Diane Dodds on unionist unity

The News Letter is reporting that Diane Dodds has come close to suggesting that DUP voters transfer to either the UUP or TUV just as both the other parties have done. In her first major speech since being selected she stated:

“In this European election there are two main requirements. One is to keep unionism at the top of the poll and the other is to ensure that we maximise the pro-Union vote to secure the two MEP seats.”The aim of ensuring two unionist seats should be relatively easy to achieve provided there are transfers. However her other aim of keeping unionism at the top of the poll of course translates to keeping the DUP (and Mrs. Dodds) at the top of the poll. That may well be much more difficult. Mrs. Dodds, however, seems very keen on it:

“And to those who say a Unionist candidate topping the poll is not important, I would say remember the boasting and bragging that went on about the so-called ‘greening of the West’? Imagine such a result replicated on an Ulster-wide scale. Sinn Fein would be able to strut the European stage, claiming to speak for Ulster. We must all work, regardless of party affiliation, to make sure that does not happen.”

Of course the only realistic way in which this can be guaranteed is if one of the three unionist parties contesting the election stands aside which is completely unrealistic.

Promoting the idea of keeping the DUP number one and any slippage from that being an epic disaster is of course a standard DUP shibboleth. In fairness republicans would probably crow a bit about holding the largest single vote. However, in real politics it would not be that enormous a tragedy: it would not actually be that relevant. It must be remembered that Ian Paisley was consistently the single most popular politician in the European elections even at the time when Jim Molyneaux’s UUP was slowly but surely eroding his support. The European vote alone did not gain the DUP top spot, it was many years later that the DUP became the largest party, helped of course by David Trimble’s careful gradual and thoughtful destruction of his own party.

It is Paisley’s one time obsession with winning the most votes in Europe and his duel with John Hume over this which has helped make it a big issue for the DUP. As such the DUP have (not for the first time) created a potential stick for others to beat them with. The possibility of losing the number one slot is actually a much bigger danger in the next Stormont elections where the DUP themselves created the preconditions for a potential SF first minister by changing the rules so that the largest single party and not the largest party of the largest group nominates the First Minister.

That decision was a cynical ploy by the DUP to blackmail unionist voters into giving them the maximum number of votes and this latest poly should be seen in exactly the same light. It must be remembered that in the first Stormont elections after the Belfast Agreement the SDLP gained more votes than the UUP: yet unsurprisingly the border did not fall. In fairness the UUP still had the largest number of seats but the effect of a nationalist party having the largest single number of votes seems to have been limited.

Whilst it is a little impolite, it might also be suggested that if the DUP was really that concerned about ensuring the number one slot they might have chosen a higher profile candidate than Diane Dodds. The fact that none of these higher profile candidates would stand does somewhat call into question whether the DUP are really that obsessed with the importance of gaining most first preference votes.

Of course the reality is that Bairbre de Brún having the largest single vote would not be a huge disaster for anyone other than the DUP for whom it might be something of a problem. More of a problem for unionism would be not having two unionist MEPs: the risks of that can be minimised by the DUP explicitly calling on its supporters to transfer to either the TUV or UUP. The DUP has, however, always had some difficulties seeing any differences between the political needs of the unionist population and the needs of itself as a party.

  • Turgon,

    I agree with much of what you say. However, where you say that the chance of two unionist seats could be improved by the “DUP explicitly calling on its supporters to transfer to either the TUV or UUP”, surely it is truer to say that it is the TUV that needs to transfer to the DUP?

    Given the three-party split, it is unlikely that any unionist party will be over the quota, so the issue then is one of transfers from the first one to be excluded, and I (like most people) expect that to be Allister.

    So two things are needed: firstly, Alister has to explicitly call for transfers to the other unionists, and Dodds has to actively court TUV transfers.

  • fair_deal

    “the reality is that Bairbre de Brún having the largest single vote would not be a huge disaster for anyone other than the DUP”

    JA seemed to think differently when he was the DUP candidate.

    “More of a problem for unionism would be not having two unionist MEPs: the risks of that can be minimised by the DUP explicitly calling on its supporters to transfer to either the TUV or UUP.”

    The risks of that can also be minimised by the TUV not standing as in the Fermanagh by-election.

  • Zoon Political

    The DUP have a history of being unattached political members in the European Parliament therefore one should ask her what her intention is if and when she gets there.
    The UUP should concentrate on asking the electorate to put the number 1 beside NICHOLSON and let conscience decide the rest. The fight it against Official DUP (TUV) and ‘new’ priciple lite DUP under Robinson et al. Farmers don’t care what religion a cow is ….

  • steve48

    The reality is that the DUP have now realised they have made a considerable stick to beat their own backs with. Were they to gain number one spot at the cost of a second unionist seat they would find it very difficult to use the argument of topping the poll as their key electoral message in the 2011 assembly election which is when they will really need it.

  • Cushy Glenn

    oh wise up fair deal!
    There is a substantial Unionist bloc that remains anti-Agreement, and that is frankly nauseated by the new direction of the DUP, which turns a blind eye to murders in south Armagh and semtex finds which would formerly have turnedthem apoplectic.
    That vote needs to come out if Unionism is to win two seats, and it must be at least 20000 strong- possibly more. Allister is the only person capable of doing so.
    It’s not where the DUP comes in the poll that matters- just as it didn’t in every previous European election. Did his triumphs stop the Anglo-Irish Agreement, Downing Street declaration, or GFA?
    It’s the securing of two seats that matters, and if nationalists secured two that would be far more damaging than de Brun topping the poll. But you and she both know that.

    What Diane is really afraid of is needing TUV transfers to cross the finishing line- especially since I hope they will be few in number

  • Turgon

    fair_deal,
    It is very rare for me to directly disagree with you but Cushy Glenn has it exactly right (as usual). Dodds not being first is not a major disaster. It would also be completely unreasonable to expect Allister to stand aside from his own seat.

    Unlike the Fermanagh byelection there is really a fairly low chance of two seats falling to nationalism. There is a chance that the DUP will not be top but so what it is not a huge issue. Cushy Glenn is correct and there may well be more chance of two seats falling to nationalism if the TUV do not stand.

  • Quagmire

    So nothing about representing all the people of Northern Ireland on the European stage Diane? Nothing about doing a job to the best of your abilities for all our people? Just more tripe and scare mongering about who tops the poll. These people are an absolute joke. What are you going to do for me if I decide to vote for you? I believe if you take Diane et al out of their wee sectarian comfort zones, they are usually rendered speechless and their arguments bankrupt as they have nothing positive or progressive to contribute, only tired old sectarian rhetoric.

  • fair_deal

    CG

    “There is a substantial Unionist bloc that remains anti-Agreement, and that is frankly nauseated by the new direction of the DUP,”

    I fully accept there is a TUV vote but to present the outcome as only achievable by a single means is incorrect.

    “Allister is the only person capable of doing so.”

    In Fermanagh % Unionist turnout increased even in the absence of a TUV candidate.

    “just as it didn’t in every previous European election”

    At least on its importance the DUP have been consistent. The TUV can certainly declare it isn’t important. However the TUV is hampered by the fact their candidate, Allister, cannot make it with any degree of honesty.

    “if nationalists secured two that would be far more damaging than de Brun topping the poll. But you and she both know that”

    Then we concur that both are damaging. Topping the poll and securing the two seats are not mutually exclusive and it is fallacy to present them as a choice. Can we not set more than one goal for Unionism in the election?

    Perhaps before the battle royale starts proper Unionists could spend a few weeks sorting out amongst the various sections how we can achieve three goals:
    Topping the poll
    Securing the two seats
    Increasing turnout – how about an agreed target of over getting over 50% again or matching the 99 performance of 52%

    Wrangling over how the various Unionist parties rank the three in importance is surely the secondary issue?

  • fair_deal

    “It is very rare for me to directly disagree”

    We are not carbon copies, it is bounded to happen sometimes.

    “Dodds not being first is not a major disaster. It would also be completely unreasonable to expect Allister to stand aside from his own seat.”

    You can make such an argument but Allister cannot. A seat is not a personal possession. My reply to cushy glenn has some relevance.

    BTW did you get the email I sent yesterday evening?

  • Turgon

    fair_deal,
    Yes, thanks.
    On the reply above we can agree to disagree. One issue which is a slight hobby horse of mine and not really a political issue is that from memory the total number of unionist votes went down in the Fermanagh by election. The percentage vote went up because the total nationalist vote fell further. Looking at relative changes can be misleading. I am not accusing you of misleading anyone but I think the Fermanagh result needs to be interpreted in the context of the quite large fall in the SDLP vote.

  • While the DUP and the TUV tussle over who should top the poll, the more important issue is that of the transfers. The more they tussle, the fewer there’ll be.

    And this puts Sinn Féin in the very pleasant position of having a considerable influence over the direction of unionist votes. If they calculate that some TUV votes may not transfer, then they might decide to swing the (unionist) vote slightly towards the TUV by just saying a few words. Since the TUV voters are so incensed by the DUP’s DUPlicity, a controversial statement by an SF Minister at just the right time could rob the DUP of votes which may not transfer back!

    So poor Dodds is caught between trying to run an anti-SF campaign and the knowledge that SF could switch a lot of her votes to Allister by playing hardball. But if Dodds focusses more on Allister, it increases the tension between them and reduces the possibility of transfers.

    Its a win-win situation for nationalism.

  • “There is a chance that the DUP will not be top but so what it is not a huge issue.”

    but

    there is a chance SF may top the poll so for that reason i think Unionism will again line up behind the DUP.

    The TUV are realistically only contesting this election to gain a perspective on their provincial support for any future Assembly election – they have no real vision of being elected in this euro poll.

  • fair_deal

    “On the reply above we can agree to disagree”

    Indeed.

    “from memory the total number of unionist votes went down in the Fermanagh by election. The percentage vote went up because the total nationalist vote fell further. Looking at relative changes can be misleading.”

    The total number of votes going down is hardly an uncommon occurence in a by-election. However the by-election results is the onbly objective evidence we have of public opinion.

    In the Dromore by-election the total vote was down as was the Unionist vote share compared with 2005 (due to Alliance running) so running three doesn’t guarantee overall progress for Unionism either.

  • Turgon

    Horseman,
    Very well argued but in all honesty I think most TUVists will hold their noses and transfer to the DUP.

    wile melee,
    Keep believing that if you want but we are serious about winning. I agree that it is hard to know how many votes we will get but in honesty I do expect a good show: still I have been wrong before.

  • fair_deal

    Turgon

    “Perhaps before the battle royale starts proper Unionists could spend a few weeks sorting out amongst the various sections how we can achieve three goals:
    Topping the poll
    Securing the two seats
    Increasing turnout – how about an agreed target of over getting over 50% again or matching the 99 performance of 52%”

    Your thoughts on this suggestion?

  • PaddyReilly

    Given the three-party split, it is unlikely that any unionist party will be over the quota, so the issue then is one of transfers from the first one to be excluded, and I (like most people) expect that to be Allister.

    This seems to hit the nail very much on the head.

    Unionism has, I believe, a very small advantage over Nationalism on a province wide base. My median estimate for this advantage I calculate as 4,500 votes, with an error margin of 10,000 either way.

    The effect of running three major Unionist candidates against two major Nationalist ones would be to squander this advantage immediately.

    At the moment it looks like the following will happen. SF achieves a quota: their small number of transfers boosts the vote of the SDLP. Mickey Mouse parties are eliminated without altering the balance. Then Allister is eliminated. CU (née UUP), SDLP, and DUP are still all short a quota.

    At this point my crystal ball goes cloudy. What happens next? Where do Allister’s transfers go? Not to the SDLP, I ween. But there is still a possibility that the SDLP will come between the two Unionist parties in level of votes.

    There are two facts that Unionist commentators don’t seem to take heed of. One is that the Unionist proportion of the vote goes down every year, without fail. The second is that intra-Unionist (and intra-Nationalist) transferring is always far short of perfect. The electorate has not yet mastered the working of transfers.

    It’s really to close to call. I don’t know the answer. All I can say is that between the first count and the last Unionist nails will become considerable shorter.

  • x

    lets put the DUP to the test.

    Which is more improtant 2 secure Unionist seats with a maximun Unionist turn out or

    the DUP topping the poll.

    if it is the former then split the province into 3 encourage Unionists in 6 constituencies to vote Dodds 1, Nicholson 2, Allister 3 in onther 6 Nicholson 1, Allister 2, Dodds 3 etc – thus maximising the turnout and with a bit of vote management 2 secure seats.

    if its the latter then forget about the union and squabble about who’s top dog.

    For my money since its the DUP in charge – top dog it is

  • 6cp

    The DUP has always encouraged its voters to vote for the other unionist candidate. The second unionist candidate in the European elections has always been elected on the transfers from the DUP.

    This time, every unionist should vote 1,2 and 3: 1 DUP, 2 either UUP or TUV and 3 the one you didn`t vote for in 2. That way 2 unionists seats are guaranteed because your 3 vote will go to the unionist with the second highest vote. Simple. But get out to vote!

  • ??

    So it seems the TUV are happy to have SF top the poll/

  • Turgon

    fair_deal,
    Sorry, I popped out. I agree that two seats is vital. I also agree that increasing the unionist share is vital. On topping the poll, I think that is difficult due to there being three credible candidates.

    Jim Nicholson is the sitting MEP and has the backing of the second largest unionist party.

    Jim Allister is the sitting MEP and is the leader of the smallest unionist party.

    Diane Dodds is the new commer and has the backing of the largest unionist party.

    The above makes a very difficult mix to call and makes it difficult to see how we can ensure a unionist tops the poll short of one candidate standing aside. Since that is not going to happen I think agreement to try to maximise the chances of a unionist topping the poll is pointless. I do not think we can predict the future sufficeintly effectively.

    In terms of the other issues I agree we need to consider how that can be done.

  • “but we are serious about winning.”

    How serious – mobilising across Northern Ireland will be a signifcant challenge surely?

    Also cost is surely a concern?

    you can be serious about winning but do you realistically envisage winning one of the three seats?

    Who do you see missing out if the TUV gain a seat?

    Who would you like to see miss out to allow a TUV seat?

  • Turgon

    a wile melee,
    Yes it will be difficult. We have, however, a fairly well developed organisation and planning meetings are ongoing.

    In terms of money, I am not the treasurer but we have already nearly enough money.

    I think we can win one of the seats, I am not so arrogant to say that we will definitely but I think we have a pretty good chance. I suspect if someone looses out to us it will be Jim Nicholson. I get no pleasure in that since he has been an MEP for ages, it is his job and in the past I canvassed for him. However, I personally would prefer him to lose since the DUP is more hardline than the UUP and being more hard line than the DUP I would prefer unionism to move to the “right.” That would also probably result in your party drifting towards the left which would gain the TUV more support in the long run.

    If you want a more detailed analysis do email me some time.

    Regards

  • Sinn Fein top the poll and Alliance evenyually sneak the third seat cause of an abysmal performance by SDLP ,a badly split unionist vote and 95% tranfers from the resurgent greens and other assorted rabble.

    As Martin L. King said – “we shud all have a dream”.

  • Blue Rinse Brigade

    Novel idea I know but how about letting people vote for whoever they choose and not telling them what to do….

    I believe its called democracy.

  • picador

    The Euro election should be interesting. A trial run for a border poll perhaps.

  • Long John Silver

    Some very simple basic comments. Anyone who sees a European election s merely an extension of Northern Ireland’s petty sectarian squabbles and a chance to get one up on the other community is not fit to hold European office.

    Secondly, the whole notion of this sectarian divying up of Northern Ireland by agreeing vote transfers between parties (many of whom disagree vehemently on so much) is a fairly disgusting one, and demoralises anyone who wants Northern Ireland to become a normal Western European state.

    Shame on those who think in this way.

  • fair_deal

    Turgon

    “I agree that two seats is vital. I also agree that increasing the unionist share is vital. On topping the poll, I think that is difficult due to there being three credible candidates.”

    Diffuclty wasn’t the question. Increasing the vote share won’t be easy either judging by the problems Unionism has had with it in the past while. Also no point setting easy targets.

    All three constitute good news stories for Unionism but more of that on a couple of threads I’ll put up tomorrow.

  • Turgon

    f_d,
    I await them with interest

    Regards

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    If Nationalism takes 2 seats, it in one sense could be good for Unionism, in that they will be forced to recognise that dividing their vote could be extermely damaging in elections that atually matter ie assembly elections.

    It would also be the probable end of the UU/Tory alliance as they would probably expire from embarassment. That would be good for the DUP.

    Nationalism taking the second seat may of course be partially down to demogrpahics as well as to vote-splitting – if demographics show Nationalism on Unionism’s shoulder this will be highly psychologically damaging to Unionists and extremely worrying for the outlook for the next Assembly elections where seats will shift over to Nationalism.

  • picador

    I haven’t looked at the numbers but surely the two nationalist seats outcome is extremely unlikely?

    Sounds like: 1- SF wet-dream 2 – DUP scaremongering

    LJS,

    Do you hail from this benighted province?

    Northern Ireland will never be a normal Western European state.

  • frustrated democrat

    Does anyone know what the CU’s policies are or will be, do they know how the campaign will be run?

    I think their policies will be very close to the hearts of unionists, e.g. an end to enforced power sharing as soon as is practical, an end to the sectarian head count, real representation in and benefits from Europe, transfers to other unionist parties.

    Their policies could be lot more acceptable to the TUV than the DUP and their SF carve up.

    Let us see what happens!

  • dub

    I personally would prefer him to lose since the DUP is more hardline than the UUP and being more hard line than the DUP I would prefer unionism to move to the “right.”

    Is not such shameless lack of political sophistication some kind of reverse snobbery on your part, Turgon? I can honestly see no other rational explanation in the case of someone as apparentlu urbane and civilised as your good self. Or is it some kind of sado-masochistic desire to mix with “rough trade”?

    Ljs,

    NI is not and never has been and never will be a state. It is at present a semi detached admnistrative territory within the uk with devolved govt and substantial input from the ROI, US and EU. It is almost a protectorate but not never ever a State. One day it might come under ROI sovereignty but with very similar arrangments.

  • BonarLaw

    dub

    we can argue about “state” but not about status, after all everyone has signed up to the definition in The Northern Ireland Act:

    “…Northern Ireland in its entirety remains part of the United Kingdom and shall not cease to be so without the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland…”

  • ??

    Their policies could be lot more acceptable to the TUV than the DUP and their SF carve up.

    Let us see what happens!
    Posted by frustrated democrat on Feb 17, 2009 @ 08:02 PM

    The Conservatives are pro-abortion, i hardly think that is acceptable to many Tuvvies

  • frustrated democrat

    ??

    Is abortion an issue in Europe?

  • Quagmire

    “Northern Ireland to become a normal Western European state.” Posted by Long John Silver on Feb 17, 2009 @ 05:26 PM

    Never going to happen. Its the nature of the beast I’m afraid. The state did not emerge via conventional democratic discourse. It was conceived against the will of the majority on this Island via a sectarian headcount. The bed was made by Britain’s selfish interest in Ireland, now we must lie in it. The French have Bastille Day, the Americans have Independence Day, if we had one to celebrate it would be called the annexation of part of Ireland from the other against the will of the majority via sectarian headcount day! It just fills you with pride doesn’t it? More like makes u wanna boke up repeatedly!!

  • Diluted Orange

    This must be a radical shift towards tactical voting along sectarian lines for the … I’m guessing here … 2 maybe ? … OK, 1 …. DUP voter in Northern Ireland that would have otherwise transferred to big Babs or the SDLP.

    The idea of the DUP telling its voters to transfer to other Unionist parties is akin to the old adage of teaching your granny to suck eggs.

  • Diluted Orange

    [i]Never going to happen. Its the nature of the beast I’m afraid. [b] The state did not emerge via conventional democratic discourse. It was conceived against the will of the majority on this Island via a sectarian headcount. [/b] The bed was made by Britain’s selfish interest in Ireland, now we must lie in it. The French have Bastille Day, the Americans have Independence Day, if we had one to celebrate it would be called the annexation of part of Ireland from the other against the will of the majority via sectarian headcount day! It just fills you with pride doesn’t it? More like makes u wanna boke up repeatedly!! [/i]

    There’s always one isn’t there? So the democratic will of a state should be defined by the entirety of the island outside its borders?

    In that case will the English get to decide, by a ratio of 10:1 over the Scots, whether Scotland should become independent or not, as they happen to share the same island/nation-state?

  • ??

    #

    ??

    Is abortion an issue in Europe?
    Posted by frustrated democrat on Feb 17, 2009 @ 09:40 PM

    Do you think that Tuvvies will feel comfortable voting for a party that endorses abortion?

  • Quagmire

    Diluted Orange once we start dealing with minorities, we open up a can of worms. What would happen if tomorrow the Irish Diaspora living in Britain decided to annex themselves from the rest of the country, followed by the Muslim community, Jewish community, Afro Caribbean community etc etc until we ended up with a series of small states on the Island of Britain. Would this be feasible using your logic? Would you agree with it? It is after all what Unionism did here in Ireland. What if I wake up in the morning and decide along with my neighbours that the whole Northern Ireland thingy isn’t working out for us so we decide to annex the street from the UK and join with the Republic or establish a state on our own. Is that OK?

  • Bigger Picture

    Turgon,

    You have tried a piece of spin which I am suprised others have not caught you out on and which i must raise:

    “It must be remembered that Ian Paisley was consistently the single most popular politician in the European elections even at the time when Jim Molyneaux’s UUP was slowly but surely eroding his support”

    Suely you cannot suggest that the electoral situation today is linked to the situation of the 70’s and 80’s?

    Back then there was never a question of a nationalist/republican topping the poll. Today there is, today it is an issue, back then it wasn’t.

    Jim Allister wasn’t shy about using this tactic 5 years ago, so you can say what you want on here but it will not be the message he will be using.

    Instead what we will hear is that the DUP is endangering two sitting MEPs and trying to split the Unionist vote. This is a far weaker and will not wash, the electorate expects the DUP to stand. The spin that you put on the Dromore by-election whilst ignoring the Fermanagh by-election also misses the point that the DUP still got a larger vote than the other two parties. Having looked at Jim’s site it is also apparent that he (or at least his staff) are still wearing rose tinted spectacles on Dromore, and i believe expecting a % share of that magnitude would be extreme folly. Don’t forget all that has happened since then.

    I will just end by raising this rather petty line:

    “Whilst it is a little impolite, it might also be suggested that if the DUP was really that concerned about ensuring the number one slot they might have chosen a higher profile candidate than Diane Dodds”

    The same argument was put up by Ulster Unionists 5 years ago when the DUP “dragged” in a barrister who had not served in front line politics in over 20 years. Do not lose sight of where we all once started. They might soon be saying “the TUV are so poor on candidates they are putting up some guy who blogs on the internet” – an equally unfair remark. (I know you have no personal ambitions but take the compliment)

    Best,

  • CMB

    Turgon

    “It would also be completely unreasonable to expect Allister to stand aside from his own seat.”

    Perhaps you are so blinded by JA’s suggestion that this European seat is his that you cannot see the wood for the trees.

    This ever was Allister’s seat it is a DUP seat it was never a TUV seat he was the DUP candidate and the probability of it becoming a TUV seat is very very slim indeed. All he is doing by claiming something that does not belong to him is and that in itself is being very dishonest. I am so glad the rules are changing for the EU seats more the pity rule changes has not been law when JA left the DUP and he would never have been able to leave the people of Northern Ireland in the situation they find themselves in now with the 3 way split in the Unionist vote.

    The U U ‘s Jim Nicholson owes his years in the EU parliament to the DUP transfers and I am sure like me most Unionists will have no problem in passing their 2nd vote to the UU candidate but I certainly would have difficulty if my 3rd vote going to a person who has nothing to offer the electorate of Northern Ireland only a return to direct rule, while the present position is not ideal it is much preferred by most that at least we have our own destiny in our hands instead of getting things imposed upon us.

    As a DUP supporter I hope that the electorate see though the venom that he spews out towards his former Party. Despite the physiological effect that Sinn Fein topping the poll would have on the unionist people, the facts are clear that by his actions and his alone in splitting the vote he leaves that as a probability than a possibility. I think he hates the DUP more than he hates Sinn Fein, watch his interviews and statements he never ridicules Sinn Fein it is always the DUP.

  • CMB

    Sorry for the spelling mistake it should have read

    This never was Allister’s seat it is a DUP seat it was never a TUV seat he was the DUP candidate and the probability of it becoming a TUV seat is very very slim indeed.

  • Jim Allister may have a better chance than some think.

    1. He is a sitting candidate.

    2. He comes first alphabetically.

    3. Politically, he stands where the DUP once stood.

    4. Jim Nicholson is a poor candidate.

    Fair deal said:

    Perhaps before the battle royale starts proper Unionists could spend a few weeks sorting out amongst the various sections how we can achieve three goals:
    Topping the poll
    Securing the two seats
    Increasing turnout – how about an agreed target of over getting over 50% again or matching the 99 performance of 52%

    How about a voter registration campaign? I suggested to the Orange Order that they take a lead but many unionists remain unregistered.

  • fair_deal

    The Hawk

    “How about a voter registration campaign?”

    Fine by me and don’t care who does it as long as it gets done.

  • dub

    Bonar Law,

    i agree that the current status of ni is clear, i had not raised that. What i had raised is the unquestionable FACT that Northern Ireland is not a State. The fact that many many otherwise apparently intelligent people insist on propagating the myth that it is one is one of the more puzzling aspects to debate about Northern Ireland. With all due respect we cannot argue about “state”. Northern Ireland is NOT one. Why some people want this to be the case and pretend that it is is beyond me, but i have no doubt that this delusion serves some kind of ideological function. Both nationalists and unionists indulge in this lying on a regular basis.

  • Turgon

    Bigger Picture,
    “They might soon be saying “the TUV are so poor on candidates they are putting up some guy who blogs on the internet” – an equally unfair remark. (I know you have no personal ambitions but take the compliment)”

    That was the best and most witty put down I have recieved on slugger. Thank you. I can admire it even if I was the target.

    Regards