Sammy in early overture to UUP…

WITH Sir Reg ‘never to be’ Empey expected to quit today (or not long after), Sammy Wilson has decided to show a bit of leg to the weakened UUP with his declaration in support of unionist unity. He said:

Our approach must now be one of unionist cooperation in establishing greater stability and improving our structures of government. We recognise that our present situation is not perfect but it is immeasurably better compared to what went before.
It is clear the majority of the people do not want to go back to instability under direct rule but rather the message on the doorsteps has been one of unity and the need for the unionist family to work together. That will be my focus in the next Parliament.

I wonder if the subliminal message to the UUP here is: “McGuinness could be the next First Minister – that was our fault at St Andrews. You lot are rudderless and on life support – which is partly our fault, but hey, you get the blame. Maybe we should get together some time – without Paterson, natch – and talk about us getting into bed together.”

  • Winker Watson

    Sammy Wilson’s subliminal message was actually ” Unionists from East Belfast’s heartland defiantly rejected our actual and symbolic leader but sadistically spared the rest of us for another period of torture. The UCUNF proposal was the real deal but we couldn’t bring ourselves to admit this to anyone. We are finished as representatives of anything except nepotism, control, and self service. Beaten by Alliance- that will be hard to live down.”

  • johnno

    I’m all for it. Let’s have more unionist unity – it bolsters Sinn Fein every time. Bring it on.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Surely the problem for Unionist unity is that if the DUP swallow the UUP many of those who previously voted for the UUP will simply move across to the Alliance who actually have all the moderate Unionist principles that UCUNF told us they aspired to .

    The problem for the Tories (taking them at their word for a moment) was that in trying to rid Ulster of sectarianism they joined a deeply sectarian party in the UUP – they may as well have had an electroal pact with the BNP to get rid of racism.

    Two sectarian Unionist parties (sectarian being defined as being overtly anti-Catholic) joining together simply leaves political space for a secular, sensible Unionist party to pick up secular, sensible Unionist voters and hopefully Naomi’s result is an indication of that.

  • Darrell Monteith

    Actually the election results show that SF are unlikely to be the largest party in an assembly election, when you add in the DUP votes from North Down and from Fermanagh & South Tyrone the DUP are comfortably ahead of Sinn Fein. Not to mention the many TUV voters who will return to the fold now that they have seen through Jim Allister’s rhetoric.

  • alan56

    A move towards unionist unity right now will benefit Alliance. There are many unionists (even in FST) who reject the idea of orange/green pacts based on a sectarian headcount.Connor has paid the price for that and Tom Elliot should be careful here. Note turnout down in FST. This great idea of the ‘Unionist Family’ is becoming a myth.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Darell M,

    The only realistic scenario in which SF can be the largest party is if the TUV stand in the Assembly elections and win a few seats.

  • apollo293867

    This is a penetrating analysis and the reality is that Unionist Unity is achievable in the short term but will lead to the death of the SDLP as moderate Nationalists move to SF as a counter.
    I know many moderate unionists in FST who were disturbed by the Unionist unity candidate as they correctly divined a stitch up. Unionism has always been a negative anti-catholic force, and before it thinks about togetherness should think through a few issues about what it can offer to working class unionists, or middle class moderates. I cannot hear a lot of convincing arguments for a DUP run Unionist coalition. Creationism in schools and homophobia to name but two issues would drive a massive amount of moderates to the Alliance

  • slug

    Absolutely.

  • union mack

    I’ve heard a few (I believe genuine) reports from North Antrim that the TUV will close shop in the next few weeks, as Allister and Ross have admitted defeat. The younger members are keen to keep it going, Harbinson and Morrison amongst them, but the realists know the game is up, and Allister won’t want to go into another election to be humiliated like he was on Thursday night. Some of that vote will disappear, and some will row in behind the DUP again.

    On the issue of unionist unity, nothing is more likely to finish unionism than a coalescence around the narrow, socially ultra-conservative, bigoted and prod-only Orange Order dominated DUP. As a liberal, and a unionist, I won’t vote for it. There is space for a liberal, prpgressive UUP – if the party can ditch the dinosaurs and the remnants of Vanguard

  • slug

    Agree.

  • Greenflag

    ‘There is space for a liberal, prpgressive UUP – if the party can ditch the dinosaurs and the remnants of Vanguard’

    Probably but not a whole lot of space . If and when the dinosaurs are ditched along with Vanguard elements all that would be left would be a rump with perhaps 50,000 votes . Those 50,000 would probably be more comfortable politically within the AP or some (i.e any remaining RC unionists ) in the SDLP .

    NI seems to be moving to a situation in which the ‘big constitutional ‘ issue looks like it can be capably ‘managed ‘ by the DUP/SF .

    The UCUNF mistaken focus on the Conservative ‘rescue ‘ package blinded them to the fact that what supposed to be a lifebelt turned out to be a concrete block .

    Unionist unity would result in further nationalist coagulation around SF leading to a further shrinking of the SDLP with electoral gains for SF in Derry/Foyle and South Down to a lesser extent while AP would probably benefit in South Belfast .

    The UUP with their ill thought out join up with the Conservatives have killed off the only other prospect they had of electoral advance in NI against the DUP . A UUP/SDLP/AP could have been a contender against the SF/DUP dominated Assembly .

    Now both the DUP and SF and to a lesser extent the AP all stand to gain from the strategic errors of the UUP and it’s UCUNF quixotic adventures .

    Even if the Tories manage to take power in the UK all that will happen to the Conservatives in NI will be a repeat performance of what happened to the Tories in Scotland under Thatcher .

  • braniel unionist

    rank and file T-party members should join with the dup and mcnarry/kennedy unionists to form an unstoppable block to ensure that first minister will always be pro-union, agree?

  • pia_lugum

    It appears rather unlikely that the TUV are going to disappear and even less likely that JA and WR will go quietly into oblivion. Their members walked away from the DUP and the UCUNF in roughly equal numbers for the reasons that were well explained during the election.
    I would have thought that a move towards re-conciliation of the TUV by the DUP would be more appropriate, else they remain a thorn in their side for the assembly elections.
    But perhaps a docile, beaten UCUNF is more preferable for them to unite with, and of course dominate, rather than the TUV whose members are well known to be needing some hard questions answered with an unusual degree of honesty from the DUP.
    I hear the poisoned chalice is going around the room in the UCUNF HQ so fast that it is in danger of going into orbit. Bet they keep the doors closed for as long as possible…

  • Offended

    “bigoted and prod-only Orange Order dominated DUP”

    I actually know catholics that are in the DUP and many more in the party who are not in the Orange Order.

    I am sick and tired of reading on this site that unionists are sectarian and bigoted. Unionist unity does not equate to sectarianism, it is about maximising representation at Westminster for all of Northern Ireland. 5 constituencies now have no respresentation at Westminster, and those same constituencies have had no representation for the past 5 years either.

    Let’s not forget that SF wanted a pact with the SDLP in S. Belfast and FST, i don’t hear anyone calling them sectarian for that!! All unionists believe in the same basic principles, where is the harm in working together rather than against each other?

    SF and SDLP both believe in a united ireland but have greater differences between them given that SF are abstentionists and supporters of terrorism so it makes it more difficult for a pact but it wont stop the shinners trying.

  • Greenflag

    Agree as long as they favour repartition .

  • Greenflag

    ‘I hear the poisoned chalice is going around the room in the UCUNF HQ so fast that it is in danger of going into orbit.’

    And I heard it was going around faster than an ion particle in the Hadron Collider such that it may create a black hole through which Reggie can escape into an alternative universe where all is bliss and nary a Fenian nor DUPer exists ;)?

    Perhaps they should all pause for at least two seconds of contemplative reflection before imbibing the poisoned chalice’s contents ? and just let the horseman pass by as somebody was wont to say.

    Somethings were never meant to be and I suspect UCUNF is near the top of that list .

  • CatinHat

    “The UCUNF mistaken focus on the Conservative ‘rescue ‘ package blinded them to the fact that what supposed to be a lifebelt turned out to be a concrete block .”

    I don’t think we really know whether the UCUNF _concept_ was a vote loser, because the execution of it was such an utter dog’s breakfast.

    In the 2009 Euros UCUNF slightly increased their vote share in a three way unionist race.

    If UCUNF had really held their ground, put forward the Catholic candidates, refused the pact in FST, they may actually have very well recieved a higher share of the vote than they actually ended up getting. Unionism may have not gained FST but it may have regained SB if they had done so.

    As it is, without the tory link, and with the DUP now essentially “pro agreement” there is little point to the UUP even existing.

    As I see it the UUP has two choices
    A) Do the full UCUNF and do it right this time, Catholic candidates and no sectarian pacts.
    B) Give up and merge with the DUP.

    Personally I would like to see A. I’m not convinced that it would not decrease their vote, but I believe that it would make the union stronger. Of course the UUP may very well have a different calculus to me.

  • YelloSmurf

    Do the remnants of Vanguard to which you refer include your current leader?

  • East Unionist

    I am a strong supporter of the Union, however i feel that it is impossible for the UUP to join with the DUP, as it was the DUP that set about the systematic undermining and downfall of the UUP. Yes the UUP did badly in the last election, however i feel that the up coming assembly elections will prove to be a different story for the UUP, I would expect that the UUP will increase their seats in the next assembly. I believe there is a large support base for moderate Unionism, not every Unionist believes that the DUP are the people to represent them and their divisive politics. We all know that the DUP under their previous leadership divided the Church, the Orange and Unionism. Politics for me is about the people, not the person, and the huge ego’s that the DUP hold. If after the next assembly election Martin is First Minister, so be it, hopefully this will expose the gerrymandering of policies that previously benefitted the DUP, then Unionists accross the spectrum can see that the DUP ego was more important than the people they represent.East Belfast has already spoken!!

  • Neil McNickle

    What most people miss is that in nearly all seats are vote increased on the 2007 Assembley elections. The damage done by Trimbles leadership and ‘Just call me Dave’ with his gaff on public services was too much to claw back at this election.
    The party will continue to build and hopefully ditch this UCUNF nonsense and concentrate on what the party is really all about, Unionism for all shades and if people want Unionist unity all Unionists are welcome to join!

  • slug

    Catinhat

    Good post.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CatinHat,

    “I don’t think we really know whether the UCUNF _concept_ was a vote loser, because the execution of it was such an utter dog’s breakfast.”

    There already was a non sectarian Unionist party before project UCUNF was unveiled and it is a totally ridiculous concept to suggest as the Tories did that they were involved in a project to rid Ulster of tribal politics by joining forces with a deeply tribal party. A party where the majority of its elected officers belonged to the anti-Catholic Orange Order.

    This was not just a failure in execution but a failure in concept similar to deciding to rid Britian of racism by joining forces with the BNP and getting a few black people to stand in an election.

    As it turns out there may now be a project UCAF (Ulster Conservative Alliance Front) in Ulster if the Tories make a deal with the LibDems in Britian and that sounds like an altogether more plausible concept.than the UCUNF fiasco.

  • union mack

    yeah, Reg and all the old duds have to go. They talk of change but don’t put it into action, so time to get out. I don’t think it would lose the UUP any votes to have these old, tired, clueless men out

  • Gerry Lynch

    It’s always difficult to extrapolate entirely correctly from X-vote results, but I’d call this one resulting in a 5 seat DUP lead over Sinn Féin if repeated in an Assembly election.

  • Greenflag

    catinhat ,

    Good post and analysis above . As you say the execution was a dog’s breakfast and the result even worse form a UCUNF perspective . Despite the logistical and financial support of one of the UK’s largest parties they still could’nt hack it . The “Catholic ‘ candidate promise and the non delivery of same and then the ‘unity ‘ Connor in FST all seemed to point to a party that was talking with a forked tongue in one hand and an orange sash in the other .

  • lamhdearg

    How about this Uup disolve between Dup and Alliance. many nationlists turn from Sdlp to sf to counter larger Dup. Sdlp disolve between Sf and Alliance. Alliance renames its self Ulster alliance. slowly builds as people get sick of the incumbent Dup/Sf gov pact. And we all live together in peace.

  • Comrade Stalin

    “I don’t think we really know whether the UCUNF _concept_ was a vote loser, because the execution of it was such an utter dog’s breakfast.”

    It is not possible to separate the idea and the execution. The whole thing was completely misconceived from the very start.

  • braniel unionist

    in my view……. it could only work if unionists had a choice of voting Conservative & Unionist or Labour Unionist.

  • The Raven

    Catinhat, Option B doesn’t work.

  • On the “inevitable united Unionist party” see Cllr Ian Adamson on the Impala Publications blog –

    http://www.impalapublications.com/blog/index.php?/archives/4606-The-British-Realm,-by-Cllr-Dr-Ian-Adamson-OBE.html

    Ed: Dr Ian Adamson writes –

    “I just wanted you to be first on developments of the Grand Unionist Committee, which will lead inevitably to a united Unionist Party.”

    The British Realm

    One major sphere of interest and concern that has always attracted serious attention in the Irish Nationalist/Republican sector is that of culture and heritage.

    ….As Honorary Historian of the Ulster Unionist Party, and Senior Advisor on History and Culture to Rt Hon Dr Ian Paisley, MP, MLA I have been honoured to have been asked to chair the newly established Grand Unionist Centenary Committee, which has representation from the DUP, UUP, TUV, PUP, the Black, Orange and Independent Orange Institutions, the Apprentice Boys of Derry, the 36th Ulster Division Memorial and the Band Associations and which will help to coordinate and advise on future Commemorative events. At the same time we will emphasise the whole breadth of our great Ulster, British and Unionist tradition.

  • CatinHat

    Frankly you’re a sectarian bigot.

    No doubt you’ll feel all kinds of superiority to me after I said that but it comes down to empirical fact.

    I don’t have a problem with a Protestant standing for Sinn Fein.

    You need to examine your prejudices, and be far more open minded.