They say you know a politician is lying when you can see his/her lips moving. That’s an excessive statement: like all professions, there are truthful politicians and there are lying ones, there are truthful parties and there are, um, confusing parties. The party that leaves me scratching my head with one hand and bunching my fist with the other this morning is the Alliance Party.
Stephen Farry is to run for the Alliance Party in North Down. Here’s what Stephen says:
“It is simple – in this election in North Down it will come down to a straight fight between Alliance for Remain and the DUP for a hard Brexit. Alliance is the strongest and clearest pro-Remain party in the constituency, and I ask if voters want to Remain, then they vote Alliance on December 12.”
Sounds reasonable. If you’re intent on returning a Remain candidate, you do all you can to support the candidate who has some credible hope of winning.
Now let’s look at North Belfast. Nuala McAllister is running there for the Alliance Party. She says:
“Alliance has always been a Remain party and North Belfast voted to Remain. It’s vital that voice is represented at Westminster.”
Put up your hand if you disagree with that? Right.
In the last general electin, the Alliance Party candidate got 2, 475 votes. Nigel Dodds, who won the seat, got 21, 240. John Finucane of Sinn Féin got 19,159. Nuala is, I’m sure, a nice person, but does she seriously think that the Alliance candidate this time is going to go from 2, 475 votes to over 21,000? I very much doubt it. So let me quote to Nuala, in a marginally altered form, her colleague Stephen Parry’s injunction:
“It is simple – in this election in North Belfast it will come down to a straight fight between Sinn Féin for Remain and the DUP for a hard Brexit. Sinn Féin is the strongest and clearest pro-Remain party in the constituency, and I ask if voters want to Remain, then they vote Sinn Féin on December 12.”
Alliance doublethink? You bet. Nuala has reached for the abstentionist club to beat Sinn Féin’s Finucane: “We [Alliance] represent a credible alternative to the Brexiteer DUP or abstentionist SinnFéin.” So forget the Remain thing. Alliance would rather have a pro-Brexiteer in Westminster than a Shinner.
Alliance will not win North Belfast. I know that, you know that, Nuala knows that. Anyone who thinks she will win, I have £50 in my pocket eager to have a conversation with them . So what it comes down to is that Nuala is happy to see Nigel Dodds re-elected in North Belfast, even though he’s pro-Brexit, and even though the only credible Remain candidate is John Finucane.
A classic example of a party whose lips are moving.
Nuala: do your party a favour, do Remain a favour and allow John Finucane to consign the deputy leader of the Brexit-loving DUP to the tip bruscair. For all our sakes.