South Belfast to fall?

Alasdair McDonnell believes that South Belfast will fall to the dark (green) side at the forthcoming General Election.

The bookmakers recognise that this is a three-horse race. They also realise that unionism is deeply split and for the first time ever, a nationalist can take this seat.

Alasdair knows the truth just as Michael McGimpsey does:

Splitter Spratt is this election’s Jim Dixon.

Michael will hold South Belfast. Any chance the SDLP had of South Belfast disappeared with their greener than green campaign and any outlandish dream the DUP had of it sank with the appointment (as opposed to selection) of a poor candidate. However the DUPs decision to appoint a candidate at all shows their attitude, which Michael quite rightly describes as a “scorched earth policy”. Because they can’t win it, they want to make sure we can’t win it either. They will be disappointed.

  • Fraggle

    you do realize that this silly post of yours will be in the archives for DUP people to taunt you with if you’re wrong, don’t you?

  • Stalford


    Jim Spratt is whipping McGimpsey out of sight on the doorsteps of South Belfast. He is a strong candidate and is being really well-recieved.

    I will remeber this thread well and will revisit it in a fortnights time, then we’ll see who 2005’s Jim Dixon is….

    PS. Any chance of a response to Pakman’s question?

  • Chris Gaskin


    Too close to call

  • yerman

    While I appreciate that these pieces are never going to be impartial, nor are they meant to be – surely they at least have to be of interest.

    Do we really want to read the extended stream of consciousness of a wildly optomistic Trimble Youth? Michael Shilliday believes Basil McCrea is a wonderful fella, and surprise surprise, he thinks Micky McGimpskey is too.

    He thinks they are both going to win – what’s new here?

    There is nothing new in either of Michael’s two posts tonight. He has not blogged anything which has not been blogged before, either by himself or someone else.

    Surely this takes up valuable bandwidth which costs money…..

  • Gonzo

    …and that was another party political netcast by the UUP.

    Are the other party broadcasts online, does anyone know? Keep missing them. Saw the Conservative one. Boring. Saw Trimble’s. Giggled like a girl. Trimble wasn’t too bad, but the Empey/ Waterfront hall bit was laughable. Haircuts all round lads. It was all men in suits too. Get some women in yer vids. They do have the vote these days.

    I thought maybe the BBC were going to put them on, but I didn’t spot a link.

    Mind, it is that time…


  • Alan

    Well Mr Shilliday and Mr Stalford make great play of the prescience of doorsteps (horrible orange posters by the way Mr Stalford, I hope they all come down post election). As a doorstep myself, I have a policy of mendacity. I tell them all I won’t be voting for them.

    To date we’ve been canvassed by the UUP (once) and the SDLP(twice), seen neither hide nor hair of the rest. Of Mr Spratt, there’s not even been a leaflet. I presume that I am not within his target demographic, which is an interesting way to win this election for a candidate without a local profile.

    It’s still none of the above.

  • peter

    I remember a while back reading an article from the UUP in which they were concerned about this seat.

    There should have been a trade off between this seat and Fermanagh and Deeny should have got a free run in Tyrone. The mind boggles over the precarious state of Unionism. This seat is to close to call but I think the UUP will shade it as the SDLP is a party also in dire straits. SF in South Belfast have been on the up in recent elections.

  • aquifer

    I’m off to the bookies. £15 on the King of Dark Green and £10 on the Prince of Dark Blue looks like a sure thing.

    odds on

  • Stalford


    So you noticed my posters? Mission accomplished.

  • Alan2

    Seems a bit flippant to me. Half the UUP seem not to support McGimpsey when then were all united behind Martin Smyth. The seat maybe UUP but McGimpsey is NOT the outgoing MP and that is where the problems is.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Gonzo, Aaron Scullion posted a few days ago on Slugger that the BBC have the broadcasts online. I’m not going to go hunting through for the post, but I’ve linked to it from this post on (down the bottom of the post).

    Other than the DUP announcing him as the candidate, I haven’t seen head nor tail of Spratt since the election started. I’m sure you all know I generally sympathise with the UUs (moreso because they’re not the DUP than anything else) but I have to admit to being a bit nervous about SB with all the stunts being pulled lately. That said, if I haven’t heard of Spratt, hopefully other people won’t have either and McGimpsey can keep the seat for the UUs.

    Seriously, those who say he’s being received well on the doorsteps – what doorsteps? I haven’t seen Spratt on the TV or in any leaflets or on any doorsteps since he was announced as candidate. Even looking at his website it’s not that inspired. OK he did a lot of work in the police – there’s not much else on there, although it does say a postal leaflet’s coming soon at least. Although if it’s anything like his canvass leaflet god help us. Summary: “McGimpsey helped set up the GFA – bad. He even had the audacity to speak to Sinn Fein – worse!” Basically you’re not voting for Spratt but for the DUP – or not as the case may be.

  • Alan2

    I havent received any literature from ANY party yet and neither have my parents. It`s early days yet.

  • El Matador

    Alan 2- whereabouts in S. Belf do you live? The SDLP election team have been working tirelessly in the constituency, and a lot of traditional non-SDLP voters are switiching to Alasdair- unionists sick of UUP/DUP charades, and SF’ers who want to see a nationalist MP.

    Alasdair McDonnell is the only candidate who has the welfare of ALL S. Belf residents at heart- nothing to hide, and not afraid to tackle the truth.

  • Stalford

    El Matador

    Rubbish! The SDLP canvass leaflets have been nothing short of pathetic – tiddling wee A5 Flyers with pathetic five word catchphrases.

    Alisdair McDonnell’s policy on crime? Two words: “No Crime”. These are not the actions of an MP in waiting.

  • Alan2

    Sorry my post was a bit ambiguous. I am in Mid-Ulster. Not a single canvasser or piece of literature here yet. Maybe because McGuiness is a dead cert……but still…..

  • El Matador

    Mr Stalford,

    It takes more than a glossy leaflet to reassure electors that a candidate is suitable for the job. Voters are reassured about Dr. McDonnell’s ability as evidenced by his track record. Unlike certain other parties, he hasn’t been parachuted in undemocratically. Mr. Spratt’s previous electoral success probably only entends to being voted chair of the local tiddlywinks club.

    Mr. Stalford, clearly you haven’t learnt from your sound defeat at the hands of the Queen’s Students’ Union electorate not so long ago.

  • Occasional Commenter

    I live just off the Malone Road (about halfway up) and would certainly be a floating voter. I’ve given serious consideration to the UUP, SDLP and Alliance recently. Adams’ performance on Hearts And Minds would even make me consider SF for the first time in a long time.

    Where are the canvassers? Bring ’em on!

  • El Matador


    The SDLP election team are now in the Malone Road vicinity.

    They’d happily discuss party policy and options with you.

    Roughly how far up are you? (Sans Souci, Stranmillis Road, Balmoral Ave?)

  • idunnomeself

    I live in south Belfast, been canvassed by the UUP once (crowd of smart looking young fellas) and the DUP once (very frail looking oul one, but smiled at me). No one else as yet.

    Neither of them actually ‘canvassed’ me though as in they didn’t ask how I would be voting

    To be honest neither leaflet was inspiring. Everyone seems to oppose all new taxes and to want less crime. I was going to ask the DUP fella why he thought a picture of two coffin dodgers endorsing his candidate would make me vote for him, but thought it might finish him off..

  • peter

    Would the Unionist posters stop tearing each other apart. McDonnell will not get any Unionist votes in S.Belfast.That is laughable after the SDLP produced the United Ireland rubbish.

    There will be a big turnout of Unionist votes which will hit SDLP prospects. In 2001 McDonnell thought he had this in the bag. Spratt hopefully is not mounting a great campaign. Unionists know that McGimpsey is the man to beat. However nauseating he may be,he is better than the deputy leader of the SDLP.

    At the end of the day seats are being handed to nationalists. Let the Unionists stop tearing themselves apart.

  • Occasional Commenter

    El Matador,

    just below the junction with Stranmillis Road. I’m not going to say any more about my address. If they want my vote they can trudge all the streets around there looking for me!

  • Ricardo

    Just wanted to echo Peter’s point earlier.

    As a S Belfast constituent I gave the SDLP a vote the last time, it won’t be happening again

  • Stalford

    El Mat

    LOL! Well that’s me told!

  • El Matador


    We know where you live 😉

    Just kidding. Expect a friendly caller soon. And no doubt, like many others, you’ll realise the widespread benefits of an SDLP vote 😉

  • PS

    Nice to see acknowledging the success of Sinn Féin members in elections El!

  • Concerned Loyalist

    As an East Londonderry constituent, as in other areas of Ulster, such as West Belfast(Anti-Christ Adams) and North Antrim(The Reverend Doctor Ian), there’s not much excitement and trepidation as regarding the identity of our new MP, as Gregory Campbell should win it hands down.

    Although I think, in a personal capacity, that David McClarty is a nice man and could poll quite strongly for being well-known and well-liked, and it could be levelled at Gregory that he is perhaps more interested in his Londonderry Waterside council residents than his East Londonderry Westminster constituents, it is still quite apparent that McClarty’s pro-Trimble stance is doing him no favours whatsoever, in a seat that was held by the Ulster Unionists’ anti-agreement candidate Willie Ross, until 2001.

    In relation to South Belfast, what strikes me is that McGimpsey is becoming increasingly persistent and desperate in his play of words on Jimmy Spratt’s name. He barely finishes a sentence without the awful “SPLITTER SPRATT” slogan! If I lived in the constituency that alone would put me off voting for him, never mind his pro-Agreement stance and his over-whelming desire to become leader of the Ulster Unionist Party when what that party needs is a young and dynamic leader…Jeffrey Donaldson basically, but they were too short-sighted to see that before he left for the real voice of Unionism now, the DUP!

  • Karl Rove

    Right, I will push this rock to the top of the mountain, even if it takes me until the end of time (or the moring of 6th May at any rate). So once more for the benefit of Turtle youth: the Gimp cannot win this seat.

    Let us again review the numbers. His, or rather, your repeated claim on his behalf is that he is going to pick up ‘pro-Agreement’ votes that Martin Smyth didn’t get. This posits either a lot of non-voting Unionists, or, rather more fantastical, a truly substantial proportion of the SDLP’s 2001 tally having come from Ulster Unionists so Turtlish in their prejudices that they would have sooner voted Stoop than offical Official Unionist. To take that last point first: brutal, ugly demographic reality offers not a shred of evidence (in terms of unexpected votes out of boxes) to suggest that a great many ‘unionists’ [sic, by defintion] voted SDLP last time. Hence’s there’s no great pool of Ulster Unionists coming home after ‘voting for the Agreement via the SDLP’.

    Let’s move on to the absurd claim that, under-enthused ‘pro-Agreement’ types who didn’t bother to vote last time will come out in droves because the charming, plausible and dynamic personality of Michael McGimpsey has been put before them this time. This theory rests on the assumption that, such is the appeal of the Agreement and its friends, people who otherwise could not bring themselves to vote will, once an opportunity like the Gimp’s candidature presents itself, be knocking each other over in their early morning rush to get to the polling stations. Well, maybe not.

    If you wanted to vote for a hardcore pro-Agreement stance, then as now, you had the SDLP. Thus I’ll concede, there will be a few hundred people who’ll vote for McGimpsey, who wouldn’t vote for Smyth (but virtually none of these people will be switchers subtracted from Alistair — a crucial point). Okay, right, following me thus far? Those are the extra votes the Gimp can get. All of them, in toto, every last one, that’s it. However children, we have therefore only done one side of the sum. The other number to calculate is, how many votes can the Gimp lose (from Martin’s score last time)?

    Now for the horror (for traditional Unionists like myself). The Gimp loses, those people who will vote for the DUP come what may, if offered the choice (whereas previously, lacking any choice, they had either not to vote, or risk the seat falling to nationalism). He further loses, as evinced by the implosion of the constituency association, anti-Agreeemnt Ulster Unionists/those riled by his repeated efforts to knife Martin Smyth/and those, bluntly, who have met him. Futhermore, if we’re going to allude to tiny numbers (and in what will be a tight contest, these will matter) there will have been a number, not large, but they’re there, of Ulster Unionists who despite Martin’s pedigree, couldn’t bring themselves in 2001 to vote for what after all was the nominal candidate of David Trimble (and clearly couldn’t vote as all, as they weren’t ever going to be mystery-make believe Stoopers).

    [Very long sigh] In conclusion then . . . The Gimp squanders a substantial segment of the UU vote, and, he loses, axiomatically, the DUP which either willingly, or through lack of choice, turned out for Martin hitherto. Furthermore, there isn’t a compensating volume of pro-Agreement Ulster Unionist voters who, having stood aloft fro Smyth, can ride to the Gimp’s rescue. Despite muleish selfishness by some Sinn Fein voters, the SDLP will amazingly win SB, and AMcD will, thanks to the Bounday Commission, be a one term MP. The solitary good that this terrible waste is going to do the UUP is that, a la Cooper in 2001, McGimpsey will be politically destroyed in the process, and therefore won’t become party leader. Were he to become party leader, the UUP would disintegrate with even greater force than the South Belfast Ulster Unionist association has.

    McGimpsey got waht he wanted, the Westminster nomiantion in South Belfast, and now he’s going to get what he deserves.

  • idunnomeself


    Havent you just totally ignored the (not insubstantial) PUP, Womens coalition and Alliance vote?

    None of them are going to vote for a ‘donkey with a flag’. I know you think that people who are pro-British should vote on the issue of the border all the time but not everyone thinks that this election is a referendum on the border. And they’re right.

    Although having said that McGimpsey (easily one of the UUP’s best performers) isn’t actively going after their vote, rather he seems to be chasing after the vote that you have detailed in great detail that he cannot get.

    So it’s a tactical mistake by him?

  • fair_deal

    I was canvassed in south Belfast last night by the DUP. They had a squad of over a dozen out. I knew about a third of them from my UUP days.

    The UUP had been around two nights previous but for some reason although they knocked at my neighbours’ doors, I was neither worthy of a knock on the door or even a leaflet through my door. I wonder why ;).

    If they don’t have the decency to ask for my transfer they will not get it.

    “Splitter Spratt is this election’s Jim Dixon.”

    Does Michael not realise the consequences of this analogy? That he is this election’s James Cooper ie LOSER.

    As for MS’s intro ugghh. Der sturmer would have been proud of the sycophancy

  • Karl Rove

    To be fair to myself (which I quite enjoy doing), I didn’t ignore them, I’ve discounted them. The WC vote will go mostly to the SDLP, then to not voting, then to the Alliance. I’ll be surprised if the UUP can wrestle a very far distant 4th slice of that cake out of SF’s hands. The PUP will (and you don’t really know loyalist housing estates if you don’t know this) split at least as much for the Paisleyites as for the UUP. Substantially more so, I’ll predict: PUP voters are some distant from the self-regarding school boy cleverness of their party’s leadership, and its chuminess with Trimble. And the Alliance? Very simple that one: they’ll vote Alliance? Why on earth shouldn’t they? If your answer is, ‘because they want to see a Pro-Agreement figure elected’, they’re plainly better off voting SDLP.

    We can doubtless agree to disagree on whether the Gimp performs well or not. Personally, I think he comes accross atrociously. But what, surely, you can’t disagree with is that he is, by definition, a terrible politician as he can unite his own people first: and that’s the base any democratic politician anywhere has to build success upon.

    And no, the Gimp has not made a mistake by chasing after big ‘U’ Unionist votes. They are, after all, the sole thing that can get him elected. The big mistake was made by the South Belfast Ulster Unionists in replacing an Agreement-sceptical Ulster Unionist with the Turtle’s tail.

  • Karl Rove

    That would be can’t, which is more or less what I think of the Gimp.

  • fair_deal

    Karl Rove

    There was analysis done of PUP voter habits in East Belfast and the result is 60% go DUP and 40% UUP

  • yerman

    re, PUP, WC and Alliance votes.

    Firstly, despite the PUP’s pro-Agreement pedigree, any half clued-in person will tell you that the average working class loyalist who will vote PUP is no fan of the Belfast Agreement and, probably in a margin of around 2:1 those votes will go to the DUP instead of the UUP. That means, of the 1100 votes gained by the PUP in 2001 around 700 to 750 of those votes at least will go to the DUP.

    As for the Alliance votes – why are we to assume automatically that these votes wont go to the Alliance candidate? Even if these were to move, then why automatically to McGimpsey? Surely they could well divide fairly evenly between the UUP and SDLP – same goes for the WC vote. Alliance should, and no doubt will, be out fighting for every vote they can in that constituency. They were reasonably unlucky not to have got the Assembly seat back in 1998 and with good work, and it being an area which wouldnt be unfertile territory for Alliance, they could well envisage getting a seat there at some time in the future.

  • Stalford


    “they could well envisage getting a seat there at some time in the future.”

    Agreed – with Monica off the scene and a half decent campaign they should be in the running for a seat in South Belfast. Alliance gain at the expense of the SDLP would be the most likely outcome – speaking of which – why has the SDLP selected a man who could only defeat Monica McWilliams by about 300 votes to fight the Westminster election instead of the far, far superior Carmel Hannah?

  • fair_deal


    In Balmoral DEA the Alliance vote tends towards Unionist . In Laganbank the WC vote strongly tends towards the SDLP (although Carmel would have been the wiser choice of candidate). (based on census and transfer analysis). I can’t comment on the Castlereagh DEAs

  • Stalford


    Alliance vote in Castlereagh West is probably Unionists with a small “u” whereas in Castlereagh South it is probably a wee bit more green.

    The worst thing that ever happened to the Alliance in Castlereagh was the decision of the SDLP to start fighting elections in the borough.

  • fair_deal


    Thanks for that.

    On a different issues i asked the other day about the national ID card scheme, you knidly gave me your own views and told me to check out the manifesto for the party position. There is no mention of it in the manifesto. Does the party have a position?

  • The Watchman

    I tend to agree with the posts about the Gimp being in deep trouble. The DUP may have left it too late to mount a poll-topping campaign here but it will dig into the voting base that the Gimp needs in order to protect himself against potentially fatal tactical voting from SF and WC in favour of McDonnell. I can’t really beat what Karl Rove has said and you should all take heed of advice from a Presidential election-winning genius.

  • Stalford


    I don’t know. Check out the House of Commons website to see how we voted.

  • idunnomeself


    So you think that the slid in the Alliance vote will stop/ reverse this election? Otherwise what happened in East Belfast and North Down in previous first past the posts could happen in South Belfast- leftish proagreement candidate with a chance to get elected soaks up the previously substantial Alliance vote.

    Remember that Alliance didn’t stand aside in North Down the last time round out of principle, they stood aside because they knew their voters were voting tactically in droves

    take your point about the PUP, although i can’t say I have ever understood it!

    Don’t know much about the women’s coalition, but don’t see how you can pove that they are all Nationalists in South Belfast, might I suggest you’re being a bit ethno-sectarian on that one?

    did they canvas you, work out how you’ll vote with an eye to getting your vote out or just give you a leaflet?

  • fair_deal


    My experience wasn’t typical as I had just got back to my house with my Chinese meal in hand as they came to the door and the people from the UUP days stopped for a quick chat at my front gate.

    However, I did witness them canvas my neighbours and they did talk to them so it was more than shove a leaflet in their hand.

  • fair_deal


    Thanks. They voted against but didn’t find out if it was tactical a la the Conservatives or in principle a la Lib Dem. I must ask Nigel the next time I see them.

  • Karl Rove


    Drop the holier-than-thous BS, if you don’t mind old sausage. You’re seeing either sectarian phantoms where there aren’t any (in twice now implying that I’m anything other than a fanatical pro-integrated education, OO-loathing, sometime Alliance voting Ulster Unionist, as it happens), or, you’re strainly oh so slightly too hard to prove your own impregnable moral self-worth. Honestly, you’re not the only non-sectarian cove in the village.

    The WC’s vote will split much as I said it will for the painfully simple reason, if you know anything about voting in South Belfast, you know a.) where their votes came from & b.) and where, in PR votes, their votes go to. The facts are out there old son.

    I strongly suspect the APNI slide (2nd place in every SB election until 1992, then never again thereafter) will continue, but not dramatically accelerate.

    There’s some very nice, new middle class £££ in Malone, from, how shall I put this so as to be accurate, but yet mealy mouthed enough to avoid your somewhat exaggerated sensibilities, ah yes, ‘non-traditionally Unionist’ backgrounds. And out of sheer arriviste we’ve-left-themuns-behind-us snobbery, a volume of these good folk will prove their credentials as being fit for the fairway at Royal Portrush by voting Alliance. So yeah, in SB I think the Alliance vote will hold up reasonably well, and impressively so compared to the rest of the Province.

    But I repeat, for the benefit of Turtle youth yet reading this thread, but shyly remaining silent, to win the seat, the small thing the Gimp needs is . . . Unionists. And he’s not going to get enough of them.

  • Stalford

    Perhaps Michael would like to revise the above intro given that Karl Rove has just demonstrated to him how McGimpsey cannot win South Belfast?

  • peter

    Karl I think you are wrong. Firstly the SDLP vote in this constituency has never got much beyond 10000. There is no way on this earth that that would be near enough to win a Westminster seat.

    The constituency in general is middleclass unionism.

    There will be a high poll because of the threat from the SDLP.

    The SDLP vote has been on the decline in recent years. The Euro election tallys were a disaster for it in S.Belfast.

    Certainly it will be one to watch but if the Unionists lose it, it will be a very sad day.

    As I said there should have been pacts in S.Belfast and Fermanagh as well as W.Tyrone where Deeny should have got a free run.

    If Fermanagh and S.Belfast are lost it will take the gloss of the expexted DUP sweep.

  • Tim Roll-Pickering

    Something I’ve never seen much on, and this is probably the best thread to enquire, is the voting habits of those of “other religions and philosophies”. According to Nick Whyte’s site, this seat has the highest level in the province. Does anyone have any idea how they might vote?

  • Alan

    *So you noticed my posters? Mission accomplished.*

    I agree – attention grabbing is what they are – ugly they are also.

    Can I also congratulate the DUP posters for successfully turning the attention on Mr McGimpsey and away from the inscrutable, unfindable and apparantly mute Mr Spratt. I still want to know what the man thinks.

  • fair_deal


    They tend not to be registered and those who are tend not to vote. If both of these issues were tackled they could have a major influence on elections in south Belfast. More a potential than an actuality.

    In my days in the UUP I raised this issue regularly but they never seemed the least bit interested.

  • Stalford


    If you think the posters are ugly – imagine what they’d look like with my smiling visage beaming down at you on your way to work in the morning – yuck!

  • Karl Rove

    The famed statistical oddity of ‘the others’ in SB is very simply – students and the terminally smug. The former don’t vote, the latter are so smug most of them can’t even be bothered to vote Smug, er, I mean, *Alliance*.

    Anyway, when David Burnside becomes leader of the UUP and all is sweet, just and true, we will get rid of the vile sectarian headcount questioning from the census.

    Don’t be DUPed!

    One grubby polaroid

    Turtally British

  • idunnomeself


    I’ve looked for information on where votes from Women’s Coalition transfers go and I can’t find any.

    I’m from North Down and I don’t think it’s just a case of (as you claim) they’ll just revert to SDLP. They came from Alliance there, seem to come from Alliance in South Belfast too and thus I would be surprised if they are Nationalist.

    So settle, and tell me where I can find some figures. Because I’m not content to proceed on the fact that they will transfer to the SDLP because Monica’s surname is McWilliams.

    They get pissed off and don’t vote because the election is fought over issues that mean nothing to them.

  • idunnomeself

    most students I know in South Belfast vote at home and aren’t registered in the constituency. Also I don’t know if many of them are censused in Belfast.

    And I most students are fairly ‘ethnic’ anyway, not sure they’s put themselves into the ‘other religions and philosophies’ box

  • peter

    The womens coalition was largely an apolitical womans group for peace. Its votes largely came from the middleclass who never voted before. I am sure these people will not vote on polling day.

  • fair_deal


    “Also I don’t know if many of them are censused in Belfast”

    The last census was the first where students had to report from their term-time address. It seemed to get pretty accuaret returns in south Belfast e.g. over 4000 students living in Botanic ward

  • The Watchman


    It was said that in 2001, McDonnell was rather hacked off that McWilliams decided to stand. I strongly suspect that, given the comparative obscurity of Geraldine Rice, McWilliams’s voters are most likely to go to that nice Dr McDonnell.

  • The Watchman

    Please please can we have a thread about the Gimp’s ridiculous “secret dinner” outburst?

    Why does the phrase “Dublin Ken” spring to mind?

  • lagan

    I don’t think McDonnell has the ability to attract many more voters than he did in 2001

    Yes , there are the votes from McWilliams up for grabs,however i think Rice will take a large number of these.

    Which leaves ‘soft’ Sinn Fein votes within the constituency.

    Presuming those ‘soft’ voters were of a strongly Nationalist persuasion

    The fact that McDonnell is seen to be on the ‘alliance ‘ wing of the SDLP,it is highly unlikely he will attract any significant swing from this sector

    Which leaves him short of the required support to take the seat

  • kitty

    “Just kidding. Expect a friendly caller soon. And no doubt, like many others, you’ll realise the widespread benefits of an SDLP vote ;)”

    I was standing outside Simpsons shop yesterday and the SDLP van went past with that big poster display on back. No sound or speeches so I assumed they were just on their way somewhere. The ‘green’ colour was what attracted remarks from the others standing by- words like puke posters puke party were uttered!!
    But I must say, Mc Donnell and Rice posters were up first, quite a few days ahead of Spratts and Maskeys.
    I haven’t seen any canvassers either.

  • PS

    Well the canvassers have seen plenty of voters, let me assure you Kitty! I’m sure an SF canvasser will be at your door before election day, and if you’re very lucky it might even be me!

  • kitty

    “Well the canvassers have seen plenty of voters, let me assure you Kitty! I’m sure an SF canvasser will be at your door before election day, and if you’re very lucky it might even be me!”

    Well maybe it is you who would be lucky, PS. However, I will be voting in West Tyrone, so no point in asking me to vote in SB. That would be voter fraud and I am no DUPer.:)
    I do know SF were canvassing on the Malone Rd., the other night- I just didn’t see them. Heard they got an overall good reception as well.( But don’t all parties say the same)!

  • PS

    Sinn Féin canvass many more middle class areas now than previously before. I’m sure they were getting a good reception, at least in comparasion with previous years. There are very few “no-go” areas for Republicans any more. I was canvassing in Castlereagh council area last night and my fellow canvassers commented on how it would have been unthinkable a decade ago that SF would be coming to these areas with decent chances of winning seats.

    Has anybody spotted Carmel Hanna and her supporters on the canvass in South Belfast yet?

  • kitty

    “my fellow canvassers commented on how it would have been unthinkable a decade ago that SF would be coming to these areas with decent chances of winning seats.”

    or getting out alive!

  • First Time Foster Voter

    Recently I visited some family in South Belfast. I decided to ask them what there opinions were on the forthcoming election. They told me thast in the past they had voted for Martin Smyth simply because of his traditional carson-unionist views. In doing so they voted UUP. However, they like most traditional, principled unionists can just not see Michael Mc Gimpsey as being anything near a traditional unionist. For this reason they will be voting for Jimmy Spratt.
    I was also to talking to some locals in the Annadale area. There is a very optomistic view amongst unionists there that a traditional unionist will once again represent this constituency. That person will be Jimmy Spratt.

    Other predictions:
    Laganbank- 1 Christopher Stalford
    Balmoral- Ruth Patterson and Jim Kirkpatrick(at expence of Bob Stoker)

  • PS

    There must be a lot of money coming in for Spratt. He’s gone from 2nd favourite to odds on at 4/6 or 4/5. Looks like this could be another DUP gain.

  • FermanaghUnionist

    Good or bad south Belfast is a two horse race between the SDLP and the DUP. Mcgimpsey is very unpopular among many unionist and protestant voters and even half of his party is against him.

    Spratt represents a united and traditional candidate. What I am asking for is for all unionsits in Sounth Belfast to vote and vote Spratt the betting at the moment shows the SDLP SLIGHTLY in the lead with the DUP close on the heels and UUP well behind. I would ask unionists to put principle before party vote Spratt and elect a unionist vote Mcgimpsey and get and get SDLP.

    If Mcgimpsey was elected all he would do is attack fellow unionists and thats no good.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    “all he would do is attack fellow unionists and thats no good”

    Yea right like the DUP never would do such a thing…

  • FermanaghUnionist

    I agree they need to cut down but Mcgimpsey is too divisive he should not be voted for.

  • peter

    Would the Unionist papers please decide in S.Belfast who they wish to support? I live in Fermanagh and I dont know who to support. I want SF defeated but without guidance and a strong Unionist favourite the votes are going to be terribly split.

    Surely there were local independent Unionists that both parties could have supported in both seats. It is a disgrace that Unionists are split and the comments on each other generally have been vile.

  • kitty

    “I want SF defeated but without guidance and a strong Unionist favourite the votes are going to be terribly split.”

    is that your only reason for voting? I am afraid your desires will go unmet. Just a hunch.

  • Keith M

    I made a couple of phone calls to people living in this constituency this morning. Whoever else will win, it appears it won’t be McGimpsey. It’s a straight McDonnell vs Spratt contest with soft shinners being the key.

  • PS

    In fairness keith I don’t think you can accurately judge the consitutency on a “couple of phone calls” I’ve been canvassing the consituency and I still don’t have a damn clue. I initially called it for McGimpsey though I’m reversing and reversing away from the position and will probably go for Spratt in the predictions competition. The Sinn Féin vote in the consituency will hold and improve.

  • Unionist

    Yes its either DUP or SDLP.

    It depends on what unionists in the area do if the floating unionist voter back Mcgimsey the seat goes to the SDLP if they back Spratt then the seat could be owned by the DUP.

  • Hansolo

    Not so – poll this week has UUP ahead by a few hundred, SDLP second and DUP well behind.

  • Chris Gaskin


    Do you have a link for the poll?

  • Hansolo

    I am afraid not Chris

  • Traditional Unionist

    Unionists are not stupid,Mcgimsey doesnt even have the support of his own party why would your average unionist vote for him.

    Even if he got in he would do unionists no favours at westminster, the unionist community need a strong and traditonal voice from and strong and relevant party namely Spratt and the DUP.

  • Alex Kane


    You must have some sort of link. Where, for example, did you see the news; in a paper, on the news, on a website?

    Best wishes,


  • Visioner

    McGimpsey will do an excellent job at representing South Belfast as an MP, in terms of bread and butter issues that are important to the people of the constituency and in terms of Unionist representation.

  • Vote DUP

    Mcgimpsey is too diviseive and he is not getting the support from many within his own party and can he represent traditional protestants his relative gareth is very rude towards what he calls hardline protestants.

    Alex Kane I like what you write in the newsletter but you agreeing with the proposed unionist pack was attrocious it was so unfair for the DUP you and the UUP will have to take responsibiliy if South Belfast and FST fall again.

    Eastwood bookmakers show Spratt just ahead in South Belfast but he needs more votes to ensure a unionist victory.

  • Unionist

    How is Spratt a ‘traditional’ unionist?

    Historically ‘traditional’ unionists stood for integration within the U.K.

  • Unionist

    He will stand up for the unionist cause, support orangeism, argue for Northern Ireland position within the UK, try and bring about democratic government to Northern Ireland without parties having private armies.

    Mcgimpsey wont do this he is very intent on getting the leadership of the UUP.

  • Stalford

    Why did the Ulster Unionist candidate in South Belfast run away from a radio debate with Jimmy Spratt? Could it be that Michael McGimpsey is happy to hurl insults in his press releases but isn’t prepared to face Jimmy in direct debate?

    It is an utter joke that the Ulster Unionist Party should have despatched Basil McCrea to a discussion programme on South Belfast.

  • idunnomeself

    i’m assuming all these new DUP supporters on this thread are the same person?

    What in teh name of goodness is a ‘traditional Unionist’? no one I know has a clue what that means or cares. The people of South Belfast need someone to represent them in Westminster. McGimpsey has experience, Spratt doesn’t.

    Talk it up all you want but McGimpsey has a big vote that will come out for him and Spratt doesn’t. The lasy assembly election showed the UUP vote holding up, despite a split constituency association. Spratt is invisible.

    I would have thought that if Unionist unity was what you were after people would gather around the UUP as they have a better profile in the area, Spratt has a long way to go. But frankly I wouldn’t mind McDonell and I’m not going to vote for Spratt just because someone tells me that the fenians will get in otherwise

  • Stalford


    The only person who has made statements resembling anything like that is the Ulster Unionist candidate. If Michael was/is so proud of his constituency record why isn’t he singing about it from the rooftops? Instead all he has done from the moment he was selected is attempt to denigrate and besmirch his opponent, Jim Spratt. Why is this? Simple – Michael McGimpsey hasn’t got one positive thing to say in this election.

    It is he, and he alone who is trying to use fear in order to brow-beat the Unionsists of the constituency into the voting booths for him. He has even claimed that Maskey could win the seat – patently not going to happen.

    Michale McGimpsey and the UUP simply assumed that everyone who cast a vote for Martin Smyth would trundle out and support him. I’m afraid that ain’t going to happen – Martin Smyth was a traditional Unionist – defn. Conservative socially and politically, sound on fundmanetal issues of concern i.e. Nort-South arrangments and capable of commanding widespread support. I had no hesitation in voting for him the last time around.

    Mr. McGimpsey on the other hand is a new Irelander who’s views are so far removed from mine that even if he had been the single Unionist candidate, I would have found it very difficult to vote for him – there are thousands like me in South Belfast and that is why Jimmy Spratt – able to appeal to DUP, UUP and beyond is going to Westminster and Mr. McGimpsey is going back to Ards.

  • Stalford

    PS. What are the odds on McGimpsey Junior out-polling his old man? How humiliating!

  • Tony Bright

    Good to see Alex Kane resurface, after all, few of us are as well informed about South Belfast as him. Though I do have to admit, even his employer, Esmond Birnie, did scratch his head when Alex told him that the Gimp was going to win the seat by 5,000 votes . . . No Westminster lolly for Alex any time soon I fear, and not much prospect of the Stormont dosh lasting all that longer either. Which leaves, er, the News Letter wonga. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

  • idunnomeself

    Chris, thanks:

    a traditional Unionist – defn. Conservative socially and politically, sound on fundmanetal issues of concern i.e. Nort-South arrangments and capable of commanding widespread support.

    Conservative socially
    In South Belfast hardly a selling point?

    and politically,
    Ugh.. losing me here

    sound on fundmanetal issues of concern i.e. Nort-South arrangments
    Erm, didn’t the DUP agree to more of them?

    and capable of commanding widespread support.
    Well that’ll be self fulfilling after this election, whatever way it goes.

    So by Traditional Unionist do you mean ‘Conservative’ and if so why did the DUP in North Down stand down for the very lefty Bob McCartney?

    Or do you mean ‘puts on a sash in July and slates the police for stopping a march’ because I have to say most young unionists I know aren’t too supportive of that sort of gallery playing either.

    On teh other hand, yeah you’re right, McGimpsey isn’t running a very positive campaign either. But I suspect that he could if he wanted, not sure Spratt has that option?

  • pakman


    so why is Gimp not running “a very positive campaign”?

  • Alan

    It is the rigorous methodology behind so many of the comments on this thread that gives me hope for the future – comments like –

    I rang a few people in the constituency . . .

    I spoke to some of my family who live in the constituency . . .

    Now there’s balance for you!

  • idunnomeself

    Not sure, pakman, I suspect it’s because he thought he could swat Spratt and walk it. The chaos last week in Belfast for his party knocked that on the head.

    I live in South Belfast and I know plenty of other people who do and I know that he is pretty well thought of. Apparantly plenty of political Unionists (hardly ‘normal’ voters) have it in for him in a big way, but I’m not sure what that counts for.

    I want to vote ‘for’ something not ‘against’ something, neither of them is offering me much..

  • Stalford

    “Not sure, pakman, I suspect it’s because he thought he could swat Spratt and walk it.”

    Correct. The McGimpsey cabal assumed that everyone would simply be forced into voting for him for fear that the seat would fall to McDonnell – the DUP have offered a credible alternative and Unionism is flocking behind him in the constituency. Believe me – I’ve been canvassing in Stranmillis, Rosetta and Ballynafeigh and the recption has been very positive and as for Sandy Row/Donegall Pass – if the UUP think this is their man’s “heartland” they would be well-advised to think again.

    I still can’t believe he bottled “Seven Days”!

  • pakman

    I understand that Gimps’ hubris may have fatally undermined his campaign before it started, but I don’t understand why he did’t take advantage of “Seven Days” to make up the lost ground. Has he given up or was he afraid that “Archergate” may have come up in conversation?

  • Stalford


    I’d never though of that! Although I doubt that any of the other participants would want to talk about the affair – it would be in pretty poor taste given the nature of the allegations.

  • pakman


    he’s running scared then!

  • Stalford


    I think so! The difficulty McGimpsey has is that Jimmy Spratt is a genuinely unifying figure, unlike him. Every tiem he launches a vindictive attack against our candidate he highlights just how different the two men are – one a unifying with the backing of the outgoing MP and commanding widespread support from DUP and UUP members and the other ranting vindictively and biiterly about how the seat has “always been Ulster Unionist”. So keep the venom coming Michael, every outburst puts us closer to victory!

  • Roger

    I hear mcgimpsey is all but out of the race it doesnt surprise me to learn this when his own party members are supporting Spratt.

    Mcgimpsey represents old and negative unionism something which we dont need again in Northern Ireland.

    Its SDLP or DUP your choice

  • Tim Roll-Pickering

    “Mcgimpsey represents old and negative unionism…”

    So why aren’t Smyth and Molyneaux supporting him?

  • Roger

    These two men have integrity and while Molyneaux was a weak leader at least Smyth always held onto his values.

    Spratt is surprising many by uniting unionism in south belfast but he is still behind the SDLP and the UUP are proving to be a thorn in his side in their race for third place.