It’s rare to find Malachi O’Doherty praising much about Sinn Fein, but on their strategy of targeting specific voter segments he reckons that the SDLP is not even at the game, as yet. The key to an SDLP rally (if not revival) is in targeting the very moderate voters that have stopped coming out to vote for them. He beleives that’s something Sinn Fein is achieving with greater alacrity than the SDLP:
If most commentators are predicting that the Sinn Fein vote will hold despite the bank robbery and the murder of Robert McCartney, Adams himself is acting like a leader who fears it may be in danger and wants to distance himself from the IRA before the election. The pale greens are the key to the balance between the SDLP and Sinn Fein and while Adams is working to assuage their fears Durkan is not.
And he’s contemptuous of the new logo colour:
Well, he has adopted snot green as the party colour for this election. God knows if wavering nationalists will recognise that as an address to themselves or be flattered if they do.
He also raises the question of what happens if Sinn Fein’s:
…rout of the SDLP extends into local government it will have broken the district policing partnerships which depend on SDLP councillors participating in them. Mitchel McLaughlin said: “We will be open for business and we will wait for other parties to come to us”. The electorate will have voted for stalemate.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty