Thinking the impossible..!

HAVEN’T time to do the sums, but could the UUP end up the fourth party? Could Alliance end up with a seat in the Executive?

  • BBC News:
    “In third place, the SDLP received 15.2% of first preferences, the Ulster Unionists 14.9% and Alliance 5.2%.”

    I believe that confirms the SDLP as the now 3rd largest party?

  • smcgiff

    If Lo does get elected and it looks likely then she’ll have the UUP transfers to thank – http://www.rte.ie/aertel/737-01.html

  • is there a time when there is a cluster of results?

    This drip drip is is annoying.

    When do they think all the results will be known?

  • smcgiff

    ‘I believe that confirms the SDLP as the now 3rd largest party?’

    Yip it’s down to the vagaries of PR and a dollop of luck after that as to which party gets seats.

  • smcgiff

    ‘This drip drip is is annoying.’

    RTE have said 5 counts have adjourned for the night 🙁 the whimps!!!

  • lazy feckers

    BBC are stating 10-15 mins ago that Foyle stopped counting for the night…..for crying out loud….is there any further evidence that this place is just a rural hicksville part of the UK when it cannot get on with the counting, the day after the election, far less on the day it took place…. evidence that it is 2nd class place.

  • I would like to know of the timetable for counting proposed before the election to see if this delay was anticipated.

    Was lack of funding/personel a reason?

    At this rate the next elections will be due before this one has been counted.

  • Jacko

    N.B. The Alliance party is neutral on the issue of a United Ireland and it is mere speculative, insecure unionist drivel to claim that they will side with unionists in the new assembly.
    Nationalism is making massive gains, north-south cooperation is increasingly every day…. Do yourselves a favour and get the best deal for yourselves NOW while you still can. Meanwhile, enjoy the rocky raod to Dublin!

  • BonarLaw

    Jacko

    wacko, I assume?

    🙂

  • smcgiff

    ‘The Alliance party is neutral on the issue of a United Ireland’

    Nah – that’s just wishful thinking. Although Alliance voters would possibly be more open to the idea of a UI than say your average DUPer.

    It used to be said that nationalists need to convice Unionists to the idea of a UI. Perhaps, as DUP/UUP and SF/SDLP votes converge all we have to do is convince the Alliance voters. 😉

  • Comrade Stalin

    RTE have said 5 counts have adjourned for the night 🙁 the whimps!!!

    What I found much more disturbing was an interview with the electoral officer, who blamed the slowness of the count on STV and said that he would be pressing for the introduction of electronic counting. The guy is clearly an idiot; electronic counting is a sure-fire way to wreck democracy and introduce uncertainty.

    Why the feck is it that people are so desperate to get the result so damn quickly ? It’ll all be over within 48 hours of the close of voting. Why isn’t that good enough ?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Jacko — the nationalist vote has increased because SF have been highly adept at getting their vote out. As a Unionist, I could count on one hand the number of people I know who regularly bother to vote. However, set the prospect of a border poll in front of the habitual non-voters, and you’ll be trampled in the rush to the polling stations.
    The centre parties are being eroded simply because their supposed natural support can’t be arsed. But don’t mistake apathy for compliance on the constitutional issue.

    As for ‘getting the best deal’, the dour men of Unionism have, as always, managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. SF have publicly stated that the ‘war is over’, the IRA have significantly decommissioned, the PSNI are accepted by Republicans, the principle of consent is firmly established and SF are champing at the bit to administer British rule at Stormont. Yet the DUP continue to smell a rat and walk around with long faces.
    Meanwhile the shinners, who have sold out virtually every principle they ever had, are grinning like idiots and convincing their electorate that they’ve actually acheived something. A few North-South bodies and a (possible) backwoods assembly in an accepted partitioned province ain’t much to show for the 30 year ‘armed struggle’, but they’re not called Spin Fein for nothing.
    The sooner Unionism gets it’s head out of it’s arse and realises that it’s wish list is virtually complete, the sooner we can all put the constitutional issue to bed and get on with some real issues.

  • Yoda

    Alliance with an Executive seat is an intriguing possibility…

    And there does seem to be a hint of Unionist fear in this thread…

  • Yoda – the DUP vote is still on the rise and Paisley’s going to be our First Minister, travelling abroad, meeting foreign dignataries and promoting our wee province. I think that’s cause enough for Unionist fear.

    Add to that the fact that Art Garfunkel/Coco the Clown will be his travelling companion (how he’s going to promote investment in Northern Ireland when he can’t even say the words, I don’t know) and we’ve got a very bleak picture indeed.

    Fear? I’m scared shitless.

  • Reader

    Comrade Stalin: The guy is clearly an idiot; electronic counting is a sure-fire way to wreck democracy and introduce uncertainty.
    Are you sure you aren’t thinking of Electronic balloting instead of Electronic counting? Because Electronic counting is just like using a spreadsheet – the program used could perfectly well be inspected and audited, and the ballot papers are still there for you to examine at leisure over the following months.

  • Yoda

    Beano,

    Your fear is the fear of “minority” Unionism.

    It seems of quite a different order from the knee-jerking variety displayed by other mainstream Unionist contributors.

  • A O’L

    Lads, anywhere you can see how the transfers are going?

  • Yoda, sorry I don’t understand what you’re saying. Could you elaborate?

  • Rory

    I know nothing of the suspension of the counting in the elections above mentioned nor have I ever experienced such a phenomenom, nor indeed do I know if it is even legal. But if it is not presently legally permissable I do believe that it ought to be on the basis of the simple recognition that tally checkers are workers on a production line prone to mistakes and that it is therefore in the interests of democracy that when those workers indicate (or their team leader indicates) that they are growing too tired for accuracy then a halt should be called to counting with all due safety measures to ensure against tomfoolery.

    A system yet open to corruption of course – and no doubt we will have advocates for the more perfectible system of computerised voting which some imagine (though none of course on Slugger) is impervious to the vagaries of human idleness, passion or indeed, human vagary itself.

  • AO’L, it’s not particularly intuitive, but a spot of North-South cooperation is called for. The BBC’s site is good for giving you constituency counts in order of votes received and RTÉ is good for giving you the full transfers picture (but in alphabetical order: hence the need to keep the BBC page open, at least for simple-minded me).

    RTÉ’s page is here, but to get to transfer details for a constituency, you have to click on it on the map, then on ‘click here for more information,’ then on ‘click here for detailed count.’ Labyrinthine but the best I’ve come up with so far.

  • A O’L

    Cheers Ciaran, after I saw the rte link on the page I remembered they used to do it for the general elections in the south so that’s me sorted

  • bbc northern ireland seems quite up to date if you refresh

  • pith

    Not starting counts til the day after voting and suspending them when it gets really dark is part of the our old world charm. Introducing electronic counting that could give us the results in less than an hour would be like not serving tea with salad.

  • If Lo does get elected and it looks likely then she’ll have the UUP transfers to thank

    Total and utter gibberish, Séamus. She was in fourth place on the first count, with 0.88 quotas. She’d walk in sub-quota easily in those circumstances even if she never got a transfer. That’s like, you know, what happened to Maskey last time.

    What I found much more disturbing was an interview with the electoral officer, who blamed the slowness of the count on STV and said that he would be pressing for the introduction of electronic counting.

    He would be better off examining why some of his polling clerks were giving voters misleading information… because they hadn’t had adequate training.

    Electronic voting has been a disaster where it has been tried on a wider scale.

  • dodrade

    The UUP has been squeezed on the right by the DUP and on the left by Alliance. Obviously Alliance voters who lent their vote to the UUP have given up flogging a dead horse and followed their usual inclinations.

    Surely Empey cannot survive this?

    Then again, they let Trimble hang around for two years after electoral defeat last time…

  • A UUP councillor in Lisburn has already been on warning that Sir Reg and his leadership team need to ‘change strategy’ and said (no less than three times in as many minutes) that if they didn’t then the electorate would “realign this party to the dustbin of history”.

    I would guess he meant to say consign, on all three occasions, but stand to be corrected.

  • Junior Apparatchik

    The Centre parties’ vote is being eroded

    No it’s not.

    Alliance is set to gain 1 and end with 7 seats, and the Greens may take a seat too.

    The Centre parties are doing fine.

    The Ulster Unionists and SDLP, on the other hand, not so. Maybe it’s time we stopped this “moderate bigotry” and got on with the real politics?

  • UUP councillor

    Beano
    I meant realign. Sorry if that came across wrong but I was talking about the realignment of unionism prior to the interview (in another interview) and what I was trying to portray was that the unionist people would realign the UUP if it did not ship up and ship out. I’ll try better the next time but as you rightly point out I think the point was made.

  • If Lo does get elected and it looks likely then she’ll have the UUP transfers to thank

    Nope, she’s just been elected on Green transfers before a UUP candidate has been eliminated.

    Whooops! Try not to let your prejudices get in the way of your analysis.

  • Rubicon

    Alliance won’t get a Minister even if they finish with 7 seats (as is very likely). All permutations of the finishing result semm to rule it out. These permutations point to 2 outcomes:

    1. The DUP will get 4 ministers
    2. SF will get 3 ministers

    The remaining 3 ministers will come from the UUP & the SDLP. For the UUP to get 2 ministers requires they win more seats. A UUP/SDLP tie in seats will give the SDLP 2 ministers.

    The APNI would need 8 seats for a look in. No harm – good to have some opposition.

    As for electronic voting – perish the thought! At the press of a button the result would appear. Even if we could trust the system (which I doubt) it would take humanity out of the process and undermine it.

    I enjoy watching the politicians sweat – it verifies the power of the electorate. If electronic voting comes – why bother with politicians at all? Instead, allow the electorate vote through the internet on each Assembly decision – a “virtual chamber” could be established. Think of the advertising revenue that could be generated! Parliament Buildings could be sold off to the casino cartels – think of the tourist revenue!

    No thanks!

  • Crataegus

    Hanna is now only 90 behind Maskey

  • kensei

    “As for electronic voting – perish the thought! At the press of a button the result would appear. Even if we could trust the system (which I doubt) it would take humanity out of the process and undermine it.”

    The way to trust the system is to open source the code.

  • Crataegus

    Junior Apparatchik

    Alliance is set to gain 1 and end with 7 seats, and the Greens may take a seat too.

    The Centre parties are doing fine.

    I think both Alliance and the Greens did well in their own terms. The decline in the SDLP and UUP may provide more opportunities for future expansion. I was looking at some of the candidates from these parties that did not get elected, and some have very respectable votes for people who are probably making their first innings. There is a big gap opening up between Greens and say the Socialists, Workers Party, and even the Conservatives. In many constituencies they even out polled Bob. They say all political careers end in failure but to be out polled by the tree huggers; what a way to go!

    Alliance have stopped the haemorrhaging of support to the UUP and in the future it is possible that the UUP will be seen as increasingly irrelevant and the logic for propping it up will disappear completely.

    Funny old election, many Nationalists and Unionists both seem to have decided they each want one party to represent their views.

  • páid

    Crat,

    I wouldn’t say the SDLP decline is as serious as the UUPs.
    Irish Nationalism is as popular as ever.

    A southern SF councillor recently called for a replacement for TSS, saying it wasn’t appealing to Unionists. A straw in the wind, methinks.

    There are a couple of signs that the SDLP will outgreen SF in the future as republicans decouple themselves from violent Nationalism, and genuinely go down the Protestant, Catholic & Dissenter road.

    And an SDLP-FF tie up could yet happen.

  • picador

    ‘I wouldn’t say the SDLP decline is as serious as the UUPs.’

    Not quite as spectacular as the UUP’s decline maybe but pretty serious all the same. The SDLP’s performance in this election was abysmal. Too many egos at work and no willing to sort it out. Thus we have the spectacles of: warring candidates handing a seat to the DUP in South Antrim: three candidates battling for one quota in West Tyrone; not even getting close to their main target seat in Strangford; and a short step from annihilation in West Belfast. An utter shambles.

    As for the notion of joining up with FF – well that is ridiculous. Free State politicians have been advising northern nationalists to vote SDLP for years, frequently campaigning for them in elections. And look where it got the SDLP. No, I think a merger with the UUP would be a marriage made in heaven. They are as inept and amateurish as each other.

  • picador

    On a separate note: if Alliance get together with the Green rep could they claim a ministry. Environment, perhaps?

  • merrie

    > Foyle [and other constituencies] stopped counting for the night…

    Could be they are saving taxpayers’ money: no overtime to pay out. After midnight the vote counters would be on double time (or they should be) and time and a half in the evening.

  • Valenciano

    >>On a separate note: if Alliance get together with the Green rep could they claim a ministry. Environment, perhaps?<< No as the UUP/PUP found out in the last assembly. Actually if APNI had balanced better in East Antrim they'd have had an outside chance of an 8th seat.

  • Irish Aussie

    All politics in market economy liberal democracys(which NI is trying to become) are fought out in the middle of the political spectrum.
    This is the main reason SF have stalled in the Republic.
    The SDLP and UUP have both been badly wedged by the constitutional issue but in many ways they just have to survive this election.
    When things finally settle down in NI it will be a race to the centre and it will be a lot easier for parties that are already there. Of course they have to do a lot more than just wait, but change is coming to the north and if the extremes of politics don’t adapt they will wither and die.
    While it may seem bleak for the middle ground at the moment the future will all be about moderate pragmatic politics, just like the Republic

  • Greenflag

    Paisley has had his election and his ‘triumph’. Now what will he do with it ?

    The message coming from the DUP elected yesterday was clear for those who actuallt wanted to listen .

    SF are not still evil and must still repent . They are not RIGHTEOUS people . Only the DUP are RIGHTEOUS . GOD is on the side of the DUP which is why the DUP got 30% of first preferences and SF only 26% .

    It should now be clear to all that SF will not only have to jump through a dozen hoops by March 26th but may have to qualify as ‘righteous’ before they can share power with Northern Ireland’s Party of God !

    How can they do this by March 26th ?

    Easy . SF just have to convert to Free Presbyterianism .

    Ayatollah Paisley Akbar – again .

    Please Mr Hain – just for once – do the people of NI a favour and close down this &*%#@#^&* pantomime !

  • jamestwo

    beano ; “stand to be corrupted” shurely ?

  • jamestwo

    UUP Councillor; “try harder ” surely. Not ” try better”? Possibly “do better” though. I suppose you had a late night . Dr Rev Paisley certainly had a grand erection though so he did.

  • Comrade Stalin

    kensei:

    The way to trust the system is to open source the code.

    Nope, this is wrong for several reasons. How do you independently establish that the software running on the vote counting system is the software that you expect ? Brian Kernighan did a famous article about trojan horses. You might have the source code, but how can you trust the compiler ?

    If there is a bug, malicious or otherwise, in the code how do you establish that it is present ? The computer spits out a result. How do you know it did not make a mistake ?

    Any system which tries to use a machine to automate the collection or counting of votes is an inherent backward step in a democracy. The count process that we have here, where all of the candidates are permitted to observe up close the count taking place, is a copperfastener on our democracy. To hide the count process inside the guts of a machine where nobody can see what is being done is to dilute the democratic process. There are far too many opportunities for incompetence or corruption to create problems.

    Given the mess that the NI electoral office made out of this count, there is no telling the vastness of the mess that they could create when confronted with a computer system. What’s worse is that if they screwed it up, nobody would know.

  • Rory

    Comrade Stalin,

    You’re arguments above on the flaws of computerised counting are so clear and, in my more than 40 years of experience of accounting ring simply true.

    When I started out at sixteen the use of a ballpoint pen was a sacking offence and diligence in the exercise of mind and eye was paramount.

    Above all one did not rely on trusting the integrity of the system one was examining = one trusted the ingerity of one’s own experince and, as in all human endeavour, one learns through mistakes.

    Computers do not learn through the good experience of mistakes and human resiliance, adaptabiliy, instinct and ‘downright cussedness’ will always knock the spots of a computer programme which is ultimately incapable of organic growth.

    Old Elsie from the council office moonlighting as a tally clerk for a few bobs for a night at the bingo may not, at first glance, appear more clever or trustworthy than a computer but even in her “I don’t care” moments will always prove more reliable. She can’t help it – the human condition already has the best self correcting “programme”.

    (“Trust me – I’m an accountant”, says Rory with a smarmy trust=building smile, but somehow with little hope.)

  • Comrade Stalin

    Rory,

    The problems that occur with computers are usually due to mistakes committed by the people charged with operating them or writing the software to run on them. Aside from this, computers can actually make mistakes of their own volition; manufacturing or design problems (eg. the famous Intel FDIV bug which caused it to generate incorrect results for certain mathematical calculations), temporary power spikes or external radiation which can cause the system to skip a beat, etc. For this reason, telecommunications and banking systems are all loaded up with redundancy, because no single computer is considered to be sufficiently reliable for mission-critical work. In the large mainframes that run the banks, each subsystem will have at least two processors performing the same operations in lock-step, and at every point they compare their results in case they made a mistake.

    The problem of vote-counting is a relatively unique one in computer engineering terms, since there are no opportunities for verification – votes are submitted anonymously, so there is no way to trace the votes and therefore allow the results to be independently checked. I’ve had this argument many times over with Americans who, as we all know, insist on using dodgy broken old machines to count their votes in order to get the results in a few hours rather than in a few days. They believe that electronic systems will make vote counting more verifiable, because the computer can provide a printout of your vote. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that the printout is no guarantee that the computer correctly recorded the vote internally, there is still the issue of how to establish that an error has actually occurred. How do you know the count is wrong ? The only way to be sure is to count all the paper printouts. And in that case, you’ve made the computer redundant and you’re back to square one.

    Nope. Electronic vote counting is a rare example of a problem which is best not solved with technology. It needs to be resisted at every step of the way.