Tories: “Fermanagh and South Tyrone has characteristics that are unique within the UK”

The Tories on FST:

Update: the cross party background of the successful candidate

“We recognise that Fermanagh and South Tyrone has characteristics that are unique within the UK. It has been without any democratic representation for the past nine years. It is the one constituency where there is currently an abstentionist MP, where a single cross community candidate could lead to the restoration of democractic representation at Westminster. In recent weeks and months there has been an upsurge of public opinion across Fermanagh and South Tyrone to find such a candidate. Rodney Connor has impeccable cross community credentials and has a first rate record of public service going back many years. He is hugely respected and admired on all sides. We therefore respect the decision of our Ulster Unionist colleague in Fermanagh to stand aside in his favour. We have had no discussions with the DUP on this matter at all. We are pleased by the fact that Rodney Connor has indicated that he will take the Conservative whip and support David Cameron, while always standing up for his constituents. If elected we will welcome him to Westminster.”

Update 2: And here’s McKinney’s statement:

“This election is about the economy, it is not about going back to the past. The announcement of a Tory-aligned unionist ‘unity’ candidate is a serious attempt to drive us back to the failed sectarian politics of the past. We are facing a general election which is likely to result in a hung parliament followed by massive job cuts in the public sector.

“This constituency, which is already in turmoil over threats to jobs, is going to be hard-hit – in greater Dungannon for example over 60 percent of people rely on public-sector jobs.

“When the crucial vote on the cuts is called, Rodney Connor won’t be allowed to vote against job cuts in this constituency, and Michelle Gildernew won’t be there to vote one way or the other.

“So we have a simple message for the people of the constituency – why vote for a Tory candidate who can’t vote for you, and why vote for a candidate who won’t vote for you?

“This election should be about a united voice coming from the people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone calling for a shared future. It is time to move on to achieve the shared future which we need in order to achieve the prosperity which we all deserve. There is only one true candidate in the contest and we are asking all who desire true unity to vote SDLP.”

Update 3: And current Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew calls for a united campaign against the ‘sectarian candidate’:

“I have been the MP for all the people in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Rodney Connor wants to return to the days when nationalists in this area were unrepresented. We need to unite to ensure that this does not happen

“The unionist parties have cobbled together a regressive deal based on a negative agenda. It is about base sectarianism, and the old agenda of division and inequality.

“Sinn Féin represent something completely different. We are about the future, we are about the needs of ordinary people not the narrow requirements of the unionist parties in Fermanagh.

“I remain confident that we can defeat the sectarian candidate and win this seat. Unlike Rodney Connor I have been on the doorsteps, I have been representing people across this constituency and we have been getting a positive feedback. So I am heading into this campaign confident that we can win and can retain this seat.”

  • Justin Case…

    Comrade Stalin,

    Will Naomi Long immediately resign from Belfast City Council & the NI Assembly if she is elected MP?

  • LabourNIman

    LabourNIman, more incoherent waffle which isn’t helped by your failure to use formatting so that people can distinguish your comments from mine

    So, your argument now is that since I don’t have an understanding of html means my points are irrelevant? Grow up.

    ‘I’m not under any illusions about the reality which is that, like the Tories, you’ll (at best) peak and then fizzle out. It’s because fundamentally, people here, whether they are nationalist or unionist, do not perceive themselves as part of a national political conversation. It doesn’t help that people elsewhere in the UK perceive us likewise.’

    The Tories never took off because when they first formed they took a unionist stand point and got lost in the shuffle. The same is happening with them now. We won’t make that mistake – we are non sectarian, we will fight elections on a labour platform – what other party does this in NI? You sure as hell don’t. In fact your only stance is not being the big four parties. We will fight elections, if we lose so be it. If you had your way we shouldn’t bother and bow to the Alliance masters.

    ‘Those of us who have actual representation also have responsibility. In this case, that responsibility was to keep the institutions running. If Alliance had not taken this seat, the institutions would have collapsed.’

    Oh dear. Poor Alliance. So you had no choice but to happily take the set in a sectarian carve up? Am I to feel sorry for you? Some how I find that hard to believe.

    ‘If there was an election, would you be campaigning against the Hillsborough Agreement ? A simple yes or no will do.’

    No. It’s not an election issue as far as I know? But your point is irrelevant – it was a deal between SF and DUP. The two governments were purely facilitating the talks. If your party were not happy to take the ministerial seat, you shouldn’t take it. Act like you have a pair.

    ‘It’s not me saying so. You’re not standing any candidates despite the ban being lifted on membership some years ago.’

    It is you saying so. My membership card clearly states I am a member of the NI clp. So it has formed. You once again draw attention to the fact we are not standing in this election – we are building our internal organisation instead of jumping in unready. That would make us the TUV. Besides, even though you have candidates I’ve yet to see a poster in North Belfast or see your candidate in my estate. Great organisation.

    Once again, thanks for enlightening me!

  • LabourNIman

    Justin Case… – questions should be why is she still on belfast council

  • YelloSmurf

    Justin, If elected Naomi will immediately resign from the Assembly in exactly the same way that she left her job as an engineer when she was elected to the Assembly in the first place.

    LabourNIman, being on council is not a full time job and is not paid a salary. It is something which is done in addition to your own job. Councillors have a huge variety of full time jobs in all fields and sectors. In Naomi’s case her full time job is as an MLA.

  • Justin Case…

    Justin, If elected Naomi will immediately resign from the Assembly in exactly the same way that she left her job as an engineer when she was elected to the Assembly in the first place.

    Has she said that publically? And what about resigning from Belfast Council? And leaving her job as an engineer is not that noteworthy, many MLA’s no doubt also left other jobs.

    Where is the proof that Naomi Long is totally opposed to double, and in her case triple jobbing? I am not doubting you, I just would like to see proof.

  • Justin Case…

    BTW yellosmurf, being Councillors are given a £9,500 ‘personal allowance’ – not bad if you can get it. A couple shifts a week in tescos would bring that up to the average income, so please do not try to dismiss it as small change.

  • Justin Case…

    Comrade Stalin…. why aren’t you replying? I didn’t think the question was that difficult

  • YelloSmurf

    Justin, I believe that she has said that publicly and, if she hasn’t, she certainly said it at her selection meeting. Your point about her giving up her previous job is absolutely right, it’s not that noteworthy, it’s exactly how it should be. Being an MLA is a full time job so should be treated as a full time job.

    On the issue of councillors’ allowances, I agree that calling them over-generous would be a huge understatement. That doesn’t change the fact that it is not and was never meant to be a full time job. The fact that you could just about live on the allowances is an argument for reducing the allowances, not for classifying it as a job. The hours worked simply do not justify that.

  • Coll Ciotach

    I suppose they accept – by doing this deal – that it is not as British as Finchley

  • Comrade Stalin

    Justin,

    The question’s already been answered (and I said this on a few different threads lately). Naomi will be standing down as an MLA, but not as an councillor. That’s fine by me. If you want to confirm that, call her office and they’ll tell you : 028 9047 2004

    I’m sure it’s fine by you as well, given that your party leader has likewise committed only to resign as minister and MLA. I don’t have a problem with that either, except he’s a councillor in a completely different region from where he will be MP if he is elected. Likewise Fred Cobain. Where is Fred’s commitment to stand down as an MLA and councillor if he is elected ? Google doesn’t come up with anything.

    And you won’t hear me justifying the £9500 allowance. Do you want to take a guess at who lobbied for that ? Hint – it wasn’t Alliance.

    If you’re going to throw stones, make sure you’re not in a glass house.

    labourNIman:

    Oh dear. Poor Alliance. So you had no choice but to happily take the set in a sectarian carve up? Am I to feel sorry for you? Some how I find that hard to believe.

    Why not ? I’m not trying to pretend that taking the ministerial post will be a bad strategic move for Alliance. But that’s more of a side effect. Rejecting the post, and triggering the collapse of the institutions, would have been a very bad move for Alliance – and for the country. And your party leader would have condemned the party for doing it, and rightly so.

    And I don’t think it’s a matter of lacking balls or whatever. Being the justice minister isn’t going to be easy. Much easier to remain aloof. But, in the circumstances where the deal on offer is quite reasonable, Alliance doesn’t really have a choice. But there’s no reason why this has to be a bad thing.

    When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

    No. It’s not an election issue as far as I know?

    You’re making it an issue. You’re going on about the Alliance minister and how unfair and wrong it all is. And yet this is all being done as part of the agreement that your party negotiated and created the legal framework for.. Alliance taking the ministerial post is, rightly or wrongly, Labour government policy. Are you Labour Party or are you not ?

    But your point is irrelevant – it was a deal between SF and DUP. The two governments were purely facilitating the talks.

    So when Gordon Brown hailed the deal as a “courageous” and as the “final end”, he was talking out of the corner of his mouth ? I guess that explains why you’re not campaigning personally for his re-election.

    It is you saying so. My membership card clearly states I am a member of the NI clp. So it has formed.

    Yeah, but I know several people who are members of the Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats, who have declared publicly that they have no plans to organize here. Having members, and organizing (ie planning for elections), are two different things.

  • LabourNIman

    Stalin – since you are in such doubt the the labour party has orginised in NI I will enail you the details of our next meeting so you can see for yourself. But let’s be honest, you wouldn’t have the back bone to turn up and actually leave your wee alliance bubble.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    LabourNIman

    Are you actually in the Labour party?

    If so, why you so delighted at the prospect of the election of an extra Tory in FST?

    Perhaps you’re only part-time Labour?

  • Garza

    Billy I think LabourNIman thinks that if the Tories do well here it might make the GB LAbour party serious at running in NI.

    A NI labour party aligned with GB Labour and ROI Labour could be a force in time.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “A NI labour party aligned with GB Labour and ROI Labour could be a force in time.”

    Indeed.

    Maybe the playbook for any prospective Labour expansion here would be:

    * Align with an already-established but dying-on-its-arse party that can offer boots on the ground but that needs cash. Ideally it’d already be aligned with GB and RoI Labour.

    Such a party exists; it’s called the Social Democratic and Labour Party.

    * Identify a seat in which a “unified socialist” candidate can beat the Tories.

    So, say, Lab/SDLP and SF stand aside in NB for an “agreed socialist” – say, Brian Feeney.

    Applause all around as sectarianism vanishes forever…

  • LabourNIman

    ‘Are you actually in the Labour party?’

    Yes I’m in both the British and Irish Labour parties. Irish Labour decided a few years ago they would not contest elections here, for some reason they backed the SDLP.. but then I guess all parties down south have to.

    ‘If so, why you so delighted at the prospect of the election of an extra Tory in FST?’

    I want NI politics to move to a national agenda and have politicians that take their role at west minster seriously.

    ‘A NI labour party aligned with GB Labour and ROI Labour could be a force in time.’

    It would but sadly I cannot see it happening. Parties in RoI won’t go head to head with SF up here in case SF gets a boost out of it down there. Which is why they back the sdlp.

    ‘Such a party exists; it’s called the Social Democratic and Labour Party.’

    The sdlp are a tribal party, the men and women who have joined the Labour Party in NI have done so to move us away from this kind of politics. We want to make peoples lives better regardless if they want a united Ireland or not. Socialism in NI has been hijacked by sectarian politics. Being a socialist does not mean you want a UI.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    LabourNIman

    All very laudable, I’m sure.

    You say: “The sdlp are a tribal party”.

    Yet you’ve been dancing a jig over the carve-up in FST.

    Clearly your problem with the SDLP is not the “tribalism” per se, but the tribe in question.

    When push comes to shove, it’s orange before red.

    All perfectly understandable, but please spare us the hypocrisy.

  • LabourNIman

    Billy – I’m not a unionist, I grew up in ardoyne and come from a very nationalist back ground. I think the unionists have made a good move – shinner sont like it because they think they own it. A merger within unionism is wise for the two parties. They must now decide wether it will be far right unionism or moderate. I’ve always said all I want is politicians that will take their seats in the chamber and take that role seriously. SF don’t.

  • RJ

    Sinn Fein take there Seats in the Assembly
    and The Dail isint that enough,
    as for the Labour Party of either GB Or down south
    Organising here the Labour Party wont organise Here but theres a Party that is Both Nationalist and Socialist
    and its The Social Democrat and Labour Party unfortenelly
    dont much like them like Sinn Fein.

    The Labour Party of GB is a Irish Nationalist Party and Social Party so voting SDLP Wouldint make the Difference it would be the Same Party.

    The Real thing is the SDLP and The UUP
    Should be Locked in a Curbard and only let out when the When the British or Irish Governments comes knocking about every few years.