5.35pm on a Friday afternoon? Time for a conspiracy theory!

11 09 2009

So the excellent Ian Parsley has left APNI. I see Fordy is really annoyed – he should be, he just lost his best player.

The UUs will no doubt rejoice with their Tory partners. This is genuinely good news for the new force.

But ever the optimist, bobballs has a warning for the UUs…

Why is Parsley not moving to the UUs? Deirdre Nelson didn’t move to the UUs either. (I wonder how many new members the Tory party now has following the UCUNF publicity?)

As Reg acknowledges, either party could walk away from this deal at any time  (I’ll find that bloody link somewhere) – and I don’t think they are necessarily a match made in heaven (many Tories view Unionist politics as reinforcing sectarianism here).

So here is an alternative theory…

The Tories are using the UUs to draw strength. They will cooperate up to the general election, but  excellent scalps like Parsley may persuade the Tories of the value in demerging… and standing against UU candidates at the next Assembly election.

The UUs complain that the SDLP were always a shy bride – erm… have they just met another one?

There’s plenty of politics left to run here. The UUs need to play a consistently tight game over the next 18 months to avoid seeing things blow up in their faces…

PS. What the hell does this mean for Sylvia? Has anyone spoken to her-slash-heard a peep out of her?

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7 responses

11 09 2009
Editor

Bob, I like your alternative theory and hope you are right. Rumours abound that Ian may be the Conservative candidate to stand against Sylvia (assuming she continues her extended, New Labour, huff about the deal). That would be top splendid. He seems like a very capable chap and would be an excellent Conservative candidate for North Down.

Jeff Peel

11 09 2009
Chekov

A tight game means committing to the deal properly and getting on message. Otherwise I do foresee, at some point in the future, an enlarged Conservative party, possibly retaining a ‘unionist’ appellation in NI, and a rump UUP pulled away by harder edge, cultural unionists and the LSH types/

12 09 2009
bobballs

Hi Jeff – i think this is really encouraging stuff for the Conservatives. This new force is designed to make the partners stronger – we’ve all been too focused on the UUs, i just wonder if the Tories do not become outright benefactors and gain proportionately more from this deal than the UUs. Parsley is important as a symbol of the non-sectarian appeal of Conservativism here … i’ll bet more will follow his example.

hey Chekov – you’re right, if i was a UU strategist I would be concentrating all my energies on locking the Tories into a long term deal. I would try to make it impossible for them to reconsider. Eg. it might be an idea to make the Conservative Party NI spokesman and local Tory NI branch chairman ex officio members of the UU Party officer team?? What do you reckon?

13 09 2009
thedissenter

As the UCUNF arrangements only cover Europe and Westminister it would be very much expected that Conservatives will stand against UU at Assembly elections.

14 09 2009
emanonon

There is a lot more strength in the parties together than apart, admittedly there is a rump of old time UUPites that really need to go.

It just seems that things are moving slowly, where are the joint candidates that were promised? I hope the above are not holding their selection up.

How many Conservative members will be selected as joint candidates time will tell.

14 09 2009
emanonon

bobballs

The agreement only covers the Westminster election, so your idea is hardly a runner unless the agreement is immediately extended to the councils and Stormont elections. Of course would the Tories agree to a closer liasion given recent pronouncements by Kane, Empey and McNarry that have been less than pro Tory I think we need to be careful over the future.

15 09 2009
bobballs

Dissenter / emanonon

Not much time to reply here… but yes, while the agreement explicitly runs for Wesminster and Europe, surely the expectation is that it rolls into all elections thereafter??

Consider this – the deal can’t be that CUs come together for 2 elections then compete for votes. That doesn’t make sense. Why would the UUP help to rehabilitate the Tories, educate voters on Tory policies, plant the seed in their minds that Tories are substitutes for the UUP, and then march off into battle against them. Who would do such a thing?

So surely, the UUP cannot intend only to fight 2 elections with the Tories. If there is a real expectation that these parties will compete for votes at teh Assembly election then Alan McFarland better make his peace with the world… because he’d be the first to go (and more fool him for not opposing it). Would Danny Kinahan make it? How damaging could a Tory rival be for Michael McG in South Belfast?

Forgive me if i’ve missed a trick here, but isn’t it disastrous for the UUP to face the Tories at any election in future?

Check out the benefits to the tories if what you say is all followed to the letter – they get Nicholson to take the Tory Euro whip; a Labour-supporting LSH is dumped; Tories here fight in all constituencues at general election (and return an MP in Ian Parsley?); the Tory NI branch is revitalised, membership increases; Tory candidates relieve a couple of UUP MLAs and a score of cllrs of their seats etc etc etc…

And the UUs agreed to this? No – this deal has got to be for keeps from a UUP POV. And for the reasons outlined above it is feasible that the Tories may want view this deal as a short term instrument to gather strength. The UUs now need this deal more than the Tories, right?

Appreciate your views on this – if you prefer to email me i’ll maybe revisit this as a post later on.

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