[Posted originally on Bobballs]
I’m hearing that the DUP are finalising their selection process and all candidates are to be ratified tomorrow… but the rumour is that they are not going to run anyone in either North Down or South Belfast.
Lots of questions.
What will be the effect of a DUP no-show in North Down? Will that not give UCUNF a better chance of defending the seat?
Won’t the DUP voter be closer to UUP thinking (given that P&J vote) than to the Labour-leaning (P&J supporting) Sylvia Hermon? I suspect so.
Slugger quotes the excellent Ken Reid who suggests that a DUP withdrawal will advantage Sylvia. But she will be an independent, and here’s the rub. If the DUP’s ‘Unionist Unity‘ campaign is to mean something it must mean backing the Unionist candidate in North Down if they choose to withdraw. Holding to the logic behind the campaign, the DUP must back Ian Parsley mustn’t they? After all, he is the mainstream Unionist candidate.
The DUP can hardly withdraw in ND to support an anti-UCUNF candidate, but then expect UCUNF to negotiate with the DUP on unity candidates elsewhere. No, I disagree with Ken. If the DUP back Sylvia they may forget about the Unity campaign ie. their platform for the general election.
Likewise, in SB. If true, is this a unilateral withdrawal? Or is there some sort of agreement in place? I might be reading this wrong, but if the DUP fail to select in SB and ND then it directly benefits the UUP, right?
That being so, the onus is on a positive response from UCUNF. How could they expect to respectably run Tom Elliott against Arlene Foster in FST? If the DUP withdraw from any constituency, then Tom’s campaign is finished.
Interesting stuff. Will the rumour come to pass? Will Trimble be forced to eat his words?
I’ll update when I hear anything further…