The Great Alliance Confidence Trick

If you get a reputation for getting up early…you can lie in bed all day.
And the Alliance Party has this peculiar reputation for Decency in Public Affairs. It likes to present itself as the small party of moderation, squeezed by the sectarian power blocks of DUP and Sinn Fein.
In fact they are owned by DUP and Sinn Fein.
They get away with the fiction that it is a Party for nationalists and unionists but in coming out as in favour of a United Ireland, Anna Lo has exposed the hypocrisy, albeit unwittingly.
The problem with “”dont ask, dont tell” and being “all things to all people” is that it only works until someone goes off-message…in this case Anna Lo.
In reaching out to soft nationalist voters with the “united Ireland” crap, she was being selfish, putting her own interests ahead of her Party.
Let is assume that 10,000 “SDLP voters” are persuaded to vote for Anna Lo, the Alliance “Euro” candidate. Most of those votes will be in places such as South Down, West Tyrone, Armagh, where SDLP has a significant presence and the Alliance Party none. “New” Alliance votes. There wont be enough “trickle down” votes to help any Alliance council candidates gain a seat.
Its also likely that in the suburban Belfast area where Alliance already outscores SDLP, those “soft nationalist” votes have been voting Alliance.
Frankly Anna Lo…held in (too) high esteem by the media …is a bit of a hypocrite.
Or maybe its normal to publicly announce that you believe in a United Ireland, nine weeks before an election.
The problem is not West Tyrone or South Down. Alliance dont actually need to set foot in those places to enjoy its gerrymandered position at Stormont
The problem is cementing its position in Belfast commuter territory. And Lo’s conversion to nationalism is unlikely to play well with the Alliance canvassers in Bangor, Castlreagh and Carrickfergus.
It makes no sense for any Alliance council candidate in those areas to be “nationalist”. Much better to be vague…or hide behind the “party for nationalists and unionists”, the Party is “agnostic on the Border” and other fictions.
It is …lets be frank…a unionist Party…which lies about its unionism.

We have to give some credit to Geraldine Rice, who sat on her arse and did not join in the traditional standing ovation for the Party candidate. The grinning party leadership…Ford, Long, Farry and the rest…they are the real villains of the piece…because even as they were cheering Lo to the rafters they were thinking “this bloody stupid woman has got us in a mess…and we have to make the best of it”.
Yeah keep clapping David.
Keep smiling Naomi.
Keep cheering Stephen.

You see…it surprises me that no newspaper like the Irish News or News Letter…or even the Alliance cheerleaders at the Belfast Telegraph have not actually tried to guage just how unionist and nationalist the Party membership is.
Or maybe it would be a good research project for Dr David McCann on the Alliance-supporting Slugger O’Toole site.
How about it David?
Why not send an email to all Alliance councillors and candidates asking a simple question “Do you want a United Ireland?”
I doubt you will get a straight answer.
Those honest enough to tick the YES or NO box will be few.
More likely that youd get a load of waffle about the Alliance Party being “agnostic” and the I dont narrowly define myself”. The usual LetsGetAlongerist shite.

The Alliance Party dont do straight answers.
The Alliance Party dont do honesty.
But they are bloody good at filling in an application form for a Quango.

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4 Responses to The Great Alliance Confidence Trick

  1. Litespeed says:

    Excellent post FJH, hitting all the sweet spots. Here in mid ulster they are a non entity or should I say a 1.5% non entity and unlikely to make any break through. They blow with the wind – are they nationalist or unionist, if they are attracting the uup/Tory elements I think there is only one answer!

    • Thank you.
      The thing is they get away with it because they are never scrutinised.
      The Alliance friends in the Media do not rush to call the Alliance bluff. Are they really agnostic.
      Frankly in 2011, SDLP did not take them seriously enough as a threat and cant make the same mistake in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
      Somebody really needs to go for their throat (not literally…obviously).
      But in Mid Ulster, you will probably have a no-hoper AP candidate and you can put him-her on the spot and ask “are you a nationalist?”
      And the response….probably waffle…should be collated with others.
      We need to be in the position of saying.
      “DONT GET FOOLED…Lo says shes nationalist but only (say) two of (say) seventy candidates say it”
      CALL THE BLUFF.

  2. “don’t ask, don’t tell”

    That about sums it up. Perfect analogy for the AP.

    I’m generally not a critic of the SO’T’s editorial line (it is what it is) but even I found the free advertisement for the AP a step too far. A lot of damage has been done to its credibility.

    • Thank you.
      Anna Lo SAID….It is entirely legitimate for other parties to ASK.

      Slugger…I dont have any real doubt of SOTs editorial stance but the fig leaf of respectability dropped today.
      But largely a consequence of the over-enthusiasm and immaturity of a new member of the team.

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