Election: a litmus test of Unionist futures?

Interesting line of argument from Alex Kane in the News Letter:

The question which this election may answer, albeit partially, is whether or not the Conservatives themselves can deliver. They have been here since 1989 and have failed to make an electoral breakthrough. I sense that the UUP core vote is holding and Nicholson may even be attracting back some of the former voters who wandered to the DUP between 1998 and 2007. But since Jim Nicholson is a jointly endorsed candidate the real test of the relationship will be how many new votes can be delivered by the ‘Cameron effect’.

From what I have seen, the Cameron factor is still very weak in the mix the voting public has so far seen. Fair enough. It is only six months since the big launch at the party’s annual conference. Yet both parties to the agreement will be looking to an improvement in Nicholson’s vote to test the emergent pact.

If it holds up, then the pact has a future. But the Nicholson campaign has been muted and jarring (‘Time for Change’ when your candidate is 20 years at the job for instance). The party may have asked itself that vital post Agreement question, “what are we for?”; but the answer is still vague and buried in the machine.

If the pact is deemed not to have worked, then they are back to the drawing board with a sense that despite having played such a big card, the drift continues… You have to back Nicholson for that third seat, if only because as polling time approaches he is at least a unionist and viable. And the numbers still tip in that general direction.

Upset scenarios all revolve around the ability of Jim Allister to push his vote significantly above expectations. This, in order of likelihood might: allow Bairbre de Brun top the poll (though I suspect that was always on the cards); ensure Nicholson scrapes in under quota; levels the second place unionist vote sufficient to let Alban McGuinness through the middle; elects Jim Allister.

More prosaically the other things to look out for are not necessarily who wins, but where the votes are piling up away from the main parties. Allister’s campaign may say they are looking for a win, but they’ll be wanting to pile up the anti DUP votes in enough constituencies to get them a credible (and disruptive) voice inside the next Assembly.

Also, keep an eye out for the Alliance vote totals. Just matching John Gilliland’s combined vote in 2004 (allowing for a drop in turnout) would be a major step forward, and perhaps that they are becoming competitive enough to increase their seat totals in 2011.

Adds: That might be something for the Cameroons to bowl at. Cameron’s primary message is socio economic one, rather than a constitutional one. It’s about waste in government, and re-engagement between the haves and have nots… None of this message is yet in place or localised sufficiently to have an effect. If anything, the Alliance is getting there before them.

In short, for this to work properly, the UUs have to make the new liberal Tory project work in a local accent if it has the least chance of working at all.

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  • A litmus test indeed. I think many people will be watching the results very carefully and will try to extrapolate as much information as is possible from it. But it seems quite probable that there is going to be some unhappy party HQs next week.

    In particular the DUP insistence on making ‘topping the poll’ a priority may well hurt them more in narrative terms if they fail to deliver that. They can’t blame Allister or Nicholson – they can only blame their candidate and party machinery. How can they ‘stop Sinn Fein’ in 2011/2012 if they couldn’t do it in Europe?

    The UCUNF seems guilty of the same hubris – a bit of arrogance mixed with high expectations. Getting Jim Nicholson returned will be a success, never mind topping the poll! The way some UCUNF bloggers were talking they will be getting 200K worth of votes!

    The bright side for the DUP if they do badly is they can start from scratch, a bit of rebranding and address their policies. For UCUNF it is a lot more complicated.

    Roll on Thursday so the election hype can end!

  • An fhirinne gharbh

    I enjoy Alex Kane’s articles but I have difficulty in getting to grips with the way he uses political terminology. Take this, for example, from the current article: ‘The SDLP has gone to the right of Sinn Fein…’

    What does that mean? Does he equate a hardening in the SDLP’s nationalism with a rightwards shift? Personally I don’t see much difference between the Shinners and the SDLP when it comes to economic issues.

  • … You have to back Nicholson for that third seat, if only because as polling time approaches he is at least a unionist and viable. …

    Is this you talking, Mick, or are you quoting from someone (without attribution)?

    Also Gilliland stood in 2004 – there was no EP election in 2005.

    Lastly, are you sure the next Assembly elections are not in 2011? AFAIK it’s a four-year cycle, and the last were in 2007.

  • Alex Kane says this:

    There is nothing wrong with Kane’s speculation. The utter crap comes near the end of the article

    “What matters, though, is that unionists distribute their votes. In other words, vote for all three pro-Union candidates – even if it means holding your nose for the second or third choice!”

    Absolutely wrong and very stupid comment for anybody for the UUP to make. What chance does the Conservative-UUP alliance have of becoming a cross-community force if people our respective parties dish out advice like that?

    For anybody who is interested, I want Nicholson to win his seat. I DONT WANT Dodds of Allister to win a seat because the level of their bigotry bodes very poorly for improvement in the lives of the people of Northern Ireland.

  • skullion

    It doesn’t take much to be a unionist political commentator does it?As long as the candidate is a prod vote for them.Not much analysis required there.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Usual garabage from Kane. “[Allister] has – to use the phrase I used about the DUP – ‘no viable or available alternative’ to what we have now.” But that’s the whole point, the position Trimble presided over – with Kane cheerleading him as hard as he could swing his pom-poms – was: Sinn Fein in office with their arms. Turtle-unionism utterly faield to change that. Whereas the DUP had an alternative and all too plainly, it has been viable. And it’s precisely because the DUP *were* able to deliver on the pledge, No Guns, No Government that the unionist electorate has put them in pole position.

    Kane’s paucity of Unionist ambition, inherent defeatism, personal incapacity (remind me again what he’s currently doing for living?) and persistent toad-eating mark him out as many things, but ‘interesting’ is not one of them.

  • skullion

    It doesn’t take much to be a unionist political commentator does it?As long as the candidate is a prod vote for them.Not much analysis required there.

  • In your opinion Seymour, is it not important to increase the total pro-union vote? I thought that was one of the lynchpins of the UCUNF strategy. Which would translate as “vote UCUNF 1 but continue down the paper for other pro-union parties”. All you can do is advise people to do this, if they don’t they don’t.

  • oneill

    “The way some UCUNF bloggers were talking they will be getting 200K worth of votes!”

    You’ll have to point me in the direction of those posts and comments Ignited, I must have missed them (You’re not getting mixed up with ?? and his regular 200K plus predictions for Mrs Dodds?!)

    And getting Conservatives and Unionists to vote Allister and Dodds 2 and 3 isn’t increasing the total Unionist vote. Parties (or pundits) have no right to advise their electorate what way to vote down the form, let them follow their conscience.

  • Mick Fealty

    Horse,

    Do you really need me to deconstruct that for you? Thanks 4 the corrects… That’s a bad tick I have re Assembly election dates…

  • Claire Hanna

    Depressingly weak – I’ve enjoyed his pieces in the past and thought he was above ‘vote for the prod at all cost’.

    Bizarre that he describes SF as ‘congenital Europhiles’, they are members of a deeply eurospceptic block and have campaigned for a no vote in every referendum on Europe since the early 70s.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Kane didn’t say ‘vote Prod’, and no matter how many times you make that up, then repeat it time after time, you’re not going to convince anyone that he did. You don’t even believe it yourselves. Mind you, I suppose there are some ‘Republicans’ for whom Unionism does indeed equal ‘prod’, but that merely once again tells the rest of us what we already knew about their ‘Republicanism’ – sectarian to the very core.

  • Cuairteoir

    ‘Republicanism’ – sectarian to the very core.

    Get a grip Tory. Some people on this thread were trying to have a real discussion, not some flight of fancy.

  • fin

    LTU – I do hope Dodds has better material than you when she’s knocking on peoples doors, so Trimble went into government when Sinn Fein(?) had guns, which at the time were rusting in the ground, however the DUP only went into government when the Sinn Fein (?) guns were er er rusting in the ground, well done the DUP you f*cked over the people of Ireland over a couple of wheelbarrows of cement!

    Do nationalists obsess about the DUPs Ulster Resistance or the UDA decommissioning, no not really, McDaid or Hamill or al the other nationalists murdered didn’t die from a bullet in the head, they were kicked to death, are nationalists calling for the DUP to hand over their shoes, no.

    DUP have re-energised the (C/R)IRA something they have always been good at, to play Ian Ogs game the worst thing that could happen for nationalism is for people like New Blue to be in controll of unionism, because while its the bigoted idiots of the DUP in the driving seat it keeps nationalists wishing for a united Ireland.

    Think about it LTU, one bunch of unionists have just been sentenced for murder, there’s an inquiry happening for another murder, and another bunch have just been arrested for the latest murder, what do you think the reaction of young nationalists will be? God Bless Ian Paisley he’s done more to achieve a united Ireland than people like Bobby Sands ever did.

  • O’Neill,

    ?? is a soothsayer I hear, but I do like his mimic question mark question mark! You don’t have to read many of the other slugger threads to see predictions of Jim Nicholson topping the poll or how exceptionally well UCUNF are doing – it is as bad as the DUP in that respect. A bit of humility would go a long way.

    Bar a future boarder poll, ‘unionist’ parties running in PR elections will want to have a reflection of support in bodies they are elected to. If you don’t transfer it won’t be reflective of that. In particular if only 1 unionist gets elected, people will be asking questions about the transfers between so-called unionist parties.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    “well done the DUP you f*cked over the people of Ireland over a couple of wheelbarrows of cement!” – yeah, the DUP’s insistence on making the Provos jump through hoops of their choosing was what ‘f*cked’ the ‘people of Ireland’, and not, say, all those people who were murdered by the Provos. Perhaps if we could drag them up out of their graves, ‘what “f*cked* you over more, the Provo/Loyalist bomb, bullet or knife that slaughtered you and put you where you now are, or, the fact that several decades after that happened, Peter Robinson really, really, really underscored it for the people who did that to you that they weren’t going to be able to do that any more and pretend at the same time to be politicians?’ Good thing the dead don’t vote, eh? Oh and God knows Cuairteoir, perhaps you don’t believe and rejoice in the fact that Republicanism is sectarian to its very core. One day you’ll no doubt even demonstrate why. But back to poor ould Fin there – you’d make more sense if you weren’t quite so plainly committed to defending the sectarian murders you approve of. It much easier for bores like me who disapprove of them all. You sectarian bigots really ought to join us in our opposition to murder full stop.

  • Mick Fealty

    FFS guys. The piece above was analysis of the fecking election on the unionist side; not a starting gun for yet another round of battling ids…

    You can find my view on the subject of sectarian violence and the responsibility that lies with ‘big politics 17:45 in on this piece:

    http://www.u.tv/UTVMediaPlayer/Default.aspx?vidid=121176

  • Mick,

    Do you really need me to deconstruct that for you? …

    Yes, please.

    I cannot read this any other way (and I have looked closely) except as an endorsement by you of Nicholson.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    For pity’s sake, the vocative sense of the paragraph is unambiguous:

    If the pact is deemed not to have worked, then they are back to the drawing board with a sense that despite having played such a big card, the drift continues… You have to back Nicholson for that third seat, if only because as polling time approaches he is at least a unionist and viable. And the numbers still tip in that general direction.

    Patently the ‘they’ and the ‘you’ are the Unionists being discussed cf. the immediately preceding, “The party may have asked itself that vital post Agreement question, ‘what are we for?'” It really is stupidity like this that makes me want to bang my head against a wall – if only to join the state so many of the rest of you so long ago already seem to have arrived at.

  • fin

    “DUP’s insistence on making the Provos jump through hoops of their choosing”

    Which pushed young nationalists into the arms of the CIRA/RIRA, who than shot 2 squaddies and a cop on the DUPs watch, which than empowers mobs to kick community workers to death, which then encouages more young nationalists to hook up with the CIRA/RIRA, which then…..

    But heyho at least you got a rates rebate for OO

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    “Which pushed young nationalists into the arms of the CIRA/RIRA, who than shot 2 squaddies and a cop on the DUPs watch, which than empowers mobs to kick community workers to death, which then encouages more young nationalists to hook up with the CIRA/RIRA, which then” – tell me more about this amazing word ‘pushed’ of yours. These self-same facts didn’t push me into murdering anyone, nor did it ‘push’ you. So why, or if you prefer, how exactly did it ‘push’ either the murderers of the soldiers or of Kevin McDaid into killing any of them? Really Fin, if you weren’t quite so keen on making excuses for sectarian murder you’d be that little bit more able to make telling moral points.

  • Mick Fealty

    Thanks LTU, I’m reassured that I wasn’t in fact going nuts…

  • fin

    really, LTU, you are defeating yourself with your own posts. But Mick wants us to get back to the thread, which is fair. The point is at the moment the DUP “smash Sinn Fein” slogan is wearing thin, and is strenghtening SF more than the DUP, the touchy-feely attempt by the UUP/Tories has been a concern because (possibly falsely) it extents a hand of friendship to nationalists to work work together for a better NI, which would be bad news for those wishing for a UI. However Kanes analysis to just vote unionist is refreshing as it puts NI back on the slippery slope towards a UI (again thanks DUP) so really please keep posting your bile, and please for the sake of republicanism get as many DUPers as possible out there preaching the message of ‘smash Sinn Fein’ ‘put manners republicans’ ‘no concessions’ afterall republicans can’t rely on just JA to get the message across

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    For pity’s sake, the vocative sense of the paragraph is unambiguous: …

    Sorry for making you bang your head against the wall (padded, I presume?), but you’re wrong. The syntax of Mick’s piece is simply dire – unintelligible and illogical. Now I’m fairly used to Mick’s awful prose, but this one really throws me. Unless he (not you!) can confirm it is otherwise, it still looks (syntactically) like he is promoting Nicholson. That wouldn’t surprise me, of course, but it would interesting to know if it is true.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Sorry, you’re right Horseman, your paranoid conspiracy theories are in fact completely true – his perfectly intelligble prose isn’t, and it’s all been a vast Securocrat cover-up to pretend otherwise. Oiw! Oiw! Oiwwww!

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    BTW Thin – right on the nail, every substantive point answered. Naw, just kiddin’ – total spacer lunacy as usual. Keep it up!

  • Mick Fealty

    Right Horse. What on earth gives you the idea that I am backing Jimmy Nick? The fact that I think his campaign has been muted and jarring? That he’s a time for change candidate after 20 years in the job?

    Do you read all my outputs on the poor character of the UU campaign. Or just the bits you think prove your theses about the true character of my politics?

    ‘You have to back’ is a common phrase in bookie’s or sites like Betfair and politicalbetting.com, where people are more interested in what’s actually going on than what they want to be going on. Or are religious strained towards one outcome, or another…

    I won’t begin to defend my ropey grammar and syntax. But I live in hope that most of the 5k plus who visit here every day can read past my lazy ways and cut to the beef…

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Good thing Mick defended himself against Horseman’s Instant Revolutionary Justice, coz’ Gawd help him if he wuz ever proved guilty of the – dant, dant, dah – crime of being wan a Themuns! Cripes but this place (putrid, endemic sectarianism, not Slugger per se) is sick in the head.

  • Don’t get stroppy, Mick. I value clarity in posts, and you often let me down. Mostly I (and the 5K) probably do get what you mean, but in this case, no.

    But unless I misunderstand, you are not actually backing JN? (your responses were mostly framed as questions – an annoying evasion).

  • oneill

    “?? is a soothsayer I hear, but I do like his mimic question mark question mark! ”

    The DUP now has a Shaman Wing?!
    If that’s the case, I foresee that ?? will change his tea-leaf supplier sharpish post June 8.

    “You don’t have to read many of the other slugger threads to see predictions of Jim Nicholson topping the poll or how exceptionally well UCUNF are doing – it is as bad as the DUP in that respect. A bit of humility would go a long way.”

    I take Slugger predictions with a pinch of salt especially at election time. Jim Nich’s predictions last week were a bit more dodgy, but again it’s election time and a bit of optimism never goes amiss. It’s punters putting Xs on the ballot paper not predictions that win and lose elections and neither you nor I can tell the way that’s going to go.

    “Bar a future boarder poll, ‘unionist’ parties running in PR elections will want to have a reflection of support in bodies they are elected to. If you don’t transfer it won’t be reflective of that. In particular if only 1 unionist gets elected, people will be asking questions about the transfers between so-called unionist parties.”

    If someone wants to vote “Unionist” (or nationalist) down the line, there’s nobody stopping them, what’s wrong is people like Kane suggesting its some kind of communal duty. Ultimately, if it is to succeed, then the Conservative/UUP link-up has to move away from this idea of “communal” Unionism and offer something different from the DUP and TUV. The DUP’s and TUV’s version of Unionism isn’t mine, so I wouldn’t consider giving them my 2 or 3. If that means that 2 nationalist candidates are elected then that will be because:

    1. In the short-term, the unionist parties haven’t supplied good enough candidates.
    2. In the longer term we have never made a good enough “non-communal” case for the Union.

    Point 2) is obviously also the most important for the constitutional future of NI. There are not enough of the “Unionist community” to guarantee the Union with the rest of the UK- simple as that.

  • Driftwood

    Just had Jim Nic driving round the area, tannoy blasting out ‘Killaloe’ for some reason. And imploring us to Vote him No.1 because he’s ‘The man for the job’. No mention of change, Conservatism, whatever, same old…but I’ll vote for him anyway as the only non-sectarian Unionist.

  • Dave

    It’s interesting that even an election to the European Parliament is transmuted into a struggle between the two nations in Northern Ireland for control of the local state, with none of the EU electoral issues not even meriting a mention in Kane’s article.

  • Dave3Three

    Do you read all my outputs on the poor character of the UU campaign. Or just the bits you think prove your theses about the true character of my politics?

    I know your True politics Mick. Keep blogging.

    Dave3

  • Quite Dave,

    This was why I was so mad at Kane’s call to vote No 2 & 3 for a unionist party holding your nose up.

    It is a central objective of the new force that people vote on the policies of a party, not the desire of their party’s constitutional preference.

  • Mick Fealty

    Thanks Dave3 (first person ever to comment on Slugger, IIRC?)

    And lest this go on longer than it should; no, Horse, I wasn’t.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mick, I would say that it is quite a poor article – but “interesting” I grant you, in that it includes the – any Unionist will do – line.

    The new crypto – is it a party is it an Alliance -of the UU and the Tories – should not, as my old sparring partner SM bravely points out, be trotting out this type of stuff – if they want to project their new supposedly non-tribal stance.

    A big vote for the TUV may well, as Kane indicates lead to a breakdown in Stormo as that is where a strained relationship between SF and the DUP has led before – so we are now in the realms of the Unionist ‘crpytos’ supporting an anti-agreement party and given Wee Reggies previously opportunist remarks about police and justice this is just more appaling stuff.

    If PosbBoyDC wants to be taken seriously about what he says about Norn Iron then the tribilista Kane and his ilk should be shown the door – but I suspect this will not happen and rather as we saw yesterday he will be recruiting more of the same from the DUP.

  • 6countyprod

    even if it means holding your nose for the second or third choice!

    It’s just your typical snobby, fur coat brigade, decent people, Ulster Unionist attitude. A lot of them still think they are a stripe above the rest of us mortals.

    As in all previous European elections, the second unionist will be dragged in on the coat-tails of their DUP superior. Whether it’s Jim N or Jim A, Thursday will tell the tale. After a halting week or so for the UU’s, it seems like things have settled again in their favour for the 2nd seat, although the Conservative connection might just be their undoing. No matter how you try to spin it, if Allister allows the Shinners to top the poll, the TUV will get a lot of stick.

  • New Blue

    To lose 2 Councillors is unlucky, to Lose 3 is dangerous.

    DUP Councillor Jim Kirkpatrick defects to UUP

    Following the defection of DUP councillors Harry Greenaway and Deidre Nelson, Belfast City Councillor Jim Kirkpatrick has left the DUP to support the UUP.

    Jim, a long-serving councillor and twice High Sheriff of Belfast says that he has become increasingly disillusioned with the DUP. On its website the DUP has hailed Jim for ‘his record of hard work and achievement as a Belfast City councillor.’
    Explaining his decision to leave the DUP, Mr Kirkpatrick commented:

    “I had a long conversation with Peter Robinson a couple of weeks ago about the economic problems facing Northern Ireland. I came away with the distinct impression that he neither cares about nor understands the nature and scale of the problems facing the manufacturing industry and small businesses across Northern Ireland.
    We are at the beginning of an economic down turn where recovery in the manufacturing sector is doubtful since several countries in Europe, with lower wage levels, are better able to attract that economic recovery when it comes.

    “This isn’t about weathering just another recession where we think that everything will get better of its own accord. There is an urgent need for an innovative economic strategy for Northern Ireland and I don’t believe that the DUP has such a strategy.

    “I also believe that the DUP has lost touch with what was once its’ core vote, particularly in estates and rural areas. The hierarchy of the party seems more concerned with dynasty building and expense claims than with tackling the socio-economic agenda.

    “I have been impressed by the efforts of the Ulster Unionist Party to build a new pan-UK unionism and I have also been impressed by David Cameron’s efforts to tackle issues which have either been ignored or messed up by the Labour government.

    “I am happy to endorse Jim Nicholson on June 4 and will be resigning from the DUP with immediate effect.

  • Darn you New Blue, just beat me to it;)

  • New Blue

    Sorry, maybe some day I’ll get to start a thread 😉

  • vada

    And also………..

    Independent Councillor Leslie Cubitt from Limavady Council, a former DUP Councillor has also urged support for Jim Nicholson on June 4:

    “I fully endorse Jim Nicholson and I would urge everyone in the pro-Union community to give him their Number 1 preference on June 4.

    “Jim has a wonderful record of hard work and achievement in the European Parliament and has been a great friend of the agricultural industry and small business in his time as an MEP. He is easily the most experienced of the candidates.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    New Blue,

    To gain one member from an even more sectarain party is dodgy, to gain two is extremely dubious but to gain three is surely inexcusable.

    Well the UU/Tory cryptos are probably more anti-agreement now than the DUP so must look quite appealing to some.

  • The Raven

    Vada, getting an endorsement from Leslie is hardly a ringing one…. 😉

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Jeez,

    more sectarian madmen giving their support – is this the crazy sectarian fecker below – surely not? Some non tribal party building going on with the crypto alliance – next someone will tell us that the BNP are in favour of immigration.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/row-brews-over-plan-to-honour-cleric-13978605.html

  • vada

    Perhaps, you are correct or perhaps you are not…..i do not engulf myself in debates here, as I view it as a waste of valuable oxygen…..i simply am posting the info…..interpret as you will….

    …one things for sure, it looks difficult for the DUP to put the brakes on this slippery slope….

  • New Blue

    Sammy

    Early days, let’s see if we in the partnership can carry out our aims of creating a much more open society in Northern Ireland.

    People can see the sense of what we are saying, the ‘battle for the border’ is over, the ‘ussuns and themmuns’ issue has got to be addressed within the communities that are suffering from our current lack of political leadership.

    This partnership is the best way forward for every single person living in Northern Ireland, because it opens an opportunity for real politics and real issues to be the focus of attention.

    Sammy, I am sure you have read this from me far too many times already, but I wouldn’t have signed up if I didn’t believe that we could make a real difference to those who need real politics to make their lives better. Those who are coming over now are under no illusions of what the agenda is, they accept the full inclusion, non-sectarian, social conservatism that is needed to make Northern Ireland a better place.

    And there will be more, maybe even some who aren’t from the DUP side of the fence.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    New Blue,

    you are a decent chap no doubt but you will have to become increasingly adept at “nose holding” (as Alex nicely puts it) as there appears to be little by the way of quality control on the party door – and you add that into a party that already has a problem with Nationalist children collecting at Tescos and the majority/most/all elected members needing to take part in sectarian marches in order to be elected – then the stink of hypocrisy from the Tories from their “non tribal” nonsense will make a lot of Nationalists have to hold theirs noses any time they have to listen to the Party that likes its MPs to drive across their drawbridges when they get home of an evening.

  • New Blue

    Sammy

    I will give any person the chance to come on board. This partnership is about change and if people want to change then why shouldn’t they.

    As I have posted ’till I am blue in the face, I do not agree with the Orange Order (although I believe that people have the right to free association), the party I would like to see is one of openness, equality and opportunity, and I am putting all of my efforts into helping to build that party.

    Sammy, I am not a ‘traditional tory’ I grew up in housing estates, with a family who suffered, not only from ‘the troubles’ but from long-term unemployment and deprevation.

    These are the issues that I want to see this partnership addressing, and I know I am part of a growing number of people, from all backgrounds.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Seymour,
    Are you asking people who are naturally Conservative & Unionist, such as myself, to consider giving their other preference votes to parties who are non-unionist? If you are it simply isn’t going to happen! If you are both Conservative & Unionist you won’t give your vote to a party that doesn’t support the continuation of the Union.

  • fin

    Inrelligence Insider, we are led to believe that 25% of nationalists are pro-union, yet on historical polling evidence they appear to all vote for one of two parties desiring a united Ireland.

    The SDLP have claimed they are picking up dissillusioned UUP votes in the forthcoming election, I don’t believe either statement because I agree with you, so the question is does this make us tribal or is it ideological or is it Irish nations Vs British nationals.

  • Dave

    Seymour Major, I was alluding to the inevitability of it rather than lamenting it. I don’t agree with the attempt to equate to nationalism with sectarianism, so I don’t regard it as ‘sectarian’ if a nationalist votes for a nationalist candidate to further the (never far away) constitutional issue rather than voting on other issues or voting non-partisan for the best candidate, etc, or if a unionist votes for a unionist candidate for the same reasons.

    Jim Allister is by far the best candidate, but there would be effects on local politics if he was re-elected (and to be fair to Kane, that’s the gist of his article), so folks would probably consider those even if they were non-partisan in other areas but were concerned that The Good Ship Stormont should not be blown off-course. I’m sure a few in Ivy House are praying that Jim Allister is not re-elected.

    The Tories are seen as a pro-union party, and no amount of stress they put on local issues politics is going to disguise that. If you attract Catholics, you won’t be attracting catholic nationalists. And many (okay, just cynics like me) would see your own campaign as an attempt to win Catholics over to the pro-union cause on the latent constitutional issue, thereby undermining Irish nationalism, so you’ll not exactly above the politics of the constitutional issue that you denounce.

  • Dave

    Just to clarify the above: catholics who are already unionists (and conservative) would find a home in the Tories, so they are no loss to nationalism. But catholics who are nationalists or who are indifferent on the constitutional issue would be a loss. That is who the UUP are aiming at, so their strategy is probably the most blatantly ‘sectarian’ of them all. 😉

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dave,

    “so you’ll not exactly above the
    politics of the constitutional issue that you denounce.”

    PosbBoyDC actually claims to be passionate about the union and has used that arguement to win acceptance/votes in Norn Iron – so I would put it a bit stronger than that.

    The counter-argumenet which they use when this is put to them is that the – constitutional issue is largley settled – and that is obvious nonsense given the architecture of the GFA, the still changing demogrpahics and the aspiration of Nationalists.

    And as recent event have shown their seeking to recruit from a deeply sectarain party like the DUP just highlights further the silliness of their non-tribal arguements.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Hey, it’s stuck-record Sammy! Never mind what Dave ‘claims’ – *you* claimed for years and years and years in single transferrable post that there was ‘joint sovereignty’, and – because you don’t understand even basic constitutional law – that ‘da brits couldn’t do dis, dat and da other’, and now you’re slabbering that they can but they shouldn’t. It’s one thing to lie, and stupidly so even then, but Sam, Sam, the droning man, you’ve got to stick to the same fib. Otherwise, keep on running.

  • Dave

    Sammy, a lot of terms are used in NI discussion without an agreed definition of them. In Northern Ireland, a situational definition of sectarianism has religion as its core dynamic, so it is when a member of one religious denomination acts to violate the rights of a member of another religious denomination. I don’t include expressions of dislike in that definition because they are properly classified as bigotry, and folks have the right to be a bigot and the right to express their views. It is only sectarianism if someone is deprived of some civil, political, legal, etc right as a result of his or her religious denomination. That, I think, is a fair definition of the term based on the context in which it is most commonly used in NI.

    If you broaden that term to include national rights then you’re in a whole heap of trouble because both nations are rendered sectarian by default. The derogatory nature of the term and its meaning is also devalued to the point to being meaningless.

  • Your Country Needs U

    What unionists need is unionist unity, they should unite in a Union of United Ulster Unionists.

    Perhaps it could be called the “Royal Ulster Union of United Ulster Unionists(and Conservatives), or the R.U.U.U.U.U.C. for short.

    “United we stood, divided we fell, re-united we re-stand, re-divided we re-fall”

    “Your Country Needs U”