Okay I know many will find this really tedious: if so wait until you cannot sleep before reading it. However, it is the silly season and little is happening politically so here goes. Mark Devenport is reporting the starting line up for the Fermanagh by election. It seems that the candidates are as follows:
Alliance: Kumar Kamble
DUP: Arlene Foster
Independent Republican: Karen McHugh
SDLP: Rosemary Flanagan
SF: Debbie Coyle
UUP: Basil Johnston
Okay for anyone still remotely interested: I suspect the presence of an Alliance candidate will make little difference. I know I recently said that Alliance should contest elections beyond the Pale but I very much doubt Dr. Kamble will get a large vote. I am also pretty certain that his vote will largely transfer to unionists or nationalists: the proportions are unpredictable but I doubt it will have a massive impact.
Karen McHugh (Gerry McHughs daughter) standing may have some effect but again I suspect most of her vote will transfer (to SF). It will be interesting to see how well an independent republican does in this election. The election is, however, largely in Enniskillen town along with Lisbellaw and Tempo. As such I suspect her vote would be lower than it would have been had she been standing in Erne West or Erne East.
I guess I still have some regret that the TUV are not standing. As I said before, however, although it is a difficult call and the TUV were in a bit of a catch 22; I still think just about that it was right not to run. Jim Allister said much the same on Inside Politics on Saturday. Apologies to Michael Shilliday, Darth Rumsfeld and Delta Omega. Incidentally I thought Allisters performance was highly impressive although I am of course heavily biased.