Long-shot success, Gambling leaders at a loss, Hanging chads in FST

It was a night of success for Alliance in East Belfast.

Peter Robinson and Reg Empey were united in defeat; and after recounting was suspended before 5am this morning. New party leader discussions could be heard at counting stations last night as the news sunk into DUP and UCUNF camps.

Fermanagh & South Tyrone has come down to the interpretation of whether doubtful votes should be counted or rejected. Sinn Fein are seeking legal advice this morning.

The SDLP held their three seats – the only drama being the suspension of counting at the Templemore Sports Complex for 90 minutes due to an abandoned car and a pipe bomb – and other than the undecided FST, Sinn Fein held their existing seats.

Sylvia Hermon proved to be a force of nature and held onto her seat.

And the TUV ran out of puff, polling short of their ambitions in many constituencies in which they stood.

That’s before the UK-wide picture is looked at … discuss!


  • O’Merta

    UCUNF dead in the water – Tories have no mandate here. TUV dead in the water – thanks lads, esp in East Belfast.

    The broad church that is the DUP are not likely to fall in behind Cameron depsite the wishes of establishment types.

    Brown now likely to go for the formation of a progressive alliance; despite the jaundiced bombastic words of right wing Tory establishment types.

    Labour have done much better than predicted and have not lost any of their leading fugures.

    Where are the Tory majority predictors now? Where are the Lib Dem 70+ seat boys. Where is Mitchell with his prediction of Lib Dem 100-150 seats!!

  • oneill

    This self-appointed gambling leader got it wrong,
    FAO of my gambling buddy, “Moderate Unionist”, 50 GBP already on its way for the Slugger funds…

  • Bulmer

    Listening to pundits and Tories, quite clear most have no idea that the Ulster Unionist party has ceased to be. They keep talking about a UU group doing a deal with David.

    DUP can’t give Dave a majority, but can give a Lib Lab coalition a majority. I know what my money’s on.

    I’ve waited a long time to see the death of the Ulster Unionists. They are now increasingly irrelevant but will slither on a few more elections. Robinson’s defeat was also well deserved. The Ulster electorate can’t quite be taken for granted.

    But even more enjoyable was seeing Allister and his grim bigots roundly trounced. Just like the BNP in the UK, the nasties will always be with us, but we don’t have to pay them much heed. Maybe Allister will do the decent thing and disappear off with Reg and Robbo to somewhere else. Nice holidays in Greece?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    I will not remind you of your very unkind words uttered regarding the sanity of my good friend ‘moderate unionist’ when this bet was placed, who unfortunately, due to ongoing agricultural difficulties cannot be with us, but will instead commend you for your promtness of payment.

    Can I challenge your goodself (or anyone else) to point to any political relationship anywhere in Ireland, Europe or indeed the world which has been so spectaculalry and embarassingly disastrous as the ridiculous project UCUNF?

    A sad relationship that produced no offspring, had no honeymoon period and failed to launch after a brief moment of pleasure that was David Cameron’s premature congratulation in the Ulster hall.

    …in other Unionist news, considering the Iris and expenses scandals and putting aside Robbo’s local difficulties it was a great election for the DUP made all the sweeter by the
    UCUNF debacle and the poor showig for the TUV.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    when the pundits speak of Ulster unionists I think they mean the mean unionists from Ulster as opposed to the Ulster Unionists party – but they dont even seem to be aware that this might be confusing.

    They also seem not to be aware of Sylv’s dislike of the Tory’s and lump her in with the Tories nor do most of them seem to be aware of the fact that SF abstensions of 4 or 5 bring the finishing line down to 324 from 326 – as we Nationalists need to keep reminding everybody Ireland is a different country.

  • Dukeofa

    The knives are already out for Reg from his own party. Now behind the SDLP in share of the vote and the first time that the UUP in its various guises has not held a seat in Westminster. Poor Reg, clinging on by the skin of his teeth

  • John Joe

    I don’t reckon any party leader came out of last night without some serious food for thought, although some are obvious tucking in to slightly larger portions of humble pie with their Ulster Fry this morning.

    The way I see it there is a lesson in there somewhere between Strangford and East Belfast and it isn’t all to do with ‘party’ politics. With Iris gone the DUP appear to have ran the campaign just as you would expect when an incumbent is gone and didn’t get a party backlash. In East Belfast, by PR running, he blurred his personal support and party support and was punished for it. The question is how much of a hit did the DUP take rather than its more criticised front liners?
    As to Sir Reg – it’s an awful vista for him this morning although he may simply be cruising eBay checking out the price of ermine. Enough said. How many celebrity Cons will hang about for the post-mortem?
    Jim Allister is, well, red-faced. Again, enough said.
    David Forde has been upstaged (was it just me or did I detect a slight grimace in his post-Long victory interview of BBC). Or maybe I’m being uncharitable. Great victory for Long, but do the Alliance put all their eggs into holding on to EB rather than considering themselves as having profited from an anti-PR bounty?
    Margaret Ritchie did well to pull in the McGrady vote in South Down but has seemingly seen collapsing votes elsewhere (notably FST) with consistent drops across most constituencies. But at a party level – will holding the three seats be considered sufficient success to stifle any debate over direction and leadership?
    SF appear to be holding FST (for all its dreary steeples, nearly always the one to watch for drama) and Gerry Adams increased his vote by a couple of percent. But again – is this a dangerous result – long lived leaderships develop a cult of personality that isn’t always healthy and can become too introspective. Question is whether he will consider his position now off the back of a positive result (rather than a decline).

  • sbelfastunionist

    Can we perhaps have some recognition of how out of touch they are from those who were predicting that UCUNF were going to pick up multiple seats – we saw speculation here at different times about them picking up strangford, s antrim, east lderry, east belfast, upper bann and east antrim and yet they would not accept they were on another planet. Outside East Belfast, have to say very strong DUP performance given what was predicted after the Euro election, the scandals of the last months, the TUV challenge and the push and headlines of UCUNF. Clear message from the Euros is that they can beat TUV by campaigning on moving forward not by fighting on Jim Allister’s turf. It also shows that the electorate are more mature than they are given credit for and are prepared to move their support for one election when the candidate isn’t right eg diane dodds last year and now robinson.

    Even if the numbers make it feasible could the DUP do a deal with the Tories when they have been so solidly rejected here?

  • Er, the Tories are ahead of Labour…

  • RepublicanStones

    Any idea what Long’s victory margin was over in the east?
    TUV claiming (Vance is anyway) a moral victory.

  • It is time we had an honest and full debate about the issues. We talk about cuts coming, but we live in a fools paradise here about the level of public spending and the level of the block grant. We need to address the issues of how we are going to stand on our own two feet more. Our private sector is supported to a significant level by the public sector.”

    “If we were on our own we’d be another Greece

    Sean Farren spreading the Tory gospel there. The upside of this election is that the Tory message has been spread across NI far and wide, unlike any other time. People know their policies and it will surely set the agenda in the coming parliament…

  • lol

  • as we Nationalists need to keep reminding ourselves Ireland is a different country.

  • very strong DUP peformance? Their reliance on the super prod vote in South Belfast proves they cannot add anything to unionism. Serious need to smell the coffee here – they lost to a non-descript in loyalist East Belfast!

  • very strong DUP peformance? Their reliance on the super prod vote in South Belfast proves they cannot add anything to unionism. Serious need to smell the coffee here – they lost to a non-descript in loyalist East Belfast!

    No more donkeys, although South Antrim seem to disagree

  • sbelfastunionist

    St etienne

    Please read and quote my post in context. I said outside east Belfast a very strong performance for the DUP. Yes not as good as 2005 at the high point but compared to what some people predicted after the euro elections it is a strong performance. Plus good share of the vote given that the DUP didn’t stand in N Down or F and S Tyrone. The proportion of UUP vs DUP in South Belfast not that different from 2005

  • Comrade Stalin

    st etienne, as I recall you were one of those prediction Ringland beating Long into second place. Time for you to eat some humble pie. And you can stop talking about “loyalist East Belfast” now, please. Ringland didn’t call himself a loyalist, neither did Vance, and obviously neither did Long.

    UCUNF was never going to work. People here don’t trust the Tories, never have and probably never will. Let’s not forget that this wasn’t just about sticking a “Conservative” sticker on a few election posters. This was the Conservative Party putting the UUP on life support. The Conservative election-fighting machine, financial war chest, slick advertising and billboards, and all the rest were put into train – and they still lost.

    I expect that Fred Cobain, Michael McGimpsey, and friends have all got their knives out and are preparing to oust that incompetent waste of space of a leader they’ve got. Unionism is now firmly for the Agreement and power sharing – warts and all. It is time for the UUP to stop dilly-dallying and settle on where exactly they stand.

  • Granni Trixie

    John Joe : yes you are being not so much uncharitable as ungracious,Eb result was not just “profiting from anti PR bounty”. It was people voting on merit for a convincing person. A great symbol of change away from sectarian voting patterns.

    Far from DF being “upstaged” by NL, I know for a fact that he is over the moon – this has been planned strategically for last few years. The party is not well off financially but he saw to it that Naomi had additional resources and ensured that any media oportunities there were went to her, given that the BIg 4 dominated the airwaves.

    As for putting all our eggs in one basket, our votes are up in many constituencies eg Anna Lo in SB which will be built upon for Assembley elections.

  • Gingray

    St etienne
    Despite your protests, yesterday was a humiliating defeat for the UUP. Vote down in 10 seats, static in 4 and up in 4. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, especially considering the difficulties faced by the DUP.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said the Tory message has been spread far and wide – it has, and it turns out Northern Ireland finds it even less popular than the UUP on their own. This may be the last time we see a major UK party getting involved in (northern) Irish politics for the foreseeable future.

    Sammy I think has the right of it, we are very different from the big island here. A sizeable chunk claim don’t seem themselves as part of the UK, while the other side seem to favour the Northern Irish nationalism put forward by the DUP.

  • Neil

    Neil ‘likes’ this

  • Paddy Matthews

    The irony, of course, being that in the course of creating this “new”, “modern”, “tolerant” Unionism, the UUP – at the behest of a bunch of integrationist cranks – drove out of the party the one politician they had who would have naturally fitted the labels that they sought to drape themselves in.

    And now not only are they left without a seat, they’re left looking at the woman they hounded out of the party crushing them in what was apparently a “natural Tory seat”.

    They deserve everything they get.

  • Neil

    st etienne, as I recall you were one of those prediction Ringland beating Long into second place. Time for you to eat some humble pie. And you can stop talking about “loyalist East Belfast” now, please. Ringland didn’t call himself a loyalist, neither did Vance, and obviously neither did Long.

    They mentioned on the BBC that she was out with Dawn Purvis getting around the constituency and talking to working class Loyalists. This to me is the answer, if I were a working class Loyalist I couldn’t vote for either of the main Unionist parties. At least as a Republican I can expect SF to look out for my (working class) community.

    Long’s put in the ground work, and listened to the concerns of the people who’ve been taken for granted. I’m not a big fan or anything but fair play to her, she won it and did it in a positive fashion.

  • Gingray

    She won by 1,533 while Vance scored 1,856.
    I think Neil down below has called it right, the PUP support seems to have went for alliance, a brilliant win for alliance.


  • Danny

    Looking out for the working class while pocketing their £80,000 for sitting on their holes, that’s the Sinn Féin way!

  • Michaelhenry

    torys and u.u.p have no seats in IRELAND, the torys are just a english, scottish and welsh party, they are not wanted by the people of IRELAND, the torys and d.u.p have lost in F.S.T, this grouping is not wanted by the people either, more people voted SINN FEIN than any other, victory for the ADAMS leadership.

  • loyalists within East Belfast voted in their droves for a non-unionist candidate I think we can be clear on that so I fail to see the reason behind your outrage. Whatever you’re views on that it’s a salient point for unionism to reflect upon.

    The Tory’s tried to inject some common sense into NI politics this time round. Once again the electorate here refuse to ditch the hand out culture put forward by local parties. Long is no different in this regard. Ultimately people have said they’re content to disengage from national politics and we’ll get more of the same idiotic mudslinging that passes for politics here instead.

    Eating humble pie isn’t really the phrase I’d use to describe my feelings on that to be frank

  • Seamus

    Sinn Féin don’t get their salaries for their work as MPs (and they only draw down an industrial wage for their work in the Assembly). Learn the facts before running your mouth.

  • They seem to. Either that or they just want the rest of the UK to pay our way to infinity.

    I’ll agree though that the Tory’s didn’t have a strong running mate here in the UUP and it looks like that party locally is spent.

  • cynic2

    So who in FST was busy with the photocopier?

  • John Joe

    Just trying to make the point that an element of the vote for Naomi was to oust Peter Robinson (surely you can’t deny that) and so, when the dust settles, there is still food for thought there for Alliance on how to hold the seat in future (and not unbalance the party by doing so).
    As to DF – he didn’t seem as elated as I’d have expected but it was late and I’m sure a lot of the campaigning was catching up on people last night. So sorry for seeming ungracious – I was just SWOTing all the parties performances (after a very late night!!!!).
    In fairness, suggesting that future concerns over holding a newly won seat is a luxury a couple of other parties would kill for this morning so you are well entitled to sit back and happily sip your breakfast mojitos!!

  • JoeJoe

    Anyone know how many votes SDLP + rest got in Fermanagh south Tyrone?

  • still, the expenses aren’t bad are they Seamus?

  • personally I feel sorry for the people of Belfast West

  • Michaelhenry

    do not feel sorry for winners.

  • Michaelhenry

    the tory and d.u.p losers.

  • Granni Trixie

    Thanks John Joe.

  • Granni Trixie

    Thanks John Joe.

  • Michaelhenry

    not enough.

  • Sammy Morse

    The Tories tried to inject some common sense into NI politics? By chasing off all their Catholic candidates? By trying to broker an Orange Order sponsored pan-Unionist front? By trying to paint the DUP as sell outs over policing and parades?

    Are you having a laugh?

    You do know there aren’t any UCUNF MPs any more, don’t you?

    You do realise just how poisonous the relationship between the Tories and all the NI parties with MPs at Westminster has become, just when they need us, don’t you?

  • Sammy Morse

    I saw one of these at the Euro count as well.

  • Granni Trixie

    The result seems to show that throwing money at an
    election isnt enough to make a difference (seems counter intuitive?), given the reputed 200K the Tories gave to UU for joining up. Have they to give the money back?

  • Battle of the Bogside

    The expenses go into a pool and they don’t spend their wage. The don’t get the expense they just are not out of pocket!

  • Battle of the Bogside

    England and Wales only!!!

  • Mark McGregor

    An attempt at fraud or one of the sample ballots some produce?

  • smcgiff

    Anyone have any of the provisional FST vote breakdown?

    I know SF/main unionist vote was approx 21k ish, but what about the others?

  • smcgiff


    Not in NI perhaps, but it was a big factor in Tory successes in key marginals.

  • Sammy Morse

    The one I saw was a transparent – and unsophisticated – attempt at fraud.

  • Gingray

    A tired argument – lots of historical reasons why the british have a responsibility to pay for NI but who cares about them. Cutting the budget here will make economic parity with the south more appealing.

    In all seriousness, beyond a few fringe voters, people in Northern Ireland prefer having local political parties. Simple fact is the UK parties would ignore us otherwise, and our politicians so love the attention.

    I think the assumption that unionist support is rigidly pro Tory has been found out, and liberal unionists in south and east Belfast seem to be flocking to the alliance party.

  • Neil

    Likewise. Gerry’s not too bad, could do better but then who couldn’t. The ones I feel sorry for are those spouting the bullshit about the UCUNF pratts being part of the new government prior to this election, abnd those who haven’t the wit to see how badly they’ve been beaten.

    I’m from West Belfast, and I’m feeling remarkably smug for someone who only got 3 hours sleep.

  • Cushy Glenn

    oh get a grip on reality granni

    Of course we all laughed at Punt’s P45 moment, but it’s now one Westminster seat in forty years- a spectacular underachievement for any serious party, onewhich has no serious presence beyond Greater Belfast. It’s as important to politics as George Galloway’s ousting of Oona King five years ago- great tv and then nowt.You’ve been flatlining for years and this TUV inspired gift will not change that

  • Damian O’Loan

    One of the biggest stories that is receiving almost no attention, is the dire turnout. That is perhaps because people are entirely jaded and disaffected. It is therefore important to try to capture the simplest messages from the vote.

    The first is that the Conservative philosophy and brand has no support in NI.

    That is hugely significant and could be the cause of future unrest when the cuts do kick in. There will be those seeking to use this to pump more money into the coffers of security companies via idiotic dissidents. That needs to be acted against.

    The second is that people are disgusted with the political class. We can only assume that this is because of its behavioural similarities with the business elite. I understand the difficulties of being close to understand business while different enough to prioritise all the electorate, but this is crisis time in that regard.

    In general, NI is socially on the right and economically on the left.

    Given that the NI MPs could almost yet secure a majority, they really should go with a few simple economic requests, because our social conditions are under severe attack, notably this last few weeks. By hedge funds based, in large part, in the City.

    They should go with one voice to Lib-Lab and say they will offer united support if:

    – Britain stops opposing EU Hedge Fund regulation.

    – Britain cooperates with the urgent creation of an EU ratings agency.

    – Britain considers not only a Tobin tax, but a tax that progressively but rapidly increases, according to a transaction’s degree of removal from the real economy.

    – Britain requests that Baroness Ashton encourage the US to do likewise.

    The idea that the funds in the City have any loyalty, which is dominating the British political class, is utterly ridiculous. Europe is under severe attack and the British government, against the will of everyone but a very select few, is sheltering the attackers.

    As a shopping list, this would be far more representative of, and better for, the electorate than some special treatment for a year.

  • smcgiff


    Final result

    DUP 8
    SF 5
    SDLP 3
    Alliance 1
    Independent 1

    SF biggest party followed by DUP and then SDLP with the once might UUP trailing 4th with no seats.

    Looking a bit deeper it’s as you were. 10 unionist and 8 Nationalist seats.

  • smellybigoxteronye

    I think that the Conservatives will do a deal with the Lib Dems – they won’t need the DUP, and they won’t want to make any further concessions to the DUP. Naomi might actually end up the only NI MP in the Westminster government – the question is will she take the Lib Dem whip?!

    In the case of such a snub of the arrogant DUP by the Tories the UCUs might actually end up having the last laugh here over the long term (yes really!). I also do not agree with an above poster (Damian) “that the Conservative philosophy or brand has no support in NI” (I for one would support it!). Firstly, it does not help that the Conservatives are trying to launch this initiative at a time where they are having to propose cuts – perhaps in a few years time when the economy is in a better state of health they will have better hopes of success in the UK periphery. Secondly, the NI electorate are just not ready yet for the ‘normal politics’ that Cameron envisioned the UCUs bringing to NI. Neither was the local UUP leadership – Reg simply did not have the long-term vision to promote the prospect of normal an non-sectarian politics, and is in general not a good leader. Hopefully this disaster will force the UCUs to restructure more wholeheartedly around this more non-tribal form of politics, and choose a more fresh-faced and competent leadership for the future. The signs of the increased Alliance vote would be encouraging in this respect. (as for the increased tribalism/sectarianism that we’ve seen from the nationalist side of the fence, unionists must be strong and not fall backwards into Sinn Fein’s sectarian trap by acting reactionary and insecure)

  • Reader

    smellybigoxteronye: Neither was the local UUP leadership – Reg simply did not have the long-term vision to promote the prospect of normal an non-sectarian politics, and is in general not a good leader.
    That’s the killer. Reg hasn’t pursued any plan consistently for more than a month or two. Always another diversion, always another cunning plan, always another step backwards into the future.
    I still think there is a massive space round here for a bit of civic unionism, or even real social and economic politics. But I can’t see where the leadership for this move will come from. Not from Hatfield Reg, anyway. And the people currently sharpening their knives for the leadership battle are probably even worse.

  • Granni Trixie

    Always suspected that Trimble in self interst was behind much of Regs plan (plus the 200K a broke UU needed).

    Now that its all gone pear shaped, how will Cameron regard these ‘advisors’.? Unlikely to ‘reward’ them?.

    Plus,what does it say about the Tory machine that they did not get a majority given the anti Brown/Labour mood of the country?