Updated: McNarry *is* jumping to UKIP?

That’s according to Mark Devenport… I suspect it’s come from the man himself… That’s his style Nige… Still good news for UKIP, getting into the frame before the Conservatives… and worrying for Mike Nesbitt, who will be looking at some of Assembly colleagues and wondering who’s going to be next…

Update: Nigel Farage has just confirmed to Slugger that Mr McNarry is indeed joining UKIP:

“I welcome David McNarry as our first MLA, and I am delighted to be coming to Stormont tomorrow to welcome him personally”

The question is who’s not disgruntled in the UUP… And who would really care if they were no longer in business?

  • Alone and Easy Target

    Well done to Mr McNarry as I am sure a lot of people assumed he might have been away to the DUP in the not so distant future.

  • Framer

    I hope Farage knows what to expect.

  • IMHO, McNarry carries too much baggage to be a net asset to UKIP beyond the short term.

  • AET,

    UKIP is a perfect fit for the narrow Unionist mindset. In fact, I’ve often wondered what the substantial differences between the DUP and UKIP are…

  • GEF

    Were will McNarry stand for election next time around? Will it still be Strangford for MLA or MP next election against his arch enemy Nesbitt leader of the UUP, or will he strand for MEP whichever election is the first? Whatever happens it certainly does not look like the former UUP loose cannon is calling it a day after this parliament, at present he is only 64.

  • Mick Fealty

    Possibly both. Euros will give him a strong platform and help rebrand him, and then in Strangford he has the chance to topple the guy who kicked him out of the UUP…

    I can hear the sound of DUP hands rubbing behind firmly closed doors even now…

  • dissidentunionist

    Interesting move for David, certainly one many wouldn’t have see coming.

    Now that he’s holding the main profile for UKIP in Northern Ireland, does this leave UKIP’s Cllr Henry Reilly, firmly in the shadow of McNarry, as the former torch bearer for the party here?

    Is it realistic to assume, should John McCallister ever follow Basil out of the UUP towards the NICons or whoever, that the UUP’s vote would split between those loyal to McCallister’s and those loyal to the party leaving the path open to Reilly to go for MLA?

    Who’s got the better standing to run for MEP as surely UKIP will stand one of them, Reilly or McNarry?

  • HeinzGuderian

    If ‘narrow Unionist mindset’ means no religious mumbo jumbo,UKIP will be getting my vote.
    Good on ye David. 🙂

  • HG, no I meant focusing on the national sovereignty issue at the expense of other policy areas.

  • Certainly it indicates that Unionism is even more fractured than we thought. UKIP just wasnt on the Radar but there is a 1950s/1960s pre-Common Market) feel to UKIP that seems to make it a perfect fit for UUP people on the “traditional” wing….Ken Magennis perhaps.
    I can certainly see Basil McCrea as a Tory……European candidate perhaps. That profile would certainly see him get back to the Assembly.
    McCallister…..I cant see as a Tory. Independly minded Farmers candidate perhaps.
    It could be a crowded ex-UUP field…..with UUP and Alliance i the mix also.

  • qwerty12345

    Irrelevant local politician joins irrelevant national party. Love it.

  • Carsons Cat

    “Certainly it indicates that Unionism is even more fractured than we thought.”

    This story indicates precisely nothing. Unionism is no more or less fractured today than it was yesterday, or certainly since the day he resigned from the UUP.

    No one seen it coming probably because no one really cares that much about what McNarry’s going to do. He’s a bloke in his 60’s who’s career is very unlikely to extend beyond the next Assembly election (even if he’d stayed in the UUP). This little move gives him some of the publicity which he’s clearly rather fond of, plus it sticks two fingers up to his former colleagues.

    You’ve gotta wonder what UKIP’s policy is on unionist unity….

    Also, UKIP’s policy is that MLAs should only receive 50% salary. I’m told that the Assembly has the facility for MLAs only to request that they only receive a certain portion of their wages should they want to.

    Presumably just after the press conference tomorrow Dave will be wandering up to the Assembly’s Finance Office putting in place the necessary arrangements to cut his in half……

  • salgado

    “If ‘narrow Unionist mindset’ means no religious mumbo jumbo,UKIP will be getting my vote.”

    UKIP do however have anti-global warming, pro-homeopathy psuedo-science mumbo jumbo so it probably evens out.

  • ArdoyneUnionist


    “In fact, I’ve often wondered what the substantial differences between the DUP and UKIP are”

    Robbo wouldn’t be leader.

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    Andrew Gallagher: UKIP is a perfect fit for the narrow Unionist mindset. In fact, I’ve often wondered what the substantial differences between the DUP and UKIP are…

    Likewise with Sinn Fein and the 1930s German Nazi party.

    Andrew Gallagher: HG, no I meant focusing on the national sovereignty issue at the expense of other policy areas.

    You don’t vote SF I take it?

  • Drumlins Rock

    The Euro Election might be a bit of speculation too far, as previously UKIP stood aside in favour of Jim Allister, with whom they seem to have retained a civil if seperate existance.
    They actually fielded a candidate against McNarry in Strangford, Cecil Andrews polled just over 600 votes, only one in seven of which transfered to McNarry.

    FJH, your radar is way off, firstly there are probably less Unionist Splits now than anytime since the rise of Paisley, ironically under STV it could be argued that providing fringe candidates can strengthen the centre parties within that tradition due to a strong transfer ratio.

    BTW Ken is more lefty on many issues, certainly not UKIP, Basil is Basil, he chances things but I think he knows his seat is safe if he sticks to UUP, his personal vote is not enough to make a difference elsewhere unless to the SDLP. John has no hope without the UUP, unless he transferred to UKIP. As for McNarry, his seat was a lucky win for the UUP, Nesbitt was 1,000 votes ahead of him, so its unlikely to be a head to head there, more a case of battling it out with the second UUP candidate.

  • Carsons Cat….well said.
    But quite possibly some councillors (and you might rightly claim not household names) will follow. Ultimately its where the votes go.
    But I hope McNarry is asked that question about salary tomorrow. Thats a very good point.

  • Drumlins Rock,
    Youre always much more in tune with UUP thinking than I am. And much respected here for so being.
    But Id think this DOES take the story further on. Rather than being disaffected back bencher Independent, McNarry is now in a Party and I take the point not necessarily a credible one.
    But I think this week we have seen McCrea associating with Conservatives and of course the McCallister thing.
    As yet I dont totally subscribe to the terminal decline theory. You will know my record on believing that unionism needs viable choice between at least two parties.
    For the sake of unionism itself UUP badly needs to get its act together and wearing a non-partisan hat for once Id wish it well.
    But the past two weeks have not been good. And there is a certain feeling that SOME people…….members, voters are looking for alternatives rather than solutions. And actively looking a means to get out rather than a means to stay in.

  • Neil

    If Mike keeps this up there’ll be no-one left to split with come election time.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    Don’t drink bleach,

    I don’t know what age you are, or how long you have been at this blogging long lark, but in the short time you have been active on slugger you’ve presented as naive at best and a troll on acid at worst. To the point where people have already started ignoring you. You’re not the only one, but if you have fast developed a childish reputation that isn’t easily shook off. I’m telling you this for your own good as your comments get ignored and you just waste your own time.

    RE: McNarry.

    Definitely an interesting move. I agree with Mick’s assessment regarding the euro elections in 2014 when UKIP support mushrooms on their single issue. That will definitely help McNarry if he runs, but its difficult to say how much effect it will have. The real prize is a freshly higher-profiled McNarry taking a UUP seat and possibly even Nesbitt’s although I don’t see it myself given he’s now leader.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    Just occurred to me, do UKIP designate as unionist or other? If they do designate as other, will McNarry be happy at that?

    I’ve a feeling they’ll call themselves unionists though.

  • London_Irish

    CS PR,

    Can’t see anything in their 2011 Assembly manifesto re designation. I would hazard a guess that they’d be ‘unionist’, with or without McNarry’s influence.

  • Drumlins Rock

    umm guys, UKIP are quite close to the TUV, that not give you a clue? As for challenging Mike, we already know the UKIP name can garner not much more than 600 votes in Strangford, in the unlikely event McNarry kept all his vote and the 600 he would still be behind Mike on first preferences. Anything is possible in politics… but it would take a phenominal swing, and McNarry I don’t believe has the local appeal of McClarity. As for Europe, I presume Allister has to run to maintain his profile and keep the assembly seat, he still uses European pics on his website, will UKIP run against him? even if they do and I was is the more extreme Euroskeptic camp I would vote Allister anyday before McNarry.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru


    We understand that many policies of UKIP, DUP and TUV are probably overlapping greatly. But what the local UKIP branches want to brand themselves as (unionist) and what Mr. Farage what to brand themselves as (non-sectarian alternative) may be somewhat at odds.

    Regarding your point. I accept that the raw numbers for UKIP don’t amount to much. But you’re really missing the point regarding local personalities running under different banners. Just ask David McClarty (as you acknowledged) knocking out the UUP completely in East L’derry. Harry Hamilton jumped and brought the alliance vote up from derisory(2%) to small (6.5%). Even UKIP themselves, once they had their other well-known local defector Henry Reilly jump ship he got a credible 5.6% in the assembly and elected top of his ward in the council. John McAllister also needed his transfers.

    Add to that all the resources UKIP could pile up for a euro election tilt for McNarry and suddenly they have a really high-profile candidate who can pressure a seat. While personally I don’t see it I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand like you by quoting derisory figures for some schmuck nobody knows anything about.

    As you are obviously muched better versed in UUP politics than me then I won’t fight with you over the relative personality strengths of the two ex-UUPers in question. That said, the UUP themselves didn’t understand that fact either when they de-selected McClarty and they got knocked out of a constituency they held at westminster 10 years earlier. So forgive me if I think speculation on his impact is valid.

  • andnowwhat

    Has Mc Narry explained to all those farming and rural folk who voted for them how he objects to them, as a member of UKIP, getting aid and assistance from the EU?

    As I said on another site, now we know how to get turkeys to vote for Christmas.

  • sherdy

    UUP seem to be adopting the old Republican motto: first organise the split . . .
    Can’t figure out whether Nigel or David has drawn the short straw – could it be that both have?

  • I hope this isn’t too off topic but does this corner of the World hold a record for the number of party hopping politicians?
    I have never seen anything like it!
    I think IJP holds the current record but I may be wrong?

  • London_Irish


    Agreed there is a contradiction on the horizon, but it will be dismissed as ‘playing the system whilst we’re still in it’ and ‘getting a little back for all we pay in’, followed by a claim that outside of the EU, the UK could subsidise its farmers to the same extent.

    Sinn Féin oppose are eurosceptic, but that doesn’t stop them assisting constituents in claiming all grants available to them!

  • Dont Drink Bleach


    Blatant man playing. I thought cards were handed out for pointless drivel like that?

    Anyway, if making anonymous, condescending comments on the Internet about someone you’ve never met makes you feel better about yourself, fill your boots. It says more about you than it does me.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru


    People here regularly point out when people are out of line. I’ve spotted Fitzjameshorse putting you in your place in the last few weeks. Its not man playing when pointing out that there is a troll on the loose. ‘The Lodger’ got called out as a troll by a whole series of posters on one post a month back..

    Thanks for taking this in the spirit it was meant. I won’t be pointing out your behaviour again, I’ll just ignore you like everyone else.


    you’re probably right, jump-shipping doesn’t seem to bear any consequences in terms of being called a turncoat or hypocrite. There seem to plenty of Groucho Marx characters for whom if you don’t like their principles they have others! What’s Parsley up to these days? Is he looking at having another go in your neck of the woods?

  • Charlie,
    1 word on DDB. Correct.
    IJP is back on the Alliance trail last I heard 🙂 good luck to him. It just strikes me as odd how often people switch allegience. It does seem to be a particularly Unionist thing though. Nationalist politicians tend to go independent when they fall out with the party. I cannot think of any switches between SDLP and the Shinners for example

  • andnowwhat

    Andrew Gallagher

    I’ve often wondered why unionists do not match what Sinn Fein have done and stand in the land to which they align themselves. How would they do. Well, now we have the nearest we can get and it’s a man aligning himself to a joke party that benifitted from the expenses scandal. Like UKIP, unionists are pressure groups, not political parties proper. Yes. So too were Sinn Fein but they have entered the fray in the south, just I believe unionist parties should do in GB, and have taken one hell of a bashing but they are putting their money where their mouths are.

  • andnowwhat

    Ive a friend who went to school with IJP and apparently he’s a dead on guy but when one jumps about as he does, all political respect is go e. it’s nothing against him, just reality. It comes across as an ego searching for a vote.

    Our political system is corrupt because of such people. As I always assert, do not look to who votes for this or that party. Look to how many do not vote at all. This is why.

  • Comrade Stalin

    andnowwhat, I am not sure your definition of a “proper” party is one that will stand up too well.

    But I agree that UKIP’s vote is somewhat overstated due to external factors. I wouldn’t be banking on them winning any Westminster seats in 2015.

    I’m wondering why McNarry felt the TUV were not the choice for him. Maybe there’s a clash of egos ?

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    I suppose Billy Leonard counts as a switch from SDLP to SF. But then he is the ultimate switcheroo from ex-RUC orangeman to republican activist! We need a few more mavericks like him I think to keep things interesting!

    Otherwise your right that political dissidents tend to be unionist. That said, republican dissidents probably don’t always stand as it’s recognition of the state they consider illegitimate. Probably explains why old park and west belfast have the highest spoiled ballot rates.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Bangordub, think I can raise you one with a Billy Leonard? maybe not strictly parties but switching camps more than any other for sure.
    The legendary double turncoat is of course Winston himself, but normal rules of politics dont apply to him.
    The worst example of a turncoat I can think of is a former SoS, who even made Hain look good.
    As for McClarity V McNarry, personality wise the former is a very likable guy who upset very few people (with certain exceptions), McNarry is much gruffer and outspoken, McClarity also was up against two very untraditional UUP candidates in quite a traditional area. Anyway that is history, I guess you cant rule out a Euro run, however it will be a full field he stands against, not just TUV & DUP on the Euro Sceptic right but also a traditional enough UUP candidate who still appeals to the Orange vote he would need.

  • andnowwhat


    A proper party has IMHO a stated polical socio economic philosophy. Ya vote Tory, ya vote for o e thing. Ya vote Labour, ya vote for another. Ya vote Republican……….you get me.

    I have never voted because I regard our local elections as pol, for or against the union. That’s more like pro or anti abortion or some such. The very nearest we got was pro or anti water charges, remember that?

    What part of an international movement are these people? Fair play to the greens but even the SDLP couldnt hold their alignment to Labour fully and Alliance dropped thei LD one as soon as the coalition was formed.

  • DR,
    Hands up on Billy Leonard! 🙂
    I thought McClarity came across very well on BBC tonight, certainly better than Nesbitt did when when challenged on his decision. I wonder are some UUP leadership voters having second thoughts yet?

  • andnowwhat

    This very summer, many of Mc Narry’s constituents have had a washout on their potato crops and seriously need some help. Hopefully they get it bit where would David’s party suggest they get that help? Will he stand before the self same people and ask them to reject the finance of that aid?

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru


    I think Bangordub was talking specifically about nationalists, but if we’re widening the field I did think of Woodward too. Also in the US senators like Arlen Specter and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg are the ones I can think off the top of my head without googling.

    Regarding UKIP, I think your assessment of the characters is more or less how everyone would see them. I don’t think winning a euro seat is the aim, it’s to give themselves the best launchpad to turn around and say at assembly election time “Hey we got X% across NI” so we are now realistic contenders. Considering how they are also pressuring conservatives to win only first westminster seat then it cn be seen as part of a wider attempt to position themselves everywhere.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru


    Oi it was me who got BL first!

  • Charlie
    Ya sure did, apologies! lol
    By the way did you notice McClarity’s repeated use of the word “Perception” I think he gets it regarding Unionisms repeated mistakes

  • To be honest there are so many examples I don’t know where to start. A certain Mr Allderdice ex (NI) party leader, sits in the Lords as a Lib Dem on the government benches for example so it isn’t just disgruntled lower orders that change their colours.
    Great fun to watch though

  • GavBelfast


    You appear to be confusing “McClarity” (sic) with John McCallister.

    (It’s actually David McClarty, Independent MLA for East Londonderry (and UUP MLA for EL in the last Assembly), while John McCallister is Mike Nesbitt’s erstwhile deputy (of the Assembly grouping) and, fairly obviously to most people apart from Nesbitt it seems, subject of an ill-thought-out over-reaction from the current very inexperienced leader.)

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    Charlie Sheens PR guru: People here regularly point out when people are out of line. I’ve spotted Fitzjameshorse putting you in your place in the last few weeks. Its not man playing when pointing out that there is a troll on the loose.

    In other words – “My mate says you’re a wanker so so do I…”

    Very good. Perhaps you could check out the definition of a ‘troll’ before throwing the word around?

    Troll (internet) – In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

    Now, if you can point to an occasion where I have done that please feel free to post a link.

    Otherwise, go f##k yourself.

  • Reader

    Don’t Drink Bleach: Now, if you can point to an occasion where I have done that please feel free to post a link.
    I agree they aren’t using ‘troll’ in the traditional internet sense, so it looks like it’s also becoming a term used by republicans to label loyalists. It looks a wee bit racist to me. So I suspect they may suggest they are just internet newbies, and guilty of no more than a bit of sloppy syntax.

  • Barry the Blender

    Bangor Dub, the best party hopper I can think of was Jim Kirkpatrick:

    UUP assemblyman in ’80s and Belfast City Councillor, not selected for forum:

    Defects to DUP (& doesn’t get back unto council in ’97)

    UUP assembly candidate in Lagan Valley in 2003

    2005 Elected to Belfast city council as DUP

    2009 (I think) Joins UUP

    2011 loses council seat as UUP.

    Churchill said anyone can rat, it takes a certain degree of ingenuity to rerat. Churchill never met Jim Kirkpatrick

  • On the generality as it were…..people who defect towards us are always better thought of than people who defect away from us.
    Whether it is Carlos Tevez (booo) or Robin van Persie (hooray) or a politician.
    At best any politician who genuinely wants to serve his community (and I credit most with so wishing) can identify with perhaps 90% of political party…….theres maybe rarely a perfect fit. More often a “best fit”.
    Political Parties are born out of History and in Norn Iron the pace of History has…..at times…. picked up considerably. And in the course of traumatic events its natural that political allegances change.
    For example in 1973….the Alliance Party, SDLP, Vanguard and a new major player contested elections for the first time.
    Many of the personalities…..Bertie McConnell (AP), Paddy Devlin (SDLP), Bill Craig(Vanguard) had histories with other parties. Because of the radical change 1969-1973 and the fact that there was no actual Stormont 1972-73 then I think this is entirely understandable. These people did not change Party……….it was an entirely new era.
    I have always been wary of defectors. Not least because they jump into the new party with slightly too much zeal and far too much venom at former colleagues.
    The example of Desmond Donnelly stands out.
    Not to mention Labour defectors to the SDP.
    We have a constitutional conceit that voters elect people rather than a political party but at best that is only half-true and yet when a defection actually takes place, the Party which feels cheated ritually calls for a by-election. And the Party which is celebrating the new arrival dismisses the call.
    Shaun Woodward. Reg Prentice.
    Of course the situation here is more complex with multi-seat constituencies.

    Defections always seem a massive slap in the face to rank and file Party members.
    Like I say, joining a political party is a “best fit” rather than “perfect fit”. And it is perfectly understandable that a politician might feel that his political uniform is no longer the fit it once was. And he might well want to wear another.
    After all voters change allegiance (a more limited one) and surely politicians have the same right.
    What would be the “right” thing to do for a Lib Dem MP who no longer feels at ease with that Party? Is there a “right” thing? And presumably defection comes after a series of incidents.
    In my own view the right thing to do…is to tell your political party and voters that you have made the decision to defect and that the label under which he/she has been elected is no longer representing their interests. He/she has got it wrong. And the voters got it wrong. …thru listening to him/her. The right thing to do is to stand down.
    And possibly leave politics.
    Rather like Carlos Tevez or Robin van Persie, you cant kiss the badge on Saturday and join a rival the next week. At least footballers have to wait for a transfer window.
    Can you really vote for a man/woman who says “Vote for Me and My Party” ad then at the next election says “Vote For Me and Another Party”?

  • Neil


    yes you can see how this:

    Likewise with Sinn Fein and the 1930s German Nazi party.

    is actually pretty necessary on a discusssion on the UUP and as a response to a comment comparing UKIP and the DUP. Not off topic, inflammatory or designed to invoke an emotional response then?

    Of course the point is correct. You’ll note fewer and fewer people rising to DDB’s bait, as above when he made the comment in question no-one responded.

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    Pointing out hypocrisy is not ‘trolling’.

  • IJP


    I’m afraid I’m not even in the medal positions!

    Even in North Down alone, there is of course erstwhile Sluggerette Brian Wilson who, if memory serves, started in NI Labour, went to Alliance, stood as an “Independent Community Candidate”, then became the Greens’ first MLA, and subsequently stood as an “Independent” while somehow remaining a member of the Green Party.

    And NI is nothing by worldwide standards. Generally, the more parties the more switching. Denmark has a six-party system so it is quite common – e.g. Naser Khader, who started in the Danish Social Liberals, then formed his own Liberal Party, and then joined the Conservatives there.

    Canada is also noteworthy because provincial and federal politics are split (frankly, this was my problem – if I could’ve joined the UK Conservatives while remaining in the NI Alliance Party, as I could in Canada, I would’ve done so). Best of all for me is Nycole Turmel, who became Leader of the NDP and then had to admit she had effectively been a member of Bloc Quebecois just months earlier.

  • Ian,

    She isn’t the only example. National Conservative MP Jacgues Charest went and became leader of the Provincial Liberal party in Quebec.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru


    I think that’s a good point about the party always being a best fit. It means that if there’s something the party decides on, you can always trot out the “I didn’t leave the party, the party left me when…” line. That said, beyond a big vote getter I’d still say most people vote for parties still. When Jeffrey Donaldson defected to the DUP I remember Lagan Valley constituents (UUP voters) on the news saying how he had effectively stolen their vote. Although that said he still kept most of their votes at the next election so it’s difficult to quantify.

    Back to McNarry,

    I see they are already guaranteeing a euro candidate (as expected) and also guaranteeing to top the poll (hmmm).


    Will the conservatives now that they have broken ranks with the UUP, run their own candidate? Especially as Jim Nicholson is supposed to be every bit their MEP as the UUP. Short of Allister running again, that would be the full party.

    Personally I’d like to see Eamon McCann run again or some other broad left candidate.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I wonder will Jim Allister return the favour this time and back the UKIP candidate? I don’t know what the rules are regarding running candidates for the Conservatives, as Jim Nicholson will I’m sure remain a member of their Euro group right up to the election and return as one after, I guess it is acutally possible to run two candidates and advise voters on their 1 & 2 votes. So long as voters transfer the whole way down I dont care how many candidates stand if they are able to get additional pro union votes in the box the more the merrier!

  • Progressive Unionist

    Irrelevant local politician joins irrelevant national party. Love it.

    This. I’m guessing the DUP didn’t want him, so he went with the best of what was left? (not much)

    At most he’ll be an irritant to the UUP and DUP at the next Euros – and the UKIP brand does work well at the Euros – but he’s no hope of winning a seat and that’s a 1-2-3 election so the real impact will be marginal at best.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Charlie, you should see the tallies for the last Euro election, young Agnew polled quite well in many republican heartlands, I hate to question the environmental credentials in such areas but essentailly I think it was an anti SF vote in areas where they still check if you vote or not. McCann would probably catch much of that vote, question is where would transfer? The SDLP have a slim chance still and could make the difference after all.

  • andnowwhat

    Just as an aside, as Europe has come up, does anyone know how Baibre De Brun is?

  • (Before I start – can we fix the archive system so that I can actually find the previous 50 comments? Clicking on “Older Comments” takes me to a page with only 11. Or were 39 of them so outrageous that they had to be deleted?)

    I really think this is the most interesting thing to happen in NI party politics since the demise of McCartney and the similarly named UKUP. (Yes, I’m serious – much more interesting than the consolidation of DUP, SF and Alliance, or the slow decline of SDLP and UUP, let alone the dull saga of the Conservative linkup with the latter.)

    UKIP are on an electoral roll. In 2009 they came second in the Euro-election UK-wide without even registering as a blip on opinion polls. Now they are within striking distance of double figures in the polls and surely must have a good chance of catching first place in the 2014 European elections, adding together England Scotland and Wales.

    I’d have thought that there is a fighting chance that a UKIP candidate could take one of the two Unionist seats in Northern Ireland in 2014. Unlike the Tories, UKIP come with no grounds for suspicion of their true intentions; their branding is pretty perfect for an appeal for a one-off protest vote to habitual Unionist voters. I agree with the parallels with Jim Allister in 2009, but my gut feeling is that UKIP, with a good candidate who starts to establish himself or herself now, should actually do better.

    (And before anyone asks – no, I still don’t see any chance of two Nationalists winning seats in 2014.)

    I imagine it will be a Euro-election only performance, of course – at Westminster in 2015 UKIP will be nowhere, and at the next Assembly election they should just about manage to keep McNarry’s seat (if he contests it) in the volatile Strangford, with Reilly having a chance in South Down, for a total of one or two out of 108.

  • GEF

    I am not so sure that our former UUP MLA will win a UKIP seat in 2014. But he has certainly stirred the pot to attract those in both the UUP & Alliance coming out against him. Lord Empey, gives his reasons here:

    “Hostility towards the EU has been a staple of UKIP’s campaigning, but Lord Empey said that EU’s Common Agricultural Policy provides more than half the income for farmers in Mr McNarry’s Strangford constituency.

    Lord Empey said: “I would imagine the farmers of the Ards Peninsula and Saintfield will have something to say about the loss of that.”


  • Drumlins Rock

    Nic, I respect your views on alot of things but I think your completely pie in the sky here. Firstly UKIP aren’t completely new here, and apart from Mr Reilly strong local personal vote build up over many years in Kilkeel they have been down in the also rans. The UKIP variety of Euro skepicism is already taken by the TUV & DUP, with even the UUP candidate a “Eurorealist” that end of the spectrum is already crowded. If a very capable sitting MEP like Jim Allister failed to retain the seat I can’t see there being enough of a vote out there to even get close to him. Personally I would probably vote UUP, TUV, DUP, UKIP, AP, SDLP, Green, most Unionist will probably vary the order of the first three but I would expect UKIP to come in under a TUV candidate if they run one (which they have to if they want to survive).

    As for assembly, as I mentioned Reilly’s vote is quite localised based on his council profile (elections on the same day no doubt helped his assembly vote) Even with the hiccup last week with John I can’t see him losing out enough to slip lower. McNarry has a fighting chance, but he scraped in the last time and will loose enough of a core UUP vote to make it difficult, as a rather dfficult character to manage I would tempted to wager a bet he might not even still be in UKIP by the time the assembly vote comes round!

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  • IJP


    I wouldn’t be surprised if McNarry reached five figures as a Euro candidate, but he would be well well short of the type of vote Allister received in 2009.

    What is rarely commented on is the real reason Allister scored so highly in 2009 only to be crushed less than 12 months later – church politics. He had built his vote within the Bible Belt but, like house prices, it fell as quickly as it rose. The analogy is a good one – he was simply unable to defend such a vast number of supporters and over time it was once again in their interests to stay away from him.

    I suspect TUV won’t want to stand at all – as it’ll be crushed. In fact, a well-known UKIP candidate may just give them cover to do a deal, back UKIP, and then split constituencies in 2015/16.

    Like I say, McNarry is a good performer who’d attract a certain number of otherwise disinterested Unionists, but he wouldn’t be a serious challenger for the top three.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Allister had a perfect storm and still didn’t feature in the reckoning, Sitting MEP, poor DUP candidate, low turnout and biggest of all expenses scandal, McNasty as he has been know as by some just isn’t in the same league, and I can’t see them stepping aside for Europe, they need the profile.

    IJP, I think you read the bible belt wrong, most of them stayed loyal DUP, those of them that did jump then stayed TUV so you can measure them from the westminster election, it was the “ordinary voters” that drifted back to the DUP after.

  • GEF

    Now its all Ulster Unionists he is having a revengeful go at. I wonder does McNarry also include all those UUP voters who voted for him in his Strangford constituency over numerous years? or does he want them to all jump ship over to voting UKIP now.

    “David McNarry blasts Ulster Unionists as he joins UKIP”

    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-mcnarry-blasts-ulster-unionists-as-he-joins-ukip-16221108.html#ixzz28hEmAOAU

  • Drumlins Rock

    of course he wants them to jump ship, thats the only way he keeps his job, which it seems by this move it is his intent to stand again next time. I’m not sure UKIP is a vote winner in itself come the election, but have a party machine of some sort always helps, ironically the UKIP label might appeal to DUP voters more than UUP ones, a sort of TUV lite, but not in significant enough numbers to make a real difference.

  • IJP


    We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

    Allister in fact barely retained half his North Antrim vote between 2009 and 2010. I have it on reasonably good authority that this was because he was unable to defend people within his church who had switched to him (although this goes much further afield than North Antrim).

    All that said, I agree with your analysis re UKIP’s likely outcome. Remember UKUP (this does get confusing!) did not perform particularly well with a sitting MP in the 1999 equivalent.

  • Drumlins Rock

    IJP, hadnt heard that before, guess its another factor in the perfect storm, would it be inaccurate to say the voters punished the DUP for their “betrayal” in the Euros, but many returned to the fold for Westminister? If they had of come in the other order I wonder what the outcome would have been had Gordon chickened out of his early election option.

    Looking at the last Euro election btw It would take a massive shift to change the outcome, even if the AP came in even with UUP the DUP & smaller transfers would push them ahead again, the only hope would be for the SDLP to slump below the AP vote and transfer at a very high proportion, but if the SDLP slumped most votes would have went to SF which would came back again. But 20 months is a rather long time I guess.

  • GEF

    Cameron has stated if the Tories win the next election he will give the OK to a referendum for all the citizens of UK. My question is, how many in NI would vote to leave the EU completely? Remembering most if not all of the farmer community would wish to stay in the EU. Finally if a referendum vote was to successfully remove the UK from the EU, what purpose or use would UKIP be anymore?

  • Drumlins Rock

    GEF, Cameron hedged his proposal quite tightly with ifs and buts, he would need to win an outright majority for it to even come to the cabinet table, the reality is its kicked into the long grass, but still there to paly when necessary.

    As for farmers, the UK government could provide far better subsidies at less cost than what they contribute to the CAP, probably within some limits as part of trade deals but with less red tape, farmers could be won over easily.

    I still don’t know what purpose UKIP is atm. so why would that change anytihng. oh, Northern Ireland would prob vote almost 2:1 to stay in Europe, all nationalists(ironic I know) most alliance types and a smaller proportion of Unionists.

  • IJP


    I would be astonished if the final outcome of the 2014 Euro Election (i.e. in terms of which parties’ candidates are elected) is any different from 2004 or 2009.

    The only potential change would be another Unionist candidate (the most obvious being a second DUP) replacing Jim Nicholson.

    I wouldn’t rule out an Alliance Party MEP by the end of the decade, but as you say, it does require moving ahead of the SDLP or UUP candidate on the first-preference vote – but given that Alliance’s strength is in the low-turnout area in and around Belfast, that’s a big ask in 20 months in reality.

  • mjh

    Drumlin Rocks,

    I agree with you that a UKIP win at the European Elections is a very tall order.

    The UKIP candidate would need to finish above the UUP candidate, with at the very least 10%, and better still 11 or 12%, of the first preference votes.

    If we assume that very few of these votes will come from SF or SDLP, this translates in UKIP having to take 20% to 25% of the unionist vote. The best results they achieved in the 2009 Euro Elections was 22.1% in South West England, and 21.3% in West Midlands. In no other seat did they achieve 20%. Their average result was 16.5%.

    Still a decent showing by UKIP, even short of winning a seat, could well have its impact on the political relationships within unionism.

  • Drumlins Rock

    if they signed up Rory McIlroy as the candidate they might just have a chance, otherwise it will be a fight for the wooden spoon with the Greens.

  • mjh

    Looking forward to seeing David McNarry promoting UKIP policy on language,
    [blockquote]UKIP enthusiastically support the celebration of Scotland and Scottish culture by encouraging the teaching of [a href=http://www.ukip.org/scotland/about] Gaelic languages and histories[/a] in England, Scotland, [Northern] Ireland, Wales and Cornwall[/blockquote]

  • mjh

    OK. Let’s try again without trying to be more clever than I obviously am. Apologies.

    Looking forward to seeing David McNarry promoting UKIP policy on language.

    “UKIP enthusiastically support the celebration of Scotland and Scottish culture by encouraging the teaching of Gaelic languages and histories in England, Scotland, [Northern] Ireland, Wales and Cornwall” http://www.ukip.org/scotland/about

  • Drumlins Rock

    the Cornish might not be so keen on learning Scots Gaelic 🙂