Morse on, South Belfast…

Name’s Morse, Sammy Morse… and today he looks at what has to be Belfast’s most intriguing constituency: South. He is certain that sitting UUP MLA will lose his seat to Chris Stalford. On the Nationalist/Centrist side of the house, it is a little more complex, particularly if Anna Lo can produce a beefy challenge.If, and only if, Lo can take back some of a highly fluctuating Alliance/Women’s Coalition base 6% and 15%, then it might produce problems for Sinn Fein or the SDLP’s sitting candidates.

The SDLP’s weakness:

…it’s worth bearing in mind that the only time the SDLP have broken the two-quota mark here is in Westminster Elections when there was clear evidence tactical voting. It’s hard to see both SDLP candidates being all that close to a first stage quota and if they balance poorly, their second runner might just lose out. Which of the two is more vulnerable? That’s anyone’s guess.

And Sinn Fein’s:

Their problem is transfer repellance. Throughout the 2003 count, Maskey attracted less than 100 transfers. It is very difficult to judge what will happen to the Sinn Féin vote here; Maskey’s unprecedented win in 2003 on 12.6% of the vote turned out to something of a high water mark for SF. In 2005, undoubtedly affected by the Robert McCartney murder and Northern Bank robbery, both of which occurred in the constituency, it fell to just 10.3% in the local elections, and aided by tactical voting in the General to just 9.0%. This would put Maskey deep, deep, in the danger zone.

Given his transfer repellance and a much stronger Alliance campaign than in 2003, I reckon Maskey needs to be about least 3% points ahead of Lo on the first count to keep Alliance out, or alternatively be about half a percentage point ahead of the SDLP’s weaker runner. That probably means that Maskey needs at least 12% to be in with a chance, and maybe 13% to be absolutely safe. Rumblings from the Sinn Féin camp indicate they believe they will have to work hard to hold this seat – this is the only seat in the Assembly they there is a risk (and it is only a risk) of them losing.

How does Maskey produce that winning 13%? Most of Sinn Féin’s vote here is ‘new’ SF, rather than ‘traditional’ SF. They musy hope that the negative fallout from 2004-5 has blown away, possibly aided by recent Sinn Féin decisions on policing. If so, Maskey should be around the 13-14% mark. On other hand they must hope that the traditional Republican vote isn’t too put off by the modernisation of Sinn Féin; contrary to popular belief, such a vote isn’t confined to the Markets – there’s a smattering of it in Ardmore and the Lower Ormeau. More importantly, there might be a lot of it among students and ex-students from traditionally republican rural areas. Nobody knows, but Maskey’s coalition is so broad that he must be careful of leaking too much at either end.

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  • Crataegus

    People will vote right down the ticket if they think they can damage SF. If the SDLP have some surplus manpower canvassing Loyalist areas may be useful.

    Also SF are losing core support and will have a devil of a job maintaining their vote.

    Bear in mind the SDLP Westminster victory and I see them holding two.

    The last seat will be between Alliance and SF and this time Alliance take on transfers.

    SF loss.

  • I’m all for seat-by-seat guides, but this was more of an ‘how’s SF going to solve its middle class issue?’ post. Other than Mick’s one throwaway line, you’d hardly know how interesting this is on the Unionist side. Namely that the DUP will win 2 seats (setting them up very nicely for westminster), and the UUP will lose one. I’d have liked more chat about that because I’m a founder patron of, “Save the Esmond”, a charitable organisation that seeks to preserve herivorious lowland mammals from extinction (and seeks also the inhummane destruction of gimp infestations).

  • DK

    Are the DUP sticking up posters yet telling people in different areas who to vote no.1 and No 2.?

    Are the UUP doing the same, only with three (how the hell is that going to work)?

  • Yokel

    I have described Alex as an interesting floater elsewhere and whilst I’m aware of the profile Lo is getting and instinctively see a seat for her, looking at the figures, she’s going to have to bring quite a few elements together to get her in.

    Alex needs to hang on and pull some SDLP transfers, not beyond the realms of possibility.

    If he is to make it someone has to lose out. Unionists look relatively safe on 3 seats unless their people don’t turn out but I can’t for the life of me decide if it would be the SDLP or Alliance who would lose if Alex won.

    Glad someone such as Sammy reckons the DUP are dfeinitely on for two as I think its odds-on. Their slate looks pretty good here. Stalford has been around here for a bit and clearly Spratt can gather votes as evidenced in 2005.

  • you’d hardly know how interesting this is on the Unionist side

    Read the full post on my blog, then… fx:tuts, looks skyward!!! Besides, it’s not interesting because it’s something of a foregone conclusion. It might be fun for someone of your politics, but it’s hardly news!!!

    I’d have liked more chat about that because I’m a founder patron of, “Save the Esmond”

    Esmond is one of the few Northern Ireland politicians who, a – has read an economic textbook once or twice, and b – isn’t part of the mushy soft left, let’s get the Brits to give us endless buckets of public spending, consensus. It’ll be sad to see him go, but I’m afraid he looks dooooooomed, as Michael McGimpsey might say.

  • Hokey-pokey

    DK

    Posters are saying 1. Spratt 2. Stalford in the Castlereagh end. 1. Stalford 2. Spratt in the Belfast end.

  • BonarLaw

    Sammy Morse

    objectively Esmond is so much more appealing than Gimp and yet he’s doomed.

    S.B. will be a strange place indeed if it chooses Gimp over Mekon.

  • Crataegus

    Karl

    The question in my mind about the DUP is when will they start to fall apart, before or after the election. Unfortunately it seems that after is the most likely.

    They are sitting on almost 2 quotas and probably most of us are taking it as read that they will take two seats. Alliance are probably just short of a Quota but will gain by Green transfers and UUP surplus.

    As for seeks to preserve herivorious lowland mammals I would imagine the only party for that is the Greens. By all means get out and vote for them but make sure you use your transfers. Greens have a candidate I have never heard off and will probably get about 300 -400 1st preference votes max. Their transfers will probably put Alliance in.

  • Obviously the Unionist side is most interesting for intra-Unionist factionalists (‘like’, as Basil’s wig likes to say, ‘doh‘), but – the electoral point of interest is, since the UUP’s losing one, why on earth should it best the estimable Esmond, rather than the wretched McGimpsey? All good men should come to the aid of the party to ensure the undead go back to wherever they came from (which would be the Gold Coast, it turns out).

  • Crataegus

    Karl

    I would prefer it if the UUP held two and the DUP lost. The DUP are vulnerable they are trading on a lie, and there is deep division just below the surface. They are skating on thin ice but all they have to do is hold ranks until after the election. If the UUP want to hold they need SDLP transfers. These are likely to go Alliance first. Its a tall order.

    Better than usual election broadcast by the way. The middle ground is where you want to park the UUP. Trying to out DUP the DUP was stupid. The DUP will soon be seen as dead end but probably not before the election.

    You may be lucky and the DUP vote splits poorly but 3 candidates on 20 -23% will make transfers hard to manage.

  • More than in most places, Assembly election 2007 is a dry run for General election 2009. The DUP will likely get its second seat at the expense of Birnie not McGimpsey (a pity), but the margin between it and the UUP will be crucial to give someone (probably Jimmy Spratt) the best possible chance of turfing the Good Doctor out of Westminster. Reducing the UUP to a rump that is incapable of thwarting this ambition has to be the DUP’s number 1 aim here.

  • Crataegus

    Sorry DUP did not gain above obviously.

  • bob wilson

    ‘this is the only seat in the Assembly they there is a risk’
    Methinks they are at risk to SDLP in N&A myself

  • why on earth should it best the estimable Esmond, rather than the wretched McGimpsey?

    Look, if McGimpsey loses, Folks on the Hill loses its only funny schtick along with it. You wanna see that? Do ya?

    ’this is the only seat in the Assembly they there is a risk’
    Methinks they are at risk to SDLP in N&A myself

    Me too (although not as serious as in South Belfast) and a very outside chance of them losing one in South Down. That sentence should have read “the only seat in the Assembly they think there is a risk.

  • Queens Unionist

    Yes as said above the DUP is vote managing the area unlike the UUP seem to be doing.
    I think that Stalford will take the second seat at the expense of an Ulster unionist. He did out pole McGIMPsey at the local council elections IIRC.
    with a good canvassing team and a lotta hard work i think the DUP are onto a winner in South Belfast.
    To me Anna Lo is the interesting one though.

  • PS – these profiles are better than the Belfast Telegraph’s – they think that South Down covers “the market town of Banbridge”. Ahem!!! Don’t they realise why Powell lost the seat in the first place?

  • Yokel

    Queens Unionist

    That comments just about sums up why I Think Lo can take a seat even though statistcally I’m not sure she can climb the mountain.

    She is indeed the interesting one and there is potential for that interest that many have to turn into solid votes.

    By the way Sammy Morse, what, if any evidence was there of UUP types voting SDLP to keep Spratt out at the 2005 GE?

  • By the way Sammy Morse, what, if any evidence was there of UUP types voting SDLP to keep Spratt out at the 2005 GE?

    None. But there was evidence of Alliance types voting both SDLP and UUP to keep out Spratt.

  • There wasn’t any evidence of UUP voters voting for AMcD in 2005 – there was just enough evidence of sometime SF voters voting against trend for the Stoops to get him in. More and more, certain DUP gain when Gordon grows a pair.

  • Yokel

    I’d heard stories but no stats so that answers that.

  • BonarLaw

    Sammy Morse

    The sloppiness of the local press continues in this evenings’ BT profile on Foyle:

    “Meanwhile, to the consternation of the DUP in Derry, the Ulster Unionist Party has put forward fresh-faced candidate Peter Hay.”

  • jeep55

    There is and always has been at least one centre ground seat in South Belfast. Even in the extremely polarised scene in 2003 when vote lending from ‘centre’ to ‘less extreme sectarian’ (i.e. Alliance/NIWC to UUP/SDLP) was probably at it highest, Monica Mcwilliams should have retained the last seat. That she didn’t was due entirely to the DUP not voting down the ticket and letting a third Nationalist in by default. Of the 2000+ final DUP surplus only 400 transfered – the vast majority went to Monica Mcwilliams but she still lost out to Alasdair McDonnell by 100 odd votes. Had the DUP transfered down the ticket they could first have ensured Monica’s election and then brought Alasdair above Maskey (Carmel Hanna was at that stage very close to a quota). The DUP know this election is a fight between themselves and SF and Belfast South is what in football terminology is called a ‘six-pointer’ So they will almost certainly instruct their faithful to vote further down this time. Also there is clear evidence from the boards (if these are not now sailing round the constituenncy in the gale force winds!) that they are attempting to manage the vote this time. I also note that Alasdair is doing the gallant thing by placing Carmel 1 on the Lisburn Road while he is placed 1 in the tougher (for SDLP) Markets area. So, as with the last time, if SDLP do lose out it will be him. However I think the DUP and Lo will gain, the UUP and Maskey will lose.

  • the sneek

    “In 2005, undoubtedly affected by the Robert McCartney murder and Northern Bank robbery, both of which occurred in the constituency…”

    Sort your compass out. McCartney murdered in East Belfast.

    I was out with DUP team on canvass. There is no doubt about the outcome here. DUP will do better than 2005.

  • McCartney murdered in East Belfast.

    Sort your facts out – McCartney was murdered on Maginness’ bar in May Street.

  • BonarLaw

    the sneek

    Sort YOUR compass out. The family were from Short Strand in EB but the murder was across the bridge at a bar on May Street.

  • I also note that Alasdair is doing the gallant thing by placing Carmel 1 on the Lisburn Road while he is placed 1 in the tougher (for SDLP) Markets area.

    Not quite as gallant as you might think jeep – that means he also has Rosetta, Ballynafeigh and Four Winds. And probably Stranmillis. I have heard that Alisdair is less than happy with the split, though.

  • Queens Unionist

    The sneek- Good too see that your out on the beat.
    Hope your oging to sort out a few posters that are battered and blown about SB.

  • fair_deal

    jeep55

    “Monica Mcwilliams should have retained the last seat. That she didn’t was due entirely to the DUP not voting down the ticket and letting a third Nationalist in by default.”

    I think a Paxmanesque Yesssssssss is required for that comment

  • Observer

    South Belfast:

    2 DUP
    1 Alliance
    1 UUP
    1 SDLP – Hanna or McDonnell?

    Good to see the DUP on the rise in South Belfast!

  • South Belfast Procapitalism candidate Charles Smyth has a website, a rather soft focus Wikipedia entry, and even a YouTube video!

    He claims to follow the teachings of Ludwig von Mises; however poor Ludwig will be spinning in his grave listening to the way this guy butchers the English language.

  • Lo will get in because of South Belfast’s provinical desperation to be a Norn Iron Hampstead, and thus do the right thinking thing. Maskey’s certainly in trouble, and the moral obtuseness which leads to people thinking where exactly McCartney was gutted is the issue that’s at stake explains why. It’s a pity more middle class catholics outside Hampstead-sur-Lagan aren’t troubled by similar second thoughts.

  • willis

    TurdBlossom

    Did Anna Lo ever act with Olly Reed?

  • Crataegus

    Karl

    I cannot not understand why any Nationalist would vote for SF when they can vote for the SDLP? Utter mystery to me.

    Sf have real problems with their core vote and I think they may suffer a few losses in this election. I am almost sure that their vote will be down.

  • brendan,belfast

    the alliance trick of putting in Lo may not work. i for one would not transfer at any stage to a gimmick candidate. She will not hold her own and everyone else will get returned. that’ll do for this south Belfast voter. Thank God that Monica is long gone. Mind you i will the ahem challenging debate with the WC canvassers!

  • jeep55

    Brendan

    There are plenty of ‘gimmick’ candidates in South Belfast but Anna Lo is not one of them. The rapturous reception she got recently on ‘Let’s Talk’ backs this view.

  • brendan,belfast

    Unfortunately for Anna you are wrong. Alliance pursued other ‘celebrity’ candidates before Anna Lo agreed to put her name on the ticket, then join the party and then allow Alliance to tout her credentials in purely racist terms. As for the ‘raptous welcome’ – you watched a different programme than i did.

  • Sammy,

    Excellent analysis – enjoyed your site. Best of luck with the rest of the constutuencies.

  • carl

    I think Anna Lo is a gimmick candidate.

    Was the Lets Talk audience made up of South Belfast voters?

    Soundbites are all well and good for tv, but where’s the substance.

  • SDLPhead@hotmail.com

    I find some of the faux omniscience of constituency analyses such as these teeth-grindingly irritating. On a cursory reading, I picked up two mistakes:

    1. Esmond Birnie did not lose his Council seat by less than a vote. He was a new candidate trying to retain the UUP seat formerly held by Margaret Crooks.
    2. The DUP candidate is Jimmy, not Finlay, Spratt, a former chair of the NI Police Federation. Finlay is the lugubriously-countenanced guy from the Prisoner Officers’ Association who was always on the media unconvincingly complaining about the awful pay which prison officers got. He put me in mind of Private Frazer out of “Dad’s Army”.

    The SDLP postering strategy is, in my opinion, more sensible than the DUP’s, which doesn’t have any pictures and calls for Stalford 1, Spratt 2 and vice-versa. The constituency was divided between McDonnell (Laganbank, Revenhill/Woodstock and most of Castlereagh) and Hanna (Balmoral and the rest of Castlereagh).

    Posters are one of the less effective means of political communication (door-to-door canvassing is best), but people want to see a face on a poster and the SDLP posters call for 1 Hanna, 2 McDonnell and vice versa.

    No-one commentating on South Belfast has picked up one important fact, namely that of the eight candidates with a realistic chance of winning seats (2 SDLP, 1 Alliance, 2 UUP, 2 DUP, 1 SF), five of them don’t even live in South Belfast, according to the information at the Electoral Office (where candidates’ home addresses must be disclosed):

    o Anna Lo lives in Newtownabbey
    o Alex Maskey lives in West Belfast. Hawthorn Glen on the side of Hannahstown Hill, and where Gerry Kelly also lives, is obviously the residential area of desire for upwardly-mobile Provos
    o Michael McGimpsey lives in Newtownards
    o Jimmy Spratt lives in Comber
    o Christopher Stalford lives in East Belfast.

    At least Hanna, McDonnell and Birnie live in the constituency.

    Question for discussion: Is South Belfast the new California, where nearly everyone comes from some place else or, as they say in Ireland, is a ‘blow in’?

    What is going on here?

  • SuperSoupy

    SDLPhead,

    Don’t go where doesn’t benefit you, the SDLP have similar candidates.

    Shall we start with Farrell who previously lost in North and South Down before trying her hand in Lagan Valley but living in Rostrevor?

  • Esmond Birnie did not lose his Council seat by less than a vote. He was a new candidate trying to retain the UUP seat formerly held by Margaret Crooks.

    Ooooh, you nit picker! Although given my form I can’t exactly complain about that. Still, you’re not disputing the point – which is, the UUP nearly saved its second seat in Balmoral through a conservative candidate and balancing strategy, and have missed the lesson by running three candidates and probably letting McGimpsey top the poll?

    The DUP candidate is Jimmy, not Finlay, Spratt, a former chair of the NI Police Federation. Finlay is the lugubriously-countenanced guy from the Prisoner Officers’ Association

    You’re right. I’ll change it now.

    As for omniscience, I make no claims of that, just to doing better constituency profiles than any of the paid, professional, press. Not that that sets a very high standard, reading the crap in the Tele the past couple of nights.

    I might claim to be relatively scient of the internal bitching that sometimes breaks out inside the SDLP in South Belfast, though… maybe that’s what teed you off?

    Is South Belfast the new California, where nearly everyone comes from some place else or, as they say in Ireland, is a ‘blow in’?

    To a large extent it is; it’s that sort of place, but then so is an awful of lot of Belfast suburbia. By the way, is Alex Attwood, who lives in Sharman Road, Belfast 9, a blow in? Should the good people of West Belfast have this “blow in” inflicted on them? Or is it different for SDLP people?

    In any case, moving from one part of the Greater Belfast area to another makes no difference – at one stage, 5 of our 6 Assembly members in North Belfast (Agnew, Cobain, Dodds, Hutchinson and Kelly) lived outside the constituency. Didn’t seem to do them too much harm at the ballot box.

  • Crataegus

    Sammy

    at one stage, 5 of our 6 Assembly members in North Belfast (Agnew, Cobain, Dodds, Hutchinson and Kelly) lived outside the constituency.

    That’s an interesting observation especially in the context of N. Belfast. Only one of them chose to live in the divided and unsafe place they represent?

    McCausland to his credit does live there. (I think)

  • McCausland to his credit does live there. (I think)

    That was during the 1998 Assembly, when only Alban Maginness lived in the constituency. We had three in the last Assembly – Maginness, McCausland and Stanton. If the election goes the way I think it will, we’ll be up to four this time – Humphrey, Maginness, McCausland and Ni Chuilin.

    Not all of it is unsafe and some of it isn’t even divided!

  • IJP

    Brendan

    Utter nonsense on all counts.

    Why is such a candidate a “gimmick”?

    Says a lot more about you than about her.

  • John Farrell

    The first three seats are easily allocated.
    SDLP 1
    DUP 2
    Tactical voting was a factor in electing SDLP Macdonnell to Westminster but its hard to see how their Westminster percentage of 32% can slip below a safe two quotas.

    We therefore have 4 candidates chasing three seats.
    Lo(Alliance Party) will be boosted by a goodwill factor towards her as the first meaningful “ethnic” candidate…and going back to the days of Jim Hendron there is a natural AP “seat” here. Ive got a strange feeling that the morning after results are issued Ms Lo will be “THE story” and probably the leading photo on News letter and Irish News.
    Can UUP actually lose both seats in the area? Close call
    Can Maskey recover from 9% in May 2005 to gain enough votes to keep his seat (there was the nearby.Short Strand factor last time too)
    Can the SDLP keep the second seat.

    Interesting.

  • Sean Og

    Well done Sammy on producing profiles better than any of the local rags. It isn’t just the Tele, the Irish News profiles could be produced by a 4 year old, no analysis whatsoever.

    On south Belfast a couple of things are clear:
    DUP will get 2 at the expense of Bernie. Pity about Bernie because he is a bit different from your run of the mill politician but that’s the way it goes.
    McGimpsey will get in for UUP on Beirnie’s transfers.
    That leaves Maskey, Lo, McDonnell and Hanna fighting for 3 seats.
    More middle class Catholics are moving into South Belfast every month. Hanna will be ahead because of the area she covers and will be elected first with transfers form Greens, Workers Party, Socialist etc.

    Lo will benefit from former WC voters and will get a better first prenerence return than the 2 Alliance candidates last time (Why did the run 2 in 2003???) She can benefit from unionist transfers PUP and UUP. If the DUP voter go down the ticket she will probably be elected next. My guess is enough of them will.

    That leaves McDonnell and Maskey for the last seat. His high profile as MP will help McDonnell and even if he is not ahead of Maskey on the first count he can over take him on transfers and get in without reaching the quota. The 12.6% SF scored in the last Assembley election was the high water mark. If Alex doesn’t get the same again he’s gone.
    I don’t think he will for a few reasons;
    some hard liners in Lower Ormeau/Market will stay at home unhappy about the PSNI move,
    the area is middle class and middle class catholics like Hanna & Dr McDonnell – why would they vote for wee Alex from West Belfast?
    fall out from the McCarthy murder when Alex did himself no favours.
    So I see 2 DUP, 1 UUP, 1 APNI, 2 SDLP.
    APNI gain from SF and DUP gain from UUP.

  • pam

    Brendan

    Anna Lo did not just join Alliance recently. I was certainly at Alliance Party events as far back as 1998 when she was there.

  • Animus

    I wouldn’t have said that Anna Lo is a gimmick candidate, but now I’m not so sure. We were canvassed about a week ago by Alliance and were asked to fill in a questionnaire for ‘a wee Chinese woman’ who’s standing. I wasn’t impressed – I’ve known Anna Lo for years, but I don’t recall the man at the door even mentioning her name (it was on the questionnaire, fair enough).

    And we have yet to see the DUP canvassing in our area, but I can hardly wait! South Belfast may want to be Hampstead, but if that means keeping backwards bible-thumpers out of office, so be it.

  • Butterknife

    Its a well known fact that nothing is certain until that voter has put down their 1,2..n…n+1

  • PolCom Og

    A couple of pre-confessional comments

    1. I think Alex Maskey is more likely to be hit by the SF position on the Rates changes than anything else. Sorry Alex, you’ve been everywhere, supporting everthing – even in areas that SF never showed a face before, but there is mild incomprehension on the ground at the SF position, even among radical stoops.

    2. If Chris Stallford gets in, it will be through the herculean activities of his best mate, Mr Apologies. Where has he been ?

    3. Anna Lo is certainly a gimmick candidate, but then Alliance had to do something different. The question is can she work with the new Alliance Leader post March 07?

    4. Sorry to see Esmond on his way out. He was the only candidate who understood that his party was talking economic nonsense.

    5. Alistair will certainly get in this time as people haven’t yet discovereed that he’s a landlord.

    6. Could we not have Chris instead of Michael McGimpsey – it would brighten up a dull campaign.

    7. Unfortunately everyone has forgotten that Carmel was a Minister, fortunately they forgotten that Carmel once called herself a socialist – “Wrap the red flag round me boys.”

  • QUB Student

    Could SDLPHead confirm that the Carmel Hannah posters that were up on the Malone Road and around Derryvolgie Avenue, were all taken down last night and replaced with Alisdair McDonnell ones. What’s wrong? Has the good Doctor got the wind up?

  • Bla

    Pam

    There is a difference in being at events and being a party member. We’ve already had this disussion on another thread.

  • Thomas Hogg

    Interesting developments within SDLP ranks in South Belfast.

    Last week Carmel Hanna put up her posters on the Malone and University roads. I had already seen comments alluding to a rift between the two candidates over which areas they had been allocated.

    This morning all Hanna posters had been removed and Alastair Mc Donnell has a poster on every lamppost from Derryvolgie Avenue to Bradbury Place!

    Clearly Mc Donnell didn’t want to loose votes from his bastion of support, St Bride’s Chapel on Derryvolgie Avenue, and there has been a dispute between candidates.

    If anyone else has noticed a similar change in posters leave a post.

  • The boundary between Alasdair and Carmel’s patches runs along the Malone Road from Malone Park down, then turns down Eglantine Avenue, down the Lisburn Road and then forks off through the City Hospital.

    The Malone Road from below Eglantine and the Lisburn Road from the Medical Biology Centre down are both clearly Alasdair’s so that is a slight storm in a tea cup.

    Still, not a sign of great co-operation that they haven’t worked these things out.

  • Thomas Hogg

    Sammy,

    Thanks for the boundary analysis.

    However, Mc Donnell’s posters are still all over University road and down into Shaftesbury Square? Is this not Hanna’s area?

    I happened to be walking home last night along the Malone road when the posters were being taken down. But upon questioning the reasons for such a decision got no response from the election workers.

    It’s unbelievable that such a boob happened in the first place.

  • However, Mc Donnell’s posters are still all over University road and down into Shaftesbury Square? Is this not Hanna’s area?

    No – coming in on the Malone Road everything from Eglantine Avenue down into the City Centre is in Laganbank DEA, and therefore in Alasdair’s patch.

    It’s unbelievable that such a boob happened in the first place.

    Absolutely. This all reminds me of the SDLP in South Antrim last time – you really need to sort this stuff out internally before an election kicks off.

  • Re the South Belfast SDLP, shouldn’t we call in the IMC?

  • Oh, and by the way Sammy, your profiles are indeed a cut above anything in the local press – not that it would be difficult, as others have already said.

  • john

    Glad to see that the SDLP are using their own people to put up posters in university Road, it must vary in different areas, seemed to be a private company putting them up in Cromac Street last week.

  • brendan,belfast

    IJP – Where am i utterly wrong? when Anna Lo was unveiled as a candidate the emphasis was not on her personality, her parties policies or what she would work to achieve insouth Belfast, but entirely on her race.

    Pam – IJP has already conformed on an earlier thread that Anna Lo joined the party a week before she was unveiled as the candidate. just because i have been to the circus doesn’t make me a clown.

  • Thomas Hogg

    John,

    Perhaps it was a private company, as when I asked them which candidate was getting 1st preference votes in the area they looked at me as if I had 2 heads!

  • Matthew Wray

    St Brigid’s church is in Carmel Hanna’s part of the constituency. If McDonnell is removing his running mates posters for his own then clearly he is going against party policy for his own personal ego.

  • Thomas Hogg

    It is widely known that Mc Donnell is using St Bride’s, Derryvolgie as some sort of political base.

    The chapel is massive with a huge congregation. I wonder were there not many smaller chapels in his local area to attend? I thought it a bit opportunist that Hanna had a few posters outside it, but now Mc Donnell has completely plastered the area. Indeed some poles even have 2 posters!

  • Observer

    McDonnell lives in Derryvolgie Ave, beside the Chapel.

    He has a great power base there along with Hanna, so their always at each others throats.

    To be fair Hanna deserves the SDLP vote more so than McDonnell who is just a hungry horse and doesn’t really care about the constituency.

    Alot of SDLP members can say an awful lot about him.

    He is feeling the heat as he is at a great risk of losing his seat to Anna Lo.

    As indicated above I don’t think Maskey is at such a great threat. Alot of people vote Maskey becos they hate McDonnell. Esp in areas where Hanna doesn’t have much of a profile.

    McDonnell is the Northern Ireland version of a Michael McDowell to the shinners. The Shinners dispise him – along with many Unionists mind u!

    Surely a law must be broken where a candidate takes down another candidates posters? Mind u everyone gets up to that!

  • IJP

    Brendan

    Your emphasis might’ve been.

    Ours wasn’t.

    Like I said, that says a lot about you. And the many others who focused on that.

    Makes you wonder about the country we live in, frankly.

    (Anna has since confirmed that she has always voted Alliance.)

  • brendan,belfast

    “Anna has since confirmed that she has always voted Alliance.” Good for her!

    The opening paragraph of the Alliance Party statement that Anna Lo was standing in SB:

    Anna Lo To Contest South Belfast for Alliance
    10.00.00am UTC (GMT +0000) Fri 15th Dec 2006

    “The Alliance Party has selected Anna Lo to be its candidate in the South Belfast Constituency for the forthcoming Assembly Election. She is currently the Chief Executive of the Chinese Welfare Association, and is the first candidate from an ethnic minority background to contest a winnable seat in the Assembly. Her candidature has been described as a major watershed in Northern Ireland politics by Alliance Leader, David Ford.”

    By your own words IJP……

  • brendan,belfast

    and just so its clear – i have nothing against Anna Lo or indeed the Alliance Party (i have even transferred to them from time to time). But i find their presentation of Anna Lo in this campaign quite distasteful and disrespectful to her, and the electorate. Combined with the Alliance Party’s earlier wooing of other non members as potential candidates leaves a sour taste and was not what i would have expected from that party.