Who will the UUs choose to run for South Belfast…

Slugger hears that Bob Stoker and Michael McGimpsey are the only candidates that will square off for the party’s South Belfast candidature for Westminster… That’s not a surprise, but given how McGimpsey bombed both in 2005 – losing a formerly safe UU seat to the SDLP’s Alisdair McDonnell conceding third place to a virtual unknown DUP candidate in the process – and then managed to chip even more off his total in 2007 it is a pretty poor back to the future scenario for the party. The Tory candidate, Peter McCann, is a recent arrival into politics (and possibly too Catholic for many in Donegall Pass, Sandy Road Row and Taughmonagh). Can he really expect to have a viable run at the seat?

Update: As DW points out down below, the selection meeting has not taken place yet (the first word I had last night was that it was in progress, but then turned it wasn’t)… Both the above are standing. Paula has not voiced publicly her position on standing. I am told there is one other considering the possibility of doing so. So although I stand by the thrust of my analysis below, I put my hand up on screwing up the significant detail of the facts of the story…This is a seat that needed a big name to get the UUs over the win line this time out… Handing it back to a pair of old hands would certainly give the DUP something to run at, given how last time Jimmy Spratt picked up 29.6% to McGimpsey’s 22.2%. Indeed Spratt used a piece in the South Belfast News today to remind the UUs they could do a deal over the seat, just like they used to do in the past…

But Spratt himself is unlikely to be good enough this time out either. Whilst he was only just short of the mark the last time, the TUV effect (however weak or strong it proves) will likely tip the seat even further away from him. But the DUP still have time to contemplate their precise response to the Ulster Unionist/Conservaitve choice here. Could they choose a game changing candidate?

McDonnell got 30.1% last time, marginally ahead of Spratt. But he has had the opportunity to dig in to the constituency which may help him in turn dig further into Sinn Fein and Alliance votes than he did in 05. Last time out he got little public sympathy from Sinn Fein’s leadership, and in the case of the Alliance they now have a sitting MLA in the constituency whose vote they will be very keen to preserve. So even for McDonnell it will be a matter of squeezing out votes from wherever he find get them.

Even if McDonnell is a notional favourite, I would not like to call the overall winner… Still without a deal with the DUP neither the Minister for Health nor councillor Stoker will take the seat back for the Ulster Unionists, which may be just as well, since the Conservatives began the day with this little number on the evils of double-jobbing:

“The Conservatives were the first party in Northern Ireland to call for an end to double-jobbing in Northern Ireland. Voters want full-time MLAs, MPs and MEPs and rightly believe they currently get a raw deal when some of their elected politicians split their time between Stormont and Westminster.

“We have introduced amendments to legislation that are aimed at ending double-jobbing by Northern Ireland politicians at Stormont and Westminster. They are also intended to ensure that all decisions on MLAs’ salaries, allowances and pensions are made by a third party, as at Westminster. We believe the current situation is wrong and should end.”

So if the seat is unlikely to change hands this time round, if the UCU-NF are planning a two phase play then neither Stoker nor McGimpsey make sense. The one new party player that had been in the frame, Paula Bradshaw, is now believed out of the running. But as the Tories’ battleground director Marion Little told Slugger earlier this year:

“This is not about one election. We need candidates who will speak to all parts of society. We’ve seen success in England come over two election cycles from candidates who were prepared to get down and connect with people outside traditional Conservative voting communities”

That leaves us with the possibility that McCann is the unlikely dark horse that breaks through the middle. It would be a risky strategy… One, because by backing an unknown it risks the DUP gaining incumbency first, ie before McCann has had time to get his feet under some of the more prosperous tables of south Belfast.

And two, it would be predicated on the far from proven assumption that the legendary Garden Centre Prod (those 150k who came out to vote yes in the referendum, but whom appear to have given up on politics ever since) will respond positively to the opportunity to vote for a post sectarian choice in a seat with a significant slice of wealthy Catholic middle class residents…

And yet, stranger things have happened at sea… At the very least, McCann would be a credible fulfillment of the Conservative party’s promise to desectarianise its offering in Northern Ireland… And a decent litmus test for any other party foolish enough to want to try and break the bonds of our tribal past…

, , ,

  • alex benjamin

    should have been Bradshaw. New blood, cares about the community there, smart and a woman for goodness sakes!! I think Bob is an excellent councillor and mcgimpsey had his shot and should leave Westminster and stick with his good work in Health. Time to move forward… Paula you should reconsider.

  • If the DUP are so concerned about winning seats for unionism, irrespective of what party the candidate is from, why can they not just decide not to run in both F&ST; and SB? Both seats were previously held by Ulster Unionists and it is obvious that the only reason for the seats being lost to nationalism was by the DUPes splitting the vote. If the DUPes really cared about maintaining the union, rather than their “little Ulster” mentality, they would give way to the main unionist party in the U.K..

  • oneill

    DW

    I think the NI Tory UCUNF supporters who may have promoted this thread are more flustrated and indeed impatient with Reg Empey and the UUP selection procedure up to now.

    I’m a member of the UUP.

    My particuliar frustration is not over the timing of your selection, but the amount of leaks that flow from SB. But rather than argue about what should be private party business on an open forum please feel free to email me if you want to debate it further.

    If you don’t trust the email I’ve supplied, contact Michael Shilliday and he’ll put you in touch.

  • alan56

    Does anyone seriously think that either Stoker or McGimpsey represents a new thinking in unionism. Surely what is needed in SB is a candidate that can garner support from the Donegall Road, Sandy Row, Donegall Pass and Malone? Bradshaw could be such a candidate now. Shame if she feels that she has to wait for another election but then she knows as well as anyone the peculiar machinations of SB Unionist Association!

  • slug

    Paula Bradford all the way. She is THE candidate.

    The others have had their day.

  • slug

    Whoops. I mean Paula Bradshaw all the way of course!

  • Jone

    Maybe all these Sdlp voters itching to support ucunf are the direct descendents of those mythical creatures who liked nothing better than to while away a summer’s day watching an orange walk.

  • alan56

    Jone,

    More likely they are the ones who want to continue sending their kids to grammar school?

  • DW

    @ oneill: I’m a member of the UUP.

    ‘My particuliar frustration is not over the timing of your selection, but the amount of leaks that flow from SB. But rather than argue about what should be private party business on an open forum please feel free to email me if you want to debate it further.’

    Oh! my selection, well well well , and who may I ask are you? What association and what position of authority do you have in the UUP Mr Importance?

  • oneill

    Two alleged UUP members wanting to provoke an argument with me within a week on here- how bizarre.

    I think I’ll leave it there, if it’s all the same DW. If you are genuinely interested in debating it further or even finding out who I am, then contact Michael.

  • Jone, that doesn’t quite explain the figures available from the Like & Times Survey.

  • DW

    oneill, its not that bizarre if you go around making Impertient personal remarks about fellow members on the internet.

    .’as soon as you hear that, it’s a safe bet that once again the SB UUP has gone incontinent. DW, perhaps you should think about tightening up the collective colostomy bags rather than whinging at Mick for merely passing on whatever *information* was obviously intended to be passed on.’

  • Jone

    And what figures are those from the always-credible life and times survey?

  • Well done Mick. On a quiet news day just mention the words South Belfast, light the blue(sic) touch paper and retire.

    The bizarre UCUNF selection process might yet cause it to implode. Methinks the promise of a few peerages etc. may be necessary to make the dinosaurs stand down in favour of the young Cameroons. What fun if Cameron couldn’t deliver.

    Once again, some prat comes up with the idea that the DUP should stand down in both SB and FST. Ridiculous. One seat apiece is a more than generous offer, with the DUP offering UCUNF first choice!

    2005 S.BELFAST
    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%)

    2005 FERMANAGH/ST
    Michelle Gildernew (Sinn Fein) 18,638 (38.2% +4.1%)
    Arlene Foster (DUP) 14,056 (28.8%)
    Tom Elliot (UUP) 8,869 (18.2% -15.8%)

  • Jone, you sound like you don’t believe the figures, can you tell us all why?
    Hawk, is it me you are calling a prat? Are you going to attempt to tell us all why the DUPes are a bigger party in the United Kingdom than the Conservative & Unionist Party are? Do you care about the United Kingdom? I think you’re just a typical small-minded, small-brained little gimp, willing to follow any orders you’re given, be it by the grand old duke or the wife beater.

  • Comrade Stalin

    oneill,

    It should be pretty feckin obvious who is doing all the South Belfast leaking.

    slug:

    CS – if I were Mike McG I would prefer to be an MP than an MLA and minister especially as part of the governing party. London is a fantastic city and Westminster has a buzz.

    Do you think he’s as shallow as you are, going for a job because of the sightseeing potential ? And people wonder why everyone is so hacked off with politicians.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The bizarre UCUNF selection process might yet cause it to implode.

    I’m waiting here for the games to begin, with a massive bucket of popcorn.

  • Richard Aardvark

    “My particuliar frustration is not over the timing of your selection, but the amount of leaks that flow from SB”

    Maybe you ought to take that up with your buddy Geoff McGimpsey over at Bobballs :o)

  • slug

    CS

    “Do you think he’s as shallow as you are, going for a job because of the sightseeing potential ? And people wonder why everyone is so hacked off with politicians.”

    Don’t be like that, CS. Its not about passive sigt seeing! It about taking part in Westminster – a big place with big opportunities. More exciting than Stormont – more power, more debate, less backward, better quality colleagues, bigger issues. You name it, Westminster beats Stormont hand down.

  • Bill White

    As Chairman and Elections Officer of South Belfast UUP I would like to take issue with the point re. leaks from SB UUP.

    As far as I can see, there is no other person on this thread who is a member of SB UUP, and I am the first person on this thread from SB UUP to post. As such, I can’t see the validity of this point about ‘all these leaks’ and that ‘SB UUP has gone incontinent’ e.g. acc. to DW above!

    This thread was started on a false premise i.e. that a SB UUP selection meeting was taking place. Yes – our internal selection process has now stated and the detail & dates of that process will remain confidential (at least as far as the SB UUP are concerned – leaks can of course occur from central figures in the party who also know the detail of this process).

    BTW: Can I say to other UUP members on this thread (who are all non-SB members – I think!), to be considerate of the SB UUP situation and refrain from any heated, hasty, or ‘lack-of-thought’ comments.

  • Mick Fealty

    Thanks Bill. Your contribution is much appreciated. I made my corrections to the original post late this afternoon. And my apologies. Although I stand by the general thrust of my own analysis.

  • HitTheFlop

    Intelligence Insider: You seem to imply that because both SB & F&ST; were held by the UUP before, that the UUP have some sort of ‘God given right’ to hold these seats for ever. Are you suggesting we shouldn’t bother with elections i.e. that the S. Belfast UUP should just have a selection meeting, and whoever is selected should automatically become the MP??

    It’s this sort of arrogance that annoys a lot of ordinary voters who want choice, and new choices at that!

    Hitler had this view after the last German elections (1933) before the second world war i.e. that the Nazi party should just hold their seats for ever!, and that further elections were not required! – bit of a dramatic analogy I know!

  • Bill White

    No problem Mick – It’s only a minor point, and your mistake, as you say, doesn’t take away from the thrust of your arguments.

    The main point of my post above was just all this stuff about SB ‘leaking’, & I can’t see & don’t see this happening, at least not from any of our members in SB.

  • Garza

    Hitthevoice – “It’s this sort of arrogance that annoys a lot of ordinary voters who want choice, and new choices at that!”

    Isn’t that what the UUP/Tories are providing in the next election by stadning in all 18 seats?

    Isn’t it the DUP that is trying to limit the choice by doing a pact? Seems to me the DUP are the arrogant ones.

    What I think intelligenceinsider is trying to say is that the UUP/tories are stadning in all 18 seats, the DUP can either deal with it and compete or pull out, either way its ok, even if we do lose.

  • HitTheFlop

    Garza

    I think we’re in agreement here. Your last point is quite correct i.e. The Tories/UUP say they are standing in all 18 seats, and if that is their policy then fine. Likewise other parties can stand in any seats they want to as well, if that is their wish. That’s democracy!

    All I said was that Intelligence Insider should refrain from these silly arguments re. who held the seat before, as if this gives the UUP some sort of ‘claim’ to be considered as the main party to contest the seat now. Democracy is all about new choices, change, and seeking fresh mandates.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Thanks to Bill for posting, seems it all a non-story afterall and a whole lot of hot air. So far as I am aware an Election has not been called yet and no nominations have been sought by the electoral office, Ok the UUP & Conservatives seem to be leaving it a bit later than many would have liked but I’m not really that aware of other parties nominations either apart from incumbents, so how about a little patience and enjoy the festive season, we could have up to 6 months of this still to go!

  • Bill White

    Thanks Drumlins Rock.

    Your say we may have six months of this still to go – actually it’s a little less than that, because the election will be 20 weeks from tomorrow (Thursday) i.e. 6th May 2010!!!

  • exile

    Really, Bill? Perhaps, then, you would you like to share that certainty with Dave?

  • Pete whitcroft

    Jackie McDonald should run as a Unionist unity candidate.
    He has a softened image to non unionists due to his connection to the McAleeses and could go for the David Irvine approach which gained support even from the middle classes.
    I doubt he could be outflanked for the loyalist vote except for the die hard UVF folk.
    This would also help bring the UDA etc in from the cold towards mainstrem politics.

  • pete whitcroft

    Also great fun on the ballot paper with Jackie and Allistair confusion.

  • I don’t just imply that the UUP held the seats before, history tells it.
    Ps, Pete Whitcroft, are you talking about the same UDA that DUP leader Ian Paisley saluted when walking by their headquarters or a different one?

  • pete whitcroft

    Ah but they weren’t illegal then, so it’s ok.

  • pete whitcroft

    BTW
    That’s a class name to give yourself, maybe I should call myself The Omniscient One or Batman.
    Sorry couldn’t help myself.
    No harm intended.
    I think people should be unafraid to stand over their comments, but I suppose the greater good can be served by wearing a cloak from time to time.

  • Mason Powell

    And the Lord said unto Michael McGimpsey: “It is time to lead your people. Michael, come forth!”

    And, as usual, Michael got it wrong and came third.

    Next!

  • Dewi

    Such intensity on a play-off that never happened for the first stage of a selection process of the 4th party in NI for a seat in which they came third last team…..I would be extremely interested to know who the 4 Tories and 4 UUP bods on the selection committee are…would the UUP really tolerate English Tories being involved?

  • Seymour Major

    Dewi,

    At No 23 page 1
    “Seymour – this joint committee set up could sink you you know”

    I’m intrigued by that. I am neither a prospective candidate nor an official. Maybe you were not making a reference to me.

    Re your last comment. The names are not a secret.

    Here are the names:

    For the Conservative Party

    Owen Paterson MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland)
    Neil Johnston (Former NI Conservatives Chairman)
    Jeffrey Peel (Former NI Conservatives Vice Chairman)
    Paul Megarity (Chairman, North Down Conservatives)

    For the UUP

    Lord Maginnis of Drumglass
    Danny Kennedy MLA
    David Campbell (UUP Chairman)
    Cllr. Mark Cosgrove (UUP Treasurer)

    After Jeffrey Peel’s resignation, his position was taken, I believe, by Tim Lewis (current Chairman, NI Conservatives.)

  • Dewi

    “Seymour – this joint committee set up could sink you you know”

    I meant “you” in the collective as in the project.
    Thanks for the names – some pressure on these guys. What;s the latest on Sylvia?

  • slug

    Jeff Peel is on that committee!

    Geeez—-wait for the fireworks!

  • Dewi

    Slug – read it all….

  • Drumlins Rock

    slug you awake yet? he was replaced, I get the feeling rather than people objecting to Owen the outside influence will be welcome, sometimes a view from outside can cut through the local crap.

    As for the election date, I would love to know for sure as I have an overseas wedding to go to on 8th of may!

  • slug

    Oops – ok Dewi. Sorry guys for not reading it all.

    Drumlin Rock – yes its great to have outsiders from NI on the committee, to counter parochialism.

  • Dewi

    Although the phrase democratic deficit springs to mind. The only say that local members have is if more than one approved candidate (UUP that is) tries for the same constituency. What say does the local Tory organisation have at all?

  • slug

    Local Conservative org would select the Tory candidate for UCUNF committee consideration.

  • slug

    Dwei – remember that NI is an incredibly tiny place, even smaller than Wales, so that everything is very very local even when done at an NI level. In these contexts, parochalism is an issue, and has been part of NI’s problems for a long time.

  • DW

    Bill White, thanks for your posts to clear up any misunderstanding in the thread.

    I see another NI Tory Bob Wilson has jumped on the bandwagon attacking the idea of a pact between`DUP & UUP to save the SB seat going into the hands of the SDLP (A united Ireland Party) for a 2nd term.

    DUP pre-occupied with parochial cultural battles
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/letters/dup-preoccupied-with-parochial-cultural-battles-14597824.html

    I have this message for the NI Tories, get on your bike, you have no chance of winning the SB seat for the Conservatives. Interesting the number of YU’s (attending Queens) who have been brought on board to support their dear Tory buddies in UCUNF. May I remind you when the going was rough here during the 70’s 80’s & 90’s all the high diddle class garden center prods sent their little darlings across to Universities in the UK rather than have them mix with those nasty IRA/SF republicans at Queens University.

    Those who held the fort here were the DUP, UUP, PUP and now TUV. We loyalists might have our differences but when the chips are down we will bunch together and fight our corner. We didn’t need a bunch of Tory Lundies then who stabbed us in the back with the Anglo Irish Agreement, and we sure as hell don’t need a few Burlington Club boys from Middle England to take over the UUP in 2010.

    DW

  • slug

    SW you are being negative. It is good that folks of all classes are getting into politics again in so far as its a sign of normalising.

    Of course ambitious people will on the whole not want to participate in politics, or go to QUB, in the bad bad daye when folks like Edgar Graham were being shot dead on Campus by SF-IRA just for being a unionist politician, cheered to the rafters by republican students.

    Yes I admire those who were brave enough to be in politics and held the line in the 1980s. I wouldn’t have. But we have to also think positive about the fact that there are more people wanting to take part now. The future, not the past.

  • Bill White

    Drumlins Rock & Exile

    I stick to my prediction of 6th May for the election date – I can’t see that Brown can go for any other date, + Look at the Odds: it’s now massively odds-on that it will be 6th May.

  • Mike

    DW

    “May I remind you when the going was rough here during the 70’s 80’s & 90’s all the high diddle class garden center prods sent their little darlings across to Universities in the UK rather than have them mix with those nasty IRA/SF republicans at Queens University.”

    Oh dear oh dear.

    First up, Queen’s University is actually in the UK. (Some unionism, that, excluding Belfast from the UK)

    Secondly, surely it’s an advantage of being part of the UK that Northern Irish students can attend higher education right across the UK as part of the same university system.

    You sound a lot more like a parochial Little Ulsterman than a true unionist.

  • UK Unionist

    We loyalists might have our differences but when the chips are down we will bunch together and fight our corner.

    DW

    Are you a “loyalist”?

  • exile

    Bill,

    Paddy Power have a March election at 15/8, May 4/9.

  • frustrated democrat

    Mick

    Do you think you were being used by someone?

    I am surprised that you would set up a thread where the essential facts had no basis.

    There was no meeting.

    It seems there are no applications as yet.

    It seems PB is probably in, not out.

    150 posts based on a set of false premises.

    To whose benefit?

  • Charly Blacky consultancy type thingy

    Churnalism lives

  • Mick Fealty

    fd,

    That’s always possible. I turn back a LOT more tips than I ever go public with for that very reason. And if I do drop one, I try not to hang about getting my mea culpa in.

    That said, let’s just wait to see what happens next week.

  • Big Bad Bob

    Neither Stoker nor McGimpsey offers anything new.

    McCann does, but who is he? You don’t just get votes for being a Catholic Unionist.

    Bradshaw’s by far the best of that lot.

  • DW

    Mike @ 11:52 AM: ‘You sound a lot more like a parochial Little Ulsterman than a true unionist.’

    Indeed and proud of it, both grandparents and family from both sides all signed the ULSTER Covenant 1912.

    And what type of a Unionist are you Mike? A UCUNF, or a squeaky clean alliance member who has joined the NI conservatives, or are you a Unionist at all? Maybe a republican supporter of SF or SDLP who just enjoys mixing it?

  • anna

    Is Bradshaw not paid from the public purse to do a well-paid job in th voluntary sector?I’m not impressed that she spends her ‘working days’ on Slugger self-promoting for party political gain.

  • slug

    “Indeed and proud of it, both grandparents and family from both sides all signed the ULSTER Covenant 1912.”

    Mine didn’t – they were “Gladstone was right” types.

  • Garza

    DW, all my gread grandparents who were of age signed the Ulster covenant and I think you are totally wrong. I want to be part of union, not come semi-independent small ulster mentality which is quite close to a nationalistic attitude.

  • DW

    “DW, all my gread grandparents who were of age signed the Ulster covenant and I think you are totally wrong. I want to be part of union, not come semi-independent small ulster mentality which is quite close to a nationalistic attitude”.

    Garza, then join the NI conservatives and see if you can help them win some MLA seats or local council seats at the next Assembly and Local council elections.

    They have tried for 20 years and failed miserably. This UCUNF stunt is heading for the same failure. David Cameron can give Sir Reg a nice little job as cabinet office tea boy if he wins the next election when all this UCUNF is over.

    “I say Reg dont forget the cucumber sandwiches next meeting you know John Osborne loved Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance Of Being Earnest’

  • UK Unionist

    Garza and Slug,

    Don’t be DUPed by DW, he’s a troll.

  • Comrade Stalin

    slug:

    Don’t be like that, CS. Its not about passive sigt seeing! It about taking part in Westminster – a big place with big opportunities. More exciting than Stormont – more power, more debate, less backward, better quality colleagues, bigger issues. You name it, Westminster beats Stormont hand down.

    Nope. When it comes to Northern Ireland, our part of the UK is essentially ruled by decree by the Secretary of State and a couple of departmental underling ministers. And when non-NI matters are being debated, our politicians seldom ever chip in.

    We’ve had rule from Westminster for the guts of 30 years. I think it’s left the place in a mess. I would rather be able to elect politicians to somewhere where they are properly accountable with a proper electoral system, and where they can make decisions closer to the coal face. And no, hard work is seldom “sexy”.

    I still think your point of view about Westminster is essentially shallow. I suggest you get past the star-struck stuff and get with the reality that direct rule sucked balls for as long as it applied here.

  • Comrade Stalin

    BTW: Can I say to other UUP members on this thread (who are all non-SB members – I think!), to be considerate of the SB UUP situation and refrain from any heated, hasty, or ‘lack-of-thought’ comments.

    The Politburo have spoken. I have to admit, though, I’m shocked to see a UUP party officer actually attempting to assert control.

    DW:

    Those who held the fort here were the DUP, UUP, PUP and now TUV. We loyalists might have our differences but when the chips are down we will bunch together and fight our corner.

    I’m also impressed to see a unionist asserting that the DUP, UUP, PUP and TUV are all part of a broad collective unionist front. I better stand back in case the galloping hordes of unionist commentors coming along to disassociate themselves from that remark run me over.

    Big Bad Bob:

    Neither Stoker nor McGimpsey offers anything new.

    You must be new here.

    McCann does, but who is he? You don’t just get votes for being a Catholic Unionist.

    Bradshaw’s by far the best of that lot.

    I have nothing against Paula, it would be cool to have a younger MP with a fresher perspective than some of the others in the UCUNF. That said, what you said about Catholic unionists also applies to female unionists. The crusty old fuckers that comprise most of the UUP grassroots won’t have a bit of it, not if they think that SB is in any way winnable.

  • slug

    CS we will have to differ.

    I retain my view that a lot of people who had a choice between being an MP in Westminster and a local MLA would opt for the latter, myself included.

    I know where I’d rather work and what I think as to the relative interest of the issues (not to mention the relative quality of the debate) comparing Westminster and Stormont.

    I am not here talking about inputs into NI related business but into bigger aspects of government policy: cultural, economic, social & foreign.

    (The merits of direct rule versus devolution is a different question; I have always believed in devolution on the whole though it can result in parochialism if one is not careful.)

  • slug

    [Typo corrected]

    CS we will have to differ.

    I retain my view that a lot of people who had a choice between being an MP in Westminster and a local MLA would opt for the former, myself included. (I think this is the issue in hand).

    I know what job I’d prefer and what I think as to the relative interest of the issues (not to mention the relative quality of the debate) comparing Westminster and Stormont.

    I am not here talking about inputs into NI-specific business but into bigger aspects of UK government policy: cultural, economic, social & foreign.

    (The merits of direct rule versus devolution is a different question; I have always believed in devolution on the whole, though it can result in parochialism if one is not careful, and the current set up is not an especially good advert for it.)

  • Comrade Stalin

    CS we will have to differ.

    The difference being between the idea that local politics can work with the right motivation and people (my view), and being elected to a “sexy” parliament where you have limited scope to effect anything (your view).

    I am not here talking about inputs into NI-specific business but into bigger aspects of UK government policy: cultural, economic, social & foreign.

    I suggest you need to do a bit of research. Start by reading up on the system of whips.

  • slug

    CS – let us not presume each other is stupid.

  • Malone Road Roman Catholic

    As a Roman Catholic, I hope the candidate is Peter McCann, as I want to vote for a national government on national issues, and I think that the Conservative Party under David Cameron’s inspired leadership is the only way to get rid of this tired and discredited Labour government. And bring non-sectarian politics to Northern Ireland.

    I would much rather do that than vote for a socialist like Alasdair McDonnell who will take the Labour whip and support Gordon Brown. As Peter McCann is a Roman Catholic, like me, I will be happy to vote for him.

    Many of my Roman Catholic friends and neighbours are saying that to me, at the golf club and after Mass.

    Better run, the wife is coming up to the study with a gin and tonic.

  • granni trixi

    Because of my “sexist” and awareness (of which I am conscious I am unlike most sluggerites), I simply have to flag up the lack of analysis of Anna Lo as a candidate in S. Belfast.

  • Post-sectarian bourgeois Taig UUP prospective vote

    who’s anna lo? the black one?

  • DW

    Malone Road Roman Catholic, come on pull the other one, you are probably one of Jeff Peels buddies in the http://conservativehumanist.net/ ‘If you are genuine why dont you join the four SB Conservatives. They are running out of authors to write to the Tele attacking any pact between the DUP & UUP over a joint Unionist candidate for SB.

    Better still, join them and you could be their first choice to stand for MLA at the next assembly elections.

  • Comrade Stalin

    As a Roman Catholic

    Many of my Roman Catholic friends and neighbours are saying that to me, at the golf club and after Mass.

    It’s good to know someone has a sense of humour.

  • CS at 12 above states there is sexism within the UUP. I have no direct knowledge of that but it would be a reasonable assumption based upon the sex ratio of current political representation.

    There was sexism within the Conservative Party until relatively recently. The story of Margaret Thatcher, recently broadcast on TV, is a reminder of that. However, even with sexism, if a lady is strong enough and impressive enough, she will get nominated as Margaret Thatcher did and as presumably Lady Sylvia Hermon did.

    I cannot gainsay what UUP SB officials will be thinking. If I were one of them I would be asking myself who is more likely to impress the joint committee. From the point of view of the four Conservatives on the committee, there is no doubt that they would favour Paula Bradshaw over either of the afore-mentioned male politicians.

    I also believe that if Paula Bradshaw was nominated, she would be the strong favourite to secure the nomination by the joint committee. I also believe that she would have very good prospects of winning the seat.

  • Fair Deal

    Since when had selection got anything to do with the genuine merits of the candidates? It’s all about who controls/has allegiance of branches in the association.

    This would make McGimpsey a cert to get on the short-list. Stoker has been able to ‘materialise’ a branch for such purposes in the past. I think Stoker’s aim is about ensuring he is seen as one of the big beasts of the association with his eyes more on the 2011 Assembly elections rather than the 2010 Westminster.

    There is an anti-McGimpsey section in South Belfast and it should be big enough to get one of the two nominees. PB’s hopes probably rest on appealing to them and that being enough to keep her in front of Stoker.

    However, many of that section are particularly keen on a pact so in the absence of that they may simply not bother taking an interest in the selection as they view it as a waste of time. PB could try to appeal to their pro-pact sentiments to gain their support but that would make it more likley the Tories block her later (unless IJP can call in some favours).

    Also there is apparently a 4th name going to be in the hat and that will make it more complicated, splitting the anti-McGimpsey camp. If the vote is a single one then Stoker should come in second in such a scenario. If it is a process of elimination until two are selected then PB or the 4th could squeeze out Stoker, unless McGimpsey lends some of his support to him to keep him ahead of the other two.

  • Jack Black

    Not much accurate about your comment CS. David McNarry became an MLA in 2003 and ran in STrangford in 2001. And a good number of UUP MLA’s standing for parliament committed to stand down from the assembly if elected.

  • Jack Black

    wrong thread!

  • Paul

    Mick here is UCUNF south Belfast candidate latest

    Catholics to battle each other in historic Belfast election

    Catholic unionist to contest seat against Catholic nationalist

    *

    * Henry McDonald
    * The Observer, Sunday 20 December 2009
    * Article history

    The way has been paved for a historic electoral contest in South Belfast that will pit a Catholic unionist against a sitting Catholic nationalist MP.

    The former lord mayor of Belfast and veteran Ulster Unionist Bobby Stoker yesterday ruled himself out as a candidate, while the Observer has learned that health minister Michael McGimpsey will not fight the Westminster seat.

    The absence of the UUP’s major figures at the general election clears a path for the Conservative and Unionist candidate Peter McCann. A former BBC senior executive in Northern Ireland, McCann is a Catholic from the west of the city.

    The absence of an experienced unionist with strong links to the area is a boost for sitting SDLP MP Alasdair McDonnell. If the Tories’ candidate is the only one to run on the UUP-Conservative ticket, it is understood that the Democratic Unionist party will stand a rival, in all likelihood the former police officer and councillor Jimmy Spratt.

    Councillor Stoker, who has a large support base in the Donegall Road, Village and Sandy Row areas, said: “As a matter of principle, I will not be standing. I was not mindful to stand under a joint Conservative-Ulster Unionist ticket, but I will canvass for the party.”

    One source close to the Ulster Unionist leadership claimed that McGimpsey was also reluctant to stand as a joint Tory-UUP candidate. “It leaves the party with the Conservative candidate Peter McCann with a near clear run to stand on the joint ticket. And that means that, for the first time in Northern Ireland’s history, we will have a pro-union candidate who is a Catholic standing against a nationalist MP who is a Catholic,” he said.

    A spokeswoman for the UUP said no one could comment as there was an “ongoing selection process” taking place. She said the decision would be taken in the middle of January.

  • Garza

    “And that means that, for the first time in Northern Ireland’s history, we will have a pro-union candidate who is a Catholic standing against a nationalist MP who is a Catholic”

    Times are a changing!