Orange Order; We believe it is in Northern Ireland’s vital interests for as many Unionist MPs as possible be returned to our mother Parliament

The Orange Order has issue a statement today urging the Unionist parties to show “unity of purpose” The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland recognises the critical importance and huge significance of the forthcoming General Election. As the United Kingdom commences the process of exiting the European Union it is essential a purposeful and stable Government is elected to act on behalf of, and deliver the best possible deal, for its citizens. Equally, it is of the utmost importance that Northern …

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UUP stand aside in N.Belfast clearing the way for further talks with the DUP

The UUP have confirmed they will stand aside in North Belfast, as well as West Belfast and Foyle. This effectively clears the way for the DUP Deputy Leader, Nigel Dodds to keep the seat, if the other parties don’t come to some sort of arrangement. Speaking about the election the party leader, Robin Swann said; “The General Election has been called and we have moved quickly to put Ulster Unionist Party candidates in the strongest possible position in advance of …

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Five questions over the future of Unionism after Mike Nesbitt steps down

History is unlikely to be very kind to Mike Nesbitt’s tenure as Ulster Unionist leader. The 2017 Assembly election looked to many observers like the UUP’s long-awaited big chance. It was not to be. To be fair, the UUP was struggling long before Nesbitt took over at the top. It can also be said that he tried pretty much everything. He led them firstly as an Executive party and then into Opposition. When he first entered politics, it was at …

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The Democratic Peoples Republic of Northern Ireland

“I like the idea of democracy. You have to have someone everyone distrusts” – Terry Pratchett   Election pacts, who wants ’em, who needs ’em, who gets ’em? That seems to be the name of the game this week, I’m sure not everybody got what they wanted, but if nothing else, a few party higher-ups have added quite a lot of chapters to their autobiographies. Every cloud and all that jazz… I don’t get election pacts, it makes no sense …

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Robinson, Nesbitt, Murphy and Long on Pacts

On Slugger we have the full remarks from Peter Robinson, Mike Nesbitt, Naomi Long and Conor Murphy.   Let’s start with UUP  leader, Mike Nesbitt,   The Ulster Unionist Party and the DUP have reached an understanding regarding the General Election. The Ulster Unionist Party will have the support of the DUP for Tom Elliott in Fermanagh & South Tyrone and Danny Kennedy in Newry & Armagh. In return the Ulster Unionist Party will support Nigel Dodds in North Belfast …

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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. Update – details 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 …

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Jonathan Bell: I will bring a campaign to South Belfast like “you have never seen”

On Wednesday night the DUP’s newly minted candidate for South Belfast launched his campaign to become the new MP for South Belfast. In the middle of all hustle and bustle of the Four Winds I caught up with the candidate, Junior Minister, Jonathan Bell. To start with I wanted to know why the DUP thought that South Belfast was so ripe for change? Bell told me that when you look at the last local election results it is clear that …

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Unionist Pact still possible

The saga of whether or not there will be a unionist pact continues with Mike Nesbitt suggesting that he may still be open to an agreement. He stated: “Without a deal, without an understanding there is a real prospect there could be no unionist representing the capital city of Northern Ireland in Westminster on the 8th May,” he said. “With a deal, who knows? Maybe three of the four could be unionist but they can’t all be DUP.” The seats …

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Does the Bell toll for Unionist unity in Belfast?

A bit of a surprise announcement tonight from the DUP [email protected] will be our candidate in S Belfast. With your help he can win. Every seat will count in the next HoC. pic.twitter.com/AAwlOLDxpV — Peter Robinson (@DUPleader) February 10, 2015 Bell who represents the Strangford constituency has been nominated to either focus the UUPs mind that time is really running out or have they possibly made the calculation that they might be able to unseat McDonnell without a unity candidate? …

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Nesbitt:”This is about the Union, this is about putting Unionism first, this is about the good of Northern Ireland.” #UUP2014

Yesterday as the Ulster Unionist conference wrapped up I sat down with the party leader, Mike Nesbitt to discuss the last election, Unionist unity and the party’s prospects for the upcoming Wesminster election. I began by asking him about the last election, how did he feel about the UUPs moderate improvement from 2011? Well I wasn’t looking at the percentage, I was looking at the total number of people getting elected and we got 99 and that is the equivalent …

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Will unionism’s long 2012 be seen as the year when the wave broke?

With the #flegs protests seemingly diminishing, it seems like a good time to wrap up where 2012 has brought unionism, although it can be pretty much summed up in one word – crisis. It was a year in which there were early signs of modest progress visible to DUP leader Peter Robinson in March and by November he felt confident to proclaim that the constitutional debate had been won. And remember, in 2012 we were told repeatedly how ‘Catholics’ were being taken within, and reciprocating, the embrace of unionist outreach. Looking past the rhetoric, …

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Basil McCrea: we are increasingly looking at a policing response that does more than just contain the situation

Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrea was interviewed on his local community radio station Lisburn’s 98FM today. Presenters of the weekly On The Record politics show – David McCann and Kerri Dunn – quizzed the whip-less politician about his previous statements on flag, the state of his party and his political future. listen to ‘Lagan Valley MLA @BasilMcCrea speaking to @dmcbfs & @KerriDunn on @lisburns98 radio’ on Audioboo You can listen to the entire 23 minute interview – with permission from …

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At least now, the UUP’s blinkers will probably come off

The last time a major Unionist party was lead by anyone from west of Portadown it was Harry West in in 1970’s. That was not a happy period of the UUP’s history. The sense of ‘otherness’ that exists amongst border Unionists is well known, researched and documented. It is not a fictional notion dreamed up to further an argument, it is fair to say they are a different sort of Unionist. It is for that reason that the queston “does …

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Unionist Pacts: yet again

There have long been discussions and suggestions regarding the possibility of a unionist pact: the suggestion seems to be as old as the splits within unionism. Indeed although some “liberal” or “progressive” unionists deride the idea, the reality is that the suggestion has very significant popularity throughout the unionist electorate. In the past I have suggested that unionist civility rather than unionist unity would be a good idea. Now, however, there seems to be the possibility of the opposite: unionist …

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Unionism needs to learn the magic of ‘vote management’

It’s more than thirty years since PR STV was introduced to local elections and although it is a complex instrument you would have thought most parties would have cottoned on by now as to how balance their tickets. Danny Kennedy sees unionism’s underperformance in South Antrim as a reason to seek greater co-operation with the DUP: “Here in South Antrim the combined unionist vote was equal to more than five assmebly quotas, yet presently the area only has three unionist …

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Debate within Unionism: Thorough, Intense and Constructive

This is a cross posting of Fair Deal’s contribution to Open Unionism’s ongoing debate on the future of unionism. He argues that all parties to the debate must resist the temptation to the shape of the solution in their own preferred image, but rather they must allow the debate be ‘thorough, intense and constructive’.

Let`s keep Northern Ireland moving forward

Despite the goings on in East Belfast the election results have seen the DUP claw back voters. The 2009 Euro elections saw the DUP achieve 88,346 first preference votes (18.2%) whilst the election to Westminster has seen the percentage go up to 25% of the vote (168,216). Now this is still down 8.7% on the previous Westminster election but in overall terms considering the recent DUP `annus horribilis` I would think the DUP should be pretty happy with the result. …

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