Trimble may need to call on Catholics

Few people do knock on doors in opposing territories. Though, Alex Attwood said yesterday that the SDLP has been canvassing in Unionist Ballygomartin since 1987. The Irish Voice argues that Trimble’s inability to sell the Belfast Agreement to his own supporters may lose him the benevolent help of Catholic voters in his Upper Bann consitituency.Gerry Moriarty in his election diary today (subs needed) notes a speech from Seamus Mallon, one time Deputy First Minister:

He seemed to offer a coded endorsement for Upper Bann nationalists to support Trimble. “We have a very excellent (SDLP) candidate in Upper Bann in Dolores Kelly,” said Mallon, but then added, “I have no doubt that there will be people in Upper Bann who will make their judgments as they see the best way of using their vote.”

Mallon couldn’t personally go against Kelly but the latter portion of his statement hinted that nationalists might perhaps vote tactically for Trimble against the DUP’s David Simpson, who is favourite to unseat the UUP leader. But galvanising moderate Catholics for Trimble would need a stronger exhortation than the muted message offered by Mallon.