Reg’s Poster Pitch to Catholics?

 In an election marked by tactical decisions taken by political parties, it’s interesting to note the eve of poll strategy being employed by UCUNF in their bid to claim the South Antrim seat from the DUP’s Willie McCrea. Here’s a photo I snapped about two hours ago outside the polling station in the predominantly nationalist village of Crumlin. Down went the Union Flag emblazoned UCUNF posters which had been positioned immediately outside the school for several weeks, replaced with the flag free Empey or McCrea posters. A last minute bid to persuade the catholics to go tactical?

  • wild turkey


    the poster is reminiscent of an opticians chart where the print starts of large and gets smaller and smaller. the bottom line on the poster is where things start to go decidedly fuzzy…

    does it say ‘none of the above’

  • Chris Donnelly

    Wild Turkey

    btw Hope you following the baseball season again this year- Cubbies on the verge of a great run of ‘W’s (I hope….)

  • oak leaf in north Belfast

    As a new resident in south Antrim (Blackrock, Mallusk) having made the short trip from south Derry I couldn’t care what Unionist was elected as i don’t see much different between the 2.

    So I’ll be voting Sinn Fein as to be honest there’s no real alternative.

  • Mark McGregor

    Its a good message and one they should have been pushing from the start and now probably destroyed by the FS&T situation.

    Many of the residents of Crumlin who grew up in West Belfast during the 80s would have no love for the Tories or UUP but McCrea is a much more obvious hate figure than Empey.

    The mid-week morning and afternoon canvasses of Glenavy and Crumlin demonstrate its an afterthought rather than a worked strategy from UCUNF.

  • It has to be said: the UUs have found the one thing that would make me vote for Empey, but only if there was no er, other, alternative.

  • alan56

    Will Empey win SA?

  • union mack

    i think the ANC have SA all sewn up

  • oak leaf in north Belfast

    As an interested bystander in elections and being new to the area do you (bloggers) think that the new housing developments here in Newtownabbey such as Mayfield, Aylesbury, Blackrock and Mayfield Manor will make much of a difference in council and assembly elections for this neck of the woods?

    Just curious to know peoples thoughts on it.

  • Mark McGregor

    oak leaf,

    Doubt it. At Assembly level its very much 2 nationalist quotas for Assembly, though SF could risk running a 2nd candidate hoping to get another seat in 2-3 elections time.

    Council elections are harder to read as the reform isn’t in place and we don’t know the wards that will be used for each Electoral Area. Going to be a tough slog getting SF or SDLP Cllrs on the new one though.

  • slug

    These posters have been up a week or so and they are all over Antrim town. I assumed they were aimed mainly at alliance voters.

    I was wondering if there were equivalents – “Robinson or Ringland you decide” for East Belfast – or East Londonderry?

  • Mark McGregor

    Cheers Slug,

    Seems as I thought courting the tactical vote of some was very much an afterthought then.

    Never worry I’ll chuck it in the river tomorrow morning anyhow 😉

  • X factor straplines for Ulster politics. Funny!
    We really need someone like Ghandi combined
    with Bill Gates to get things back on the straight and
    narrow. However alot of mainstream politicians seem to
    ignored over arching economic and societal issues.
    More tribalism… even tactically.

  • oak leaf in north Belfast

    Cheers for your thought’s Mark.

    Can see the sdlp vote falling sharply here because of some of their voters voting for reg and also losing the Colinbridge ward.

  • slug

    SDLP candidates generally strong this time round, though.

  • slug

    I don’t see that many voting for Reg to be honest, I think the Conservatives are really looking for alliance voters.

  • Mark McGregor

    Their vote will mainly decline as Tommy Burns and his personal vote won’t be in play.

    I expect the worst SDLP result here in a long time but it should climb back up when they put a known candidate forward in future.

    Remember they gain Glenavy which would have known Burns but that vote will suffer from both his absence and the death of local SDLP stalwart O’Hagan.

    Will be a rough introduction to electoral politics for placeholder Michelle Byrne. Hopefuly she can roll with some serious punches and not take a very likely awful vote too personally. (but given her responses to me on Twitter I fear her skin will be too thin to take the drubbing on the horizon)

  • Re-engaged

    Side note – after earlier post Mark – how is things for Tommy at the moment?

  • Mr E Mann

    I’m sure much of the nationalist electorate has noticed that lately the DUP have been better partners than UUP. Sure, they run candidates with appalling personal pasts, but given the current configuration of nationalist politics, the glasshouse principle applies.

  • Alias

    If Empey can’t beat McCrea then that pretty much puts the skids under the fabled ‘shared future’ for the two tribes.

  • The Raven

    It’s not often I pray for such things, Alias, but South Antrim and East Londonderry are two places I am offering up tithes to the Lord for, for the UU to win. Misguided perhaps, but anything to slap the teeth of the arrogant standard bearers for the DUPes.

    Yeah. I’m that shallow.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Will Reg the red hedge aka UCUNF win any seats at all? ….well so they were saying. Remains to be seen. Willie’s lovely singing of Christian songs will no doubt win the UK NI Catholics over.

    BTW, Lovely new website makeover!

  • Whilst there is no accounting for taste and it takes all sorts and what with one thing and another. No, makes no difference which way you start off, you end up with the insane idea that Mcwhatsit won and its a possibilty the same, tone deaf, sick idiots, could vote for him again. I just hope they checked his expenses.

  • dundonald voter

    The Raven says:5 May 2010 at 9:58 pmIt’s not often I pray for such things, Alias, but South Antrim and East Londonderry are two places I am offering up tithes to the Lord for, for the UU to win. Misguided perhaps, but anything to slap the teeth of the arrogant standard bearers for the DUPes.

    Yeah. I’m that shallow.

    im of the same sentiments with you raven only including my very own east belfast please please let the punt be beaten here. in na id love to see the smile wiped of ipj (epitomises the dup for arroagnce smugness and cockiness) even if it sees jim in. and heres to show im not secterian id love to see gerry kelly take north belfast!!! yeah i really am that shallow.

  • Victoria McDaid

    The poster is similar to the posters South Antrim Alliance put up just before the 2003 assembly election. Ford’s seat was perceived to be vulnerable to the Shinners.

    They were plastered all over the place, in stark alliance yellow with :

    It was thought that it worked on picking up preferences of unionists who may have stopped after voting for the Unionist parties. That pulled him in to get the last seat. (By 2005, things were quite different…)

  • dodrade

    Why would any Alliance supporter wish to lend their vote in South Antrim to Empey after the abuse the UUP have given Ford over P&J?

  • The Raven

    Because the other option is Willie McCrea, perhaps?

    We can but dream.

  • dundonald voter

    im dreaming raven dup with 4 seats

  • Sean Og

    It’s only a dream. When you wake up you will smell the coffee. DUP 8 or 9. UC New Force maybe 1.

  • union mack

    Again, keep an eye out for UCU in E.L’derry. I have a hunch that Willie Ross will take a substantial chunk of Campbell’s vote. Even though Gregory has kept a low profile since devolution of P&J, his campaign literature doesn’t attack TUV, because we know thats what he thinks, but he hasn’t the guts to leave. But voters here dumped Ross despite his anti-agreement stance when he was in the UUP, so I expect voters will see through Campbell too. I expect Ross to take at the very least, 5,500 votes here, (allowing for slightly higher turnout). This could be enough to see Macaulay win by default.

  • union mack

    Also factor in that this constituency could never be described as a DUP heartland, so Campbell doesn’t have the benefit of a huge party loyalty vote (the same that will see Paisley comfortably home in N. Antrim)

  • Mark McGregor


  • Mark McGregor

    Sorry, I need to point out the utter balls some try to pass as informed comment:

    union mack: This could be enough to see Macaulay win by default.

    Do we listen to this crap and not point and laugh?

  • Pete Whitcroft

    It’s an idea nicked off Alliance, which saved Ford’s hide against Meehan.
    I put up all the posters and inspired the idea.
    It’s a South Antrim thing, which will no doubt get him at least 1,000 votes.

  • Pete Whitcroft

    I hope it works, I have money on Reg.

  • Garza

    Well Horseman wants the DUP to win unionist seats, so as a unionist I would want to do the exact oppoosite

  • Garza

    Well I can tell you the UC candidate for EL has been causing a few stirrings, we will soon see.

  • The Raven

    Mark, regardless of what you might think about the comments above, Macauley has worked exceptionally hard over the past few weeks.

    Gregory has been almost invisible in Coleraine and, I hear, Limavady, where the votes are. Willie Ross is a 74 year old dinosaur, and I honestly believe very few will vote for him.

    But local dissatisfaction with Gregory is very high. A bigger factor will be a lack of DUP turnout more than anything else. That might be more balls, and in the end, the bigots will probably win it, but anything can happen here.

    Regardless of Horseman’s comments about Tory poodles, Campbell has done nothing for this constituency, and I am hoping for change, even if it is only for change’s sake.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    There is a choice between the pro-Agreement DUP and the anti-Agreement UUP and nationalists should therefore, as the boul Horseman suggests, vote for the pro-agreement party, if they feel compelled to vote tactically.

  • wilsy

    a remark from east belfast – we had a few callers and leaflets from alliance over the last week or so saying in the last election they were only 52 votes behind the dup with the obvious inference that if you wanted robbo out then vote for long.

    only yesterday did we get a leaflet from C/uup with the previous westminster voting history showing the big difference between them . I would have thought they should have done that a lot sooner to explain the 52 votes was from the assembly vote, but maybe thats just me

  • Lionel Hutz

    I have the luxury of not having to consider voting tactically for lesser of evil Unionists.

    I’m curious, is the UUP the lesser evil now. A Tory with absolutely no principles or NI Nationalists.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    “I’m curious, is the UUP the lesser evil now”

    The last chance they had the UUP tried to wreck the GFA/STA by blocking the transfer of Police and the DUP helped implement it.

  • Doodler Jumper

    Union mack, it was only the other day you were saying that Ross would score 2,500 votes in ELD… now you’re expecting him to more than double that? What’s happened on the doors in Coleraine/Limavady?
    You might think that this shift would be good news for Macaulay but unfortunately her Ritchie-esque persona will not appeal to the unionist people up there.
    Today is going to be a rematch of 2001 and I expect the more hardline party to squeeze home once again.

  • how-could-anyone-vote-for-these-right-wing-bigotted-religious-zealots-wont-someone-think-of-the-children-what-would-bobby-say

  • they have more principles than any hysterical notion of maintaining the Block Grant while elsewhere in the country take the hit.

    Not to mention the completely unprincipled notion of just carrying on piling up debt.

  • Mr Crumlin

    Correct Mark – I would rather pull my teeth out than vote for Thatchers Party.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Maybe if it was someone like Ringland or Nesbitt or even Hermon but Empey… nah – it’s not too long ago that he was playing to the mob about bilingual signposts going up on the way into Banbridge and Portadown.

    However, never say never, I suppose ……..if he were to put a little tricolour on his new poster then…….. .

  • Neil


    Bobby wouldn’t be happy generally speaking IMO. But you can gaurantee, cast iron, he wouldn’t be suggesting casting a tactical vote for the Tories.

  • Briso

    vote tory my arse.

  • with SF’s continued abstention, a vote for them is a tactical vote for the Tories anyway

  • Cushy Glenn

    Willie Ross has run the most energetic campaign, with the grey panthers knocking more doors and getting a great reception. He is obviously an outsider, but he’s scared Capbell enough to do the “vote shredder” scare tactic when as stately coronation parade was anticipated two months ago.
    MacaulAy ( Raven- do try to get her name right even is she couldn’t on her posters!) is a Violet Elizabeth Bott sub Sylvia clone, who has plastered the lamp posts with Lord Ashcroft’s money, but is just wrong for that constituency. Apart that is, from chic dinner parties in Portstewart or wimmins groups at the University she’s not chiming with the hoi polloi. I wouldn’t bet against a fourth place for her

  • The Raven

    Cushy Glen wrote:

    “Willie Ross has run the most energetic campaign, with the grey panthers knocking more doors and getting a great reception.” and then went on to drip some other bile.

    Well I tip my hat to him. I hope he wins. Because in a constituency where the population in some parts is amongst the youngest in the land, it will be great to have a seventy four year old representing us.

    I remember Willie Ross from the bad old days. “Mark my words, them taigs will surround us, and it’ll be the Custer’s Last Stand”. That’s who I really want representing me here.

    Mates of mine were over at that Project Kelvin do in Portstewart last night. Things are changing up here, Cushy. The very last thing an area that is trying to take advantage of world class up-to-date technology needs is a near-octogenarian (in age and attitude) representing it.

    I apologise for the incorrect spelling in my post. I wrote that at 7.42am, before leaving for work. I’m sure you’re aware of the concept. Let’s move on. So Macaulay is wrong for that constituency and according to you, we base that on her accent, her interests and her education?

    Oh sorry – that, and she’s a woman. How remiss of me.

    Surely what we should be looking at here is the capability to represent the constituency. You’re asking us to take seriously a man who bearly represented anything other than agricultural interests, and was royally turfed out almost a decade ago? This is a different age, and there are different priorities in this area. Perhaps you want the price of cattle feed to be the dominant factor in representation for East Londonderry?

    This is an area mired in high levels of unemployment. Low levels – in parts – of educational attainment. A constituency with a increasing IT sector interests and diminishing traditional industries; a constituency where young people are the predominant demographic, and are leaving the towns in droves for the Promised Land elsewhere.

    Where was Gregory when Seagate closed? Where was Gregory when Spanboard almost closed? Where was Gregory when the construction sector was getting hammered in places like Dungiven and Limavady? Where was Gregory when pressure needed to be put on to get Invest NI working into the area? Oh and lest we forget: where was Gregory when a Catholic man was getting stamped to death in his constituency?

    All this, and you want us to seriously consider a man even more right-wing and in his time, more absent from the place than Gregory is? Let’s go back to my post. “Regardless of Horseman’s comments about Tory poodles, Campbell has done nothing for this constituency, and I am hoping for change, even if it is only for change’s sake.”

    My shallow support ends when this absentee is out. I’ll be the first to tip the hat to you if herself is in fourth place. Even more so if Ross gets these thousands of votes. Note what I said there.

    But it will be a REALLY sad day for representation up here if he or indeed the current absentee landlord win the seat.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’ve preferred the DUP over the UUP for some years now, since around about 2007 to be exact when they decided to adopt powersharing.

    The DUP and UUP are equally sectarian and equally disinterested in the need to create non-tribal politics, so on that front they score a draw. In some ways I find the UUP sectarianism worse. It’s equally potent (see what some might perceive as systematic exclusion of Catholics for the position of Mayor on Newtownabbey Council for example) but they still manage to present themselves as moderate, which makes them more dangerous.

    The DUP are competent in political office and are infinitely superior at constituency casework, something I can vouch for by personal experience. Moreover, a fair proportion of them are active believers in the benefits of devolution, despite the warts, and are busy selling it to their constituents, not something the UUP ever really did. The party is better organized and better run; the country ultimately suffered due to Trimble’s inability to control his assembly members and stop them sniping at him, the DUP does not have that problem. Robinson’s ability to maintain party discipline despite everything that has happened is quite remarkable.

    Contrast this with the modern UUP leadership which lurches all over the place as it seeks what appears to be elusive stability over policy. Their first idea was an alliance with the PUP, of all people, before they settled on their second choice, the Conservatives. This move was evidently taken without full consultation with the party membership, most notably Fred “I’m a socialist – vote Conservative” Cobain, most likely owing to the fact that the party was bankrupt without the Tory cash injection (the party is gaining a reputation for having a lack of financial nous – not only can they not balance their own books, but one of its MLAs used up his expenses allowance within the first few months of the year and had to lay off his own staff as a result – how could such incompetent people be trusted to run the country?).

    The UCUNF tieup was another half-hearted decision which, like all the others, appeared to have been taken on the hoof. First Sir Reg wrote to a newspaper to oppose any nationalist becoming justice minister. Next, the UUP announced they planned to support Alban Maginness for the post. Then they flopped over again, apparently at the very last minute.

    It’s much the same with this talk of ending tribal politics and being constructive. One second they’re talking all that good stuff; for about five seconds they had some of us worried that they might pull it off. We soon saw that they reverted to type – talks with the Orange Order, sectarian voting pacts in FST (and they would have done it again in SB if they could), all that jazz. And there is of course this business of Reg making his usual noisy and incompetently-managed intervention in South Antrim – again a decision clearly taken on the hoof after someone with a bit of clue realized that they could mount a challenge to McCrea, and Reg deciding he wanted the prize for himself.

    The DUP is hardly innocent of many of these charges, but they appear to put some thought into their approach and they run their operation well enough to ensure that most people are on message. Couple that with my earlier points about making the case for powersharing, their excellent constituency representation even to people they are fairly sure won’t be voting for them, and their broad competence at political office, and I really don’t see the case for preferring the UUP anymore.

  • Rory Carr

    Not to mention the completely unprincipled notion of just carrying on piling up debt.

    The Tory solution, St Etienne to the current debt, which was occasioned in the main by the malpractice of those serving the insatiable greed of the rich, will be to make the poor, the elderly and the infirm pay for their greed while they reduce taxes for their rich supporters.

  • The Raven

    “The DUP is hardly innocent of many of these charges, but they appear to put some thought into their approach and they run their operation well enough to ensure that most people are on message.”

    Lovely for you. Nice that they can “run their machine” so well at election time. We still have been unrepresented in this area for four years.

  • John East Belfast


    You really need to seek counselling regarding your pathological hatred of all things Ulster Unionist and UCUNF.

    Are you saying in all seriousness that all members of the UUP are sectarian, “dangerous”, bigots – because they are unionist ?

    What reasonable person would suggest that the UUP – the unionist architects of the GFA and now trying to engage UK politics – including stopping an individual who made unacceptable comments regarding gays – is more sectarian than the DUP ?

    Such aview wouldnt pass a GCSE in NI politics – it is laughable.

    If you are going to attack UCUNF do so with a bit of intellectual rigour.

    I would say you have kept quiet the last couple of weeks because you didnt have the balls to let slip what you really thought of unionists – the people Naomi is hoping to get a vote from – but now the polls are closing you are emerging with your true bile.

    The bottom line is the Alliance Party feeds off sectarianism – it needs it to exist otherwise it has no purpose whatsoever – it is an imposter of a NI political party. If it sees moderate unionism emerging it lashes out because it threatens the ground it believes to beong to it.

    I have to say one of the most sectarian posters on this site is yourself – I have to say you werent always like this – you used to be a lot more reasonable.

    However that was in the days of when the major dispute on this site was largely between Pro Agreement and Anti Agreement unionism and you had no problem then siding with the moderates.
    Now what were your former allies have become worse than the DUP – it is ridiculous.

    If the AP really are about consensus building then instead of wanting political power for the sake of it it should be trying to work itself out of existence – ie by encouraging moderation within unionism and nationalism.

    Instead the AP throws hysterical fits because it actually thinks that those moderates are a threat to its political power base. In other words the AP has stopped being force of reconciliation and exists to hold a crumb of power wherever it can get it. Whether it be a justice ministery bone thrown to it by the two most sectarian parties in NI or the odd one step forward in Elections which is inevitably destined to be two steps back next time around.

    The bottom line is that the vast majority of NI voters are unioinst or nationalist – what your party regularly patronisly refers to as tribal politics as if neither concept could have heart and head foundations.
    Consequently you will never consistently get into double figures at elections and indeed will probably eventually fair worse than the Green Party.

    There is no point to an AP that exists to hold power or win elections for the sake of it – it isnt where the battle lines are drawn in NI politics
    And an AP that pushes any party (usually the unionist one) back into the ring at each and very attempt it tries to change things is actually harmful.

    You really need to take a good look at what your party actrually stands for and articulating it as opposed to coming on here and telling everyone how much you (irrationally) despise UCUNF.

    Infact I think if we trawled back through Slugger archives we would be hard pushed to find any posts from you that were about what the AP actually offers as opposed to vitriolic attacks on the UUP.

    For instance are you really saying that Trevor Ringland is a sectarian bigot with tribal politcs ??

    And Trevor is only one of many – indeed the majority of UUP members

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    “Are you saying in all seriousness that all members of the UUP are sectarian, “dangerous”, bigots – because they are unionist ”

    Not because they are Unionists but because the majority of elected officers of the UUP feel the need to be members of the deeply sectarian OO to get elected.

  • John East Belfast


    The OO severed the link with the UUP a few years back.

    Does that not tell you that what you are saying is simply not true.

    It simply isnt how votes in the party work. Not to mention the complete independent mindedness of the members who would take instruction from no one let alone the OO.

    It simply isnt the dynamic of the reality I have experienced over the years.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    most elected UUP officers are members of tthe OO and they invited them into the talks on Ulster’s future for fecks sake and the OO brokered talks between the UUP and the DUP on Unionist unity.