SDLP sending mixed signals…

Just had a report that in one Glengormley suburb the SDLP’s vote management strategy is getting dangerously loose, with posters calling for No 1 votes for Noreen McClelland and Thomas Burns on alternate lamp posts… That’s not the way to do it guys!! Interestingly, Eastwoods are refusing to give a price on either candidate, but are giving David Ford an evens chance to take back his seat, and have Derry import Mitchel McLaughlin at 5/3 on…

Adds: I’ve been told that the reason there is no price is because Eastwoods are reluctant to give prices on candidates who substantially rely on vote management.

  • darth rumsfeld

    what a swizz. Eastwoods refuse to give prices on most of the main parties’ candidates in any of the seats. Just about the only risk they’re taking is Trevor “Walnuts” Lunn @1/10 in Lagan Valley

  • John Farrell

    Hmmm 6 seats to be decided and no prices on EIGHT candidates. Not exactly generous of Mr Eastwood.
    Obviously theres one SDLP quota here and it could go to either candidate.
    Burns surprisingly beat Donovan McClelland in 2003 and Noreen McClelland stood at Westminster 2005. so maybe that evens things up.
    Burns higher up the ballot paper and incumbency should mean he is first to get a quota.
    The odds (3/5 McLaughlin) and evens Ford suggest that Eastwood thinks McLaughlin s favourite
    But the odds arent exactly generous in either case.
    Can I be the first to say “Thank you very much Mr Eastwood”

  • Chris Donnelly

    I note that Mark Devenport alluded to the factional fighting in South Antrim in his own blog.

    I think this one’s going to be a fascinating tussle between the two, but my money would be on Burns winning out.

    Tommy Burns’ candidate poster has a reference to voting McClelland No. 2 in a font size that would be just about a 28 on a Microsoft Word document- clearly following party guidelines with gritted teeth! (My digital camera was mortally wounded at a sibling’s wedding some time ago else I would have provided visual evidence.)

  • fair_deal


    In Belfast all the SDLP posters I have seen have the other candidates in tiny writing. So it looks like it is a general approach rather than SA specific.

  • JD

    SDLP candidate carve ups in Foyle are like a patchwork quilt, very confusing for the voter and the posters are all over the place with two of the candidates with no posters at all. It is a dog fight between SDLP candidates on the city side with an open field in the Waterside, poor electoral strategy.

  • J Kelly

    JD i have just travelled from the new bridge down the culmore road there are posters for Quigley then at Pennyburn posters for Durkan and then at the fire station on the Northland posters more for quigley. It does seem a bit all over the place.

  • Mick Fealty


    But will he win the seat? It looks to me that the party can probably afford a little bit of confusion at the edges in Derry, but not in South Antrim.

  • gerry & the peacemakers

    Tommy Burns is very strong in Crumlin and Antrim. I am told that he is going after the sdlp vote in toome etc. McClelland and Burns do not get on at all. Remember Tommy took her husbands seat in 2003.

    I think the 6th seat is really hard to call. I fully expect the sdlp to take one and I am fairly confident it will be Burns who takes it.

    The battle between McLaughlin and Ford will be very close. McLaughlin is a good choice for SA as the other potential candidates were largely inexperienced. I would think Anne Marie Logue would run in 2011 if Mitchel wins this time round.

    I have to say that the only politician to have donned by door in between elections was Tommy Burns.

    My prediction is 4 unionist 1 sdlp and 1 sf, for what its worth.

  • jeep55

    gerry & the pacemakers

    “McLaughlin is a good choice for SA as the other potential candidates were largely inexperienced.”

    Why so? He knows damn all about SA and is being shipped in for expediency. Ford has worked for all constituents in SA for decades and deserves a seat.

    I sincerely hope McLaughlin fails and then “ferries off back across the Bann” to where he came from!!

  • Agamemmnon

    Have just seen the front page of the Antrim Guardian which is a splash ‘SDLP at war’ headline and seems to go into quite a lot of detail about the current row.
    Just a quick question Mick – is the Glengormley suburb you’re referring to the Hightown area? For those who know the Hightown Road area in detail, the left hand side going away from Glengormley is actually part of Collinbridge ward which I am told is Noreen McClelland’s patch while the right hand side is Hightown, which has been given to Burns.
    With two candidates with so much history and bad blood between them, it could lead to number one posters for Noreen on one side of the road and number one for Burns on the other!

  • John Farrell

    Mitchell McLaughlin might well be imported but it makes sense.
    Theres two safe SF quotas in Derry no matter who stands there. And little chance of a third seat this time round.
    McLaughlin has prolly a better chance than Martin Meehan had in 2003.
    Two reasons.
    Meehan has history which might have some potential SF voters holding their noses while McLaughlin is not carrying same baggage.
    Second reason.Meehan is not exactly on the Cerebral Wing of the party. Suited and booted he looks uncomfortable and his premature expectation of taking the last South Antrim seat before the last count was downright embarrassing.

  • slug

    “his premature expectation of taking the last South Antrim seat before the last count was downright embarrassing.”

    I found it rather enjoyable 🙂

  • SuperSoupy

    This seems very risky from the SDLP.

    In 2003 their combined 2 candidate total was 5,403.

    At the final stage after McClelland was elimated and with transfers the SDLP had picked up along the way Burns finished on 4,979, only slightly ahead of Ford and Meehan.

    It seems insane to repeat the strategy again when it costs close to 500 votes.

  • For those who know the Hightown Road area in detail, the left hand side going away from Glengormley is actually part of Collinbridge ward which I am told is Noreen McClelland’s patch while the right hand side is Hightown

    This is exactly right. But it’s a stupid way to divvy up a constituency. McClelland’s council ward is Glengormley; she lives in Randalstown. She should get those two to start with and then do the rest of the breakdown from there. The SDLP seem to be particularly bad at these vote feuds; even the UUP are better despite having a lot of candidates who must know they have to shaft an opponent to win.

    Mind you, I’m not complaining.

  • bannerman

    A question regarding the poster positions of various SDLP candidates in various constituencies.

    As was mentioned on a previous thread, and has been the case in the past, the SDLP have hired a company to erect its posters.

    Who tells this company who’s posters go up in which area.

    For example it was reported that Carmel Hanna posters were removed frommparts of the Malone Road and replaced with Alastair McDonald posters.

    Who gives the info to the company erecting the posters , does it come from SDLP headquarters or….??

  • Crataegus

    Burns is the better placed of the two SDLP candidates being in Antrim council. There is a fairly strong rural SDLP vote and he will get it. SF will hope to improve given the developments like Maysfield which is upwardly mobile Ardoyne and Newlodge.

    I think the internal Competition in the SDLP will result in some very determined canvassing and that as a result SF will find it difficult to eat into their vote. There is not going to be any easy victory here and the blow in factor and internal discontent will have a downward effect that will make progress difficult. That said many of SFs voters are themselves blow ins from Belfast but they will find it difficult to gain support from the indigenous Nationalist population.

    Ford will be relying on Unionist transfers but will there be enough? I think there will be a new leader of the Alliance Party after the election.

  • That’s what some people said before the last one…

  • Shamrock

    I have seen the odds on the various constituencies and am wondering how they work out these odds for each person?

    Some people may not be happy that Eastwoods have their odds a bit higher on topping the poll than their own party opponents even though they feel the seat is theirs!?

    Does anyone know how they come up with these odds? Is it just assumptions on their part?

  • Crataegus


    I would be delighted if I am wrong for among other things it may well mean that SF do not gain a seat.

    Ford needs to get virtually every Unionist to transfer to him and that is a tall order. His other hope is a steep SDLP decline but I don’t see that happening.

  • I think the internal Competition in the SDLP will result in some very determined canvassing and that as a result SF will find it difficult to eat into their vote.

    I think that’s a myth (although it’s one the SDLP are pushing heavily this year as there is a lot of internal feuding going on). There are real problems in the SDLP organisation in South Antrim – people so disgusted with the feuding that they won’t do anything in the election, Oran Keenan effectively expelled from the party for something that Thomas Burns only gets a slap in the wrists for, etc. The SDLP are doing a really good job of messing themselves up here, and there’s a big ‘soft green’ SDLP vote in places like Collinbridge and the Greystone Road that could quite happily vote for Ford if what the SDLP are presenting isn’t very attractive.

  • Or voting McClelland 1, Ford 2.

  • jeep55


    The idea of a very solid transfer from DUP/UUP to Ford is not unlikely because the DUP have already realised that by transfering to Ford in SA, or to Anna Lo in SB and even to Trevor Lunn in LV could deny SF three target seats. That, under de Hont, could have a big impact in the distribution of ministerial posts. Also I think you will be surprised by the number of straight transfers from DUP to Alliance – partly fueled by the venom existing between UUP and DUP. Ford to hold on – helped also by these internal SDLP wranglings!

  • when will the Stoops wise up

    Agamemmnon is right. The local impact of one candidate telling the local press about ‘war’ with his running mate in the biggest local paper will be significant. It doesn’t matter how hard they each canvass, if they don’t transfer well it will do no good.

    Last time, both Ford and Meehan got lots of transfers from McClelland, with Burns getting only about 70%. Those in the know knew that Burns and McClelland hated each other, but it wasn’t in the press.

    Burns only won last time becasue of dirty tricks against McClelland and has contributed nothing except endless press releases.

    I have voted for McClelland number one in the past, but the best I can manage this time will be Ford 1, Noreen McClelland 2. I like Noreen, but a divided party doesn’t deserve first preferences.

  • Crataegus


    transfers from McClelland, with Burns getting only about 70%.

    70% sounds fairly solid to me! Do I detect SF knocking spin?

  • 70% sounds fairly solid to me!

    You occasionally get that impression because down South that would be really good; partisan voting is less strong.

    Up here, 90% is brilliant, 85% good, 80% solid, 75% acceptable and anything less is deeply troubling.

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  • Out and About

    I was in Antrim today and SDLP McClelland has hoarding size posters up on hoardings and a car with a sandwich board trailer sporting a poster about 8 times larger than normal ,large photo of lady . Very small font in bottom corner to vote Burns 2, Cut throat!