General Election 2010 – the DUP

Didn’t stand in FST or North Down so the raw result of 25% a little distorted – but losing the leader’s seat was unfortunate to put it mildly. The dynamic in East Belfast is best left until we get to the Alliance so let’s look at other stuff.

Positives
The TUV were smashed – finished? Maybe but I think they’ll throw everything they have at Stormont. Even in North Antrim the DUP majority was a comfortable 12,500 odd however.
From the other side stong UCUNF campaigns in South Antrim and Upper Bann were defeated leaving the DUP as the sole Unionist party with Westrminster representation. (Apart from the Hermonite Unionist Party of course).
Negatives
A victim of their own success maybe but it’s difficult to postulate with any rationale further electoral progress. The excellent analysis by Nicholas Whyte indicates at best standing still at Stormont.
Whither Peter Robinson? – To get through what he’s been through has been remarkable enough but electoral failure is something else again……the East Belfast ssembly campaign will be fascinating.

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  • slug

    Dewi the double jobbing phase-out hits this party like no other.

    East Antrim with no Wilson, North Antrim with no Paisley, and North Belfast with no Dodds, Lagan Valley with no Donaldson, South Antrim with no McCrea and East Londonderry without a Campbell and Upper Bann with no Simpson. (Well I have a feeling that Wilson will actually stay on because the DUP has argued its good to have one person in both places). Its’ got to be a factor here.

  • slug

    Oh and of course Strangford with no Shannon.

  • slug

    Its a great opportunity for the DUP – looking at it positively – to bring forward new talent.

  • slug

    I believe that the big issue in the election (aside from AV) will be the budget cuts. The parties will campaign on spending priorities–i.e. given that there will be 25%-40% cuts to govt spending, which areas should be “ringfenced” and which cut. There will be proposals to drop the number of departments, and work to abolish duplicated education and other facilities.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    The DUP will have had a year to get the youngsters off the substitutes bench and into Stormont so they will go into the Assembly election as incumbants and the campaign will have all the senior MPs out on the stump…so it wont be such a factor.
    None of it will stop the overall result being about 50% unionist bloc….42% nationalist bloc……and 8% central (with the caveat that Alliance designation on polling day might be different when they sign the register. They have form).
    Peter Robinson…..he will be in his 65th year……but without a Westminster seat is the biggest name among DUP candidates. So its vital he fronts their campaign. Whether he actually wants to…..is a different matter…..as he might prefer time at home or in Florida with his grandchildren.
    If he stands he would probably want a full term as First (?) Minister rather than be known as the man who took over from Paisley.
    The distribution of marginal seats will change….and if DUP inexperience is an issue it would marginally help UUP and TUV to their “left” and “right”. It would not change the “blocs”.

  • slug

    Robinson dob is 1948 … so in his 62nd or 63rd yr.

    I can’t forsee a reason Alliance would go unionist or nationalist – there is no vote needed any more for the FM and DFM.

  • slug

    Its an interesting conjecture you make about the effect of having no “heavyweights” on the ticket. Yes the heavyweights will be campaigning, in principle, but the lack of a Paisley in North Antrim, is something we have not seen in, er, over 40 years! So its certainly a new development

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Youre probably right. I didnt look it up and trust you enough to know youre right withoit looking it up now. For some peculiar reason I thought he was six years older than me.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Well there will still be Robinson, Foster, McCausland, Poots, Storey, Newton, Wells, Weir and probably the profiles of a few others will be enhanced…..but yes theres a changing of the guard and second tier MLAs will be #1 on tickets.
    Some like Jonathon Bell in Strangford (not my favourite person) are well able to assume the mantle.
    Ultimately the DUP might say that they are losing big hitters too early (Donaldson, Junior Paisley) but in the long run it helps……the SDLP hung on to big hitters too long……

    At worst its a blip for DUP..but it grooms younger people to get ten years or so under their belts before MPs decide to step down. Without looking up references Id reckon McCrea is the only one over 60 (but obviously my record in guessing ages is not that good).
    So if theres ever a good time to change the guard, its 2011

  • Granni Trixie

    It is vital for a party to attract new blood and the present circs where there is pressure not to double job, there is an opportunity to give new people work to do – and to do away with dynasties and promote more women.
    The question is, will this happen or will it be the same old,same old, given political culture in NI is so slow to change. Lets note the patterns that emerge?

    FJH: trust you will not be sued by McCrea – I took him to be in his early 50s.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The double jobbing “debate” doesn’t amount to much and certainly doesn’t appear to matter to voters who routinely endorse candidates, even when they take elected office simultaneously in different constituencies. I think it’s a massive red herring.

    I suspect Wilson will hold on to his MP and MLA jobs because he can. He puts the hours in and the electorate in East Antrim record their overwhelming satisfaction at each opportunity they have.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Alliance have only changed designation once. And that was at a time when the alternative was the collapse of the political institutions, which at the time most people supported, just as they do now.

    Robinson remains a liability to the DUP. I think it’s probably time that he retired. That’s not a perspective I take a great deal of comfort in; despite the past, today’s Peter Robinson is a remarkably talented and incisive politician, probably one of the most skilled out of all the MLAs we have.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I meant to add – Alliance will not be designating as unionist (or nationalist for that matter). I don’t think the parties would be capable of offering a deal that would enable this. In the event of an assembly that ends up being stalled due to the designation issue I’d expect Alliance would use the opportunity to call for talks on reforms.

  • Drumlin Rock

    CS, as usual in politics its throw the bady out with the tainted bathwater, the DUP def pushed the whole thing too far with too much power focused in a small number of families and individuals, but there maybe a case for a few MLAs to be MPs once things have settled again, and councillors too, but not ministers I would think.

  • slug

    We have heard that before, mind you.

  • The big name loss provides the positive of making vote management easier plus some of the results would indicate the name thing was not as powerful as people assumed.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    “Alliance have only changed designation once” is a bit like saying that youve only committed adultery once.
    Once is usually enough for most people to think its wrong.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Granni Trixie…..McCrea was the minister at the funerals of the Miami Showband murderers in 1975…..35 years ago.
    According to wikipedia he is 62……must be all that good living that keeps him looking so young. Personally I dont look a day over 30.
    But you make two interesting point. ..on dynasties and women.
    According to wikipedia…..yeah I know I shouldnt use it.there are only 12,000 actual members of the Free Presbyterian Church. That seems very low number.
    And yet the DUP has so many MLAs that are FP that it is so far away from its grass roots.indeed the DUP must be the only Party in the world where most members believe most of its voters are going to Hell..
    Breaking the dynasties…….and of course not all the dynasties are FP (ie the Robinsons) ……would be difficult unless the membership is actually wider based.
    Likewise ……the number of women in the First Tier (Foster, McIlveen) is very low….as is the number in the Second Tier at Council level.
    Difficult to see how the DUP can expand beyond where it is now…and frankly a Party that stays still…..shrinks.

  • Comrade Stalin

    “Alliance have only changed designation once” is a bit like saying that youve only committed adultery once.

    No, it isn’t. Alliance didn’t have a choice, it was either redesignate, or take responsibility for the collapse of the assembly.

    Once is usually enough for most people to think its wrong.

    Who is “most people” ? All of the parties in the assembly with the exception of the DUP at the time supported it.

  • slug

    CS I didn’t think it wrong. Actually I hate designation – the concept – so playing fast and loose with it gives it the respect it deserves.

  • pinni

    Now that only Nationalists are double-jobbing, it is no longer a hot topic on Slugger, 😉