UUP’s Chuckle Brothers strategy a pitch for TUV voters?

 The Ulster Unionist Party election campaign strategy has involved the production of a Chuckle Brothers 2 poster, with a smiling Peter and Martin pictured above the strapline, “Don’t let them make a sequel. Vote Ulster Unionist.” 

The tactic is interesting as it suggests a strategy aimed at attracting the disillusioned DUP voters generally associated with providing the potential voting pool for Jim Allister’s Traditional Unionist Voice. Whilst leader Tom Elliott’s hard-line statements regarding homosexuality and the GAA were in keeping with this approach, where does it leave the UUP’s bid to re-establish itself as the voice for more mainstream unionism?

  • perseus

    lol, the UUP are going to be annihilated, like SDLP
    Alliance the big winners.

  • Next Saturday night might have a better discussion on it.
    Noel Humphreys in the BBC Studio in a link up with David McNarry and Basil McCrea at their respective count centres.
    Looking forward to it already.

  • At no point is it ever a good idea to spend your money on a great big advert for your opponent unless you have played around with it a little such as Hague with Thatchers hair or Blair with the evil eyes.

    As for trying to appeal to TUV voters – what voters?

  • Nordie Northsider

    I was in Belfast recently and I saw that poster go past on the Dublin road. I thought: ‘How ill-judged it is to publically mock two men for getting on with each other. Would the UUP rather have friction, scowls, personal emnity?’

    A very strange message from the so-called party of moderate Unionism.

  • Greenflag

    Unbelievable . Whoever is the propaganda boss at UUP needs to be told that a picture paints a thousand words . The message from this poster appears to read vote SF and DUP and for most people who see it that’s what they’ll do .

    BTW Whats a sequel ?

    Shooting themselves in the head while aiming for their foot is one of the few talents which the UUP seem to possess in abundance .

    Having people who can smile while running a place like NI has got to be a winner for most people .

    I trust the UUP propaganda officer has received thank you notes from his/her counterparts in the DUP or SF ?

    BTW Whats a sequel ?

    Briefly it means those who follow or trail behind . the longer definition here below gives the etymology -Note the Secundus

    c.1420, “train of followers,” from Old .French. sequelle, from Latin . sequela “that which follows, result, consequence,” from sequi “to follow,” from PIE base *sekw- (cf. Sanskrit. sacate “accompanies, follows,” Avestan hacaiti, Gk. hepesthai “to follow,” Lith. seku “to follow,” L. secundus “second, the following,” Old.Irish. sechim “I follow”)

    So literally this UUP poster is asking the NI voters not to allow SF and DUP come in second so one has to assume the UUP want voters to give the smiley faces their number one votes .

    .

  • More likely to drive votes to the TUV if any impact at all. The swing to the DUP was because the UUP lost the trust of many unionist voters: and recall in the last year of Trimble there was no division and he was a man in charge of his ‘decent’ party. Not clear what the UUP have done to recover that trust, if anything. Those who trusted neither gave Jim Allister over 60,000 votes in the Euro election 2009. Westminster was always going to be tough for the TUV, but in another PR election who knows?

    Depends of course how many believe voting is worthwhile. UUP have been using what might be described as TUVesque language for a while, from time to time. But not sure if that is deliberate, or that once you set your face towards opposition there is only one narrative which must be shared.

    Problem for the UUP is that the votes it has lost have been from all parts of the Party. Clearest in East Londonderry where a traditional UUP slate (all wings) is Boyd Douglas and David McClarty, rather than the two official UUP candidates. That is what the UUP is up against. Problem is that there are so many messages out of the UUP that it is not clear what or who the real UUP is any longer. Unionism may be uncomfortable with the DUP, but at least there is a degree of certainty in what it now wants: even if that is to be top dog and hold on to power, it is still clear in purpose and small enough to hold discipline and line.

    Elliott has taken over a pigs ear of a party. All that said, there is a core UUP vote that will probably hold for this election and it has three years before the next to sort out a clear purpose and direction. Whether or not it is able to do that, time will tell.

  • Drumlins Rock

    You don’t understand the Unionist voters, folks, remember the DUP was a hardline party when they got ELECTED last time, the cosy love-in has not played well with those on the ground, most are too polite to say too much, but remember at the heart of the fight is the traditional core of Unionist voters who left the UUP and Voted DUP last time, this is where the UUP has to get voters back from.

    They didn’t vote for a DUP-SF marriage, and much as the phrase is derided, on the doorsteps people aren’t happy and are going to vote UUP this time as they don’t see TUV as a credible option, this honestly is what I am hearing a lot, (heard it from 5 homes last night out of about 20 canvased) it could be a different story in the east, but it is coming through so clear I doubt things are that different. I’m not going for predictions but atm I feel very posative about the results, you lot are the only ones depressing me!

  • vanhelsing

    I would have to agree. I saw one where I live and thought two things

    Which demographic are they trying to get the votes from using this type of material?

    Is the inference that because these two are the biggest parties [and ideologically opposed] they shouldn’t at least have a working relationship? If so where would that take NI?

    Mistake.

  • vanhelsing

    DR

    I know you’re in the west and we’ve been out in the east but to be honest I haven’t heard it once. The big issue was education and the secondary one jobs/economy. I think they may be some sort of divide – that’s what my father in law tells me anyway 🙂

  • JAH

    “You don’t understand the Unionist voters, folks, remember the DUP was a hardline party when they got ELECTED last time, the cosy love-in has not played well with those on the ground, most are too polite to say too much, but remember at the heart of the fight is the traditional core of Unionist voters who left the UUP and Voted DUP last time, this is where the UUP has to get voters back from.”

    Or another interpretation is that UUP had failed to lead Unionism after GF, was seen to be walked over by SF, but the Unionist electorate still wanted a deal done on terms it could live with. So it gave Paisley his majority but it was on the understanding that he did a final deal. And he delivered. So why would they go back to parties living in a Sixties timewarp?

    Maybe the DUP vote will splinter next week in which case Martin McG is the new First Minister. Not so much a sequel as Nightmare on on Albertbridge Road for the UUP surely?

    Also, why is TUV given any more credibility than the BNP or UKIP? Sure they will pick up votes, but are they really seen as a threat? Did we not have all this speculation last year as well in the absence of any polls?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Come on guys, this is the party that tried to persuade people to vote for it with a photo-op involving a trip on an old bus and blow-up photograph of a plate of fish and chips. Surely you don’t believe that under Tom Elliott’s leadership they have evolved to a mean PR machine ?

    DR:

    You don’t understand the Unionist voters, folks, remember the DUP was a hardline party when they got ELECTED last time, the cosy love-in has not played well with those on the ground, most are too polite to say too much, but remember at the heart of the fight is the traditional core of Unionist voters who left the UUP and Voted DUP last time, this is where the UUP has to get voters back from.

    I hate to break it to you but I fear it is you who does not understand unionist voters. The election result in 2007 was unquestionably an endorsement of powersharing. Bob McCartney offered people a slot on the ballot paper to register their protest against it. They didn’t take it.

    In 2010 Jim Allister offered people a chance to vote against the DUP and powersharing. The UUP offered people the chance to vote for something; it wasn’t very clear what it was, only that it was different from the DUP. Once again, the unionist electorate did not accept any of those alternatives and turned out re-endorse the DUP despite the fact that the party was severely exposed and vulnerable following Irisgate and the property scandals. Neither the UUP or the TUV won a single seat; indeed the TUV defied expectations in terms of how badly they did in the end.

    Unionist voters are actually quite easy to understand; all you have to do is look at the electoral results. I fully expect that the UUP will lose seats, and the TUV result outside of North Antrim will remain depressed.

    They didn’t vote for a DUP-SF marriage,

    Yes, they did. In 2010.

    and much as the phrase is derided, on the doorsteps people aren’t happy and are going to vote UUP this time as they don’t see TUV as a credible option,

    Chuckle. I’m really going to enjoy quoting this one back at you in a week’s time.

    this honestly is what I am hearing a lot, (heard it from 5 homes last night out of about 20 canvased)

    From what I have experienced of UUP canvassing, you guys don’t know how to canvass and accordingly it’s very difficult to take this seriously.

    If the UUP knew how to canvass, David McNarry would have had enough of an idea not to predict on live TV that the party would win several seats at Westminster. So we can take your predictions with a large pinch of salt.

    it could be a different story in the east, but it is coming through so clear I doubt things are that different. I’m not going for predictions but atm I feel very posative about the results, you lot are the only ones depressing me!

    You’re going to lose.You shouldn’t be depressed at all; this is the electorate getting rid of a competent and bankrupt (in all senses) political party that has accomplished nothing in the past ten years beyond hanging on for dear life.

  • Comrade Stalin

    JAH,

    Like you I’m getting a lot of deja vu.

    I think it was Brian Walker who pointed out here a few weeks ago of how during 2010, David McNarry was visibly shocked and unprepared when it came through that the UUP wouldn’t win any Westminster seats. When Robinson’s loss came through, the DUP had prepared for it and knew how to deal with it in front of the cameras.

    The reason for this is because the DUP know how to canvass and run elections, and the UUP don’t. If McNarry had access to proper canvassing data he would have anticipated the likelihood that the party wouldn’t win any seats. Either the data he was being fed was wrong, or he’s the sort of person who doesn’t pay any attention to it either way.

  • “UUP’s Chuckle Brothers strategy a pitch for TUV voters”

    How do you figure that one out, Chris? As a SF supporter/apologist are you trying to create the impression that the UUP and TUV are singing from the same psalm-sheet – in a manner of speaking? I say psalm in the sense that some Protestant denominations have an aversion to hymns.

    I thought politicians put up posters with cheesy grins as an invitation to “Vote 4 Me”. If so, this poster is sending a clear message which is contrary to the intention of its designers. Has UUP HQ been ‘infiltrated’? 🙂

    I was invited to sign nomination papers by an election candidate. My initial response was to refuse on the grounds that I like to have a free hand when it comes to blogging stories on misgovernance. Further questions revealed that the candidate had decided to enter politics as a member of the TUV because, when political assistance was sought from a range of sources – most likely Unionist, Jim Allister was the only one to step up to the mark. On reflection I then offered to sign the papers as a stand-by because Jim’s team had assisted some friends in another matter. The candidate was probably unaware that I’m a supporter of shared sovereignty and had referred to TUV AGMs in a phone-box. How else can one explain this: “u would have been the perfect man for the task”? 🙂

  • Cynic2

    Look when you have no vision, no ideas, no hope and no leadership this is the sort of thing you get.

    Its also symptomatic of a party dominated by the petty squabbles and vanities of a Fermanagh Election and an assumption that we are all mired iun the goldfish bowl politics of that one county.

    I have news for you Tom – in the big bad cities where most of us live your poster will register with us for about 1 second as it / we pass. And in that 1 second what do we see, what image will stick? A smiling Robbo.

    Gross incompetence yet again. And all created because you have no core message at all. Nothing to offer us.

    So in the end us unionist voters get noone worth voting for. That’s why we don’t bother

  • alex gray

    Last Wednesday in teh Belfast Telegraph one of the UUP candidates Adrian watson described the Robinson-McGuinness relationship as incredibly toxic and he did this in the context of the changing security situation which the press seem to be largely ignoring despite the revelations about the re-formation of the IRA by Suzanne Breen two week ago. These are former comrades of McGuinness so he knows who they are and he knows what they did in the past and as Adrian Watson said he could presumably shop them for past crimes thus taking them out of circulation. Remember Al Capone was never done for murder but only for tax evasion but it did take him off the streets. So in the context of the changing and now very serious security situation – young policemen are being murdered and bombs are an almost daily occurrence (try getting internal investment now) – the relationship between Robinson and McGuinness is indeed incredibly toxic when you realse that McGuinness could be doing a lot more to root out this new IRA composed of his former heavyweight terrorist mates. The real thing which unionists fear is that we are seeing a two pronged straegy by IRA-Sinn Fein – McGuinness heads up a political front while his forner (are they former???)mates are still pursuing the military strategy. Given the existence of Gadaffi semtex and all it implies for the non-decommissioning of IRA arms this is a real possibility. We will not resolve problems by pretending they don’t exist. That is a stupid way to proceed. We need to confront this IRA problem and if we don’t it will sweep Stormont and everything else away no matter how much we issue joint condemnations – Wilfred Owen spoke of armchair generals who fought the enemy with their mouth. That will not do – talk does not do it. That is why the relationship between Robinson who is in Sinn Fein’s pocket and owes his job to them is so toxic. He is not a free agent and as such cannot represent unionist interests.

  • andnowwhat

    Here’s a thought. If one wrote down the agenda of the UUP in a brief summation that covered the las 10 years, presented them to an unaware outsider and then asked them what the party’s political ethos is (outside of being unionist. That’s on the can)a would they find a cohesive thread by which to define the party?

  • Mr Crumlin

    Alex Gray – its obvious that you agree with the old James Molyneaux about the IRA ceasefire being the most destabilising thing to happen the union etc.

    Your argument would be worth listening to if you also said that unionist politicians and communities knew the leaders of the UVF and UDA but didn’t give police the information.

    Martin McGuinness has shown extraordinary leadership when confronting the strategic flaws of the dissidents. His job is to continue to convince the nationalist and republican communities to reject the dissidents – in other words to lead.

    If only the UUP had a leadership capable of leading. It is obvious that the only political leader within unionism is Robinson.

    I am bewildered that there are people who continually look to the past for some sort of comfort. Remember the past but don’t live in it.

  • “They didn’t vote for a DUP-SF marriage,

    Yes, they did. In 2010.”

    Comrade Stalin, I endorse your comments on UUP canvassing but I think you’re well wide of the mark re.2010. That was a Westminster FPTP election and I’d think the Unionist and Nationalist sheep opted for the respective dogs that could piss highest on the constitutional lamppost.

    I don’t go with the marriage metaphor; they’re both living under the same roof. I can understand why AP might wish to cling onto DUP-SF skirts – the Justice ministry – but cheer-leading for a civil partnership that mistreats and maligns the other minnows could easily lose the AP my vote.

  • alex gray

    No you see it’s not me who is living in the past. If Suzanne Breen is right – and I have heard no-one contradict her – then we have a problem. The IRA has re-formed and all is changed, changed utterly by this – including politics. Quite frankly there is little or no connection between mainstream parties and the loyalist paramilitaries as there is between McGuinness and his former ?? mates leading the re-formed IRA. The reality is that all other issues are dwarfed by this new security situation we are facing and we will not resolve it by becoming ostriches.

  • vanhelsing

    I personally think that Tom is being badly briefed and there is no excuse for it – further it gives me no joy in saying that.

    The billboard campaign in conjunction with the ‘attack ad’ I think is a misjudgement by the UUP. They need to work out what exactly their core message is, who their core voters are and how to expand the latter.

    Comrade Stalin – “The election result in 2007 was unquestionably an endorsement of powersharing” – I agree CS – I think if the UUP are expecting a bounce back – well I’d be hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

    I don’t think that the fault is Toms, McCrea would be facing similar problems – just Tom is easier to bash. There are well documented problems regarding candidates [delete as approp] not liking / actively hating each other – other parties could have made more of this if they had wanted.

    I have also noted that where I live no one I know has been canvassed by the UUP – this strikes me of either complacency or laziness. I do not pretend it is necessarily like this across the province – just my constituency.

    What makes me the saddest about all of this is that it reduces the core Union vote and that IMO is not a positive thing for that broad church that is Unionism.

  • Comrade Stalin

    That was a Westminster FPTP election and I’d think the Unionist and Nationalist sheep opted for the respective dogs that could piss highest on the constitutional lamppost.

    The point that I’m making is that registering opposition to the powersharing arrangements was clearly not a priority for the unionist electorate.

    I don’t go with the marriage metaphor; they’re both living under the same roof. I can understand why AP might wish to cling onto DUP-SF skirts – the Justice ministry

    It’s not a case of skirt clinging, although I appreciate it looks very much like it is. SDLP and UUP are incompetent and we are better off without them.

    – but cheer-leading for a civil partnership that mistreats and maligns the other minnows could easily lose the AP my vote.

    If you are arguing that the UUP and SDLP are too weak and ineffective to defend themselves, then we definitely agree. If you are arguing that it is somehow the responsibility of SF and the DUP to try to promote the interests of their electoral competitors, quite aside from the idea that they might try to promote the interests of two parties which are deeply divided, incoherent, and incompetent – then you are extremely naive.

  • Comrade Stalin

    alex gray,

    Martin McGuinness and co almost certainly know who the dissidents are. But you can’t convict someone by pointing to them and saying “that guy is a dissident”. It’s the word of one person against another. You need evidence, and that’s only going to come through intelligence and covert policing

    I guess it’s probably asking too much of Ulster Unionists, such as Adrian Watson’s mentor David Burnside, to give up the names of the people in the UDA/UVF/UFF they all hung about with in the 1970s and 1980s. Wasn’t Burnside was expelled from the UDR for writing articles in a UDA magazine ? Who exactly do these people think they are to cast the beams from the eyes of others ?

  • iluvni

    Whata naff poster. They are really going all out to balls up another election….What sort of shambles of a party puts up a politician with no voice on a TV debate?

  • Comrade Stalin, I think we both agree that registering opposition was not a priority. However, I can see no basis for your claim that there was support for the Executive ‘marriage’ when the traditional constitutional option was freely available.

    The various scandals and other expressions of misgovernance don’t convey an image of competence, either amongst ministers or amongst the committees that we expect to hold ministers and civil servants to account.

    I’m arguing that the UUP, SDLP and AP lack the clout to stop the DUP-SF carve-up. Why does the AP not speak out against this abuse of power? Why, for example, did David Ford not establish a single independent inquiry into the Sam Pollock business. By independent I mean the use of investigators who have no links to the various parties to the dispute. The current investigations are partial in more senses than one and IMO make a (continuing) laughing stock of our governance.

  • joeCanuck

    To have large pictures of your political opponents on the side of a van, especially one moving, and them smiling, is incredibly stupid. They don’t seem to have a clue.

  • Cynic2

    I don’t often agree with you Joe But I am with you on this one.

    To borrow a phrase “What a plonker!”

  • “If you are arguing that ‘blah blah’ then you are extremely naive.”

    Comrade Stalin, why are you concocting such a scenario? The MLA who call me ‘a dangerous bastard’ and the civil servant who called me ‘The Blogger’ mustn’t think I’m naive 🙂

  • fordprefect

    Simpsoninbangor,
    Have to agree with you, I remember a DUP poster in the early 80’s which had Adams on the left, a masked man in the middle and Danny Morrison on the right. The strapline on was something like “don’t vote for terrorists” (something like that anyway), but it backfired badly on them, because, people actually thought it was a genuine SF election poster!

  • vanhelsing

    Ford,

    I have that poster and it actually was a UUP one. Thought it was good though – I have mine signed by a couple of significants. Just in case you’re wondering its not Danny and Lord Ardoyne 🙂

  • Comrade Stalin

    Comrade Stalin, why are you concocting such a scenario?

    Because you seem to be arguing less about a carve-up, and more about the fact that the carveup is at the expense of the UUP and SDLP, as if there is some kind of entitlement that you expect to be honoured. Furthermore you seem to be arguing that Alliance are wrong for not enforcing that entitlement.

    I could well have you wrong (please correct me) but your comment “.. but cheer-leading for a civil partnership that mistreats and maligns the other minnows ..” is hard to interpret any other way.

    However, I can see no basis for your claim that there was support for the Executive ‘marriage’ when the traditional constitutional option was freely available.

    What, you mean excluding the fenians ? It’s not “freely available” no matter how much you would like to think otherwise.

    I look forward to the day when having an opposition is possible. The way things are going right now, by the time it happens, that opposition will be the SDLP/UUP plus A.N. Other.

    The various scandals and other expressions of misgovernance don’t convey an image of competence, either amongst ministers or amongst the committees that we expect to hold ministers and civil servants to account.

    I’m certainly not holding up the present government as a model of competence, effectiveness or (least of all) accountability. But it’s better than what we had before, and the SDLP/UUP fell far short of the standard that we now “enjoy”.

    The case I am putting is relative, the case you are putting is absolute. Which is fine, but advocating voting for UUP/SDLP is advocating that we replace an imperfect/bad solution with something worse.

    I’m arguing that the UUP, SDLP and AP lack the clout to stop the DUP-SF carve-up.

    That’s a function of how the system was designed – by the SDLP and UUP. The two large parties have the power, and the ear of the governments. The smaller parties have no choice other than to either be in the executive and go along with it (more or less), or to stay out of it and be irrelevant. That’s the way they designed it. I’d like to see it reformed but I don’t think it is likely right now.

    I have said a few times recently, I feel the SDLP/UUP did have the opportunity to stop the carveup at the start. They could have withdrawn from the executive and drawn up a pact. Alliance may well have had no political option other than to play a role as a junior partner in that pact. Unfortunately, and here we see the crux, they were too narrow minded and lacking in foresight to make such a move. Now they’re pinned.

    Why does the AP not speak out against this abuse of power?

    I don’t see it as abuse, DUP/SF are operating the system exactly as it was designed to be operated. I don’t like it, but then again I didn’t like it since 1998 and Alliance have said so continuously since then, to the point of boring everyone to death, that the system was designed to emphasize the role of the two largest parties, diminish the smaller ones and facilitate a carveup. SDLP/UUP said “lalala we’re not listening”. And now they’re whinging about it ?

    So what you’re asking Alliance to do is continue doing what it spent 12 years doing, ie acting as a small voice which was being deliberately silenced by the system. That gets you nowhere.

    Why, for example, did David Ford not establish a single independent inquiry into the Sam Pollock business. By independent I mean the use of investigators who have no links to the various parties to the dispute. The current investigations are partial in more senses than one and IMO make a (continuing) laughing stock of our governance.

    I’m not in a position to defend that as I don’t know anything about it, or why the decisions taken were taken. But I believe Ford supports a strong Ombudsman and has no interest in trying to diminish or undermine that office. I don’t have an especially high opinion of Hutchinson. I think certain recent decisions or actions have been fluffed and I reckon these are probably related to the Pollock matter.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Just in case you’re wondering its not Danny and Lord Ardoyne 🙂

    Who is Lord Ardoyne ? Gerry Kelly ?

  • vanhelsing

    CS – The Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead – Grizzly

  • Cynic2

    Comrade

    Nah. Gerry only thinks he’s Lord Ardoyne

  • Comrade Stalin, when I said carve-up I was referring to the situation in the Executive where decisions and stances are agreed in advance by the DUP and SF and occasions when the smaller parties receive agendas and supporting material after Executive meetings have begun. It seems that AP, having received the Justice ministry, is now playing along with the farce.

    Excluding the fenians? I was referring to the traditional pattern where Unionists vote for Unionist candidates and Nationalists for Nationalist candidates ie the traditional response to the Border question.

    The system was designed by London and Dublin; the local parties got to a little bit of tinkering with it.

    The partial approach followed by David Ford would appear to follow the pattern adopted in the other investigations that have had an airing on Slugger and NALIL; those who hope for justice will probably have to whistle for it 🙁

  • Comrade Stalin

    van,

    Ardoyne is in North Belfast, Gerry is from West. I think that Lord Ballymurphy or Lord (Turf) Lodge has more of a ring to it.

    Nevin,

    Comrade Stalin, when I said carve-up I was referring to the situation in the Executive where decisions and stances are agreed in advance by the DUP and SF and occasions when the smaller parties receive agendas and supporting material after Executive meetings have begun.

    I’m aware of these allegations but It’s very hard for me to take them seriously when the ministers involved don’t feel it appropriate to resign their seats. I know I’d resign from anything if I thought my position was being made deliberately untenable, which is the accusation in this case.

    It seems that AP, having received the Justice ministry, is now playing along with the farce.

    Since David Ford takes his vows of confidentiality within the executive seriously, unfortunately it’s hard to know what his view of what goes on within the meetings is.

    The system was designed by London and Dublin; the local parties got to a little bit of tinkering with it.

    Yes, and the “tinkering” in this case was the design of the designation system and the idea to use d’Hondt. Those all came from the SDLP.

  • fordprefect

    Vanhelsing,
    Could you please scan it and post it on here? I’m pretty sure it was Adams and Morrison.

  • fordprefect

    Vanhelsing,
    I have a good memory, and, I think it was the DUP. But, you’ll probably prove me wrong (I don’t mind). Please post it.

  • Comrade Stalin, I take the allegations seriously and I’m sure David Ford knew the score before abandoning the role of ‘unofficial opposition’:

    Over the last number of years, Mr Ford has strived to position Alliance as the unofficial opposition to the four-party mandatory coalition government.

    It is a stance that will be hard to sustain once he takes a seat at the Executive table. .. source UTV

    Quite.

    In the absence of shared sovereignty d’Hondt is a move towards the sharing out of ministries; it ought not to be confused with a fair allocation of resources. As we’ve seen, ministers can operate their tenures as fiefdoms without adequate checks from their committees. But then again DUP and SF have a controlling interest in such committees … The partial decision in the Sam Pollock case was taken after the committees had been stood down.

    You seem remarkably coy/uninformed about David Ford’s experience of government. Is he bound by the Chatham House rule, the sort of thing indulged in by Common Purpose?

  • vanhelsing

    FP, it’s massive but I’ll see what I can do:)

    Now you’ve got me doubting myself…

  • Munsterview

    A wee bit off this election thread, but some may be interested as to how things are shaping up in the Canadian election.

    Seems that they too are having their own ‘ d’Hondt moments’ in that there are a whole raft of issues that there is a concensus on to avoid, irrespective of how these issues are effecting the ordinary voters.

    http://www.henrymakow.com/ten_issues_canadian_election_w_1.html

  • vanhelsing

    FP – Just for you and my wife thinks I’m insane running round the house for this 🙂
    http://img222.imageshack.us/i/p1020960t.jpg/

  • dennis the menace

    how did putting sf out of buisness work out for the UUP

  • Comrade Stalin

    Quite.

    Nevin, Alliance can’t act as an opposition to the Executive because David Ford has taken the pledge of office and is now part of it. Hence Ford, together with the rest of them, must take the credit – or the blame – for whatever the executive’s collective accomplishments are.

    The justice ministry post was taken with the party fully cogniscant of the fact that it could no longer describe itself as an unofficial opposition. Nothing new here.

    In the absence of shared sovereignty d’Hondt is a move towards the sharing out of ministries;

    I’ve no idea where you are going with the shared sovereignty thing. I reject the idea that ministries must be “shared out” as a prerequsite to achieving “fairness”.

    As we’ve seen, ministers can operate their tenures as fiefdoms without adequate checks from their committees.

    I think a lot of that is down to the lack of experience our politicians have in these matters. NI Water was a serious fiasco but I hope people have learned from it, and I’m optimistic that they have.

    But then again DUP and SF have a controlling interest in such committees … The partial decision in the Sam Pollock case was taken after the committees had been stood down.

    I doubt the decisions over the Pollock matter would have been any different had the committee been in session; these were ministerial decisions. In any case don’t the committees have an order of business ? They don’t just meet up and have a chinwag on whatever they think the issues of the day are.

    Committees are accountability structures, they aren’t there to veto ministers or direct ministers. I’m sure you must know this.

    You seem remarkably coy/uninformed about David Ford’s experience of government.

    I don’t think so. Ford has pretty much no experience of government beyond that he has obtained when he first became justice minister. Something which is true of all 108 of our MLAs, with the possible exception of those who have history as MPs who will have seen up close how things work elsewhere.

    Is he bound by the Chatham House rule, the sort of thing indulged in by Common Purpose?

    Not sure where you’re going with that. Executive meetings are private. Just like cabinet meetings in the UK or Ireland. “private” means private in that details are not supposed to be discussed with anyone outside of the executive.

  • Langdale

    Campaigns don’t make a huge difference to an election, since the vast majority of people have made their minds up very long before the election is called.

    The UUP’s campaign has not been all that bad.

    But as many of you have already noted the UUP’s problem is that a majority of people are not entirely sure what the party stands for. They have no clear image in their mind—other than the entirely negative ones of division and mixed messages.

    They are not going to disappear this time and will probably come back with 16/18 seats.

    What they don’t have is a strong leader and nor do they have a credible alternative.

    I probably won’t vote. The DUP just depress me with their pretence they have achieved something. The TUV will not have the numbers to make the difference they insist is required. I live in Lagan Valley and couldn’t bring myself to vote for the decidedly odd pairing of Basil McCrea and Mark Hill.

    Which means I’m one of those unionists who have just been switched off by all of them. I’m not a wishy-washy type either, just someone who would like a more convincing unionist brand to represent me.

    LP

  • I find this incredible. To run an election poster which features two of your opponents getting on with running the country? what will they do next, send a party spokesman who has lost his voice to a radio show?

    …they did? Oh.

  • separatesix

    Jim Allister is the only genuine unionist leader left, good luck to him and his party on the May 5th!

  • separatesix

    I understand Langdale’s predicament, but apathy is a bad thing. Transfering to every unionist party is vital, If I was on the electoral register and lived in East Belfast I’d vote for all nine of the unionist candidates.

  • Given that apparently, according to DEL statistics, almost 25% of the local population verge on being both illiterate and innumerate, it is perhaps not such a good idea to run a poster campaign featuring a happy and harmonius duo.

  • separatesix

    Totally agree articles! that must be why Sinn Fein have to hand out mock ballot papers.

  • Comrade Stalin, perhaps we can continue this conversation after the election. I expect that many of the same faces will reappear so we can probably expect more of the misgovernance that we’ve already had 🙁

  • Comrade Stalin

    Yeah, but I’m cautiously optimistic that things will improve. I am hoping the fact that there are no more elections due for another 4 years mean that the parties will take a few risks and take the time to clean house.