Is everybody bored yet?

The Irish News is getting wistful for the old election campaigns and finds the broad consensus within and across the communities as dull. Meanwhile postal vote applications are down by 30%.

  • Nevin


    Just wondering if today’s Irish News editorial or your comment might have been ‘influenced’ by yesterday’s opinion piece on the election in the News Letter by Alex Kane, ‘So Dull, it’s almost normal’ …

  • fair_deal


    I didn’t see Alex’s piece

  • bruce201

    I agree with the Irish News. It is far better when the politicians are cutting lumps out of each other so that self-righteous commentators can attack them for cutting lumps out of each other.

  • Doreen

    I have only seen one person out canvassing. Are they all taking us all for granted?

  • Valenciano

    Why is anyone surprised by this? We are electing politicians to what will be a mandatory coalition anyway. When virtually every main party agrees on the most essential things powersharing, policing, the Saint Andrews agreement etc it doesn’t exactly fire the imagination.

    What’s the alternatives for people to get fired up about? Bob and his five genetic clones? Republican Sinn Fein? Be serious.

  • Nevin

    It’s got a few nice touches, fd. Here are a few:

    “And I don’t mean dull in the sense that a David Ford speech is dull; I mean mind-numbingly dull, what’s-the-point-of-it-all dull, who-are-these-idiots-on-my-doorstep dull, will-my-vote-make-any-difference dull.”

    “The DUP may have voted against the Civil Partnership Bill at Westminster, but it won’t stop them entering an uncivil marriage of convenience with Sinn Fein in a matter of months.”

    He links a Reggie Maudling quote on Enoch Powell to the possible fate of Bob McCartney:

    “We all aspire to remain on the train of logic. The tragedy for Enoch is that while we are prepared to get off at Hammersmith, he insists on going all the way to Barking.”

    Alex fears voter apathy and IMO that could adversely affect the UUP-Alliance-SDLP part of the political spectrum.

  • Greenflag

    Tom McGurk’s analysis also helps explain the apparent lack of interest . People need to know what they are voting for . I can’t imagine voting in a Dail Election which might not come into existence and in which the leaders of both main parties who it is assumed will agree to share power after the election have not spoken directly to each other EVER ! As McGurk says -bizarre !


    ‘By the standards of western democracy, the election in the North must be one of the most bizarre ever to have taken place.

    The people will be asked to vote for a set of democratic institutions that might never exist.

    Over the next three weeks, the North’s political parties will be seeking their votes, but none of them has any idea whether they will have any opportunity to exercise the power those votes bring with them.

    Whether the Democratic Unionists will join a power-sharing executive with Sinn Fein – or not – is the central question, and nobody knows the answer to that – including, I suspect, the DUP itself. For months, Ian Paisley has been blowing hot and cold but, for all his amateur dramatic skills, one wonders if even he knows.

    Nor is the result next month guaranteed to provide him with any direction.

  • Nevin

    “I can’t imagine voting”

    Greenflag, would you by any chance be the Greendub who couldn’t be a*sed to vote in the first EU Nice referendum? 😉

  • brendan,belfast

    this is the second election in a row to a non existent Assembly. small wonder people are bored with it all. not everyone reads SOT after all….

  • SuperSoupy

    This is just making the excuses for another terrible SDLP performance in advance.

    SDLP voters stayed at home did they? I think you’ll find that every single SDLP voter went to the ballot box, anyone that didn’t isn’t an SDLP voter. And when more don’t vote for them this time this crap about stay at home voters will just be more crap and they’ll just have even less support than before.

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    No , No No No Yes No No Yes No 🙂 I vote but I need to know if the people I vote for will if successful form a government and if not successful will be a forceful and competent opposition 🙂 There is guarantee that the outcome of this NI election will result in either one or both of those outcomes!

    Would be by any chance the Nevin of the infamous 1948 letter and the purveyor of Father Jack ecuminical matters from the distant past ? Glad to hear you are alive and well and if not kicking at least behaving yerself !

  • Greenflag

    Above post should read –

    There is NO guarantee that the outcome of this NI election will result in either one or both of those outcomes!

  • seabhac siúlach

    So, the indications are all there that there will be a low turnout at the election. I would say that this can only favour the more radical (or traditional depending on your point of view) parties (the Concerned Republicans group, Sinn Fein (republican) and the UKUP, etc.) as their supporters will be the ones most energised to vote.
    Someone above mentioned the first Nice treaty vote in the 26 counties, a referendum that was unexpectedly defeated on a low turnout, and the getting out of the energised, radical ‘no’ vote. The government took the votes of an apathetic electorate for granted in that poll. The situation pertaining in the six counties today looks similar to that preceding the Nice referendum…an apathetic electorate, taken for granted, who are likely not to bother voting and a small energised core of ‘anti’ voters who are ‘up for it’…
    There is, at least, then the possibility of an upset happening in these Stormont elections, considering the widespread voter apathy apparently out there.
    By upset, of course, I do not mean any parties imploding (more’s the pity)…I mean, a seat or two being grabbed from the larger parties and the overall votes of the ‘anti’ parties increasing as a percentage of the total vote…
    That would be reasonably seismic if it showed, say, ‘dissident’ republican support in the 6 counties approaching a number of percentage points in the polls overall…and put a large question mark over the whole process…
    Anyway, just a hunch…no doubt, hopelessly wrong…

  • Northsider

    That would be reasonably seismic if it showed, say, ‘dissident’ republican support in the 6 counties approaching a number of percentage points in the polls overall…

    I’m no psephologist (sp?) but I’ll wager – based on gut instinct and life experience – that we’ll be talking after this election of how poorly RSF did in their shit-or-bust standing in this election.

    I lve in west Belfast and can assure anyone reading this that they haven’t a hope in hell of taking anything from Sinn Fein.

    Others better versed in how their patter goes down in rural areas will probably put me right on what inroads they can make there – but I just think they stink so much of yesterday, of last century’s arguments that they’ll be comprehensively ignored by those with more on their mind than the First Dail – i.e. water rates, infrastructure, investment, health etc.

    Look more toward the wilder shores of unionism for where the story from this election will emerge. Yes, a low turn out among voters may see our Bob and co getting more votes that the DUP bargained for.

    At least, that’s how it is starting to look to me.

  • pia_lugum

    The Mid-Ulster election is the dullest I have ever seen. McCrea has gone to more profitable pastures and the McCrea Mk II is just not able to hack it without ‘my daddy’.

    The DUP second fiddle, Mrs Forde is very definately staying second fiddle in their campaign. Why? Well – because she is a DUP-woman (designed solely to make tea & sanwiches!) and/or she is not allowed to get in front of the McCrea family’s nepotic trip.

    The Armstrong camp is short of a verbal spokesman according to the pupils at the schools ‘Let’s Talk’ in Magherafelt. Billy just gets out of one embarassing mess into another but thankfully for him he doesn’t really notice/care. Has anyone ever heard him make a proper case for anything in a debate? What actually is his function in the modern slimline UUP?

    The nationalist camps seem to also be as lack-lustre in this election although I have to give my best marks for Kate Lagan’s poster campaign.

    Will we have to send to North Down for Bob McCartney to canvass in Mid-Ulster to get a bit of life into this dead election? At least he has guts and panache……

  • seabhac siúlach

    “I lve in west Belfast and can assure anyone reading this that they haven’t a hope in hell of taking anything from Sinn Fein.”

    They don’t have to ‘take’ anything from the Provos, merely hope for sizeable transfers…it is more than likely they will get a fair number of these…a sympathy vote if nothing else…
    Neither the republican nor unionist ‘anti’ candidates need to do anything more than register a sizeable number of votes to put a brake on the more adventurous ‘initiatives’ of the larger parties. On the republican side, they need only score a respectable percentage vote to build for the future…something like 10% of the nationalist vote would be a healthy platform…offering the possibility, if nothing else, of competing with the now very similar nationalist parties of PSF and SDLP in the future…

    How likely are people to turn out to vote in West Belfast anyhow, when the result seems like a foregone conclusion? Whether the Provos get 4/5 seats is hardly a great turn-on…even for the Provos activists themselves, I would imagine. Party machines can only do so much to get people to vote…and so, back to the point of low turnouts favouring an upset…of course, no one would choose West Belfast as the most likely place for one of these to occur but who knows…perhaps the electorate are bored witless…

  • Bored? Then add some captions to the most cringingly staged phots ever. My fave, although I didn’t post the comment, would be:

    Remedial reading a top priority for the SDLP:

  • SuperSoupy

    I liked:

    “I think it’s down there Dolores”

  • This is such good fun. anyone know where the shinner/DUP pics are for adding hilarious(tm) comments? Or tags? Or notes?

  • SuperSoupy, considering you haven’t defaced the pic just yet, I shall add it for you!

    And claim the joke as mine!

  • Northsider

    They don’t have to ‘take’ anything from the Provos, merely hope for sizeable transfers…it is more than likely they will get a fair number of these…a sympathy vote if nothing else…

    That assumes there is sympathy for them. Believe me, in my experience they are loathed as recalcitrant, bitter, sniping and directionless. I cannot imagine a single SF supporter transferring to them – I firmly believe that. And the evidence – support for dissident candidates in previous elections bears this out.

  • SuperSoupy


    Great fun.

    Win a seat? I couldn’t even beat three grannies at musical chairs.

  • duly added!

    Endless fun, this. Someone (probably me) is going to get told off.

  • SuperSoupy

    Quick! Hide the biscuits! There is Danny from Larne!

    (I daren’t add that)

  • SuperSoupy

    Sharon’s denim on canvass prompts note to mum

  • SuperSoupy

    Get off the feckin’ table you mentalist!

  • Redmo

    Sinn Fein delighted with decision to sign up to policing

  • SuperSoupy

    Devenport is reporting that Davy Tweed is about to quit the DUP

  • Crataegus

    It is not just the voters that are bored, but you get the feeling that political activists are less than enthusiastic. Had to pop over to South and East Antrim this last few days and there definately appears to be less posters, none in many places. Took a few detours through N Belfast and didn’t see any SF posters on the Oldpark? Practically no UUP posters in many parts of South Antrim, DUP posters in modest numbers etc etc.

    Imagine for one moment this was a Westminster election and the citizens of Britain were asked to vote knowing the Conservatives, Labour and the Libdems were going to form the next coalition government no matter what way the election went. What percentage of the population would be likely to vote?

    Does it really matter what policies they all have as the actual policy will be decided between them post election. What exactly is the point in voting? Exactly what are we being asked to vote for?

    Looks like a very low turnout, all we need now is bad weather on election day. Whoever gets their vote out will do disproportionally well.

  • Nevin

    “No , No No No Yes No No Yes No :)”

    Greenflag, that vote reminds of the behaviour of one of our district councils as they swithered on the vexed question of ‘getting into bed’ with a property developer. As a Dub(?), you’ll probably be familiar with the term ‘brown envelope’ as a political fashion accessory. I suspect some of our politicians may well be seduced by such largesse; I’m told that others who stand in the way of ‘progress’ can expect to find themselves in penury – just the other side of Cullybackey – as they will have to defend their principles in court. I can’t go into the gory details, no least, because Mick probably looks better with a shirt on his back ….

    IIRC that infamous 1948 letter you refer to was a grovelling telegram to Fr Jack’s ‘boss’ from some obsequious politicos in Craggy Ireland 😉

  • Red Mist

    I live in West Belfast and I have to say that this is without any doubt the dullest election I have ever experienced.

    These areas used to be alive with activity. SF teams buzing around the areas trying to drum up support and energise peoples imaginations.

    I have yet to see any of this and I live in the heart of a Republican community. There are probably many reasons for this including;

    The fact that many feel let down by SF and that there is a rapidly closing gap between theirs and their opponents platforms.

    And that many for their hardest workers are no longer with them. (Evidenced by the fact that the people putting up posters are coming from all areas to do it together when previously every area had the man power to do it themselves.)

    It is very flat because none of the politicians have been able to energise people. We all know that none of them are taking very robust stands on anything anymore.

    Me? I’ll be ditching SF this time round and voting for the Anti-Water Tax candidate. At least he is taking a stand on something that matters to more people that himself.