Cameron caught in unionist bind

The Bel Tel reports:

David Cameron is planning a rousing pro-Union speech during a visit to Northern Ireland in a last-ditch bid to galvanise unionists behind his party.

It’s quite a complicated pitch isn’t it? He’s asking voters to support Ucunf before the election and will ask for DUP support after it, if he wins.

The Tories are confident an informal understanding with unionist MPs from Ulster could secure Mr Cameron a safe passage with his key early Commons battles, including getting a first Queen’s Speech and Budget passed. He will reach out to voters in Northern Ireland amid signs that the unionist parties may hold the key to the Tories forming a government.

How does he get out of that one?  Mikes at the ready, Eamonn, Mark and Ken…

  • Droagh

    This of course assumes the DUP will return all of their MPs. I am possibly over optimistic but I think a significant proportion of the electorate will call the DUP to account.

  • Cynic

    Again a snide little anti Tory attack Brian. You really are getting so predictable and boring.

  • at least he is reaching out to voters in Northern Ireland. Something not done for a very long time. Yes it is to Unionist voters (but then that’s an obvious one anyway), but Labour are neutral on the Union and have refused to engage the 18 constituencies here.

    Good on David for at least coming here.

  • Framer

    News Letter opinion poll this morning has Reg Empey taking South Antrim.

  • bob wilson

    I look forward to Brian’s article asking why Gordon Brown isnt visiting NI, why he doesnt stand candidates in NI or why he is singling out Northern Ireland out for cuts (he isnt but neither are the Tories but there you go)

  • Ha Ha Ha

    Tories not singling NI out for cuts…i think you will find they are.

    Reg will fail to take S Antrim.

  • Cynic

    Brian

    I see your fellow traveller Sean is still screaming on the ‘Tories endanger peace process’ line. Presumably in search of those mythical 470,000 Irish votes in England. Well if the English wont vote for Labour they have to find someone who will.

    While looking at this I came across an article which does show in just what high esteem our beloved Secretary of State is held in New Labour and how much his judgement is valued

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1197538/Im-talking-leaves-Mandelson-forces-Brown-throw-Shaun-Woodward-No10-office.html

    I think the part that says

    ” there is considerable resentment at the way former Tory MP Mr Woodward is now among Mr Brown’s closest confidants.

    Lord Mandelson’s view of Mr Woodward’s skills as a political tactician is said to border on contempt.”

    about sums it up

  • Brian Walker

    Nice to see that Ucunf supporters are having a little write-in.Why not? Main point, it’s nice to see Dave in town. Yes, absolutely, but not an answer to my entirely objective point, which is his mixed message, if not to unionist voters then to himself.. Pity that cynic can’t scroll or has a goldfish’s memory if he thinks “Sean” (sic) Shaun is my “fellow traveller.”

  • Cynic

    My apologies for the spelling Brian. Sometimes my spellchecker loses the run of itself.

    Its the relentlessly antiTory tone of your posts that agitates me. You always seem to have a half empty political glass. Never mind though – its nice to be noticed and see that you value our input. And isn’t it great to see the Future PM coming for a visit this week?

    As to Fellow Traveller – didn’t you and Shaun both spend years at the BBC? Dont you share a political outlook?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Cynic,

    can you explain what is wrong with the analysis that Cameron appears to have backed the wrong Unionist horse – UCUNF may get 2 seats and if you throw in FST lets call it 3 against 7 or 8 for the DUP.

    If Davey needs the votes then it is reaosnable to assume he will switch to the winning nag – that is politics and although Brian may take some (understandable) pleasure from presenting the facts – facts is neverthelesss facts and attacking him aint gonna change that.

  • Cynic

    But I agree with your article at 1217 am today …

  • Cynic

    Perhaps he’s putting principle before politics, Sammy? In any case, looking at the numbers, I think the polls are missing the marginal seat issue. My forecast is a Tory win with a 25 to 50 seat majority

    Would you align with the flat earthers in the DUPs? With the xenophobes, homophobes and fervent believers in absolute Biblical truth and the pronouncements of Bishop Usher

    Should be interesting when Stephen Hawking’s new programme is broadcast. I understand he makes it clear that alien life elsewhere in the universe is almost a certainty.

    He’s right. Just look at the our MLAs if you doubt it!

  • Re-engaged

    2 seats for UCUNF – South Antrim yes – where is the second?

    Think the attacks on Brian are more a sign of how poor the UC alliance is performing and needing someone to to vent their frustration on! Still not quite David Vance levels

    If we take the current predicitions the Tories are going to end up around 300-310 seats even with the ‘momentum’ if we take the Shinners out the DUP seats and any UU seats will be vital add Sylvia and maybe Rodney he has 11-12 seats (12 incl SB also) to work with – enough to give him a start if no majority. This leaves NI in a strong position to extract some benefit from a UK government for the benefit of ALL NI citzens – if some want to call this Ulster Nationalism so be it – none of the other regions will be batting for us and if the £370m is the max out of this, the additional £200m on top of this is not forthcoming and we can get something to stimulate private business and manufacturing – bring it on

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Cynic,

    the only ‘fact’ in your favour is that bookies have a Tory majority as favourite which I dont understand as the polls say hung.

    “Would you align with the flat earthers in the DUPs? With the xenophobes, homophobes and fervent believers in absolute Biblical truth and the pronouncements of Bishop Usher”

    Of course if it was to my own benefit and no one even bothers to question whether Davey would if the arithmetic required it.

    Lets say Davey needed the DUP and they required a bit of humiliation for Wee Reggie who was being pushed to the sidelines – do you not honestly think Davey wouldnt do it?

  • Dev

    Cameron is fairly tarting himself about in order to avoid having to get into bed with the Libs in the event of a hung parlt, Plaid, SNP, DUP, he might have even tried it on with the SDLP had it not been for Hatfield – the man is a shameless political hussey!

    Nice to see Uncuf supporters jumping down the throat of anyone who had more sense than to be sold a pup by the Tories, the same pup they’ve been selling unionists in NI for years no less!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Re-engaged,

    I only said 2 to stop a slide into side arguement.

    The SDLP would have a more natural home and a bigger voting block with the Scots and Welsh nats

    If the Nats join together they negate Unionist influence and was wondering on other thread if this will be the first time that Scottish, Welsh and Norn Iron (SDLP) Nats have more votes in hung or tight parliament than Unionists.

  • Re-engaged

    Agreed – but is Cameron as a “not neutral on the Union” (political speak for – I can swing both ways if required) Conservative likely to go with a Nationalist block vote – surely this is more natural Labour territory.

    However this is still poss if Tories end up in 270-290 territory and Labour hold on to 250 – a Lib / Lab / Nat packed is an obvious way forward – representates all the UK, voting change for the Libs and more devolution / nationalist slant for Nats.

    And with this election both are in play

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Brian,

    how come the Labour party are not screaming from the rooftops that the Tories would rather “align with the flat earthers in the DUPs? With the xenophobes, homophobes and fervent believers in absolute Biblical truth and the pronouncements of Bishop Usher” as Cynic2 nicely puts it rather than cut a deal with the somewhat more reasonable LibDems who have the support of about 28% of the British people.

    Open fecking goal or what.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    re-engaged,

    How embarassing for UUP if Davey aligned himself with Nat Block when the DUP have recovered from laughing they would surely persecute the extrmely already unwell
    UUP into an early grave.

    But as you say Nats block much more likely to align with Lab and Libs if they have the choice.

  • 2 (or for that matter one) seats are better than what was previous – 18 non-governmental seats.

    It’s not a battle to be fought and won over a single election, much to the despair of the anti-Toryites attempting to shoot the messengers. The sectarian game is up. It’s an inevitability.

    Whether it’s Walker attempting to float another non-story as news and his latest ‘final’ nail in the coffin or the Bellylaugh’s hysteric obsession with maintaining a 70% public sector economy here while the UK holds a deficit similar to that of crisis-hit Greece, it’s satisfying to see the safe little world of the sectarian status quo-ists begin to be picked apart.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    st etienne

    “The sectarian game is up”

    Are you seriously suggesting that Davey wont ditch UCUNF if that is the price the DUP demands for government should the arithmetic fall that way.

  • Cynic

    “do you not honestly think Davey wouldnt do it?”

    I do….for one over-arching reason -0 and you can spin this as self interest. Any situation desperate enough to need DUP support would be short lived. A new election would take place within a year.

    The UCUNF is part of a wider project to change the position of the whole Tory party nationally. There are several DUP MPs who are just so bigoted / off the wall that they have no place in a modern, pluralist, Tory party. Personally I would form an alliance with UKIP first

  • Brian Walker

    cynic, Whic of Shaun’s two successive, contrasting opinions am I supposed to agree with? Or was it whatever he believed when he was editor of the consumer/entertianment show Thats Life and I edited Spotlight and later Pol Ed for BBC NI? We had so much in common obviously, as feather bedded public sector workers,quite unlike anybody in NI. .
    Sammy, re screaming about the DUP, it’s good to remind ourselves sometimes that GB parties are a bit less obssessed with the DUP and the other NI parties than you might think. All the same, if Dave turns up in the penultimate day of campaigning it’ll be fun. I’ll believe it when I see it though, at this stage of a frantic campaign,.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Brian,

    “it’s good to remind ourselves sometimes that GB parties are a bit less obssessed with the DUP and the other NI parties than you might think”

    that’s a fair point, but remember, the “nutter” Poles were mentioned in a PM debate and it is difficult to explain why the LibDems are are not suitable but the DUP are dont you think?

    Labour though I suppose may need to be careful unless there are certain that the DUP will not be required by themselves.

  • GavBelfast

    Why has Mark, on another thread, posted a Conservatives and Unionists press-release and talked about it being riddled with innuendo?

    Is it? Or only because he has mentioned that it IS?

    Jeffrey Donaldson (and the DUP) HAVE been all over the place on double-jobbing, expenses, cosying-up to the Tories, or not, policing and justice, reducing the public sector, boosting the private sector, etc, etc.

    Jeffrey appeared to go missing after Christmas until after the policing and justice mock crisis. Why? Now he’s omnipresent again. How come?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    “Personally I would form an alliance with UKIP first”

    Cynic,

    Look at it from Davey’s point of view, he does a deal with Unionists(DUP tihs time) like Callaghan and Major did and keeps open the chance of a Tory majority government next time around or he does a deal with the LibDems and probably says good bye to first past the post and a Tory majoirty perhaps for ever. The Tory right and probably the Tory middle would not stand for him choosing the LibDems over the flat-earthers.

  • Cynic

    Sammy

    You are thinking short term. Better to not do a deal with anyone and force a new election. The DUP is toxic

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Cynic,

    Never mind me, its Davey’s arse we are talking about here and he will decide what is in his own posterior’s interest – the long term will be for another day when he has said rear end firmly in the PM seat.

  • Pickled Badger

    I agree with Cynic. A short-term deal with the DUP at the expense of Sir Reg would be worthless to the Conservatives. A minority administration would be preferable. The DUP even in the best circumstances will only have 9 MPs (they are not taking South Belfast) and probably will have 7 or 8 or less. If the parliamentary arithmetic is that close the Tories will either already be the minority government as a Lib/Lab/SNP/PC/SDLP union just isn’t feasible or the DUP votes wouldn’t be enough to secure a majority in any case.

    The DUP agenda of getting the English to bear NI’s share of the spending restraints to come in addition to the current cost they pay for propping this place up would be one that would be impossible to sell on the mainland. Labour and the Lib-Dems would tear him apart for agreeing to it. Given that any parliament in which the DUP would matter at all will be too unstable to last long in any event the price would be too great to pay. For unionism it would be a disaster as well as it would further undermine support for the union in England but that is another argument.

    In a related point the DUP are also seen as reactionary extremists by many on the mainland who find them ‘unBritish’, Ian Paisley Senior being the primary example of this. In the DUP’s defence it has been opinion in Britain that has moved rather than here on many social issues that has led to this but it is a reality and one, if the DUP are serious about being a unionist party, that they need to address as soon as possible. Given that many people think in this way there would be a political cost to Cameron for doing a deal with the DUP above and beyond the financial issue.

    Finally doing so would have a lot of the Conservative Party over here resigning as they would see the sectarianism of the DUP as being one of the chief things their party here has to fight against if politics is ever to get beyond tribal head counts. That would not be as important perhaps as opinion in England but it still would be an embarrassment and undermine a lot of the effort which David Cameron and Owen Patterson have put in for a very questionable gain.

    If the DUP bring down a Tory government at the election that followed they will either get an at best neutral if not pro-nationalist Lib-Lab govt rather than a pro-union one, followed by the AV system or proper PR, either of which would weaken them dramatically at Westminster or a vengeful Tory govt with a working majority. If either event once a stable govt is in place the DUP will be irrelevant again. The question really is in the off chance that the DUP matter in London and they can’t get what they want re the block grant what they would do.

  • Driftwood

    The block grant will be cut by whoever is in power. The DUP’s(and SF’s) ‘politics of the begging bowl’ will not wash anymore. And public sector pay and pensions will take a battering beyond that.
    Anyone who watched this:
    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/election-uncovered-what-they-wont-tell-us/episode-guide/series-1/episode-1
    last night will have had their eyes opened.
    Mervyn King called it right, the partys over and the hangover is about to kick in.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Pickled Badger,

    “The DUP agenda of getting the English to bear NI’s share of the spending restraints to come in addition to the current cost they pay for propping this place up would be one that would be impossible to sell on the mainland”

    Dont agree at all – middle England man will simply be told that the DUP have secured the peace in Ulster and that the Labour party under Callaghan and under Major did likewise. The UUP hierarchy are stuffed full of Orange Order officers whose bigotry would never be tolerated on the mainland. Mad Paddies Orange and Green are simply what the British expect and there is no principle involved as we saw from the cast iron guarantee of standing in all 18 constiuencies followed by abject retreat on FST.

    If the Tories piss off the DUP then there will be the fear they will join forces with the Nat block and press for non -consitutional advantages for Ulster so Davey will do the dirty on Wee Reggie and lie instead down with Robbo.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Driftwood,

    “The DUP’s(and SF’s) ‘politics of the begging bowl’ will not wash anymore”

    Not unless it means either the Tories or Labour getting into power – in which case it will continue ot wash for another 5 years/the next election.

  • Garza

    “Dont agree at all – middle England man will simply be told that the DUP have secured the peace in Ulster and that the Labour party under Callaghan and under Major did likewise. The UUP hierarchy are stuffed full of Orange Order officers whose bigotry would never be tolerated on the mainland. Mad Paddies Orange and Green are simply what the British expect and there is no principle involved as we saw from the cast iron guarantee of standing in all 18 constiuencies followed by abject retreat on FST.”

    I’m afriad Sammy that people over in the mainland are more politically intelligent than they are here. And they certainly don’t believe whatever parties tell them like they do over here. And party members over there don’t have the dissent whipped out of them that they have here.

    The gravy train is over. SF/DUP will not be getting as many meetings in No.10 anymore. Time for us to actually grow up.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Garza,

    Ulster makes up feck-all of the UK budget deficit and Cameron can sweep any extra spending under the carpet under the guise of special circumstances if it suits him and you have to be very,very naive not to realise that if DUP votes were needed he wouldnt find those circumstances quicker than you can say “I guarantee UCUNF will stand in all 18 constituencies”.

    Policy on Ulster hardly changes between Tories and Labour as is shown by the fact that both supported the force-feeding of Unionism of the GFA and the STA and if Adams and Mc Guninness tell the Tories that ‘peace process’ issues need to be dealt with then Davey will accomodate them just as all his predecessors have done since 1998.

  • Garza

    Sammy,

    I think your desire to see the demise of the UUP is blinding you here.

    Many Conservative party members were appalled at the Hatfield talks. Indeed some are ever appalled by the UUP link up.

    Being told that the DUP are a great bunch of lads is not going to cut it!

    PS I’m real happy you decided to get rid of your moderate unionist “alter-ego”, was getting tiresome.

  • Driftwood

    Sammy
    All 3 parties are not telling the truth to the UK public. The Tories thought about it briefly a while back with talk of ‘austerity’ and the polls went south. No party has since dared to bring it up. only the IFS, Mervyn King and others are highlighting the problem.
    Adams and Mcguinness will be getting no more favours. If NI, Scotland and Wales start pleading for less cuts, various English regions will ask for the same and Parliament will disintegrate. The IMF will not be considering ‘peace process’ issues when deliberating its strategy.
    NI is a ‘basket case’ economy completely dependant on London to constantly inject fiscal heroin. That’s addiction, and feeding addiction only has one outcome.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Garza,

    “Many Conservative party members were appalled at the Hatfield talks”

    Ah for fecks sake, it was organised by the party hierarchy and obviously there will be a few malcontents – there were also a few malcontnents when they backed down on their 18 constituency pledge. Tories will do what all politicans do – deals – and that unfortuately for Wee Reggie means being swapped for Robbo.

    When Cameron gave birth to UCUNF he was miles ahead in the poles and could afford not toworry about the a few Ulster but that is not the situation now – and new times call for new thinking and that means the 8/9 seats of the DUP not the 1/2/3 of the UUP.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Driftwood,

    “various English regions will ask for the same and Parliament will disintegrate”

    The arguement is far too complicated for that – and all 3 parties have just hidden Greek style deficits from the Plain People of England as you pointed out so do you really think that Davey cant hide a few extra bob to Ulster if he needs DUP votes.

    Don’t forget when it comes to spin nobody does it better than Davey – except of course Tony himself.

  • Pickled Badger

    The problem is Sammy is that you overestimate what Robbo can offer for the costs that Cameron would entail. A govt that needs the DUP would resemble the dying days of the Major administration – weak, ineffectual and short-lived. Even if the DUP were consistently loyal any small group of rebels could thwart such a government. No hard decisions could be made and either the Tories would have to pull the plug and go back to the country or they would eventually lose a vote of no confidence.

    The tax rises and spending cuts that we all know are coming have yet to occur. It is easy to give a few bob to Ulster if you have the money. If you don’t and people across the UK are struggling they will ask why they are suffering and we aren’t. There is already anger that Scotland is milking the system regarding tuition fees and elderly care. When economic conditions start to bite expect such resentment in England to get far worse.

    At the bottom line the votes the DUP can offer are not enough. 30 MPs could give significant bargaining power in the rare occasion of a close election as it could change a weak govt into a stable one. 9 votes just aren’t enough to do that. Hence deals with the DUP on anything other than odd issues would be unlikely, especially as the DUP are to the Tories, unlike Labour, an electoral rival.

  • yep – if it comes down to 8 or so MPs likely the CUs are in a minority government anyway and the medium term goal will be to win a 2nd election, likely after voters get pissed off enough with Lib/Lab dicking about while the economy gets flushed down the toilet.

    The DUP don’t have any long term goals so it’s difficult to take their Westminster presence seriously. The maximum they can potentially hope to get (going by their electioneering, which is pretty limited in itself) is some kind of preservation of the NI grant. For those of us who are taxpayers I would hope this doesn’t happen of course but politics is a shitty game at the best of times

  • I find your xenophobic innuendo tiresome.