Unionism is always on the back foot, forced to react to nationalist advance

A letter from Harry Patterson:

By The Newsroom
Monday, 9th May 2022, 5:49 am
Updated Monday, 9th May 2022, 6:35 am
Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson states in Saturday’s News Letter that one of his top priorities in the coming few weeks will be to hold talks with other unionist leaders on future electoral co-operation(Donaldson: ‘We must stop splintering of unionist vote,’ May 7, see link below).

Would it not have been better to have held these talks before Thursdays election? The strategy of vote DUP to stop a Sinn Fein first minister was never going to work and has probably galvanised the nationalist/republican vote.

The masters of vote management and electioneering re Sinn Fein, the rank amateurs are all the unionist parties. The UUP dropped Ian Marshall into West Tyrone and he has recorded the lowest UUP vote there ever, they put Tom Elliott in Fermanagh South Tyrone alongside Rosemary Barton and must have known she would lose thus leaving them without a female MLA.

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TUV growth has not resulted in seats unfortunately, PUP down and maybe out. I have said before unionism is constantly on the back foot, forced to react to the success and advancement of the nationalist parties and I include Alliance in that category.

If you don’t agree that Alliance are nationalist leaning look at where their transfers go and their voting record especially in Belfast City Council, yet they still seem able to garner unionist votes?

No doubt we will hear the phrase ‘this is a wake up call for unionists’, we seem to hear this after every election but it seems that unionists are very very deep sleepers.

Harry Patterson, Castlecaulfield

More commentary:

• Ben Lowry: Unionism now faces a considerable challenge in how to go forward