Tuesday 6 October 2009

Lack of confidence in UCUNF

The BBC is reporting a letter from the South Belfast constituency Ulster Unionist Association to UUP leader Reg Empey suggesting that the UUP and the DUP should discuss running a single unionist candidate in South Belfast in order to retake the Westminster seat from the SDLP.

This implies that the UUP (or UCUNF – a 'non-sectarian new force') would prefer to cooperate with the openly sectarian DUP than with the firmly non-sectarian and anti-violence SDLP. A strange position, one might think. Are issues of policy behind the call? Apparently not, since none of the three parties have any strong policies, and certainly the SDLP's policies are quite similar in practice (if not in word) with those of the UUP. Except for one policy – the future of Northern Ireland in the UK. Here the DUP and the SDLP are on different sides of a high fence. The UUP seems to be putting the issue of constitutional preference higher on its list of priorities than mere issues like tolerance, non-sectarianism, and the creation of a shared future. Has nothing changed?

The other side of the UCUNF coin – the Conservatives – have already signalled that they will propose a candidate for South Belfast (and the choice between theirs and the UUP's choice will be decided at a later stage). Will the Tories be prepared to back out of South Belfast, and out of their promise to stand in every constituency, in favour of the DUP?

On the other hand, is the UUP's lack of confidence in their ability to re-take South Belfast based on the fact that the Tories proposed candidate is a West Belfast Catholic? As such, of course, he could exemplify the kind of new non-sectarian image that the Tories are trying to present – but at the clear cost of losing the votes of sectarian Protestant unionists. A resurgent UCUNF had hopes of picking up seats such as South Belfast, with its affluent and educated electorate, but it could only do so if it could attract ex-DUP voters, but with the selection of Peter McCann the Tories are virtually ensuring that this will not happen.

The UUP appear to be worried that even if their (UUP) candidate for the seat becomes the eventual UCUNF candidate, they still will not make up enough ground to overtake both the DUP and the sitting MP, the SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell. The letter from the constituency association is an early sign that not all UUP members are confident of the success of the new non-merger with the Tories.

10 comments:

Watcher said...

"This implies that the UUP (or UCUNF – a 'non-sectarian new force') would prefer to cooperate with the openly sectarian DUP than with the firmly non-sectarian and anti-violence SDLP."

Don't know what is sectarian about The DUP. In any case, how could The UUP co-operate with a party (The SDLP) which supported the aims of The IRA during 'The Troubles' and still does? In fact it still supports Irish Unity even though that aligns it with CIRA/RIRA who are continuing to carry out murders. Why don't The SDLP adopt a small 'u' unionist stance and work with The UUP (and indeed The DUP), with whom they have so much in common (as you say yourself)?

"On the other hand, is the UUP's lack of confidence in their ability to re-take South Belfast based on the fact that the Tories proposed candidate is a West Belfast Catholic? As such, of course, he could exemplify the kind of new non-sectarian image that the Tories are trying to present – but at the clear cost of losing the votes of sectarian Protestant unionists."

But surely he would gain the votes of sectarian Catholics?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Just Watcher has jumped some significant fences here. He says: The UUP co-operate with a party (The SDLP) which supported the aims of The IRA during 'The Troubles' and still does? In fact it still supports Irish Unity even though that aligns it with CIRA/RIRA who are continuing to carry out murders.

That is some leap. Does that mean that the DUP, UUP, et al are in the same situation because they support the same aims of Johnny Adair and other loyalist murder gangs?

I think not.

Watcher needs to watch that sectarian bias.

In relation to the South Belfast seat, I agree with Horseman. There is too much at stake in our journey towards fragile shared future to squander it on enforced polarisation by a few unionists in South Belfast who disagree with the Conservatives and their non-sectarian approach. The DUP would need to pull out of the race not to help the Ulster Unionists, but to stop another party. In this case, Alasdair McDonnell, who has actually served South Belfast very well, regardless of political opinion or religion. Democracy becomes corrupted when democratically elected parties decide to pull out of the race to stop another party.

Anonymous said...

Ps
just to clarify. The only aim the SDLP and the IRA, CIRA or RIRA have in common is to see a united Ireland. Their methods of getting there are totally different. The SDLP is a constitutional party struggling to bring about an agreed Ireland from all the people, North and South. They accept that it can only come about democratically by both traditions in the North. The Unionist perspective though is that union must remain, just like the UDA, UVF, etc.
The SDLP are actually the only party throughout the troubles that have unilaterally and unequivocally condemned all violence, from wherever it came.

Watcher said...

Oh these Jews are such a problem, I wish they'd disappear. But of course I condemn the methods of those nasty Nazis.

Sometimes the ends are the means...

Anonymous said...

So Gandhi and Michael Collins are one and the same..

My name is Andy, I am a simpleton....

God save the Queen

Watcher said...

Gandhi was non-violent, but he was more than aware that others weren't...

I may be a simpleton, but I'm obviously not the only one...

Anonymous said...

But you appear to be the only simpleton on here. What is it? 2 or 3 months of daily comment's without providing one valid argument?

It is not that hard, there is many arguments to go against the views expressed on this blog.

Lucky you don't live in Northern Ireland, you would have been expelled by the loyalists long ago.

Andy, you come across as a Roy Cropper. Do you polish the military medal's that you purchased from the store down the street on a weekly or monthly basis?

Let me guess, you wanted to join up but you had some form of disability, retardation?

Anonymous said...

Non-sectarian SDLP? (LOL)

hoboroad said...

No deals with the DUP says Owen Patterson.

Anonymous said...

another way to solve the problems is to have a party that has centre right wing and centre left wing policies is omit the NI parties and vote for one of the main 3 parties in the UK.
its a good way to get northern Irelands voice in the main cabinet. the UUP made made that move. but its not working well enough because of small power struggles between the conservatives and UUP.

people need to wise up and get on front and stop being divisive otherwise Sinn Fein and DUP will get more votes who wants the extreme parties who play on fear.