TUV the end or the end of the beginning?

TUV the end or the end of the beginning

In a little over 72 hours we will know whether the TUV has been consigned to history like the UKUP and so many other unionist parties of the past or whether it can begin to form a proper opposition at Stormont. Jim Allister has set out his stall again arguing for a functioning opposition and moving towards voluntary coalition. The other candidates also feature on the TUV election broadcast. The other unionist parties seem to agree with the strategy but not the mechanism of getting there. The UUP seem to agree that Stormont is not working properly but again seem unwilling to form an opposition whilst the DUP also advocate change but not for at least another four years.

The reality is that the current system of government seems disliked by all the parties except Sinn Fein and both Stormont and our politicians seem to be held in contempt by large sections of the electorate. That mix managed to gain Allister a very significant vote in the European election but failed almost completely to translate into votes at Westminster. For a time after last May’s election it looked as though the TUV was destined to vanish. That it has not done so thus far is a testament to Allister’s strength of character but also to the simple and overwhelming accuracy of his contention that a working democracy requires an opposition and the ability to vote hold the parties of government to account.

I never do predictions but there are a whole series of constituencies in which the TUV have a fair chance: it would be most unlikely for them to win all the seats but it would also be surprising if they failed to win any of them.

Apart from North Antrim there is the neighbouring constituency of East Londonderry where Boyd Douglas has a track record of representing the agreement rejecting wing of the UUP especially around Limavady / Garvagh. If he could reclaim some of that vote and gain some disaffected DUP voters he could be well placed to pick up transfers. In Mid Ulster Walter Millar did better than most TUV candidates and is a well know local figure in a constituency into which the TUV have put considerable resources. As such Overend is by no means certain of taking the second unionist seat.

East and South Antrim provided poor pickings for the TUV last May but in an assembly election it is much more possible that they could get enough first preference votes to remain in the race. The idea that TUV would be transfer repellent has become one of the shibboleths of political analysis. Like many shibboleths it may be incorrect: some DUP voters will like the TUV more than the UUP and so transfer to TUV first: the same in reverse would apply to some UUP voters.

David Vance did not do well in East Belfast at the last election. However, that was an odd election there in every way. It became clear that many voters wanted to damage Peter Robinson (as an aside I suspect he may get a sympathy rebound this time) and Long was the best placed to gain that vote. Vance having had to move to fight the seat was not especially well placed. As such Harry Toan is likely to do significantly better than David did last time. Vance himself, whilst he may be the favourite hate figure of many sluggerites, has a much better chance in Upper Bann than he had last time. In a PR election with four unionist seats, the UUP having had problems in that constituency and Upper Bann’s hard line unionist credentials it is more than possible that as the transfers begin we will have David Vance MLA. The levels of distress that that would cause in slugger-land would indeed be epic but unfortunately elections cannot be declared void because the internet commenteriat do not like them.

Coming finally to FST. It would be a major shock if Arlene Foster and Tom Elliott do not get elected. That barring something truly bizarre would leave one usually unionist seat unfilled. Maurice Morrow is the sitting MLA and is from the South Tyrone part of the constituency, Kenney Donaldson has made a significant name for himself in FST and Alex Elliott is also a well known and respected personality. From the TUV’s point of view it comes down to just how many hard line unionists there are down here and also whether the traditional suspicion and antipathy between the UUP and DUP in FST cause major transferring to the TUV.

If (as looks highly likely) Allister gains a seat in the assembly it is inevitable that he will present a formidable opposition figure. If he goes there as the leader of a group of MLAs significant change in the governmental system may become difficult to ignore. If he is there alone the other parties will no doubt dismiss him as a voice in the wilderness. Those voices in the wilderness often, however, have a point. The critique of the current system of government is not going to go away.


  • separatesix

    I didn’t say I personally woulden’t attend a funeral mass, I was saying I respect the right of someone like Nelson McCausland not to do so without being lambasted for it.

  • seperatesix So, you respect indiscriminately, those who avoid going to a Catholic, [there’s no other kind of Catholic in western europe to confuse with]funeral because of their theological differences, and politicians who use that as a figleaf to cover their cynical protection of their votes? I include McCausland and wee jeffrwey in the latter category.

  • john

    Early reports on TWITTER. TUV vote has ”bombed” in lagan valley!

  • andnowwhat….. Can’t get into politics.ie this morning. might be just this library pc. lovely day here.

  • john

    TUV polling poorly in Upper Bann according to UTV. Not looking good for them. Oh dear I thought Upper Bann and Lagan Valley were suppose to be in their sights!

  • separatesix

    Deeply dismayed at David Vance’s low polling.

  • Mac

    “Deeply dismayed at David Vance’s low polling.”

    Didn’t Anna Lo do well.
    Shame about Ann Cooper though isn’t it?

  • Henry94

    Deeply dismayed at David Vance’s low polling.

    I have a lot of time for David and would have been happy to see him elected. But it looks like the DUP have won the debate within unionism.

  • perseus

    seperatesix, perhaps DV could join Alliance
    accept the “shared future” and serve NI proud.
    a happy outcome yes?

  • separatesix

    DUP flying the flag upside down I see, a mistake the TUV who truly value it would never make. the DUP are Lundy sell-out’s, another four years of being Sinn Fein’s poodle awaits.

  • separatesix

    I don’t like the BNP however Ann hopefully she gained more votes than prod-hater Magdalena Wolska.

  • Nunoftheabove


    The TUV managed to get the flag pinned on the donkey’s arse the right way up (well done, chaps) and their boy’s still been humped. Their unacknowledged ideological ‘cousin’ party the BNP look likely to have their rear ends agonizingly tanned by the electorate too. You never get bored backing losers babes ? 😉

  • separatesix

    Extremely disapointed with some of the electorate for not electing Boyd Douglas, but he managed to get more votes than Lesley Macaulay (a very capable candidate) from an established party.

  • separatesix

    Ukip is Tuv’s sister party not the fascist BNP, Martina Anderson looks like an ageing barbie bomber.

  • Nunoftheabove

    You said sister, I said ‘cousin’. As Alan Partridge says “either way, it’s incest”. I agree with you that Ms Anderson may well be ageing. As am I. Aren’t you ?

  • separatesix

    Maybe! but at least I’m not a bomber.

  • Nunoftheabove

    I’m guessing that you ain’t no barbie either sweetheart but it’s ok, it’s really gonna be ok, honest it is.

  • john

    squeeky bum time for Jim. Fair play to you separatesix for still being here many others in your position would have gone into hiding after all your bold TUV predictions

  • Greenflag

    DUP Paul Frew in North Antrim says if TUV leader Jim Allister gets in to Stormont, it will be on his hands and knees.

    So where does that leave David Vance ?

    The TUV is now ‘busted’ RIP etc etc

  • youngpolitico

    Walter Millar saying if Jim doesn’t get in the TUV is dead…

    In truth it has been dead since last year yet that didn’t stop it limping on ranting about everyone and everything so will total election failure stop it or do we need a wooden stake and a silver bullet? .

  • RepublicanStones

    I was outside Banbridge count center today. Called in on my way home from Dublin. Flash Harry was out at the picnic table early on, relaxed but looking resigned. All i can say is, we need lots and lots more politicians like Joanne Dobson…ahem.

  • The TUV are finished – I’ve run into several of their candidates in the last few days [just my personal experience] all three were arrogant and just plain rude to me.

    Just in case we’re in any doubt of where Separatesix and his colleagues stand – he says it better than I could ever:

    “I don’t like the BNP however Ann hopefully she gained more votes than prod-hater Magdalena Wolska.”

    A polish SDLP candidate who I would prefer to be with if she was sticking forks in me rather than ANY TUV candidate I’ve ever met:)

    Bye Bye

  • Kevin Barry


    As always, I enjoy your posts though I would (very) rarely agree with you politically.

    Sticking to your post and avoiding all of what has been said, as I noted on a post for Ronan Kerr, I would never criticize someone for not going to someone’s funeral due to religous grounds; as much as I disagree with Jim Allister on most things and would be secular in the public realm, knowing that he has paid his respects but does not feel he can attend a service does not pose a problem for me personally. Of course, I would have much rather preferred he had went.

    Regarding the TUV; much like with dissident republicans, there will always be a group of unionists who are not happy with the current provisions. (seperatesix to mention something on tuv not killing someone)

    There are many parts of the current governance structures or the ugly scaffolding that I dislike, however, I want them there as unfortunately I do not believe that some are grown up to conduct political life in good faith.

    Jim Allister makes a very valid point; (to paraphrase or hopefully not misquote him) in a democracy, if we do not like the objectives or policies of a party then we should have the opportunity to make sure that they are not in power.

    That is all well and good, however, for 50 years we saw what happened when we had Ulster-style true democracy (1 party, sectarian rule). Unfortunately, as was the case when republicans had to prove their bonafides that they wanted peace and government in NI, unionists will need to prove that they won’t all group up merely to keep SF (the largest nationalist party) out when they represent majority nationalist opinion.

    This is also part of the reason why the SDLP won’t go for the idea of voluntary coalition wholeheartedly without SF approval; if they agree to it and everyone were to group up against SF then the SDLP would face oblivion at the ballot box.

    I do believe we need some kind of transitional provisions in place to start to bring us towards to a voluntary coalition. I believe that while we have a ‘compulsory’ government, we should also have a compulsory opposition; i.e. unfortunately/fortunately we live in a society where most are either nationalist or unionist; which ever party is the largest from either designation should form the government while the other is not given a ministerial position. This should only be put in place for say 2 elections at most so that both communities can learn to trust working with the other, while those who have lost can each also form an opposition and learn how to work with one another for the policies they want.

  • separatesix

    Glad to see Magdalena Wolska was completely rejected by the electorate on a pitiful 250 votes, even British nationalist Ann Cooper managed to poll many more votes than her. At least Anna Lo was a neutral candidate.

  • JR

    “Glad to see Magdalena Wolska was completely rejected by the electorate on a pitiful 250 votes”

    Good to know what issues the TUV support base really care about.

  • Nunoftheabove


    Back for more today then I see; what losers are you wanting to big up today ? If you can let us know early who you’e supporting then I can be comfortable knowing they’ll be taking a biffing later in the day and can pop out and catch 18 holes.

    Cheers doll

  • RepublicanStones

    Ok – so for SF & DUP it’s as you were.
    As regards Tom Elliot, will he survive as head of UUP, and as regards the future of the TUV….?

    So here’s one catch-all tune to reflect this

  • separatesix

    Ha Ha Johnny McGibbon didn’t get elected, thought that was a dead cert. The voters have got the elected representatives they deserve, see rep “pitbull” Paul Butler moaning about no nationalist assembly member in Lagan Valley, democracy is tough isn’t it Paul! sour grapes.

  • andnowwhat

    Is it true that Vancy has retired today?