Crime, but any punishment..?

MARK Durkan can afford to allow himself a little dig at the critics, after defying the pundits with the general election performance of the SDLP (I had them on two seats, so humble pie for me on that count). He also finds himself strengthened enough within his party to dismiss all notions of a merger with any party in the Irish Republic, particularly Fianna Fail.Curiously, Durkan says that he wants to get the North South Interparliamentary Forum and the North South Consultative Forum set up as “[t]hose will provide natural and organic realignment over time, realignment that will express itself in terms that are not about blunt mergers.”

And noting the support the SDLP received from politicians in the Republic, Durkan added:

“We are proud of and welcome the support and endorsement of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour and we want to work with those parties in reconvening the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation on the issue of Irish unity.

What? No mention for the PDs?

*snigger*

The BBC reported that there may have been a ‘McConville factor’ that helped dampen Sinn Fein chances. Did the SDLP play the ‘criminality card’ much in Derry? If so, is that perceived reaction any indication of greater opposition within nationalism (in Derry, at least) to paramilitary and related criminal activity?

Perhaps. Perhaps not. But if it is, maybe Durkan should have mentioned Michael McDowell in his ‘thank you’ list.

After all – if he hadn’t challenged Sinn Fein’s Derry candidate Mitchel McLaughlin in a TV debate on whether Jean McConville’s killing was a murder or not, Durkan might not be in the same, possibly even stronger, position – in Derry, at least.

* * *

…anyone think McDonnell benefited from any ‘McCartney effect’? Or was it a case of unionists voting tactically?

The Devenny vote has been described by some as “holding up well in very difficult circumstances”, although Alliance might disagree.

Maskey’s share of the vote rose by 1.4 percent in South Belfast since 2001’s general election, and the actual number of votes was almost identical. But it was still more than 1,000 less than he got in the Assembly election in 2003.

McDonnell’s share of the vote rose by 1.7 percent since he last stood for Westminster. It was down about a 1,000 on that 2001 General Election, but up by more than 3,000 votes since the Assembly 2003 poll, when they got a 23% share.