European Euphoria

The posters are up, the nomination papers handed it, and the so much anticipated European election campaign begins. On the 4th June the people will have their say. The most prominent thing people will have on their minds for this election is, how will Jim Allister do? However the biggest threat to the government this election is apathy. Jim Allister is just another thorn in the side of Unionism.Devolution has been restored and for the first time in a long time our political representatives are governing Northern Ireland. The whole expenses row and issue of double jobbing have been prominent issues in recent weeks. Speculation over tax, water and rate rises came to nothing, for now, after the Chancellors much anticipated budget. Northern Ireland got off lightly. Nevertheless these are issues on peoples minds. As devolution has been restored you would have to expect some people to switch off, as having no government in NI was a motivating factor to turnout. This is more the case for Unionists who are obviously content to see a devolved administration established in NI, which maintains NI’s identity and place within the United Kingdom. Sinn Fein and nationalists still have a reason to turnout. However, Sinn Fein saw less people turn out in Fermanagh, in the by election caused by the UUP. The seat should have been theirs with demographics in their favour. Instead Unionists turned out en-mass for the DUP rising star, Arlene Foster. However let us remember that this is Fermanagh, where Unionists vote.

The ambition for the DUP in this election is to return Diane Dodds at the very top of the poll, creating plenty of space between her and Sinn Fein’s Bairbre de Brún. Apathy and Jim Allister are not going to help the party in this mission. The effect of the UUP-Conservative merger also remains untested and it is unclear how it will effect the vote.

In 2004 Nicholson received 91,000 odd votes (16.6%) compared to the DUP 175,000 (32%). Sinn Fein received 144,000 first preferences (26.3%), while the SDLP received 87,000 (15.9%). This was before devolution, even before the comprehensive agreement. The year previously the DUP were returned by the Unionist electorate as the main Unionist party. In 2005, at Westminster and local government level the DUP rumped home with 9 MP’s, leaving the UUP with 1.

This will be a very interesting election. I would expect Dodds, de Brún and Nicholson to be returned, but it is unclear as to what damage Allister will do to the Unionist vote. He has been all over the place recently having dropped his ‘chuckle brothers’ insult, which worked in Dromore to saying that he’s a hard working MEP. A recent flyer in the Belfast Telegraph and Newsletter the week previous, was an appeal to the middle-class voter asking them to turnout for him because he is working hard in Europe. There was little mention of the DUP-Sinn Fein coalition. So to what extent will this election be a referendum on Stormont? Allister slogan contains the words: Principle and Integrity. His posters say nothing about smashing Stormont which says to me he knows its not a voter turn on.

After the horrendous murders in Antrim of the two off duty soldiers and of the policeman in Lurgan the DUP performed well. Sinn Fein met the mark, with Martin McGuinness calling such people ‘traitors’. These events would have acted as a wake up call to Unionists and may have an impact on voter turnout. People do not care about what form devolution necessarily takes, as long as their wallets are safe from invasion. However this election could prove me wrong.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Driftwood,

    as a supporter of this ‘new’ politics do you not realise how absolutely ridiculosu you sound as an apologist for the UU/Tory concillors as they launched their brave attack on the 12 year old kids. Behold the sons of Ulster marching on the tills and scattering the diminutive enemies of Ulster and all that.

    If I have mixed you up with someone else then I unreservedly apologise – but I’m too lazy to check if it was you so I thought I would chance my arm.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    PaddyReilly,

    I’m with you on that – less than 100,000 for the sectarian/right wing alliance/NF and all hell will break loose between them and the DUP over seat sharing at Westminster. Robbo may get the Red beret on again and invade a UUP stronghold in the middle of the night – well paerhaps not but if there were a UUP stronghold to invade Robbo and his able guard dog Deputy Dodsy would surely be there with their sticks-a-shaking.

    What a cracking election it promises to be.

  • fin

    Was it the super furries who had the song ‘barry white saved my live’ perhaps the uup should adapt it for david cameron. Really this is getting silly and making the locals look very colonial, the uup are still the same party all they’ve done is hook up with the tories for certain elections, can their unionist supporters on here please stop acting as if a) he’s Jesus Christ or at least b) they’re born again.

    Hard to believe all this cuddly stuff is coming from a party whose not to distant election slogan was ‘are you thinking what we’re thinking’ there’s something about the night about all of ye.

  • Driftwood

    The remarks of 1 or 2 councillors in a petty parochial issue. Sammy, how many SF councillors have behaved in the same petty manner over the years, remember the fuss at the Royal Navy careers function at the Twinbrook school?
    get a grip. We need National politics. That can only happen at Westminster. Look how well Boris Johnston has performed as London mayor. We need people like him in charge here. Not people who think the Earth is 6,000 years old.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Driftwood

    parochial my arse – f***ing disgraceful – first test for PoshBoyDC and not a whimper. They would not have lasted a day on the mainland – to comapre 12 year old kids to battle hardened service personnel (medals controversies aside) is ludicrous. They represented forces that had been used in military operations in West Belfast and often disgracefully so – not something you should compare to a 12 year old shaking a bucket. Get a fecking grip on yourself.

  • Junior Apparatchik

    David Cameron ain’t standing at this election, Jim Nic is – and, sorry, he’s not the future!

    JApp

    PS: For the sake of the UUCon merger, I trust they ain’t staking the whole thing on scoring 100000+ votes – there’s no hope whatsoever of that.

  • fair_deal

    Driftwood

    Thank you for the ad hominen now any chance of answering the question posed

    “I see little has been learnt from decent people debacle. Will JN be wanting ‘bigoted’ Unionist transfers?”

  • fin

    “That can only happen at Westminster. Look how well Boris Johnston has performed as London mayor.”

    Boris had to resign as a MP to take the office of Mayor, he ‘governs’ through the London Assembly.

    National politics today is a choice between Tory Lite or Tory Lite, hardly something to aspire to.

    Decisions are made at cabinet and Primeminister level and very little actually gets debated or voted on in Parliment, Blair hardly ever turned up there.

    Weirdly Driftwood the Tories are intent of doing away with national politics at Westminister anyway http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/3643638/A-good-answer-to-the-West-Lothian-question.html(coined by a Ulster Unionist and Tory MP, and considering his ‘rivers of blood’ speech etc was a damn sight closer to the BNP than SF, one Enoch Powell)

    So your angle is national politics are best so lets support a party thats intent on breaking it up.

  • fair_deal

    Driftwood

    “Some of the statements made by prominent DUP members in the past year were seriously embarrassing and would have not have been tolerated by the mainland parties.
    Why do you think David Cameron wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole?”

    It seems Cameron’s bargepole must have been borrowed from John Taylor.

    “The group will include the Polish Law and Justice Party (PiS), which has banned gay rights marches for being “sexually obscene”. Its co-founder Jaroslaw Kaczynski has said that homosexuality will cause the “downfall of civilisation”. Another PiS MP has warned that Barack Obama’s victory would mean “the end of the civilisation of the white man”. Mr Hague has also held talks with a Latvian hardline nationalist party.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/diplomats-anger-at-tory-plans-to-create-rightwing-eu-group-1678118.html

    One, the Czech Civic Democrats, has just lost power at home; and its founder, Vaclav Klaus, is noisily sceptical about climate change, a cause dear to Mr Cameron. Detective work uncovers more presentationally tricky cases. The international secretary of the Latvian Fatherland and Freedom Party, Janis Tomelis, recently met William Hague, the Tory shadow foreign secretary, to discuss an alliance. As it happens, the party’s leader in Strasbourg, Roberts Zile, is a mild-mannered economist. But his party includes hardline nationalists who attend ceremonies to commemorate a Latvian unit of Waffen SS troops. Latvian nationalists insist that these were patriots fighting the Soviets, not Nazi war criminals. Good luck explaining that distinction in a British election campaign.
    http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13362051