6/10/2009

Et Tu Jim

The emergence of the backwoodsmen in the form of Jim Allister and the TUV must be a nightmare scenario for the DUP.


Shouting from the sidelines, constant negativity and paranoia...now Peter the Punt knows how David Trimble must have felt.

The problem for the DUP is that they must know what was coming; they perfected the dark arts as now practised by the TUV.

Yet they still selected a poor candidate in the form of Dianne Dodd's, a woman with all the charisma of an undertaker. That's perhaps unfair to undertakers.

Dromore should have been a wake up call for the DUP to observe the warning signs of history.

David Trimble tried to operate "one foot in and one foot out" in relation to the Devolution project and he got lynched because of it.

The DUP should fully embrace the new dispensation instead of doing everything with forced effort and snarling.

I'm not talking about a chuckle brother’s moment; I'm talking about political maturity and taking some of the negativity and hate out of things.

Elected politicians should provide leadership to their communities, not pander to the lowest common denominator.

If Robbo et al spend all their time looking over their shoulder at Allister and Co then they are destined to fail.

The emergence of the TUV as a political reality does present some interesting scenarios for Republicans.

With Unionism now divided Westminster presents us with additional opportunities for possible growth.

Jim Allister has already stated his intention to run in North Antrim at the next Westminster election and judging by Labour's problems I foresee an election before next year.

The TUV took 13.7% of the Euro vote and that vote came straight from the DUP.

Now I understand the Allister can't stand in every constituency but if the TUV manage to find semi-credible candidates they should be able to garner 10% on a good day.

If we take 10% as the bench mark then the DUP stand to lose 3 Westminster seats.

Upper Bann, South Antrim and North Belfast.

In Upper Bann at the last Assembly election the DUP achieved 31.4% of the vote and Sinn Féin achieved 25.3%. If a TUV candidate stood and was able to garner 7% of the vote the seat would transfer to Sinn Féin and John O'Dowd.

In South Antrim the DUP achieved 34.5% and the UUP achieved 20.5%.

Now at the Assembly election we had quite a substantial Alliance Vote and judging by the last Westminster election the DUP and UUP were quite close here.

If the TUV stood they would almost certainly gift the UUP with the seat.

In North Belfast the DUP garnered 37.4% to Sinn Féin's 30.6% with some Nationalist tactical voting and a semi-credible TUV candidate and the seat could move to Sinn Féin and Gerry Kelly.

This is all conjecture however due to Gordon Brown's proposed changes to the first past the post election system and the TUV still being an Allister project and not fully tested on a constituency by constituency basis.

That said it's enough to give many in the DUP nightmares.

What we do know for sure is that the TUV intend to stand candidates at the next Assembly election and create, what Allister called, "a traditional Unionist bulkhead".

Should that plan arise to fruition I present you Martin McGuinness First Minister.

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