Mike Nesbitt should sit down with Peter Robinson and extract a win-win deal for political unionism

Many will be aware of the Belfast Telegraph’s interesting take on East Belfast this week alongside the excellent work of Bill White and Lucid Talk.  The results of this poll are not unexpected. Naomi won in 2010 by 1533 and according to today’s poll there is approximately 1500 votes between the two, meaning this seat is still a marginal.

An exclusive poll from LucidTalk in the Belfast Telegraph - Feb 2015

An exclusive poll from LucidTalk in the Belfast Telegraph – Feb 2015

Turning to the key battlegrounds, Gilnahirk/Cherryvalley/Tullycarnet/Knock is 3 to 1 in support of Alliance over the DUP, with Ballyhackamore/Belmont/Stormont 2 to 1 pro Alliance.

 

I see Dundonald as a key battleground, traditionally strong pro-DUP, yet according to the poll 42% won’t come out to vote. The DUP have a task on their hands to get these people out, nevermind vote for them.

I take issue with the Tele describing Dundonald as loyalist… there’s a lot more to Dundonald than the Ballybeen estate – I’d suggest it’s 50/50 between working class and middle class, on either side of the Upper Newtownards Road.

The key unknown in all of this is the Ulster Unionist Party. The WWMD – What Will Mike Do?

At this stage it’s anyone’s guess.  Some soft Unionists may go to  Alliance although they are clearly tarnished by their City Hall Union Flag debacle, whereas core Unionists will row in behind Gavin to secure Naomi’s swift Westminster exit.

However, it’s not all plain sailing for the UUP. Whilst acknowledging their excellent result in the Local Government election last year with Jim Rodgers topping the poll, a projected result of 5,400 this May, with 9% of the vote, is a 33% reduction from the 7,305 Trevor Ringland achieved in 2010.

In recognising the UUP aren’t going to win in East Belfast, Mike needs to realise that he could play the role of ‘Kingmaker’ and as such he needs to make his mind up quickly – He stated at his Party Conference that he wanted to make right decisions for the pro-union cause.

With this in mind, he should urgently sit down with Peter Robinson and extract a deal that is a win-win for political unionism.

For example, give Tom Elliott a free run in Fermanagh South Tyrone in exchange for a free run for the DUP in East Belfast. The demographics in South Belfast make it difficult in my view for any Unionist to win.

However you look at this:  Mike Nesbitt and the Ulster Unionist Party, it’s make your mind up time…

, , , ,

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Absolutely Morph, however I would like to think that everyone within the Orange family shared this view as it’s something we pledge as members.

  • Cue Bono

    Have you noticed what represents the beating pulse of nationalism lately? Gregory might crack the odd crap joke, but at least he isn’t dripping in blood, criminality and paedophilia.

  • carl marks

    and how is changing sides to Alliance Attacking her own community, really joe you have to get away from this attitude of “if your not like me your my enemy” for a start it’s not very Christian and it also silly!

  • carl marks

    CB, I could point out that he is in a pact with drug dealer’s , pimps and murderers but it wouldn’t register on you. so back to the knee breakers have a pint with he boys and tell each other how bad the taigs are.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I don’t trust her credentials, she has joined a party that is neutral on the Union.

  • carl marks

    sorry again are you saying you don’t trust anybody who is “anti union” and i thought Alliance was neutral on the union!

  • carl marks

    Joe you never explained “constantly attacking her own community” changing parties is hardly a constant attack on anybody!

  • carl marks

    sorry Joe ignore the post above.
    note to self read before replying!

  • Joe_Hoggs

    She was on the wing that opposed Tom Elliott for not attending Gaelic matches, is against the Union flag flying on public building more than 26 days per year and is not in favour of Unionist parades.

  • carl marks

    well Joe I think that prove AG’s point that for many unionists loyalty to the crown is conditional on the crown doing things the way unionists want.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Irish nationalist culture too, it’s in their flag after all.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Exactly so how van this lady be a Unionist?

  • carl marks

    so she was in a unionist party when Tom done his anti GAA thing, supports the same policy’s that unionist’s supported in other council’s, Hardly attacking her own community and as for unionist parades, well Joe I thought we had this one settled, the parades she opposes are not unionist they are OO and as you stated earlier you see a difference between OO and unionist’s.
    perhaps the parades she opposes are those with terror linked bands going past the houses of people murdered by those terror groups and places were those terror groups carried out those murders.
    I certainly have never heard about her opposing any other parades!
    Joe you need to be more careful with your language, more precise if you see what I mean.
    remember the OO does not represent all of unionism, disagreeing with something is not attacking it,
    and pointing out that Tom Elliot should have had the grace to attend a GAA match when he was leader of a party that was looking for catholic votes is hardly a attack on a community!

  • carl marks

    Joe I believe tat Alliance allows it’s member’s to make there own minds up on the union, so she could be a unionist.
    but lets be honest what you mean is she is not your type of unionist like AG is not your type of unionist.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    If she is a Unionist it is with a small u.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Tom is not a supporter of GAA, would you have preferred him to be fake and attend a match just to win “Catholic” votes?

  • carl marks

    Joe this is what is called politics, it is not a question of being fake it is reaching out to other people.

    No one would have believed that Tom was signing up for GAA membership if he had attended the match. and hey winning some Catholic votes might put a unionist back in FST but if you think it is a better idea to offend Catholic’s then since your going to need catholic votes soon to maintain the union then you will have to decide if you are more anti catholic than you are pro union!

    Now Joe will you retract the ” “constantly attacking her own community” since it is obviously not true.

  • carl marks

    small U or not she is still a unionist! now I understand that you don’t approve of her, that is of course your right but try to be accurate, these blanket accusation’s are neither factual or helpful to your case.

  • submariner

    Spot on Carl. Its amazing how unionists conveniently forget Ulster resistance guns which were used to murder over 200 innocent people

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Morpheus, while my own direct family have been characterised to me (in my face) as “auld Freestaters” by some less than friendly OO people, by which I think was meant liberal protestant supporters a hundred years back of Home Rule, like Armour of Ballymoney, quite a few of my extended family seem to be members of both of these Orange Institutions.

    Increasingly, those who will still talk to me now bemoan the men “who are in just to march on the 12th, who would not think of being practising Christians.” My own problem is that the Catholic Church is seemingly still always characterised as Anti-Christ by even the most decent Orange Institution members I meet, and, unlike, for example, local Freemasonry, there is an exclusion issue for Catholics. But as A.T.Q. Stewart points out in “The Narrow Ground”, we are both enmeshed in one living community which will at some time have to choose to live with one another more tolerantly. I am glad to see that happening in Derry myself, and look forward to a time when this may become more general.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    While I disagree with Jeff on some political issues (no surprise there), I have always thought him to be a most courageous and sincere person who has suffered from direct persecution himself. Along with a number of other current UUP people such as Danny Kinahan he points to a very, very different party from what I’d remembered from those members of my extended family who were active in the party.

  • carl marks

    Play the man Joe play the man, its easier than debating a point.

  • carl marks

    are you sure Morph, the “good OO” gives full support to the “bad OO” , now I could be convinced of your point if their was any indication of disagreement inside the OO about the excess’s of the “bad OO” but I see no such debate going on inside the OO.
    However I could be wrong certainly the level of OO turnout at Ardoyne for the protests is about 20 or 30 individual members and they are outnumbered by KTP bandsmen.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I think it was a fair challege on Ian a person very much active at party hopping, it is insincere of him to say which candidate is most rewarding of a seat in EB considering is varied past.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think the point you are trying to make carl is that unionist parties aren’t going to save the Union, unionist people are. Trying to paint a partisan identity of the Union isn’t going to make a clear social, economic or political defense of why that union exists and what it is really there for, it merely creates a tribe who’s only input is generational neuroticism.

  • carl marks

    tell me do you have the same opinion of Jeffrey and Arlene or indeed anybody who shifted from the UUP to the DUP or the DUP to the TUV.
    you could moderate your language throwing words like malcontent or calling people untrustworthy because you disapprove of their political choices shows a level of intolerance of others which does not reflect well on either you or your claimed Christian beliefs.

  • carl marks

    exactly Kevin, for example I could be perhaps convinced to vote unionist if, A/ my Irishness was respected B/it was proved in the long run that maintaining the union was in my best interests, C/whatever party I voted for would have to have no links with the OO (OO members would not be a issue but the OO having influence is a deal breaker).
    constant slurs and innuendo of anybody who isn’t “loyal” enough is symbolic of a sectarian mind-set and a lack of tolerance for difference, not things to encourage new unionist voters from outside the fold.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    No but their views were well known and they were able to stand for reelection under their new mantra. Ian has changed a few times and has been unable to seek any meaningful election since.

  • carl marks

    so they stood for election on a UUP ticket using the UUP machine and money then Jumped without warning to the DUP more or less as soon as the election was over and you don’t think that is disloyal and basically dishonest (I doubt they informed the UUP of their intentions). I wonder would the UUP agree with you

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I agree that it wasn’t the right thing to do.

  • carl marks

    I am confused do you think Jeffery and Arlene are disloyal or not, in your previous post you seemed to be saying you didn’t think they were

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I think to jump ships after an election was a weak decision.

  • carl marks

    Weak! now come on Joe you called IJP a malcontent with no loyalty because he has been in a few parties but he never got his election paid for by one party and then when elected instantly defected to the opposition, but the people who done that very thing you call it a weak decision!!!
    Joe do you not see where someone might consider that inconsistent

  • Joe_Hoggs

    IJP hopped a few times, what are your views on Billy Leonard?

  • carl marks

    now don’t try to change the subject, I know nothing about Billy Leonard but we can discuss it after(please let me have some idea who he is) once we have sorted the inconsistency in your Judgement about Jeffery and Arlene who told people they were standing for the UUP then defected to the DUP thus betraying the people who voted for them (regardless of later election results) is merely a weak decision whereas someone changing parties a few times (nothing immoral about changing your mind) is disloyal and makes him a malcontent?

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I think a court case against JD at the time was a major factor in the defection, however there was merit in their defections due to the anti agreement stances they had. What were IJP’s reasons?

  • carl marks

    just Goggled Billy Leonard, seems he waited three years to jump ship, so obviously didn’t intend to jump during election, not a fan of his politics and he seems to have been on quite a journey but hardly the same thing!

  • carl marks

    Got it, now I understand! as long as you approve of the reason of the defection it is ok, but if you disapprove of the reason for the defection them it is not ok.
    good consistent moral line their Joe,

  • Joe_Hoggs

    There needs to be a legitimate reason.

  • carl marks

    Oh and as for IJP reasons I don’t know, ask him im asking about your contradictory stance!

  • carl marks

    what do you mean Legitimate reason! do you mean one that meets your approval , what if it doesn’t meet mine does that make it not legitimate, really Joe what you term legitimate is merely a matter of opinion, I don’t know what IJP reasons for changing parties where do you?
    JD and AF also changed allegiance but they were less than forthright about it, but that means nothing to you because you approve of why they done it and I can only conclude you are so disapproving of IJP because you disapprove of his reasons and not the act, as I said interesting moral stance.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Does IJP know his reasons?

  • carl marks

    I don’t know why don’t you ask him! as I said that will come down to a matter of opinion on wither you or I (or anybody else for that matter) agrees with it or not
    what I do know is that you are trying to avoid my question, short of your approval or disapproval of the reason, what makes what IJP has done much worse than what JD and AF done.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    They stated an affirmative reason, IJP did not.

  • carl marks

    Affirmative reason, what does that mean,
    so it is your approval of the reason rather then the action which decides. IJP is disloyal and a malcontent not because of something he done but rather he done it without your approval, sorry Joe major double standards there.
    I think we are finished here!

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I voted for Arlene therefore I was happy with her reason for leaving the UUP as it had become a cold house for anti agreement Unionists. She was re-elected on this stance as well.
    IJP left Alliance, joined the Conservatives and Unionists and then left them to re-join the Alliance party without any rhyme or reason.

  • carl marks

    we got it Joe your opinion on party hopping depends on who is doing the hopping, the fact that JD and AF stood for a pro agreement party used the resources of that party, and no doubt received a lot of votes from pro agreement unionists then defected to a anti agreement party is in your opinion ok (the fact that they were re-elected the next time round has no bearing on this), because you are anti agreement you see nothing immoral in this but IJP has been in three parties make’s him disloyal and a malcontent.
    so I was right in my first post you were playing the man,

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I already condemned AF and JD for their timing.

  • carl marks

    so Arlene stood for a pro agreement party even though she was anti agreement! surely the honourable thing to do would have been to leave the UUP and stand on a anti agreement ticket, spending her (or the DUP,s) money and then she could have canvassed on a anti agreement ticket.

  • carl marks

    really did you? you called it weak and not right (not really in the same league as “disloyal and malcontent) then you tell us you were happy with it, that’s a little confusing!

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I felt the UUP was disloyal to the electorate the way they ignored anti agreement Unionists, therefore AF and JD made the only decision they could.

    IJP is disloyal, what does he stand for?

  • carl marks

    What else JD and AF could have done was change parties
    before the election, not after the election, that is what they should have done
    The UUP is a pro agreement party so of course it was a cold
    house for anti agreement unionists.
    The DUP is a anti agreement party so of course it was a cold
    house for pro agreement unionist’s.
    This is way we have different parties to represent different
    opinions, it is how our political system works,
    Now you love the word disloyalty what I expect you mean is
    Lundy,
    In a election fought on the agreement JD and AF stood on a
    pro agreement ticket for a pro agreement party then when elected turned their
    coats and went over to a anti agreement party now that is disloyalty to all thepro agreement people who give them their vote thinking they were pro agreement.
    Now tell me who is IJP being disloyal to, Having different
    opinions from you is not disloyalty. Perhaps it took him a bit of time to find the party that suited him! When you join
    a political party it doesn’t have to be for life.