Wednesday 7 October 2009

Catholic Tories!

Several months ago this blog commented on the apparent interest from the Conservative Party in standing candidates that 'broke the mould' - in particular Catholics and women (and along the way also poked a little fun at the pompous Mick Fealty, whose admiration of Tory unionism is thinly disguised).

And lo, it has come to pass!

First the Tories announced that they have elected a West Belfast Catholic, Peter McCann, to stand in South Belfast (if the local UUP Association don't object too much).

Then the Tories found themselves a woman - DUP defector Deirdre Nelson - to stand in East Belfast. Deirdre, despite her lovely Irish forename, is a Protestant (though the Tories fail to point this out, although they are quick to tell us the Catholics' religion).

But now they seem to have hit the jackpot. Their selected candidate for Lagan Valley is a Catholic Woman - Sheila Davidson.

As Tory spokeman for Northern Ireland, Owen Patterson, puts it:
"Only last week, local Conservatives short-listed Catholic businesswoman, Sheila Davidson, in Lagan Valley, in South Belfast, Peter McCann, a Catholic former BBC producer of Top Gear from West Belfast and in East Belfast, Cllr Deirdre Nelson, who defected from the DUP on Ballymena Council."

Now why would a non-sectarian party feel the need to tell us the religions of Davidson and McCann, but not Nelson?

Of course, each of these worthies will need to be selected from a short-list of two - a Tory and a UUP candidate. In each case, the Tory will be up against a UUP incumbent (or long-time hopeful). In Nelson's case, that long-time hopeful is none other than Reg Empey himself. Is he going to agree to Nelson standing instead of him?

Rumour has it that the Tories are insisting on a 50:50 split of seats (i.e. in nine seats the UCUNF candidate should be a Tory rather than a UUP member). Presumably part of this assertiveness is that these nine seats should include some where a UCUNF candidate is electable - i.e. the Tories will probably not be happy to be 'gifted' the candidacy in seats west of the Bann. So which UUP hopefuls are going to be passed over, and how will they take it? Time will tell.

Of course the chance of any of the Tories Catholics actually getting elected is small - especially since they are virtually guaranteed to be lent no DUP votes, and may well lose some UUP votes if the local UUP hopefuls feel aggrieved at having been passed over for a Tory blow-in.


David said...

No comment on the fact that there is such a thing as a Catholic Conservative - presumably content with the union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

Anonymous said...

Michael Steele is black and chairman of the Republican party in America. Does that mean that there is all these black people who are Republicans (with small "r" lol)? NO

What it means is that the Republican party knows it does not have any support with the majority of black Americans and they are attempting to hold Michael Steele up and pointing to him as an example of how the Republican party is not a bunch of white racists.

I see no difference here......

Andy why the new name? Watcher, Male2Stripper, and now David.

Watcher said...

David - you're completely right! There are plenty of them, although they don't speak publicly about their opinions - worried about being kicked to death by RIRA/SDLP types...

Nasty, very...

David said...


I've no doubt the majority of black Americans vote Democrat, but a significant minority vote Republican (isn't it about 80 : 20?).

The premise of this blog seems to be that Northern Ireland is all about demographics - as soon as there is one more Catholic than Protestant then we'll reach the promised land of a united Ireland.

Catholics coming forward as Conservative candidates seem to suggest that things are a bit more complicated than that.

And my name is David - it's the first time I've posted on this blog.

Anonymous said...

African American Republican Leadership Council says that 14% of blacks are Republican. In 2004 election 11% voted Republican (obviously in 2008 it was only 5%)

How long has it been since the civil rights movement?

When was the last time the Republican party was openly racist?

It has only been a short time since the end of troubles in Northern Ireland and Unionist politicians continue to go against and make bigoted comments about Catholics.

I also don't think issues alone makes somebody vote a certain way.

If you take African-Americans for example, the majority of them should really be Republicans. Look at this gallup poll.

Anonymous said...

"And my name is David - it's the first time I've posted on this blog."

My name is Andy, I make up random names to try to pretend that other people share my views.

Anonymous said...

At least the Tories are trying to reach out to the Catholic community. There will PROBABLY be a Tory government soon. Shouldn't Catholics have some influence in it?

Anonymous said...

Yeah lots of kicking to death of catholics recently by SDLP types.....they must hide there political views or there dead

Nordie Northsider said...

Steady on, Horseman. I've never found Mick Fealty 'pompous' however often I've disagreed with him. He does a good job on Slugger - a site mostly free of the nutjobs that infest cyberspace.

picador said...

Ha ha! Mick Fealty pompous? Never!


Careful! I am one of those nutjobs who infest cyberspace.

Coll Ciotach said...

Certainly reached out for them - got them by the throat