Alliance candidate has nice ring to his name…

LISBURN mayor Trevor Lunn is to fill former Alliance deputy Seamus Close’s boots for the forthcoming election (assuming there is one). Also out of the frame in the Lagan Valley constituency is the SDLP’s Patricia Lewsley.

  • Yokel

    Aye, Lunn is a diamond geezer….

  • betterireland

    It will be interesting to see if Lunn will be able to pick up on Seamus Close’s vote. A lot of that vote was personal and may go to the SDLP instead.

  • Crataegus

    On the various threads what has become obvious is the Alliance need for Unionist transfers to maintain seats. Interesting given the perception by some of the position of Alliance and if this subconsciously has influenced how they act?

    So much about Alliance depends on the fortunes of the UUP. To predict Alliance you have to try to gauge the fortunes of the UUP and the Unionist voter that floats between the UUP and Alliance. Personally I would be delighted if in this election they decide the UUP isn’t worth support and see for once some sign of an increase in the centre, but I think stay at home a more likely scenario.

    Alliance should hold their seat here but it will be a lot closer than last time given the expansion of West Belfast into the constituency. They could actually lose here to Unionists as various Unionists are on 70-75% of the vote. Alliance are on about 9%, SF and the SDLP are probably on about 8% on a slowly rising Nationalist vote. The SDLP and Alliance vote will fall, SF will increase.

    There are two questions, how strong will the 5th Unionist be and which of the two (SDLP & Alliance) go out first.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    So much about Alliance depends on the fortunes of the UUP.

    Like in the last Assembly election, where Alliance held every one of its seats, and the UUP… well, errr…

  • Chris Donnelly

    I fully expect Lunn to hold the lion’s share of Close’s vote and retain the seat quite comfortably.

    As Gonzo has indicated, the Alliance Party have been long underestimated in this constituency and others, and whilst I may believe they are slowly declining in certain areas of the six counties, there electoral base in Lagan Valley is surprisingly resilient.

    In this they are aided by quite competent local representatives- like Betty Campbell and Trevor Lunn- who have ensured that the party vote has held up in times when, in other parts of the north, the party faced terminal decline.

    The departure of Lewsley- who was facing a steep hill in any case- means that the SDLP will be forced to run a relatively unknown candidate- most likely Heading or Tim Attwood.

    In either case, Alliance candidate and city Mayor, Lunn, will hardly fear vote seepage to a candidate who is not even known in the part of the constituency to which he serves as a councillor, never mind the Alliance ‘heartlands’ of Downshire and Lisburn town itself.

    As I stated above, Lunn will get elected here, alongwith Paul Butler, who from 2005 was running 600 votes ahead of Lewsley, the prominent and incumbent SDLP candidate.

  • but..

    Though Close has seen the Alliance vote almost half in both numeric and percentage terms in the last decade. Hardly the best performance in an area where Alliance were once chasing two quotas of right now an area where they rely on transfers to take a seat.

  • Crataegus

    Gonzo

    Like in the last Assembly election, where Alliance held every one of its seats, and the UUP… well, errr…

    That’s is the point Alliance held 6 seats last time on a relatively low first preference vote because the UUP did poorly and there were transfers. Will the UUP do even worse this time round, do we see reason to assume a massive Alliance rally? Will the DUP rise reduce UUP transfers? A lot of the fate of Alliance relies on the fate of the UUP. The general Alliance vote is getting close to the level where if it reduces further it is catastrophic.

  • Chris Donnelly

    For what it’s worth: On Alliance’s prospects this year, my forecast would be:

    Retain Lagan Valley, North Down and East Belfast and East Antrim.

    Lose out in South Antrim (to Sinn Fein), Strangford (to SDLP).

    Narrow miss in South Belfast.

    Come March, I’d expect all out war between the four to see who comes up as the next party leader.

    My money would be on Naomi Long.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Crataegus

    The general Alliance vote is getting close to the level where if it reduces further it is catastrophic.

    Another way of looking at it might be that the Alliance vote reached its nadir in 2001 and the only way is up!

    Chris

    While I think you have correctly identified the two ‘most at risk’ seats for Alliance, I think Ford has still a good chance of retaining his seat – I doubt there will be much heart in Sinn Fein’s campaign for a blow-in candidate who embarrassed the party last time around and is clearly in the party’s last chance saloon.

    On the other hand, Ford is a good grass roots campaigner and excellent at working elections to his advantage. Just ask Martin ‘Where is he now?’ Meehan.

    But we shall see!

    Regarding Naomi – yes, she should be the next leader.

  • Rubicon

    CD – would generally agree but am a bit sceptical about Alliance holding North Down. Eileen Bell had a large personal vote and benefited from a rainbow of transfers that transcended common party loyalties. I really doubt Farry can deliver. Had either David Alderdice chosen to stand or Bell persuaded to stand again then the Alliance should have come home easily. As it is, Hermon will likely further damage the Alliance vote.

    South Belfast I see as a closer race – I wouldn’t right it off, nor would I write off McCarthy in Strangford (but I think you’re probably right). Ford hasn’t a hope of holding his seat which he got more due to the unpopularity of Meehan than to any other factor. Mitchell will wipe him out.

    Glad you’re confident about Lagan Valley – I was wondering about it since Close wasn’t exactly a ‘party man’, didn’t seem to have brought on an heir and had some pretty outrageous views on social issues. I expect those views got him a conservative Catholic vote and where that might now go is anyone’s guess.

    Long for the leadership? I hope so – she’s a talented woman who could revive Alliance fortunes after what is likely to be a tough election for them.

  • Yokel

    Christ,…well Chris Donnelly..I’d have to broadly agree with you.

    I think Alliance will be in for a tough time.I’m just siding with Mitchel to beat Ford in South Antrim with the SDLP holding their seat. It is, however, a real toss up. The longer the count goes on with Mitchel not getting the quota the more I fancy Ford as I’d bet on him doing well further down the card and overhauling Mitchel similar to what happened with Meehan.

    The rest of the losses, near misses are very possible indeed.

    The nature of this election could see people go towards their natural basic political position, particularly amongst Unionists. This could hit Alliance first preferences and 2nd and 3rd choice votes. Candidates could find themselves well down and under pressure after the first count or two.

  • Yokel

    Gonzo, I thought Martin Meehan wasn’t a well man?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Didn’t know that. But he was in political no-man’s-land after 2001 regardless.

  • Rubicon

    Yokel – what is the basic political position of unionists? Hermon’s ‘discomfort’ over the UUP alliance with the PUP/UVF fiasco may allow her off the hook – but the ‘traditional UUP voter’ seemed mightedly pissed off about it.

    Do you think this could be a factor in the next election or do you reckon Reg has been forgiven? There’s a clear lack of grey matter in the UUP – the only grey left is their suits and hair. Surely even old party loyalties have been stretched to breaking point by the UUP?

  • Sammy Morse

    would generally agree but am a bit sceptical about Alliance holding North Down. Eileen Bell had a large personal vote and benefited from a rainbow of transfers that transcended common party loyalties.

    Alliance vote in 2005 Local Government: 15%
    Alliance vote in 2001 Local Government: 17%
    Total non-Unionist vote in the last Assembly elections: 31%.

    Don’t think so. Farry will be alright, especially with no Women’s Coalition candidate, the real battle will be between McCartney and the Greens for the last seat.

  • Observer

    Alliance will struggle in Lagan Valley as UUP’s Basil McCrea will take the Close ‘protestant’ vote.

    Alliance voters may feel tempted to switch support to the UUP with that more ‘liberal’ wing now within the party. As someone has suggested above Seamus Closes vote collapsed in 2003 with him coming in 6th.

    Chis Donnelly may be mistaken with Butler. Lewsley was a weak candidate, if the SDLP candidate is say Brian Heading I’d say Butler is in for a fight. The SDLP will however be relient on transfers like in 2003. Lewsley did the party no favours in LV.

    Heading has been making his mark in Lisburn and has a decent profile. He will have to do more work within the Lagan Valley constituency however and this will be dependent on an early selection in order to make some headway. The SDLP need a known candidate here – not an Attwood like Butler has suggested. He is just looking to take that SDLP vote.

    I do not see a Sinn Fein MLA here – wishful thinking maybe.

    At least 3 DUP and one UUP, maybe squeezing a 2nd. The 6th will be up for grabs between Alliance, SDLP and the provies.

  • Mark

    Close as noted above oversaw the halfing of the APNI vote in LV.

    Heading is unknown despite the attempts to big him up above. His most recent press release on planning in Dunmurry/Blacks Road was stolen almost word for word from a SF newsletter delivered to thousands of houses across the constituency.

    That said he is clearly positioning himself better for selection than the other candidate – Tim Attwood – who has been running most of the downward SDLP election campaigns of late.

    Heading seems a decent guy but it’ll be hard for him to motivate a SDLP vote that Lewsley was too lazy/busy/appplying elsewhere to work for.

    I expect APNI to retain their seat, the SDLP to lose theirs and it down to a fight between SF and the DUP for the last seat.

  • Crataegus

    Sammy

    Alliance vote in 2005 Local Government: 15%
    Alliance vote in 2001 Local Government: 17%

    You left out the 2003 Assembly Election

    Alliance 2,655 (8.6%, -5.8%)

    Also worth noting Farry’s vote in Abbey went down in 2005 from 1195 to 713

    The Woman’s Coalition vote may go to Greens as easily as it would to Alliance and the SDLP & SF transfers could easily migrate more solidly to Greens.

    Very capable but poor candidate. Farry is not a vote getter. In theory Alliance should be safe but it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Alliance could lose a seat here. Wrong candidate that simple.

    I think East Antrim and East Belfast should be safe the rest I wouldn’t put money on. Alliance had a fair dollop of luck last time, this time it could run against them. Most likely to lose in order are South Antrim, Strangford, Lagan Valley, North Down, East Belfast, East Antrim.

    I wish it were other and there was a marked increase in support for centre candidates, election after election I have hoped that that would be the case and election after election it has gone the other way. Why should this one be different?

  • Sammy Morse

    You left out the 2003 Assembly Election

    Alliance 2,655 (8.6%, -5.8%)

    Worst Alliance Election Result Ever? With Jayne Morrice fighting to hold on to her seat in the same constituency? Come on, there have been enough signs of an Alliance uptick from then, especially the 2005 local government election results and last month’s improbably by-election win in Portrush/Porstewart.

    Also worth noting Farry’s vote in Abbey went down in 2005 from 1195 to 713

    You forgot to mention – total vote in Abbey fell by more than 1,000 between 2001 and 2005, and most of the Alliance vote that was lost seems to have gone to a Green candidate who polled 6.4% in Abbey in 2005 (they did not contest in 2001). You are comparing apples and oranges here, Craet. Besides, 12% in Abbey, traditionally the weakest of the four North Down DEAs for Alliance, would see Stephen Farry walking home on the first count.

    I wish it were other and there was a marked increase in support for centre candidates, election after election I have hoped that that would be the case and election after election it has gone the other way. Why should this one be different?

    Why should it be the same? No reason for Alliance voters to ‘lend’ their votes to either Trimble or the SDLP this time, and people are fed up with the shower of eejits up in Stormont. While Alliance aren’t exempt from being lumped in the ‘eejit’ categrory by the electorate, the need to have some opposition to a Shinner-DUP carve up should give some people pause for thought.

    You seem to have taken up the role of Alliance’s prophet of doom at the moment, Craetagus. Have you been taking deportment lessons from Michael McGimpsey? All the signs are that Alliance is in better shape than it has been for some years. Losing North Down? Don’t see it, Craet, not by a long shot. Remember, even if the Greens pull a stormer – a more improbable scenario that Alliance pulling a stormer, there are enough votes there to elect Farry and a Green.

    You also seem to think that a UUP collapse is bad for Alliance. How and why I don’t know. Don’t you think that Empey-head trying to out-DUP the DUP, having the UVF in his Assembly group, etc., etc., might just give him a wee problem or two on his moderate fringe?

  • Crataegus

    Sammy I am in Australia and will be for a while, my mood is probably due to the shock to my system of winter heat and sun. Bloody hot. It is probably worry that all is going pear shaped back at base. If Sylvia is standing I think it will be tough for Alliance. My point about the UUP is about surpluses and transfers. I could see some UUP supporters simply staying at home.

    The Coleraine vote increase was the votes of the independent councillor.

    Farry a sitting councillor did lose votes to an unheard of Green in Abbey that is the point. You also assume that Women’s Coalition votes are default Alliance votes. Part of the reason why 2003 was bad for Alliance was because B. Wilson, Womans lot, Greens, SF and SDLP all stood. It was a crowded field and it shows that the Alliance vote is weak. As for Reg and the UUP; the PUP nonsense seems to have receded. I would be delighted if that party imploded but it won’t.

    In this election I would love to see Alliance gaining in South Belfast, Greens taking a seat or two, Conservatives getting in, Bob losing, SF and DUP in reverse. I would love anyone other than the existing 4 big ones to do well. I don’t care if they are right wing, left wing or hug trees and chant with the dawn chorus anything is better than the merchants of pain. I would rejoice, but I see no dynamism that is going in the direction I would like.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Come March, I’d expect all out war between the four to see who comes up as the next party leader.

    My money would be on Naomi Long.

    I think it’s early days yet to be talking about Ford losing his seat. I find it hard to accept that McLoughlin will take votes that otherwise would have been Alliance, simply because he is who he is. They may certainly take votes at the expense of the Stoops.

    Long is the obvious choice for leader if there were ever to be an election, but Ekin or McCarthy would put in a good stint too. Neeson is not likely to want the leadership a second time.

    Alliance will struggle in Lagan Valley as UUP’s Basil McCrea will take the Close ‘protestant’ vote.

    It’s a shame you UUP types couldn’t come up with a proper election campaign rather than relying on fly-by-night nonsense like this.

  • Observer

    As far as I know Tim Attwood is not in the running.

    Thats wot Shinners would want you to think.

    Heading is a decent Cllr and worthy of the job.

  • Valenciano

    Sammy: “Alliance 2,655 (8.6%, -5.8%)

    Worst Alliance Election Result Ever? With Jayne Morrice fighting to hold on to her seat in the same constituency? Come on, there have been enough signs of an Alliance uptick from then, especially the 2005 local government election results and last month’s improbably by-election win in Portrush/Porstewart.”

    Sorry but what Alliance uptick? The Portrush by-election is hardly a weathervane given the exceptional circumstances and the absence of an Independent. Similarly I know it’s fashionable in Alliance circles to spin the 2005 council results as some sort of dramatic revival but that’s far from the truth.

    In 2005 Alliance polled the same % of votes and gained a paltry two seats – one of which was due to the McCartney murder and another in Holywood following the retirement of a longstanding Independent councillor. Factor that in and a gain of two seats is hardly anything to write home about. (And I won’t even try and argue for any ‘Ford factor’ delivering two gains on Antrim council.)

    I’m afraid that this APNI attitude re:2005 is all too reminiscent of the SDLP who have managed to delude themselves that holding Foyle with anti-Sinn Fein tactical votes and benefiting from a freak result in South Belfast does not an upturn make. The best that can be said is that APNI tread water in ’05 and defied some of the gloomier predictions, but it’s a bit like a footy team being satisfied with losing a cup game 2-0 instead of 6-0.

    Look at the North Down trends in more detail and note a few things.

    * In both 1998 and 2003, Alliance’s assembly vote was well down on the previous council elections.

    * In the 2005 council elections which you trumpet, Alliance’s vote fell relative to 2001.

    * Council election results in North Down and places like Belfast Laganbank suggest that the NIWC’s demise does not seem to have benefitted APNI much. So I wouldn’t pin your hopes too much on that if I were you as in North Down the Greens seem to have gained more from ex-NIWC.

    The latter is the big factor. Add Brian Wilson’s sizeable personal vote to the Green vote in 2003 and they were already snapping at Alliance’s heels back then. Since then the Greens have gone up in North Down and Alliance down, so APNI had better hope for some UUP transfers. The Conservatives are also likely to snip away some Alliance votes.

    Dare I say it as well – but your “we’ll not lose North Down, not by a long shot” smacks of the same sort of complacency heard by Alliance in South Belfast in 1998 and look what happened there.

    I think you probably will hold on in North Down but I certainly wouldn’t bet against Alliance losing their seat to the Greens. Right now I’d go for 2 DUP, 2 UUP certain with a three way battle between APNI, McCartney and the Greens for the last two.

  • Valenciano

    The problem for Heading and any other prospective SDLP candidate is that Lagan Valley is a bit of a poisoned chalice. Even if they hold the SDLP seat this time, the removal of Glenavy, Dunmurry and Lagmore in 2008 means certain defeat in 2011-12. Whereas a Sinn Fein MLA could at least follow Lagmore into West Belfast. That reasoning is likely to figure large in the minds of anyone considering it and is why Attwood is likely to stay put.

  • slug

    Val

    The same issue confronts the second north antrim nationalist seat as north antrim loses its glens part next time.

  • Jane Smith

    Mark,
    What are the provos worried about when you have to dig up false stories on Heading? Are the pro Police (or anti police, I can’t remember which wing Paul belongs to)supporting Republicans getting worried that their latest PR move maybe back firing on them and they have been trapped into supporting the PSNI without getting a return on their investment from DR NO? I think any public representative is entitled to comment on local issues to add wait to solving the issue. Don’t you agree? Anyway who said what and when is not important now .The Duppers are looking at a possible 3 seats with UU’s squeezing the Alliance to get two. its possible for either the Alliance or the SDLP to fight it out for the last seat. The question that will be asked by Alliance voters is can Lunn win? And if answer is no should they support the SDLP to keep the Slow Learners Party out ? This is warming up to a nice lttle fire fight. If it gets out of hand we can depend on the shinners to call the police.

  • Jane Smith

    Mark
    By the way why would the slow learning party hand thousands of newsletters across the constituency about a local issue in Blacks Road?
    and given the impartial A’ town news why would they print the story if it gave Heading coverage?
    I think you need sit in a dark room and take a few deep breaths. If this is the reaction Heading gets maybe Butler can get a job with the PSNI, depending on which policing wing he belongs.

  • Observer

    Jane Smith raises an important point – where does Sinn Fein’s Paul Butler stand on policing?

    With all these Shinners falling all around the place (like drunks in a brewery) on the policing issue – where exactly does Paul sit? Is he still the Provies candidate or has he been deselected as well??

    Maybe he’ll go independent?

  • Mark

    Jane Smith,

    To answer your questions:

    The ‘provos’ haven’t dug up any false stories on Heading, I highlighted his latest press release being a rehash of a much more substantive piece in a SF bulletin delivered to thousands of homes throughout Lagan Valley. My comment had nothing to do with the policing debate; I’m stunned you could see that as a subtext. Of course Heading has a right to comment on these issues, I have a right to mention he is following in the steps of the local SF representative.

    The questions on Lunn can only be answered by the electorate.

    Again, the logic behind your next question on SF calling the police on this issue escapes me. I very much doubt it.

    As for the question on the issue being included in a Bulletin delivered across Lagan Valley – you seem a little naive on how these things work. I assume you are an SDLP activist that doesn’t participate in such activities as briefing the electorate. The SF Lagan Valley bulletin includes many local stories and those of general interest -some relevant to one area not another, some relevant to all. It’s similar to the concept of a newspaper if that helps your understanding.

    On your comments about the ATN, I barely understand them and can’t address them as the ATN is nothing to do with me. Are you complaining about them giving coverage to Heading?

    Again, I can’t understand what relevance your comments on policing have but I feel sure that Paul Butler fully endorsers the judgement of party leadership so far and will take part in and fully accept the decision of the Ard Fheis when it takes place. For confirmation you’d have to ask him.

    As for the ‘Slow Learners’ stuff – I’ve just ignored it with the rest of your infantile abuse and dealt with your questions.

    Seems the SDLP are worried when a few politely raised comments meet such hostility – and it does no service to the campaign of Heading, a man I have found to be polite on any occasion I have come across him.

  • Mark

    Jane,

    Since I’ve answered your questions maybe you’ll answer mine.

    Will SDLP activists, I assume you are one, give Heading more support than during his Council campaign, when he was reduced to having to cadge a lift around the constituency from Martin Morgan who had long since left the party?

    Or does the SDLP even have members in Lagan Valley? I’ve certainly never heard of them calling to any house in the constituency, nevermind delivering regular Bulletins on the party’s work in the area or calling at houses outside election time to engage on political and local issues like Paul Butler and the healthy Sinn Fein membership in the area do.

  • Crataegus

    Valenciano

    The Glenavy point is a good one. It will probably mean two Nationalist seats in South Antrim in the future but effectively ends the SDLP in Lagan Valley post this election.
    On North Down etc very sound analysis, it is interesting to look at the figures in 2003 in N Down. From N. Whyte
    Leslie Cree (UUP) 3900 (12.6%) Elected
    *Peter Weir (DUP) 3675 (11.9%) Elected
    Alex Easton (DUP) 3570 (11.6%) Elected
    *Alan McFarland (UUP) 3421 (11.1%) Elected
    *Robert McCartney (UKUP) 3374 (10.9%) Elected
    Diana Peacocke (UUP) 2566 (8.3%)
    *Eileen Bell (Alliance) 1951 (6.3%) Elected
    Liam Logan (SDLP) 1519 (4.9%)
    Brian Wilson (Ind) 1350 (4.4%)
    *Jane Morrice (NIWC) 1181 (3.8%)
    Alan Chambers (Ind) 1077 (3.5%)
    John Barry (Green) 730 (2.4%)
    Stephen Farry (Alliance) 704 (2.3%)
    Julian Robertson (Cons) 491 (1.6%)
    Alan Field (Ind) 428 (1.4%)
    David Rose (PUP) 316 (1.0%)
    Maria George (SF) 264 (0.9%)
    Tom Sheridan (UKUP) 209 (0.7%)
    Chris Carter (Ind) 109 (0.4%)

    The Wilson and Green vote exceeds that of Alliance and since then there are clear signs in the council elections that the Greens are moving up fairly quickly. Two interesting votes that may shade it this time round are the SDLP 1519 and SF 264. I can see these transfers going disproportionately to the Greens and there will definitely be a large Nationalist block in the transfer market. The same can’t be said on the collective Unionist side of the equation where they will be trying to secure 5 seats. Also the Greens did not contest the Ballyholme ward in 2005 where the Woman’s Coalition had a sitting councillor, there were rumours, but was there of some sort of pact or understanding?

    In Holywood in 2005, if I remember correctly, there was a song and dance (accusations of foul deeds and implied slander) about the second Alliance gain which was obtained on Unionist transfers over the Green who was well ahead in first preferences. That success may well come back to haunt Alliance for in this election, and in this very Unionist constituency, the last seat maybe decided on Nationalist transfers.

    I expect this one to be a vicious little campaign and it will depend on how effectively the various groups organise, but for the Greens I would imagine they will be concentrating on N Down whereas the Alliance, though larger, are fighting a rear guard action everywhere.

    It is the seeming complacency of Alliance that really frustrates. Is it a form of denial? I cannot believe they selected Farry, a really capable person, but definitely not a big vote getter. It is as though they are in some sort of collective death wish. The comparison with South Belfast in 1998 is a good one.

  • rjm

    Crat

    The Wilson and Green vote exceeds that of Alliance
    Hmmm

    *Eileen Bell (Alliance) 1951 (6.3%) Elected
    Brian Wilson (Ind) 1350 (4.4%)
    John Barry (Green) 730 (2.4%)
    Stephen Farry (Alliance) 704 (2.3%)

    Your maths are flawed. I suspect so is your analysis.

  • Crataegus

    RJM

    OOps your right forgot about Farry how could I possibly have done that! 600 votes in it, I am sure that is reassuring.

    I genuinely think Alliance will find this one difficult and it should be a safe seat. Amazing what a candidate can do. He polled behind the Green last time is that a portent of things to come?

    I hope both the Green and Alliance get in and Bob falls. That would be very very satisfying.

  • Crataegus

    (You’re right) above

    Time for stiff coffee and breakfast, early morning blogging should be avoided.

  • Valenciano

    RJM, Crat obviously made a minor mistake when adding up but that in no way undermines his analysis which is a worrying but accurate one for Alliance. Look at the North Down results since 1993 in council elections and assembly elections

    Year/Council/Assembly

    1993: 22.6
    1996: //// 21.0
    1997: 21.0
    1998: //// 14.4
    2001: 18.0
    2003: //// 8.6
    2005: 15.4

    Two trends are very obvious.

    Firstly when each type of election is compared seperately Alliance’s vote has been in continual decline.

    Secondly Alliance’s vote in each Assembly election has been down on it’s performance in the previous local council election which suggests either that there are people who will vote APNI at local level who will not at Regional level or that voters of other parties abstain at local level but not at Regional level. Either way it is not a positive picture for them and they would do well to treat this as a serious marginal seat rather than a safe one that they assume that they’re destined to win anyway.

  • borden

    Mark,

    do you have a problem with SDLp supporters on this blog? I am not one but I read with amusement your dissection of Jane’s argument. Actually I too would like to know Butler’s line on policing – is he a yes man or more likely a man of substance like Hyland who is a republican of principles. Heading is a good councillor and if selected will be doing well to retain the stoops seat -but he has a fighting chance. And BTW big deal about Sinn Fein broadsheets -whoopee do.

  • Jane Smith

    Mark,
    Are you worried that the policing debate rearing its ugly head in Lagan Valley?
    Your leadership making remarks relating to Butler and the policing issue confirms what this Alliance member thinks. He has no view until the Ard Fheis and certainly won’t come out like the dropped 5 and more to come, MLA’s to give his opinion. As for the sterling work carried out by Sinn Fein no argument from me there just what the Blacks rd problem has to do with the thousands of other homes who received the newssheet and more to the point Heading said he was bringing the issue to the planning meeting.Where has Gerry Adams brought the same point? By the way can you drop acopy of this newssheet down to the Dunmurry Lib so ican have a read of it their. See you on election day !

  • Sammy Morse

    Craet

    I cannot believe they selected Farry, a really capable person, but definitely not a big vote getter.

    So, Craet, would you rather we ran a better vote getter who was a less capable person? This strikes me as bizarre. On the one hand we all know that we desperately need to improve the quality of our public representatives from the D- grade level many of them are at best. You have commented passionately on this issue for as long as you have been on this blog, and rightly so.

    Then, you start running down capable people because they aren’t enough of a ‘traditional’ vote getter in the good ole’ “be a Mason/GAA man/attend funerals/run the amateur dramatic” sort of way. Well, you can’t have it both ways. Is it more important to be a vote getter or to be a capable legislator?

    I take your point but I also, respectfully, disagree with it. I’d rather run a more capable person who was less of a traditional vote getter and give them the sort of campaign platform they needed to sell their strengths to the electorate.

    Valenciano

    they would do well to treat this as a serious marginal seat rather than a safe one that they assume that they’re destined to win anyway.

    Val, who said Alliance aren’t treating it as a serious marginal seat? All the seats Alliance hold are serious marginal seats. I remember the political near-death-experience of November 2003 only too well. I’m personally confident we’ll hold on but I’m sure Alliance will be fighting it all the way.

    PS – on the Green dirty tricks allegations – I seem to remember the allegations were made on Slugger by a few Green activists and not by John Barry or anyone senior in the Green Party. There’s a difference between serious allegations of dirty tricks and being pissed off because you’ve lost an election which you thought you were going to win. I should know. I’ve been in the latter position often enough!

  • Mark

    Jane,

    I am not worried about the policing debate at all. I welcome it. I enjoyed a meeting on the subject with other members of LV Sinn Fein, where everyone seemed fully supportive of the party leadership and the direction of the debate. Paul certainly has a view, I heard it but it’s not for me to present his arguments on this website – if you want his opinion he is easy to contact.

    The Blacks Rd, Dunmurry issue was in a section of the Bulletin focusing on issues in that area. Just like the rural or Glenavy isues all had seperate focus among the more general topics.

    I’d love to leave the Bulletin in the library for you but I don’t think they’d take it. I’m happy to post you a copy, my email address is below.

    Look forward to seeing you election day or at the count – I take tea with two sugars. Best of luck to you. Good choice with your candidate btw.

  • Mark

    Borden,

    No problem with SDLP supporters at all. I’ve a problem with many (most) of their party policies and their party representation of Nationalist communities. I wish them nothing but electoral misfortune.

  • Crataegus

    Sammy

    All the seats Alliance hold are serious marginal seats.

    Thanks that is all I wanted to hear in the first place.

    With Alderdice you would have been home in a boat. Are you suggesting he is less than capable? If you have someone elected they have staff, some people are more suited in adviser role.

    On another thread I made my view very clear about the standard of representative in some parties. Being off the people does come at a price! Blind leading the blind and all that.

    Correct me if I am wrong but were the allegations in Holywood about canvassing by some Unionist which advised Unionists to vote down the sheet to keep the Taig out, or something similar and utterly convoluted? The accusation was that the canvassing technique was in fact sectarian rather than political in nature. It is a pity IJP was mixed up in this by association, because he is an enthusiastic young lad. If it had happened to me I would have been mortified and I am sure he must feel ill at ease about it. It is bad in many ways firstly for the Green who has been sullied (unjustly I assume) and secondly Alliance and their candidate who is tarnished by association though neither he nor the Green is responsible. Bad do altogether and this sort of thing happens all too often. I despise this sort of thing and if it did happen the councillor in question should have been asked to explain.

    I don’t have transfer figures handy where I am and internet connection limited, but would be interesting to see firstly how Alderdices transfers went and then the Unionist transfer pattern.

    If such things do happen and you are the victim what do you do? If you complain then you are a poor loser and publicity merely reinforces the accusation in the minds of some. The only thing you can do is put up and shut up. I would imagine there are some activists that have their knives well sharpened by now. These thing always have a habit of coming back to bite. Remember the SF and SDLP transfers!

    Hope that both the Greens and Alliance take seats in North Down and as an added bonus I would love to see the conservatives take a seat but alas that probably won’t happen.

  • Observer

    “Borden,

    No problem with SDLP supporters at all. I’ve a problem with many (most) of their party policies and their party representation of Nationalist communities. I wish them nothing but electoral misfortune.

    Posted by Mark on Jan 06, 2007 @ 11:23 PM”

    You agree with Sinn Fein’s violent past then?

  • Sammy Morse

    Correct me if I am wrong but were the allegations in Holywood about canvassing by some Unionist which advised Unionists to vote down the sheet to keep the Taig out, or something similar and utterly convoluted?

    I think my recollection of it was a retiring Ulster Unionist councillor saying that IJP could count on her transfer to keep the Greens out and then a different UUP activist saying that John Barry couldn’t be trusted because he was from the South or some b1g0ted shite like that.

    It got blown out of proportion in the heat of polling day, as well.

    PS – I’d expect SF transfers to favour the Greens heavily. Although it’s rarely mattered in an election in the past, when you watch SF votes come out of ballot boxes an awful lot vote SF, Green then stop, and a lot of others rank the Greens even above the SDLP, let alone Alliance.

    SF transfers were crucial to Monica McWilliams when she won in South Belfast in 1998 as well.

  • Crataegus

    Sammy

    Thanks for the clarification, I remember at the time thinking that some idiot of a Unionist smeared both the Green candidate and indirectly the Alliance candidate by implied association. (If any of your candidates were called B i g o ts you would feel a bit niffed. It is serious as it is slander.

    There really should be some way of effectively dealing with this sort of incident. In the last council election in Camden some of the Labour canvassers that arrived at my place were complete wallies. Implying all sorts about the other candidates. We really need to tighten up generally as much of it is half truths at best, more likely a pack of lies, and possibly slander. Not only that but but in this case in Holywood probably got in the way of two parties that possibly should be cooperating.

    Agree the SF vote is minimal but the SDLP one is chunky!

  • borden

    Mark,

    are you sure that PSF is not SDLp-lite nowadays??

  • Observer

    “”Borden,

    No problem with SDLP supporters at all. I’ve a problem with many (most) of their party policies and their party representation of Nationalist communities. I wish them nothing but electoral misfortune.

    Posted by Mark on Jan 06, 2007 @ 11:23 PM”

    You agree with Sinn Fein’s violent past then?

    Posted by Observer on Jan 07, 2007 @ 12:31 PM”

    Silence speaks volumes!