Centre failed to hold SDLP and UUP together…

On a foreshortened episode of Slugger Radio we had time to look at some of the party performances last night: neither Sammy nor Chris could understand, never mind explain why the SDLP with over a quota in first preferences effectively gave their seat in West Tyrone to Keiran Deeny by running three candidates. According to Brian Feeney, it is the refusal of both the SDLP and the UUP to play within their means that has brought the two smaller parties, to a crucial tipping point – whether they acknowledge that fact, or not.

First, Farren and Nicholson occupied largely titular roles – responsibility without power. Both the UUP and SDLP are highly undisciplined parties with weak central organisation, if you can use that word. Local candidates paid virtually no attention to either Farren or Nicholson. You might ask who can blame them?

Secondly, SF and the DUP played to their strengths. Did SF stand three candidates in South Belfast? Did the DUP stand two in West Belfast? Why not? It would have been stupid, that’s why.

Third, SF and the DUP could stop local candidates fighting each other. SDLP and UUP couldn’t. In both the UUP and SDLP nothing will happen to change any of this. Both promised thorough-going inquests in 2003 and 2005. The result? Last Wednesday. As Lady Sylvia Hermon said of the UUP’s performance, it was “woeful”. Unfortunately there is no-one in the SDLP with her stature who is critical.

This election has shown that whatever fantasies both parties entertained, there’s now no way back.

Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.