to reword the start of the entry, as it doesn’t actually quote Voltaire as it stands, nor make much sense.

  • Turgon

    Chekov and Garibaldy,
    My apologies. All because of one missing ” and I could not find it. Try starting again.

  • Driftwood

    I’ve no doubt there is a large Unionist part of the electorate feeling disenfranchised. But Jim Allister is in the position of Bob McCartney and UKUP were not so long ago. In a sense it doesn’t matter who to vote for because the status quo will prevail. Westminster is in no mood for change. The lame duck assembly is the only show in town until someone puts it out of its misery.

  • Dewi
  • DUP Voter

    Turgon opposes the DUP so therefore he wants a united ireland. The TUV is a reublican as it doesn’t support the DUP, who have the monopoly on unionism.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Like all new political parties the TUV have the danger of attracting assorted lunatics. These, like the zombies in the Night of the Living Dead series are attracted towards the living with usually fatal consequences for the living.”

    Ah Turgon, that’s an insult to George A. Romero’s zombies!

  • “It is a coalition of those who support devolution and power sharing with nationalists and maybe even with SF under certain circumstances right round to those who would under no circumstances support power sharing and want either majority rule or full integration”

    If, as it has been stated in the past, that the TUV membership/electorate is made up of ex-DUP members/voters…

    and the with TUV stating that devolution is preferable to direct rule…

    and Turgon saying that the make up of the party consists of those who would entertain devolution and those who wouldn’t…..

    then what is it all about…. its like watching a repeat and expecting a different ending…

    My fear is that the TUV is home to more zombie’s than first thought and the desire to placate such individuals will/could grind the TUV to a halt…

    “and maybe even with SF under certain circumstances” this sounds long-shot-like

    this sort of backs up the grind to halt point i made as TUV members aspire to devolution but the majority of members do not envisage this with sinn fein… (any time soon)the certain circumstances being? mmmm… direct rule until the personalities at the helm change?????

    meanwhile..

  • Driftwood

    Greagor
    The TUV is more Lucio Fulci than George A Romero.

  • Wilde Rover

    It is good to see that the undead will not be denied their chance to engage in the political process, despite their penchant for devouring the flesh of the living.

    I wouldn’t be attracted to their Braainsss! Policy but their low carbon footprint guarantee does have its appeal.

  • 6countyprod

    Methinks the TUV has its very own recruiting sergeant right here on Slugger.

    Are other NI parties also allowed to have bloggers to create interest and discussion of their respective parties?

  • Blackmouth

    “their acceptance of power sharing with SF left a group of unionists without a party to represent their political position”

    Presumably the TUV acceptance of power-sharing with Sinn Fein via a single super-council will require the creation of a fourth Unionist party?

  • RG Cuan

    Are other NI parties also allowed to have bloggers to create interest and discussion of their respective parties?

    Indeed. It seems the only issue Turgon posts on now is the TUV…

    There’s only a certain amount that can be said about these sideline-players.

  • Conquistador

    “Methinks”

    no you don’t

  • Bigger Picture

    TUV Membership – £827

    Now knowing a wee bit about party membership from friends in the DUP, UUP and Alliance (to my shame) a yearly membership is about £25. Does this then mean that the TUV has a membership of around 33 ?!

  • Dec

    whatever his detractors may think Allister is in NI terms a serious politician.

    Given his history of disagreements and splits with erstwhile colleagues, and apparent reluctance to personally stand for election since his split with the DUP, your statement is extremely debateable. His seriously large ego is beyond dispute, though.

    ps glad to see your tortuous and linking of a theme to a famous quote or poem, to engender familarity and therefore subconsious pre-recognition of said theme in the reader’s mind, continues unabashed. Are you Anthony McIntyre in disguise?

  • Dec

    Are other NI parties also allowed to have bloggers to create interest and discussion of their respective parties?

    I believe it’s called Shillidayism.

    An interesting offshoot is Fair_Dealism whereby the poster blogs extensively about the DUP until one of its MPs claims homosexuals are worse than paedophiles whereupon his computer mysteriously breaks.

  • Wilde Rover

    6countyprod,

    “Are other NI parties also allowed to have bloggers to create interest and discussion of their respective parties?”

    Only if they have fully paid up zombie members.

    I’m sure Turgon is merely trying to say that the mindless flesh eaters that roam through the fields are entitled to parity of esteem when it comes to expressing themselves politically.

    It takes a brave soul to stand out from the crowd and say that just because a zombie wants to eat your flesh doesn’t mean you should rush to judgment, or base your decision about them on stereotypes.

    Why do you hate the undead?

    Bigger Picture,

    “TUV Membership – £827

    Now knowing a wee bit about party membership from friends in the DUP, UUP and Alliance (to my shame) a yearly membership is about £25. Does this then mean that the TUV has a membership of around 33 ?!”

    I think you’ll find that the zombie membership fee is paid in zombie doubloons, exchangeable at any reputable Royal Bank of Brains.

  • Broken system

    Isn’t it high time that donations to political parties were no longer anonymous?? When is this issue to be resolved? (Apologies for letting my mind wonder once I saw the TUV accounts..)

    On topic: Turgan- to follow your analysis to its logical conclusion, does this then explain the equal need for extreme republican parties? Do you think you may have overstated this need?

  • Turgon

    If unionism keeps splitting back to the same position of traditional majority rule and unionist domination, for that is what it seems to be in many Nationalists eyes, then it increases the likelihood of republican violence. It even increases the likelihood that an annihilation agenda grows in merit where genocide it argued to be the best approach in the longer run.

  • A concerned Unionist

    Turgon

    “Like all new political parties the TUV have the danger of attracting assorted lunatics”

    I think they are all a bunch of lunatics in the TUV and that then I presume includes you, but then they have a good master in Jim Allister as he is the biggest lunatic of all.
    I am not sure were would will be canvassing for JA for the European Elections next year I hope you do not knock my door as I would never have the time to listen to your rants in praise of the TUV you know the old saying “one loves to hear the sound of one’s own voice” well I can just about stomach you blogs – too long winded – really not much content – simply self promoting.

    Cannot understand why the DUP ever took JA back after his last antics when in the DUP, he was trouble for them and he is at it again with an ego the size of a giant but the importance of a grasshopper.

    He and his TUV are no friend of Northern Ireland or of the unionist family of Northern Ireland but a really good friend to Republicans – people of Northern Ireland beware of a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing.

  • Dewi

    I just wonder how the TUV will finance their Euro Campaign. About a million leaflets needed for starters……mind you I love the idea of the undead doing all the delivery – cheap I suppose…
    P.S. my codeword is “death” – apt or what?

  • Rory

    Turgon says that the formation of the TUV was necessitated because “… their[the DUP’s] acceptance of power sharing with SF left a group of unionists without a party to represent their political position.”

    Then he goes on to say that:

    “It is a coalition of those who support devolution and power sharing with nationalists and maybe even with SF under certain circumstances”

    If such great a contradictory confusion exists among its stalwarts perhaps it would have been better off recognising the existence of a British political party with a long and venerable tradition that was surely tailor made for them. I refer of course to The Monster Raving Loony Party, well known to be tolerant of crazies and zombies though whether their ultra-liberal membership policy extends to deluded Ulster unionists suffering from political dyslexia I cannot be sure.

  • Turgon

    Thank you all for the answers. I admit when I was writing this I was veering between a joke piece and a serious one. It sort of ended up a bit of both and probably the worse for it.

    One comment worth specifically answering is Broken system’s: Yes provided a party opposes violence in achieving its aims, I see no particular problem with a harder line republican party. Indeed logically one should arise. The problem comes of course with the attitude to violence. Can a party be more hard line nationalist than SF yet totally oppose violent means and the violence of the past?

    To be fair (and as a unionist I probably should not say this) eirigi seem to be trying to go down this line. It is a difficult one to thread, however.

  • 6countyprod

    Referee, Conquistador is playing nice!! lol

  • 6countyprod

    Referee, Conquistador isn’t playing nice!! lol

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    From a considerable distance – I don’t feel that there’s a major groundswell against the DUP, just some disquiet. That disquiet is not exclusive to unionism. Many nationalists and republicans are bemused. Remember Squinter lashing out in all directions a few months ago? And then there’s the republican dissidents and, lest we forget, Chris Albiston and his mates at Special Branch who used to enjoy running all of our lovely “serial killers”. They’ve been left kicking stones, too.

    Given the cult of personality that runs as a strain of Unionist politics there will always be a self-important maverick or two who truly can’t have a fenian about the place. Jim Allister, Come on Down!

    And Jim, if you’re reading, any chance that you make an effort to speak properly – you make Kimi Raikkonen seem verbose, FFS?!

  • slug

    My own view is that there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the DUP for three reasons (i) people think too much difference between what they said and what they did; (ii) opposition to powersharing with SF; (iii) a growing sense that the government isn’t delivering.

    The (i) and (ii) are quite a large group but (iii) is growing. The UUP might pick up some of (i) and (iii) but not the (ii). TUV will pick up some of (i) and (ii) and possibly (iii) and I think it COULD result in TUV picking up enough votes to become a lasting party on the scene. I would not be surprised if TUV are here in 5 years time with elected members to councils and Stormont. Partly it will depend on how good the DUP can claim their record in government is, compared to the alterntive of Direct Rule.

  • Rory

    “…provided a party opposes violence in achieving its aims…”

    Turgon, do you have any idea just how much an expression of priggish cant that is?

    All parties oppose violence against members of their own party in achieving their aims and usually accuse all other parties of acting violently against them while denying any violence against their opponents. The purpose of all this is to gain political control so that one has a monopoly of violence sanctioned by law. The crude propaganda perpetuated by and on behalf of the thuggish dupe, Morgan Tsangerai, in Zimbabwe is a case in point.

    in Northern Ireland, once upon a time, when the monopoly was considered to rest in perpetuity with the company of Brooke and Son, was called the Ulster Unionist Party. Later, market conditions changed and a more free market economy in violence became the norm.

    I simply find it quite impossible to trust anyone who would enter into the political arena with the pretence of eschewing violence since the whole purpose of politics is to gain a monoply of violence in order best to serve one’s masters.

    I detect the scent of pants beginning to smoulder.

  • joeCanuck

    Turgon,

    You must stop speaking your mind and only write about things that others want you to write about. You’re getting as bad as that Baker guy. Naughty boy.

  • truth and justice

    The TUV have proven to have double standards their policy document states they will talk to Sinn fein and share power under a super council unfortunetly for them this cant be got and the only other alternative is joint authority so if there is any support for the TUV think carefully about were they will lead us!

  • Blackmouth

    Turgon

    “their acceptance of power sharing with SF left a group of unionists without a party to represent their political position”

    Presumably the TUV acceptance of power-sharing with Sinn Fein via a single super-council will require the creation of a fourth Unionist party?

    I would like an answer to this question please.

  • Conquistador

    Oh here we go again. TUV don’t want SF in government so evidently are secretly craving a United Ireland.

    Right…

  • Essentialist

    It is clear that both Sinn Fein and the DUP fear the TUV but for different reasons. The Shinners because Allister’s party may become the embodiment of opposition politics and a voice for those wanting to see a change in the Stormont sharing of power cabal.This is quite different from power-sharing.

    Robinson rightly points out that the Executive is not in place simply to execute the SF agenda but has been unable to articulate meanigful policies for the DUP in their stead. I refer in particular to education where the DUP were elected on their support for the retention of objective academic selection but the best they can come up with in terms of policy is a link to Ken Bloomfield AQE private entrance test.So much for the “party of the Protestant Working Class”. Bloomfield’s group represent schools’ interests (the establishment) not those of parents and pupils (the electorate)

    The Assembly and Executive does not work. With increasing economic pressures being applied to the working class in the form of taxation by stealth i.e. council taxes and “heat or eat” decisions combined with the inability of the DUP to escape the Free P vice grip and lunatic outbursts (iris) or stonewall silence (42-day decision) many working class unionists will be looking elsewhere for representation. The DUP were elected entirely on borrowed votes and it is dangerous to presume that those who loaned their votes are so gullible as to repeat their mistake. The UUP may presume that they will benefit but this is unlikely in light of their potential link-up with the Cameroons.

    The electorate have learned that the UUP are an elitist party of the past and the DUP are ridden with weak, ineffective and nepotistic self-serving individuals who don’t even communicate well with their own members. Einstein conveyed it well in his statement that madness is defined as repeating the same action over and over again expecting a different outcome.

    The TUV represent an alternative voice in unionism. Do not be surprised to see voters lend their vote to Jim Allister in the European election in protest against the DUP betrayal.

  • 6countyprod

    Essential:
    Keyword: lend

    Do not be surprised to see voters lend their vote to Jim Allister in the European election in protest against the DUP

    Obviously you instinctively or subconsiously know that the TUV is a flash in the pan.

  • Driftwood

    Why is direct rule from Westminster so bad an idea?
    I think it’s perfectly reasonable and cheap.
    And it is the de facto government at present anyway.

  • Submariner

    Why is direct rule from Westminster so bad an idea?

    Driftwood one of the basic principals of democracy is that those who wish to govern stand for election. And as neither the Labour or Tories contest seats in NI what right do they have to govern over us. The Assembly may not be perfect but the MLAs were elected by the voters OF NI. Maybe given Unionist history im expecting to much from unionist contributors to understand how democracy works.

  • Driftwood

    Submariner
    The assembly doesn’t govern us, Westminster does.
    Yes, I’m looking forward to when all 3 mainland parties stand here. But 10 Downing Street calls the shots regardless of the (not) talking shop at Stormont

  • Essentialist

    6countyprod

    Beware flash fires particularly in pans; they have a nasty record of getting out of control if the public service announcements are to be believed.

    The term “lend” was a deliberate use given the arrogant view taken by the UUP and DUP parties that they “own” the unionist electorate.

    Perhaps you too demonstrate a fear of the unknown which clearly rattles the cozy party machinery.

  • Blackmouth – “Presumably the TUV acceptance of power-sharing with Sinn Fein via a single super-council will require the creation of a fourth Unionist party?”

    surely you don’t need Turgon to tell you that…

    it is pretty obvious that another movement would form…

    Afterall Jim has played the old “sitting with SF is a charade” record

    he can’t very well adjust the volume now…

  • 6countyprod

    Essentialist,

    If Jim loses his European seat, it will be all over for the TUV.

    If he manages to take the UUP seat, he might be able to make a go of it, but somehow I doubt it.

    In any case it all makes for interesting times in unionist politics.

  • Blackmouth

    Conquistador

    The TUV are actually in favour of Sinn Fein in government. Read the leaflet Allister’s minions were distributing arounds various Twelfth fields.

    Following the publication of that leaflet I was left wondering just why did Allister quit the DUP, given he now favours government with Sinn Fein, albeit through a single super-council?

    Thus far TUV people on this site have told me that their policy is:

    1. Direct Rule
    2. The form of devolution we have, but with Sinn Fein excluded.
    3. A single super-council governing Northern Ireland.
    4. A voluntary coalition with the SDLP.

    Just what is the TUV position?

  • Essentialist

    Are Sinn Fein or the DUP really in government or simply carrying out the legacy agenda of the British direct rulers and their civil service masters?

    At least Jim Allister points out the problem of the current setup. The rest are in denial. Now that the house inflation euphoria has ended a new period of critical thinking may reawaken the unionist electorate.

  • Driftwood

    What happens in Westminster, to a lesser extent Brussels, and globally of course- with Washington a key player affects the people of Northern Ireland. No doubt Leinster house has some influence with Downing St.
    Anyone who thinks Stormont has any real power is deluded and as for local councils- do me a favour.
    Reality slowly dawns…

  • Blackmouth

    Essentialist

    “At least Jim Allister points out the problem of the current setup.”

    So have the DUP on numerous occassions – the DUP have said that they want to see mandatory coalition government ended. Jim Allister “points out problems” without offering any solution to them.

    Now for the third time Turgon:

    “Presumably the TUV acceptance of power-sharing with Sinn Fein via a single super-council will require the creation of a fourth Unionist party?”

    It’s all well and good coming on here writing hogiographic pieces about Jim Allister, perhaps you could answer my question.

  • Blackmouth

    hagiographic, not hogiographic

  • Blackmouth

    Driftwood

    “Anyone who thinks Stormont has any real power is deluded and as for local councils- do me a favour.”

    And yet our truth-seeking MEP never seems to tire of scrutinising them? Sure why don’t we just abolish representative democracy in Northern Ireland altogether seeing as our locally elected politicians have such little power?

  • Driftwood

    We elect 18 MP’s to Westminster. That should be enough. We have a NI affairs committee at Westminster, and Taxation, Defence, Foreign Policy and much more are maintained there. We don’t need a 108 member talking shop that does fuck all anyway.

  • concerned about the TUV

    The TUV stance has now came out from the shadows and has shown that they are as hypocritical as the DUP.

    The main reason why people defected to the TUV from the DUP – whether voters or members – was because they oppose sharing power with Sinn Fein/IRA. The Super Council alternative contradicts their views. Who drew up the idea of a super council? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was you Turgon AKA Sammy Morrison. Maybe your a double agent for the DUP.

  • Turgon

    concerned about the TUV,

    My apologies, I am not Sammy Morrison though I have now met him in the flesh.

    I do like the idea of being a double agent for the DUP. Can I get paid for that?

  • concerned about the TUV

    Turgon

    My apologizes if you are not Sammy Morrison, although I still have my suspicions. If you are Sammy I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t say that you are him.

    If your aim is to destroy the TUV only a fool would pay you, as other members of the party are doing a fine job at demolishing it themselves.

  • Essentialist

    Turgon,

    You can only be paid if you are a member of the family.

    Blackmouth,

    If the DUP want to see an end to mandatory coalition they are going about it in a very sneaky fashion. It is more likely they have once again said one thing and are doing another but the electorate are wise to them. Jim Allister didn’t create the current Stormont mess, why do you expect him to provide the route out for the feckless incompetents? If David Ford represents opposition politics in Northern Ireland we’re in a sorry mess. I think we’ll have to wait until September before the “crisis” reveals itself. Summer hols are far too important for politicans and educationalists.

    The intimidation of the parking attendants in West Belfast has more significance than anything said or done by those seeking a compromise solution to the Sinn Fein agenda. How about a policing and justice solution in West Belfast led by the Sinn Fein MP?