PEBs: The Conservatives and Unionists…

No embed for the CU’s PEB, so here’s the link… Well that’s what they are calling themselves these days (UCU-NF is sooo 2008 Gerry ;-))… Okay, quickly… It had much of the focus the SDLP PEB lacked… Professional voice over from Davy Sims… Though the ambiguity of the ‘fly-in’ party leader pictures that almost promise to meld, but don’t, is sort of fitting but not altogether in a good way… The only decent attack line is Trevor Ringland’s on double jobbing… Nice cameo from Mike Nesbitt, but as Lee notes the ‘Way Out’ sign at the airport behind his head distracts, again not in an entirely good way… A quiet election suits both incumbents in Northern Ireland (Slugger hears there is not much DUP canvassing going on in the Lagan Valley constituency, which may just mean they are concentrating on their ‘marginals’)…

Of course, the CUs may not want to be seen to act in an unseemly manner. Yet the Conservative party in Britain knows how to pick local fights (there was some scary messaging on immigration last weekend, presumably to strengthen the resolve of the base and ward off UKIP in a tight South West marginal)…

And it is probably not enough just to push the raw Tory message in Northern Ireland: more translation of that project and what it stands for needs to be translated into an Ulster vernacular… In short, they need to break some Delpht (though we’d recommend that not all it should come from their own precious collection) along the way…

Competent, but not a game changer… In Northern Ireland, as in Scotland and Wales, the Tory/UU interest is still very much a minority game…

What did you think?


  • Mark McGregor

    I think if the only decent think you can pick out of it comes from one of your ‘mates’ even you see it as a pile of crap – just a suggestion.

  • slug

    I thought it good. It gets across the main point of the alliance in a simple and clear way.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Again its all about what the Focus group told them to put in it. From a position of holding no seats (Hermon having left) they can hardly do worse.
    All a bit subliminal…..Nesbitt who has been having bad hair days…..ready and waiting at the airport. Ringland in a Lions shirt rather than Ulster or Ireland. and of course Empey looking all leader-like.
    very personable cameo from that young lassie Macauley.
    But a bit misleading…..the whole Cameron “I am not neutral on the Union” doesnt make a lot of sense in prime ministerial/inter governmental ways.
    Given that there is unlikely to be more than three UUP people at Westminster (unless Connor suddenly joins) and there will be over 300 Tories ie 1:100…….I cant see too many being lined up for a Tory Cabinet.
    Nesbitt? Hardly.
    Ringland? Not a chance.
    So Empey……who will be giving up the Stormont job as he disapproves of Double Jobbing. But in the Cabinet.?????
    More likely bag carrier as a PPS.

  • slug

    Also the lines “I will never be neutral on the union” line and “time for Ulstermen and Ulsterowmon in the Cabinet” are good ones that cannot be repeated enough from Cameron.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    “Lord” Trimble

  • Very slick, slightly vacuous. Not bad at all though.

  • orly

    Lot better than the SDLP effort for sure. Lot less babble and silly walks indeed.

  • PrivateBob

    Much better, or at least much more professional, than the SDLPs. You could practically count the money being poured into the UUPs coffers from Conservative Party HQ!

    While it’s fair enough to be a supporter of the Union, Cameron’s emphasis on strengthening the bond and bringing us into the mainstream of UK politics seems a bit naive. Surely the whole devolution experiment and the various inter-governmental conferences of the past 12 years have been a shift away from mainstream UK politics, which most people here seem to broadly agree with?

    Something that has bugged me about the CUs from the start is that Cameron says he wants to give NI better representation in government by having one UUP MP in his cabinet. But the chances are that they’ll be returned as the smallest NI party at Westminster, so surely a cabinet post would give a disproportionally loud voice to the smallest party…that’s hardly fair, is it?

  • orly


    I think that’ll get hidden if the Conservatives are the biggest party UK wide. Then it doesn’t really matter. It would be a bit like banning any Scottish Tory MP from being in the cabinet because Labour trounce them every election up there.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Its more simple, crisp and clear than the SDLP one thats for sure. That has its benefits, clear focus on its strong candidates is a good things, playing on the potential cabinet connection is teasing.

    It is however very light, and doesn’t really offer a great deal of detail in any area, whilst the healine structure of the piece may disguise that.

    Comparing with the SDLP is apples and oranges. The SDLP had to go heavy on examples of where their vote could be important to beat the SF notion that its not important. The UUP had to concentrate on their all embracing movement with the Tory party as partners in government (although I sometimes wonder why Dave doesn’t seem to concentrate on his ‘we’re not just english party you know’ tactic a bit more, just pondering you know).

  • Lionel Hutz

    Orly, dont be silly. there are no scottish tory MPs. Why do you think they joined up with the UUP anyway? 😉

  • PrivateBob

    orly, that’s true. I think my problem with it is the way they’re portraying it as if it is going to be a benefit for all the people of Northern Ireland to have a UUP/CU/UCUNF member in the cabinet, which it won’t be. Especially as they probably won’t get anything near a high-profile job at the table, as Fitzjameshorse put it: ‘More likely bag carrier as a PPS.’

    (Then again, maybe it’s just an inherent mistrust of David Cameron and everything he says on my part!?)

  • orly

    There is 1 Scottish Conservative MP at the moment Lionel. I’m guessing you were aware of that fact already though.

    As you say Bob, if there was a spot at the table you can expect it to be down towards the end of it where you need binoculars to see David Cameron.

    It’s not like they’re guaranteed to win a seat at all in NI anyway. Wonder what odds you’d have got on that 10 years ago

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Yes, a LOT better than the SDLP effort.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Can’t figure out why Lesley Macauley is filmed in East Belfast. Good performance though.

  • Drumlins Rock

    thought that too Gonzo, but generally thought it a good enough broadcast, how many do they get? Trevor Ringland in a rugby shirt worked to counteract the suits, and DCs carrot of a place at the cabinet table (even if its serving the biscuits to have anyone in that room at all is good for NI) gave it some subtance, its not earth shattering, but no need for that yet, a hard hitting broadcast should be saved for election week. Was just thinking when the DUP one comes all we will picture is Peter ranting at the BBC.
    For this one I give it 7.5 out of 10.

  • I agree with the generally positive assessment of this PEB. (I didn’t comment on the SDLP one because if you can’t think of anything nice to say it’s sometimes better not to say anything at all.) Hamilton is the weakest performer of the candidates, surprisingly given his previous experience. I remain very sceptical about the salience of the UCUNF narrative to the average voter, but this packages the message well. Of course it’s not very profound – it’s only 160 seconds!

  • Comrade Stalin

    The only downer in it is that Mike Nesbitt looks just like David Trimble with all the purple juice squeezed out.

    Credit where it is due, it was short and snappy and the speakers didn’t sound too wooden.

    There’s no way anyone from NI will take a senior cabinet post. That’s another pledge Cameron will break, assuming UCUNF actually get any MPs.


    Thought it was an excellent PEB. Much slicker than the ‘OAP Reservoir Dogs’ SDLP effort.
    Strong Personal message to the voters!

  • Driftwood

    Nice touch of Trevor wearing his British Lions shirt.

  • Garza

    [quote]Can’t figure out why Lesley Macauley is filmed in East Belfast. Good performance though.[/quote]

    People will laugh at me but I think she might snatch E L/Derry. She is going from village to village to house gatherings and answering peoples questions and concerns about the area, she is going all out. Quite alot of people there think that Gregory Campbell doesn’t do enough for the area.

  • slug

    Lesley McAuley really *shines* in that PEB. I can see why they chose her. She can communicate and is immediately likeable. The three communicators in that PEB were McAuley, Nesbitt and Cameron.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    With Empey & Nesbitt more likely than not to be elected, they were Category A in the Broadcast.
    Ringland was Category B…….he has a reasonable chance.
    I suppose MacAuley was included….”look Im a woman and Im a UUP candidate and I am kinda pretty and bubbly” but its difficult to see her as anything more than Category C. Like Flash Harry Hamilton.
    And as has been observed Harry did himself no favours.

    Which leaves the curious case of South Belfast. Is their candidate Category A, B or C? They dont seem to be pushing her much do they?

    And its not like Nicholas Whyte to turn down the opportunity of knocking the SDLP…….but that was kinda the message anyway.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I have always though Lesley was a very strong candidate, right from the start, and would rate her chances as high as Mike Nesbitts, and if she is putting in the ground work then even better, although it would have looked better to have had her filmed in her own area it is a minor point and her enthusiasm came through well. Will there be another broadcast to include the other candidates?

  • it would have looked better to have had her filmed in her own area it is a minor point and her enthusiasm came through well

    According to Bobballs the candidates aren’t allowed to be filmed in their own area.

    Anyone know why that is?

  • Drumlins Rock

    really, ahh, I guess because its a “party” election broadcast, and if they showed them in their own area it would be unfair on independant candidates who dont get such broadcasts.