South Belfast – Our Jonny

south belfast

South Belfast (maybe it’s now called Belfast South, who knows?)  was expanded in 1983, 1995 and 2009, when it gained four Castlereagh wards from East Belfast, and two from Strangford.

Did that help us?
In a way. It made the new constituency 0.4% less Catholic, and 0.6% more Protestant. Here are recent  voting patterns

results graph

Why is South Belfast/Belfast South a contested seat?
Because Dr. McDonnell SDLP has held it since 2005. It once had a now long gone Unionist majority and Unionists want it back

Who’s the DUP candidate?

jonathan bell

Mr Jonathan Bell. Everyone agrees he ‘s  great!

a surprising yet excellent choice” for the DUP

A safe pair of hands, and has risen up the DUP ranks to hold the Junior Minister post in OFMDFM”.

“The DUP have finally found the right candidate for South Belfast”

“Jonathan can pass muster as a liberal, yet he is also an utter party loyalist”.

“UU genes in a DUP body”.

Comment: So he pretends he’s not a hardliner? All things to all men? Would do anything to get a vote?

“ He’s good on the doorstep”.

Query: Persuasive –  like some door-to-door salesmen?

What do we know about Jonathan Bell?
*Born in March 1970 he has a degree in psychology and worked in child care social work until 2010.

*He kept Strangford going amidst the Iris Robinson scandal.

*He employs:
“ his wife as a part-time secretary and researcher”.
“ The son of Peter Robinson as Constituency Manager”.
“The daughter-in-law of Peter Robinson as a part-time secretary”.

*This is his third constituency – he was a Craigavon Councillor, then a Strangford MLA, now a South Belfast candidate for Westminster.

* the DUP is his second Party. He left the UUP in March 2000.

bell orangeman2
*Jonathan Bell is an Orangeman
*He does not disclose it on his MLA register of interests
yes oh yes
In 2102 MLA for Strangford, Jonathan Bell said about the 12th July Orange Order marches
It’s the best day of the year — better than Christmas. This means everything to me. It’s my Ulster Scots, my British heritage and Protestant faith,”
He claimed that year’s 12th parade was “the most successful ever”.

What happened to make it so successful?
9 police officers were injured,Police came under fire from both sides.

Several plastic bullets were reported to have been fired.

Loyalists pelted police officers with bricks and stones near Twadell Avenue in the Greater Shankill area.
Armed officers had to separate a republican demonstration against an Orange Order march from hundreds of loyalists gathered nearby
In (London)Derry, missiles and petrol bombs were thrown at police officers
Disturbances occurred when a bus was hijacked near the Derrybeg estate in Craigavon. North Armagh

*He certainly supports the Twadell “Civil Rights” Camp
“DUP MLA Jonathan Bell, MP Jeffrey Donaldson and Orange Order grand chaplain Mervyn Gibson arrived at the camp on Twaddell Avenue which sits at an interface with Ardoyne”.
and the “Graduated Response”

*He’s one of several top-level DUP politicians that support Caleb (Edwin Poots, Nelson McCausland Diane Dodds Gregory Campbell, Paul Givan, Mervyn Storey Vice Chairman of the Caleb Foundation and Stephen Moutray, Mayor of Craigavon)

What’s Caleb?

is a highly politicised group of religious fundamentalists.”
It’s a hardline Northern Irish evangelical lobbying organisation that was formed in 1998.

No mainstream Protestant Church is  associated with the Caleb Foundation

Caleb is a political organisation that is closely linked to the DUP, Ian Paisley’s Free Presbyterian Church and the Orange Order (particularly the Independent Orange Order). Its tentacles are all over the place.

Who belongs to Caleb?
Members of the Caleb Foundation are at the centre of the Protestant power structure in Northern Ireland

Wallace thompson

You can’t be card-carrying member,” said Chairman Wallace Thompson ( history graduate, preacher, DUP member, Apprentice Boy, Orange Order man, EPS member and editor, Ulster Bulwark, former adviser to Nigel Dodds, whose daughter Sharon is married to Mr Dodds’ son) . As a former NI civil servant, Mr Thompson knows his way around the political system. Clearly a sound man to look after the proper interests .

Who does Caleb represent?
About 17,000 – 23,000 people who want the province to stay British. It’s about hardline, uncompromising Protestant supremacy (which is what the Democratic Unionist Party is at heart). It’s a classic hardline anti-intellectual Northern Irish sectarian organisation, deeply anti-Catholic and pompously absurd in its claims about being Christian.
It is an exclusive sectarian organisation for ultra-Calvinists only and, like the Orange Order, doesn’t want Catholic members.

What do they believe in?
Caleb’s political programme is all about religion. Members are united by a literal reading of the Bible  and have ambitions to see Northern Ireland become a fundamentalist Protestant theocracy, with its people and friends in charge.

Caleb wants to see a Bible-based society with every law measured against scripture It now looks as if one of its main immediate mission in promoting creationism in the province

Caleb Chairman Wallace Thompson believes Caleb is championing God’s agenda on  issues such as  inclusion of creationism in schools and museums.

Is Caleb  more of a network or a rallying point than a structured organisation? 
Many of the politicians who have chosen to associate themselves with Caleb are part of its informal network. Caleb has had a strong record of recent policy successes, particularly with DUP ministers.
Issues Caleb has successfully lobbied on include reform of prostitution laws, inclusion of a creationism exhibit in the Giant’s Causeway visitors’ centre, raising the price of alcohol and limiting opening hours, tightening up abortion laws to exclude rape and foetal abnormality and banning gay adoption.
Caleb did not specifically lobby for a gay blood ban, but “approved of the position of the minister” Edwin Poots.

Caleb or ‘the Calebans’

Nickname  supporters give to the Caleb Foundation –  a reference to the fundamentalist Islamic Taliban organisation.

Queries: Will the South Belfast electorate vote for the Calebans ?
Will Jonathan Bell’s  DUPlicitious brand of Unionism be well received in leafy south Belfast?
What can organisations like the Orange Order or  Caleb  contribute to anything truly shared?

Comment: Organisations like Caleb and the Orange Order give a terribly bad name to decent hard-working Protestants and Unionists who are all tarred with the same brush

When they vote, will they look forward or backward ?

Remember: In Northern Ireland voting patterns are not primarily concerned about facts but about power. Get the facts – then vote



One thought on “South Belfast – Our Jonny

  1. Pingback: South Belfast and Dr. Alasdair McDonnell | the

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