Ignore my first utterance in the embedded video. The DUP had assembled their 44 Assembly candidates in Ormeau Baths Gallery to launch their election campaign. Their manifesto won’t appear for another fortnight. I asked Peter Robinson about how their performance in delivering their 2007 manifesto and the ongoing need to produce them.
Ormeau Baths’ last exhibition just finished at the weekend. But there was no sign of “Expecting the Terror” at this morning’s launch. (The “Terror” in question was “HMS Terror” a ship rather than an angry party leader.)
Introduced by Nigel Dodds (MP), Peter Robinson listed some of the party’s/Assembly’s/Executive’s* achievements over the last four years. (*delete as appropriate)
He differentiated the DUP from other parties, highlighting policies that they don’t support.
I don’t agree with the Ulster Unionists who supported the cuts to public expenditure in Northern Ireland.
I don’t agree with the SDLP who support the continuation of the discriminatory 50:50 police recruitment policy.
I don’t agree with the Alliance Party’s proposals to introduce Water Charges when families are already suffering difficult economic times.
And I don’t agree with Sinn Fein on a whole range of policies from their approach to the economy to their opposition to academic selection in education.
But that’s what politics is about and what this election will be about.
He acknowledged the difficulty in delivering party priorities
In this campaign I’m not going to promise the earth. Politics doesn’t work like that; and our multi-party Executive certainly doesn’t work like that. But we will work to deliver on the priorities that we set out. And if other parties have good ideas, we will support those too. We will only promise what we can deliver. We won’t say one thing and do another. Just look at our 2007 manifesto to see how much we actually did achieve.
Watch out for the DUP’s list of priorities being explored over the next ten days: more jobs, rougher sentences, low rates, fix education, better health, work together, strengthen unionism.
He finished by talking about turnout, but avoided referring to a need to beat Sinn Fein in the race for most votes.
We must not only maximise turnout and support for the DUP; we must use every vote to its maximum effect. That is why key to our success is vote management. Where we are fielding more than one candidate, the candidates have divided up the constituency, and we are asking our supporters in each area to support the recommended candidate depending on which polling station they vote at.
This was perhaps a message for the 44 candidates who made up the vast majority of the speech’s audience: be disciplined and don’t trample on your colleagues votes.
The DUP aren’t specifically pushing their dup2win.com URL this election. Instead, they’re launching mydup.com, softening the brand for younger voters. In its first release it doesn’t sound like it will include Obama-esque call to action functionality.
Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about cinema and theatre over at Alan in Belfast. A freelancer who writes about and reports from civic, academic and political events, reviews cultural performances, chairs discussions, and live-tweets, streams and records lectures and conferences. He delivers social media training, coaching and consultancy, produces podcasts, is a member of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland, FactCheckNI board member, and is a member of the Corrymeela Community.