Tory backbencher: pact could dangerously divide Unionism…

Backbenchers eh? Doncha just love them. Nicholas Winterton throws a spanner in the works of the UUP Conservative pact [ Aye, well maybe, and maybe not – ed]:

“I am concerned that the arrangement now being entered into between the Conservatives and Unionist Party and the Official Unionists (UUP) in Northern Ireland will divide the vote in marginal constituencies and serve only to let in Sinn Fein. Those that seek to divide are doing a disservice to the unionist cause. We have a duty not to turn our backs on the unionist people of Northern Ireland whose loyalty to our Queen and country I have never doubted. That loyalty should be honoured and reciprocated – but never betrayed.”

, ,

  • 6cp

    Nicolas Winterton has long been a friend to the people of Northern Ireland. He can look objectively on our situation and he obviously recognises a danger in the current UUP/Con pact.

    He knowns that the UUP is trying to claw its way back into some sort of relevancy in NI politics on the tailcoats of a resurgent Conservative party, and he apparently doesn’t have a lot of patience for losers and hangers-on.

  • autocue

    Another embrassment for the “CU”s – just wait for the cat-calls questioning Nick Winerton’s integrety from all the Cameroonie “liberalistos” who have been cheering this idea on.

  • An MP who defends his right to stick his nose in the trough supporting a party whose entire view of unionism is predicated on sticking its nose further in the UK trough. Who’d have thunk it?

  • autocue

    What did I say?

    If Nicholas Winterton had come over here to some UUP soiree and said what a great idea this was, the Chekov’s of this world would have been hailing him as a “senior statesman”, “well-respected Unionist”, “true parliamentarian”, but because he doesn’t actually support your silly little project to save the UUP you question his character.

    How sad, yet how predictable.

  • SW

    Recently spotted in Westminster (when they bother to turn up): DUP MPs talking animatedly to Sir Nicholas who sits across from them. And hey presto, the old guy duly delivers a spanner in the UUP/Con works. They really should leave the poor man to regularise his expenses claims/public mortgage payments in whatever spare time he has. A terrible pity that the great ‘influencers’ of Westminster have been reduced to admitting their clout stretches only as far as the ‘Hon’ member for Macclesfield.

  • autocue

    SW

    The DUP turns up at Westminster more often than the UUP MP does.

  • “How sad, yet how predictable”

    Preempting criticism of his integrity when you’re clearly quite aware that its questionable does not a great seer make.

  • Dec

    Real signs at last of the Conservative Party lifting us all from the mire of local, partisan politics.

  • SW

    “The DUP turns up at Westminster more often than the UUP MP does.”

    The art of political debate, lesson 241: when in trouble, select the lowest common denominator and make flattering comparisons thereof. A favourite of Gordon Brown. If they TRULY believed in the Union, they’d see it as an honour to attend Westminster full-time. Instead they turn up on Wednesdays for the jamboree of PMQs and to try and get a few quotes/pictures into the Newsletter. Try asking a DUP MP what makes them British and stand by for stammering, long pauses and, as a last resort, definition by opposites, ie. we’ll, we’re certainly not Irish.

  • pith

    If Winterton thinks you are wrong there is a fair chance you are right.

    Is his wife still an MP?

  • autocue

    SW

    You were the one who brought up voting records. Incidentally David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative and “Unionist” Party has a lower attendance/voting record than almost every DUP MP – 28%. What were you saying about lowest common denominators?

  • autocue

    “lifting us all from the mire of local, partisan politics”

    How can politics not be partisan?

  • frustrated democrat

    If that is the best the DUP can come up with then we should be really quaking in our boots.

    Just another incident that proves just how much they are worried, using a political noboby who is out of favour.

    They really need to shut up or do better.

  • autocue

    FD

    Now now, don’t get in to such a hissy fit. Attacking members of your own party – my, my!

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Anyone with an either a smidgen of realism or political honesty could predict a more even split in the Unionist vote would be of benefit to SF and Nationalism – as numerous posters have done here on Slugger.

    The hubris of Posh Boy David Cameron (PBDC) is I suppose only to be expected given his background but you would have thought someone like Winnie would have got through to him before now.

    The outrageous cheek of PBDCs Tories talking of tribalism in Norn Iron, when his own party has probably played a bigger role in adding and abetting tribalism In Ireland up until the peace settlement, only highlights how Britians interfernce in Irish affairs has been such a disaster.

    Add to that, the fact that the Tories are cultivating tribalism further by throwing their lot in with Unionism and aruably going against the spirit of the GFA which recognises the right of the people of Ireland ALONE to decide their constitutional future then there interfernce in ‘local’ poitics is hypocritical and dangerous.

    As luck would have it the law of unintended consequences is going to result in Unionism being further fragmented as Winnie predicts, and is just the type of compensation Nationalist Ireland rightly deserves and just the type of harsh political lesson that PBDC deserves and is undoubtedly going to receive over the coming years.

  • autocue

    “Anyone with an either a smidgen of realism or political honesty could predict a more even split in the Unionist vote would be of benefit to SF and Nationalism – as numerous posters have done here on Slugger.”

    Dare to say such things as a Unionist and the Chekov’s of this world start denouncing you as some sort of evil sectarian bigot.

  • 1) I haven’t actually said at any point that the ‘splitting unionism’ argument is an indicator of bigotry.

    2) It is as bad argument whether it is made by a rabid republican spewing his venom towards the UK or a hypocritical DUPE.

  • Elvis parker

    Circle the wagons onceagain fellow Prods! Robbo will save us from the Fenians and the Tories. Ignore the fact that they are going to be the next Govt – get that Winterton to say something. Who cares if he’s a maverick.
    Get Doddsy and Weir to slag of the Tories in the Assembly. Dont panic! Dont panic!
    We can face to ways at once we’ve done it for years!
    Anyhow what time is our next chin wag with the Shinners. Marty and co are so much more agreeable – they understand bigotry

  • ??

    Ignore the fact that they are going to be the next Govt …
    and? we got sold out under thatcher and major, Cameron is on record as stating he will follow the status quo, theres nothing in a tory govermnet for unionists

  • Cahal

    “Nicolas Winterton has long been a friend to the people of Northern Ireland. ”

    That’s code for unionists? Right?

    Haven’t heard that in a while. Like “Sinn Fein/I-R-A”.

  • ZoonPol

    I agree with Cahal that phrase makes me think of the old Orange Order gentry and OUP of old. Made me sick.

  • Turgon

    As someone who is far from well disposed to the DUP their assorted supporters comments on this thread are entirely correct.

    The idea of a shiny new conservative and unionist coalition is very plausible to young (and not so young) politicos. I must admit to a certain sympathy for the project.

    However, I am far from certain this plan will have any effect other than the effect it already has had (to save Reg for one more conference). It may have some currency within the greater Belfast “Pale.” The idea of fighting every seat may keep South Belfast with the SDLP. Whilst I would regard that as something to be avoided, I can easily accept that it is not a major disaster: Dr. Alasdair McDonnell is not a criminal supporting bigot and he attends Westminster to represent his constituents. As such for the CUs (or whatever they call themselves) to say that the loss of South Belfast to the SDLP would be a reasonable price to pay for being an inclusive non sectarian party is not completely unreasonable. It might (just might) help them acquire Catholic unionist votes somewhere and if it did all unionists should be pleased.

    The major problem, however, is out here in Fermanagh; you know that place where there used to be Ulster unionists but now there be dragons. Again I will remind you that I am “represented” (to use that term in its loosest possible sense) by an individual who does not go to parliament, has refused to support people going to the police over certain types of criminal activity and who says that a future generation of republicans may have to go back to violence. Nicholas Winterton is quite correct to worry about a pact removing any realistic chance of gaining Westminster representation in F/ST.

    I am sure that I would not be the only unionist in Fermanagh or elsewhere who would take an extremely dim view of my chances of proper representation being sacrificed on the altar of proving how new, shiny, non sectarian and politically correct the CUs are.

    Let us remember that people have stood aside in elections here and elsewhere to maximise the chances of someone else getting in: I believe Alliance have done this on a number of occasions.

    If the CUs really cared about us here in Fermanagh they would row in behind Arlene Foster. I very much doubt many Catholic unionists would be terribly offended at an attempt to remove Gildernew. To stand here would be a combination of vanity, arrogance and folly which I hope even the UUP would avoid.

  • ZoonPol

    If a plebiscite on the issue of the reunification of the island of Ireland was written into any Party’s manifesto, say Alliance, for example and a time period set before any could be held again on the issue then I wonder if it would mix the Orange and Green votes instead of the tribal politics that exists now.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Turgon,

    I agree entirely that from a Unionist point of view FST needs a single Unionist candidate – with the only caveat that the SDLP and SF could also agree on FST and SB which would then (probablyl) leave both seats in Nationalist hands.

    PBDC has stuck his neck out on this with his “we will stand in all constituencies” line and will find it difficult to row back from it – he will probably end up damaging UU further as the UU/Tories will be seen to be putting party idealism before practical politics.

    From Nationalisms standpoint – this new muddle that Unionism has opted for is simply great news.

  • First of all, let me say, as a conservative, that I am embarassed by the remarks of Nicholas Winterton. I hope that there is a reaction from senior members of our party which seek to distance it from his remarks.

    Turgon, I have said, quite a number of times in comments, that I want normal politics in NI. Therefore I will jump on anybody who sympathises with the idea that there should be a “single unionist candidate” in FST or S. Belfast or that our party/UUP should tell people to vote for a unionist as their 2nd preference in the Euro elections or who is obsessed with SF getting the highest number of votes.

    You should also know that the vast majority of Conservatives do not think that way at all. NW is certainly an exception. Part of my mission is to engage people to try and get them to think in a different way.

    This will sound heretical to you. I have no problem people voting for SF or SDLP or the DUP, provided their vote is based on “bread and butter” issues.

    If you step back, you might appreciate the longer-term evolutionary trend in NI is towards normal politics but that SF/DUP are not capable of delivering it.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Seymour Major,

    Firstly,
    Europe is Britains ‘tribal’ issue – ie it is the issue in which Britains comstitutional status is under threat/review. The Tory party has torn itself apart on this issue and it continues to rumble as was seen in the re-appointemnet of Ken Clarke. Before getting involved in Norn Iorn the Tories nmight be better served in sorting out the tribal politics that pervades their own party.

    Secondly, is there not even a trace of shame/embarassment in Tory ranks about lecturing the Irish on tribalism given the Tory reposnsilbity for events leading to partition and more recently – e.g Bloody Sunday.

  • Sammy,

    One person’s view that they are being lectured is equivalent to another’s view that they are providing enlightenment.

    Tribalism within election politics is bad for the Welfare of people in Northern Ireland and I dont mind continuing to repeat that. There are plenty of others like yourself who try to divert from that point by throwing historical events in people’s faces.

    I will not be drawn into a discussion about historical events or the appointment of Clarke (which is totally irrelevant)

    My view of the past, whether I disagreed or agreed with your view, does not alter what I have said that Tribal Politics is bad for Northern Ireland.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Seymour Major

    Presumably if you believe that “Tribal Politics is bad for Northern Ireland” you have a view of what constitutes tribalism?

    I take it you/the Tories agree that that National Identity ie Britishness V Irishness is at the heart of the tribal politics of Norn Iron and it is right at rhe heart of the GFA which the Tories have signed up to.

    Assuming you accept the point above regarding National Identity then it clearly a nonsense for you/Tories saying they wish to end tribal politics when the are actively taking sides.

    The logical partner for the Tories if they actually wished to steer as clear as possible of Tribal politics would be the Alliance who at least try to relegate tribalism to a secondary position. Cleary in relation to the Ulster Unionists their tribal views are obvious in their behaviour over decades and there is a failry big clue in their name.

    In relation to historical events – I appreciate this may be dificult for the Tories – but just avoiding discussion is hardly likely to inspire confidence in those you wish to win over.

    I would also contend that British/European tribalism advises the views of many Tories and has little to do with economics or monetary policy or bread and butter issues and that uncomfortable truth should be confronted if you wish to pass on what to many Irish people is patronisingg jibber-jaber but you/the Tories perceive as ‘enlightenment’.

  • Turgon

    Seymour Major,
    Firstly Seymour I am not in the DUP and do not support it. I do, however, support having representation in Westminster. Leave aside South Belfast as it is less important. South Belfast has an MP and that is fine. F/ST does not have an MP. It has an individual who was elected (initially in very dubious circumstances) but who does not sit at Westminster: hence, in a very practical sense I do not have a fully functioning MP. The same individual also says that republicans may have to go back to violence and she cannot support people going to the police about certain sorts of criminal activity.

    Why is it tribal, bigoted etc to try to remove this individual in a democratic election? I would have thought if you believe we should all have Westminster representation you should be actively supporting a unity candidate.

    I very much doubt any catholic unionists would be terribly offended by trying to remove Gildernew.

    Again I put it to you that your opposition to a pact has more to do with trying to promote some sort of new shiny self image and also allowing Cameron to say the Tories are standing in every seat in ther UK. It is so principled and so high minded that you are willing to deny me any chance of Westminster representation. In reality you are sacrificing us for a sound bite and that is not really very principled is it?

    Do not try the nonsense that the DUP could stand aside. Down here we all know there is only one person who can beat Gildernew and that is Arlene Foster: I may not like Foster much but that is the reality.

  • Sammy,

    I do not accept that “Identity” and a person’s view of what an elected representative should do in office on everyday issues can not be de-coupled. I have never said there will not be problems in trying to achieve that either. You might like to visit the Conservative NI Website where “Identity” has already been vigorously debated. http://conservativesni.net/2008/12/14/identity-and-progress/

    Turgon,

    No, it is not the reality. Do you not accept that Foster is incapable of attracting significant Nos. of Catholic votes? You see, you are using old assumptions to predict who is the likely winner in Fermanagh ST. The game has changed.

    Why dont you get out there and talk to some Catholics and canvass their opinion?

    Wake up Turgon and open up your mind.

  • ??

    The game has changed. ..

    how so, just because dave cameron showed up at the UUP conference? the tories have been here for years and are despised amongst the electorate

  • Turgon

    Seymour Major,
    If you are from Fermanagh and still live here I might take your views slightly seriously: however, I suspect neither of those is true.

    Your suggestion that I canvass Catholic opinion shows how little you understand Fermanagh: people down here on both sides here keep their political views very quiet. The reality is, however, that everyone here is not politically disinterested: look at the turn out in elections.

    Foster is not capable of attracting many Catholic votes (she may get the odd few but I agree). Gildernew is incapable of getting any Protestant votes. As such an SF win is likely. However, there are nationalists / Catholics (much as I dislike using the term interchangeably) who will not vote for Foster but will not vote for Gildernew. They are unlikey to vote for a new UUP candidate but will vote SDLP or stay at home.

    If the CUs or whatever they call themselves this week run they will split the unionist vote enough to ensure a Gildernew win. Even if Arlene Foster did stand aside I doubt an CU could have a credible chance of winning. Down here your party, in Westminster terms, has been destroyed.

    Remember that at the last Westminster election it was Foster not Tom Elliott who ran Gildernew close.

    The simple fact is that if the CUs run a candidate you, the CUs, are depriving F/ST of any chance of representation at Westminster.

    You say the game has changed: not down here mate. Your little vanity project will remove Westmister representation from this part of the UK and ensure the election of a cheerleader for terrorists. All that to gain David Cameron a soundbite: and you call yourselves principled?

  • Elvis parker

    Re Gildernew ‘in a very practical sense I do not have a fully functioning MP.’
    You still wouldn’t have one if Minister, MLA, Cllr Foster was elected.

  • Turgon

    Elvis,
    At least she would sometimes go to Westminster and at least she might not feel that a future generation of republicans might have to go back to violence. She might also support people going to the police about criminal activity.

  • Turgon,

    I have noted what you say and take exception to your remarks and the manner in which you have made them. If you are going to abuse people with words like “mate”, I suggest you are unfit to post on this website. It does not lie in your mouth to talk about principles.

    Already, you have shifted from “admitting to having sympathy for the project” (no22) to now calling our party’s objectives a “vanity project” but lets not talk about your contradiction. We’ll talk about substance.

    You wish to talk about priniciples but you certainly do nor represent the voice of reason. What about the principle that Catholic Conservatives have hitherto been disenfranchised as indeed are still Protestant Socialists? (I also do not like to use religious classification)
    What about people being able to vote for a party which is able to do something about Monetary and Fiscal policy? Northern Ireland people have been disenfranchised from this aspect of democracy for far too long.

    You might think that a party that merely advances unio-centric unionism for heterosexual protestants is the only choice that voters should have. There is a complete difference between the DUP brand of Unionism and that of the Conservatives, which is people-inclusive. We are not about one section of society.

    The voters deserve a choice. That is a thousand times more important than who wins the seat, despite what you say about Sinn Fein.

    My money is on a UUP/Con candidate winning FST at the next election or running Gildernew very close.

  • frustrated democrat

    Turgon

    If there is only one unionist candidate running regardless of who it is, assuming SF and SF both run, wouldn’t they win any way?

    So if the Conservatives do run on their principles which seems likely and the DUP really care about representation and care about their principles then they would stand aside, if they only care about the DUP they will run.

    Let’s see if they back up their words with deeds, principle versus party advantage, on the basis of past actions I know what the result will be.

  • ??

    There is a complete difference between the DUP brand of Unionism and that of the Conservatives, which is people-inclusive………….

    nonsense, it doesnt include people who are not conservatives does it?

  • ??

    you misinterpreted but what I said may have been a little bit obscure.

    “people inclusive” is not meant to be a reference to which voters support the party in the ballot box.
    It means that when the party conducts elections, it is not about whether a unionist party gets the biggest number of votes and nor is it obsessed with unionism itself. It means that we merely conduct ourselves on the basis of ‘bread and butter’ issues which matter to people across the community.

    Hope that clears that one up.

  • Quagmire

    There can never be “normal politics” in norn Iron simply because its not a normal state. It was conceived via a sectarian head count/carve up through threat of violence by a minority on this Island. What we have today in the form of mandatory coalition is the best Unionism can ever hope for, their past behaviour in government (majority rule) has seen to that. Unionism, thanks to the GFA and subsequently St. Andrews, is perpetually joined to the hip with nationalism. There can be no decisions made in Stormont without consensus. There seems to be a view within Unionism that now Stormont is up and running, Republicans/nationalists should cease to harbour their political aspirations and suddenly become unionist in thinking in pursuit of “normal” politics away form the politics of “tribalism”. How is it tribal for me to vote for Sinn Fein? I am an Irish Republican after all. The problem is that the constitutional question has been parked, not settled and Nationalism/Republicanism see the current phase as part of a journey as opposed to the end of a journey. Normal politics will ensue through All-Island harmonisation, reconciliation and ultimately in the removal of the arbitrary border that separates our Island physically and psychologically and in the end holds us all back. It will evolve organically, over a period of time in the course of the up coming number of years. Evolution not revolution my friends!

  • Turgon

    Seymour Major,
    If you regard the term “mate” as abusive, I am a little surprised: you should see what is written on this website. If you feel I am unfit to post on this website, feel free to take it up with Mr. Fealty: sadly Mick would be too much the gentleman to tell me what his response would be. Maybe you would prefer me to call you sir?

    Now on your substantive points:

    I regard a CU alliance as a good thing. However, standing in a seat and as such ensuring an SF win to allow your leader to say that Tories are standing everywhere is a vanity project. It gains you a sound bite: it losses me democratic representation.

    All these comments about not representing society and the ludicrous idea that a CU could run Gildernew close show how little you understand about F/ST.

    The reality is that by your vanity project you condemn us to being unrepresented and having a cheerleader for criminals as our “MP”: that I regard as pretty unprincipled. I also very much doubt that any catholic unionists would be terribly offended if a pact removed Gildernew.

    The idea that it is more important that people can chose the Tory party over having any form of democratic representation and that it is more important to be able to chose the Tories over removing a terrorist cheerleader is a level of breath taking arrogance which I though the Tories were trying to get away from.

    Think about it: you think it is more important that people can vote for your own party than they have a chance to be represented.

    You are quite right about people deserving a choice: your idea of standing in F/ST removes any chance of a choice and any chance of representation. Still I am sure it will help the vanity project.

    frustrated democrat,
    The simple reality is that the DUP (in the person of Foster) are the only people who can beat Gildernew. If Foster does not stand even Tom Eliott will not win for the CUs.
    to claim his supposed high moral ground.

  • Turgon,

    Firstly, if you say there was no intent to insult in “mate” then I wont take any.

    There is not much point me pushing my point any further. All I will say is that there are a lot of other people out there who are genuine floating voters who do not make their mind up so quickly. We will agree to disagree for the time being but I propose to engage you again on this subject after the Euro elections

    Au revoir

  • bob Wilson

    ‘Normal politics will ensue through All-Island harmonisation, reconciliation and ultimately in the removal of the arbitrary border that separates our Island physically and psychologically and in the end holds us all back. It will evolve organically, over a period of time in the course of the up coming number of years. Evolution not revolution my friends! ‘

    I really dont think the Republic will rejoin the UK – regardless of the economic sense it would make. The economis of scale and the sense of an All IslandS economy are obvious but politics will get in the way

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Seymour Major

    that is less than fullsome repsonse to the contradictions that lie at the heart of Tory claims regarding their involvment in Norn Iron.

    The fundamental point remains that tribal politics in Norn Iron are based on national identity and the Tories are taking sides in this tribal politics which is still very much a live issue due to the architecture of the GFA.

    The UU actively support all sorts of tribal behaviour including provocative anti-catholic marches through areas they are not wanted.

    The Alliance (who are already spoken for) are the only possilble liason that would have supported Tory claims of being non tribal.

  • Quagmire

    “I really dont think the Republic will rejoin the UK – regardless of the economic sense it would make. The economies of scale and the sense of an All IslandS economy are obvious but politics will get in the way”
    Posted by bob Wilson on Jan 28, 2009 @ 05:51 PM

    A usual trick employed by Unionists to misconstrue the sentiment conveyed by the statement. I think you’ll find that the GFA only foresees two potential outcomes i.e. the north remains a constituent of the UK or it becomes incorporated with the Republic to make an all Ireland unitary state. You’ll also find a majority on the Island of Ireland in favour of Irish unity. Your sentiment is not shared by the majority of people on this Island and indeed has no grounding in political or legal terms. Good luck with it though.

  • Quagmire

    Even big Jim Allister agrees with me
    http://www.jimallister.org/default.asp?blogID=982

  • frustrated democrat

    Turgon

    On the assumption that SDLP and SF run and there is only one unionist candidate can you come up with some statistics or facts to back your assertion that only Ms. Foster can win?

  • ??

    You’ll also find a majority on the Island of Ireland in favour of Irish unity. Your sentiment is not shared by the majority of people on this Island and indeed has no grounding in political or legal terms. Good luck with it though. …..

    have u asked them? if the referendum in the republic for teh Good Friday agreement just over 50% of the population actually bothered to vote.

  • Quagmire

    “have u asked them? if the referendum in the republic for teh Good Friday agreement just over 50% of the population actually bothered to vote.”
    Posted by ?? on Jan 28, 2009 @ 10:20 PM

    Yes, I asked them last night. They all said yes. Besides all political party’s in the Republic, some more actively than others, advocate Irish unity and since people in the Republic,strangely enough, vote for these partys I’d say there’s a decent chance they’d vote for unity. I accept that there may be some dissenting votes but to believe that over 50% of the Republic would vote against unity is just wishful thinking of the highest order. Moreover, you make the point about the GFA. The turnout for the Lisbon referendum was just over 50% and it was considered a high turnout which gave authenticity to the “no” vote. Besides, all that is needed is 50%+1 in the north and 50%+1 in the south and not 51% in both jurisdictions as some might argue. In other words 50.1% in each jurisdiction would do the trick. I am 25 years old, I will see Irish unity in my life time.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    (i)The simple reality is that the DUP (in the person of Foster) are the only people who can beat Gildernew.

    Turgon, do you not feel Arlene Foster would be too divisive a figure to attract enough UUP support in FST?

    People haven’t exactly been lining up behind her in support since her 2005 result. Indeed in 2007 in the Assembly Election the Ulster Unionists began to reclaim support from the DUP in FST, narrowing it from a 11% lead in 2005 to a 6% lead in 2007. Again in September of last year Arlene was only able to poll 1925 to our 1436, not that big a lead when you consider she’s one of the highest profile politicians in the country and our candidate was a local farmer who lost his seat 8 years ago. Also the campaign the DUP ran in Enniskillen was extreme, indeed they seemed to have half their Assembly team (including near all of the Ministers) down on polling day standing outside stations begging people to vote Foster 1. Now when you consider Enniskillen DEA is the only place the DUP outpoll the Ulster Unionists in Fermanagh then it is clear that their is still a very substantial UU vote out there. IMO many of them voters would struggle to back, not necessarily the DUP, but Arlene. And I do believe she is smart enough to realise that herself.

  • Sammy,

    Sorry about the delay in responding to your No. 18

    What you are saying is wishful thinking on your part. I know you cant accept that identity and people’s desires on policies for the government of the day can not be separated. I had my doubts not so long ago about that as well but your view does not accord with the position on the ground where I live.

    I am regularly talking to Catholics about politics. Their attitudes to the Conservatives vary. I have had friendly conversations with some who wont change in the immediate future from voting SF or SDLP but I have also talked to a lot of others who are looking forward to voting conservative.

    There is a lot of anger amongst Catholics over academic selection. They wont vote for DUP because they regard them as sectarian but they will switch to Con/UUP because they are trusting that sectarianism has been taken out of politics and they would be right.

    Sinn Fein are trying to ride two horses (republican and left wing) hoping that people dont notice the latter. Increasingly, people are coming to know the other side of their ideology. You see, in the past, SF were not in office long enough for people to judge them on the basis of their performance as administrators.

    Perhaps you dont believe me. I am not bothered about that. Just wait and watch the Republican/Nationalist votes fall at the next general election.

    I am not going to say any more on this subject.

  • ABC

    FYU

    The UUP do better in Assembly Polls in East Belfast than they do at Westminster elections. Does that mean Reg is going to storm the ramparts and oust Robinson? Don’t think so.