North Belfast: more litmus than drama

Barry McCaffrey with a in-depth consideration of the DUP North Belfast seat. There’s little liklihood of an upset here, but may prove a useful litmus for the degree of consolidation on each side, in this constituency of split loyalities.

  • Brian

    It’s only a matter of time before Gerry Kelly takes almost all the sdlp votes and becomes the parliamentary representative for North Belfast. The good Irish people in the constituency are treated like second class citizens by Dodds and if Uncle Tom, Alban Magennis would put his pride in his pocket and withdraw from the race, Gerry would win it this time around.

  • Paul O

    Actually, Brian, Nigel Dodds has been surprisingly good at reaching out to the nationalist community in North Belfast. I’m a SF supporter, and while Dodds still loathes SF, I would be unfair if I didnt recognize his efforts to be the MP for all of us. He has visited Catholic schools and talked with the pupils, visited areas that he knows are solidly republican and has went out of his way to spend time with any constituents that were at Westminster, regardless of their last names/schools!

    I’ll still be voting Gerry Kelly, but Nigel isnt the bigot some make him out to be.

  • peter

    Very unlikely that SF will ever take N.Belfast. The boundary changes will probably turn it into an even safer Unionist seat.

    I think also that people are ignoring the effect that the McCartney murder and the bank robbery will have on the SF vote. Their vote could well be substantially down on the last election.

  • George

    Peter,
    This is from the Ark website which deals with the Boundary Commission report and has this to say about North Belfast.

    “Belfast North constituency to include the Newtownabbey LGD wards of Collinbridge, Glebe and Glengormley, at present in the South Antrim constituency, and Cloughfern, at present in the East Antrim constituency;

    Does it make sense? Broadly yes.
    Specifically no. The weird division of the Shankill Road between North and West Belfast remains, and the new boundary weaves through the streets of Glengormley.

    Better to have left Cloughfern in East Antrim and extended North Belfast a bit farther northwest.
    Demographic shift:

    “The new North Belfast is 0.1% more Catholic than the current constituency.
    The new South Antrim is 3.0% more Protestant than the current constituency.”

    So why do you think that it will turn into a safer unionist seat? Am I missing something here?

    By the way, the Irish Times reports that bookmakers Sean Graham won’t even take odds on Nigel Dodds not winning North Belfast.