Good evening,

This particular post is on it’s fourth rewrite. I’m trying to get my head around Mike “TV” Nesbitt and his Unionist unity conversion on the road to Dungannon.

Back in 2013 he had this to say on the subject (and please note the date on the article),

“I can’t imagine any circumstances where it would be good for the Ulster Unionist Party, good for the pro-union people of Northern Ireland or good for politics to Lemmmingshave an electoral pact

Last week he had this to say,

“That only makes more sense if you’re putting the UUP first and I made it clear that this is about the Union, this is about putting Unionism first, this is about the good of Northern Ireland.  Not that long ago three of them were in Unionist hands, today one is because the DUP lost East Belfast last time, and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that on May 8th there will be no Unionist representing Belfast. So, it is a pro-Union deal to say we could see our way to supporting you to hold on in North Belfast and keep Sinn Fein out, if you’ll support us trying to get Sinn Fein out in Fermanagh”

So, It’s all about the “union” then? Ok. Mike wants to form an electoral pact with the DUP for the 2015  Westminster elections all of a sudden in two specific constituencies, North Belfast and Fermanagh, South Tyrone.

Has anyone else noticed that South Belfast was NOT mentioned last week?

I certainly did. I was most amused by that little sin of ommission. I wonder has Mike now given up on that particular “target” or perhaps he cannot see it’s value as a bargaining chip regarding his begging bowl approach to the DUP, not to mention his abandonment of egalitarian principles in favour of a return to Orange supremacist rule.

Let’s have a brief  look at the most marginal westminster parliamentary constituencies in terms of the electoral facts, at least according to the ever consistent Mike.

North Belfast:

Westm North Belfast

The facts here are well documented. The only game in town is the competition between Nigel Dodds and Gerry Kelly. I was in attendance at Gerry’s selection announcement recently (as an observer) and I can assure you that Sinn Fein are confident here. Very confident. Of course if the UUP were to withdraw it should more or less guarantee Nigel the seat but would it?

I’m not so sure. 12.3% of the nationalist vote went to the SDLP at the last election and Gerry only needs half of that to get elected (6%). That is precisely the same as the intra nationalst swing that happened in Fermanagh when the Unionist block last attempted a “unity” candidate. I’ll be blogging in more detail in due course on this one.

Fermanagh South Tyrone

Westm Fermanagh

This is Mikes real target, the tightest win, by four votes, at the last election. That is despite nationalism not having any pacts or agreements and thus a split vote. Given the demographic trends and the reaction of the nationalist electorate to the last attempt at a unity candidate I would be of the opinion that unionism should bring it on. It will be a nail biting count night however.

The fact that the UUP has reverted to type and considers Unionist principles should take precedence over any others reveals the true nature of any further pronouncements regarding a “share future” agenda as does the DUP veto over any integrated education representation at Stormont yesterday.

Mikes UUP agenda is simple, it’s called the “King Canute was right all along” strategy.