UUP DUP Splitters? Or doubling back to Unionist unity?

Here’s an interesting one. The UUP attack site, Pants on Fire, has a piece attacking the DUP on the grounds that not only did the DUP fatally split the Unionist vote in Fermanagh South Tyrone, but they also ran in South Belfast in 2005 and lost that seat for unionism too. Now that is interesting. Not least since, if the party sticks to the Cameron doctrine (of running in all 18 seats regardless), then it will be the UUP (rather unambiguously) splitting the vote in both places…

So maybe the blame game is just getting started early this year? Or, given it is couched in terms of ‘lost opportunity’, is this a prelude to a shift in strategy? Has Jonathan Caine’s return seen an Ulsterisation of the Tory’s NI strategy? Pressed in greater Belfast for quick gains, such a deal could bring South Belfast back into play (though probably not with the party’s capable but hard pressed Health minister). It would certainly drive a horse and cart through David Cameron’s 2008 promise, but we are getting used to a pattern of forced reversals in that quarter in recent weeks.

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  • fair_deal

    “not only did the DUP fatally split the Unionist vote in Fermanagh South Tyrone, but they also ran in South Belfast in 2005”

    That UUP approved version omits that a deal was offered to and refused by the UUP.

    Despite all the shouting of splitters the DUP has a reasonable track record of standing aside in constituencies. However, since the dynamic changed with the UUP declining they have not been willing to reciprocate to the same degree.

  • Mick Fealty

    Under Molyneaux they they pretty much stayed right out of the road if I recall correctly?

  • Michael Shilliday

    Not least since, if the party sticks to the Cameron doctrine (of running in all 18 seats regardless), then it will be the UUP (rather unambiguously) splitting the vote in both places…

    Perhaps you could justify that statement? The UUP are the lead Unionist party in both seats as of the European election.

  • Marty McG

    These two seats were always Unionist seats….lets remember what happened:

    1. Fermanagh & South Tyrone:

    UUP selected Solicitor James Cooper as replacement for Ken Maginnis

    DUP’s Maurice Morrow announces he will stand

    Feeling guilty about splitting the vote, the DUP encourage Jim Dixon, seriously injured in the Enniskillen bombing of 1987 to stand in place of Morrow and lo and behold, the seat is lost to Gildernew of Sinn Fein by 53 votes. Four years later, having consolidated her position, she wins the seat easily. Foster having left the Unionist Party having won an Assembly seat on the UUP manifesto, carried her UUP votes with her to become the lead Unionist candidate in the 2005 election. Here are the figures:

    2001 Westminster Election

    Michelle Gildernew (Sinn Fein) 17,739 (34.1%)
    James Cooper (UUP) 17,686 (34.0%)
    Tommy Gallagher (SDLP) 9,706 (18.7%)
    Jim Dixon (Independent) 6,843 (13.2%)
    Electorate: 66,640; votes cast: 52,667 (79.0%); spoilt votes: 693 (1.3%)
    Valid votes: 51,974; SF majority 53
    Tommy Gallagher (SDLP) 7,230 (14.8%)

    2005 Westminster election
    Michelle Gildernew (Sinn Fein) 18,638 (38.2%)
    Arlene Foster (DUP) 14,056 (28.8%)
    Tom Elliot (UUP) 8,869 (15.8%)

    In South Belfast, the intervention of the DUPe’s Jimmy Spratt in 2005 was the sole reason as to why the seat was lost to the SDLP. Like F & S.T., the DUP were power hungry. The DUP weren’t interested in Unionism nor Northern Ireland, merely their own grasp of power. As their effective nominee Jim Dixon said in F & S.T. in 2001, ‘ I’d rather have Sinn Fein than Cooper.’ The DUPe’s enemy is the UUP not Sinn Fein….that’s why they’re now in power with them at Stormont, pretending to be involved in ‘a battle a day’, conning the electorate yet again. Here are the figures for South Belfast in the 2001 and 2005 elections:

    2001 Westminster Election

    Martin Smyth (UUP) 17,008 (44.8%)
    Alasdair McDonnell (SDLP) 11,609 (30.6%)
    Monica McWilliams (NIWC) 2,968 (7.8%)
    Alex Maskey (Sinn Fein) 2,894 (7.6%)
    Geraldine Rice (Alliance) 2,042 (5.4%)
    Dawn Purvis (PUP) 1,112 (2.9%)
    Paddy Lynn (WP) 204 (0.5%)
    Rainbow George Weiss (Vote for Yourself Party) 115 (0.3%)

    2005 Westminster election

    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%)

  • Bog trotter

    Shillday

    I know the UUP far prefer to spew nosense that cannot be substantiated upon rather than deal with fact, but this tallies stuff really is a joke. You rely on information you wish to be true, but actually is not.

    on the other hand

    2005

    Arlene Foster (DUP) 14,056
    Tom Elliot (UUP) 8,869

    Jimmy Spratt (DUP) 9,104
    Michael McGimpsey (UUP) 7,263

    FACT

  • DR

    Not really a fan of the “pants on fire” website, or sites like, definately dont think it should be linked across directly from the UUPs own site. However the issue it raises has some credibility in particular in relation to backing Dixon in 2001, however the world has changed since then.
    Whilst it may be good to talk, it seems strong differences remain and I guess in that case let the people decide.

  • Craigavon’s Kettle

    Michael Shilliday

    Even if your claim about the European election were true, which it isn’t, the DUP isn’t asking for a clear run in both.

    They are offering an amicable 50-50 split. UUP takes a run at one, DUP takes a shot at the other.

    What’s the problem with that?

  • fair_deal

    Martin McG

    “were always Unionist seats”

    Your ignorance of FST is startling. Frank Maguire, Bobby Sands, Owen Carron any of these ring a bell?

    The logic of “It was the person who got the larger vote is the splitter” is dubious.

  • Marty McF,

    These two seats were always Unionist seats …

    Um, do the words Bobby Sands, Owen Carron or Frank Maguire mean anything to you? Or did the world only start in 1983?

  • Snap, fair_deal!

    LOL

  • alan56

    As a result of Arlene Foster asking her supporters to vote for Jim Dixon the seat was lost to Gildernew by around 50 votes in 2001. Now who split that vote?

  • nemesis

    This is all conjecture and bs.

    Can the DUPers explain whether Foster can win FST even with a clear run?

    Jim Allister certainly doesn’t think so and i think he’s right.

  • Marty McG

    Horseman and Fair_deal…not the sharpest knives in the drawer !!

    Sorry, I didn’t spell out fully my words, ‘these two seats were always Unionist seats.’ I was meaning UUP / DUP….it was never held by the DUPes….Of course Nationalists and IRA members Sands and Carron held the seat for a short time….one due to dying from his slimming activities and the other ran across the border due to his terrorist activities, only to turn up as a school-teacher in the deep south. Obviously they don’t have child protection laws down there..

  • Marty McG,

    I didn’t spell out fully my words, ‘these two seats were always Unionist seats.’ I was meaning UUP / DUP….it was never held by the DUPes ..

    You mean the DUP aren’t ‘unionists’? What exactly does the U in their name signify?

    Please ‘spell out fully’ your words again. Maybe they’ll make sense (eventually).

  • DR

    nemesis,
    going by the afore mentioned euro tallies for F&ST;, taking them with a pinch of salt of course, it is possible for Foster, Elliott or Gildernew to win depending on the circumstances.
    The favourite has to be Gildernew of course, but the SF vote was hit quite badly here in the euros, it could be a trend, or it could be circumstances at the time. If Eirigi and the SDLP both stood good candidates then her vote could fall.
    As for the unionist split, there was a strong swing to the UUP in May, even taking into account the TUV, lets put Elliott and Foster neck in neck atm. the great unknown is will the conservative campaign Swing things further to the UCU-NF?
    I know one thing for certain, it would be nice to have a few opinion polls between now and an election just to see how things mite swing, but hard to know if they work here or not!

  • Craigavon’s Kettle

    alan

    I think you will find that Arlene not only canvassed for the UUP nominee, but also supported him.

    Get your facts right

  • Panic, These Ones Likes It Up Em.

    All this talk of shuffling seats this way and that brings one to mind of

    Arranging deck chairs on the Titanic after the Iceberg or even just before.

  • fair_deal

    Marty McG

    My knife is very sharp thanks, not that bullshit needs a sharp knife. Always wisest when a error is made to admit it that to provide a tortuous and unconvincing explanation which Horseman has already shown.

    Your reasoning is simplistic and misrepresentative. The reason a UU nominee won F&ST; consistently was because the DUP agreed to stand aside and encourage their voters to support the UUP candidate. Without that the seat would have been at significant risk from a strong nationalist candidate. So it wasn’t because of UUP brillance but some cool-headed pragmatism by the UUP and DUP that ensured a ‘Unionist’ seat. it is this same approach that will regain it.

  • fair_deal

    MM

    BTW the Rev Robert Bradford in South Belfast was not always an Ulster Unionist either. He was first elected on the endorsement of Vanguard, DUP and Harry West UU’s and removed the sitting Unionist. He sat for four years as a Vanguard MP before joining the UUP.

  • pro-union voter

    DUP/SDLP/SF – all the same in Westminster elections: pointless fringe parties. Voting for any of them does not make the union one iota stronger or weaker as the only thing that will change the border is a poll under the GFA.

    I want to vote for who the prime minister will be, seeing as that is what matters! The UUP in signing up with the Tories are at least offering me some say in that for a change.

    Also nobody seems to have pointed out – the whole talk of pacts is pure sectarianism – an agreed protestant candidate is what they want. In FST they can try making the abstentionist argument but in SBelf they can’t as McDonnell takes the oath and takes his seat. If they did a pact I’d vote SDLP just to stick two fingers up to the stupid bigots, even though I’m utterly pro-union.

  • John East Belfast

    Personally, in general, I take Cameron’s view of standing in all constituencies as that is what I believe political parties should do – have the courage of your convictions and persuade the electorate of your poliies and that you can best deliver them.

    However this is First past the post not PR and there is a strong case for a joint candidate in situations where it is likely that a split vote (or unionist voter choice depending on your view) will lead to a SF success – not nationalist success – SF success.

    This is for two reasons

    1. SF and their unrepentant violent baggage should be opposed at every opportunity and any success they may strive for should be opposed

    2. SF dont take their seats meaning that the constituency is disenfranchised.

    Of the two seats that are spoken about that applies to F&ST;. Therefore if the strongest unionist candidate there was DUP then there is a case for a deal. However such a deal should be reciprocated and I see South Belfast as the obvious choice for giving UCUNF a free run.

    I dont think what Cameron said is a rigid dogma that needs to be applied in situations where the alternative is SF.

    I have no doubt if the BNP were likely to win a seat via FPTP in GB there would be people calling for constitutional parties to stand aside for some kind of unity candidate.

    Advancing democracy sometimes means doing deals with your political opponents in order to stop your true poltical enemies.

  • Big Bopper

    JEB/pro union voter

    The scenario in South Down could also be added to the mix, where all people who oppose hatred and murder vote to keep out Ruane.

  • Anders

    Mr Shilliday should remember that the UUP were not the lead unionist party in the 2 seats in the euros…the Conservatives and Unionists were….

    Pretty silly for one of the Party’s own staff members to make such a booboo…cant be good for career prospects with the London paymasters me thinks…

  • Neil

    There was mention on the news that a member of one main party has petitioned for the release of ‘a UFF prisoner’. Anyone else catch that, and remember which party that person was from? I missed that crucial bit, though iif I heard what I think I heard it would be pertinent to this discussion.

  • Turgon

    I will only mention the FST situation as I know a little about it.

    It is actually very difficult to call: Will McHugh run as FF / independent is an important issue on the nationalist / republican side and could he leech a good few votes from Gildernew? It is certainly reported that Erne West (the area the whole length of the west side of Fermanagh – small population) containes many very unhappy with SF. In addition Erne East centreing around Lisnaskea is also said to contain republicans unhappy with SF.

    On the unionist side it is also difficult. It is an educated guess but I would suggest that Arlene Foster and Tom Elliot are pretty close in terms of support now with maybe Elliot a little ahead (though not by much) as some dissilisioned ex DUP (now TUV) voters seem more likely to back Elliot as they are so annoyed with Foster. The hot beds of TUV support seem to be the area around Kesh and Ballinamallard along with the smaller number of Prods in Erne West and Erne East. On the other hand the likes of Lisbellaw seem pretty solid for the DUP. Enniskillen seems hard to call but probably modestly for Foster.

    My guess is that the unionist vote would split pretty evenly (maybe a bit more to Elliot). In addition such are the hostilities between the unionist camps in FST, I suspect (sadly) that if either Foster or Elliot stood as a single unionist candidate they would lose quite a lot of votes from the other camp.

    I know it is Allister’s suggestion but I do think that if the unionist parties are serious about getting a unionist candidate elected then there needs to be someone other than those two. There are a number of names of potential unity candidates; some of whom would be highly credible and with both teams working for them would probably win. The question is whether or not the UUP and DUP will swallow their pride.

  • pro-union voter

    Neil – this story?

    Jim Allister has said a petition, organised by a TUV member in support of a convicted loyalist murderer, has nothing to do with his party.

    From BBC

  • Neil

    The very one Pro-Union voter, petition lodged by TUV member, that’s the one.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/foyle_and_west/8393317.stm

  • Craigavon’s Kettle

    Turgon

    Being told of the need of a unity candidate by Jim Allister? TUV don’t do irony, but if they did……

    The DUP have been calling for agreement long before Allister had his hissy fit and set up TUV.

    Incidentally, will you be posting one of your usual eloquant and charming treatises on this issue:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/foyle_and_west/8393317.stm

  • Neil

    Collins (TUV) on Torrens Knight (Greysteele killer):

    “He never was a real bad person, but the Troubles in Northern Ireland provoked many a young man to do things that they wouldn’t have done in normal circumstances.”

    Good to see the same double standards still apply.

    Submit word: really.

    Quite.

  • fair_deal

    Turgon

    “Enniskillen seems hard to call but probably modestly for Foster.”

    The Enniskillen by-election would indicate the situation is a bit more positive for the DUP and Arlene at least when it is a striaght DUP UUP fight with a shinner as the alternative.

  • loki

    Turgon, I think your assessment’s pretty much spot on except for one thing. I’m just not sure that a single unionist candidate can win the seat.
    What everybody seems to be forgetting is that the DUP will (a) try an dbully everyone that they’re the only sensible option (no irony intended) and 9b) they’ll probably try and get pepople not to vote UCUNF in SB, especially if the candidate is-horrors- a catholic.
    The DUP don’t want a fenian about the place, they don’t do democracy, and they sure as hell interested in the long-term maintanance of the union- it’s all about them being top dog.
    A pact is bad for unionism in this instance, not least as it says unionists can only be prods, doesn’t allow for a positive view of reamining in the union and quite honestly is grossly sectarian.
    Cameron’s right to fight all 18seats and Elliot should be called ot heel on this issue.
    BTW, I like the way FD is still trying to put a good face on it for the DUPes

  • loki

    Sorry- middle of that should read “they sure as hell AREN’T interested in the union…”

  • bog trotter

    Turgon,

    any names of possible unity candidates – do elaborate or else it will be assumed you are talking out of your arse (although the evidence would indeed point to this – ‘hotbeds of TUV activity, Elliott ahead of Foster).

    You should get out more, talk to people Turgon. Then you might be able to claim to know at least a little.

  • Dec

    All this pre-electoral chat of voting pacts to ‘keep themmuns out’ from the have-cake-and-eat-it UCUNF-types is most illuminating (can’t wait to see what Deirdre Nelson, Peter McCann et al think of this) however Michelle Gildernew has a majority of over 4500 and any sectarian pact between Unionists will only result in Gildernew retaining the seat and Tommy Gallagher’s vote collapsing. And of course the UUP being exposed for the parochial, backward bullshitters they are.

  • Myrtle the turtle

    Snap, fair_deal!

    LOL
    Posted by Horseman on Dec 03, 2009 @ 11:11 AM

    DUP and Sinn Fein working in tandem yet again!

  • igor

    Dec

    Politics is about fighting for ideals and winning. In the zero sum game of NI politics that means keeping themuns out. For example when I lived in North Belfast, as a Unionist, I would occasionally give my second preference to the SDLP to keep the Shinners out. It’s called politics dear boy. But of course you label that sectarian. While SF’s policies and conduct are (on your definition) non-sectarian.

    So in FST Unionist have a seat that is winnable but only if they act with unity. Its unlikely that Arlene (having left the UUP) would attract many UUP voters. She also really does need to make up her mind where her political future lies… Westminster or Stormont. Noone can do both effectively.

    On one level that seems a hard call but on another if she’s forced to run she unlikely to win the seat. Tom Elliott is a worthy but uninspiring option. Would he get DUP Support as a unity candidate?

    So if the unionists of all shades want to win FST they need to come up with a unity candidate. Someone with presence, the ability to gain widespread support and the capacity to hit the ground running.

    Its all doable but they need to do it soon.

    The same applies in South Belfast.

  • kensei

    I’d like Unionists to have a go at a unity candidate. If they win, well, it’s a setback but it could concentrate minds and its likely, looking at the vote trends that it would be a borrowed seat. If they lose it would a both be a morale hit and a useful lesson.

  • DC

    Dec has a point in post 9 above, would a Unity Unionist candidate lead to a defacto unity nationalist one, ie Gildernew? Two factors are required for a Unionist to win this seat, first the have to get over two thirds the unionist vote and second, the SF vote has to fall, either by splitting to dissidents (possible if a strong candidate) or a SDLP revival (cant see much sign of it, only thing is their vote is prob hardcore now, unless some drift to tories…) or, most likely, apathy is creeping into their supporters just like everyone elses.
    Changing it back to a sectarian headcount would def shake up that apathy and temp straying voters, so running both candidates might actually increase the overall unionist vote, but for the seat to be won a clear front runner needs to emerge by election day.

  • pro-union voter (#20) manages to cut through the nonsense of this whole debate. The Westminster election has nothing to do with the Union.

  • Dec

    Politics is about fighting for ideals and winning. …But of course you label that sectarian. While SF’s policies and conduct are (on your definition) non-sectarian.

    The point you appear to be missing, Igor is that the UUP and the DUP aren’t the same party and indeed, particularly in the latter’s case have sought to destroy each other, politically speaking of course (And the less said about the TUV and DUP relationship, the better). But there’s nothing like the prospect of one of themmuns winning an election for axes to be temporarily buried by that lot is there? I’ll not bother asking any UUP supporters here how bandying up to defeat Nationalism of whatever shade ties in with re-introducing ‘bread and butter politics and real issues’ here as we’ll be bored to death by equivocation on a galactic scale (JEB’s wildly contradictory post springs to mind) but I would like to hear whether, in the event of Sylvia Hermon standing as an independent, the UUP/DUP/TUV would consider standing an agreed candidate against her?

  • igor

    Dec

    Different parties but, personality conflicts aside, what are the real policy differences?

  • Turgon

    fair_deal,
    You may be correct but Foster was a much bigger name than the UUP alternative. In addition I think Lisbellaw is part of the Enniskillen ward so it is less clear for Enniskillen town.

    The FST bit is also hard to call but TUV support seems very strong in parts especially around Moygashel and the country areas around Dungannon.

  • Drumlins Rock

    want to see the figures Turgon?
    give me a call lol

  • Harry

    FGS, let’s have proper democracy in Northern Ireland and not stupid electoral pacts to ensure unionist victory. The SDLP and Sinn Fein never talk about nationalist pacts in places where they could win with a single candidate (N Belfast, S Belfast, even E Derry) so why should the unionists talk about pacts. Isn’t it better to offer unionists a choice of what type of unionism they want to represent them rather than restrict their choice by these stupid pacts. If a unionist majority seat goes into the hands of a nationalist it’s not going to make a united Ireland any more likely. I for example would rather vote SDLP to DUP any day of the week and I’m a unionist! So please Cameron and Sir Reg stick to your promise – put up candidates in every constituency – remember the bigger picture -creating a new type of unionism not quick electoral success!

  • PaddyReilly

    Michelle Gildernew has a majority of over 4500 and any sectarian pact between Unionists will only result in Gildernew retaining the seat and Tommy Gallagher’s vote collapsing.

    About right, I suspect. Miss Gildernew was born in 1970. She went to the University of Ulster, and then to Australia and the US, not returning home till the troubles were over in 1996. She has three children. Her profile is one of a student, a housewife, a mother and a politician. She cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called a terrorist. It may be alleged that she has worked together with known ex-terrorists, but that can be shown of all the Unionist Parties as well: Torrens Knight is such a nice person, etc.

    So, all in all, I don’t think that any significant numbers of SDLP voters will find it abhorrent to their conscience to vote for her if the alternative is to let in a Unionist whose eirenic qualifications may be even more suspect.

  • Lionel Hutz

    The talk of Unionist unity in FST undoubtedly has a secterian quality to it, if only that the two parties are hoping that they can rely on the underlying secterianism of their voters to secure one seat for each of them between FST and SB.

    I personally cannot understand how a Unionist voters would feel anything other than disenfranchised were such a scenario to present itself. Essentially they are being told that if they are Unionist, they have to vote for, for example, Foster. Where’s the choice in that and what happens if many voters do not like her or the DUP – Do they sleep better knowing that the UUP have a seat in South Belfast?

    I would find it very strange that Unionist voters in South Belfast or FST would buy into this idea, they are for the most part quite moderate in comparison to other constituencies. Sure there are pockets in both areas where voters would do anything to keep out the Shinners but its not the norm. Some comments have pointed to the past when the DUP did step aside but that is a long time ago, when the DUP were little more than a protest party. Now there are more discernible differences.

    It would surely be very damaging for Unionism if the only ‘alternative’ they have is the TUV, if they even manage to field candidates.

    Ofcourse, this all doesn’t matter as its never going to happen. The DUP calls are no more than a publicity stunt to gain an advantage over the UUP in two constituencies where they struggle to dominate. The way they ahve made the matter public from the outset, signified their intentions. They know or atleast hope the UUP or Cameron reject this idea, so that when they go door to door, they can point out that Elliot and co have damaged the chances of UNionists taking the seats. Its sad really!

  • Turgon

    PaddyReilly,
    Ah yes this is the same moderate liberal Gildernew whom I believe suggested that a future generation of republicans might have to return to violence.

    Harry,
    The SDLP stood aside in FST when Bobby Sands stood so claiming that they never have pacts is inaccurate. The fact that they stood aside to give a convicted IRA terrorist who was in the process of starving himself to death somewhat invalidates any claim the SDLP may have to the high moral ground on this one.

    Lionel Hutz
    Currently we in FST are disenfranchised by the simple fact that our MP does not bother to go to parliament.

    The idea that voters in FST are moderate I find faintly amusing: I suspect you know very few FST unionists. They may not say much: that comes from having had so many friends and relatives murdered but they are very committed; just look at the voting figures, everyone here votes come what may.

    Incidentally the TUV have already said they will not be standing in FST or SB.

  • Marty McG

    Neil….You are quite wrong….no main party Unionist is petitioning for a ‘UFF prisoner’….a member of the TUV has put out a petition for a friend of his who like many young men of his era got involved with Loyalist / Republican terrorism. Unlike many of these, he long ago turned his back on terrorism / paramilitaries but sadly responded to jibes from two members of a family that had a hatred for his family and lashed out at them. Due to the fact he was on licence, it has been revoked plus he got four months jail for his assault on his two protagonists. It would be wise not to listen to all the rhetoric of the Kilrea rent-a-quote, Stoope Dallat.

  • [i]The SDLP stood aside in FST when Bobby Sands stood so claiming that they never have pacts is inaccurate. The fact that they stood aside to give a convicted IRA terrorist who was in the process of starving himself to death somewhat invalidates any claim the SDLP may have to the high moral ground on this one.[/i]

    So when is your party going to redeem the moral high-ground and expel Trevor Collins in Garvagh, Turgon?

  • oneill

    “All this pre-electoral chat of voting pacts to ‘keep themmuns out’ from the have-cake-and-eat-it UCUNF-types is most illuminating”

    Dec,

    You shouldn’t limit your blog-reading list to Slugger and even there it’s only John of the “UCUNF” types, afaik, who’s suggesting the benefits of a possible pact.

    If such a pact happens, then the whole supposed raison d’etre of the Conservative and UUP link up disappears up the communal spout. What’s most damaging at the moment is the firm “yes” or “no” from the leadership on this. Whatever the answer there’s going to be collateral damage but the longer the silence on the issue drags on, the worse that final damage will be.

  • oneill

    “What’s most damaging at the moment is the firm “yes” or “no” from the leadership on this”

    Should read:

    “What’s most damaging at the moment is the lack of a firm “yes” or “no” from the leadership on this”

  • Neil

    Neil….You are quite wrong….no main party Unionist is petitioning for a ‘UFF prisoner’….a member of the TUV has put out a petition for a friend of his who like many young men of his era got involved with Loyalist / Republican terrorism.

    Two things strike me about these weasel words. Is Collins in the TUV? Therefore my statement ‘petition lodged by TUV member would in fact be accurate, no? You’ll note that I used quotation marks on the previous page, paraphrasing from BBC news.

    I also note your new found understanding for the men of my community (the Republican one) who got caught up in the troubles, though it’s an understanding that various TUV members tend not to have. They being of the ‘men of violence…’ speeches etc. It would appear that violence is fine, as long as it is a Loyalist. That is unless you’re saying the TUV is not a main party, in which case my apologies.

    I had thought it was an actual main party member when I fleetingly heard the news on the radio, (as opposed to TUV), but I was not sure, so left that off my post, hence my thinking it was pertinent to this discussion. I was incorrect and am thankful I didn’t jump in with both feet.

    Unlike many of these, he long ago turned his back on terrorism / paramilitaries but sadly responded to jibes from two members of a family that had a hatred for his family and lashed out at them. Due to the fact he was on licence, it has been revoked plus he got four months jail for his assault on his two protagonists.

    No offence, but in my little world, with my values, the definition of scumbag is someone who assaults two women over a bit of verbal. I do not know the man, but people who can’t control their anger and hit women should end up in prison, as he has done convicted and as you say sentenced to four months.

    As for listening to Dallat, you’re probably quite correct. I don’t listen to Dallat or politicians in Northern Ireland generally, and I respect the right of ALL to move on from violence (which the TUV clearly does not, though thanks to them for clearing up the fact that it’s only Republican violence they have a problem with). I’m basing my argument on three facts:

    1) TUV councillor organising the petition
    2) TUV diametrically opposed to terrorism/men of violence [from outside the PUL community]
    3) Man convicted of assaulting women (regardless of excuse given)

  • nemesis

    Turgon et al

    If there is no agreement on Elliott and Foster then who are the potential unionist ‘unity’ candidates for FST and for that matter SBelfast?

    The priority for Unionism should be to win FST and SB

  • PaddyReilly

    Ah yes this is the same moderate liberal Gildernew whom I believe suggested that a future generation of republicans might have to return to violence.

    There is a story of a snake converted to non-violence by the Buddha. A year later he encounters the same crittuh and finds it battered and beaten all over and at the point of death. The snake explains that since it became non-violent every mongoose has felt free to attack it. Look, says the Buddha, I told you shouldn’t kill living beings unnecessarily, I didn’t say you couldn’t rear up and hiss!

    The policy of SF is to choose the peaceful path where there is one available. This does not mean aiding Unionists to overthrow democracy and majority rule because you are a total walkover.

    The fact that they stood aside to give a convicted IRA terrorist who was in the process of starving himself to death somewhat invalidates any claim the SDLP may have to the high moral ground on this one

    It’s no good characterising Bobby Sands as a convicted IRA terrorist. The lack of consensus in the state, the failure to implement agreed plebiscites, the lack of jury trials and proper legal process means that a majority of voters in Fermanagh and Tyrone did not concur in this view, and the events of 1981 showed that they preferred him to whatever the Unionists had to offer.

    Which is the point I am making: do not suppose that SDLP voters are there to facilitate your Unionist agenda. If it becomes obvious that they are being taken as useful idiots by a pan-Unionist front, they will adjust their priorities accordingly.

    The SDLP’s moral high ground is purely for the edification of SDLP voters. It does not aspire to ape Unionist morals.

  • [i]a member of the TUV has put out a petition for a friend of his who like many young men of his era got involved with Loyalist / Republican terrorism.[/i]

    Hmm.. bravely defending his community from all those innocent men and a women celebrating Hallowe’en in Greysteel I suppose?

  • south belfast unionist

    The priority for Unionism should be to win FST and SB
    Posted by nemesis on Dec 04, 2009 @ 02:04 PM

    Disagree completely – doesn’t matter who wins at westminster it won’t change the border, and furthermore sectarian headcounts only damage the union. What is absolutely vital for unionism however is to shed the religious and sectarian baggage of the past and start making a clear unambiguous case in favour of the union that will attract people from “both communities” as we say in NI.

    So:

    UCUNF project – awful name but definately the best way forward (now come on Sir Reg and damn well stop foolish colleagues dallying with talk of sectarian pacts).

    DUP – the past, proposing sectarian not-a-taig-about-the-place pacts, ultimately destructive of the union.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Does Shillers get stupider as elections draw closer, or, does it only seem that way?

  • John East Belfast

    Dec, Oneill

    If you had read what I said in my post yesterday you would have seen that my main objection was to SF winning a seat. I pointed out two main reasons for that

    1. It is SF – sorry I dont see them as any other constitutional nationalist party

    2. Even if you cant follow 1 then the fact that they wont go to Westminster is another strong reason. I dont think we should allow a situation to arise where UCUNF voters are not going to be represented at Westminster by anyone.

    That logical consideration could lead to a joint unionist candidate and is not in my opinion contradictory to the overall stated aim of opposing all constitutional parties as UCUNF.

    SB comes into the equation because this is politics and if a deal is done on FST then it is not unreasonable that be reciprocated.

    Personally I believe in constitutional party unity everywhere and anywhere SF stands. And before anyone asks me should unionists stand aside to help SDLP then my view would be that it is not the job of unionist parties to help the SDLP win nationalist seats.

    Having said that if I was not a member of the UUP and lived in a constituency where a unionist hadnt a hope in hell of winning then if the choice was between SDLP & SF in a FPTP election I probably wouldnt waste my vote.

    I think the issue is the unionist voters are way ahead of the constitutional parties in this regard.

    I also dont think east Belfast unionists should be following dogma and defying common sense and forcing another 5 years of Michelle Gildernew on Fermanagh unionists if there was a realistic possibility of that being avoided.

    This is just my personal view and ultimately I will follow the party line but I think we need to pause before we paint ourselves into a corner.

    I think a joint constitutional unionist candidate in opposition to SF – resulting in a disenfranchised constituency – is a defendible position to take

  • Marty McG

    Horseman asks what the ‘u’ in DUP stands for…..well USELESS perhaps; DUP is for Destroy Ulster Party, the first three letters of what they did to the Unionist electorate in 2007, namely DUPe them…is that enough…no? ok…No the DUPes are not Unionists, they’re Ulster Nationalists, hence the Paisley love-in with Fish face, Alex Salmon the Scottish Nationalist.

    As for Fair_deal….the F & S.T. and the S. Belfast seats are going to be fought by the real Unionists, the party of Craigavon, Carson, Brookeborough, Faulkner….and Foster and Spratt [if he is the DUPe candidate in S.Belfast] can take a running jump.

  • Pancho

    Nineteensixtyseven……Marty McGuinness, as a former OC of the ‘Derry’ Brigade of the IRA and for two years the overall Chief of Staff of that terrorist organisation, was responsible for many more deaths than Mr. Knight….and he’s now our Deputy Prime Minister…..Knight rejected terrorism/paramilitaries years ago, after being released from jail. McGuinness is still a member of Sinn Fein/IRA.

  • Pancho,

    I don’t dispute the facts about Martin McGuinness but whataboutery aside, Knight launched a vicious attack on two women and clearly broke the terms of his license. So much for the TUV being tough on crime if their organiser in Garvagh is going around with a petition in support of such a man.

  • oneill

    This is just my personal view and ultimately I will follow the party line but I think we need to pause before we paint ourselves into a corner.

    I think a joint constitutional unionist candidate in opposition to SF – resulting in a disenfranchised constituency – is a defendible position to take

    John,

    I’m approaching this from a different angle than Dec, in that I am, like you, a Unionist and a member of the UUP. You have a perfectly defendable position- I also believe that until SF are completely honest AND disown the past actions of their “military” wing they cannot be considered as a truly democratic party.

    My argument against yours, however, is both a strategic and ethical one. The latter first; if the UUP and DUP deny the electorate, by means of a carve-up of seats, the full option of Unionism available, that, at the very least, is being undemocratic. I’d also say sectarian because that “pact” would also apply in S Belfast where the sitting MP not only attends Westminster, but also does not represent a party which has the blood of our fellow citizens on its hands.

    Strategically, I think it is even a clearer argument. The Union provides political and socio-economic benefits to N.Irish folk whatever “community” (hate that word!) background they may come from. People who presently vote SDLP and SF will never in a milion years vote for a pro-Union party. That still leaves round about 65-70% of the electorate though who are *potential* voters for a pro-Union (deliberately avoided “Unionist” there) option. How will those people be attracted in the long-term? It won’t be with pacts like the one suggested, tying us to a party which makes no apologies-about aiming to represent only one element of the population. We need to offer an alternative version of Unionism, one accessible to everyone, by building up a strong, logical and most importantly, secular and non-sectarian argument for remaining a part of the UK.

    In the short-term we may lose both SB and FST (but that’s by no means a cast-iron), however in the long-term, we are making the continuance of the Union much more of a cast-iron.

    Like you, I will ultimately respect the *ahem* (when it comes) final party decision on this, but I think, even in addition to the points I’ve made above, for purely partisan party reasons we need to say a polite “Thank you but no thank you” to the DUPes.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Harry,

    The SDLP and Sinn Fein never talk about nationalist pacts in places where they could win with a single candidate (N Belfast, S Belfast, even E Derry)

    Actually I remember in 1997 Sinn Fein calling for a pact with the SDLP, and I seem to remember North Belfast being mentioned. All a bit of a joke of course, because it’s impossible for a nationalist to win in today’s N Belfast, and I’m sure SF were well aware of that.

  • Comrade Stalin

    oneill:

    I’m approaching this from a different angle than Dec, in that I am, like you, a Unionist and a member of the UUP. You have a perfectly defendable position- I also believe that until SF are completely honest AND disown the past actions of their “military” wing they cannot be considered as a truly democratic party.

    When is Unionism going to be honest and disown the past actions of it’s “military” wing ? Let’s start with the UWC strike.

  • Comrade Stalin

    MartyMcG/Turgon,

    The TUV is opposed to the early release scheme and says that terrorists should all be behind bars. It did not say that there are exceptions for UFF gunmen. [ply the ball CS – mods]

  • oneill

    When is Unionism going to be honest and disown the past actions of it’s “military” wing

    The UUP not only condones but actually celebrates acts of terrorism carried out in the name of “Ulster”?

    Evidence?

  • John

    Pancho:

    Nineteensixtyseven……Marty McGuinness, as a former OC of the ‘Derry’ Brigade of the IRA and for two years the overall Chief of Staff of that terrorist organisation, was responsible for many more deaths than Mr. Knight….and he’s now our Deputy Prime Minister…..Knight rejected terrorism/paramilitaries years ago, after being released from jail. McGuinness is still a member of Sinn Fein/IRA.

    Mr Knight was imprisoned for the assault of two women, a clear violation of the terms of his release.

    Regardless of your opinion of Martin, Sinn Féin and the IRA have long since renounced violence, completely decommissioned and have neither the desire nor the capacity to resume military actions.

    So while Torrens Knight has clearly not rejected violence/terrorism, it is clear that Martin McGuinness has.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The UUP not only condones but actually celebrates acts of terrorism carried out in the name of “Ulster”?

    Evidence?

    Here’s evidence for you. Name me the last senior Unionist politician to condemn the tactics used at UWC.

    Any time I hear unionists discussing UWC, they’re justifying it. What’s your stand on the matter ? Was it right to overthrow the authority of the British government ? Would unionists like to define the parameters as to when they reserve the right to do so again in the future ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    And while we’re at it, oneill, why are unionist politicians so completely dead silent on the TUV’s hypocrisy over one of its members gathering a petition for the release of an unreconstructed terrorist ?

  • Turgon

    Comrade,
    yes it is a problem. I am highly unimpressed by what has happened. I have condemned it on this thread when you asked. I now see you are trolling about it across multiple threads. This was not done with party approval, and was done by a relatively minor party figure. I agree, however, that Mr. Collins’ actions are wrong and I condemn them.

    On the other hand Naomi Long’s support and help to the political wing of the UVF was done by Long herself – the deputy leader of the Alliance Party. Those who live in glass houses eh Comrade?

  • oneill

    CS

    Didn’t answer my original question, did you?
    Try again.

  • Driftwood

    Name me the last senior Unionist politician to condemn the tactics used at UWC.

    CS, Brian Faulkner for one. Chichester Clarke another. I’m not sure what Terence O Neill thought of the strike but I’ve a fair idea it would be negative.

  • Comrade Stalin

    oneill,

    Your original question was a straw man. I did not say that the UUP were “celebrating” acts of terrorism, but neither did you claim that about SF. I quoted your original phrase in post 12 back at you, namely the refusal of unionism to deal honestly with its past association with paramilitarism.

    Thanks for actually making my point by avoiding the question and actively continuing that refusal to deal honestly with the issue of unionism resorting to paramilitarism to overthrow the will of the British government.

    Turgon,

    I just wanted to clarify that a man in your party believes that a person convicted of a serious assault should be released from jail, and you believe that there is no incompatibility between this and his membership of the TUV. It would be a straightforward and unequivocal matter to expel him from the party. Why can’t this be done ?

    I don’t see where the glass house is – are you aware of an Alliance member circulating a petition asking for someone convicted of a serious offence to be released from jail ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Driftwood,

    CS, Brian Faulkner for one. Chichester Clarke another. I’m not sure what Terence O Neill thought of the strike but I’ve a fair idea it would be negative.

    Exactly. You have to go back 40 years. What does that tell you ?

  • Driftwood

    It says a lot about the poor quality of politicians we have now compared to then. The people I mentioned were all businessmen, well educated and as ‘liberal’ as it was possible to be in the environment of the time.
    Part of my fondness for direct rule from Westminster is the pathetic parochial outlook of all political careerists here.
    Even Paddy Devlin seems like a giant compared to political pygmies like Jeffrey Donaldson or nutters like Ruane and Poots.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Driftwood,

    I don’t think the politicians who ran NI during the Stormont days were especially competent, but people like Faulkner and O’Neill had a statesmanlike quality to them that we don’t see much of these days.

    I still think unionists and republicans equally need to be open and honest about their pasts. Listening to unionists giving lectures about the democratic standards expected of others is, to me, high farce when you consider the hijinks like UWC or Drumcree 96 that they consider to be their defining moments.

  • Turgon

    Comrade Stalin,
    I oppose Mr. Collins signing the petition. I do not believe that Mr. Knight should be released from gaol. In a previous comment which was removed by the moderators at my request you made allegations about my views which you know to be untrue.

    As to what the TUV should do with Mr. Collins. I do not know him but I would condemn his actions unreservedly. Should we expel him? Well I am unsure as yet: not that that is within my gift.

    However, he is a fairly minor party member. On the other hand your Deputy Leader has helped the political representatives of the UVF. Now should your deputy leader be expelled for supporting a PUP member and helping that party?

    Is it not incompatible for the deputy leader of Alliance to be helping a member of the political wing of the UVF?

    Even if Alliance does not want to do that tell me what is your view. I unreservedly condemned what Mr. Collins did. Do you unreservedly condemn your deputy leader’s help and support for a representative of a loyalist murder gang?

    I am unaware of any members of the TUV passing documents and giving political help to the representatives of murderers.

    As I said before Comrade those in glass houses…

  • PaddyReilly

    Can someone explain to me what the respected Noldorian is on about? I try googling Naomi Long + PUP and all I get is statements from her condemning the UUP for cooperating with the PUP. If she ever helped the PUP, it must have been after a long period of hindering them.

  • oneill

    “23.oneill,

    Your original question was a straw man. I did not say that the UUP were “celebrating” acts of terrorism, but neither did you claim that about SF. I quoted your original phrase in post 12 back at you, namely the refusal of unionism to deal honestly with its past association with paramilitarism”

    No, your initial implicit point was that the UUP and SF both stand back from the violence carried out on the name of their alleged “community”.

    Third time, do the UUP commemorate-celebrate acts of terrorism carried out on behalf of their alleged “community”?

  • Turgon

    PaddyReilly,
    She co-operated with Purvis by giving her assembly briefings etc. At the time Comrade Stalin was on one of his periodic rants about how all parties except Alliance had had dealings with terrorists. He seems to go a bit quiet when this episode is mentioned.

    I agree that I cannot find it on line at the moment but when I do I will be sure to post the link.

  • Driftwood

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terence_O'Neill,_Baron_O'Neill_of_the_Maine

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Chichester-Clark,_Baron_Moyola

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Faulkner,_Baron_Faulkner_of_Downpatrick

    No idea if the great and the good of the Unionist party were ever OO members or issued any anti catholic statements in their lives. I’d be surprised if they did. All complete gentlemen in every sense of the word.
    Do not compare these great statesmen with the loony bigot ‘demon doctor’ Paisley and his neanderthal party of lumpenprole headers.
    The DUP made NI a laughing stock in the UK and beyond. And continue to do so.

  • Del Boy

    Seems like Mr. Stalin is clutching at straws.