Aspiring Prime Minister David Cameron has rubbished a Belfast Telegraph election poll, alleging it was carried out by a lobbying company linked to the Democratic Unionist Party. In a rousing speech to members of Ulster Unionist and Conservative parties David Cameron gallantly boasted of how he braved the elements of nature like young Lochinvar to reach La Mon Hotel for today’s political rally. La Mon Hotel was bombed by the IRA 31 years ago.
The Conservative party leader raised the temperature declaring: “the helicopter broke down. I had to fly through a volcanic ash cloud but I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. If I am Prime Minister I will be back in a week.”
In what is being interpreted as a swipe at the DUP’s first family, the Robinsons, David Cameron pledged frugality in office.
“There’ll be nothing swish about the Conservative and Unionist parties.”
In a one to one interview with me the following exchange took place.
EM: If you are shackled to one Unionist party isn’t the bi-partisan approach a dead letter ?
DC: This is a new force in Northern Ireland politics. It says if you want to vote for a UK party you should be able to do that. The Labour Party have the SDLP who take the Labour whip and sit in the House of Commons with them. It doesn’t stop a Labour PM being impartial when it comes to difficult decisions in Northern Ireland and I’d be able to do that as well.”
EM: Isn’t this different? You are financing the Ulster Unionist Party, you are organising here, you are part of the UU. We are not comparing like with like, are we?
DC: The constitutional issues are now settled. That is one of the strengths of the situation we are now in, is that everyone in Northern Ireland accepts the constitutional position so it should be possible to have normal politics in NI.
And normal politics means in Northern Ireland ought to mean that you can vote for a UK party if you want to.
EM: Do you think that our politicians and our politics can grow organically naturally, unionists, nationalists protestants, catholics as a result of your intervention? Might you not disincentivise unionists to co-operate greater with nationalists here because of your involvement ?
DC: I don’t think so. If anything the involvement of the Conservatives in this new force will actually help to make sure that we draw politicians and candidates from every part of the community. I think it will be easier to get away from the old headcount politics and get to a new sort of politics where people who whether they are conservative or whether they are left of centre feel they can join into a UK party.
EM: Mr. Cameron, if the national polls are correct and the local polls are correct, is there a danger you are at the wrong party today ?
DC: No, not at all because the poll I saw in the Northern Irish paper this morning, this is a poll not carried out by a proper polling organisation and indeed it is by a lobbying company.
EM: Isn’t that rather patronising? This a poll conducted by the Belfast Telegraph. Are you just rubbishing it?
DC: It has been conducted by a lobbying company with links to the DUP so it is not particularly convincing. As they say there is only one poll that counts and that is on May the Sixth. That is on Thursday. People who want to take part in mainstream politics can vote for Conservative Unionist candidates knowing that is what they are going to do.”
EM: You are very big on cleaning up politics nationally and locally. Can you do business, Can you form a government, do a deal with a political party here mired in scandal, the Democratic Unionist party?
DC: I don’t want to have to do deals because I want us to win an outright majority.
EM: Can you do a deal with a party mired in scandal such as the DUP?
DC: I am trying to win this election outright. That is what I am shooting for. I have thirty six hours left to do it.
[This article originally appeared on Slugger O’Toole]