The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Crowning Mr Unionist

Political journalist and Unionist Revisionist Dr John Coulter analyses a controversial Ulster Unionist strategy document which claims to be a blueprint to win back power and seats from the Paisley camp

Dr John Coulter • 3 July 2006

Wanted ... 15,000 defectors from the DUP, and five Paisleyite Westminster MPs will be chopped at the next General Election and fall into Ulster Unionist clutches!

That's the startling claim in a UUP strategy document which fell off the back of a lorry at Stormont and into the lap of The Blanket. But surely somebody, somewhere needs to go back to school to do a GCSE in Maths?

In last year's General Election, the Paisley camp obliterated David Trimble’s UUP leaving the gap between the rival unionists at 114,500 to the DUP and reducing the Ulster Unionists to a sole MP in North Down's Sylvia Hermon.

Either someone has been on the jungle juice when he conceived this document, or the Ulster Unionists are plotting the biggest comeback in Northern electoral history.

Seems the UUP has targeted five DUP seats which will supposedly require a shift of less than 4,000 votes to return to the Ulster Unionist fold – East Antrim, South Antrim, Upper Bann, East Belfast and East Derry.

Crucially, the already election-battered UUP is basing its strategy on the figure that more than 130,000 people in these five seats did not vote in the Westminster battle.

Ironically, if the UUP blueprint became an electoral reality, it would see the loss of some Paisleyite 'big guns', including deputy boss Peter Robinson, former Belfast Lord Mayor Sammy Wilson, and the cleric hotly tipped to succeed Big Paisley as Moderator of the fundamentalist Free Presbyterian Church, the Gospel-singing Willy McCrea.

How the UUP has arrived at these figures is even baffling the Paisley camp given Wilson's majority is over 7,300; Robinson's over 5,800; Gregory Campbell's in East Derry is over 7,700, and David Simpson's in Upper Bann – who dumped UUP boss Trimble – is almost 5,400.

On another negative front, the UUP claims a third of the North's Westminster seats will never be won by any unionist – Newry and Armagh, Mid Ulster, South Down, West Tyrone, Foyle, and West Belfast – an admission that everywhere west of the River Lagan should technically be in the Republic.

Although the DUP is the largest party in two other seats – South Belfast, and Fermanagh/South Tyrone, it will require a DUP/UUP pact to topple the sitting nationalist MPs, according to the UUP analysis.

But what the UUP is really gambling on are the estimated 25,000 working class Loyalist voters across the North – hence another reason for the Ulster Unionists snuggling up to the fringe Progressives, better known as the UVF and Red Hand Commando's political wing.

Since becoming the lead voice for Unionism, the DUP has effectively abandoned its traditional working class roots to the point where the Paisleyites have fiercely lambasted the UUP on the Reg Empey camp's new found links with working class Loyalism.

If the DUP loses Stormont on 24 November, Empey is gambling the Protestant electorate will return to the Ulster Unionist fold in thousands – middle class Unionism angered at Paisley's inaction; working class Loyalists furious at the DUP's snub after a generation of loyally backing the Paisley stance.

There have been a lot of allegations recently a collapsed Assembly could cost the Paisley camp more than £1.5 million in office funding. But with nine MPs and an MEP, the DUP has more than enough dosh to ride out Stormont shutting.

But the UUP doesn't. If it doesn't get its 15,000 defectors and the DUP retains all nine seats, the UUP – financially and politically – is up the creek without a paddle.

And even if a DUP/Shinner deal becomes a reality by 24 November, the Stormont jungle drums are hammering out more bad news for the Empey camp as rumours of a British/Irish Plan C roam the Assembly corridors.

Plan C – to cut costs and rebuild the Assembly's credibility with voters – would see the number of MLAs slashed to 90, which means chopping one from each of the 18 constituencies.

In any forthcoming election based on a 90-seat Chamber, the UUP could only muster 12 to 14 MLAs compared to the DUP's expected 25, plus another eight Unionist marginals which very easily swing to the Paisley camp.

This would give the DUP a whopping 33 seats – the same number it had in the aftermath of the November 2003 election for the 108-seat Assembly.

Looks very like someone in the Paisley camp is trying to create a win-win situation for the DUP. Question is, who will emerge as Mr Unionist on 24 November?






































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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

9 July 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

Father Faul Saved Many Lives
Richard O'Rawe

Richard O'Rawe, PSF, and Events in 1981
Gerard Foster

Looking Back on 1981
Anthony McIntyre

Haughey and the National Question
Maria McCann

Brits Not to Blame for Haughey
David Adams

John Kennedy

Euston Manifesto: Yesterday's News
Mick Hall

Considering A Multi-Faceted Approach to the Middle East
Mehdi Mozaffari

Book Better Than Its Title
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Crowning Mr Unionist
Dr John Coulter

Extra Time Will Not Be Decisive
David Adams

'Pretty Much a Busted Flush'
Anthony McIntyre

John Kennedy

Just Books Web-launch
Jason Brannigan

The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Omagh, David Rupert, MI5 & FBI Collusion
Marcella Sands

The Framing of Michael McKevitt
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The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Preliminary Hearings
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Jury Duty Free State
Dolours Price

Even the Obnoxious
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2 July 2006

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Salvaging History from Defeat
Forum Magazine Editorial

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
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Monsignor Denis Faul: Tribute
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

Protest Continues in Maghaberry
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Where the Wind Blows
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What's Shaking
John Kennedy

Left, Right, Left, Right Wrong
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Irish Democracy, A Framework for Unity
Francis Mackey

The Peace Progress and the State
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'The Church Brought to its Knees': Two books on Catholic Ireland's retreat
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Somme Battle Conspiracy
Dr John Coulter

March March March
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What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander!
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Sovereignty Movement Condemns Racist Attacks
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Greens Propose Plastic Bag Tax to Help Fund Environment Watchdog
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The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Introduction
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The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Garda Harassment & Eventual Sitch-up
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Dolours Price

Judas 118 or DUP Strategy of Subversion?
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