“Sinn Fein in the North are more Teflon than your granny’s old frying pan…”

1 views

Tom Kelly’s column in the Irish News today offers this explanation the upcoming success of Sinn Fein in the north and the south:

Sinn Fein’s greatest strengths are its twin planks of discipline and an ability to learn lessons fast. Add into the mix its utter shamelessness in doing “u-turns” faster than Ayrton Senna with make moves that would embarrass Max Mosley. While other parties agonise like St. Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane – Sinn Fein just do it and no shibboleth is too sacred to ditch.

To political elites all of this may be as unedifying as hitting a “Sally Gunnell” in golf but the Sinn Fein strategy works. To achieve what they look like doing in the Republic of Ireland has been a simple enough strategy- they have simply mimicked Eamon Gilmore’s angry man tactics from the lead up to the 2011 general election.

Sinn Fein saw how being “agin” everything worked and fitted neatly with the frustration of a hard-pressed and angry Irish electorate. They also cleared the constituency decks of any embarrassing candidates with burdensome paramilitary histories and replaced them with clean-faced policy light radicals.

Unlike other parties, Sinn Fein don’t make their political wannabees wait three generations before letting them loose. Of course it has also helped that the Labour party in the Republic of Ireland is in meltdown.

Apart from the defections of a handful of TDs- the party has also haemorrhaged thirty councillors since going into government with Fine Gael. That’s an astonishing ten percent of their total councillor intake.

Labour has found as others find too that being a minority party in government is toxic and Sinn Fein is well poised to capitalise on Labour’s woes. Fianna Fail’s pre-occupation with internal struggles and re-organisation has left it impotent against the Sinn Fein tide as the voice of opposition.

In Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein is less about growth and more about consolidation. To the electorate after fourteen years of being in government makes them feel like worn in comfortable slippers- until the Adams debacle turned those slippers into Doc Martins.

Despite the moral outpourings of the cappuccino supping liberals of BT9 and the prayers of the candle burning righteous, the truth is that Sinn Fein in the North are more Teflon than your granny’s old frying pan and that’s because having lived through the Troubles- everyone here knows what they did- so the political impact factor is zero.

So even with a candidate as lacklustre as Ms Anderson and her scowling posters- they will comfortably win a European seat. The second certainty of the forthcoming electoral tussle will be the election of the DUP’s Diane Dodds.

Less certain is the future of Jim Nicholson. This may have been just one election too far for gentleman Jim- though logic says he will limp home in third place. All eyes will be on the damage that Jim Alister can do. If he gets more than fifty thousand votes- he will have secured a kind of moral victory –anything less and he will be the voice of malcontents.

Despite having appealed to SDLP voters in 1999 to give them a chance at a second seat; Sinn Fein is offering no such guidance in 2014- lest Alex Attwood spoils the party by stealing the third seat. To succeed, Attwood needs two other factors to occur- Anna Lo needs to excel and Nicholson needs to implode.

Despite Alliance optimism, Lo is a poor media performer; so excelling outside of Greater Belfast is one huge ask. Plus Alliance does not have the kind of organisation across the North to deliver a coup de grace. On arid ground, Nicholson is the UUP’s best asset therefore implosion is unlikely.

Many Sinn Fein supporters will give Attwood a second preference knowing that less than 1% separated the SDLP from the prospect of a second nationalist seat in 2009. But whether that is enough depends on the turnout. [all emphasis added]

, ,

  • gendjinn

    I don’t know what you are talking about. SF don’t even get half of the Catholic vote..

    You have stated that half of those voting for SF & SDLP are unionists.

  • Zeno

    gendjinn

    “You have stated that half of those voting for SF & SDLP are unionists.”
    ———
    Where did I state that?

  • Politico68

    “SF don’t even get half of the Catholic vote..”

    If 43% of the electorate are Catholic Community Background according to the census, and Sinn Fein get 27% of the popular vote that means that Sinn Fein get approx 63% of the Catholic Vote no?

  • Zeno

    If 43% of the electorate are Catholic Community Background according to the census, and Sinn Fein get 27% of the popular vote that means that Sinn Fein get approx 63% of the Catholic Vote no?

    No, SF get around 178,000 votes.
    That is 14.9% of the electorate of 1.2 million.
    There are at least 500,000 Catholics on the Electorate Role, so just over 1/3 of Catholics vote SF.

  • Politico68

    Zeno…

    You’re Nuts Dude !!

  • Zeno

    Zeno…

    You’re Nuts Dude !!
    ———————————–
    I take it you don’t like the numbers, but I can assure you they are correct. You can find them on-line easily and verify them.
    Don’t blame me. Blame whoever mislead you.

  • gendjinn

    P68,

    this is the same drivel Molyneaux & the gray suits spouted in the 80s about SFs electoral growth. They’d take the votes SF received and divide them by the entire population of NI to arrive at the percentage support SF had.

    Regardless, if you are asserting the NILT poll on the border is an accurate reflection of reality you end up with 10s of thousands or even a 100k of SFs voters are unionists.

  • Politico68

    Zeno,

    I accept your numbers, honestly. And I find it interesting how you translate them statistically because by and large most democracies accept the fact that the popular vote at election time is usually a reflection of popular view across the constituency. I get your premise, but I happen to think it is flawed. You see, the same individuals do not vote at every election. Mary might vote tomorrow for the DUP but that could be the first time she has voted in years. Paddy might vote for the SDLP as he has done all his life, but he might miss the next election due to illness or something like that. Do you see where I am going with this? The voter profile is not known. Lets say one million people vote tomorrow and the result is as i expect 50/42/8. Now, lets say that in next years election 800,000 of those one million come out to vote and the rest don’t bother but a different 200,000 come out to vote instead, replacing them? we still get the same result. So, in the course of say five elections each with a fifty percent turnout, the likelyhood is that over the course of those elections maybe 80% of the electorate has voted but at different times. Are you getting me here? Take opinion polls just before an election, they can be quite accurate even though they only sample approx 1,000 people in any given time. Take the South as an example, the polls have the parties roughly as follows FG 26, FF23, SF20, LABOUR 8. But the opinion poll only samples a tiny fraction of the entire electorate less than 0.001% Yet, the poll will be pretty accurate. So the opinion poll of 1,000 people gives an accurate reflection of the voting intentions of the two million that might vote. Correspondingly then, tomorrow in the North, the 700,000 people that vote, will reflect the politcal leaning of the entire electorate give or take a point or two. Is that clearer? As for Unity, you are right, there is no sign of a majority in favour, so myself and others like me have a shit load of work to do over the next 10/15 years, LOL.

  • Charles_Gould

    “To succeed, Attwood needs two other factors to occur- Anna Lo needs to excel and Nicholson needs to implode. ”

    To succeed he needs to attract votes. Not for Anna Lo to excel.

  • Politico68

    Charles, I think the nationalist block will have to get in the region of 44/45 % for Alex to squeeze through. He will be sure to get most, if not all of Andersons surplus, he will also pick up about 45% of the Alliance / Green transfers. We have to hope then that about 20% of the TUV/CON/UKIP/NI21 trnsfers get lost in the shuffle. Its a big ask but not impossible. Fingers crossed.

  • Charles_Gould

    Politico98

    Please can you not speak for me (you use the term “we”). I have absolutely no time for the politics represented by the SF leadership. I do not “hope” that other peoples votes get lost, I hope for a strong SDLP vote. A positive vote for Labour values.

  • Zeno

    P68

    So let me try and understand this.
    You are saying that even though SF’s maximum vote achieved is 180,000 there are actually 340,000 supporters (27% of the electorate)? That’s 144,000 supporters more than they achieved with their maximum vote.
    The same would apply to all the other parties obviously.
    So the almost 600,000 who don’t vote and describe themselves as neither Unionists or Nationalists are all supporters of the local political parties but for some reason want to keep that a secret?

  • Politico68

    Charles, chillax man, most parties ‘ hope’ that their opponents transfer badly in order to secure a victory, its not a SF phenomonan, nor am I a SF leader. No need to get so sassy simply because I am a shinner.

  • Politico68

    Zeno, get someone else to explain this to you mate. I give up !

  • Zeno

    P68
    “Zeno, get someone else to explain this to you mate. I give up !”

    Just tell me if I understand your view that implies 324,000 people actually support SF, but only 180,000 have ever turned out to vote for them at the same election and that the 600,000 who don’t vote and say they are neither Unionist nor Nationalist are all telling fibs.
    Is that it? Am I misinterpreting you?

  • Charles_Gould

    What I hope is that SDLP first pref goes up.

    I hope that Alex is able to draw that vote from across the board – whoever is persuaded by the values in his campaign – regardless of what party they may previously have voted for.

    Alex fought a positive and honourable campaign, focussed on the values of the PES and of the SDLP. Labour values.

    He has been a very good campaigner, and has rarely taken the merely politically expedient route; instead he takes the route that is consistent with SDLP principles. He explains and persuades when (as with John Lewis) there was an issue that might initially be unpopular with voters.

    I regard him as having grown in stature and sureness of touch in this campaign and I hope that people who want him to win are doing so because of support for SDLP values.

  • Politico68

    Charles, I agree. I have always liked Alex Attwood, I remember during the more wobbly times in the negotiations leading up to Good Friday, he always came across as calm, measured and responsible. he would be great in Europe.

  • Zeno

    P68
    I’m sure you must have missed my post………

    P68
    “Zeno, get someone else to explain this to you mate. I give up !”

    Just tell me if I understand your view that implies 324,000 people actually support SF, but only 180,000 have ever turned out to vote for them at the same election and that the 600,000 who don’t vote and say they are neither Unionist nor Nationalist are all telling fibs.
    Is that it? Am I misinterpreting you?

    Just clear it up for me.

  • clarks

    Didn’t Tom Kelly work in the SDLP propaganda department some time ago?