Ulster accent


The counting for Northern Ireland's 18 seats at Westminster is underway, and while I work I'm watching BBC Northern Ireland's coverage of the results. The results notwithstanding, it's fun to hear Ulster's distinctive accent again -- something I haven't heard in person for nearly 10 years -- to hear each candidate talking about how "proyd" he is of the "campeh-un" he ran.

Unionists -- those who favor keeping Northern Ireland as part of the UK -- are split between two major parties, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The UUP has been the leading unionist party for many years, representing the unionist side in negotiations over self-government, security, and cross-border institutions. Continued violence in NI has led unionists to prefer the DUP, a party with a tougher negotiating stance. The UUP had 10 of NI's 18 seats at one time, were down to 6 after the 2001 election, and may end up with only a single seat. David Trimble, UUP party leader, 1998 Nobel Peace Prize winner, and, briefly, first minister of NI, just lost his Upper Bann seat to DUP candidate David Simpson, who announced an end to "pushover unionism." (UPDATE: Here's a column in the Scotsman outlining Trimble's rise to power, his involvement in peace talks, and his fall from favor. Hat tip to Slugger O'Toole, who blogs about Northern Ireland politics and culture.)

On the nationalist side -- those who want the Six Counties united with the rest of Ireland under Dublin's rule -- voters are shifting from the once-dominant Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) to Sinn Fein, a radical party with close ties to the terrorist Irish Republican Party. It's likely that when all the votes are counted the DUP and Sinn Fein will have the most representation at Westminster.

You'll find the latest results from Northern Ireland here.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 6, 2005 12:42 PM.

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