Traditional Unionist Voice - not an ill-fated combo about to enter X Factor, but the title of Jim Allister’s motley unionist “movement” opposed to power sharing, attempting to add to the political morass in Northern Ireland. This group claim to have set up branches and are seeking donations, but as yet they are declining to style themselves a “party”, presumably in order to beat a more gracious retreat should support fail to emerge.
It is unlikely that a substantial number of the electorate will support the group, but there is now an alternative home for the hardline fringes of the DUP. Defection will become a more enticing prospect now that there is somewhere to defect to. Despite the uncompromising stance the movement is assuming, there is at least more consistency to their approach than the blatant hypocrisy and about turns of the First Minister and his party. Whilst you may disagree with Allister’s opposition to power-sharing, at least his objections are based on principle and did not evaporate when the trappings of power became available.
The leaflet the movement has issued on its launch states the aim of providing “effective democratic opposition to the present DUP/SF regime”. A reactionary group like the TUV do not offer an alternative to the sectarian carve-up which currently exists. Perhaps in providing an alternative to the perceived right of the DUP, the grouping can mop up voters who resent giving their votes to the larger party under false pretences. This may heighten the impetus for a middle-ground representing a shared future to provide the tenable opposition to the pertaining carve-up.