Pro-deal Catholics need to form a Pan Nationalist
Front between the SDLP and Sinn Fein to fend off
any boycott calls from the dissident Pan Republican
Front in the 7 March Assembly poll.
as dissident Unionism could slip on the banana
skin of We dont want a Shinner about
the place, so too could republicanism nosedive
over the hurdle we dont want
a cop in our community.
spite of the security crisis at Parliament Buildings
during Freaky Friday, it is being widely interpreted
Sinn Fein has cleverly backed the Big Man of Unionism
Ian Paisley Senior into a tight political corner
concerning the timing of the ard fheis.
electioneering terms, the longer Sinn Fein can
delay its ard fheis, the harder it will be for
the Paisley camp to sell the entire St Andrews
Agreement to its religious fundamentalist hardliners,
especially in North Antrim, Upper Bann and Fermanagh
and South Tyrone.
the 13 October Scottish deal, it was widely viewed
the DUP comprised three factions the fundamentalists
around Paisley Senior; the pro-deal modernisers
around deputy boss Peter Robinson, and the anti-deal
ultras around MEP Jim Allister.
just as they did 35 years ago at the formation
of the DUP in 1971, the Free Presbyterians are
asserting their anti-deal grip on the party.
would be a very brave Free P elected
representative who would voice support for the
St Andrews Agreement given the tremendous unease
within the political Paisley camp.
real fear the pro-deal Paisleyite faction has
what happens if Unionist voters unhappy
with the St Andrews Agreement look likely to switch
their allegiance to North Down MLA Robert McCartneys
United Kingdom Unionists?
is the danger the DUP could lose vital seats in
its key strongholds to the UKUP, in much the same
manner as David Trimbles Ulster Unionists
lost out to the UKUP in leading areas such as
Lagan Valley in the 1998 Assembly battle.
has been suggested given Unionist voter apathy
and defections, the UKUP could pick up between
eight and a dozen seats most at the expense
of the DUP.
Paisley is smart, hell form a pro-deal election
pact with the largely pro-deal rival Ulster Unionists
to outgun any potential voter defections to the
the slippery slope the DUP needs to avoid is its
members remaining in the party for the meantime,
but choosing to vote UKUP on 7 March as a protest.
1998, eight Unionist MLAs were elected on anti-Good
Friday Agreement tickets even when the DUP itself
was campaigning hard against the Belfast deal.
has also been talk of dissident republicans opposed
to the present Sinn Fein peace strategy forming
a political Pan Republican Front to oppose Sinn
Fein candidates, such as in chief negotiator Martin
McGuinnesss Mid Ulster constituency.
sources have indicated between the 2001 and 2005
General Elections, Sinn Feins rural jewel
in the Northern crown of Mid Ulster saw its vote
slip by almost 4,000.
is being interpreted as a steady trickle of nationalists
returning to the historical policy of abstaining.
this is the case, Sinn Fein must consider an election
pact with the SDLP to maximise the nationalist
voting by Unionists could see some Sinn Fein seats
fall to the DUP or UUP as happened in West Belfast
in 2003 when Diane Dodds - wife of leading DUP
fundamentalist Nigel won an Assembly seat.
election pacts in either community, between 16
to 24 of the existing 108 seats could change hands
either through republican abstentionism or Unionist
really interesting scenario is created if in the
March election, Catholics form a pro-deal Pan
Nationalist Front, while Protestants plump for
a pro-deal Unionist Coalition. That would guarantee
a tight finish.