Without Opposition, “the UUP remains trapped, un-influential and jointly culpable…”

Alex Kane on the virtues of embracing opposition for the UUP:

…it strikes me that the UUP is in the same position as Clegg: it cannot be true to itself and carve out its own identity (which makes it hard to attract new votes) and it shares the general unpopularity of the Executive (which means it may lose people who voted for it last time). Mike is right when he says that the UUP’s structures and organisation still need work (and that’s been an ongoing project since the mid-1980s, don’t forget!); but organisational improvements will mean very little if the UUP remains trapped, un-influential and jointly culpable for the dithering, incompetence and disconnect of the Executive.

I’m not as sure as Alex that the Executive is as unpopular as he suggests. Few of the big cuts have really bitten yet. The journey through the eye of the Belfast Agreement’s needle has left all parties in Northern Ireland politically identikit copies of one another.

The stranglehold the two big parties – which to be fair to them is probably as much of a necessary evil in order to prevent the thing from cowping as much as anything else – makes it tough for any individuals who sit on the Executive.

But if you are going to try to disrupt you need a good political reason to do it…

, ,

  • DC

    Makes good sense to leave it, rather than be dragged down with the current bunch in the executive, who will have to administer cuts, is it not better off out of it and take a bigger cut of the votes next time round?

    I think the DUP have peaked in terms of votes and are journeying down on an electoral cycle which has peaked for them, managing a recession and jobs cuts should hardly gain the DUP an increased number of votes next time round.

    I guess the DUP is content with the UUP staying where it is as they reckon any loss of votes that might come will also affect the UUP as well, so might not be as bad that way. If all the parties stay in the executive then they all experience a decline in votes and the bigger players still come out just as big relative to the others. Win win, risk free for SF & DUP.

    Will the UUP try something to break out of this? Hope so.

  • cynic2

    Why is opposition always equated with disruption?

    The fundamental problem with any system of oligarchy – which is what we have in the Executive – is that it inevitably leads to cronyism and corruption. The evidence of this in NI is already clear in the way the Executive works, for example, in public appointments and in the failure to hold to account Ministers who are demonstrably totally utterly incompetent. Just look at the fiascos in NI Water and the various EU fines for examples.

    What we need and what the UU can provide and revive their fortunes is challenge. We need a group of members in the Assembly who don’t have their noses in the patronage trough. Who aren’t beholden for what OFMDFM grant them by way of perks and allowances and status. And who are willing to use the Assembly Committees to challenge, challenge, question, probe and expose those in power

    This will be a lonely road. It will demand drive determination and an average IQ a bit higher than that of the the current UUP tribe. But, done effectively, aggressively and constructively it also has the capacity to revive the UUPs fortunes by energising the electorate behind the reform of an increasingly incompetent and politically corrupt system

  • IJP

    I broadly agree with Alex, but also with your response, Mick.

    Perhaps, after all, Bale hits the nail on the head – the UUP continues to be too obsessed (even culturally obsessed) with tactics rather than strategy.

    I respect McCallister’s position more than Nesbitt’s because of its clarity. Nevertheless, it is still merely a tactic. What would the UUP do in Opposition? What policies would it be advocating that are clearly different from the DUP’s? How could it demonstrate that it is more competent (which it isn’t, of course)?

    Nesbitt’s plans are even more obviously ‘tactics’ rather than ‘strategy’. The notion of pushing for a referendum on technicalities around an Agreement which took years of tough negotiating, when Nationalists are clearly opposed to any change, without first seeking at least SDLP backing, is yet another car crash. It can’t happen politically. So where does he go then?

    Alex is subtle in his attack on Nesbitt’s line about “power” being a political party’s currency, but the attack is correct. If the UUP’s view is that the DUP holds power just for the sake of it, how can it then say it is all about “power” (understood: for the sake of it)?!

    Ultimately it all comes back to this: you can come up with all the tactics you like, and even all the strategies you like, but if your party doesn’t even really know why it exists…

  • Drumlins Rock

    Can I just say don’t under estimate or over estimate the voters, most will not get the in and outs of our unique government system, but they know it is SF & DUP that call the shots, those that do know the ins and outs in great detail still know it is SF & DUP that call the shots. As things stand both the UUP & SDLP criticise many discision, fulfilling one role of opposition, technically they might sign up to the whole package in the budget but the public arent worried about that.

    I can’t see a viable alternative at the minute unless the opposition role is official to some extent, remember “self appointed” positions are meaningless, like goverments in exile, unless they are properly set up it just becomes a joke.

  • DC

    Ultimately it all comes back to this: you can come up with all the tactics you like, and even all the strategies you like, but if your party doesn’t even really know why it exists

    Like most parties, the UUP exists for events.

  • DC

    Put it like this, if it’s done right it will work.

  • alan56

    You could say why do any parties (other than DUP and SF exist) as they have zero influence and zero power other than that which the coalition partners allow? Recent evidence of this can be seen with the UUP Minister’s u-turn on the A5. McCallister may indeed be on to something despite the fact that Mike Nesbitt’s communication skills may be admired. Nesbitt can get a bit tetchy though when a journalist takes an angle he doesn’t like.

  • IJP

    Alan

    The DUP exists to solidify devolution within the Union.

    SF exists to ensure equality and promote “Irish culture”.

    Alliance exists to promote a Shared Future and a move away from the “two sides” mentality.

    So it’s actually quite clear why they exist.

    The UUP? The SDLP?

  • dwatch

    “What would the UUP do in Opposition?”

    Exactly IJP, what can they do? they can always sit between McNarry and Allister and be a thorn in the side of the DUP & SF, but never acheive anything. I wonder how many will be left by the time of the next elections 2014?.

  • alan56

    IJP
    Very interesting descriptions… but I am allowed a smile…..
    This coalition is throwing up some interesting bedfellows as can be seen here on slugger.
    From an Alliance point of view its continuation in Justice ministry depends on the ‘two sides’ being polarised.

  • IJP

    Alan

    I’m sure the Alliance Party would gladly hand over the Justice Ministry in return for a less polarised society.

    On a slight tangent: that type of thing is common to all democracies. For example, however much the Mail or Guardian rant, the UK Prime Minister will always remain inside the EU but outside the euro while remaining an ally of the United States; s/he will always be slightly in advance of the public on social issues; and so on. In other words, moderation has an inbuilt advantage – and probably rightly so.

  • alex gray

    Opposition ? As I keep saying no governemmnt will be formed here unless it is cross-community. Where is the UUP’s partner in opposition then ? The SDLP have set their face against coming out of the Executive. This is a simple practical reason why opposition will not work. Mind you the way Dolores Kelly was laying into Sinn Fein last week on Hearts and Minds, you could see how they could go into opposition quite effectively. The problem remains Nesbitt has no policies – as Tara Mills put it on the Sunday Politics when she heard Mike Nesbitt’s meagre policy offering – Is that it ? Nesbitt needs a radical policy adviser pronto. The policy of the UUP is non-existent at present which is a sad indictment of theri policy staff. After all, Cameron has Steve Hilton. Nesbitt is after power a la Machiavelli. In fact his leadership operation is straight out of the pages of Il Principe. But he lacks original ideas. The problem remains – the mainstream Ulster Unionists have no leadership candidate to vote for. Will they stay away ? If they do, maybe they will go away. laving Nesbitt with a dried-out husk of a party.

  • Comrade Stalin

    alan56

    From an Alliance point of view its continuation in Justice ministry depends on the ‘two sides’ being polarised.

    Yes it does, but it would be quite wrong to say that Alliance would act to prolong that polarisation in order to secure the job for longer.

    I don’t think Alliance will remain in possession of the justice ministry for more than a couple of years, if the DUP and SF continue to make progress on building bridges.

  • mick mccann

    Would it be possible for Slugger to hold a yes/no poll for support of an opposition if a referendum was called tomorrow?

  • emanonon

    What exactly do Alliance stand for, they rely on sectarianism for their survival. We are not the DUP or SinnFein seems to be their main policy, if sectarianism disappeared tomorrow would they have a future.
    I don’t think so.

  • Comrade Stalin

    What exactly do Alliance stand for,

    A lot. See the website.

    they rely on sectarianism for their survival.

    Yes, that is true. If there was no sectarianism then there would be no Alliance. But I fail to see the point in debating the obvious. It’s like saying if there was no crime, we’d have no police.

    We are not the DUP or SinnFein seems to be their main policy

    This is clearly not the case. Whether you agree with it or not, Alliance does have an ideological and practical policy framework built on notions such as pluralism and a shared future, which is very different from that of any of the other four main parties whose positions are fundamentally wedded to a series of absolutist or slightly less absolutist positions on the constitutional question, with some extra bread and butter, motherhood and apple pie stuff crudely tacked on to the side as an afterthought.

    , if sectarianism disappeared tomorrow would they have a future.
    I don’t think so.

    On one level, you’re quite right, Alliance wouldn’t have a purpose in its present form if NI became a pluralist society built on shared values with sectarianism and discrimination eliminated.

    But again, this debate is pointless. If the union were somehow permanently secured, would the DUP cease to exist ? If Ireland was reunified would the SDLP or SF cease to exist ? Probably not; they’d live on. Much as Fianna Fáil and Cumann na nGaedheal live on in Irish politics 90 years after the treaty split and civil war.

  • IJP

    Mick

    No.

    Because it is unclear what is meant by “opposition”. Firstly, there is already an opposition under the current system, albeit a tiny one. Secondly, how would the government be formed if there is an opposition – majority rule? Qualified majority? Automatically by the largest parties in each “tribe”? None of this is clear – and none of it is acceptable to Nationalists anyway.

    The 1998 and 2006 Agreements are complex balances of power, and tampering with them inevitably means dismantling the institutions as they currently are. In the middle of an economic crisis, is this really what the UUP wants to do?!

    emanonon

    The Alliance Party stands for a society where we no longer talk about “our people” and “their people”, where we no longer speak of “our areas” and “their areas”, and where people are judged solely on merit without reference to which side of the fence they happen to come from.

    If sectarianism disappeared tomorrow, the Alliance Party would become a perfectly normal European Liberal party, supporting personal freedom, individual responsibility, etc. Of course, sectarianism won’t disappear tomorrow, and that is really the point.

    All of that makes the Alliance Party’s vision fundamentally different from that of the DUP and SF, who seek to maintain “separate but equal”. They are perfectly entitled to do that of course, but it is fundamentally different from the Alliance Party.

    However, if you tried to explain how the UUP’s and SDLP’s vision differ from the DUP’s and SF’s, or how they would survive post-sectarianism, you’d have a problem. Which explains their ongoing decline.

  • emanonon

    I think you have confirmed my point Alliance doesn’t stand for anything it stands against things. It can’t make up it’s mind which union it supports, it can’t make up its mind on Lib Dems, it can’t make up its mind on socialism or capitalism.

    Need I say more.

  • alan56

    Perhaps ‘opposition’ does not need to be ‘official’. A group of MLAs clearly scrutinising government policies need not be a cross community issue. Speaking rights are surely according to party strength. Jim Allister is a single voice but he certainly gets noticed.

  • FuturePhysicist

    How successful have Alliance members been in uniting the interfaces?

    Why aren’t there Alliance members getting sledgehammers to peacewalls if they’re committed to non-sectarianism?

    They seem more interested in creating a third tribe for themselves than one multicultural tribe between the UK and or Ireland.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Why is Allister more different an opposition from McNarry, McClartney or Agnew?

  • alan56

    FP
    Forensic brain of a QC?

  • carnmoney.guy

    The worry of opposition comes when an election is called. Nesbitt is up against a master vote manager and strategist in Peter Robinson. With the reduction in constituencies, the DUP could greatly increase the number of their candidates, with household names and sitting councillors insuring that DUP is voted down the card. This would have a horrible effect on those UUP MLAs waiting for transfers, as they get diluted at every stage.
    Nesbitt would be pro-Union, anti Stormont varying for the Pro-Union Pro-Stormont Alliance votes.
    At least Nesbitt wouldnt have to worry about the issue of double jobbing……….

  • Progressive Unionist

    Opposition is not about being “anti-Stormont” – it’s about making Stormont work better.

    Protecting power-sharing while introducing accountability – all parties will benefit over the long-run.

    It’s the logical next step forward, and will help consolidate both the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements – while ensuring that whoever’s in power on the hill will be kept on their toes.

  • IJP

    Future Physicist

    Sorry, but that’s nonsense.

    1. Alliance has 8% of the vote. With 50%, I could see your point, but with 8% it gets quite difficult to complete your full programme. Despite that, it has begun the integration of teacher training, put shared future into the PfG, and been instrumental in two peace “barriers” now being open during day.

    2. Alliance was the party which advocated power-sharing devolution within the UK with an all-Ireland dimension as the likely solution. A wasted quarter of a century later, the rest caught up.

    3. The whole point of “Peace Walls” is that they provide security to communities with minorities who refuse to get on due to the sectarian poison in our society. You have to remove the poison first – again, something which isn’t easy with four larger parties all elected along sectarian lines.

    Progressive

    I agree with you – but there isn’t a chance in Hell of the UUP presenting that position coherently.

    Already today I’ve heard of one person – fairly knowledgeable, in fact – referring to Nesbitt ‘wanting a referendum to “dismantle Stormont”‘.

    That’s the way it’ll be presented – the UUP going “anti-Stormont”.

    They simply don’t have the discipline or the communication skills for it to be any different (and, what’s more, the DUP does!)

  • Comrade Stalin

    emanon:

    I think you have confirmed my point Alliance doesn’t stand for anything it stands against things.

    Isn’t it right to be against things like discrimination and sectarianism ?

    And didn’t I say that Alliance was for things like pluralism and a shared society ? No, you skipped that because you filter out things that are disruptive to your worldview.

    It can’t make up it’s mind which union it supports

    That’s because it isn’t important.

    , it can’t make up its mind on Lib Dems,

    Nobody cares about Alliance’s opinion on the Lib Dems, why on earth would they ?

    it can’t make up its mind on socialism or capitalism.

    As if capitalism and socialism are issues on the doorsteps. Is that what you ask parties when they canvass you ?

    Need I say more.

    You haven’t said anything at all, except regurgitate the usual tired old anti-Alliance “oh, they don’t know what they stand for” cliches that are as old as the party itself.

    FuturePhysicist :

    Why aren’t there Alliance members getting sledgehammers to peacewalls if they’re committed to non-sectarianism?

    You missed this ?

    They seem more interested in creating a third tribe for themselves than one multicultural tribe between the UK and or Ireland.

    I’d dearly love to know what sort of warped logic would lead to that bizarre conclusion, but I’ll bet that it has something to do with SDLP not getting the justice ministry.

  • Taking the discussion back to the UUP…

    1) There is no problem with being in opposition if you can portray yourself as being a better alternative party of government; a voluntary refusal to participate in the current government makes that point very effectively.

    2) The oppositionists’ immediate problem is that the move to opposition is already being interpreted as i) a rejectionist attempt to destroy the current system or alternatively ii) a demand for a systematic adjustment to allow an opposition to exist.

    3) It doesn’t help to assert that an opposition is somehow necessary because the presence of an opposition is part of “normal” politics. Non-Unionists generally take it as read that Northern Ireland politics is not “normal”, whatever that means (usually used as a a synonym for “like England”); and one of the abnormal things about Northern Ireland’s history was the establishment of a permanent opposition from 1921 to 1972.

    4) UUP support is at a tipping point. The last Assembly elections have them at 1% below a seventh of the total vote; the last local government elections at 1% above that fraction. That’s the mathematical zone where relatively small drops in the vote can make big differences, as the candidates who just scraped in last time just fail to do so. (This is irrespective of the boundaries, as long as we stay at six seats per constituency – the new boundaries don’t do the UUP any particular favours, but the same is true for everyone.)

    5) The real problem for the UUP is not whether or not to be in opposition. It is to find a credible and consistent message which is sufficiently distinct from the DUP’s to enable them to eat into DUP support. The DUP have now outflanked the UUP both on being the more effective defenders of the Union and on being more effective at working with Nationalist colleagues in government. I don’t have an answer, but I suspect that any UUP message which responds to the DUP framing (or to irrelevancies like the link with the Conservatives) will be no more successful than the last.

  • HeinzGuderian

    ‘irrelevancies like the link with the Conservatives’

    In my humble opinion,from that point onwards,the UUP was/is a party without a future.
    They refused the opportunity to join with a party who will hold power over the UK for decades ahead. I still don’t understand why ?

    Whoever is voted as the new leader of the UUP,should join with the Conservatives without a moments hesitation.
    It will distinguish them from the dup ‘ holier than thou’ crew………………only trouble being,Nesbitt glories in his christianity.

    I fear the writing is already on the T-Shirts.

  • FuturePhysicist

    I’d dearly love to know what sort of warped logic would lead to that bizarre conclusion, but I’ll bet that it has something to do with SDLP not getting the justice ministry.

    I look forward to the day where any party in the North could be trusted with the justice ministry, that is not the point. The point is, while the Alliance party does well in nice integrated middle class areas like South Belfast, its support fails in working class areas and interface zones and polarised nationalist/catholic/border areas. Essentially rather than converting, they are preaching to the converted.

    IJP makes a good point about removing the toxins, which has to come from the civic devolution and implementation of the peace process. I do take a polarised view, it’s a democracy and I’m entitled to that. Ian took a polarised view when liberalism wasn’t centre right enough, that’s his right. The Alliance Party’s problem perhaps is that come a European election due to being both non-constitutional on one hand (like a British or Irish party) and non-internationalist (like the Green or Socialist movement) on the other its positioning on a regional matter such as National treaties and referenda is compromised at best and nihilistic at worst.

    Now I didn’t think that was too warped now.

  • Granni Trixie

    A good reason why it is not in the interest of the UUP to merge with the Conservative Party is that the latter has such limited voter appeal in NI.

    For clarification, whilst the liberal values of Alliance serve it well, in practice it is a catch all party,left and right of centre, not a NI Liberal party (it is a kind of hybrid,you might say). Also, one USP not mentioned above is that it names sectarianism in its analysis and consistently pushes for resouces to deal with the problem.
    Others tend to avoid articulating that the problem exists until confronted with its manifestations (say riots at interfaces).

    I too agree that it would be a sign of normality and confidence if other parties were trusted with the Justice Ministry. But in the meantime, Alliance will just have to continue to punch above its numerical strength.

  • FuturePhysicist

    The Conservatives were a money train for the UUP, one which spared them the expense of a couple of elections. The DUP if I recall correctly built up more debt than UCUNF, maybe there’s one election the UUP finances could hold up for.

    Politically of course the linkup was a distaster, the GB Conservatives weren’t even in touch with the NI Tories, never mind their partners in the Ulster Unionists.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Heinz

    In my humble opinion,from that point onwards,the UUP was/is a party without a future.
    They refused the opportunity to join with a party who will hold power over the UK for decades ahead. I still don’t understand why ?

    The UUP crack pipe must be in high demand these days.

    History records that the UUP did not “refuse the opportunity”, they embraced it. And the electorate didn’t respond.

    It’s a hell of a tall prediction to suggest that the Conservatives will be in power for the “decades ahead”. They might get one more term.

    Whoever is voted as the new leader of the UUP,should join with the Conservatives without a moments hesitation.

    It was a stupid idea then, it’s still a stupid idea now. Just because a party does well in another part of the country does not mean that some sort of union will lead to that success migrating to the electorate here. The 2010 election already disproved that whole idea.

  • Comrade Stalin

    FuturePhysicist:

    I look forward to the day where any party in the North could be trusted with the justice ministry, that is not the point. The point is, while the Alliance party does well in nice integrated middle class areas like South Belfast, its support fails in working class areas

    That notion is easily refuted. There are lots of working class and not-very-integrated areas in East Belfast and they came out in large part for Naomi Long. Of course, this usually results in people in the same frame of mind as your good self characterising Alliance as “unionist”.

    and interface zones and polarised nationalist/catholic/border areas. Essentially rather than converting, they are preaching to the converted.

    Converting is damn hard, and it’s a nut Alliance has yet to crack very effectively, but I am optimistic it’s (slowly) starting to happen. I think that Alliance will be able to claim some success for its ideas if/when we start to see non-tribal parties gaining seats.

    That contrasts rather neatly with the SDLP and SF’s singular failure to convert non-nationalists to the benefits of Irish reunification.

    The Alliance Party’s problem perhaps is that come a European election due to being both non-constitutional on one hand (like a British or Irish party) and non-internationalist (like the Green or Socialist movement) on the other its positioning on a regional matter such as National treaties and referenda is compromised at best and nihilistic at worst.

    Woa there. Repeat that again for me. Are you really arguing that the European elections are to do with party policy on national treaties and referenda ??? You reckon that’s why people like Ian Paisley were continuously re-elected ?

  • IJP

    FuturePhysicist

    I can go further than Comrade, because I have the tallies on my computer.

    Just taking a clump of the Alliance vote in Belfast South boxes in 2011 (%): 31-12-16-11-12-10-16-41-34-21-24-23-17-22-12-31-20-30-27-12.

    All (excluding a couple of upper outliers) in the 10%-31% range.

    So nowhere in Belfast South – a very varied constituency – is there no Alliance vote (nothing below 10% in our selection); and nowhere are there “posh” or “middle-class” areas delivering an Alliance landslide.

    In other words, the vote is fairly evenly spread and there is no justification whatsoever for assigning a significant class bias or anything of the kind.

    But frankly, if Alliance’s opponents want to do that, that’ll suit Alliance just fine!

    Now, back to the UUP…

  • Barry the Blender

    IJP if you love the Alliance so much then why did you leave in the 1st place?

  • IJP

    A long and very boring story, frankly, Barry, but it was nothing to do with wanting to leave the Alliance Party and everything to do with wanting a professional change while hopefully dedicating some of my spare time to getting Gordon Brown out of 10 Downing Street.

    To take the title of this thread, I found myself “trapped, uninfluential yet jointly culpable” in an electoral campaign whose ineptitude reached comic proportions.

    When that happens, you can hang around trying to blame everyone else, pretend it’s not really happening, and claim against all evidence that it’s not really that bad; or you can hold your hands up, admit you’ve made mistakes, and get the hell out of there. Which is precisely the point of this thread…

  • Barry the Blender

    So are we to expect you back as a paid up member of APNI, or are you destined to sit at a keyboard bigging them up until such times as you’ve atoned for your sins of running away when a better offer popped up elsewhere?

  • London_Irish

    Having listened to John McCallister’s interview with Eamonn Mallie, John’s argument for Opposition is starting to sound a tad Jim Allister-esque, which is unfortunate for anyone wish to be perceived as moderate!

    http://eamonnmallie.com/2012/03/where-will-john-mccallister-take-the-ulster-unionist-party-who-is-john-mccallister/

  • FuturePhysicist

    Comerade Stalin, IJP

    The Alliance failure West of the Bann and South of Lisburn reflects the realization that their grassroots knowledge of a border region economy both in terms of competition and mutalism, not just their avoidance of “border politics” in those regions. Deny the border in the name of “getalongism” , Deny the economic effects of the border … no nationalist or unionist does that, in these regions they probably transfer to each other before they let an Alliance guy in.

    And I know the Alliance Party has people from the Republic and the West of the Bann, but policy wise … let’s put it this way … in these regions even the Green Party benefiting from albeit difficult North-South relations are ahead of them on the ground, and in some places even have more membership.

    Comerade … In Europe, regional politics matters, Paisley got in on his Euroskeptism, not his views on CAP. Even the Tories who claim to support “cross community non-sectarian politics” these days are milking the ‘nationalist’ card by splitting up the European People’s Party. Frankly in the last 20 years the only Alliance European candidate of any note or success was John Gilliland.

    IJP … The class divide is still apparent, that bit of loyalist outreach to gain an electoral success over 30 years of the Alliance Party does not a major victory over sectarianism make. With the possible exception of the Eastern side of Coleraine it has no councilors in the border regions. In the greater scheme of things APNI voting constituencies North Down, South Belfast, South and East Antrim are among the better off ones here, you’re right to mention East Belfast as the exception to the rule, with high deprivation despite high government investment. Certainly given the choice between “Swish” and a Tory (albeit a very reluctant one) many loyalists looked for a third way, including Dawn Purvis who knew she wasn’t going to win with FPTP.

  • IJP

    Barry

    I spend more time out volunteering for the party than I do on here.

    FP

    The Alliance Party got a lot more votes in East Belfast than Dawn Purvis did.

    No one doubts the Party is too eastern, although that is changing – at the 2003 Assembly Election 90% of the party’s votes came in the nine Greater Belfast constituencies; by 2011, that had decreased to 79% (despite that fact it’d had by then become the third largest party in those constituencies).

    There is no meaningful correlation between prosperity and voting Alliance; and certainly the exclusive voter profile of the UUP and SDLP is just as marked if not more so (adding the fact they only attract votes from one side of the community to start with).

    Anyone wish to discuss the thread, by any chance?! 🙂

  • FuturePhysicist

    Nope, I reserve the right not to.

    Everyone knows that Belfast is a declining city population wise, people are moving from Greater Belfast to the areas just outside of Greater Belfast … as has their wealth.

    Correlating to this, the Alliance vote.

  • Kilwaughter

    Not sure why IJP is being so coy about his current party membership.
    He is pictured at the East Antrim Alliance AGM(“30 members present, largest in many years”)… in a recent edition of the Carrick Advertiser and is listed as 1 of the delegates to their conference.