Shinners Could Sweep Board: Unionists Face Poll Massacre

John Coulter with his regular Irish Daily Star column. It previously featured on Newshound.

A Nationalist Coalition of Shinners, Stoops and Alliance could snatch up to a dozen of the North's 18 MPs in next May's Commons showdown.

Republicans would do well to remember the impact of the Unionist Coalition of 1974 a few months before loyalist street muscle brought down the power-sharing Sunningdale Executive.

Three Unionists parties – the UUP, DUP and Vanguard came together to form the United Ulster Unionist Council, commonly known as the 'Treble-UC', or Unionist Coalition.

It allocated the single unionist party best placed to win, resulting in 11 of the North's 12 constituencies returning Unionist MPs, leaving Gerry Fitt as the sole nationalist in West Belfast.

Not since the 1918 General Election immediately after World War One has nationalism the chance to take the majority of Irish seats in a Westminster poll.

Unionist infighting and Protestant voter apathy has gifted nationalism a potential May massacre at the polls, but it will require more than a mere pact in selected seats to guarantee this Commons whitewash.

Republicans would do well to remember the opinion polls in Scotland which show the Scottish National Party poised to snatch most seats north of the English border.

This could leave the SNP holding the balance of power in Westminster, especially if the staunchly anti-European Union Ukip gives Prime Minister Dave Cameron a real bloody nose in traditional Tory heartlands.

The sums are simple for republicans – there are 18 Northern seats, so 18 nationalist candidates should run under the banner of the Nationalist Coalition.

This Coalition must include the Alliance Party. Alliance is now a soft republican party.

If nationalists hold fast to the 'one seat, one runner' Coalition, Unionists will crawl back to Westminster with only six seats – five held by the DUP, and Sylvia Hermon holding her North Down bolthole.

Unionism will be wiped out in Belfast, with leading DUP MP Nigel Dodds losing his North Belfast bastion to the Shinners.

Okay, so Stoops boss Big Al McDonnell has dumped a bucket-load of cold water on an electoral pact with the Shinners.

But given the impending leadership coup within the SDLP, Big Al may not be party chief much longer, especially if he wants to retain his South Belfast Commons seat.

It's been a rough few months for the Shinners as they have tried to cope with the fallout from the sex abuse allegations.

If Sinn Féin is smart, it will use talk of a Nationalist Coalition to reclaim the moral high ground among middle class nationalists.

The hard reality is that Sinn Féin is wasting its time talking about an electoral pact with the Stoops while Big Al's faction runs the SDLP.

The only pact Sinn Féin should enter is with the SNP and Welsh Nationalist MPs. The stark choice for Sinn Féin is simple; fight next May as a single party and hold its five seats, or form a Nationalist Coalition with the Stoops and Alliance and return to London with 12 MPs.

Unionists used coalitions to rule the North for over eight decades. If republicans are serious about a united Ireland, then the Nationalist Coalition is the only way forward. Anything else is just meaningless lip service.


  1. Well I would love to see that happen.
    But is the Alliance party a "nationalst" party nevermind a soft Republican party.
    And the Scottish SNP will run a mile from Sinn Fein..They don't want to be associated with Irish Republicans.
    It gives the opponents of the SNP an open goal.
    SF stayed quiet over the Scottish vote because they recognize this.
    But it Nationalits were to take 12 seats I would welcome that..It would focus unionist minds in areas lkie Tigers Bay and Larne that their days are numbered.

  2. Once again a rubbish article from Coulter. While it would be good to see political unionism get a bloody nose for its reactionary politics and holier than thou attitude, it is not going to happen. The Stoops cannot go into an electoral pact with PSF because they refuse to take their seats. That rules out any pact no matter who the leader is. Also the writer says that unionism is leaking votes; not so. At the last election unionism's vote went up. Add to that the fact that there will be a limited pact between, that disgrace to unionism, Peter Robinson and Mike TV. Poor analysis John.

  3. Coulter is nobody's fool. The unionists are circling the waggons like they have never done before. The orange halls are full two or three nights a week,unless they intend to produce a new single for christmas. They are of the opinion that their old buddies in Westminster have sold them out. No longer can they portray themselves as the cock of the walk,and even they do nobody gives a fuck. But keep the guard up,a cornered rat can be dangerous.
    Fortunately for the rest of us the loyalist of loyal loyalists don't seem to be able to camouflage their true intentions as they used to do. We on the other hand were always too obvious,and our eyebrows being placed too close together didn't help.

  4. Had no idea Alliance were anti-monarchy...really?