Morse on East Belfast…

Sammy Morse with the first of his constituency reports looks at East Belfast, where he thinks Reg Empey and Michael Copeland of the UUP should safe. Naomi Long for Alliance should also get home. The only serious question he raises is whether, on one hand the DUP vote manage sufficiently to take David Ervine’s PUP seat. Dawn Purvis, the new party leader, has a tough uphill which Sammy reckons needs a near perfect storm elsewhere to keep the party’s flame alive in Stormont. As he puts it: “any less than 0.6 Quotas and she can kiss the seat goodbye”.He also has the full list of runners and riders…

DUP: Wallace BROWNE, Robin NEWTON, Peter ROBINSON. UUP: Michael COPELAND, Reg EMPEY, Jim RODGERS. PUP: Dawn PURVIS. Alliance: Naomi LONG. SF: Niall O’DONNGHALIE. SDLP: Mary MULDOON. Conservative: Glyn CHAMBERS. Socialist: Thomas BLACK. Workers’ Party: Joe BELL. Make Politicians History: George RAINBOW. Green: Steven AGNEW.

  • Insider

    Sinn Fein won’t have even the sniff of a seat in East Belfast

  • Crataegus

    PUP vote has been sliding so I expect PUP loss DUP gain. Alliance vote increases.

    3 DUP
    2 UUP
    1 Alliance

  • Insider

    Niomi Long has done some decent stuff but her namby pamby nicey nicey attitude turns off many in the constituency.

    I reckon that there’ll be a serious amount of back and forthness at the count for the last seat, with it being contested between DUP, UUP and PUP. the outcome is dependent on transfers from SF, SDLP etc. judging on previous elections transfers from Short Strands SF vote will prob go to PUP

  • Inspector Clouseau

    Some UUP voters might be encouraged to transfer from Empey/Copeland to Purvis instead of Rodgers to ensure the DUP dont get a 3rd seat. After all their parties tried to form a political alliance in the last assembly.

  • Crataegus

    Insider

    her namby pamby nicey nicey attitude turns off many in the constituency.

    This goes wider than Niomi though I see your point. There is something about Alliance generally that is slightly repulsive in a sugary sort of way. If you look at their web site you get:

    has slammed DUP requests for the Mid-Ulster Election Count to be moved out of Ballymena,

    has hit out at Ulster Unionists for their hypocrisy

    has welcomed government moves to protect older people from rogue salespersons.

    has condemned litter louts

    the only alternative to tribalism

    Where is the Alliance party propose, Alliance party introduces new proposals for water rates, or anything. Where are the positive press releases based on POLICY?

    So much of this is just reacting to others and it has a feeling of smugness about it. It is insubstantial. Much of it is negative.

    This is my opinion as someone who would like to see them do well!

  • David

    Is the impact of the UKUP not being ignored here. The DUP is going to face pressure from its right. Now that is new.

  • Some UUP voters might be encouraged to transfer from Empey/Copeland to Purvis instead of Rodgers to ensure the DUP dont get a 3rd seat. After all their parties tried to form a political alliance in the last assembly.

    Copeland probably won’t pass the quota until after Rodgers is eliminated; if he does pass it at all. He may well be elected sub quota. Unless of course, Purvis does so badly that she goes out before Rodgers. In which case, it’s good night Irene anyway.

    judging on previous elections transfers from Short Strands SF vote will prob go to PUP

    At most 10% of them, judging from the last election. The vast bulk were non-transferrable last time.

    Is the impact of the UKUP not being ignored here. The DUP is going to face pressure from its right.

    Yes it is being ignored, because there is no UKUP, or any anti-St. Andrew’s Agreement candidate, in East Belfast.

    North Belfast up now. South Belfast tomorrow.

  • IJP

    I note Steven Agnew as the Green candidate. Super guy with a lot to offer, well worth a number 2!

    Insider

    her namby pamby nicey nicey attitude turns off many in the constituency.

    Excuse me? Naomi? “Nicey nicey”? Don’t know her well, do you? 🙂

    Crat

    Thanks for your input, noted.

    However, to play devil’s advocate, think of a few successful election campaigns – Tories in ’79, DUP in ’03 etc – and tell me, was there much positive about them?

    We’ve run campaigns in the past based primarily on positive policy, to which the response has been “That’s all very nice, but I think I’ll just vote the way I always have, sure it doesn’t matter anyway”.

    Except it *does* matter when you’re electing our regional government!

    The key to most people (i.e. the ones not interested enough to post on Slugger) is to show the rampant hypocrisy of the other parties. They oppose water charges and rates hikes, yet their policies in the last Assembly brought them about. They support free care for older people, yet they opposed it in the Assembly when they had the chance. They propose abolishing tuition fees, yet they have no plans to fund further education (aside from asking the Brits to pay, which they won’t). This sort of nonsense is: a) common to all four past Executive parties; and b) extremely damaging to all of us NI. It needs to be shown up for what it is.

    For the record, our own policy stuff will come primarily around our manifesto launch, and during our own media appearances later in the campaign.

  • Insider

    Interesting to note that the Alliance Launch etc isnt until the end of February…

    Is it gonna take you that long to cut and paste policies from the other parties and put a few nice pictures in and dare to call it ‘different’ ?

  • Crataegus

    IJP

    I agree with what you say about the hypocracy of the four S & M parties. All they bring is pain, bondage, torture and perversion. They are woeful.

    What I am saying is Alliance need to be a lot more careful about the wording of its press releases and have some strategy long term. When you read a lot of them they create a poor image. They are done in the evening after work in an attempt to get a few column inches. Alliance have limited resources and I fully understand the problem.

    I was always told you should go out on the positive. So you have Alliance launch, Alliance propose, want action now etc. etc. Make it positive and link the statement to policy if possible. It is crucial to the long term image of the party if you want to create an impression of substance.

    Also the party should pick several salient points that it thinks are crucial and hammer them home over and over and over. Be clearly identified with some crucial points. Your press releases are all over the place so the message that comes across is muddle and mean well.

    If you wish to put the boot in do it properly, pick the topic (say water charges) and again hammer it home over and over. So everyone is very clear about who is responsible. Keep kicking even when the opponent is on the ground.

    Sorry but trying to be helpful.

    In this election I think it is important that all non sectarian parties are seen to make advances. Alliance, Greens, Conservatives etc. I also have a feeling that the DUP and SF vote is far from solid. I have had to come back to NI for a number of reasons, but in the last few days have been over in West Belfast etc and it seems to me that SF are in serious trouble. I have no doubt that some of their voters will stay at home and their vote may drop! DUP can’t get a proper handle on it, but clearly all is not well.

  • Mike

    “Yes it is being ignored, because there is no UKUP, or any anti-St. Andrew’s Agreement candidate, in East Belfast.”

    This strikes me as pretty odd. Didn’t Robert McCartney say the UKUP was standing in every constituency (even to the extent of standing himself in many of them) unless there were anti-St Andrews Agreement independent unionists standing, in order to give unionist voters the option of an anti-Agreement candidate? Did an independent candidate drop out at the last minute or something?

  • Ca Va

    The D.U.P. Election Posters around Knockbreda Carrige way are requesting Robinson 1/Newton 2/Browne3. Looks like they are attempting to manage the vote better this time round, will check other East Bt Posters

  • John East Belfast

    I wouldnt write off Jim Rodgers this time.

    Jim got nearly 2500 first preference votes at last council election.

    We actually have a very strong team in Sir Reg, Michael & Jim who all have a high profile and appeal to the diverse electorate that Sammy has alluded to in his report.

    The absence of Ervine could find some of those first preference votes going to the UUP and although there is no anti St Andrews agreement candidate some disillusioned DUP types could stay at home.

    Our candidates are also very strong on the ground and the Albertbridge Road (which has now been added to with the opening of another office at the busy Belmont/Holywood Road junction) have all greatly increased the party presence.

    Add to that the fact that our candidates work their socks off for the local electorate with the Albertbridge Road office being one of/if not the busiest in the country.

    Throw in the Reg as leader factor and the extra votes that will generate.

    ie we have a lot to play for here.

    On the doors we are being received politely if not positively although that means nothing I know.

    East Belfast is one to watch.

  • tony

    I think we are overestimating the alliance vote in east belfast, I think long has done well and has made inroads, but there is something about her and alliance that alot of people really dont like…as someone else said ‘sugercoated’ and not in a good way.

    I also think we may be underestimating Purvis, she has made quite an impact on the policing board and there seems to be a certain amount of curiosity about her, I think the timing was awful with her taking over so close to an election…if she had another 6 months I think she would have been a shoe in…..even still I think she will make it and keep the seat.

    My prediction..no change

    DUP by 2 (closer to getting 3 but not there yet)
    UUP by 2
    Long
    Purvis

  • Tony

    Being more specific I would say

    Robinson and Empey elected on the first count.
    DUP number 2 brought in on Robinson surplus
    Copeland brought in on Robinson/Empey surplus
    Long
    Purvis (after a long wait)

  • Queens Unionist

    The only way I can see Dawn Purvis getting in is on the coat tails of David Ervine’s death.(and i say that with all respect to the dead)
    I sincerely hope she doesn’t.
    I do however think that the DUP has a much better chance of 3 seats in East Belfast at the expense of the PUP seat and hopefully this relegates the PUP to the history books of NI politics.
    I think the DUP vote will be very well managed as it seems it will be in South Belfast.

  • interested

    JEB
    “has now been added to with the opening of another office at the busy Belmont/Holywood Road junction) have all greatly increased the party presence.”

    Yes – indeed – you may well have put some signs up on a building but I’ve passed it every day since those signs went up some 2-3 weeks ago now (i think) and the doors have never once been opened.

    Nice try to fool the electorate, but its not an office, its a glorified advertising hoarding.

  • Ziznivy

    “well worth a number 2!”

    Shamefully that caused a puerile snort.

  • Ziznivy

    “Yes – indeed – you may well have put some signs up on a building but I’ve passed it every day since those signs went up some 2-3 weeks ago now (i think) and the doors have never once been opened.

    Nice try to fool the electorate, but its not an office, its a glorified advertising hoarding.”

    I believe that work is still being done on the office.

  • Queens Unionist

    “I believe that work is still being done on the office.”

    Sure it is.
    In a bart simpson like sarcastic tone.
    🙂

  • Ziznivy

    Well the ladders and old sheets would suggest to me that the painters are in. Which is a phrase you wouldn’t want to think about too much in the context of Naomi Long.

  • I think Tony’s got it about right.

    Long (AP), Empey (DUP), Newton (DUP), Robinson (DUP) … with Copeland (UUP) and Purvis (PUP).

    So no real change in terms of parties and seats.

    Though the first party to make significant promises to fight for the rights of the local minority communities (Eastern Europe and beyond) could pick up a few hundred very significant first preferences votes. If the parties could just get around to representing the entire community … it could be a winning tactic!

  • The Big Man

    ALAN IN BELFAST

    HAS EMPEY REG JOINED THE DUP?

  • Sean Og

    The PUP are gone. They were a one man band after Billy H quit politics and have no chance of retaining a seat in East Belfast. Even with David Irvine it was going to be tough. Without him impossible.
    I agree with other posters, there is something very dislikelable about some of the Alliance candidates. Is it the hollier than thou way they preach to us? Anyway i predict:

    3 DUP, 2 UUP, 1 Alliance.

  • Oops! ^DUP^UUP. I doubt they’d have him!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Crataegus, as well as being the man who industrialized Russia, led the USSR to victory against fascism and single-handedly invented begonias and the modern flush lavatory, I am a longtime supporter of the Alliance Party (though I do not speak for it). Seriously, I hope you don’t mind if I give my opinion on some of your points :

    Where is the Alliance party propose, Alliance party introduces new proposals for water rates, or anything. Where are the positive press releases based on POLICY?

    The first thing I always say is that there is a degree of unfairness the way Alliance is judged to a standard that the other parties are not held to. This is not an excuse, but at the same time, when trying to understand how votes are won or lost in NI you have to understand what drives people to cast them. I can tell you that policy does not come into it. The other parties do not have proposals for water rates (they’ll say they’re against them, but they won’t say they’ll reverse them, because they know they are powerless to do so due to the mess they made while they were in power previously), or anything. They do not have positive press releases based on policy. Take the DUP – you can’t get a straight answer out of them whether there will be powersharing or not. Historically, efforts by SF to go off the beaten track in terms of policy have descended into farce. The Stoops are facing an embarassing climbdown and potential legal action over the way they chose to present themselves to the electorate. The UUP remind me of the Conservatives between around 1994 and 1997. They seem to be going in saying that they laid the ground that Paisley is standing on, apparently unaware that being a pioneer never wins votes in and of itself.

    People say Alliance is middle class, nicey nicey, wishy washy etc. Whether this is true or not (it’s not – compare the profession and wealth of the people running the party with the equivalent people in UUP, DUP or SDLP – count those barristers, estate agents, doctors, landowners etc) is beside the point. Since partition no party sitting outside of the tribes has been spectacularly successful. Socialists, communists, conservatives, liberals, natural law, George Weiss, you name it. None of them can get the votes in. In fact, I bet if you check the numbers you’ll probably find Alliance at it’s peak is the most successful of the bunch.

    Alliance’s approach seems to be to try to keep it simple, and highlight the fact that the incumbent tribal crowd have f**ked up this country. Their messing around is hitting us all in the pockets. The rates increases and water charges would all be avoidable if the parties worked to remove the segregated schooling system, push for more cross-community housing schemes, etc. The party does have detailed proposals about how to do this, but there’s nobody listening. Therefore, the message needs to be short and sweet.

    I have had to come back to NI for a number of reasons, but in the last few days have been over in West Belfast etc and it seems to me that SF are in serious trouble. I have no doubt that some of their voters will stay at home and their vote may drop! DUP can’t get a proper handle on it, but clearly all is not well.

    I agree with your concerns. Now we’re going to find out how bigoted and insular people really are, now that the final frontier – the possibility of DUP and SF co-operation – is gone. The real danger here is that people staying at home are abandoning politics. Of course, you could argue that nobody has been doing politics properly here for a very long time.

    Sean Og :

    Is it the hollier than thou way they preach to us?

    For holier than thou, nobody beats Gerry Adams. You seen the latest PPB featuring Nelson Mandela ? And it’s quite literally the case with Ian Paisley – he really is holier than thou, being as he is an interpreter of the word of God. You mean to say to me that Alliance is worse than all that ?

  • slug

    CS: I noticed that PPB of Adams with Mandela. The international statesman… Will be interesting to see if SF can maintain its high voter turnout. To be fair to Sinn Fein they seemed to do what no other party in the Western world could do lately, namely get working class people out to vote in large numbers. So a downturn would be a somewhat unsurprising consequence of normalization.

  • John East Belfast

    I havent seen the SF PEB but with this talk about Mandela please tell me I dont have to endure them singing along to the Labbi Siffre song “Something So Strong” another time.

  • Getting back to East Belfast the one potential spanner in all the works, as noted by Sammy, is:

    The DUP, however, have a history of throwing away seats in East Belfast through poor balancing

    And this has affected almost every regional STV election since 1975. Is there any evidence the DUP machine in East Belfast has finally learnt how to do it properly?

  • Inspector Clouseau

    Wheres Tim Lemon these days? Wasn’t he once the Messiah of the UUP in East Belfast, the One who would slay the antichrist that is Peter Robinson?

  • slug

    Inspector: indeed. I recall being told that:

    The Future’s Bright, the Future’s Lemon.

  • IJP

    Crat

    No problem, appreciate the points.

    Insider

    If you were true to your name, you’d know our manifesto is already written!

    It’s other parties who copy us, not the other way around.

  • “It’s other parties who copy us, not the other way around”………
    Yeah, that’s why they all get about 5 per cent of the vote.
    Someone mentioned it earlier, but it’s this smarmy, smug, sickly, sugar-coated attitude among Alliance members that really grates.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Someone mentioned it earlier, but it’s this smarmy, smug, sickly, sugar-coated attitude among Alliance members that really grates.

    Paul,

    Do you normally vote for personalities rather than policies ? I’m picturing you going into the polling booth saying to yourself, well your man’s an evil bigoted bastard whose mates rob banks for a living, but sure at least he’s not a sugar-coated smarmy bastard, so I’ll vote for him ? If your way of seeing things is in any way representative then we really do have a long way to go.

    I’ve directly observed several different cases when the SDLP lifted ideas and policies – even electoral strategies – after observing Alliance using them effectively, eg in Castle ward in North Belfast 1997. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery.

    The fact that Alliance do not get credit at the polls for their policy is what is telling us that voters here aren’t voting for policies. Since the problem appears to be that Alliance are too nice, perhaps they should get a paramilitary wing and start threatening that the other parties will be “dealt with”. Maybe then you’ll vote for them eh Paul ?

  • Crataegus

    Comrade

    I know the 4 S & M parties get away with flaky or no policy, they just don’t need to they are in the game of tribal head counts. You are not so the rules are different. You have to prove your worth and be seen as being of substance. You have to be clearly miles ahead of the others to make any progress whatsoever. The playing field isn’t level and it is unfair but that unfortunately is the game you are in. All non sectarian parties have the odds stacked against them. Even the very structures of the agreement institutionalise sectarianism. It is an obscenity but that is how it is.

    Sit down with a strong cup of coffee and ask yourself what messages does Alliance wish to convey and is it succeeding? What image we are conveying, what are people telling us, do they have a point and what can we do in the longer term to address any weaknesses? Image is important and the current one is not doing you many favours.

    Let us have a go at some of the guys who seem to get away with murder. ;

    Can someone please tell me one good reason to vote for the DUP? In over 30 years what has it achieved? What was wrong with Sunningdale?

    Can anyone tell me why SF is a better option than the SDLP for frankly I can’t see any real difference in terms of position and policy? So why would I vote for people who have been willing to murder when I can vote for people who are not?

  • DK

    “The D.U.P. Election Posters around Knockbreda Carrige way are requesting Robinson 1/Newton 2/Browne3. Looks like they are attempting to manage the vote better this time round, will check other East Bt Posters”

    It is in North Belfast “in this area please vote 1. 2. 3.” They are trying, but will their electorate play ball.

  • Valenciano

    I don’t have any doubt at all that the DUP will take 3 seats. Robbo polled 49% at Westminster in 2005 and the DUP candidates got 43% in the locals the same day – a 7% increase on 2001. Add to that some PUP votes which will come their way post Ervine and a few UUP votes and they’ll be home and dry.

    Alan: “Though the first party to make significant promises to fight for the rights of the local minority communities (Eastern Europe and beyond) could pick up a few hundred very significant first preferences votes.”

    Except that a lot of East Europeans won’t be on the voting register and any party that did try to make minority rights an election issue would probably suffer leakage the other end – this is Northern Ireland we’re talking about after all.

  • Crataegus

    Valenciano

    I think the minority rights may become more important 5-10 years on as many actually decide to settle here. In some areas their vote could be significant.

  • South Belfast is up now. West Belfast tomorrow, East Antrim and East Derry over the weekend.

  • Ca Va

    The D.U.P. Posters are saying Browne 1/Newton 2/Robinson 3 on the Upper Newtownards Rd. So looks like they are trying to manage their vote this time round

  • the sneek

    DUP canvass booklet shows Robinson with half the number of polling stations Newton and Browne have allocated to them plus he is No3 in their areas.

    Got to ask why multi-Bob did not stand here!!

  • bruce201

    Will all those who thing Dawn Purvis is going to win a seat stop trying to fool us and go down to Barneys any put your money where your mouths are –
    http://www.eastwoodbookmakers.com/current_odds/info.asp?SID=38&NCID=8442&NID=46795

  • gareth mccord

    keep the uvf/pup drug dealing murdering racketeering brothel no ceasefire scum out of OUR government!!! the pup/uvf are finished good riddence!!

  • Crataegus

    Gareth

    They won’t hold the seat and I agree good to see the back of them.

    Hope your namesake does well in North Belfast.

  • gareth mccord

    crategus
    i hope so, but i think it will the same saying from both sides. “you have to vote for him or her or else the other side will get in more”! i think the people of n.ireland become brainwashed and a big dose of amnesia when it comes to our elections. they forget for the past years after the last election what they were promised. they forget that the politicians took their fat pay packets and sat on their back sides. they forget the big issues they have let get beyond our control like incoming water rates housing prices primary education. will the people of n.ireland now look at the person they are voting for and vote for them because they deliver or the party to “keep the other side out”. DONT FORGET UNIONIST VOTERS WHO IGNORED OUR PLEAS FOR HELP AND SUPPORT INTO THE OMBUDSMAN REPORT INTO COLLUSION!! collusion on both sides of the fence and victims on both sides of the fence. two weeks ago the new leader of the PUP DAWN PURVIS disgraced democracy, decency and respect by ignoring victims families of the ombudsman report. do the people of east belfast or n.ireland really want people like her and her party in politics when they have ignored and ignoring the current UVF activities of murders drug dealing extortion prostitution and intimidation!!
    but i do feel i am wasting my time as n.ireland will always be the country full of bigots controlled by bigots and voted by “keep the other side out” voters!
    WAKE UP AND SMELL PEACE AND GET RID OF THE CONTROLLING BIGOTS WHO HAVE HELD THIS COUNTRY BACK TO SUIT THEIR POCKETS !!

  • willis

    No Gareth

    I don’t think you are wasting your time.

    I think you make a lot of comfortable bigots feel uncomfortable.

  • Crataegus

    Some colleagues have suffered extreme problems with the loyalist gangsters. My views of the PSNI based on experience are not repeatable.

    I do not understand why politicians in NI cannot simply accept the honest report of the ombudsman and collectively demand action. It is in everyone’s common interest. It is above party politics.

    I understand why Raymond McCord is standing as an independent and on the one issue, but obviously you are interested in a wider range of issues. The system is stacked against independents. Would it not be better to stand as a candidate for one of the smaller parties at least that way you may get some support and help? Some Labour group or Greens would seem to be in the right bracket? People in these sorts of parties in NI don’t generally expect to get elected and generally are standing as a matter of principle. In my experience they tend to be good people if a bit idealistic. Also they have wider contacts that could be of help. Greens in Europe, Britain and the South, Labour would be a lot more difficult as the Government is ultimately responsible.

    It is a lonely stand and I thank Raymond and those like him for what they are doing.

    I don’t have a vote in North Belfast or Raymond would definitely have my 1st preference. However I will ask a number of people I know over there to consider him as an option and preferably a 1st option.

    What people in NI fail to understand is that you should ALWAYS vote for what you want first, and then transfer. PRSTV allows you to do this. If you do this you may get what you want, but to vote for someone simply to keep another who you perceive as even worse out is stupid. Voting for someone you don’t really want is definitely wasting your vote, but as a 4th or 5th preference is sort of OK.

    Raymond needs people to know that they can safely vote for him and if he is eliminated that their votes will be transferred to the usual vultures. They don’t understand the voting system and it is not in the interests of the larger parties to explain it.

  • Crataegus

    Above to Gareth

    and KEEP IT UP!!!

  • eastman

    As a local going on local opinion I think that Naomi might not get as many votes as she thinks she will. People haven’t forgot that Alliance & Naomi helped Joe O’Donnell get the Deputy Mayor post when the whole Cluan Place/Short Strand situation was still a bit heated. Personally, I hope she does get in but Dawn will push her close.

  • John Farrell

    With SF getting 3.3% of the East Belfast vote, and SDLP getting 2.7%……their role is really to provide Alliance with a certain quota (12.2% first preferences) in East Belfast……Napier, Cushnahan, Long its a pattern.

    Basically this is why Alliance do so well in Bangor, Newtownards,Carrickfergus and larne. Not enough Catholics to get a SF or SDLP type elected (saving Danny O’Connors surprise in 1998)….if Catholics around Carryduff and the Ards Peninsula get their act together (6.7% and SF 2.6%) to Alliances 9.1% AP might be out of business in one of its safe places.