Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Whatever the curiosity value of the thrashing about in the ever decreasing pond of the UUP there is a supplemental to Terry Wright's question for the UUP asking why people are leaving.  The supplemental is not for the UUP but for the DUP, why have those who are leaving the UUP not opted for it?

To a degree those who would opt for the DUP from the UUP's ranks made the shift years ago - it landed the fish it could from that pond.  What remained, of various hues, had one thing in common a dislike for the DUP.  This commonality became a self-reinforcing truism within its ranks.  The outmoded nature of many of these perceptions of the DUP is immaterial.  It is why being anti or not the DUP became so central to the UUP's message.    Anyone within that culture is unlikely to opt for the DUP on leaving or risk even greater levels of opprobrium heaped upon them - the visceral hatred many UUP activists retain for Jeffrey Donaldson the best example of this.

There is the type of person who has left.  They are from the more liberal end of the spectrum so Alliance is a more natural switch or they gravitated from the Tories to the UUP and are now gravitating back again.  Some are also ambitious and how many vacancies there will be in the DUP in the immediate future is probably a consideration.

There is also how much the DUP has been able to embark on broadening itself.  Problems with grassroots preparation in 2005-07 and and narrative in the immediate post devolution periods created a series of problems for the DUP.  They had to spend time on solving those whilst being hit with the whammy of expenses et al.  

Although the likes of Ian Parlsey and Geoff McGimpsey had picked on the DUP moves to broaden itself before the party conference it seemed to pass many others by.  However, the recent DUP conference made that direction plain for all to see with the future focus of Dodds's second century Unionism and the the focus of relevance in Robinson's peacetime Unionism.


thedissenter said...

There is a third category of unionist who have left the UUP, but find nothing attractive in the DUP and have largely given up on unionist politicians in general. The 'disaffected and disengaged' from unionist 'politics' are probably larger than either of the two groups you mention. They remain unionist, but hold the elected politicians in such contempt that it will be more that slick presentation to bring them back.

Anonymous said...

All those UUP people who hark back to the glory days of Molyneaux..... we ain't gonna have any slickness, or indeed professionalism.

We want unionist politicians how we like them, utterly useless but terribly "nice".