That South Belfast letter…

Bobballs has the full text of that South Belfast letter… Bob remarks:

My own personal advice to the UUP is that the leadership should go to SB and meet a full session of the constituency branch… and talk till you drop. Stay there till one strategy or t’other wins out. In my estimation, these are not plotters, they’re Ulster Unionists looking for a conversation.

Judge for yourself… (but I suspect its not a subject Mr Cameron wants to talk about)

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  • granni trixie

    Don’t they gedditt? How can two merged parties claim to be the changemakers to deliver a shared future if they cannot share a conversation about crucial issues such as selecting a candidate?

  • boss hogg

    Will the TUV stand aside in North Belfast, Upper Bann for Westminster were Sinn Fein could take the seats if the TUV run?

  • granni trixie

    And another thing….having just read the letter and comments in Bobtails, it is clear to me that the ‘new’ political grouping isnt at all new as it captures the old secrtarian thinking.

  • igor

    Funny how the UU are sectarian but the SDLP and SF arent. Can anyone tell me how many SF MLAs aren’t from a nationalist background? How many aren’t Catholic? And for the SDLP?

  • Thereyouarenow

    The conseratives and David Cameron are going to go through a lot of paracetemol if they keep Banging their heads against the narrow sectarianism that is evidenced by that letter.

    I must buy more shares in Pharmacutial Enterprises.

  • Sean

    igor

    When was the last time the SDLP and SF proposed running only 1 candidate to ensure a nationalist and catholic would win the seat?

  • DW

    Mick Fealty @ 10:43 PM: “[i]My own personal advice to the UUP is that the leadership should go to SB and meet a full session of the constituency branch… and talk till you drop. Stay there till one strategy or t’other wins out. In my estimation, these are not plotters, they’re Ulster Unionists looking for a conversation[/i]”

    Spot on Mick, In fact to my knowledge the party chairman David Campbell was supposed to be guest speaker on this very delicate Westminster candidate subject for SB. But he failed to turn up.

    So the outcome was a unanimous decision was to send a letter signed by all members present. Reason: Most felt they were being kept in the dark and had been let down by party headquarters.

    Furthermore, the reaction by the media and statements by SB non Unionist politicans were totally premature having not read the actual contents of the letter. There is absolutely nothing in the contents of this letter that is sectarian whatever.

    DW

  • DW

    Sean @ 09:52 AM: “[i]When was the last time the SDLP and SF proposed running only 1 candidate to ensure a nationalist and catholic would win the seat?[/i]

    Sean the reason why is the numerical. See 2005 results:

    @Alasdair McDonnell (SDLP) 10,339 (32.3% +1.7%)
    Jimmy Spratt (DUP) 9,104 (28.4%)
    @Michael McGimpsey (UUP) 7,263 (22.7% -22.1%)
    @Alex Maskey (Sinn Fein) 2,882 (9.0% +1.4%)
    Geraldine Rice (Alliance) 2,012 (6.3% +0.9%)
    Lynda Gilby (Vote for Yourself Rainbow Dream Ticket) 235 (0.7% +0.4%)
    Patrick Joseph Lynn (Workers Party) 193 (0.6% +0.1%)

    If the total votes for Nationalists had been 16,367 and a Unionist candidate won the election with 10,339 votes in the 2005 election do you not think SF & SDLP would be naive to go against each other in the 2010 election?

    DW

  • DW

    [i]If the total votes for Nationalists had been 16,367 and a Unionist candidate won the election with 10,339 votes in the 2005 election do you not think SF & SDLP would be naive to go against each other in the 2010 election?[/i]

    Note: The Westminister election is the only first past type election we have with only one single seat to be won. Whereas the EU, MLA, & Local council elections are PR elections were plural seats are won.

    DW

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Surely the logical thing for the SB brigade is to throw their lot in with the DUP – if Deirdre Nelson can move smoothly in one direction then they can move smoothly in the opposite direction – from the Nationlist side of the fence the UU still like to do the sectarian OO thing, they are both more or less pro-agreement – they look pretty similar in outlook.

    If the Tories didnt want sectarian headcounting why didnt they throw their lot in with the Alliance (already spoken for?) or simply tell people to vote Alliance and say they would give any elected Alliance MPs a place in government – perhaps they they didnt think it through or like most people really belive they have not got a fecking clue about what is going on in what is really a foreign country for them.

  • Greenflag

    What’s all the fuss about anyway ?

    If Peter McCann (the West Belfast Taig)is selected as Conservative (UCUNF ) candidate for SB -all the UUP voters can show their true ‘loyalty’ to the Cameroonians and Conservative non sectarianism by giving McCann at least the 7,000 votes that McGimpsey got in 2005 .

    On the other hand if UUP voters give half or even less than half their votes to the DUP candidate, Alasdair McDonnell will be defeated and the seat will go to the DUP .

    And there in one shot will go down the drain not just the sheep’s clothing but also the sheep and the entire UCUNF strategy .

    Just as well Cameron will probably NOT need that SB seat to become next PM .

  • unionist

    Unionists want a unionist to win a seat, its hardly a shocker so wish all the Alliance types would calm down

  • DW

    unionist @ 11:04 AM: “[i]Unionists want a unionist to win a seat, its hardly a shocker so wish all the Alliance types would calm down[/i]

    Correct, and its obvious most alliance types are not up to date with the symbolic political metamorphosis within Unionism in N Ireland since 1998.

    The Orange GFA no types all left to join the DUP. The OO then disconnected themselves officially with the UUP, and the UUP lost many Westminster seats to DUP in the 2005 election.

    Then when Dr Paisley became the big fella on the hill at Stormont he and the DUP did a 180 degree u turn and accepted the GFA to form government with SF. Then the OO No types all left the DUP and joined the TUV.

    At present the UUP be it much smaller has become a more moderate less sectarian Unionist party since many staunch OO members have moved on to DUP and TUV otherwise David Cameron and the conservatives would never have made a link up with them to form UCUNF for the EU and now Westminster elections.

    DW

  • #5 “Pharmacutial”

    Is that medication for those in need of a humour by-pass? 🙂

  • Sean

    dw
    numbers is numbers but if you are willing to abandon a contituency to ensure the ‘wrong’ kind of candidate doesn’t get elected then you abandon democracy. Besides its not like nIreland even matters in westminister and it will mean even less if Cameron gets the landslide as expected.

    Face it members from nIreland were relevant for 5 minutes in the last 15 years. And even then they did as they were told and faded back into the shadows

  • InsideComment

    As someone who attended the meeting I can say that Peter McCann’s name was never mentioned at the meeting. Peter McCann was not nominated by the Conservatives until several days after the South Belfast UUP meeting.

    Apparently the UUP Leadership was invited several times to come to this meeting. & if they had done so, I’m quite sure this letter/statement wouldn’t have been collated.

    The problem here is not the letter, contents, or even the subject of an agreed candidate – It’s just plain communication to the grass-roots to let them know what is going on.

  • Reader

    Sean : When was the last time the SDLP and SF proposed running only 1 candidate to ensure a nationalist and catholic would win the seat?
    http://www.sinnfein.org/releases/pr021997.html
    http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P1-79371073.html
    I don’t know if the parties have had another go since, nor do I know if a party branch has since suggested it to the leadership.

  • Garza

    All this to get an SDLP candidate out, a candidate who has worked very hard for SB for ALL residents. I see no-one is asking the real question – Is McDonnell a good MP? But No, people are saying the same old secreatian rubbish.

    Frankly Id rather McDonnell be MP of South Belfast, than a DUP gorilla (apologies to gorillas).

    This is needless unionist vs nationalist political point scoring and we need to get rid of this twisted attitude.

    I was going to vote of the U&C, but if they do this sort of secretarian back deals in order to get a good MP out just because he is a nationalist then they have lost my vote.

  • Thereyouarenow

    14.#5 “Pharmacutial
    They also treat “pedants”

  • Peter McCann was not nominated by the Conservatives until several days after the South Belfast UUP meeting

    Insidecomment,

    My understanding is the timescale was:

    29th September 2009. Date on letter sent to Sir Reg from SB

    2nd October Selection of Peter McCann as their candidate by the Conservatibes http://tinyurl.com/yfcuhra

    6th October: letter leaked to BBC

    7th October: Sir Reg reported in the Tele as not having received the letter yet.

    Would you agree to that set of times?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Garza,

    What local Unionists know is that being a Unionist means ensuring that are more of you than there are of Nationalists otherwise the dreadful spectre of greater influence form the South arises. The architecture of the GFA explicilty allows (and the Tories also support this!) for that creeping, incremental influence only held back by superior numbers. That is the reality – leaving aside the undoubted sectrianism that lurks in the UU as we can see from most of their elected officers belonging to the OO. The Tories can jibber-jabber about bigger picures all the like in the safety of not having their country (mainland Birtian) taken over (dreadful Europeans aside) by a ‘foreign’ country.

    So if they cant do a deal on SB then they cant do a deal on FST – and as Wee Reggie said yesterday the solution is for the DUP to stand aside in both. lol

  • Sean

    Reader

    Thanks for the information, very interesting. Do you think it had any chance of happening or was it just to panic the unionists into stampeding over to the DUP?

    To me the SDLP and SF have 2 different mind sets and I can’t see 1 party standing off for the other even if they didn’t stand a chance of winning. Unionists however seem to use the same basic purpose which is “anyone but them damn taigs” so I could actually see this working for them. The TUV could be the splitter though as they seem to be an “anyone as long as its us” group of “decent” people

  • igor

    “When was the last time the SDLP and SF proposed running only 1 candidate to ensure a nationalist and catholic would win the seat?”

    … errr given that on economic and social policies and the national issue they are very similar, your problem is? That’s politics. Get over it.

  • igor

    What we need here is a sensible deal. The UUP coalition DUPs should run one candiadte in South Belfast and One in Fermanagh and unite behind them in each area to ensure they win

    Simples!

  • InsideComment

    O’Neill

    Your first two dates are correct ie Peter McCann was not selected by the Conservatives until after the South Belfast UUP meeting. This is the key point I was trying to make!

    Re. the other dates – I don’t know. I was not the leaker, so I don’t know when the BBC received the information re. the letter etc., and I don’t know when Reg started to comment re. the letter etc.

  • Garza

    Igor

    The Union is not going to collapse because SB and FST are in nationalist hands.

    I’m a unionist, but I’m not going to vote for a unionist just because he is a unionist. I vote for policies and there are some unionists I simply cannot vote for on principle.

    Frankly I would rather nail my foot to a two by four than vote for the DUP or TUV.

  • Reader

    Sean: Do you think it had any chance of happening or was it just to panic the unionists into stampeding over to the DUP?
    I knew what I was googling for because it was part of a well rehearsed pattern – i.e – SF requests a pact with the SDLP for Westminster elections and the SDLP turns it down. The examples were for 1997 and 2001. I don’t know if they had another go in 2005, or if they will try again in 2010, though the political landscape has changed and SF may not feel the need.

  • Sean

    so basically

    no chance

    yes stampede

    Maybe if they think it will split off DUP VOTE to the TUV

    Interesting thanks for the info

  • Worried Activist

    Mushroom Management, A Top Down Party with a Troika at the Top,No salesmanship displayed except in the initial stages, the Grass Roots are perpetually kept in the Dark and it appears the Leader is not supported by the top officers,who it would appear are paranoid about witholding information from the fee paying membership. This is clearly no exercise in democracy and is putting a really farsighted, imaginative and potentially succesfully elective cocordat at stake. Simply because troops who are not lead and kept in the dark eventually mutiny against poor leadership. Some changes at the top are needed; the jungle drums are being played amongst the soldiery. CAVE

  • John East Belfast

    The notion that any old unionist will do just because he/she is a unionist is backward thinking.

    UCUNF is about breaking free from that.

    If anything SB has as much right to be a Tory seat as it has to be a unionist seat or a nationalist seat.

    Therefore forget this “the sky is falling in” if a Westminster seat goes to a nationalist and get with the bigger picture.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    JEB,

    does the bigger picture thinking apply to FST as well?

  • John East Belfast

    Sammy

    Probably (just about) but I agree where vote splitting leads to a SF MP that makes it very difficult.

    SF havent a hope of winning in SB but with one third of the electorate in FST they can be the biggest candidate as the other two thirds shred the vote.

    I dont think I could wish a SF MP on anyone if there was an alternative.

    To be honest the only real solution to this is PR for NI Westminster Elections and then constituencies can be guaranteed to not get their least preferred candidate.

    Where that doesnt happen then parties will try and engineer that for them – which is what a lot of this is about. I can draw the line with constitutional nationalism but if the alternative is SF then I can see an argument for anyone but them.

    However UCUNF is about bringing national politics into NI and I dont think it can do that a la carte.
    I would be old fashioned that it remains the job of any candidate to convince the majority of voters in any constituency that they should vote for them.

    In NI in the Unionist/Nationalist debate cross over between factions will be rare.

    However in South Belfast the Catholic middle class who may be nationalist in any Border Poll could be persuaded to face up to current reality and vote for the Party that will decide their taxes in the next few years. There is also the option of helping to vote out New Labour and its awful legacy.

    To be honest I havent been to Fermanagh in about 20 years so I dont know how that translates there and I would probably be regarded as an out of touch townie.

  • jone

    Is your knowledge of middle class Catholics in south Belfast any better than your knowledge of Fermanagh?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    JEB,

    I can see how FST is much trickier for Unionists but big pictures is big pictures and I wonder if other less moderate Unionists will share your perspective.

  • John East Belfast

    Jone

    Yes I think it is

    Sammy

    I think if a BNP candidate had a chance in GB of success from one third of the electorate you might see a solution among Labour, Tories and/or Lib Dem – possibly along the lines proposed by Allister actually where the parties step back and allow some other Honest Broker to step in.

    Indeed is that not effectively what happened in the Bell v Hamilton contest a few years back ?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    JEB,

    And you were doing so well.

    As I have argued on another thread recently the best comparison with the BNP should be with those Unionist parties that feel the need to have a majority of their elected members in an organisation (the OO ) which is deeply sectarain and bigoted and contributes very negatively to community relations in Norn Iron.

    This type of behaviour would not be tolerated in Britian and the idea that a member of the Tory party would cheer lead a sectarain or racist march through an Asian area is ridiculous – as it should be Norn Iron.

    As expected from the big picture was never going to survive contact with reality.

  • John East Belfast

    Sammy

    The Orange Order has been debated extensively on this site and not being a member of the OO and not having attended a procession since the 1990 anniversary I havent the will to start one again.

    However I have said to you before that you way over estimate the importance of the OO in the UUP and you way over estimate their view of Roman Catholicism in the mind of the average OO member let alone Protestant. There would be as many Protestants who think the Pope is the anti christ as there are Catholics who really believe the Pope can make infallible statements and the RC Church is the one true one and all other Christian versions are in error.

    However you have latched onto one thing to constantly berate the UUP with and wont let go – to be honest it is intellectually tedious and boring discussing it with you.

    However just as you wish to emphasise to unionism how distasteful Orangeism is to many Catholics I am simply pointing out to you how distasteful SF remains to northern Protestants. Infact that distaste is clearly shared by the vast amjority fo the 26 county electorate as well – so does that not possibly tell you something.

    That distaste is particularly apparent among border Protestants who remain convinced there was a border campaign specifically directed against them. Farmers being murdered on dark lonely nights whilst at home has understandably left a mark on those communities.

    Therefore any Belfast unionist telling them they can have a member of that murderpous organisation’s political wing as their MP when such an occurrence could be prevented needs to be on very firm ground before doing so. In FST I remain open that UCUNF shouldnt split the anti SF vote.

    I am sorry if I dont give you the answers you wanted but I would encourage you to forget about the OO for once look at the matter from the other side.

  • Comrade Stalin

    However in South Belfast the Catholic middle class who may be nationalist in any Border Poll could be persuaded to face up to current reality and vote for the Party that will decide their taxes in the next few years.

    John, I am at a complete loss to understand your logic.

    I can understand the idea that people should vote for a party because they might agree with its policies.

    I don’t understand the idea that people should vote for a party who you seem to imply they may not agree with, just because they are going to win anyway because they are going to set taxes in a way which, no matter what way it swings, no individual MP, or even all the NI MPs as a bloc, are going to have any swing over.

    BTW I hope you continue to wind up the electorate with this arrogant “we have already won it” attitude. It’s a real vote winner.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    JEB,

    “The Orange Order has been debated extensively on this site and not being a member of the OO and not having attended a procession since the 1990 anniversary I havent the will to start one again”

    Nor I. As you mentioned the BNP in conext of Non Iron it seems resonable to mention the UU links with an organsiation – the OO – which likewise distinguishes itself for its intolerance and bigotry.

  • John East Belfast

    Comrade

    “I don’t understand the idea that people should vote for a party who you seem to imply they may not agree with, just because they are going to win anyway because they are going to set taxes in a way which, no matter what way it swings, no individual MP, or even all the NI MPs as a bloc, are going to have any swing over”

    I must say I am surprised for an Alliance Party member to make such statement. I thought AP policy was to encourage people to set aside the constitutional question and engage in “real politik”

    I was basically saying the consitutional question is something for a future border poll and hence until that matter comes up voters have the opportunity to vote for national politics by voting for UCUNF. If many South Belfast middle class Catholics lived in England they would probably vote Conservative therefore the only problem they have with UCUNF is their position on the Union. Therefore when it comes to taxes,cutting Govt expenditire etc I think they possibly have more to agree with than you think. They also have the opportunity to vote for someone who could conceivably be a member of the next national Government.

    Also if everyone followed your lead that no individual MP is going to change anything then why bother to vote at all ?
    Perhaps that is what being amember of the AP does to you – ultimately your Party is pointless and I have come to the conclusion that it only exists to oppose sectarianism, real and imagined. I also conclude that your attempts to constantly link the UUP with sectarianism is because you need it to feed on. Therefore no matter how far the UUP moves forward people like you will constantly drag it back just to justify your own existence.

    I dont think the election is won – but like most people it is the Tories election to lose. Whether UCUNF can capitalise on that is another matter.

  • granni trixie

    John EB: A party which exists to oppose sectarianism is fine by me….do we not still find ourselves in the situation of denial of having that serious cultural flaw?.

    A vote for Alliance is certainly not wasted for other reasons too eg their analysis,policies and willingness to get round problems,based on a vision of a fairer society.Also, note that when there is a tricky job to be done,people trust Alliance to do. So it is easily seen that Alliance punches above its numerical strength.

    And what evidential basis have you for claiming that middle class Catholics in England probably would votge Conservative?. Many of us would vote Labour.

  • Comrade Stalin

    JEB:

    I must say I am surprised for an Alliance Party member to make such statement. I thought AP policy was to encourage people to set aside the constitutional question and engage in “real politik”

    Well, it is, but that’s got nothing to do with anything you posted.

    I was basically saying the consitutional question is something for a future border poll and hence until that matter comes up voters have the opportunity to vote for national politics by voting for UCUNF.

    Two problems. One, a vote for UCUNF is an endorsement of the UUP. Why would anyone who is otherwise not a unionist want to do that ? Why would a nationalist, or anyone else who does not agree with the UUP, want to do that ? You can’t just pretend that that “U” in UCUNF is not there when it is convenient.

    Second, a vote for UCUNF is a vote for the Conservatives. We’ll come on to that next.

    If many South Belfast middle class Catholics lived in England they would probably vote Conservative

    Why do you think they wouldn’t vote Labour or Lib Dem ? You seem to think that everyone will be voting Tory. Even when Tony Blair swept to power, he did so on a swing of 9%. Loads of people voted against him. Actually more people voted against him than voted for him.

    Therefore when it comes to taxes,cutting Govt expenditire etc I think they possibly have more to agree with than you think.

    I’m reasonably confident that you’re wrong, given the well-documented failure of the Conservative Party to gain a foothold here in the past. It’s bizarre that you think that middle class Catholics who consistently rejected the Conservatives and endorse a nominally social-democratic party are more suddently going to drop all that and start voting for Union Jack waving UCUNF. I can’t get my head around how you get to there from here, other than, of course, by self delusion.

    They also have the opportunity to vote for someone who could conceivably be a member of the next national Government.

    People in NI (of all persuasions) have showed no inclination to vote for potential members of the national government in the past. So what do you think has changed ?

    Also if everyone followed your lead that no individual MP is going to change anything then why bother to vote at all ?

    Because UCUNF MPs will act as a separate, but linked group, rather than part of the same party. And British governments have always regarded NI as a secondary concern, and take NI concerns seriously only when NI MPs hold the balance of power. When push comes to shove, Cameron will be no different.

    This is why we have devolution.

    I also conclude that your attempts to constantly link the UUP with sectarianism is because you need it to feed on.

    If UUP members would stop engaging in sectarianism, like they are when it comes to selection in south Belfast, it wouldn’t be possible for me to draw such links.

    Therefore no matter how far the UUP moves forward

    The UUP isn’t moving forward. I’ll believe it if I see a Catholic or a woman nominated to fight a target seat.

  • Garza

    UC’s will win South Belfast, Upper Bann, Lagan Valley, South Antrim, East Antrim and East Belfast. And will retain North Down (providing Lady Herman stands as a UC candidate). You heard it here first 😉

  • John East Belfast

    Comrade

    “I thought AP policy was to encourage people to set aside the constitutional question and engage in “real politik” ……..Well, it is”

    Then why do you find it so strange that a Conservative minded nationalist could not set aside their constitutional question and vote for the Party that will actually decide the majority of the major laws that will determine their immediate future.
    We are not talking about those Catholics just voting for a Northern Unionist Party – but one that is demonstrably breaking new ground in introducing national politics into NI.

    “Why do you think they wouldn’t vote Labour or Lib Dem ? You seem to think that everyone will be voting Tory”

    I said many – I didnt say everyone

    “I’m reasonably confident that you’re wrong, given the well-documented failure of the Conservative Party to gain a foothold here in the past.”

    That was then this is now…….

    “If UUP members would stop engaging in sectarianism, like they are when it comes to selection in south Belfast, it wouldn’t be possible for me to draw such links”

    The UUP is a political party who’s objective is to preserve the Union. Some members translate that into believing that where possible the party should act to ensure that if it cant get itself elected then its should act to ensure that someone else with the same political objective does. In South Belfast I dont share that view but I dont consider those who do to be sectarian -infact it is just crass nonsense to suggest it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Then why do you find it so strange that a Conservative minded nationalist could not set aside their constitutional question and vote for the Party that will actually decide the majority of the major laws that will determine their immediate future.

    That’s not the part I find strange.

    The part I find strange is why you are under the impression that there are a whole bunch of Conservative minded nationalists hiding somewhere all waiting to come out and endorse a right-wing administration. I have no idea what has led you to that impression, other than delusion.

    We are not talking about those Catholics just voting for a Northern Unionist Party

    Well, actually, we are. Because UCUNF is an alliance incorporating a northern unionist party. Stop trying to pretend it isn’t.

    – but one that is demonstrably breaking new ground in introducing national politics into NI.

    I don’t talk in soundbitese, sorry.

    That was then this is now…….

    This is utterly uncompelling to anyone with common sense. It will take more than the passage of time for people to vote Conservative.

    People here are unlikely to vote Conservative for the same reason that a lot of people in Scotland are unlikely to vote Conservative. Note how The Sun did not switch its party allegience there.

    The UUP is a political party who’s objective is to preserve the Union. Some members translate that into believing that where possible the party should act to ensure that if it cant get itself elected then its should act to ensure that someone else with the same political objective does. In South Belfast I dont share that view but I dont consider those who do to be sectarian -infact it is just crass nonsense to suggest it.

    The idea that the union must be defended at all costs and those who oppose it kept out where possible, with all other priorities rescinded, is sectarian. It wouldn’t happen anywhere else in the UK.

  • Worried Activist

    Comrade Stalin,
    No one panics and tries to keep out the Great Britain Nationalist Parties so why should some UUP members wish to do it here. Anyway until the majority here want a United Ireland the Union is secure. Behaving like a bunch of playground bullies is not characteristic of being British. It simply is not cricket.

  • The UUP isn’t moving forward. I’ll believe it if I see a Catholic or a woman nominated to fight a target seat

    CS

    That’s been diarised for future reference 😉

  • Sean

    Worried Activist

    Have you missed the last 600 years of Irish history?