What gerrymander?

Here’s a glorious piece of revisionism about my home city. “Derry’s second class citizens” did not need to take to the streets in 1968 to get jobs and houses”. Academics rush in where even Gregory Campbell might fear to tread. Just for now we’ll keep the Fountain out of it. Remember Eamon McCann’s minor classic “War in an Irish Town” with its frank admission that divilment as well as injustice was part of the story? Let’s see what else is added over the weekend. Full reports please Irish Times.

  • Briso

    What Gerrymander? This Gerrymander Harry.

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/discrimination/whyte.htm

    … compare the electoral results obtained after 1922 with those obtained under PR in 1920.
    … since the 1920 boundaries were drawn up by the British administration, it is unlikely that they were stacked against the unionists. It would be unfair to compare the 1920 results with those immediately after 1922, because the nationalists boycotted many elections through the ’20s, but even if we compare them with the results for the ’30s and later, when nationalists were trying to win as many seats as the system would permit, the changes are startling enough. The following councils, which nationalists won under PR, were captured by unionists under the post-1922 electoral arrangements:

    Londonderry County Borough …
    … This gives a total of thirteen councils formerly under nationalist control, and two evenly divided, which the unionists won. …

    This made a total of eleven local authorities in nationalist hands out of seventy-three. Not only was this a smaller number than the unionists won from them after the abolition of PR, but they were less important. The post-1922 electoral changes cost the nationalists control of a county borough and two counties; the largest local authority left in their hands was Newry Urban District, with a population of 12,000. The change is startling enough to raise the strongest suspicions of gerrymandering.

    The fate of Londonderry County Borough aroused the most bitterness. It had a substantial, and growing, Catholic majority – by 1961 Catholics were more than 60 per cent even among the adult population (Hewitt, 1981: 366). Yet unionists won back control under the ward division imposed in 1923, and when, after some years, it looked as if the nationalists might capture one of the unionist wards, the boundaries were redrawn so as to perpetuate unionist rule (Buckland, 1979: 243-6).

    The stock unionist defence for the post-1922 arrangements (Walmsley, 1959: 9-10; UUP, 1969: 12) is that local government electoral boundaries were drawn so as to take account not only of population but of ratable value. This was justified on the ground that those who paid the most rates were entitled to the biggest say in the conduct of local government. Thus unionists, who were on average richer than nationalists, could legitimately find themselves more favourably represented. This, however, is a dubious defence. Democratic theory does not in general permit that the rich should be more strongly represented than the poor; the unionists themselves did not make such a provision in parliamentary elections. Furthermore, as time went by, it became less and less true that large ratepayers contributed the bulk of local government finance. Grants from the Northern Ireland government became increasingly important, until by 1969 they provided three-quarters of the revenue of local authorities (Cameron, 1969: para. 141). Thus, as the Cameron commission concluded (ibid.), ‘such validity as this argument ever possessed is one which is rapidly losing any force which it might have had’. If electoral boundaries were drawn so as to over-represent the rich, this was not a refutation of the charge of gerrymandering: it was a description of how the gerrymandering was achieved.

    In any case, attempts to defend the post-1922 arrangements crumble before Buckland’s (1979) discoveries in official papers. He shows that the Northern Ireland government did not even attempt to be fair. The ‘sole concern’ of the Ministry of Home Affairs was ‘how to give effect to the views of the Unionist rank and file’ (ibid.: 233), and the reorganisation in controversial districts was ‘virtually dictated by local Unionists’ (ibid.: 239). The Derry redistribution of 1936 was designed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, who did the job better than the Derry unionists had been able to do it for themselves. ‘Throughout the discussions between ministry officials and Londonderry Unionists there was never any question that the government should not assist the latter’ (ibid.: 245). Buckland’s conclusions are particularly weighty because his previous writings (on unionism in the period 1886-1921) had shown him as sympathetic to the unionist cause.

    To sum up on electoral arrangements. Charges that parliamentary constituencies were gerrymandered against the nationalists have only slight validity, whatever other criticisms might be made of the effects of abolishing PR. The peculiarities of local government franchise were also of little effect. But when it comes to gerrymandering of local government boundaries, criticism is much more firmly based. Nationalists were manipulated out of control in a number of councils where they had a majority of electors. This is one of the clearest areas of discrimination in the whole field of controversy.

  • Harry Flashman

    I’m abusing nothing, the figures you produce speak for themselves;

    1973 election (five years after 1968) nationalist percentage of the vote in the reformed non-gerrymandered Derry City Council, and I’m throwing in the Independent who I believe was a Nationalist – 47.9%.

    Now I will say this nice and slowly for those who have difficulty understanding complex ideas; 47.9% of the vote is not, once more for those who are still not fully aware, NOT, a majority.

    Do I have to state it again? Nice and clearly, after one hundred posts, for anyone who hasn’t quite grasped the idea so far.

    IN 1968 DERRY CITY COUNCIL (THE LONDONDERRY CORPORATION AS IT THEN WAS) DID NOT HAVE A NATIONALIST MAJORITY ELECTORATE.

    Everyone got that now?

  • PaddyReilly

    Now I will say this nice and slowly for those who have difficulty understanding complex ideas; 47.9% of the vote is not, once more for those who are still not fully aware, NOT, a majority

    And I will say this nice and slowly for those who have difficulty understanding complex ideas: this is only the first preference vote, the subsequent preferences giving the Nationalists the majority on the Council.

    The fact is, you are are full of it, Harry.

  • Harry Flashman

    The first past the post vote accurately reflects the number of voters in a constituency, ergo there were only 47.9% of Nationalists in Derry City Council.

    You can get all huffy and throw your toys out of the pram Paddy old chum and you can call me names but the one thing you are incapable of doing is proving that there was a Nationalist majority in Derry City Council in 1968.

    There wasn’t, it was evenly split and given the vagaries of the STV vote it could have gone either way, in the end the Nationalists got a majority of one seat, no overwhelming “60%” Nationalist vote there I’m afraid, no matter how much you hammer the Alliance vote into the Nationalist camp.

    Come back to me when you can prove otherwise, with facts and figures, not academic research papers, family anecdotes or your own personal prejudices.

    Votes my friend, count the votes.

    47.9% is NOT a majority, plain and simple.

  • PaddyReilly

    no matter how much you hammer the Alliance vote into the Nationalist camp.

    I’m not hammering the Alliance vote into the Nationalist camp, rather you are trying to push it into the Unionist. But the fact is, the 1st pref Alliance voters gave their 2nd prefs to Nationalist candidates, which is what enabled them to gain the majority of councillors. It isn’t “vagaries of STV”, it’s the will of the people.

    Transferrable voting means people make different choices to the ones they would have done under the single vote system. People sometimes give their 1st vote to a minority party with very little chance of winning a seat, whereas if they only had a single vote, they would have to choose between the two biggest.

    In any case, what the hell are you trying to prove? After 40 years of manipulating the housing and employment situation and by dint of extending the borders of LCC way out into the country, the Unionists are able, briefly and under a new voting system, to get the Nationalist 1st pref vote under 50%. So what? A few years of Fair Employment and unbiased allocation of housing and all that is ancient history.

    47.9% is NOT a majority, plain and simple.

    You may be simple, but the voting system is not. To the 47.9% 1st prefs, you then add the 2nd and subsequent prefs, bringing the total to above 50%.

  • Briso

    1969 Stormont elections. I think we can safely say the votes for Eamonn McCann and Claude Wilton were mostly Nationalists (in Wilton’s case with no Nationalist candidate on the ticket). The aggregate of the two seats was as follows.

    Votes:
    Nationalist : 14187 43.5%
    Unionist : 10661 32.69%
    Labour : 7763 23.8%

    http://www.election.demon.co.uk/stormont/ldrcity.html

    LONDONDERRY, CITY of LONDONDERRY [17]
    Election Electors T’out
    1969 19,344 84.9
    Candidate Party Votes %
    A.W. Anderson U 6,480 39.4
    C.J. Wilton L 5,770 35.1
    P.C.D. Campbell Ind U (O’N) 4,181 25.5
    Maj 710 4.3%

    FOYLE [18]
    Election Electors T’out
    1969 19,875 81.4

    Candidate Party Votes %
    J. Hume (SDLP) 8,920 55.1
    E.G. McAteer* N 5,267 32.6
    E.J. McCann Ind Lab 1,993 12.3

    Maj 3,653 22.5
    Note:-
    1953: Maxwell’s name was submitted to the Nationalist convention which selected the official nominee, but McAteer was selected with a majority of 7 votes.

  • PaddyReilly

    NI is a plantation. Like any garden, it needs constant weeding.

    For 40 odd years the Unionist rulers manipulated job and housing assignment, in the hope that superfluous Nationalists would just up sticks and go and live in the Free State. This did have the effect of keeping the Nationalist vote stable, at around 33.3%, for the whole of this time, but as soon as the practise was outlawed it started to rise, and three or four decades later it is close to endangering the Unionist majority, the whole basis of the statelet’s existence.

    In itself, the practise of encouraging population exchange is not totally immoral: it may lead to greater civic stability, and thus the saving of life, it’s just that the Unionists took it too far. They were just too greedy, seizing whole swathes of the country with Nationalist majorities, on the grounds that these majorities were not large (note Harry’s strictures on the ‘measly’ Nationalist majority on LCC) and relied on Westminster to back up this corrupt edifice, whose purpose was not to do the will of the people, but to frustrate it as far as possible, if those people were not Unionists.

    Difficulties arose when the Government in Westminster was no longer Imperialist in orientation. With an anti-apartheid Government in Westminster drawing some of its support on the Irish Catholic voters in Great Britain, a window of opportunity for non-Unionists arose.

    The Civil Rights movement in America existed to publicise the fact that rights enshrined in the Constitution and enforced at federal level were not making it to backwaters like Alabama. The movement in NI showed that what was normal practise in London was not being extended to NI.

    Insistence on Civil Rights, Fair Employment and Housing, plus a great deal of patience is all that is neeed to collapse partition. Any other activity, particularly violence, cannot be said to have succeeded, except in attracting counter-violence.

  • Harry Flashman

    Paddy you dear sad fellow, you really don’t get it, we’re not arguing about the vagaries of the STV system we’re talking about actual numbers of voters, individuals who walk into the polling station, not which way they send their votes on the second, third or fourth transfer.

    The first preference votes are called such for a very simple reason, they record the first preference.

    Therefore 47.9% of voters in Derry were Nationalist, if they did not choose to vote Nationalist in their first preference then we do not refer to them as Nationalist any more than we call a Sinn Fein voter who in a fit of vapours gives his fifth preference to a unionist, a unionist, his first preference vote records him, correctly, as a Nationalist no matter where he puts his twos and threes.

    47.9% is not a Nationalist majority, Alliance was NOT a Nationalist party.

    I’ll say that again for emphasis Alliance was NOT a Nationalist party.

    Simple really Paddy, please stop making an eejit of yersel’!

  • PaddyReilly

    Therefore 47.9% of voters in Derry were Nationalist, if they did not choose to vote Nationalist in their first preference then we do not refer to them as Nationalist

    Wrong again. We in this instance may refer to you and your missus, but it does not to anyone who actually understands the system. The first preference is frequently a kind of protest vote, rather as with Seán Mitchell’s “People before Profit Alliance” in West Belfast. Plenty of people said, you’re a nice lad, I’ll give you my first pref, so he got his 2.3% and they went on elect a more sensible choice, SF or SDLP. This does not mean that that 2.3% were not Nationalist.

    So which of my multiple choices is me? The one which effectively elects a politician, I should think.

    Equally, gaining a larger number of votes than your immediate antagonist is considered a majority in Britain. If Labour wins an election by 44% to the Conservatives 36% (or vice versa), does this justify the losing party rigging the system so they get the majority of the seats?

    And as frequently mentioned, your point is merely propaganda for Unionist revisionism. 40 years of manipulating housing, jobs and the electorate may have diminished the Nationalist vote in Derry, but so what? Is this not even greater reason for Nationalist anger?

  • PaddyReilly

    I’ll say that again for emphasis Alliance was NOT a Nationalist party.

    In fact that may be the case. Indeed I am persuaded that virtually all Alliance Party politicians are genuinely and permanently non-Nationalist and Non-Unionist. The same, however, does not apply to voters, who favour or desert the Alliance cause from year to year, from election to election, and, under STV, on the same ballot paper.

    If I give one of my voting preferences to Alliance, that doesn’t mean I’ve sold my soul to them forever. Just as there are Protestant Atheists and Catholic Atheists, there are also Nationalist Alliance party voters and Unionist Alliance Party voters, as well as a small number who refuse to vote for anyone but Alliance. The Nationalist Alliance party voters give their 1st pref to Alliance and all subsequent ones to Nationalist candidates. You do not have the right to take my 2nd and 3rd preferences away from me.

  • Mr. Jameson

    I can’t remember who said this, but it was around the Civil War time.

    “There are no republicans in Northern Ireland, just armed Catholics.”

  • Dave

    Peadar O’Donnell said it (or sentiments to that effect). The problem with most republican factions or that era and now is that very few of them have any grasp of what self-determination means, rooting their ideology instead in socialist dogma inspired by Connolly or in militant nationalism that translates to sectarianism in a plantation context and that masquerades as something more noble under the banner of republicanism such as O’Donnell alluded to.

    But it’s really quite simple. To be a republican you must believe in self-determination as a collective right of nation, and that the state is the expedient by which the nation achieves and exercises its right to self-determination. That means that you are bound by what the nation decides. If the nation decides via the principle of self-determination that it will seek unity by exclusively peaceful means, then you are not a republican if you do accept that the applicable sovereign power resides with the people and do not agree to be bound by that consensus and its lawful expediencies. Ergo, SF/PIRA are not and never were republicans.

    The rather blatant difference between the actual IRA and the sectarian murder gangs that the plantation context in NI spawned is that the actual IRA fought to secure the right of Irish people as a nation to self-determination; and once they had secured it, they were bound by what was determined by it. On the other side, the militant nationalists showed only contempt for self-determination and its outworking, failing to respect the sovereignty of the Irish nation, it’s laws, the will of its people, etc, and that contempt for that inviolable principle allowed them to cast aside their own claim to self-determination with absolute ease, accepting that they had no right as a nation to the territory on NI.

    First principles, kids – learn ’em, and gangsters won’t be able to trick you out of your rights with ease. 😉

  • PaddyReilly

    Dave

    Do you really believe this drivel? What gives it away is the SF/PIRA tag, which has nothing to do with political analysis, it is merely a term of political abuse. One does not refer to Labour/OIRA for example, or DUP/UDA.

    The IRA were an illegal paramilitary force active in NI especially after 1972.

    Sinn Féin is a legitimate political party, the vast majority of whose voters and even the majority of whose members have never had anything to do with the IRA campaign, for the very good reason that it was all over before they got into long trousers.

    There is, it must be admitted, an overlap between the two, especially among elected MPs, MLAs and even councillors, but there is also an overlap with the RUC, in the person of Billy Leonard.

    Others of course allege that there is an overlap with MI5.

    This is of course quite usual in Ireland, where every major political party began with a paramilitary force, FF & FG being IRA factions, the Unionists being the UVF. This is the unfortunate consequence of being colonised: the democratic tradition has not had a chance to develop properly.

    Presumably at some point the IRA content of SF will become so negligible that it is no longer relevant. Perhaps you would like to tell us when?

  • dub

    “The rather blatant difference between the actual IRA and the sectarian murder gangs that the plantation context in NI spawned is that the actual IRA fought to secure the right of Irish people as a nation to self-determination; and once they had secured it, they were bound by what was determined by it.”

    Dave, when exactly was the right of Irish people as a nation to self determination secured? It is not mentioned in the Treaty of 1921 and the only occasion of which i know in which it was conceceded was in the Downing St Declaration of the late 1990’s.

    When did the irish people resolve that unity would only be pursued peacefully? please name the date of this referendum. De Valera is on record as saying that he would favour the use of force to end partition if he thought it would work.

    “and that contempt for that inviolable principle allowed them to cast aside their own claim to self-determination with absolute ease”

    Their own claim? what on earth does that mean? the only nation entitled to self determination on the island of Ireland is the Irish one and all northerners (and in particular, northern nationalists) are part of that nation, so how on earth could northern nationalists have their own claim to self determaination cast aside? the electorate of the 26 counties voted to amend articles 2 and 3 of Bunreacht na heireann, northern nationalists had no hand, act or part in this. as usual you are talking drivel and seem to be consumed with guilt at the quisling role of the southern irish govt in negotiating away the entire irish nation’s right to self determination, which is what the modern ira fought for. You are forever projecting your southern guilt onto northern nationslists.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>By the way is the admin going to leave those vile and libellous slurs above on the post all day?<<*chuckles*Bullseye methinks.Explain to a lowly corner-boy type Taig Harry, how it is possible to defame a self confessed toffy nosed quisling/internet secret agent? Going under the name of a mythical cad, from the pen of a deceased author. Please explain? C'mon!Although you have got me thinking, in no way was the mythical flashman as much of a cad as you.PaddyI had Italian food for dinner, I reckon this now make me an Azzuri. You are wasting your time here anyhow, the bold Harry has exposed himself so many times now that reason will not prevail, because reason is not part of the game. It is an agenda, pure and simple.

  • Arconada Armstrong

    Hmmm – not for the first time on Slugger you’ve got the wrong end of the stick. Harry was complaining about comments directed at a Derry priest he had name-checked, not comments aimed at himself.

  • Arconada Armstrong

    Comments which have subsequently been removed…

  • Big Maggie

    Comments which have subsequently been removed…

    Damn! I missed all the fun again….

  • PaddyReilly

    Hmmm – not for the first time on Slugger you’ve got the wrong end of the stick. Harry was complaining about comments directed at a Derry priest he had name-checked, not comments aimed at himself.

    More than one person has the wrong end of the stick then. You cannot libel the dead.

    However, the comments that followed about someone else’s drunk drinking, are libellous.

  • Dave

    PaddyReilly, what you fail to grasp is that the old IRA campaign was aimed at achieving self-determination for the Irish nation; and once they achieved it, they were bound by it. Note the difference between patriots and fascist thugs? The sectarian murder gang you are so fond of operated AFTER self-determination was secured, yet they showed abject contempt for that principle. You can’t secure that which has already been secured. Indeed, the claim to self-determination of northern nationalists was based on being a part of Irish nation.

    Dub, do you know what you are talking about? Let’s nail it down in international law under Article 1 of the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” In other words, a sovereign territory entity – a nation-state (with the people being the nation and the state being the expedient by which they determine their own affairs). I don’t think it is necessary to call Ireland “The Place Where Irish Self-determination is Exercised” because most folks can figure out that the nation-state of Ireland exists and that it exercises self-government. If you are still confused, I suggest you pop over to the UN site and see if there is any mention atall atall of an independent republic of Ireland.

    Have you ever heard of proscribed organisations? Well, idiot, look the term up and you’ll discover to your astonishment that PIRA was a proscribed organisation in Ireland. Now do you think perchance that the Irish government – which exercises self-determination on behalf of the Irish nation – banned PIRA because it did not support the use of violence for political purposes and because it alone as the sovereign power has the right to declare war on a foreign state and not a self-appointed murder gang? Hmmm? Do you think that might have been the reason? On mature reflection you do, don’t you? Good lad.

    Lastly, a claim to self-determination is inseparable from a claim to a particular territory, since – and here’s a helpful reminder – a state requires a wee plot of land. See, you’re learning a lot today, aren’t you? So when two nations lay claim to a particular territory, one of them must either renounce their claim to it or be defeated in that claim. Guess how the territorial dispute over NI was resolved? Well, one nation formally renounced its claim to said wee plot of land, and with it – and remember now that they are inextricably linked – its claim to self-determination. I think you’ll find, dunce, that the situation is all cleared up in international law: Ulster is British and so said the nationalists.

  • Dave

    A Derry priest and a prominent nationalist politician (who can be libelled).

    Still, it looks like war between Harry and Prince. 😉

  • Dave

    “the electorate of the 26 counties voted to amend articles 2 and 3 of Bunreacht na heireann, northern nationalists had no hand, act or part in this. as usual you are talking drivel and seem to be consumed with guilt at the quisling role of the southern irish govt in negotiating away the entire irish nation’s right to self determination, which is what the modern ira fought for. You are forever projecting your southern guilt onto northern nationslists.” – dub

    Really? I seem to recall that the referendum to remove Ireland’s territorial claim to Northern Ireland was part-and-parcel of the GFA, negotiated by the political parties in Northern Ireland in an arrangement that sidelined the two governments to the role of facilitators rather than participants. Perhaps you think the poll just fell out of a Christmas cracker? No, dupe, it was northern nationalist who signed away their own claim to self-determination. Naturally, if the northern nationalists wanted the southern Irish to formally remove their claim, then the southern Irish were only too happy to oblige them. And there is no “southern guilt” contrary to your own fantasy. Most of the southern Irish were only too happy to be well rid of the place, recognising that the sectarian murder campaign of northern nationalists had a profoundly damaging impact on the Irish economy during the 70s and 80s. Perhaps you should ask the Shinners (or their masters) why they entered into negotiations in a format wherein the only two entities who could deliver Irish unity (the two governments) were deliberately excluded, and wherein the only outcome would be an internal solution? 😉

  • Dave

    Just to make one final (longwinded) point on this: to citizens of the Republic, it doesn’t matter at all if people living outside of its sovereign territory renounce their claim to the territory wherein they reside as being a part of the Irish nation-state, as northern nationalists have done. They still remain part of the Irish nation, but they don’t reside in an Irish nation-state.

    The practical consequences of separating a nation from control of a state are that there is no expedient by which that nation can exercise its right to self-determination. That nation might request support from the state for its “economic, social and cultural development” (as stated in Article 1) but that state may easily decline the request. An obvious and current example is an Irish Language Act where the nation seeks support and the state fails to provide that support. In a nation-state, the nation gets what it wants from the state because the nation controls the state. While Ulster is British, it isn’t a British nation-state even if it heavily slanted toward that nationalism: it’s a strange place where vetoes apply from two competing nations of more-or-less equal mass.

    So, why does it matter if the nation renounces its claim to a particular piece of territory? Well, it makes it harder to challenge the legitimacy of something if an overwhelming majority have stated that it is legitimate. You can’t go along and insist at some future point that Ulster is Irish if you have formally stated in a treaty that it is British. Principles can’t be discarded when they are no longer expedient and restored to glory when they become expedient again: either it is inviolable or “indefeasible” (as the Proclomation of Independence defined it) or it isn’t. Rights are not subject to the discretion of others, so if you make something subject to such discretion or veto then you nullify it as a right. It becomes an aspiration, and that’s all that folks in NI are left with. The rest is just bullshit, self-serving waffle from sectarian murder gangs, touts, and puppets in search of new careers, and denial of reality from a multitude. That was a high price to pay just to support a murder gang, and at some future point it’ll dawn on northern nationalists just how high it is.

    “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.”

  • dub

    Dave,

    Kindly refrain from referring to me as an “idiot” etc…

    Northern nationalists are not a separate nation, you have kindly conceded, they are part of the Irish Nation. Therefore they do not have a separate right to self determaination from the rest of the Irish nation. Therefore they did not case aside “their own claim”. The whole of the Irish nation did, and this happened during the GFA negotations and was an action carried out by the Irish Govt which WAS represented in the negoatiations in a very major way.

    The Irish govt has never been in a position to exercise self determination on behalf of the Irish people as the 1921 Treaty specifically prevented the Irish people from exercsing self determaination in relation to their national terrritory…. the whole island of Ireland.

    You may be right about the extent of southern guilt in general. Your own ssnse of it is very clear as you project the blame for the abandonment of the Irish people’s right to self determination in relation to their national terriroty onto the wrong people. You also persist in the bizarre belief that a section of the Irish nation (northern nationalists) have their own separate right to self determination from the rest of us. The 2 nations in dispute of the territory of “northern ireland” were the entire Irish nation and the British nation represneted by 2 sovereign governments, one of which has never been in control of all its national territory and one of which is illegally in control of part of the other’s. One sovereign governemt gave up part of its own national territory, in return for nothing whatever of substance. This treachery was wholly that of the southern government. Let’s not forget the original treachery of 1925 when they recognised the borders and legality of the “state” of “Norhern Ireland”.

    The only consolation is that i am not sure whether it is legal for a nation to waive its own right to self determination. Some things are not giveable away.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>Just to make one final (longwinded) point< >Still, it looks like war between Harry and Prince. ;)<

  • Garibaldy

    Harry’s point on the voting figures in 1973 misses out the fact that unlike in the 1960s there was a significant proportion of the nationalist population that was avoiding voting in the elections.

    And again. 30% of the votes getting 60% of the seats is gerrymandering. Moreover, in plain figures, here was he situation. 12,000 nationalist voters elected 4 less councillors than 8,000 unionist ones because of the way the boundaries had been drawn up. Complaints of gerrymandering in Derry extend back to the C19th.