“I am confident there will be two Nationalist seats”

That’s what this man just told me when he came knocking at my door and very nice he was too.

  • Dave

    Never trust a man who owns an upright vacuum cleaner.

  • slug

    That is a very nice period house you have, Mark.

  • slug

    I know that this is a little off topic, but it comes as a revelation to me that an erigi supporter would live in a period property with beautiful stone-cladding and a classical arch-shaped window over the door.

  • Mark McGregor

    slug,

    1. It is way, way off topic
    2. I’m not a supporter of any group these days
    3. I’m glad you like the smallest of my homes

  • 6countyprod

    So, who was the nice man?

    Btw, that’s a pretty flower basket.

  • PaddyReilly

    The hanging basket adds a very civilised touch.

    The Fenians are, on demographic grounds alone, 80% of the way towards bridging the gap between them and right-thinking decent Ulster Unionists—which was only about 31,000 five years ago, according to my calculations.

    Mind you, you have to give yourself a 10,000 error margin to allow for turnout etcetera.

    Whether they can make up the extra 20% depends on the other side: how bad the Unionists are at transferring and how good they are at squabbling among themselves. Running three candidates against your opponents’ two is obviously a cardinal error.

    So Nationalists have an outside chance of winning two seats, but I doubt that they will deserve to win two seats.

    Judging from the comments on Slugger, I would say only a minority of voters actually understand what is at stake in this election. There is a strong tendency to confuse the voting with the 1st preferences, when it is up to the transfers to decide the outcome.

    Nails will be bitten, that is for certain. Unionists will not win two quotas this time, even with transfers, and so it will be possible to talk about the Unionist minority for the first time since partition. Sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble:- Unionist. Minority.

  • Paul McMahon

    “Unionists will not win two quotas this time”

    Wow Paddy, that’s a mighty audacious prediction. Care to share your analysis?

    “I’m glad you like the smallest of my homes”

    Nothing new there Mark – Just another Republican with a property portfolio.

    [It really is very nice though, you seem to have impeccable taste].

  • PaddyReilly

    Re: audacious prediction

    Last time round Unionists did not win two quotas (i.e. 50%) on the first preferences, but after transfers from Greens and Alliance their second candidate ended up 9,738 over quota.

    It is not sticking my head out very much to say that they will have lost these 9,738 votes by June. After all the 2007 Election showed considerable losses for Unionism. And every single Euro Election since they started has shown a small, but significant loss for Unionism.

  • Paul McMahon

    Thanx very much Paddy

    Was never too hot on the old psephology so not really in a position to comment on your prediction.

    Interesting indeed if it does come to fruition, any predictions for candidates and seats?

  • Mick Fealty

    Keep up the Novenas Paddy… 😉

  • Pigeon Toes

    “Sign of peace sidelined
    Swine flu fears have forced a Catholic priest in Northern Ireland to abandon the sign of peace handshake at Mass.

    The practice was suspended in Newry, Co Down, as a precaution following cases of the virus in Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

    The move came after a parishioner wrote to Dominican Chapel prior Fr Gerard Fearon calling for action.”

    How long before “Swine Flu, stops EU campaign trail?”

    Hands up who would love to see that headline?

  • loki

    pigeon toes
    Amen to that
    the apathy is astounding

  • PaddyReilly

    Just looking at some of the past results and it seems like the Nationalist vote jumped 7% between 1989 and 1994. I predict a drop in the Unionist vote of 2% over 5 years and everyone tells me I’m on acid.

    The Unionist vote goes down slowly, but surely, by about 0.5% per annum. It is now falling into the danger zone but it will not be really vulnerable, in Europe at least, before 2014.

  • PaddyReilly

    Just looking at some of the past results and it seems like the Nationalist vote jumped 7% between 1989 and 1994. I predict a drop in the Unionist vote of 2% over 5 years and everyone tells me I’m on acid.

    The Unionist vote goes down slowly, but surely, by about 0.5% per annum. It is now falling into the danger zone but it will not be really vulnerable, in Europe at least, before 2014.

  • jeep55

    PaddyReilly

    Not many transfers from Alliance to UUP last time as they did not stand. However what you say is broadly true – but it was John Gilliland’s transfers which pulled the Unionists over the two quotas. For what it is worth I think Alliance and Greens will poll well enough to deny the unionists two quotas this time. Nicholson will be left wanting transfers from such diverse quarters as TUV, DUP (who also might struggle to reach the quota on the first count), Alliance and Greens. His new blue clothes may mean that those are harder to come by (I for one am going to give my third preference vote – after Alliance and Greens – to SDLP rather than UCUNF) and I could quite see a final ‘elected without reaching quota’ stamp on Nicholson.

  • Mark,

    but did he have a fag when you asked for one?

  • PaddyReilly

    Yes it is difficult to keep remembering that Gilliland was not Alliance, but effectively he captured the same vote.

    I have some difficulty though with your statement “For what it is worth I think Alliance and Greens will poll well enough to deny the unionists two quotas this time.”

    If you mean 1st preference, Unionists did not win one last time. If you mean after transfers, then Alliance and Greens polling well is irrelevant, because they will be eliminated and their votes be divided between SDLP and UCU.

    What will deprive Unionists of 2 quotas will not be Alliance and Greens but a dearth of Prods.

  • For Cod and Bluster

    You’d say this about very few people in this day and age – but Alban really should have kept the ‘tache…

  • Oddly, transfering to Alban should really be a no-brainer for me (and probably at the end of the day will still be a no-brainer). But, boy is this “two nationalist seats” crap starting to get irritiating. Am I transferring to Alban Maginness, a secular, pro-European, social democrat, or am I transferring to Alban Maginness who hopes his mate Bairbre’s coat tails are long enough to drag him in and make sure usuns get two seats and themmins get one. Because the first Alban I will gladly transfer to; the second would force me to plump (after an utterly pointless second preference directed to Steve Agnew).

  • PaddyReilly

    It is true that the lack of a tache makes Alban look a bit like one of the Paisley family, but at the end of the day, he is a Fenian. He may be a secular, pro-European, social democrat, but you should add Irish to that as well.

    He would not be the first politician to be all things to all men. I’m sure the UCU lot are presenting themselves as the last bulwark against the Fenian tide in some quarters, and the new Alliance in others.

  • LURIG

    There are many Shinners who would unashamedly put the SDLP well down their list of transfers. They would rather Jim Allister got in than Alban Maginness. That says more about them and their so called desire to see strong Nationalist representation. Sinn Fein live up to their name quite well, Ourselves Alone. They want to keep total control of Nationalists but many of us have had our fill of them. They are bullies and control freaks.

  • Pete

    “… but at the end of the day, he is a Fenian. He may be a secular, pro-European, social democrat, but you should add Irish to that as well.”

    PaddyReilly,

    Thank you for reminding me why I hate this country in which I was born to its neck! I mean, is this the only basis on which you put an ‘X’ at someones name? Are you so devoid of interest in any issues that actually matter? How vile would an ‘Irish’ candidate have to be for you to not consider voting for them?

  • slug

    Pete

    Mostly when one reads “he is a Fenian” on this site it is written by a nationalist. As here.

  • Pete

    Slug,

    Yes, I had cottoned on to that.

    My annoyance is with tribal voting, not the use of the word fenian (which is just poor humour).

  • Dave

    Nationality is the most important issue in every election in NI. That will always be the case, remaining unaltered by ridiculously amateurish or petulant attempts to conflate nationality with tribalism or to extend secularism beyond the religious to include it. The two nations in NI will continue to struggle for control of one state, with all elections being central to that. 198 of the world’s 203 states are nation-states, so they don’t have the dysfunctional dynamics that exist in NI. If France merged with a nation of equal size, both nations would be abnormally locked into the same struggle for control of one state, with neither nation wishing the nationality of the other to be imposed on it and with both recognising that control of the state is central to that resistance. When each nation controls its own state, all is well with the world. There can be no escape from that dynamic or practicable pretence that it doesn’t exist or can be ameliorated. Ignoring it on the local level defaults with British sovereignty, which is why those who are of the British nation are keen that those of the Irish nation do ignore it on the local level.

  • PaddyReilly

    Are you so devoid of interest in any issues that actually matter?

    You mean the CAP and the Fisheries policy? Totally. There are enough MEPs from other countries to sort these things out. The matter in hand, as far as I am concerned, is the establishment of normal democratic procedure in the North East of Ireland, and the reversal of a situation where one faction has the right to devise borders to keep themselves in power, and the rest of the population does not. The establishment of ordinary democracy takes precedent over any implementation of this (at present, warped) political system.

    How vile would an ‘Irish’ candidate have to be for you to not consider voting for them?

    I don’t think Alban is particularly vile, even if he has shaved off his moustache. And I’m sure Jim Nicholson has done a good job too. So if there is a choice between the two of them, I would go for the one who stands for bringing about normality.

    As for “tribal” voting, if you will perpetrate this gross misinterpretation of the situation, you can only be disappointed. I am not a Hazara or an Ashante: I don’t have scarifications on my cheeks: there is a pressing question which needs to be settled, rather like the side of the road we drive on, or the metric system, and it will be finally settled when we all adopt the same system.

  • redhugh78

    LURIG,
    If you are a nationalist, would you transfer to a shinner?

  • redhugh78

    LURIG,
    ‘There are many Shinners who would unashamedly put the SDLP well down their list of transfers’

    Wrong, there are many shinners who would unashamedly NEVER give the SDLP any transfer ever,however there’s far more Stoops who never give the shinners anything but are all to willing to transfer to unionists.(unashamedly)

  • redhugh78,

    And then there is a certain West Belfast MPs who implores his supporters to support Rainbow George over rival nationalist candidates.

  • … 198 of the world’s 203 states are nation-states …

    That is so wrong that it’s funny.

  • Silverline

    (TUV) Turncoats Unionist Voice could cost Unionism a seat, it was interesting to hear Allister propose a new Committee for Stormont in a debate with Dodds for the three MEPs to sit on aswell. I thought he was against extra waste, this is hardly a sign of someone not wanting to share power with Sinn Fein. In fact lets look at his record.

    A) Prepared to share power with Sinn Fein in a super council styled model
    B) Agree that not elements of the St Andrews Agreement were bad
    C) Wont reveal expenses in Europe
    D) Now proposing a new Committee for Stormont
    E) Left the DUP over one issue wanting to have a longer testing period for Sinn Fein before agreeing to go into a Voluntary Coalition

    Seems like alot of double standards by the (TUV)

  • Comrade Stalin

    Siliverline, the TUV will not cost unionism a seat unless, bizarrely, its voters all transfer to nationalists ahead of the UUP or DUP. which I don’t think is likely. Please stop circulating the bullshit.

    redhugh, now that SF are constitutional nationalists facing efforts to burn them out, like the SDLP did, I don’t really see why SF voters would have a problem transferring to them these days.

  • An fhirinne gharbh

    Lurig – Sinn Fein doesn’t mean ‘Ourselves Alone’. It simply means ‘Ourselves’. Another blunder is Fianna Fail being translated as Soldiers of Destiny when all it really means is Soldiers of Fal (Fal being a poetic name for Ireland). Ridiculous enough really, without adding to it.

  • PaddyReilly

    the TUV will not cost unionism a seat unless, bizarrely, its voters all transfer to nationalists ahead of the UUP or DUP

    Not so. Unionism is ahead of Nationalism by a very small number of votes: I would put it at a mean 4,500 with an error margin of 10,000, so it could be 14,500, but that’s still not many.

    In the process of transferring, plenty of votes fall by the wayside. I think an 80% efficient transfer is a record. So if TUV gain 50,000 votes, then 10,000 of these could be lost to the Unionist cause on transfer, causing loss of second Unionist seat.

  • dunreavynomore

    Has anyone heard conversations about this election going on in shops, pubs,hairdressers, on the streets or anywhere the general public are to be found? Is the corncrake’s call more common than discussions about the election amongst the public?

  • fair_deal

    Mark

    Did he give you a cigarette?

  • I know that this is a little off topic, but it comes as a revelation to me that an erigi supporter would live in a period property with beautiful stone-cladding and a classical arch-shaped window over the door.

    I must confess that I’d imagined Mark himself sporting a baseball cap and a chunky gold chain.

  • Mack

    Dave –

    If France merged with a nation of equal size, both nations would be abnormally locked into the same struggle for control of one state, with neither nation wishing the nationality of the other to be imposed on it and with both recognising that control of the state is central to that resistance

    Oddly enough, they seem to have tried that experiment. It’s called Belgium.

    A mini-France mixed with a large number of Germanic-Austrians and a smaller number of Italians, and a tiny amount of Romancsh people? That’d be Switzerland.

  • Paddy Reilly,

    Just as a matter of interest, have you done some research work on demographics/voting preferences recently for the SDLP?

  • Greenflag

    paddy reilly ,

    ‘So if TUV gain 50,000 votes, then 10,000 of these could be lost to the Unionist cause on transfer, causing loss of second Unionist seat.’

    Thanks for trying to injecting a frisson of excitement into the campaign 🙂

    Even if -it would be a 7 day wonder ?. Won’t make any difference to the balance of power within the 760 plus European Parliament ?

  • I think an 80% efficient transfer is a record

    You think wrong. This is not Ballyjamesduff. 80% transferring is about average in NI – off the top of my head, Iris managed 93% in Strangford in 2003, Gerry managed 89% in West Belfast despite his ‘star power’, etc., etc.

  • PaddyReilly

    have you done some research work on demographics/voting preferences recently for the SDLP?

    If you mean do I work for the SDLP, no. The characteristic of the SDLP is that while they do not attract so many voters these days, they do not repel them either when it comes to transferring. So, while they would, one expects, be well short of a quota on a first vote, they stand in line to pick up the SF surplus and transfers from Alliance and Greens.

    As there is a tendency for the electorate to become slightly greener with every passing year, they will be nearer to a full quota this time than they were in 2004.

    As for the likely outcome, I would say:

    DUP & UNUCF both end up over quota: unlikely;
    Jim Nicholson gets in without achieving a quota: most likely;
    Alban gets in without achieving a quota: less likely, but still within the realms of possibility;
    SF and SDLP both win quotas: unlikely.

    But I have no way of calculating what the effect of being in office will be on the SF and DUP vote and whether or not this will cause them to lose out to SDLP and UCUNF, so there could be some surprises here.

  • Sammy Morse,

    … 80% transferring is about average in NI …

  • susan

    [It really is very nice though, you seem to have impeccable taste].

    Posted by Paul McMahon on May 12, 2009 @ 08:52 PM

    You certainly do, Mark! Perhaps you could start a lifestyles blog offsides. So many of us have grown dissatisfied sleeping on lumpy, grass-filled mattresses, but are anxious about making the next step.

  • One of the reasons I enjoy voting Alliance in PR elections is cause you can in effect make yer vote count twice – u can without any fearful consquences take the risk of being all moderate and nice with your number one vote (& i believe Ian Parsley is moderate and nice) and then, knowing that unfortunately your candidate will be eliminated, you can with yer number two vote revert to type and merrily vote along the old sectarian lines of either SDLP or UUP/Tory ( or even i suppose SF or DUP shud u b a bit loose in the head) safe in the knowledge that in the overall headcount of Unionists v Nationalists you will have done yer bit not to let yer side down. Quite why everyone doesnt do this beats me.

  • paddy Reilly,

    “If you mean do I work for the SDLP, no.”

    For once I wasn’t being snarky, it was a genuine question, have you done some research for the SDLP recently?

  • PaddyReilly

    Iris managed 93% in Strangford in 2003

    But was this not transferring between members of the same party, the DUP?

    So would we not expect transfers from TUV to other Unionist parties to be less than perfect?

    Even if -it would be a 7 day wonder ?. Won’t make any difference to the balance of power within the 760 plus European Parliament ?

    True, which is why I feel it is legitimate to treat this as a referendum rather than deal with what someone calls the “issues that actually matter”. Sending Alban to Europe in place of Jimbo would make no difference whatsoever to European governance, but would cause no end of a shake-up in the pravince.

    But even if that doesn’t happen, for Unionists to discover that they are a minority dependent on alliance/green approval to get anywhere would be a most welcome development. Of course, they probably won’t notice, or convince themselves they’re going to win big time next time round with a little more effort, etc etc.

  • PaddyReilly

    have you done some research for the SDLP recently?

    Again, no. I am not a member of the SDLP, and have never worked for them, on an employed or voluntary basis, or undertaken any survey or polling on their behalf. Or on anyone else’s behalf, except my own.

    Though I did work for MORI, briefly, in the 80s, I think. Awful job, will never do it again.

    The SDLP will, I believe, move closer to achieving a quota this time, but more because of ongoing demographic trends and transferred votes than anything they have done to deserve it.

  • Mark McGregor

    I always fall back on Strangford and Lagan Valley in 2007 as simply read indicators of internal nationalist transfer patterns.

    LV – When the SDLP were elimated 92% of their vote transfered. 45% went Alliance, 40% went SF.

    Strangford – When SF were eleminated 96% transfered. 73% went SDLP.

  • Paddy,

    OK, thanks.

  • When SF were eleminated 96% transfered. 73% went SDLP.

    That was more favourable to us and less to the SDLP than average because of local facotrs in the Upper Ards Peninsula.

    The LV transfer was probably slightly more favourable to SF in reality because of how parcels are dealt with when one candidate exceeds the quota in the middle of a stage, and closer to 50:50. In fact I more or less now assume that SDLP transfers go 50:50 between us and the Shinners, but there are wide variations from one place to another.

  • Mark McGregor

    Sammy,

    Wasn’t saying they are prefect figures but wanted to give a simple set and an idea of the ball park for people maybe trying to get a handle on this for the first time .

    Both transfer at over 90%. Shinners go about 80% for the SDLP. SDLP go about 50:50 Alliance/SF.

    Fair enough rough guide?

  • Agreed, Mark.

  • Ian

    It’ll be interesting to see if Unionism can hold onto both baubles this time round, namely:

    – Topping the poll on first preference votes;
    – Retaining two seats

    If they fail to secure either of those two objectives, that will be seen as a milestone in the decline of the Unionist majority.

  • PaddyReilly

    That will be seen as a milestone in the decline of the Unionist majority.

    No, if they fail to retain two seats it will be seen as a milestone in the decline of the Unionist minority. As has already been pointed out, Nationalists topped the poll in 1998, so this is no kind of milestone.

  • eranu

    sooooo, when alls said and done… do we know if mark got a cigarette or not? !

  • John 45

    ‘Keep up the Novenas, Paddy’. (On another topic)
    By Mike Fealty
    Perhaps I am missing something here, but why do Protestants think it is their God-given right to ridicule Catholic prayer practises, while Catholics know that it is counter-Scriptural to do exactly this?

  • Mick Fealty isn’t a Protestant (like, duuuuuh).

  • Mark McGregor

    Mick Fealty isn’t a Protestant (like, duuuuuh).

    So he says. He doesn’t half look like one ;0)

  • PaddyReilly

    Protestants rarely have beards. That’s how you can tell that Our Lord was a Catholic.

  • The Third Policeman

    Does that make Our Lady a prod?

  • PaddyReilly

    Policeman

    You are a hell bound sinner. I will be performing a novena for your conversion.

  • The Third Policeman

    Paddy,

    Throw in a trip to Lough Derg too will ya? I’m going out tomorrow night.

    There’s a good man.

  • DK

    The trouble with the theory of nationalism getting 2 seats is that their candidates are too ugly. The green and alliance are easiest on the eye, with the fragrent Iris next followed by a jolly looking Nicholson. TUV boy lets the unionist side down at this point since smiling is obviously an alien activity to him, so he’ll do worse than expected.

    My prediction: Green, Alliance, DUP.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Paddy,

    I will confess to being a complete amateur when it comes to STV vote-counting mathematics. But if I vote Alliance, Green and then SDLP, and my vote ends up being counted for the SDLP, does that make me a nationalist ? It sounds a bit like you think it would.

  • PaddyReilly

    Does that make me a nationalist ?

    Well it’s rather like the old joke about three men at a graveside remembering they owed money to the deceased, two throwing in coins to the amount of their debt and one writing a cheque.

    You are writing a cheque for Alliance and Greens and throwing it in a grave. So effectively you are voting for the SDLP, and the act of writing 1 and 2 against Alliance and Greens is just kidding yourself.

    The Nationalist vote obviously includes people who are illiterate or just plain stupid, and no doubt the Parsley vote will include people who think they are voting for Paisley, but in the end these things balance themselves out.

  • PaddyReilly

    But equally one should remember the lot of the Sinn Féin voter who lives in Bangor. At a Stormont election, he votes SF (No chance, not in N. Down), then SDLP (ditto), then Natural Law and Rainbow Bob (just to be cranky), and finally perhaps Alliance and Greens. Depending which order he puts the last two in, he succeeds in electing an Alliance or Green candidate. Is he an Alliance voter? Yes, in the same way you are an SDLP one.

    But we always have to bear in mind that a different kind of election will produce a different result. In a Euro election he obviously elects Sinn Féin. Equally, a change in the parliamentary constituencies, the system of electing or the balance of population will cause sleepers of this sort to reappear, leading to such turnups for the books as two Nationalist members sent to Stormont from South and North Antrim.