Saturday, 10 April 2010

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - General Election 2010

The Democratic Unionist Party, Largest Party of in the Northern Irish Assembly and Largest Northern Irish Party in Westminster.

The DUP should have been going into this election with 9 incumbents however with the entire Iris Robinson Saga they are already down a seat.

The DUP will have problems from both sides of the Community in Northern Ireland but it is a strong possibility they will remain as the top Northern Irish dog in Westminster

1) The Best Offence is a Strong Defence - The DUP don't necessarily need to gain any more seats in this election merely hold onto what they already have. As with Lady Hermon in Down North and Rodney Connor in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Sinn Fein and the UUP are already under threat. The main threat the DUP face is the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) as Jim Allister is considered a Heavyweight in terms on Unionist Politics and with Ian Paisley retiring and Peter Robinson embattled by his personal life, the TUV looks set to take possibly one seat from the DUP whose big guns are silenced.

2) Keep Calm - With the UUP tied to the Tories and the TUV viewed as Hardline the DUP have a chance now to renew their image by presenting themselves as a true Northern Irish Party which is working to fix the problems of Northern Ireland, to do this they must not fall back into old habits of Sectarian driven politics, if they can achieve this it will make them a more appealing ally to Lab/Con if they lack an overall majority by 9 or less seats (lacking a majority by 10 or more seats makes LibDems or the Celtic Bloc Kingmakers)

3) Avoid the two big dogs - If the DUP can avoid being overly critical of Labour and the Conservatives it again makes them a more appealing.

4) Build a Bridge - Before the current assembly it was the UUP and SDLP who were the big players, now its the DUP and Sinn Fein, if the DUP want to be kingmaker for Labour they need to be able to work with the SDLP more, this would benefit the SDLP by making them seem like the people who can look past the traditional divide and in the Assembly election in 2011 the SDLP could make gains against Sinn Fein by either forcing Sinn Fein to lessen their stances in some areas or more into the Hardline fringe with the TUV.

5) Annoy the Celtic bloc - Alex Salmond and Ieuan Wyn Jones made a huge fuss about being excluded from the Leaders Debates, the DUP have more seats then either of the parties (DUP 8, SNP 6, Plaid 3) Robinson should push to challenge both of them on screen. This would serve many purposes; Reminder that it could be Northern Ireland not Scotland/Wales who have the keys to number 10, Bring Northern Irish Politics further into the UK mainstream, Humiliate the Celtic Bloc after their threats to sue over the Leader's Debates (Robinson didn't say much about them which makes Salmond and Jones look a bit stupid since they have less seats) and Give Robinson chance to be seen outside typical battle with Sinn Fein and increase his profile in the UK-wide Political scene

I feel if the DUP play this election right they could be in a great position not just in Westminster but in the Lead up to the Assembly election next year, your thoughts?

Mebyon Kernow - General election 2010

The Cornish Nationalist party, One of the smaller fish in the Pond that is British Politics but in this election they could break through into Westminster.

A question you may have is why the Cornish nationalists were not mentioned in my previous post on The Celtic Bloc, mainly it's because they are the smallest nationalist party, only running in the six Cornish seats, but after writing the last article I realised that this party may cause a few surprises were it to gain even one seat.

1) Get a Seat! - Obvious first point, Mebyon Kernow needs only one seat to make the point, it will scare the hell out of the Lib Dems and Conservatives (Labour is not liked in Cornwall) if they get one it will be huge exposure for them and could add an interesting new dynamic to the review of how Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland get funded

2) The English Democrats - Should, come election day, The English Democrats and Mebyon Kernow achieve a seat between them, it could cause a bit of a dilemma for the Celtic Bloc, The extra seats would help them gain more influence but I doubt they'd be able to bring both the Cornish and English on board together. The English democrats want an English Parliament to counter the regionalisation the Labour government has implemented in England, The Cornish want more Autonomy from Westminster, so the Conflict in interests is obvious. If however Mebyon Kernow were to succeed in getting a seat or two and the English Democrats failed the Eng Dems could see the Cornish Join with the Celtic Bloc to pressure for more Autonomy with Plaid Cymru and the SNP while they are stuck at mayoral level in terms of influence.

3) *If MK get a seat and EngDems fail* - MK needs to use the one man Media magnet that is Alex Salmond, he may be a bit closer to independence than devolution than MK but he will bring MK attention which could help them look as a viable alternative to the LibDems in the South West of England

4) *if Both EngDems and MK achieve electoral success* - Try and reach an agreement due to the Cornish being a Celtic Peoples, perhaps the EngDems will go for it and the Celtic bloc could expand with both Mebyon Kernow and the English Democrats into a Nationalist Bloc (We'll ignore trying to get the SDLP on board for the moment)

5)*if Both achieve success but the Celtic bloc stick with the EngDems - it isn't game over for the MK, infact MK could join the SDLP in sitting with Labour in Westminster, it would mean Labour could be Propped in Government by a small nationalist following and would be more likely to give into Cornish Devolution ideas (SDLP who has huge Experience with Devolution would be a good friend for the MK)

Mebyon Kernow is a hard party to plan for due to their much lower profile. However their leader did take his ward by 78% I believe, so there is a definite following there, makes Cornwall and Interesting Battle ground and could spell disaster for the LibDems.

Anyone have any thoughts on MK?

Friday, 9 April 2010

The Celtic Bloc - General Election 2010

In the lead up to the Election the Scottish Nationalist Part and Plaid Cymru have decided to team up and form the Celtic Bloc,

As they are working as a Unit I shall treat them as such in this post though if requested I will do separate ones for each party

1) Support the English Democrats - although there is confusion about whether or not the English Democrats are just a slightly nicer version of the BNP or just the English version of SNP/Plaid the Celtic Bloc should try to help the English Democrats if the Latter is the case. Why? Because even if the EngDems get only one or two seats that is one or two seats to add to the Celtic Bloc (which may need to be renamed if the EngDems do get a seat) and every seat the Celtic/Nat Bloc gets the more they become a challenger to the Lib Dems.

2) Woo the SDLP - Pretty much the same idea again with the Northern Irish SDLP, problem is they already support Labour so it will take a bit more work, however as the SNP and SDLP share similar constitutional goals it wouldn't be to difficult to see either the SDLP defect to the Celtic/Nat bloc if the Conservatives wind up on top but short of overall control, This could give a Nat bloc of somewhere around 15-20 seats, enough to give someone the support if one of the Big Two fall only a little bit short of overall majority.

3) Nationalist War - Make it as clear as possible the lack of racial motivated policy within the Celtic Bloc so as to demonstrate as many differences as possible between themselves and the BNP, it's an obvious point but there are alot of people running around with nationalist in their name so it can't hurt to point it out.

4) Don't go Overboard - I aim this one particularly at the SNP who are more pronounced than Plaid in their ideas. If the SNP go crazy with what their demands for support are they are giving Power to the Lib Dems as they will scare off any chance that Lab/Con will come to them for help.

5) Criticise the Pact - The Tories have an electoral Pact with the UUP of Northern Ireland, it can be a huge target if played right, particulary in regards to getting the SDLP into the Bloc as they too aren't happy with it and also in getting the Tories to think about their relationship with the UUP if they need the Celtic Bloc's help.

6) Pick the Right fight - Labour is a Bleeding Giant of Seats right now, if the Celtic Bloc pick the right ones they could steal a couple of seats and put themselves in a more comfy position for the next 4 years.

7) Watch Out for the Other little Guys - the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition "TUSC" (made up of; Socialist Party, Socialist Resistance, Socialist Workers Party and Solidarity) are running just under 45 candidates, 10 of them are in Scotland with a few in Wales. Since they have all decided to play nice this could hurt the both the Bloc and Labour since theses seats are already left leaning and could either weaken the Bloc enough for another party to take the seat or if the electorate decide to really punish the more well established parties give them a seat or two.

The Engdems have signed up with the Alliance for Democracy (made up of; Christian Party, English Democrats, Jury Team, Popular Alliance, UK First Party and Veritas) It is doubtful these parties will make a break through in terms of seats (except the Eng Dems, and the independents will be vague have their own positions) but the AOD could still hurt votes for the other parties depending on where their candidates pop up.

The Liberal Democrats - General Election 2010

The Liberal Democrats, the UK's third Party, the other guys, the Under-underdogs....

Going into this election Nick Clegg (anyone ask who that is and I will have to hit you with a shovel) said he wanted to be Prime Minister, sadly for this ambitious LibDem he hasn't a hope, but just because Little Nicky won't achieve his dream doesn't mean it's all over for the LibDems.

As many of the pollsters are predicting we may have a Hung Parliament as the grand result of this General election, The Lib Dems must ensure this if they wish to move up in the world. With a Hung Parliament Little Nicky, whose been mocked time and time again for being the invisible man of the UK political scene, will be the King Maker and the keys to power will rest with the Liberal Democrats. If it seems like i'm stating the obvious, I am, got to cover as much as I can, makes me seem more clever.

To achieve the hung parliament here is what I think the Lib Dems need to do.

1) Defend the Southwest from the Tory advance - an obvious one to start off with but if the Lib Dems lose the south west it may knock them down to the same level as the Celtic Bloc and Northern Irish parties and make them completely irrelevant for 4-5 years.

2) Attack the SNP - the SNP have set themselves a hefty target of 20 seats (at least Alex Salmond has) and are planning on bleeding Labour to get them, the Lib Dems need to go to all out war with the SNP, as since the SNP have most of the seats in the Celtic Bloc taking them out will eliminate the nationalist threat meaning the next contender for the King Maker Position would be the DUP of Northern Ireland. By breaking the SNP the Lib Dems stay as first in line to be King Maker. (Provided of course Lab/Con lack 15+ seats of and overall majority)

3) Back the other little guys - Within Tory Territory (South-east and Middle England) there lies a small army of smaller parties in constituencies where the Lib Dems sadly have very little hope. By maybe suggesting that voters should look to some of the the smaller parties to punish the Larger two for the expenses scandal and corruption. This one can potentially backfire depending on how the Lib Dems put it across as they themselves are a big party though did not take as much flak from the Expenses and aren't in enough of a position to be corrupt. Backing the little guys may hurt the Tories in their safe seats enough for Labour, UKIP or maybe an independent to nick a seat. If anything it may put the Conservatives one short of that overall majority but it's better than nothing.

4) Start talking about the Alliance party - The Alliance party are essentially the Northern Irish Lib Dems who sadly do not even have a hope of getting one seat. But every vote that is cast for them weakens the nagging sectarian headcount Northern Ireland gets into around every election and potentially could uproot some of the incumbents from supposedly safe seats. If anything this is more a Long-term idea to make the Alliance look like a credible Party as the few seats they do get in the Northern Irish Assembly give the Lib Dems some friends at the devolved level.(Assembly elections next year after all)

5) Use Charles Kennedy - The man is a legend like John Prescott, yes he was in the Political scene by his admission of a Drinking problem but that makes him the seem more human to the common voter as opposed to the squeaky clean possible cyborg that is Cameron. Also Nick right now is relying on Vince Cable a bit to much in my view, Bringing Kennedy back up gives the Lib Dems a slightly more recognisable Front Line and shows that Brown isn;t the only one with a team behind him.

6) Europe - the Lib Dems need to use the Europe rounds when in the political gunfight of this election, mainly in seats where there is a strong Con/UKIP presence not so much as a campaign issue, It's more a way to cripple the Tories as Europe seems to make Tories bicker and UKIP could use the chance to talk about their favourite subject.

7) Find the right Balance - the Lib Dems have always been a party with good ideas but never got the coverage, now in election time when the cameras are actually pointing at them Clegg is bouncing around the country with very little policy talk, just meet and greets and photo ops, The Lib Dems did well in the Chancellors debate and they need to use the press time to blast the fact that they actually have some decent policies.

I;m aware some of these are pretty obvious but it's simply to provide what I think would be a good tactical plan for the election, the Lib Dems are a big enough party that it makes it dificult to plot a detailed tactical plan as they are almost everywhere