Abandon hope

As Alliance continue selecting their candidates for the Westminster election (congratulations Gerry Lynch) it will be interesting to see where they decide to run. While most assume the campaigns are doomed to failure, they will still put people up as in previous years.

Looking back on recent Westminster elections a pattern seems to emerge on where they select for these ultimately fruitless attempts. I’m not sure what that pattern means, if anything.

The last time Alliance put up a candidate in a constituency currently held by Sinn Féin was 1997. They did not stand in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, West Tyrone, Mid-Ulster, Newry and Armagh or West Belfast in 2001 or 2005.

In the SDLP held Foyle they did not contest the 2005 election. They did contest South Down in 2005.

However, they do consistently contest every other seat that had a Unionist incumbent.