... 15,000 defectors from the DUP, and five Paisleyite
Westminster MPs will be chopped at the next General
Election and fall into Ulster Unionist clutches!
the startling claim in a UUP strategy document which
fell off the back of a lorry at Stormont and into
the lap of The Blanket. But surely somebody,
somewhere needs to go back to school to do a GCSE
last year's General Election, the Paisley camp obliterated
David Trimbles UUP leaving the gap between
the rival unionists at 114,500 to the DUP and reducing
the Ulster Unionists to a sole MP in North Down's
someone has been on the jungle juice when he conceived
this document, or the Ulster Unionists are plotting
the biggest comeback in Northern electoral history.
the UUP has targeted five DUP seats which will supposedly
require a shift of less than 4,000 votes to return
to the Ulster Unionist fold East Antrim,
South Antrim, Upper Bann, East Belfast and East
the already election-battered UUP is basing its
strategy on the figure that more than 130,000 people
in these five seats did not vote in the Westminster
if the UUP blueprint became an electoral reality,
it would see the loss of some Paisleyite 'big guns',
including deputy boss Peter Robinson, former Belfast
Lord Mayor Sammy Wilson, and the cleric hotly tipped
to succeed Big Paisley as Moderator of the fundamentalist
Free Presbyterian Church, the Gospel-singing Willy
the UUP has arrived at these figures is even baffling
the Paisley camp given Wilson's majority is over
7,300; Robinson's over 5,800; Gregory Campbell's
in East Derry is over 7,700, and David Simpson's
in Upper Bann who dumped UUP boss Trimble
is almost 5,400.
another negative front, the UUP claims a third of
the North's Westminster seats will never be won
by any unionist Newry and Armagh, Mid Ulster,
South Down, West Tyrone, Foyle, and West Belfast
an admission that everywhere west of the
River Lagan should technically be in the Republic.
the DUP is the largest party in two other seats
South Belfast, and Fermanagh/South Tyrone,
it will require a DUP/UUP pact to topple the sitting
nationalist MPs, according to the UUP analysis.
what the UUP is really gambling on are the estimated
25,000 working class Loyalist voters across the
North hence another reason for the Ulster
Unionists snuggling up to the fringe Progressives,
better known as the UVF and Red Hand Commando's
becoming the lead voice for Unionism, the DUP has
effectively abandoned its traditional working class
roots to the point where the Paisleyites have fiercely
lambasted the UUP on the Reg Empey camp's new found
links with working class Loyalism.
the DUP loses Stormont on 24 November, Empey is
gambling the Protestant electorate will return to
the Ulster Unionist fold in thousands middle
class Unionism angered at Paisley's inaction; working
class Loyalists furious at the DUP's snub after
a generation of loyally backing the Paisley stance.
have been a lot of allegations recently a collapsed
Assembly could cost the Paisley camp more than £1.5
million in office funding. But with nine MPs and
an MEP, the DUP has more than enough dosh to ride
out Stormont shutting.
the UUP doesn't. If it doesn't get its 15,000 defectors
and the DUP retains all nine seats, the UUP
financially and politically is up the creek
without a paddle.
even if a DUP/Shinner deal becomes a reality by
24 November, the Stormont jungle drums are hammering
out more bad news for the Empey camp as rumours
of a British/Irish Plan C roam the Assembly corridors.
C to cut costs and rebuild the Assembly's
credibility with voters would see the number
of MLAs slashed to 90, which means chopping one
from each of the 18 constituencies.
any forthcoming election based on a 90-seat Chamber,
the UUP could only muster 12 to 14 MLAs compared
to the DUP's expected 25, plus another eight Unionist
marginals which very easily swing to the Paisley
would give the DUP a whopping 33 seats the
same number it had in the aftermath of the November
2003 election for the 108-seat Assembly.
very like someone in the Paisley camp is trying
to create a win-win situation for the DUP. Question
is, who will emerge as Mr Unionist on 24 November?