Saturday, January 9, 2016

East Antrim is a staunchly unionist constituency - although its complexion has changed over time

In addition, he said many constituents had voiced “frustration” with the Alliance Party - “in particular Anna Lo’s declaration during the European election that she’s in favour of a united Ireland.”

Asked what result he would consider a disappointment or failure, he said: “I’m not considering a failure or a disappointment, but am actively campaigning to attract and increase my share of the vote, in the hope that others who have been losing ground may lose enough to enable me to succeed.”

Meanwhile, Sammy Wilson said at the heart of his campaign was the idea that a DUP win will add to its existing Westminster team - saying the DUP is the only party able to send a large team to Westminster.

Its first election in 1983 returned UUP man Roy Beggs Senior with 37.4 per cent of the vote.

The contest was narrow — Jim Allister (then with the DUP) polled 36.4 per cent.

But the UUP remained the dominant force until 2005, when the DUP soared ahead with 49.6 per cent of the vote, against the UUP’s 26.6 per cent.

Sammy Wilson has remained MP ever since, winning 45.9 per cent in 2010.

Challenging him is the UUP’s Roy Beggs Junior — son of the original seat-winner, and an MLA since 1998.

He is standing as an MP for the first time.

Asked what the main issues are, he was keen to highlight Mr Wilson’s long-time “double-jobbing” (that is, holding seats as both an MLA and a Westminster MP simultaneously).
He also claimed credit for helping secure funding for work on the A2 and the A8 arterial roads during his tenure as finance minister.

He refused to put a target on what share of the vote he expects.

As to “double-jobbing”, he said: “I think he [Beggs] is one of the candidates who has the least cause to talk about double-jobbing... He’s also a farmer as well as an MLA. At least my jobs are complementary to each other.”

Data from the 2011 census shows that only 20.4 per cent of the constituency is Catholic (or were raised Catholic), and a mere 10.5 per cent said “Irish” formed part of the national identity.

With figures like these, it is clear the unionist hue of East Antrim will not change any time soon. Despite this, it may be imprudent to ignore the Alliance Party.

It enjoys a significant minority of votes, ranging between roughly 10 and 20 per cent in Assembly and General Elections since 1997.

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Election 2015: East Antrim

It would be a remarkable feat for any Westminster candidate to oust election-hardened Ian Paisley Jr from his seat on May 7, given that it has been a Paisley stronghold for almost 50 years. 

The 2015 Westminster election campaign in North Antrim has less tetchy feel than the previous contest where unionist Goliaths Jim Allister and Ian Paisley went head to head in the predominantly unionist constituency.
However the hype ended with a DUP victory of 19,672 to the TUV’s 7,114.
But this year’s TUV candidate Timothy Gaston, 26, who stormed to victory in the 2014 council elections believes “it is a two horse race” adding “even the bookies are saying that”.
Mr Gaston said TUV leader Jim Allister did not stand in the 2015 election as “when we were going around for Europe canvassing for the European elections) the message was very clear that people wanted Jim to be in Stormont or Europe”.
“The party is looking to the future. Our average age in this election is 34 with a lot of young credible candidates.
“I will be looking past Jim’s record in 2010.”
In contrast, Mr Paisley did not concede that his returning the seat was a forgone conclusion, in spite of political speculation.
“I am on the ground every single day knocking doors, speaking to the electorate, engaging with the public and looking forward to an enjoyable election campaign,” he said. “I hope to continue to serve the electorate in North Antrim as I have in the past five years.”
Meanwhile Ballymena Times editor Dessie Blackadder believes that in the 2015 election “when you consider that North Antrim has been a Paisley stronghold for almost 50 years, the only real question worth consideration in the forthcoming Westminster election is how the rest will perform against the present incumbent”.
He added that political anoraks will be keeping a close eye on whether Mr Gaston, who is deputy chairman of Mid East Antrim Council, will manage to poll as well as his party leader, Jim Allister.
He added: “This time around, Mr Allister is keeping out of the Westminster limelight, choosing to push young Gaston, a political novice in overall terms, into the fray against the battle-hardened Paisley.”
The Ulster Unionist candidate, Robin Swann, has had an increased profile as an MLA since 2011 and is now his party’s chief whip.
But Mr Blackadder says “the Ulster Unionists are likely to find themselves suffering due to the DUP and TUV confrontation” while “the SDLP and Sinn Fein will be checking their standings in the broader nationalist community with most observers in the area confident that Daithi McKay will be the favourite to win that, often bitter, tussle”.
The veteran North Antrim journalist said that in this constituency “party allegiances run deep” and a “common sense examination of all the possibilities leads to the conclusion – don’t expect any revolutions in May”.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Concurrent local elections

Concurrent local elections
it looks like local elections simultaneously in progress to make this democracy the better. but it is regrettable how not. For those of us who attend training outside the region could not contest the elections only because they have to go back to my hometown great distance. Should use the aircraft to return.

whereas just to do the voting just 5 minutes. The cost of expensive aircraft resulted in the training participants can not vote in the 2015 elections. In fact we already have electronic identity cards but not useful at all.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Police Constable Ronan Kerr

Police Constable Ronan Kerr - It is terribly sad that this week has ended with the callous murder of Police Constable Ronan Kerr. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. It reminds us all how some sections of Northern Ireland society, despite the obvious progress that has been made, still remains capable of the most inexpicable attitudes and most cruel crimes. Listening this evening to this young man's mother describe her pride in her son, and appeal to others not to be deterred from joining the police, was particularly moving.

Such a contrast to when I attended the football this week at Windsor, to see Northern Ireland play Slovenia. Whilst this in itself isn't usual, the warm affection from the crowd, to a man (and woman) for Celtic player Pat McCourt made a lasting impression on me adn agen poker terpercaya. I had noticed this growing affection before, but this week it was taken to a new level. Don't get me wrong, the Northern Ireland team has always comprised of people from different backgrounds, and the fans have broadly been supportive of all who have played, but this felt a little bit different, it felt like a deliberate positive point was collectively being made. It felt like everyone wanted to send the message that no matter what background, no matter what club side, we are all working together.

Working For Change in East Antrim, Then we had Police Constable Kerr's murder on Saturday. We all know there have been many other fortunate "near misses" in recent months but when a life is lost it always feels completely different. On the radio I hear of talk of dialogue, on the radio I hear talk of negotiations, but all I want to hear is talk of prosecutions, and all I want is justice, for the family of Ronan Kerr and all those other police officers, who live and serve with themselves and their families under threat.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Seven Days, Working For Change in East Antrim

Seven Days, Working For Change in East Antrim
It is often said (too often!) that seven days is a long time in politics, and I have had a very interesting and eventful week. I took in a hockey match between Greenisland and Carrick, witnessed a Greenisland win largely down to one star player in a fashion reminiscent of Diego Maradonna and Argentina at the 1986 World Cup. It is rare to watch a team sport and be able to say that with confidence that if one player changed sides the outcome would change completely.

Seven Days, Working For Change in East Antrim - I also was able to support Carrickfergus Farmers Market at the weekend. Fantastic event and a wonderful turnout. With the right support and vision we can breath life back into our town centers. It is such a shame that our outgoing Council failed to really get behind this event. Let's hope many of the outgoing Councillors dont come back, we have had enough of those who display negativity and a lack of vision. Agen Poker Online

I even made the Teenage Cancer Trust event on Sunday night enjoying Tinie Tempah and Jessie J in full flow.

Yet despite all this, and a bit of canvassing too! The most important event of the last seven days was the Chancellor's Budget. He continues to send the message out that the UK is a place where companies can do business and this is to his credit. The penny of petrol isn't the real story on fuel, the suspension of already set down real-term increases in fuel duty for the life of the next Parliament is. I was delighted to see the number of measures introduced to support start-ups and therefore business and job creation. These may not ease our short-term pain but they will lay solid foundations for our longer-term prosperity.

In fact George pinched our idea of reduced rents for new businesses that I blogged on some weeks ago, albeit my suggestion was not to be funded from the public purse. It is hard to say it is a great budget, but it definitely isn't a bad one!

You know, pro-enterrpise fiscal policies may just result in a pro-enterprise UK! Working For Change in East Antrim.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Whitehead and Rain !

I don't mind the rain, and I certainly didn't mind the occasional rain it Whitehead on Saturday. It was nice to see some very familiar faces, and it was nice to make some new acquaintances too!

It was clear to me talking to people in Whitehead that they feel ignored and neglected. Ignored and neglected by politicians who look to Larne and look to Carrick but look past Whitehead. I don't think I could ever imagine looking past Whitehead.

The issues haven't changed since last year because they haven't been addressed, whether it be the quality of the roads, broken bottles left by late night drinkers or the complete lack of policing. I know the issues, and if the opportunity to speak on behalf of East Antrim comes my way, I will address them.

Thank you to everyone who took the time out of their day to share their thoughts with me and my team. It is always very much appreciated. If we are to do the job you deserve in the future, communication is essential and we are always keen to listen!

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cameron Won The Debate On The Economy

Come on Working For Change in East Antrim, See my reaction to the final Leaders' debate on the BBC website

David Cameron was the clear winner to me. He highlighted that in terms of supporting small and medium sized businesses he would set aside a substantial number of government contracts to help those businesses progress, cutting National Insurance for new businesses for the first 10 employees, and proper policies to help grow the private sector which is important for Northern Ireland.
Cameron Won The Debate On The Economy