#AE11: Enter UKIP stage right…

When UKIP first announced it would contest our assembly elections I was interested but not too hopeful.  After an election which had very little excitement the plight of specific parties or candidates have been the major stories.

UKIP gained 4,152 votes across 6 constituencies.  This may not seem many but it needs to be looked at in context.  They gained more votes than the Workers Party, BNP and PUP combined.

Henry Reilly, UKIP’s South Down candidate, won 2,332 First Preference Votes (FPV) and 5.6% – double that of the much tipped Green candidate.  Kilkeel based councillor Reilly became the “King Maker” in South Down.

The UKIP candidate polled more FPV than now elected MLAs Stephen Agnew (2,207) Leslie Cree (1,585) Alastair Ross (1,608) and Michael Copeland(2,194.)

With council results now declared we also see that Henry Reilly topped the poll in Newry & Mourne with 1,910 FPV (over 150 more than then nearest candidate.)

The ability of UKIP to poll so well as a new-comer to Ulster politics bodes well for other national parties to contest the province.  Their brand of combative right-of-centre politics coupled with their USP of Euro-realism has proved popular and this may be the beginning, not the end, of their involvement here.

, ,

  • Yes, unfortunately the UKIP candidate standing in the same constituency as Steven Agnew & Leslie Cree, did not poll more FPV than them. Odd that you left that out of your comparison.

    Apart from that, your analysis holds up brilliantly.

  • South Belfast Hack

    More than half of the parties first preferences were for one candidate in one constituency.

    Take his PERSONAL vote out of the equation and analyse the UKIP vote in the rest of the country.

  • Barry the Blender

    UKIP are not a trendy lefty party of the intelligencia.

    How dare you write anything positive about them on blogosphere!

  • Yes, criticism is best answered by ignoring the points made.

  • Drumlins Rock

    To be precise they polled 1820 votes in the remaining 5 constituencies, an average of 364 votes, its hardly a base never mind a breakthrough, it makes the TUV vote look astronomical. Well done to Mr. Reilly in Kilkeel, but I suspect the UKIP label had little to do with his vote.

    I do find it strange how you list the FPV for other parties’ candidate but neglect to list what the other 5 or yours actually got!

  • Michael Shilliday

    it is a highly dishonest argument to take a man who hasn’t polled less than 1000 votes in the same area for 20 years and say this was a massive UKIP vote. It wasn’t. Henry Reilly is one of the best known men in Kilkeel and has been on the Council for years. That’s why every other UKIP candidate died on their backside, UKIP is not a valued brand in Northern Ireland. Henry Reilly is a valued brand in Kilkeel.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Also, Henry is vet another example of a person who became a member of a small political party for reasons of high political principle, very shortly after being unsuccessful in seeking a UUP nomination (in fairness he was one of the first, followed thereafter by Hamilton, Trotter, Bradshaw et al)

  • South Belfast Hack

    Barry how dare you imply that I might be trendy, leftie or have sympathies thereto.

  • Commenters, Alex is a young new blogger on Slugger. Give him a chance to pull up a chair – and then offer a little constructive support/criticism.

  • Mick Fealty

    Greens have an MLA seat using a locally strong co-optee in North Down. UKIP might do well to pay attention to that case. It also demonstrates how important candidate selection is.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Alex, welcome to the team, 🙂 hope to hear more from you.

  • carl marks

    the ukip has very little future here as it hard to see how there usp of being anti eu will help them as all the unionist partys are anti eu already also ther zenophobia is much to subtle for the average racist here considering the amount of openly racist groups here.
    they are seen as a bit middle class and will have no appeal to our homegrown bigots in working class areas and to english for our middleclass bigots we already enough parts well versed in the ethics of ultranationalisn for them to make a impression

  • carl marks

    sorry typo last bit should read
    we already enough partys well versed in the ethics of ultranationalisn for them to make a impression

  • South Down Stoop

    For the purposes of overall UKIP performance, it would almost be more accurate to discount Reily as a UKIP candidate per se.

    He joined UKIP after failing to get the UUP Assembly nomination in ’03 and only defected to have a shot at Assembly himself later. Granted, he did poll a lot better in 2011 than ’07, but I’d say that’s mainly due to Reilly’s own popularity within his Council DEA, and the amount of money UKIP seemed to throw at it (anyone see the sheer number and size of posters around Dundrum and Clough?)

    If Reilly’s taken out of the equation, UKIP are but the biggest of a large shoal of minnows in the NI ditch.

  • Dec

    ‘Also, Henry is vet another example of a person who became a member of a small political party for reasons of high political principle, very shortly after being unsuccessful in seeking a UUP nomination (in fairness he was one of the first, followed thereafter by Hamilton, Trotter, Bradshaw et al)’

    Glossing over your humourous reference to Alliance as a ‘small polical party’, you appear to have left David McClarty off your ex-UCUNF lis of shame. I can’t think why…

  • Dec, maybe because McClarty didn’t become a member of a small political party? You quoted it, it may have served you well to have read it.

  • GoldenFleece

    What is it with the NI psyche that newly formed political parties who are trying something new are spat upon?

    Are we that enamoured with the status quo that other parties need not apply?

  • Michael Shilliday

    Growing as the Alliance unfortunately is, it remains a fringe group on the margins of NI electoral society. And McClarty wasn’t unsuccessful, he was stitched up.

    South Down Stoop, small factual inaccuracy, Reilly went for and lost the UUP nomination in 07 not 03. Agree otherwise.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    I recall after the first Maastricht referendum the UKIP celebrated the result by waving those foreign flags which Tractor Tom doesn’t seem to like very much.

    Would Henry be up for that sort of thing by any chance?

  • Dec

    ‘it remains a fringe group on the margins of NI electoral society.’

    Using that logic, where does that leave the UUP?

  • Dec

    ‘Dec, maybe because McClarty didn’t become a member of a small political party? You quoted it, it may have served you well to have read it.’

    Eh, let’s not split hairs here. Michael was slagging off erstwhile colleagues for leaving the party after post-deselection tiffs and David McClarty’s name was amiss. Given that the UUP have since gone back to him on bended knee and proffering a begging bowl, I’m sure, has no connection to his (McClarty’s) omission from afore-mentioned list. In fact the lastest pronouncement reveals that he was ‘stitched up’.

  • AlexHuston

    Interesting feedback so far.
    I hadn’t taken Reilly’s personal vote into account writing this.

    Also to clarify im not a member of UKIP and never have been

  • Politico68

    I welcome UKIP and BNP and any party that assists the continued fracturing of the Unionist vote !!

  • GoldenFleece

    I think it is a good starting basis for a party starting up in NI. It has got a councillor on its first time out, might be a personal vote, but its somewhere to start. I wouldn’t vote for UKIP, but all the best to them.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Dec, it leaves the UUP a party of twice the size in the mainstream of NI politics.

  • Barry the Blender

    Let’s play devil’s advocate here.

    Henry Reilly polled a large vote, that is said to be for him personally.
    Henry Reilly left the UUP after failing to receive the South Down nomination in 2007.

    Does it therefore follow that if Henry remained in the UUP he would bring the party a bigger vote than the DUP in South Down?

  • South Down Stoop


    Aye, realised. Knew it was the first time McCallister went for MLA.

    Just looking at the numbers, went from 1229 to over 2300 between 2007-11. Big leap, certainly against a backdrop of fallen turnout – to the point where Reilly was breathing down the neck of the SDLP third, O’Neill, who 10 years ago would have been returned comfortably. However even in South Down, Reilly would need to double his vote again to get an Assembly seat.

    Reilly aside, there’s not very much of a grassroots UKIP here yet. If the “mainland” party were willing to put more money and groundwork in, who knows? But I can’t see them taking off anywhere at the minute.

  • Dec

    “Dec, it leaves the UUP a party of twice the size in the mainstream of NI politics”

    So the UUP is twice the size of a ‘fringe group’. Hmm, impressive. Fringe group or not, at least they have an MP.

  • RyanAdams

    I think they could possibly gain some momentum over the next few years, as the absurdity of EU Directives continues to heighten.

  • Mr Crumlin

    Good riddance to the BNP, sorry UKIP.

    As said on another thread by Tomas, UKIP is the BNP for respectable people. Xenophobic and inherently racist.

    Im delighted the good unionist people have sent them packing.

  • I would have done a video interview with Henry Reilly in my series on Newcastle / South Down candidates, but unlike all the others I asked, he didn’t respond to my request on behalf of Slugger.

    This was despite the London UKIP office phoning Mick to find out why an interview with their candidate hadn’t been carried out… (it’s good to know they care!)

    One of the (unasked) questions would certainly have been about the money that apparently was being lavished on his campaign (see comment at 3:27pm today from South Down Stoop), not just on banner posters around the constituency, but on week after week of half-page colour adverts in the Mourne Observer. It may be worth looking out for Henry’s election expenditure when figures are published.

    Anyway, he certainly did pretty well (though not well enough), but as others have pointed out, this was a personal vote not a UKIP one.

  • Patrick,
    It would be odd not to care.
    Yes much of Henry’s success is down to his being an outstanding local candidate. And the problem with that is? Not at all sure.

    This was UKIP’s first foray into NI politics. For a UK national party to enter the bear pit of NI politics is historically foolhardy, but we believe that a small state non-sectarian unionist party may well have some resonance.

    We will continue to work and do what we can to spread that message. That is our challenge.

  • Mournemanukip

    Micheal, Henry Reilly was offered preferred candidate status had he agreed to stop complaining about the proposed imposition of a National park in Mourne and stopped complaining about the UUP drift towards being a europhile party even flying a EU flag on UUP Party HQ while Kilkeel Fishing boats were being decomissioned as directed by the EU, in short Reilly was expected to tow a party line that was unacceptable to him and decided that he could not surrender on core beliefs to get a Assembly position, I know for a fact that he does not regret his decision, I am certain that Reilly feels utter contempt for guttless unprincibled do anything for a seat UUP people, it was laughable that the actual prefered candidate in 07 was denied his UUP snout in the trough by a gang of young farmers who were not even party members aided and abbetted by Reilly supporters who Supported McCallister when the Europhiles denied him the candidcacy, Reilly will prevail because he believes in what he does and truely loves his Country, how many of your UUP party colleagues do you know who share Reillys values

  • Mournemanukip

    Mr Crumlin – UKIP was the only party in Northern Ireland to have a Black candidate running in the elections Ade Bensen in North Down, Ade is a valued member of UKIP NI we do not care what someones Race or Religion or Colour is, all we ask is that the individual is loyal to the United Kingdom and British way of life and want to live outside the constraints of the undemocratic and dictitorial European Union, I have wittnessed raw sectaranism and racism within Sinn fein and other socalled Nationalist parties that is repugant and we take exception to someone trying to brand us with the same racial and ethnic purity ideology that Sinn fein privately adheres to

  • Mournemanukip

    Patrick – Reilly is adamant that did not recieve any offer of a video interview and would have jumped at the oppertunity had he recieved it, Reilly is very annoyed to learn that this oppertunity was denied him

  • Framer

    Yes but why is Reilly so popular?

  • I met Ade Bensen at the count and he is an impressive guy, in more ways than one! He’s simply enormous..

  • Dissident Unionist

    Reilly’s council vote went from 1238 in 2005 to 1910 in 2011 an increase of 672. An impressive increase which is undoubtedly down to his popularly and hard work ethnic within the Mourne area.

    His assembly vote went from 1229 in 2007 to 2332 in 2011, that’s an increase of 1103 votes. Clearly the majority of these votes were down to his own personal vote represented at council level (1910). Leaving Reilly only taking 422 votes from outside his council area.

    If Reilly could hold his council vote next time out he could in theory bring in a second candidate for the party.

    Although he only took 422 votes outside of the Mourne area i’m led to believe that this campaign has helped him establish himself especially in the Rathfriland region and as far out as Clough.
    If he were to capitalise on this breakthrough, consolidate it and indeed increase his notoriety in the future as far out as these areas, he could realistically have a very good base to challenge from next time out.

    Within the more northern half of South Down as far as Spa just outside Ballynahinch, this was the first time many people had heard of UKIP not least Reilly. The same can be said for Downpatrick and the Ardglass regions too. I’m not even sure the entire constituency was canvassed by UKIP as they only had a small team out, possibly missing huge areas around Moneyslane and Katesbridge.

    The SDLP’s Karen McKevitt took the last seat with 3758 votes but given Ritchie’s failure to vote manage her own vote (8,506) correctly they failed to bring in Eamonn O’Neill (2,663), thus losing out to SF’s Willie Clarke (3,883).

    Looking at the figures Reilly only needs to increase his vote by 1,600 to be right in the mix for a seat next time around.

  • Mournemanukip, just so there is no confusion, I emailed the interview request to Henry Reilly and UKIP Northern Ireland at two publicly advertised email addresses (including mail@ukipni.org, the ‘contact us’ address on Henry’s website) on April 18th.

    Unlike the five other candidates I emailed, I did not receive a reply from Henry, which is a pity.

    If “this oppertunity (sic) was denied him”, then responsibility for that lies with his / his party’s lack of response.

  • badger 3336

    Henry Reilly, like him or loathe him, is a man with principles which he holds dear. He has used Facebook extensively to further the policies of UKIP which granted are mainly get us out of the EU immediately but in Mourne where the local industries of fishing and farming have been plagued by over regulation from Europe his policies ring true. He is a man of the people and was very active locally during the winter when we had problems with the roads/footpaths/water/refuse collection/job losses and continues to push for improvements in all these areas of concern.

  • separatesix

    The TUV should seriously consider standing under the UKIP party name in NI after all it is our sister party, Jim Allister has condemned both loyalist and republican violence in the past so he cannot be accused of sectarianism.

  • Mr Crumlin

    Mournemanukip – well then thats all right then!! I didnt say they werent a lot more subtle in their xenophobia.

    I dont see your point about Ade – only white men can be xenophobic or racist? My brother was once chased by the National Front skinheads in London and their leader was black.

    UKIPs racism is personified by papers like The Sun and Daily Mail. Like I say, the acceptable face of British nationalism – you know the good old days of the Empire.

    Also when you descend into whataboutery and ‘themuns are worse’ then you lose the argument. I am quite happy to argue whether SF openly promote sectarianism etc but on a thread that is about that – this is about UKIP so perhaps you should stick to that subject.

  • separatesix

    Mr Crumlin I’ve never heard such rubbish! UKIP even had a transexual representative so I’m pretty sure they’re quite progressive, many parties are concerned about immigration that dosen’t make them racist. What do you even know about UKIP, I suggest you do some research before making sweeping statements

  • Mr Crumlin

    Thanks Separatesix – I will wear your post as a badge of honour!

    I have read their policies on immigration and law&order – have you?

    “End the active promotion of the doctrine of multiculturalism by local and national government and all publicly funded bodies” – if that was on BNP literature there would be uproar.

  • separatesix

    Has multiculturism really worked? It would be good if it did but it hasn’t

  • Comrade Stalin

    Jim Allister has condemned both loyalist and republican violence in the past so he cannot be accused of sectarianism.

    When Kevin McDaid was beaten to death in Coleraine by the UDA it took Allister the best part of a week to put a statement up on his website. It wasn’t that he was away from home, as during that period he found time to put up an unrelated statement complaining about Martin McGuinness.

    Then, of course, some of his party members decided to campaign for the release of Torrens Knight, a convicted loyalist multiple murderer. Apparently this was not grounds for the individuals concerned to be expelled. Why exactly people who think that loyalist killers should not be in jail would want to join the TUV is an exercise left for the reader at home.

  • separatesix

    When the individual set up the petition he did so independently there was no TUV link, Jim Allister distanced himself from it entirely. So don’t talk down to me.

  • carl marks

    When the individual set up the petition he did so independently there was no TUV link, Jim Allister distanced himself from it entirely. So don’t talk down to me.

    ithink what stalin was pointing out is that no action was taken against the person in question by a party who claims to hold the belief that anything that is morally wrong cannot be pollitically right .
    a principal they only seem to enforce when dealing with the other sort. then of course there is never a comment made about the drug dealing antics of loyalist groups (the other unionist partys are quiet on this as well) but we nver tire of his attacks on bomber kelly

  • FuturePhysicist

    Science is a multiculture that has succeeded on numerous occasions.

    When has mono/uni culturalism suceeded.