#AE16 #CountDay Live Blog

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  • JohnTheOptimist

    The results are a total disaster for nationalism in N. Ireland. The contrast with Scotland couldn’t be greater. SF down 2.9%, SDLP down 2.2%. The combined SF/SDLP vote is down from 41.1% to 36.0%. Unprecedented – and even worse than in last year’s Westminster election and the 2014 Euro election. Both these elections signposted the way things were moving (and I’ve made a few posts here in the past 12 months highlighting it), but the two nationalist parties were blind to what was happening. A United Ireland is further away tonight than ever. Under SF (especially) and SDLP leadership, nationalism in N. Ireland is going nowhere.

    Nationalists need to learn from unionists. The root problem is that the nationalist population is far less socialist and far less liberal than one would garner from listening to the SF and the SDLP. This is certainly true in relation to economics. There is no reason to think that the nationalist population is economically more left-wing than people in the Republic. But, the alternatives they are offered are hard-left socialism and soft-left socialism. The unionists provide a much better range of options, some moderately left-wing and some strongly pro-business. Similarily with social issues like gay marriage. There is probably a 50/50 split or at most a 60/40 split in both communities on this issue (in the Republic’s referendum the split was almost 60/40 and 55/45 outside Dublin). The unionist parties reflect this split, some are in favour and others against. But, the two nationalist parties are 100 per cent in favour, not a single dissenting voice. It is now clear that economically conservative and socially conservative nationalists have had enough and are staying home in droves rather than vote for the soft-left SDLP or the hard-left SF. Both these parties are far more interested in peddling their rival brands of socialism than in bringing about a United Ireland. I doubt if they can even be called nationalist at all.

    Time for SF and the SDLP to disband and be replaced by a new SNP-type nationalist party that can articulate the increasingly-strong case for economic integration within Ireland, leading in the long-run to a United Ireland (by agreement), in the way that the SNP articulate the case for an independent Scotland. Failing that, time for FF to start organising in N. Ireland and give those nationalists who are of a more conservative bent (both in relation to economic and in relation to social issues) someone to vote for.

  • ted hagan

    Time for new blood in other words. the current leadership is old, tired and stale

  • Msiegnaro

    No of course not.

  • Msiegnaro

    Well Jim is there, however I do think he will stay for long.

  • Zig70

    Nationalism that doesn’t ascribe to SF’s style of politics has voted by abstaining. I don’t want Stormont, I don’t believe it does anything for me. To me it’s a holding cell for violent unionism and republicanism. Unionists on the other hand believe wholeheartedly in Stormont, it’s the only show in town for them. I do believe that when the time comes and the +1 ticks over that things will change rapidly. FF organising here will be the next step. The Irish here need a centre right voice.

  • dodrade99

    Are you calling for a new anti-gay marriage nationalist party?

  • Msiegnaro

    Paula Bradshaw elected!!! It’s definitely a nightmare series of results for me tonight – more of the same over the next four long years then.

  • Zig70

    My missus had to ask for which party. Alliance should just be honest with themselves and designate unionist. There is nothing Irish about them.

  • Msiegnaro

    Interesting perspective but are there many outwardly Unionist members of the Alliance?

  • submariner

    Are you kidding Alliance are Unionists without the sectarian bigotry attached. They always have been.

  • Neil

    They get a lot of stick for not being Unionist enough. It’s a tough station.

  • Msiegnaro

    Some members are openly in favour of a UI including Anna Lo and I suspect Bradshaw too.

  • Msiegnaro

    They aren’t Unionist though?

  • submariner

    The vast majority are Unionist and always have been. Hence the reason I have never given them a vote or transfer

  • Msiegnaro

    Haha I never gave them a vote or transfer as I didn’t feel they were Unionist. I also had some dealings with their MLA and Councillors and found them thoroughly ineffective.

  • Neil

    I understand they leave it to individual members, and designate as others. I suppose they are perceived to be Unionists by people across the divide as they support the status quo, and a larger number of their members who have stated their feelings on the constitutional position are unionists. The leader couldn’t accept an invitation to a commemoration, issued by a neighbouring state to remember the seminal moment in the creation of that state, simply because it was the 1916 rising.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    My friend, that’s what they’re for.

  • Chingford Man

    Shouldn’t you be renamed JohnThePessimist?

  • Chingford Man

    Where’s that inveterate Counter of Catholics Paddy Reilly?

    I was expecting a vast tidal wave of demographic doom sweeping across all the ageing Prods right now. What’s gone wrong?

  • murdockp

    I bought an electric car earlier this year, couldnt get the fecking thing charged, the spaces we eiither full of DLA / disabled drivers in the dedicated spaces or they were out of order. I git rid of it after a month

  • murdockp

    well a manifesto with nothing in in just appeals to the diehards

  • Msiegnaro

    Sinn Fein didn’t even try during this election and romped home across the board, don’t get too cocky.

  • Pasty2012

    Billy Hutchinson Eliminated – Dilly Ding Dilly Dong. No doubt he will out moaning in a few weeks time about how he and UVF have been left behind by the Peace Process and again putting forward proposals for him and the PUP to be given seats in the Assembly. I said it before – If Billy and the PUP want to get elected they can’t keep standing aside when the DUP snap their fingers, they have to fight every election and build their vote base. people don’t change who they vote for at every election and don’t just chose a party when the Party decide to run. When the DUP or UUP get scared and fear they could be challenged then they spout off the Taigs are coming, and that stops any Unionist challenging them. The DUP never stood aside unless it was for their advantage, they fought the seat and built their voter base and in the end destroyed the UUP who ruled unchallenged for 50 years.

  • Msiegnaro

    I don’t quite trust him but looks like he has stormed home 🙁

  • Backbencher

    On the Unionist side, the failure of the UUP to make an impact is interesting. I believe he has greatly underestimated the social conservative nature of the unionist community. His (liberal) shift on gay marriage and abortion has costed him dear. The decline of their vote in rural areas is marked. Maybe he will learn that those that shout and howl the loudest do not necessarily represent the majority view. The Nolan show etc will have to work harder to get a more balanced audience in future.

  • Msiegnaro

    I really don’t see what the PUP can offer anymore.

  • While we’re on the subject of dodgy predictions, wasn’t it a certain P.Reilly who for years was assuring us that the “narrowing gap between Unionists and Nationalists” would deliver the Nationalist majority by 2016, if not earlier? What happened with that?

    You and I had this discussion back in March 2007 http://sluggerotoole.com/2007/03/19/demographics-and-the-assembly-election/ where you asked: “Just how many votes short of winning 9 of the 18 Westminster constituencies do you think Nationalists are? And how many votes short of winning 10? And in the European Parliament Elections, where everyone is induced to make up their minds whether they are Nationalist, Unionist or not interested, how many votes short of two out of three seats are Nationalists? In 2004? I believe it was around 30,000. What will the vote be like in two years time? Do you seriously believe that Unionists will get two seats in 2014?”

    Here we are, nearly a decade down the tracks of time and far from getting the 10th Westminster seat, Nationalism is down to 7. That 30k gap in the Euros had become 43k in 2014 and Unionists comfortably held their 2 Euro seats. I did try and talk sense into you back then, pointing out that the Nationalist vote was already declining, a trend which is even more obvious now. I did say back then: “I’d say 2050 is a better guesstimate based on current trends than the silly 2016 prediction of some Nationalist commentators here.” Was I right or was I absolutely right? 😉

  • Msiegnaro

    There are a number of issues that Mike failed to grasp, leaving the Executive in the manner he did was a poor move and returning without significant change was damaging.

    He also fielded candidates in areas where the constituents would not have been familiar with them. North Belfast is a key example of this so there is a complete lack of consistency.

    There were also the serial constituency jumpers that annoyed people such as McGimpsey and McCune – these individuals showed no loyalty to their areas.

    It appears some in the UUP are questioning Nesbitt’s leadership tonight, however the problem is there is no viable alternative.

  • submariner

    Brilliant result for Eamon Mc Cann in Derry. Should make f o r interesting times up on the hill

  • Kevin Breslin

    He’s not in yet, but unless 1000 odd of Diver’s surplus goes to McCluskey I would say McCann is in.

  • Zig70

    Being too posh to wear union jack pants doesn’t make you cross community. How would you think ex unionist Bradshaw, of Gerry’s supremacist party would be pro UI?

  • submariner

    Twitter stating he has been elected including William Crawley

  • Kevin Breslin

    He probably has been, the websites with the counts have been lagging behind.

  • notimetoshine

    They must be doing something right if they get stick from both sides. If they weren’t getting stick from those who support the sectarian parties I would suggest they aren’t doing it right

  • submariner

    You really need to have a Twitter account Kevin

  • Kevin Breslin

    Oh you must be joking. I just don’t believe everything I read on Twitter.

  • submariner

    Kev it being reported by multiple sources. You need to get with the times

  • Msiegnaro

    Gerry’s party?

  • Kevin Breslin

    I’m sure the declaration that is coming up will confirm Durkan, Eastwood, McGuinness and McCann’s elections. I’m not going to say anything is over until it is genuinely over.

  • Zig70

    Who do you think oppressed the Ballymurphy ‘n-worders’ that we have been hearing so much about? The equivalents of America’s white supremacists? Or maybe that bit is obvious and I failed to mention that Bradshaw is ex-UUP.

  • Struggling to see how Carroll’s result was a surprise? He got nearly 20% in West Belfast last year, so the only surprise was that he didn’t choose a running mate.

  • notimetoshine

    Very very true. SF seem to be heading that way and the SDLP are certainly there. For me south down is the perfect example SDLP losing ground withSinead Bradley the daughter of a former MLA parachuted in, no attempt at some fresh blood. Poor long term, strategic thinking on their part. One can only assume that Eastwood will attempt to change this over the course of his leadership, he would need to.

  • submariner

    Twitter reports Atwood elected beating former UDP/UDA apologist McCoubrey

  • UC

    Maybe Alex Attwood would have been better off thanking the Sinn Fein voters.

  • Msiegnaro

    PR is a joke and yet more non representation in WB for Unionists.

  • submariner

    That’s democracy I’m afraid. I know it’s an alien concept to a lot of Unionists

  • Neil

    Bookies saw it coming. 4/1 on in the runup.

  • banana man

    How embarrassing for Sinn Féin, becoming partitionist even within their party they have completely abandoned the North and probably only realising now. McGuinness going to Derry yet they lost votes and John O’Dowd a sitting minister may miss out

  • Msiegnaro

    5 rampant Republicans in WB now along with Attwood despite polling over 1000 less first preferences, how can this be democratic??

  • submariner

    One word Transfers. Maybe you would prefer first past the post

  • Msiegnaro

    I think it would be fairer, this is just pathetic.

  • banana man

    Losing 2, 3 maybe 4 seats is romping home?

  • Msiegnaro

    overall they are as you were or possibly above.

  • Msiegnaro

    Where are these seats lost?

  • banana man

    West Belfast, East Antrim and 2 sitting MLA’s losing out to their running mates

  • Kevin Breslin

    They are actually wrong, an update from Foyle says they are still counting.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/northern-ireland-constituencies/N06000008

    Nothing’s official yet.

  • Msiegnaro

    So their running mates are in? That’s not a net loss!

  • banana man

    Just as bad, think of the internal problems it will cause

  • Msiegnaro

    I take you point but losing candidates such as Flanagan is probably a blessing for them.

  • banana man

    Wasnt even thinking of him, Seeley and Archibald im talking about

  • Msiegnaro

    Unionism hasn’t triumphed either, the decline of Jim Allister, losing out on WB and electing an elderly woman in FST who is physically not going to be able to do the role.

  • the keep

    Told you about fst didn’t I?

  • Msiegnaro

    On the nose Sir.

  • Gopher

    Nope the only person Attwood can thank is Gerry Carroll, he created a dynamic which created a healthy turnout which saved him in the end. Everyone knew Gerry was going to do it they did not just know how well. I’m sure if Gerry knew how well he would do he would have had a running mate and Attwood would have been finished.

  • Lee

    The demographic doom has not kicked in just yet – there are still more protestants in NI than Catholics, but its probably down to just a couple of thousand or so. A fair number of those voting for DUP victory tonight won’t be here in 10 years.
    But, it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the union, we all know how religion does not necessarily equate to politics.

  • Lee

    You make good points but I think Sf and SDLP nationalism is what defines them most – just because they are bad at nationalism doesn’t mean to say any socialist notions are their priority. And I do feel a significant minority of the catholic population are neither nationalist nor socialist.

  • Declan Doyle

    SDLP got such a battering ;-(

  • Declan Doyle

    On the up side, the total Unionist Vote has fallen to 48% ! 52% of the electorate are voting non Unionist 😉

  • Paddy Reilly

    “Just how many votes short of winning 9 of the 18 Westminster constituencies do you think Nationalists are?”

    2,000 plus an electoral Pact. Not an obstacle that should cause anyone to pack up and go home.

    I am not responsible for poor strategy and in-fighting in the Nationalist camp.

    December 2016, I clarified some years ago, is when the Catholic population begins to outnumber the Protestant in NI’s total population. To transfer that to the voting age population will take another two years approximately.

    Coincidently, another source has found that Catholics now outnumber Protestants in the NI workforce:-

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/number-of-protestants-working-fulltime-to-be-eclipsed-by-catholics-in-labour-market-first-in-northern-ireland-34586274.html

    So in the years after this, it’s just a matter of how closely the monicker ‘Catholic’ corresponds to ‘Nationalist’. The general demographic truism is that it becomes difficult for Unionism to make headway when the percentage of Catholics in the population hits 50%, moving with every increase in the percentage to very difficult and then impossible.

  • On the fence!

    Absolutely spot on!

  • John Collins

    If you were young in the sixties and witnessed how Eddie McAteer, the Nationalist Leader of the day, was treated by Unionists in the NI Parliament, you would see there is a certain poetic justice in Unionists in West Belfast being made feel like this.

  • Msiegnaro

    That’s alright then.

  • John Collins

    Could it also be said that there a number of constituencies in NI where are no Nationalist candidates were elected and Nationalists would feel equally disfranchised in those areas. In passing I might say that I often heard that Ian Paisley Senior would follow the concerns of his RC constituents, with the same vigour with which he followed up those of their Protestant counterparts. If that was true fair play to him as he set an example of how this problem should be handled

  • Msiegnaro

    Arlene Foster is an example of this too, I know of RCs whom she has helped and they openly speak out in favour of her.

  • John Collins

    Well that is reassuring, so it is up to Gerry Carroll and the Nationalists to represent all the people of West Belfast in like fashion.

  • Paddy Reilly

    East Antrim!!! You slipped up on a banana skin there didn’t you. Spoke too soon.

  • banana man

    Correct, but overall quite embarrassing

  • Msiegnaro

    Unionists are voting SDLP tactically to keep Sinn Fein out – on the up up side 😉

  • Msiegnaro

    Good to see.

  • Paddy, as Ronald Reagan said: “There you go again.” My point is that, back then, when arguing with me, you, Sinn Fein and the rest of the Nationalist commentariat (Kensei take a bow) got it spectacularly wrong. You thought that all that was needed was to wait until the demographic timebomb exploded and then Nationalists would make the majority.

    I say, as I said then, that even if that occurs, it’s as ultimately meaningless as Ian Paisley topping the polls in the Euros was. I pointed out back then (in 2007) that the Nationalist vote had flatlined, had already declined in fact. You argued against that, citing a rogue Euro election result from 1999, failing to notice that, even then, Nationalists were apathetic, and that Nationalism needed to widen its base, just as I argued they needed to do back then.

    Here we are nearly a decade on. The question is: will you, and nationalism draw the necessary conclusions from this? Based on your comments on Catholics in the workforce, I suspect not. Au contraire, you are still spectacularly missing the point that nationalist parties need new policies and a widened base to achieve their goals.

    I said back then: http://sluggerotoole.com/2007/03/12/the-election-results-reflect-a-deeply-fractured-society/ “The problem is that those Nationalists who speak of 2016 are obviously guilty of wishful thinking. Current trends would point to at least 2030, if that. Additionally such apparent demographic change can quickly alter.”

    If you want any predictions for the coming decade, let me know and I’ll give you my sort code.

  • Paddy Reilly

    You haven’t kept up with the state of demographic knowledge. After the 2011 census results were released in 2012, it became apparent that the Catholic population would begin to outnumber the Protestant in December 2016 at the earliest: 2017 is the golden year, and parity among the over 18s may take a couple of years more. So it is hardly surprising that Unionists remain a nose ahead in May 2016.

    It is not a case that “all that is needed is to wait until the demographic timebomb explodes and then Nationalists make the majority.” The fact is it is pointless even to try achieving the Nationalist goal until the conditions are established for you to succeed. Sinn Féin will, however much it widens its base and implements new policies, never succeed in getting an M.P. in Kensington or Thames Ditton, and under current conditions, Strangford. But a quick look at the demographic stats suggests that West Tyrone may be more amenable. That it does stand in Strangford (661 votes, eliminated Stage 2) is mostly an exercise in having a local organisation in place for more auspicious times, and training candidates in unfriendly terrain.

    If you think you have found the winning formula for transmuting lead into gold and turning Protestants into good Nationalists, why don’t you found your own party (the WBNPP: Widened Base and New Policies Party) which implements these commendable policies?

    For myself, I think that there is such a formula: to turn Unionists into Nationalists, it is necessary to place them in an environment in which they are definitively outnumbered and under Republican administration. It works in Dún Laoire.

  • Paddy Reilly

    An old man my friend looked after was given 6 months to live by the doctors, but made it to 18 months under my friend’s careful and expert care. Nevertheless, it is a mistake, when one makes it to six months and a day after such a pronouncement, to declare that all doctors are fools and embark on a course of riotous living.

    The doctors know their business. They set a date because they are asked to: the patient or the disease may contrive to vary it, but what does not happen today will happen tomorrow or the day after:

    Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

    The Northern Irish state has the same life expectancy as any other healthy 95 year old.

  • Declan Doyle

    There is no need for Unionists to vote tactically in an STV contest.

  • Msiegnaro

    How on earth do you think the SDLP man got over the line in FST?

  • Declan Doyle

    On transfers, but not on first preference. And it is first preference where a voters actual loyalty lies. Or maybe you do not understand PR compared to FPTP?

  • Msiegnaro

    I know in Garrison UUP voters who opted for the SDLP with a number one, on the other side UUP supporters opted for the DUP due to fear of a Sinn Fein First Minister.

  • Declan Doyle

    Anecdotal maybe but that works both ways and more obvious in a first past the post election