Unionist Election Pact

The internet seems awash at the moment with the (fairly well substantiated) rumour that the DUP & UUP (or is it UUP & DUP…I wonder how many weeks they argued over the order) have agreed a pact involving four constituencies in the May 7th general election. Updatedetails now online in a press release from the DUP.

NEWRY & ARMAGH

– Both parties will support behind Danny Kennedy MLA

FERMANAGH & SOUTH TYRONE

– Both parties will support behind Tom Elliott MLA

NORTH BELFAST

– Both parties will support Rt. Hon Nigel Dodds MP

EAST BELFAST

– Both parties will support Alderman Gavin Robinson

What else could this mean for the relevant campaigns? How will the electorate feel about their decision potentially being taken away from them, this is a bold move and in some ways, to me, suggests their insecurities in those areas. Sluggers, I open the debate to you…

Update – South Belfast is not included in the pact.

[Peter Robinson] There will be those who while rejoicing that a 4-constituency deal has been reached would have liked to see Upper Bann and South Belfast also included. This has not been possible but we will work extremely hard to bring home a unionist in both these constituencies.

[Mike Nesbitt] I acknowledge there will be those who feel disappointed that no understanding was possible in South Belfast. The key now is to get the pro-Union vote out on the 7th of May, not just in South Belfast but across Northern Ireland.

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  • mac tire

    Joe, doesn’t that say it all? And yet you talk about Protestantism, as if it were some monolithic figure. So tell us, what small sect do you belong to. Just so we can compare it to the thousands of small sects that exist.

  • dodrade99

    Demographics have shifted in favour of Sinn Fein since 2010.

  • james

    Only if you assume that Catholic = Sinn Fein supporter. I know a lot of ordinary decent Catholics who neither like nor vote for Sinn Fein.

  • carl marks

    So no proof, just paranoia. Maybe for example you could point out on slugger were most nationlists want this.
    I find your remark very offensive an insult to every nationalist/ catholic who shares their life with a protestant or has protestant friends.
    So if you could your sectarian, siege mentallity under control it would be appreciated.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Over 95% are so it’s a fairly safe bet.

  • carl marks

    Yep,shows the depths the DUP will sink to, siding with mobs who brought chaos to the place.
    Attacking someone who wasn’t involved in a decision (a decision they supported elsewhere) in order to gain a advantage in a upcoming election.
    Dozens of police where injured, business closed, roads were blocked and millions of pounds wasted. Yep a lot to be proud of Joe.
    And better still if she lose,s the election you can feel proud that it happened with the help of terrorist, people suffered and a lot of young protestants got criminal records.
    But sure as long as Gavin gets the big money who cares.

  • carl marks

    Joe in the past your figures have been shown to be, well let us say less than accurate. So could you supply proof.
    I know a few who are very neutral on the union and some who are pro a UI.
    Remember Joe the OO only makes up 2% of the population and judging by the number s turning up at either Twaddell or Drumcree and the failure of any type of response from the general public to the call for more protests then it is fair to say that most prods are a lot more small u than you would like us to believe.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Any proof on those bold statements Carl?

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Gavin is a good candidate.

  • carl marks

    Really Joe, there is a wage in it for him and you in the past have expressed distrust about those who make money out of politics.
    Or do you reserve that belief for those you disagree with!

  • carl marks

    Yes Joe I have, now please your proof of the numbers. As to the prods I refer to they would be among those Lundy’s you refer to requiring weeding.
    Really mate you can’t go round relishing sorting the Lundy’s and then try to pretend they don’t exist.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Good Orangeman, I feel we can sleep comfortably.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I don’t relish flushing out the lundies it actually pains me but it has to be done.

  • carl marks

    why does it have to b done Joe, why can you not tolerate differences of opinion inside unionism, “flushing out Lundies” will cause division and bad blood!
    and this at a time when you need unionist unity.
    plus Joe if you cant be tolerant of other unionists then it make us nationalists thinking how much w can trust you if that is how you treat those a little different.
    so tell me do you think you will be able to count on the votes of these lundies and their fellow travellers after you have flushed them, and I note that you are more worried about having lundies among your tribe but much less of a problem with terrorists in your tribe!

  • carl marks

    really, well I suppose it is only those you disagree with are in it for the money ,
    and are those Orangemen standing with terrorists good Orangemen as well, do you sleep ok at nights with that Joe!

  • carl marks

    Joe is in full mope/ siege mode, looking for enemies both domestic and foreign to justify getting into bed with the paramilitaries’ to get rid of a law abiding MP.
    to justify this he has to pretend that we are all out to get him, genocide is planed and all but the most loyal (UDA/UVF are acceptable, after all he has never complained about the pact with them)
    so he has to pretend that all Catholics are out to kill him and his, he will be quoting the SF and Jesuit oaths next ( I wonder does he know big Ian made them up for the sheep to swallow) I wonder if he knows that bitter enders always come to a bitter end.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    flush out all the lundies and small u unionists who are frankly no benefit to the union”

    Joe, in politics it is a serious mistake to set out with the intention of alienating people. The group you are referring to certainly are of benefit to the union – they will be voting to retain the union in the referendum. Why flush them out ?

    These “lundies” as you refer to them are the only thing standing between the union and a united Ireland.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Yes, they have.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I can’t believe you would say that Joe.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Joe, then why do so many people make a song and dance about the no. of Catholics who are pro-union?

    What’s your opinion on the Catholic posters here who are pro-union?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I think you’re right Joe, I don’t.

    I don’t see the point in a strategy that is doomed to fail long term.

    IF unionists win FST this time then it’ll simply galvanise nationalist voting next time round or even force nationalists into pacts.

    If nationalism starts pact forming then in a way that’s a victory for SF as that’s what they want.

    Once again unionism would be doing SF a favour, a very odd thing to do for a political group so apparently opposed to SF.
    Also Joe, I think you are missing a few things too.

    There is CLEARLY a proportion of Catholic who are pro union or even just plain old ‘pro-status quo’.

    You see them on this site, NI21 had a Catholic main-player (as much of a shambles that turned out to be, either way the point still stands), unionist politicians, commentators and the like constantly refer to polls that highlight this demographic.

    Their numbers may be fuzzy but they undoubtedly exist.

    This is what unionism should be focusing on.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Well I’m not and I recall you referring to me as ‘not really a unionist’ and here you are admitting that the union is not your primary concern.

    That would ironically make me more of a unionist than you.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “I personally see no benefit at all to small u Unionism ”

    Ok Joe, from a purely unionist political point of view what are the disadvantages of small ‘u’ unionism?

  • carl marks

    there must be a purge of the unloyal Alan, this is a pact of the lowest common denominator, you, me, and any body who doesn’t follow slavishly the OO line is not welcome. the lundies and the weak will be culled and only the true believers will be permitted to have a say.
    it’s a tactic hat has never worked in history, the main result will be that more unionists will stop voting, bad blood will gather around declared lundies.
    it would seem to be true that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it

  • carl marks

    somebody else asked you which sect you belong to and I ask because I know many protestants (the real thing you know church going, don’t judge people and do not bear false witness against their neighbours) and let me tell you Joe they have as much in common with you as they do with the worshippers of Baal, so Joe stop with the protestant thing what you really mean is Orange, not the same thing, real prods are tolerant decent people who don’t “flush out” people because they are different only the insecure do that sort of thing.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I have never recognised this sect, that’s you who brings this up.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Am I wrong?

  • carl marks

    you could be Joe, and when you a UI comes you might even ask why you didn’t try to work with them. but good luck in the bunker mate, problem is that hiding in bunkers doesn’t end well!

  • carl marks

    I believe you said that before and when asked for proof your answer was “someone told me” so any actual proof this time?

  • carl marks

    and you have no problems with groups that support killers,
    really Joe take the blinkers off!

  • William

    It’s actually closer to 57% and rising by about 0.2% each year.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Joe
    I’m not sure what line of business you’re in, but can you imagine the scene where you give someone the task of expanding your company’s market.

    How would you not fire the individual tasked with this objective if you found out that he/she simply ignored 10-20% of the market because he/she refused to believe that market segment didn’t exist?

    There are pro-union voters of Catholic background, even Turgon acknowledged this when he discussed their lack of tangible pro-union options following the disintegration of NI21 with a pro-union Catholic on this site.

    In a strange way even Aber1991 is strangely ‘pro-union/status quo’

  • Joe_Hoggs

    What is pro Union, is it simply someone who may vote for Union within the context of a referendum?

  • Joe_Hoggs

    It’s safe for now.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I’m not judging anyone negatively, I simply said that I cannot really fathom any RC’s being Unionist with the exception of some very few examples. Am I wrong to say this?

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Critical of our county in general thus weakening the argument for the Union, opposed to the Union flag being flown or even the Union flag in any context, critical of expression of religious culture. Generally offering nothing positive to the Union in general except the quaint promise that in the right context, under certain circumstances they may vote for the maintenance of the Union, that is if they can be bothered to vote at all.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Technically not as I in no way consider you a Unionist at all and you have nothing to offer the Union or NI in general except constant whining from the sidelines criticising all things Unionist while pussy footing around Sinn Fein and the IRA.

    Protestantism is number one for me as the principles of this defines who I am, I cannot imagine that being a Unionist is the number one thing in your life??

  • Joe_Hoggs

    What is your proposal for Unionism to regain FST??? Come on we’re all ears!!!

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Not alienating them, simply flushing them out.

  • Thomas Girvan

    Ian may be a bit of a puddin’ but he has spoken at more Westminster debates than all the Sinn Fein M.P.s combined.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I’m a loyal Orangeman Mac.

  • siphonophorest

    .

  • carl marks

    Not judging anyone ! Come on Joe everybody you disapprove of or doesn’t. share your worldview is a either a Lundy a malcontent or in it for the money.
    You judge a lot Joe.
    And nice of you to put all Catholics in the one box.

  • carl marks

    Hey thought you didn’t judge people, come on Joe try to be consistant .

  • carl marks

    How does that loyal orangman thing work when the OO is breaking the law or attacking police men !

  • carl marks

    Drop the OO connection, it is not the vote winner you think it is. Stop calling every unionist who disagrees with you a lundie! Amdstop calling people money grabbers when you don’t like them.
    The OO is a hinderence in forming any sort of alliance with others, the other two points relate to simple manners. People tend to distrust anybody who resorts to personal abuse like that instead of proper debate.

  • carl marks

    As has been pointed out there is a lot of bad blood between the UUP and the DUP. And a lot of UUP members regard the DUP as corner boys.

  • carl marks

    When he is not in resorts in Africa advising on setting up schools and earning big money.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Pontentially Joe, it’s a spectrum.

    At one end you have the pragmatic pro-union voters i.e. people who believe they’ll be materially better off (or indeed other aspects again citing Aber1991 as an example) within NI.

    They would have no interest in flags, parades and may be immersed in the way of life that we would now (incorrectly) deem ‘nationalist’ as in play Gaelic games, learn Irish, play folk music etc

    Further along the spectrum you have those who are just proud of being ‘different’ as in being northerners and could happily join the NI project if it was less loyalist orientated and more Northern Ireland orientated.

    Etc etc until you come to the extreme end of unionism which blurs into loyalism.

    I know pro-union Catholics from both of the camps depicted above.

    I feel that unionism has to have a conversation with itself and come to an honest conclusion: do we want NI to remain in the union and do what it takes to maintain the link or do we actually just want an Protestant-unionist club?

    I for one want to maintain NI and make it more Northern Irish rather than faux ‘more British than Britain’

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “Am I wrong to say this?”
    Assuming that you mean unionist in the sense that they would vote pro-UK in a referendum then yes.

    If you mean that the Catholics in question be supportive of things like certain parades or multitudes of flags then no, but then that would mean that a large number of Protestants aren’t ‘unionist’ either.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    ” no way consider you a Unionist at all and you have nothing to offer the Union or NI”

    Well, I am a unionist. I offer the union a less aggressive and insular form of unionism that is open to anyone of any religion.

    I also offer Northern Ireland a flag that isn’t divisive (unlike mainstream unionism) and a sense of pride of being Northern Irish unlike modern unionism which would rather have us surrender our pride in the favour being ‘Little Britain’.

    “constant whining from the sidelines criticising all things Unionist while pussy footing around Sinn Fein and the IRA.

    So, you think I pussyfoot around SF and yet at present I’m also being accused of being an anti-SF troll (I’d also been told that I’ve some sort of emotional problem on account of my views on SF).

    How does that work? (Actually I think I know how it works but I’m interested in how you square those points away).

    ” I cannot imagine that being a Unionist is the number one thing in your life??


    That is correct Joe.
    First and foremost I’m a form of ‘Ulster nationalist’.
    I wish to emphasis the cultural and historical differences between our province and the rest of the island hence my support for our local forms of Gaelic, our local forms of folk music (such as those that were a core part of Orange culture), pre-Gaelic league culture, our architectural vernacular, our links to Scotland (inc the Gallowglass), our accents, for preserving the OO and AOH halls, lambeg drums, Ulster-American links and more besides.
    I’d prefer to do this within the context of the UK but as unionism gives way to ‘British nationalism’ which in turn helps pushes middle-ground people into the fold of Irish nationalism I see ulster culture being thrown away on the unionist side and being subsumed into ‘Irish nationalism’ on the non-unionist side.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    How many small ‘u’ unionists are opposed to the union flag being flown?

    There’s a difference between flying it like a typical British council and flying it 365,to choose the former option does not weaken the link with the union at all, in fact, it makes the place feel more like part of the UK as opposed to being some little Atlantic colony that strives to be a Disney-esque image of ‘British’.

    “Generally offering nothing positive to the Union in general except the quaint promise that in the right context, under certain circumstances they may vote for the maintenance of the Union, that is if they can be bothered to vote at all.”

    I think you’ll find most small ‘u’ unionist voters do indeed vote for the union. If they didn’t then they wouldn’t be unionist.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “You’re re-enforcing tribalism at a time when you’re about to become the smaller tribe. Great thinking”
    Yes. 1000 times yes.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    My point is that it shouldn’t have to be a case of ‘Unionism or death’.

    If all unionists threw their weight behind the SDLP then you’d increase the chances of a non-SF being elected.

    An SDLP with a considerable non-nationalist base would then have to think along more non-nationalist lines and would be less likely to engage in a race to the bottom on things like McCreesh park.

    I have no idea who the Mid-Ulster unionist candidate in the general election will be.

    All I know is that unionists will waste their time and petrol to vote for him knowing that he won’t win and leave the door open for SF.

    They will in fact be doing exactly what SF want them to do.

    Again.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Joe

    Two of the British Army’s greatest generals were Fermanagh men (of sorts), Field Marshall Lord Alan Brooke (Chief of Imperial General Staff) and Field Marshall Sir Claude Auchinleck.

    Auchinleck with the help of a Cavan tactician Eric Dorman Smith turned the tide of the North African campaign.

    If you look at the campaign you can see how fluid and dynamic it was.
    One day they would advance the next day they would retreat in order to win the long game.

    They did not just stand there, be predictable, shout no surrender and get shot .

    But they won.

    Making hard choices is part of achieving one’s goals and political unionism needs to learn this some day.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Am, I knew you weren’t a Sinn Fein supporter and I also knew you weren’t a Unionist, however it’s taken you a long time to reveal your hand and here it is – you’re SDLP. You have played a clever game my friend but I don’t think any Unionist on Slugger was ever seriously fooled by your proclamations.

    Lets dissect what you have said,

    1. You want Unionist voters across the board to swing behind the SDLP, does this include in East Belfast, Upper Bann and elsewhere?

    2. You have said you’re against pacts, the SDLP have also said that, yet here you are proposing a pact with the SDLP.

    3. Unionists pacts with the SDLP will only rile true Nationalists to vote for Sinn Fein like never before.

    4. How does electing Nationalist MP’s benefit councillors?

    5. The SDLP in certain areas such as Derry and Foyle rely heavily on Unionist votes, however this has not stopped them from their usual antics of opposing parades as well as the play-park fiasco.

    Overall your sentiment is without logic but at least we now know where you’re coming from.

  • Alan N/Ards

    In your eyes, is being Protestant the same as being a Christian? I personally find Christianity far more appealing than Protestantism.

  • carl marks

    Seriously Joe you think that AG is a SDLP sleeper, the man suggest a strategy to help your cause. (By the way people like AG are a bigger threat to project UI than any unionist pact) very how’s is your maths, when you add two and two do you get 5

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Voting for the SDLP is not good for Unionism.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    They should be inextricably intertwined.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Card carrying NI21 if you must know Joe (or was).

    Paid up, received emails, news updates etc offered my two shillings on occasion (and was ignored, obviously).

    It ended disastrously but the idea was good and had promise.
    C’est la vie.

    Totally not SDLP but, I see where you’re coming from given the above list.

  • carl marks

    right voting for a SDLP candidate to keep SF out is not good for unionism.
    but having a SF MP or MLA is somehow better for unionism.
    your not a chess player are you Joe!

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Should we all back SDLP in Upper Bann?

  • carl marks

    Your call Joe, of course your ideal result would be in any constituency would be the unionist candidate of your choice, after that any unionist, then you got to make a call , if no unionxist can win and your vote could keep a shinner out and help put in a nationlist who belongs to a party that is not as competant as the shinned, you could even get a bit of nationlist infighting. Still not a win Joe but not as bad a lose than throwing your vote away on a candidate who can’t win.
    Its strategy Joe.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Now if we started that the SDLP would be over in the morning, Nationalists would view it as being nothing more than a glorified Unionist party.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The SDLP voters will be voting SDLP just as Sinn Féin voters will be voting Sinn Féin. Large numbers of people in North Belfast won’t vote and that will probably increase with disillusioned UUP voters staying at home.

  • Kevin Breslin

    North Belfast isn’t nationalist dominated, it’s less so than South Belfast which is still slightly more unionist.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Billy Leonard married into republicanism and then left the SDLP to join Sinn Féin, still could not win East “Derry/Londonderry”.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Tell that to Iain Duncan Smith who was among those in the BetterTogether campaign.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Yes, or at least someone who has the ideological desire to.

  • siphonophorest

    .

  • John Collins

    This is just a question for AG and not a real contribution to the debate. Was Monty also a Fermanagh man?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    No, I believe his family background was Donegal (Moville to be precise, the ancestral home is still there).

  • carl marks

    Really Joe, again your back to the “they are all out to get us” again.
    Tell you what mate, I think that when you used the phrase “comfort zone” you explained your positon perfectly.
    To. Win at politics or anything else requires the ability to make decisions that go against the grain ( and can even hurt sometimes) people or groups retreat to comfort zones when they can’t deal with what is outside.
    The main problem with comfort zones is that you lose all influence on what is happening outside , they litterly are where people and things go to die.
    I’m sorry mate but this is where your “leadership” has brought you to,

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Joe
    That’s based on an assumption of how a typical Catholic voter will react, but, you’ve already demonstrated that you’re not too hot on how Catholics view things i.e. you said that they’d all be against the union, that is blatantly untrue (most yes, all? no).

    So IF you’re incorrect and the SDLP remain afloat with unionst backing then this is a big problem for Sinn Fein.

    IF you’re correct and the SDLP are nigh on obliterated in places like FST and Mid-Ulster then this creates an opportunity for southern parties to jump in and take their share of the SDLP’s carcass in those areas.

    If this happens then you’d have 3 or 4 nationalist parties up north splintering the vote (good for unionists) AND it would prove people like yourself absolutely correct about the necessity of unionist pacts.

    Again, BAD for Sinn Fein.

    So, in summary the nationalist vote shredded and the unionist vote consolidated .

    How does that not appeal to you?

  • Thomas Girvan

    I ad a look in his registry of interests. Could not see that he has declared what you are referring to.
    It seems either he’s a naughty boy or you are bull sh*tting.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    What is?

  • carl marks

    cant seem to get the link up, but Check out the Belfast Telegraph site 26 Sept 2013 , (just enter Ian Paisley trip to Africa in Google) he earned £7500, wonder why its not in his register of interests! and since in obviously not BSing you then he been a very naughty boy ,

  • Thomas Girvan

    He is a Bengal Lancer OK.
    Remember his mate Seymour Sweeney who he had “known of”?
    Not to mention the da-in law who was the owner of the Constituency Office we were paying a fortune for.
    It’s a wonder he doesn’t take a leaf out of Sinn Fein’s book and set up a bogus Research company to vacuum up a few more bob from the taxpayer.
    “Loadsamoney!”

  • rknfsdlkgbvn

    Well they won, but they shouldn’t have. Pathetic undemocratic ploy