Poorly spun electoral yarn

I like a bit of spinning and manipulation during an election, it’s a dirty business and most parties are up for some deceit and/or dishonesty. Though Alliance are pushing their luck a bit with the claim ‘It’s Naomi or Robinsonin their election cartoon – the claim is supported with the essentially correct statistic that only 52 votes separated them in 2007. Though it completely masks the fact that the total DUP vote of 11,155 dwarfed Alliance’s 5,583 and even the UUP were well in front with 6,516. So examining the statistics they presented to claim a two horse race indicates it may well be two horse race but Long isn’t one of the riders.

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  • union mack

    if she was, the horse would have a job making the line

  • cynic47

    The mantra that has been getting spun by the Alliance Party that they would save £1B of public spending each year spent on maintaining divisions here. Could we have a break down and could we be told how big the magic wand is that they are going to wave to remove the need for this spending. I thought that our society was moving forward to achieve these saving but over an evolved period of time. Still its a nice soundbite that justifies the surplus to requirement Alliance Party. Who needs them? Have you seen how pompous DF has become since being elevated to being the Justice Minister after his famous never never never comments last year. The Alliance Party like to present themselves as being the purest of the pure but in reality are no different from the rest of them.

  • union mack

    the £1bn the say they can save does not maintain divisions, it’s a legacy of division, but I’d like to see how they think they can get people on the Shankill to go down the Falls baths if they fancy a swim. This evolution can only be a slow process, too many people have first hand witnessed the Troubles, and their fears and apprehensions (real or imagined) will only go as new generations come to the fore. Alliance can’t see or understand this, because it never affected the indifferent middle-class pompousity of their membership in the same way as the poor inner city folk. I’m sick of their lecturing us on how sectarian everyone else is, on how it’d all be fine if we just lived together, but this utopian vision DOES NOT REFLECT REALITY. Life is much harder in reality. What is a hard reality for Alliance is that they will never have any real influence, they have no hope of winning any seat in this election, and that the sectarianism that they so roundly criticise others for is precisely what sustains them. As for Naomi in East Belfast, a distant third behind Ringland.

  • wild turkey

    u mack

    agree with your take on the alliance and its essential middle class majestic irrelevance to the lives of many. ages ago i made the point to a work colleague who was a fervent alliance supporter that the party was at the end of the day a unionist party… in drag. the uup wanted to put a fence around the border, the dup wanted to ensure it was an electric fence and the alliance party would hang tasteful laura ashley drapes on the fence with a bit of green shubbery in the foreground.

    no doubt with their message of ‘sectarianism: together we can whack it’, they mean well. But then again so do people who raise charity money to combat the scourge of tennis elbow.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mark really has a hardon for Alliance these days. Ah well, all publicity is good publicity 🙂

    cynic:

    The mantra that has been getting spun by the Alliance Party that they would save £1B of public spending each year spent on maintaining divisions here.

    It’s not Alliance Party spin, it comes from a study done by Price Waterhouse Coopers and was nothing to do with Alliance. The party has obviously adopted it as it is evidence that what the party is saying about the costs of division is correct.

    Could we have a break down and could we be told how big the magic wand is that they are going to wave to remove the need for this spending.

    The PwC report goes into this in some detail. I suggest you read it.

    I thought that our society was moving forward to achieve these saving but over an evolved period of time.

    You thought wrong. The block grant in NI has doubled over the past ten or so years.

    Still its a nice soundbite that justifies the surplus to requirement Alliance Party. Who needs them?

    Everyone who wants powersharing to work properly. Which is most of us.

    Have you seen how pompous DF has become since being elevated to being the Justice Minister after his famous never never never comments last year.

    Which political party in Northern Ireland hasn’t made modifications to its policy to deal with changing political times ?

    union mack :

    Alliance can’t see or understand this, because it never affected the indifferent middle-class pompousity of their membership in the same way as the poor inner city folk.

    I don’t accept this, any more than I accept that people in the deep south in the USA should simply accept that blacks and whites should be kept separate. I can see and understand the barriers between groups in our society perfectly well. Removing those barriers has a lot to do with stopping the state, and the political system, from reinforcing them.

    And what’s this middle class thing you guys are all on about ? How many politicians or MPs in the assembly are not middle (or upper?) class ? Or do you guys prefer to be lectured to John Prescott style by politicians with coarser accents who claim six figure sums in salaries and expenses and allow themselves to be driven around in ministerial jags ?

    I’m sick of their lecturing us on how sectarian everyone else is,

    Alliance criticisms are directed at the other parties, and yes, of course they are sectarian. Their existence is based on the maintenance of the political system in its current form.

    Of course, the established parties are there because people vote for them. So the job that Alliance has to do is about persuading people to vote along different lines. There’s nothing easy about that, but I think it’s probably easier than unionists persuading nationalists to vote for the union, or vice versa.

    on how it’d all be fine if we just lived together,

    Isn’t this true ?

    but this utopian vision DOES NOT REFLECT REALITY. Life is much harder in reality.

    Yes, and you have to change reality. Reality changes all the time, often dramatically and unexpectedly when determination by politicians and governments leads to a leap forward. It changed for blacks in the USA in the 1960s. It changed for South Africa in the 1990s. It changed for citizens of the USSR and Eastern Bloc states at around the same time. We may well be about to see a similar change in UK politics with Labour ending up in third place. I don’t accept that we live in a vacuum where things here cannot change. You need to be ready for it when it comes.

    So yes, Alliance understands the reality. But the party rejects the idea that it will never change.

    What is a hard reality for Alliance is that they will never have any real influence,

    Without Alliance’s influence the powersharing executive would have collapsed. So that’s demonstrably untrue. And the Good Friday Agreement, which almost everyone voted for, is mostly (with a few notable departures) an Alliance blueprint. Prior to 1997/98, which of the parties signing up to the Good Friday Agreement had cross-community powersharing in Stormont in their election manifestos ?

    they have no hope of winning any seat in this election, and that the sectarianism that they so roundly criticise others for is precisely what sustains them.

    I think Naomi does have a chance in East Belfast, hence the thread we’re discussing. How exactly does sectarianism sustain Alliance ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    D’oh, the report was by Deloitte, not PwC.

    here it is.

  • Granni Trixie

    If Alliance had not made itself relevant and adaptable to changing circs it would not have survived since 1969.

    And the reason we bang on about sectarianism is because
    by our analysis we need to root it out whereas traditionally in NI ther eternds to be denial about it and you have to name the problem to find a solution. That is why we pressurize for a Shared Future policy and resources for its implimentation.

    DF is a man of integrity and smart with it – I’m not surprized he was trusted with Leading the new Justice MInistry.

  • Mark McGregor

    Eh? This is the first blog I can think of about Alliance. I did one recently on the Minster for Justice not Alliance.

    Me thinks the lady doth protest about SFA.

  • YelloSmurf

    The 52 votes figure is a bit dubious, but the fact remains that in the European Election UCUNF were nowhere to be seen in East Belfast. It was Alliance or the DUP last year.

  • YelloSmurf

    On the class thing, I’m not sure that Naomi Long would like to be dismissed as middle class. She may be middle class now but that wasn’t always the case. The same goes for some of our other candidates.

    This upper middle class thing is a myth. Alliance voters, at least in my experience, tend to be the sort of people who can pay the bills but aren’t what you’d call wealthy. 3 bed semi family (if you’ll allow me to characterise them like that). Indeed, the people with the huge houses, vast gardens and fleets of Mercedes usually wouldn’t dream of voting for anyone but the UUP.

  • Granni Trixie

    Yellowsmurf: It is absolutey the case that though clearly Naomi has been upwardly mobile by virtue of education, she grew up in the midst of working class values and economics. I would identify with that profile myself and meet many in Alliance who would too.

    However I definately meet posh people as well who on the surface sound like perceptions based on Alliance sterotypes.But you have to get over class differeneces like any differences …we are all not so different under surface appearances or at least we are willing to find common points of agreement.

    This supports my assertion yet again that diversity is a key characteristic and even USP of APNI.

  • YelloSmurf

    I absolutely agree, Granni. I’m not denying that there are posh people in Alliance, there are quite a few, but I’m trying to point out that that is not the whole picture.