Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Another councillor abandons creaking DUP on eve of Euro poll

Yesterday saw two DUP defections to the pan UK electoral force. Today sees another. I wonder will the Conservatives and Unionists have saved a spectacular to entice prospective voters tomorrow?

On this occasion Jim Kirkpatrick, Belfast City Councillor and twice the city’s High Sheriff, has rejoined the Ulster Unionist party. It appears that Mr Kirkpatrick has decided that pursuing unionism on a pan-UK model will deliver the economic policies which Northern Ireland needs to succeed.

"I had a long conversation with Peter Robinson a couple of weeks ago about the economic problems facing Northern Ireland. I came away with the distinct impression that he neither cares about nor understands the nature and scale of the problems facing the manufacturing industry and small businesses across Northern Ireland.

We are at the beginning of an economic down turn where recovery in the manufacturing sector is doubtful since several countries in Europe, with lower wage levels, are better able to attract that economic recovery when it comes.

"This isn't about weathering just another recession where we think that everything will get better of its own accord. There is an urgent need for an innovative economic strategy for Northern Ireland and I don't believe that the DUP has such a strategy.

"I also believe that the DUP has lost touch with what was once its' core vote, particularly in estates and rural areas. The hierarchy of the party seems more concerned with dynasty building and expense claims than with tackling the socio-economic agenda.

"I have been impressed by the efforts of the Ulster Unionist Party to build a new pan-UK unionism and I have also been impressed by David Cameron's efforts to tackle issues which have either been ignored or messed up by the Labour government.

Intriguingly Leslie Cubitt, headstrong independent Limivady councillor, has also offered Jim Nicholson his backing.

"I fully endorse Jim Nicholson and I would urge everyone in the pro-Union community to give him their Number 1 preference on June 4.

"Jim has a wonderful record of hard work and achievement in the European Parliament and has been a great friend of the agricultural industry and small business in his time as an MEP. He is easily the most experienced of the candidates.

It will hearten Jim Nicholson that his support appears to be broadening on the eve of Thursday's election.

Sir Reg Empey and David Cameron, leaders of the two parties whose joint force is fielding Nicholson as its candidate issued a statement urging voters to go to the polls in numbers and back their man.

Change is needed across the United Kingdom.

Gordon Brown’s Government has taken the UK to the brink of bankruptcy, and now we have a Parliament that has lost the trust of the people.

Public confidence in our institutions and in our politicians is at rock bottom.

David Cameron said last week that "big change and a new politics is exactly what people can expect from a new Conservative government…with people in control of the things that matter to them, a country where the political system is open and trustworthy and where power is distributed from the political elite to the man and woman in the street."

We want the people of Northern Ireland to be part of this process of change and new politics. As citizens of the United Kingdom they should have the same political and Parliamentary standards as their fellow citizens in England, Scotland and Wales.

The Ulster Unionist Party and Conservative Party, standing together as ‘Conservatives and Unionists,’ have already taken the first important step towards change and new politics. We have jointly endorsed Jim Nicholson as our candidate for the European Parliament.

Jim is the most experienced of all of the candidates. The change that he and we believe in is a change built upon experience, the lessons learned from that experience and a positive vision and agenda for the future.

A vote for Jim is a vote for a candidate who will have the full force of a national party behind him in the European Parliament and at Westminster.

It is a vote for an inclusive, embracing unionism; a unionism which seeks to attract the broadest possible swathe of opinion across Northern Ireland.

Most importantly, a vote for Jim is a vote to give Northern Ireland a national voice on the issues that we all worry about – crime, the economy and our public services. Make your voice heard.

There is an air of professionalism about the closing stages of this campaign which bodes well for the future.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rumour has it that Lyle Cubitt will join his brother in voting for Jim Nicholson; as it appears will William Wright based on the photograph of him with Nicholson and Eric Pickles of the Conservatives.

Things are moving fast in the CU's direction as voting day approaches.