Why the Westminster elections don’t really matter (and matter a great deal)


There’s an irony at the heart of the verbal war being conducted at present between the DUP and Sinn Féin . It’s an irony that none of our mainstream thinkers/journalists appear to have addressed, and it’s this: it doesn’t matter.

Let me explain. Gregory’s laugh-our-asses-off routine at the DUP conference was intended to appeal to those in the electorate who think that mocking the Irish language and dismissing with bum-wipe contempt the position of political opponents is funny. Why did he want to appeal to them? So they’d vote for him and other DUP candidates come May.

Gerry Adams’s slip-of-the-tongue (thinks: not like Gerry, that) and talk of using the Trojan horse of equality on the refuseniks in unionism was intended to show his republican audience and wider afield that Sinn Féin aren’t sitting on their bums and letting the DUP  verbally mug them without responding. He apologised for his terminology but he didn’t apologise for his attack on the DUP. You may be sure he did this with part of his mind on the Westminster elections.

Which brings us to the irony: the Westminster elections have no practical worth. Sinn Féin work hard to get as many seats as they can but they don’t enter the British House of Commons chamber. This has earned them criticism from unionists and even from the SDLP. But their strategy is to bring as much political power onto the island of Ireland as possible so for them it makes perfect sense.

The DUP work hard to get as many Westminster seats as possible because, they say, they want to influence other MPs and the British government in the House of Commons. Mmm. Have you ever watched a session in the Commons when our little stateen was being discussed? Echoing voices, empty seats: virtually all of the other members have cleared off to their office or the bar or somewhere something interesting is happening. The DUP talk about the possibility of their being the power-brokers after the election, holding the balance of power between Labour and the Tories. Oh really? Ever heard of a little outfit called UKIP, chaps? So although the DUP will take their seats in the Commons, it won’t make a blind bit of difference: the British government will do what the British government wants. You think being button-holed by Nigel Dodds or Jeffrey Donaldson will persuade them to change their minds?  Oh, and did I mention the absolute and total necessity for the DUP to regain East Belfast from the Alliance Party? Peter of course won’t stand there again – too risky. But probably young Gavin Robinson (no relation, I believe) will enter battle on his behalf and pray that they win the day. They can’t lose face again.

So although both the DUP and Sinn Féin will go flat out to get as many seats as humanly possible, in terms of practical outcome it won’t have any effect. Except that it’ll give the public a sense that the DUP is growing or declining in strength, and ditto Sinn Féin.  But then in politics,public perception is a vitally important ingredient.

13 Responses to Why the Westminster elections don’t really matter (and matter a great deal)

  1. Perkin Warbeck November 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    While it might well an irony be , Esteemed Blogmeister, that none of the ‘mainstream thinkers/journalists’ have addressed the topic in hand, it must remain a Norn Irony as here on the southern side of the Black Pig’s Dyke, quite the opposite is so.

    In fact, the main man of our mainstream t/j’s has been doing just that, and how. Or, rather: HOW !

    In his latest smoke signals to Big Chief Crooked Mouth (which Perkie’s inner dastard has been assiduously monitoring) Big Chief Crooked Glen of TUT shows he has been a particularly busy brave of late. As indeed one would expect no less from a Dub-based snaking regarder of the DUP.

    ‘Snaking regarder’, of course, as the coyotes in the canyon know, is the great contribution of Backencher, Big Chief Crooked Glen’s predecessor in TUT as the scourge of pub and pioneer pin Republicans alike on Liffeyside, to the lexicon of political discourse.

    Backbencher was the pseudonym of John Healy, who belonged to the Fianna Fail wing of Fine Gael, and whose most conspicuous book was about his home hamlet in Mayo: ‘No one shouted shtop!’.

    There was much self-backpatting on the part of TUT when its image as an Asscendancy publication devoted to the Donkey Derby 14-18 etc was gradually morphed in the 60s and 70s into a modern newspaper manned in the main by RCs. And of course, not to forget, womanned.

    The space, typeface and place of honour given to ace columnist John Healy who had pulled himself up by the shoelaces from the backend of outerspace Mayo, was always trotted out as THE prime example of that meaty metamorphosis.

    Hmmmm, to coin a sheet.

    Perkie’s inner awe-struck snaking regarder, many a time and oft marvelled at the Rolls Royce which Backbencher used to steer around the purlieus of Sinister House. And in particular the manner in which Bb used to park with impunity said modest mechanically propelled v. in Marlborough Street, the Rolls half on the sidewalk, the Royce half on the street.

    How proud Healy major of Mayo must have been of his offsrping ! Healy major of course would never have dared park his ass and cart in such a cavalier way on the ditch of the boreen outside the local creamery.

    It was a measure of how much in dread the political and the security arms of the Free Southern Stateen were of the all-powerful Fifth Columnist of the Fourth Estate: the tut-tutter in chief of TUT.

    How little has changed, cf his successor.

    Indeed, cf John Healy’s predecessor. None other than his namesake: John Healy. Well, curry one’s yogurt, to borrow a N.I. neologism.

    That was the legendary John E. Healy (the E stood for Edwardian) who edited TUT for nigh and neigh on Thirty Years, ecompassing the Great Donkey Derby 14-18, the only part of which glorious course to be fouled was during the die-hard week of Easter 1916.

    In the restrained obiturary of John E. Healy in TUT is was noted ‘that through the long distressful years he courageously defended the cause of unionism in Southern Ireland’.

    He was, in seems, a dapper dandyish figure who, if he did not actually favour the Rolls Royce as a means of transport, nonetheless cut quite a dash on the streets of loyal Dublin ‘ in his white spats, light coloured gloves, bowler hat, coat fitted to the waist, and with splendid stick in hand, he was a picture of debonair grace’.

    Like his two worthy successors he was impatient with the slow rate of modernism and had little patience for such claptrap as the language of the leprechaun: ‘This Cob-h and Dun La-o-gaire business is ridiculous. In future let us call Queenstown and Kingstown by their proper names’.

    Implicit of course in this courageous sentence was the threat of a rap of the hames which James, the brother of Sullivan John once endured at the hairy ass fair in the County of Clare.

    Moving smartly to the north, Perkie’s inner illegal parker find himself in the city of Galway famous for the Claddag Ring, shawl and all. And also the birthplace of Padraig O Conaire, the leprechaun-small writer in the lingo of same. Who once, infamously, illegally parked his hairy ass to a lampost on Grafton Street while he himself went to see a man about a madra in a nearby Teach an Asail/ House of the Donkey which is the fanciful leprechaun for the bathroom.

    Perhaps that’s where successor one, Backbencher got his idea for his problems (non existent) in finding a parking spot for his shatement making Rolls Royce.

    Perhaps even that’s where successor two, Big Chief Crooked Glen, got his idea for his latest episode of ‘Modern Ireland in 100 Works of Art’. That would be Padraig O Conaire’s book of short stories ‘Seacht mBua an Eiri Amach’. Which may be brayed in the lingo of the leprechaun as: ‘Seven Triumphant Failures of the Uprising’.

    Think Teach an Asail. Think Toilet Roll. Think Erse.

    That episode made up the main part of the latest smoke signal between the two Big Chiefs, Crooked Mouth and Crooked Glen. And whose snaking regard for each other is being rattled up a notch by the very week.

    At first glance, Perkies’ inner decipherer was somewhat puzzled. For in the course of last Saturday’s episode, the language of Padraig O Conaire was described as ‘Gaelic’ and later on as ‘Irish’. HOW come Big Chief Crooked Glen, he of the mighty mind, cannot make up his mind?

    But then a second glance revealed that it was not the work of one mind, mighty and all though that one is, but rather two. The name of a sqaw, Mairin Nic Eoin is seen to share equal billing, and perhaps cooing, with the Big Chief.

    The subtext here being, perhaps for the illumination and delectation of the equally sophisticated Big Chief Crooked Mouth, that though one has endured eleven years in the Murder Machine that is the Free Southern Stateen’s educaiton system, one can be so mighty brained as to successfully repel all attempts to warpaint it with the distinctive tribal marks of the Tribe Leprechaun.

    Howzat !

    Thus, in the episode dealing with the leprechaun-sized Padraig O Conaire, Big Chief Crooked Glen modestly took on the role of that phenomen of the sidewalk mimic in New Yawk (formerly infested with braves of the Algonquin tribe). As Mairin Nic Eoin sashayed up and down the sidewalks of Blackpool (Dubhlinn in the l.f. of the l.) Big Chief perfectly mimicked her every sashay. With only the one mistimed lapse: hence the ‘Irish’ instead of the ‘Gaelic’.

    As in: ‘O Conaire insisted that ‘mas ornaid and mas ornaid amhain i saol na tire, ni fada a re’ – meaning Irish would not survive as a mere ornament to life. His stories suggested, likewise, that is was in people’s lives, not in romantic rhetoric, that the meaning of a new Ireland would have to be found’.

    That certaily flushed Big Chief Crooked Mouth’s toilet bowl if the exhuberance of his smoke signaled repy was anything to go be:

    ‘How you curry a snaking regarder’s youghurt, blood brother !’.

  2. ANOTHER JUDE November 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    The people who take their seats (and salaries/expenses/perks) in the British parliament have zero influence over their imperial masters. Have you ever watched PM`S Question Time, in between the mooing and baaing a strident north of Ireland accent will boom out, the look of bemusement on the faces of the British MPs and the British PM is a sight to behold. The Irish MP will say something along the lines of, `Is the Prime Minister aware of the ongoing job losses in my constituency and will he give the house assurances that all steps that can be taken will, indeed, be taken?` to which the PM will reply, `I can assure the right honourable gentleman the department is looking into what steps can be taken….` Total nonsense. As for the Unionists having any balance of power, the recent Scottish referendum has opened up a can of worms over people from what are foreign countries having a say in English law. Besides, the SNP will probably shred the Labour vote in Scotland, good payback for the blistering of Gordon Brown. Labour will therefore have to do a deal with them and maybe the Lib Dems. Any future Tory junta will have to rely on Nigel Farage and his shock troops. The idea of any British party getting into bed with the dinosaurs of the DUP is laughable.

    • Antonio November 26, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

      Are you also looking forward to the episode of the Nolan show next year, the day after the election, when the largest party will be talking to ukip or snp and big Stephen says to Jeffrey Donaldson ‘well looks like you were talking complete nonsense about holding the balance of power – has anybody from labour or the tories even spoken to you ???

      Roll on the election (or sectarian headcount in our wee country )

  3. Iolar November 26, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    From democratic deficit to political vacuum – crisis or opportunity?

    The politicians have not tried to negotiate a foundation on which to build a shared future. Opportunities have been squandered. The political long finger is on a par with Pinocchio’s nose as an icon for the body politic. Even the Proconsul has thrown in her tiny towel, a complex task if one is sitting on one’s hands and someone else will pick up the laundry.

    In 1990 as a prelude to the Downing Street Declaration, Peter Brooke said Britain had no “selfish strategic or economic interest” in the north of Ireland. Ordinary members of Trades Unions have a key role to play in the current political vacuum. Tory ideology impacts on every individual that is obliged to work for a living. Working terms and conditions are being eroded on a daily basis. Zero contract hours are fast becoming the norm. Trades Unions fostered the idea of eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation and eight hours for rest. There is an opportunity at present, for a united Trade Union movement to prevent reactionary elements from turning the clock back even further, in terms of employment and working conditions.

  4. PeadarW November 26, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    I urge Nationalists to vote SinnFein this time around we need a strong party that can challenge unionism/loyalism in a way that the SDLP have not or will not do.
    Where is the promised equality garanteed in the GFA?
    Instead what we get is G.Campbell spewing out the same old Paisleyesqe bigotry now officially sanctioned as DUP policy.

    • boondock November 26, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

      Nonsense in a first past the post election I urge nationalist to engage their brain and vote for the realistic candidate in each constituency. So yes that will mean SF in FST, North Belfast and possibly even Upper Bann but it also means a vote for the SDLP in South Belfast, Long in East Belfast and Hermon in North Down if she is standing. I would also recommend nationalist voting for the better unionist candidate when there is no other option. The only constituencies where I would be really stuck would be North Antrim as the 2 main candidates are equally abhorrent although at least big Jim speaks some sense sometimes unlike junior and maybe East Londonderry because all Gregorys opponents SF,SDLP , UUP seem to be around the 6000 votes mark with no obvious challenger.

      • Ceannaire November 27, 2014 at 12:35 am #

        Boondock – I have just one issue with your post ” I would also recommend nationalist voting for the better unionist candidate”.

        Hmmm, let me think DUP, UUP, TUV, UKIP, PUP? You are getting my drift?

        • boondock November 27, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

          Fair point but if I was living in South Antrim I would be voting UUP to oust McCrea. Likewise if the UUP were closer to Sammy Wilson or Donaldson I would be tempted to do the same thing but they are too far behind at the moment.

  5. michael c November 26, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

    When we are talking about elections,did anybody here the one about a previous election and a convergance of interests between an SDLP candidate,a Unionist candidate, a broadcasting licence and a local newspaper.Unfortunately things did not quite work out for all concerned but i’m sure those “highly respected investigative journalists” who bring us so many “scandals” will be on the ball right away!

  6. Antonio November 26, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    Either Labour or Conservatives will lead the next government. Neither will be particularly happy if they find they need to rely on the D.U.P to prop up a government. It is a very unlikely scenario. Both Labour and the Conservatives will exhaust all avenues in the search for an agreed programme for government with the Scottish nationalists, UKIP, the lib dems, the Green party, plaid cymru, the Aliance party the monster raving lonney party before they will go near the D.U.P. Why? because they perceive the D.U.P as ‘mad paddies’. and yet they are loyal

  7. giordanobruno November 26, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

    What are the odds on a Tory/UKIP/DUP coalition?
    Be afraid, be very afraid!

  8. Norma wilson November 27, 2014 at 3:25 am #

    As you can see by the time, I am not sleeping at this hour of the morning. Reading all these replays is most disturbing. My mind thinks back to all the derogatory names you lot called the Queen, but that’s OK.
    You lot out there vote for SF, because for the first time ever I will now vote for DUP.
    I really don’t like anything to do with…….you Trojan horse people, you are a cancer among my people, something that is unwanted, something bitter vile nasty and repugnant.
    The more I see and hear of you’s the more I want to retrench, and my siege mentality comes to the fore.
    All my life, I have been a law abiding citizen, I am in a mixed marriage, I have brought my children up correctly. But the sad truth is it dosnt matter what I do and thousands of other no millions like me, I have to live breathe and put up with people such as you’s. You do not have a decent hair in your heads, you are filled with hate, consumed with bitterness, and have no sence of decency among you. The very church is corrupt, you are conn men, liars cheats.
    I have cut and pasted some of your replies and sent them to other sites, to let people see how our enemies think.

    • Jude Collins November 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

      Morning/afternoon, Norma. Who – and try to be specific – on this site is your ‘enemy’?