If you were a core-team blogger on a letsgetalongerist anti-SDLP weblog………a weblog of record……..how exactly would you set the narrative for todays “McCausland vote”.
Well of course there is no such weblog 😉 but lets say that you cannot really like Nelson McCausland…….a bit of a dinosaur, you would kinda be helped by Alliance deciding to support the SDLP motion. You might even give a tip of the hat to David McClarty, the Independent Unionist who voted with SDLP.
The awkward thing is that it was a nationalist party which led the motion……and a “lets get alongerist” weblog needs to be fairly well implanted in the “liberal unionist” UUP-Alliance Camp.
So today’s vote was bad news for “lets getalongerists”. The Alliance Party which gets votes from Protestants and Catholics voted with SDLP. The UUP….whose Leader Mike Nesbitt……spoke again of his desire to have Catholics vote for his Party voted against the SDLP motion. His much vaunted “outreach” oft spoken of by “lets get alongerists” ……..got another airing at his Partys Conference on Saturday. And it is hard to escape the idea that Nesbitt’s outreach to Catholics is phoney.
There will of course be a narrative that the debate was about SDLP trying to “out-green” Sinn Féin. But does that stand any serious scrutiny? I dont think so……Aside from an attempt to raise the Ministerial Code, there is a Civil Rights dimension as well as nationalist/republican dimension here.
SDLP is on its best ground when Civil Rights is an issue. I do not really see any difference between the SDLP attitude on (Orange) Parades than in 1997 when Drumcree was a hot issue. It is Sinn Féin who have moved more towards faux acceptance of these parades.
Put simply, it should never be the responsibility of a nationalist/republican Party to facilitate quasi-fascists in the Orange Order. Marginalise them first…..like the Ku Klux Klan…….and when rendered relative harmless………let them march all day and all night.
Ah, but FJH, the 12th and all of those marches, whenever it may occur is a day for ALL of us to enjoy! A rich part of our cultural and historical tapestry together with bears dancing, burning witches and keeping croppies down, ay? 🙂
Fortunately, people such as younger Nats will not take the crap that comes from the likes of the OO and it’s apologists.
Back of the net with that one !
I have an idea, why don’t Alliance and the UUP merge as the “Letsgetalongerists Oolster Orange Party for Excited Representatives”
They could alternate their voting patterns and spout “reasonable” rhetoric then not back it up every day.
It would be great fun and I bet Mr Fitz’s fictional “anti-SDLP weblog” wouldn’t even notice the acronyn that you have already…
Acronyms are tricky.
I want to start a group called FIBBERS……..a loose group of independently minded bloggers.
I have been musing on this for weeks and can only get as far as “Federation of Irish Bloggers……….”
Anyone any idea on how to get FIBBERS out of this?
Danke BD (was watching some Bundesliga this evening!),
‘I have an idea, why don’t Alliance and the UUP merge’
East of the Bann/Greater Belfast, they kind of are, aren’t they? I was talking to a mate about this, and they (the alliance) appear to be taking the whole ‘liberal’ unionist vote as Tom Elliot and now Mike ‘media savior of unionism’ Nesbitt talk the talk but all their outreach to Kaffliks is phoney as a three dollar bill. They (uu) are dup lite (if that is at all possible), why vote for the uu who are out of power and are going the way of HMV?
To some extent that is happening with Harry Hamilton, Paula Bradshaw and Ian Parsley (for the 27th time) joining Alliance.
This and others potentially changes the brand from neutral to “unionis” (and lets not forget Alliance was formed as a pro-union Party…..neutrality is a fairly recent incarnation.
It also potentially changes AP to a “conservative” Party.
I dont think that its reasonable to think that Hamilton, Bradshaw and Parsley were Tories just two years ago and are now “liberals”. UUP political broadcasts from 2010 are still online at You Tube and make good viewing.
But Ive always believed that nationalism NEEDS two Parties. So does unionism…..viable alternatives.
And lets get alongerism needs two parties also.
If I was a lets get alongerist strategist…….or a leading light in a pro-union PR company or fictional weblog, Id actually see the benefit of two parties….one which was attractive to two communities and a liberal unionist alternative.
In my view McCallister and McCrea defecting to Alliance would weaken BOTH brands and the undercover strategists would not like that.
Its an article of faith of lets get alongerists that we need a viable “British” conservative AND labourite party.
I could not see McCallister defecting to the Alliance, but McCrea I would have as a 50/50 toss up for defecting, so long as he got something big like a ministerial position or Deputy Leader.
Bradshaw, Hamilton and IJP defecting, I believe, has somewhat damaged their brand already as they are not liberals, nor are they neutral or even agnostic on the union like their party is supposed to be.
A lot depends on whether they remain electable. Especially on the basis of 18 constituencies.
There is an Alliance quota in Lagan Valley. Trevor Lunn must surely be on the point of retirement and there doesnt look a natural successor. He plays the organ at Midnight Mass in Lisburn so has a personal vote. Not sure McCrea can do that…his base is essentially Conservative. There might well be a “liberal unionist” quota but if McCrea defected there would be no second Alliance quota.
McCallister has the same dilemna. There is a cobbled together UUP (all factions) and an AP transfer that adds up to a quota for him. But defecting to AP would not get him elected.
There are two plus nationalist quotas in Upper Bann. The “real” Alliance vote is minimal and Hamilton couldnt turn the liberal UUP vote into a quota.
East Antrim is interesting. Theres always a little hint of blood in the water there….Neeson/Matthews? Whatever happened Gerry Lynch? His movement out of front line politics made Stew art Dickson the frontrunner there but he is pensionable age.
Luckily they have a new member of the Alliance Party Executive on the voting resiter….Mrs Bradshaw-Parsley and Mr Bradshaw-Parsley is on the East Antrim Executive……so just how East Antrim activists including promising Brendan Heading feel about that is going to be fun to watch.
Interesting points FJH.
Outside of greater Belfast they (alliance) seem somewhat short on the ground of young, electable talent coming through, dont they?
Could it even be a stretch to see the likes of McCrea and McCallister either going it alone or re-joining the tories in the eventuality of the uu’s liquidation? There voters are not dup types, nor are the alliance types. They’re fairly conservative unionists who are middle class or aspiring middle class. Whilst they are both seen as ‘liberal’ they would definitely fit into a liberal wing of the tories, right?
I dont honestly think that McCallister or McCrea have a master plan for their careers. I saw them both at the launch of An Líofa ….the Irish language initiative at Stormont August last year. I think the object of the exercise was to be “seen” . One of them at least was hugging nationalist MLAs (this was the first time that many MLAs had seen each other since Stormont had re-started after the Recess).
So being “seen” in the Long Gallery at Stormont is kinda supportive but actually taking a principled stand on Nelson McCausland yesterday would have meant more.
McCallister was a popular speaker with SDLP Youth at their Conference in March earlier this year. He is an amusing speaker, not a great orator…and pointed up not to forget to give him a preference at the next Assembly Elections. As I recall he said that he personally only gave Alliance a #8 preference.
Deep down I cant see any difference between McCrea, McCallister and decent liberal unionists like Basil McIvor who was “MP” for Larkfield (Dunmurray, Upper Andersonstown) in 1969 and even spoke at our school after he was elected.
Ultimately I dont think there is any real substance to McCrea and McCallister.
They are merely hanging in as long as they can. Making the right noises but not actually “doing” anything.
Nobody is voting for them. They can’t seem to find a niche and they are afraid of alienating what’s left of their core vote. Nesbitt has no chance without root and branch reform of the structures but the backwoodsmen won’t let him. Fun to watch though. In truth once a party is in as much trouble as this one, there is no hope. Reminds me of the Prog Dems down south, Michael McDowell and co. Speaking of which I think He’s mentioned on another site somewhere today……….
McDowell has been mentioned on a fictional weblog. 🙂
It is such great fun watching them implode, a wholly undemocratic bunch of shits. It was also a great pleasure watching McDowell and his lot go to the sword electorally speaking.
Their downfall is well documented everywhere and I will have a little smile and pint when it’s official, I give it 2 more assembly elections at the very most.
In the company of a certain Mr Trimble esq I am informed. Now. What links those two? 😉
their jovial personalities
Interestingly, your post has 2 1/2 times the number of comments and my own sites comments are very comfortably outperforming those of a certain “Sky at Night” enthusiast. I think I’ll pour another glass of Red…..
Ah numbers are not everything.
On the fictional weblog, there seems to be greater thought in publishing posts than previously.
They seem to be putting some effort…..not always successfully……..into avoiding the clichés which would be their most endearing feature ……if they were not fictional.
Ah but, me being me with my obsession with stats, I do take a certain delight in people engaging to a greater degree. As I have said though, It’s quality that counts 🙂
“Never mind the quality……feel the Width” (old TV sit-com).
I think we should be worried that we not read by 96% of the MLAs at Stormont….as the fictional weblog “Slugger O’Toole” according to the Wikipedia entry.
A survey commissioned by Stratagem.
Im sure those figures are as reliable as any Norn Iron opinion poll. 🙂
The UUP will never recover under Mike TV as long as they run away from taking on the DUP. And as for McCrea and McAllister the so called liberals in the party abstaining on this will do them no favours. The SDLP are on the road to recovery the UUP are on the road to nowhere.
I think the key for the SDLP is to energise their natural base. I agree with your points
Although I am SDLP, I would not want to overstate a recovery.
I know family members who could not bring themselves to vote for a Party led by Margaret Ritchie.
And clearly this was a message that got thru to canvassers as well.
Im inclined to think that in (say) Fermanagh-South Tyrone, this was the difference between Tommy Gallagher losing his seat and keeping it (70 odd votes).
The new Leadership has really just restored a kinda default setting….brought the SDLP to the place where it would have been had Mark Durkan stayed as Leader.
Actually a very important stage has been achieved. Perception of a party in decline has changed to one of a party in recovery. Don’t underestimate that.
An excellent point.
Won’t stop me hammering away about North Down I’m afraid, I don’t think anyone is listening in the party though. Why are they handing votes to Alliance?
I can only agree.
Nelson McCausland’s decision to publicise on his blog the name, address and photograph of a “parades’ observer” in North Belfast reveals his real political roots. It wasn’t so long ago that publicising the personal details of politically active Irish citizens living in the north of the country led to British murder gangs calling to their door. A reprehensible act for someone in his position.
Ive often said that McCausland is not “gene pool” DUP.
I saw this and was going to post something but I thought better not to feed the story. Nelson had to retract details from his blog after a “Quiet conversation” with the PSNI. This guy is way beyond normal behavioural standards, why is Peter the great defending him?
Because he has to.
Robinson looked very uncomfortable today. With Simpson and Campbell at Westminster and out of harms way, McCausland is the undisputed leader of that DUP awkward squad. He is not a genuine Party man……and is pushing the envelope a bit……in a way that DUP backbenchers cant do.
His roots are firmly in that evangelical, almost anti-politics marginal unionism. And he has got lucky. Very lucky.
And is probably unsackable.
And of course the real benefit of today was the way that Robinson and Nesbitt got “found out”. Their real feelings were there for all to see.
I recall John Majors unguarded remarks about……..er colleagues urinating into the tent and out of the tent.
Robinson probably feels same way about McCausland.
The trouble with people like that is that they undermine the Party and the leadership.
Remember that Robinson had to return from the US to shut Nelson up. I have the feeling that Dodds is fit to be tied with him and he is actually damaging the party in a broader sense.
Add to that the story above about a visit from the PSNI and he is close to becoming a liability.
Watch this space
Sorry for repeating this on another thread FJH but a few of the readers may find this thread from IJP interesting enough.
Like most pols, I like how he answers only certain questions and decides to completely overlook other questions, oh and the facts that come with them!