FROM:- True Traditional Unionist (name and address supplied).
In the immediate aftermath of the Euro election Jim Allister told the world about all of the DUP P45s he was about to issue. He particularly singled out North Antrim.
As recently as July 5 Jim Allister said of a by-election in Ballymoney:“We're not ones to run away from such opportunities. I look forward to that testing of the water in a constituency which is for some reason attracting increasing interest.”
The Ballymoney by-election was to be his stepping stone towards winning the North Antrim Westminster seat. It was to be a confirmation that he was lead unionist in the area.
We have to assume that as both a former barrister and former MEP Jim Allister was fully aware at that stage that forcing a by-election would have incurred some cost to the public purse. Yet, in July he was absolutely clear. His attitude was one of force the election and ‘bring it on.’
But for some reason, just one month, a mere four weeks later Jim Allister and the TUV did a U-turn, now why would that be? It certainly was not because they were concerned that the DUP might object to a co-option for Cllr Mark Russell.
After all there have been three co-options onto Craigavon Council since the last election.
One of these benefited the DUP – with no objection from the TUV. The other two benefited Sinn Fein again with no objection from either the DUP or TUV.
So it wasn’t concerns about Craigavon DUP. Neither could it have been concern about retaining the Craigavon seat in the event of a by-election. After all according to the TUV analysis what would have happened? Well according to TUV spin they would have won the Ballymoney by-election thus confirming Jim Allister as the incoming MP for North Antrim and in the process adding to their total of councillors by one. In Craigavon, according to TUV spin, the DUP would have taken a hammering, giving further proof of their political demise, and the TUV would be serious challengers for the seat. But even if they didn’t actually win, they tell us they would have inflicted another deep wound on the DUP.
What is very, very clear is that this TUV deal had absolutely nothing to do with Cllr Mark Russell’s seat. Nor had it anything to do with the ratepayer.
It had everything to do with Jim Allister and the TUV running away from a contest in North Antrim. Jim Allister and the TUV sat down, did their sums and reckoned that the mathematics were such that they simply did not want to run the risk of a loss this close to the General Election.
Mark Russell was simply the lure or bait in this deal. He was merely the excuse Jim Allister needed to walk – no run as fast as he could – away from an election in Ballymoney. He was the fig leaf Jim Allister sought out to cover his nakedness over this proposed deal. Mark Russell’s role in this whole affair was nothing more than being the goat tethered to the tree to try to entice the DUP out. Ok, at least he was a willing goat. But it was shameful display of electoral cowardice by the TUV nonetheless.