Surely, the DUP would be better to welcome this Tory/UUP move? Staff at Bobballs can’t figure out why there is no generosity from DUP. The UUP almost need not lob any shells back at the DUP when they seem content to inflict such damage on themselves.
Especially when you consider the strange and curious case of… ex-Tory MP Andrew Hunter! When Mr Hunter came over from Basingstoke to run in Lagan Valley, the constituency chairman Ian Paisley Junior said Mr Hunter’s candidacy was:
probably one of the most significant developments within unionist politics for several decades.
(Erm… the electorate disagreed and he trailed in seventh in the 2003 assembly election.)
So taking a Tory backbencher and running him (ironically, in an attempt to end the career of Jeffrey Donaldson) was “most significant”. But bringing a future PM to NI to proclaim himself a ‘passionate unionist’ who is not neutral on the Union and then securing the promise of Unionists sitting in a national government is… piffle? Some inconsistency here, surely?
We can’t find any links on Paisley Junior’s view on the Tory/UUP link, but we’d be very keen to hear his views! Junior was ecstatic to gain delivery of one (independent) ex-MP. Fair enough. The Unionist family gained admission into the next Tory government. He must be beside himself with glee, right?
PS. So if the UUP/Tory deal really does strengthen core vote and reenergise people on the fringe, then surely the possible arrival of the Labour Party (Boyd Black interview) will mop up people who might otherwise support the excellent SDLP Euro candidate? Great news for Jim Nicholson as Alban had his eyes fixed firmly on that seat.
Which brings us to Councillor Niall Kelly. He told the Irish News that ‘the right of the SDLP to an 11th ministry went out the window when both [DUP/SF] abandoned d’Hondt and the democratic guarantees of the Good Friday Agreement’. All right this is fairly usual SDLP territory. But wouldn’t it be better to let the notion of the judicious and eminently worthy Alban Maginness as a potential Justice Minister gestate for a while in the minds of the electorate? Why not feed this notion, let Alban talk expansively in connection with local justice matters and position him as expert/credible option? His credentials are good and should earn him plenty of favourable media opportunities and hence opportunities to shape public opinion. This would be a perfect and uniquely SDLP platform going into the Euro election. Then Alban can modestly withdraw his name in March and SF can be blamed for screwing it all up just after the Easter commemorations (so that they don’t get a clear run with the ICCT going into the Sands anniversary). But, erm, Councillor Kelly subverted it before Christmas arrived. Shame.