Sinn Fein assembly member Daithí McKay issued a press release on Friday complaining about the under representation of women and ethnic minorities in the PSNI. It seems that Mr. McKay is worried about a lack of targets for women and ethnic minority numbers. Whether or not the PSNI should have such targets is an interesting question. Either way of course it could be speculated that this interest in ethnic minorities is at least in part being highlighted to direct attention away from the views one of their other representative’s (Martina Anderson) has made on minorities being the wrong sort of Catholic. As well as of course a good bash at the PSNI.I suggested at the time of Ms Anderson’s utterances that these views were more likely to find a resonance with that cohort of the SF electorate (young, disadvantaged and predominantly urban) who may feel that SF has been taking them for granted recently. Unlike parts of Fermanagh (and South Armagh) SF’s urban representatives have thus far seemed quite loyal as indeed have their urban disadvantaged voters. There is always the danger, however, that the enlarged tent which is SF support will suffer from people falling out of it. As such I would still suggest that Anderson being an ultra loyal MLA with a track record as an IRA prisoner is in a good position to keep a hold of this vote.
The likes of McKay, however, seem to be trying to attract other groups, appealing possibly to a more moderate part of the potential constituency as well as possibly to the very ethnic minority and new Northern Irish which Anderson is worrying may affect employment statistics. Who ever said that SF were not selling different messages to different groups?