TUV’s offer to help prevent SF First Minister ignored

Jim Allister’s latest attack on the the current agreement is one he has been developing for some time. He was the first to warn (in November 2006) of the potential for an SF First Minister following the change in the legislation after the St. Andrew’s Agreement. The arguments over the change in the rules which ceased to make the First Minister come from the largest party of the largest designation in Stromont and changed it to simply the largest party have been rehearsed repeatedly. Allister’s charge has consistently been that this change was acquiesced to or even encouraged by the DUP to allow them to duress unionists into voting DUP lest SF be the largest party and, hence, gain the First Ministership.

When he launched the TUV manifesto, Jim Allister promised that any TUV MPs would work along side any other unionists to try to ensure that the legislation be changed back so that again the First Minister would come from the largest party of the largest designation. This position has been agreed to by the CUs. However, as yet the DUP have not responded. It may be that they just have not bothered yet. However, cynics might suggest that they are waiting for the outcome of this election and might yet hope to revive the tactic of trying to force unionists to vote for them to prevent an SF First Minister: a possibility they helped create. Pretty Machiavellian and good tactics: yet again hopeless long term strategy.

  • PrivateBob

    Can someone explain to me why Unionists are so fundamentally against the possibility of having a Sinn Fein First Minister? Is the possibility really that scary? If Sinn Fein are returned as the largest party at the next assembly elections then surely they have the *democratic* right and mandate to elect the first minister. It’s not like the FM has any more powers over the dFM anyway, it’s a joint office.

    Is it because of unionist ideology, deep-seated hatred of Sinn Fein, or some other tactical, historical or religious reason?

  • Oracle

    Bob,

    I think your missing the point with the TUV it’s quite clear that they don’t have a problem with anyone or party being first minister or having a representative as first minister so long as they accept the concept that this is a British dominion politically and economically and more fundamentally, must be run democratically within the rules of British law.

    Therefore having a first minister linked even tentatively to an entity that still has unaccounted for weapons, involved in kidnapping murder and bank robbing is completely unacceptable to the TUV and their supporters.

    I hope that answers your question sufficiently Bob, if I’ve left anything out I’m sure Turgon will correct me.

  • Greenflag

    Private Bob ,

    First they were just against people i.e Catholics .
    Then they were against Home Rule
    Then they were against Irish independence .
    Then they were against the CRA and equal rights
    Then they were against power sharing with the SDLP
    Then they were against talks of any description with SF .
    Then they were against power sharing with SF .
    Then they were against the Anglo Irish Agreement .
    Then they were against an SF Peace & Justice Minister .
    Now they are against an SF First MInister .

    I hope the above answers your questions with a little less waffle than Oracle’s standard unionist hypocritical deviation ;(

    I used to be a non SF supporter until I started to read some of the unionist drivel which passes for TUV politics .

  • Neil

    so long as they accept the concept that this is a British dominion politically and economically

    Ah, so I take it you’re the thought police now? I had thought people were free to express any ideas they saw fit, so long as they didn’t incite people to commit crime. I can see that I was wrong, the TUV have decided there are two schools of thought, theirs and wrong.

    and more fundamentally, must be run democratically within the rules of British law.

    Catch up dude. The shinners are behind the police now, though I suspect yourself and Turgon would breathe a sigh of relief if Marty himself gunned down a policeman. Give you a good reason to hate all Nationalists again, other than your Pavlovian hatred off all things Catholic.

    Therefore having a first minister linked even tentatively to an entity that still has unaccounted for weapons, involved in kidnapping murder and bank robbing is completely unacceptable to the TUV and their supporters.

    That’s funny. The IRA decommissioned their weapons. As for the kidnapping, murder and bank robbery, LOL, jesus wept. In a democracy is it not the case that people are considered innocent until proven guilty? So if you have some proof (which you don’t, as we all know) why don’t you toddle off down to the PSNI station? But you won’t be able to do that, so you’ll have to sit on here and foment hatred while dreaming of the glory days of the UWC strikes or whatever gets you wet.

    And given that an active attempt was taken to prosecute people and failed to exact a conviction therefore you are simply throwing mud.

    It’s interesting also, the moral high ground being taken by TUVists while at the same time certain among them are petitioning for the release of a murderer of more than 10 who takes a passing interest in slapping women while he’s out and about. How do you square the wife beating murderer support wing in the TUV with your impeccable morals?

    Can someone explain to me why Unionists are so fundamentally against the possibility of having a Sinn Fein First Minister?

    Only some of ’em dude. The more vocal ones I reckon myself, but the reasons are obvious.

  • cynic2

    I am not afraid of a Shinner running the County Council

  • cynic2

    In fact I am not afraid of Sinn Fein at all

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    I can’t see any problem at all with a SF FM — we have SF controlled councils, SF mayors and even a SF prod called Billy.

    Unionism needs to grow up and face the scary fact that they actually won — NI will be part of the UK for a very long time and the GFA basically makes SF Unionists in everything but aspiration. They can arse around with rewriting history and promoting Irish till the cows come home, but the constitutional position will remain the same. If Marty or the curvaceous Catriona get to be first minister, exactly what difference will it make?

    And the TUV need to wise up and get with the programme.
    The only useful thing they’ve ever done is get that fit bird on the election posters.

  • madraj55

    Sunny Jim is doing this because he knows the days of Unionists being the largest grouping in Stormont, are ebbing away. I expect that if Kelly gets Nth belfast, that will be an indicator that Belfast will join the Derry club as being a nationalist controlled city by the centenary of the Easter rising, and the Unionist majority [the whole raison d’etre of NI existence, will have disappeared..

  • dundonald voter

    I expect that if Kelly gets Nth belfast, that will be an indicator that Belfast will join the Derry club as being a nationalist controlled city by the centenary of the Easter rising, and the Unionist majority
    i have a feeling that gerry kelly getting the north belfast seat is now a reality. the reason for this? well the unionist buy off with the unity pacts. the nationalist voters are so slow and they will unite around the candidate they feel can be elected. then the dup will rue the day they started there wee games. peter the punt great strategist? dont make me laugh

  • dundonald voter

    the nationalist voters are not so slow

  • madraj55

    ‘surely they have the democratic right, and mandate to elect the first minister’

    Private Bob. That’s democracy your thinking of there, Bob. NI owes it’s very existence to electoral abuse, so normal rules of govt don’t apply as far as some Unionists see it, since they believe the statelet was created for them, they see democratic obligations for ‘others, they aren’t required to respect democracy themselves..

  • madraj55

    Exactly, DV. Far sighted thinking is genetically alien to DUP.

  • dundonald voter

    madraj55 they havent a clue to be honest. they have taken the unionist vote for a complete and other fool over the decades. but with this latest game it will come back to haunt them. nigel dodds could be the loser. they may have taken the unionist electorate for fools and got away with it but the nationalist vote aint so stupid and theres no way they would let them away with pacts. no way

  • Mr E Mann

    It was good for peace to have Paisley as FM and it would be good for peace to have McGuinness. These extremists duly take power in an electoral structure, the GFA doesn’t collapse, and the sun still rises tomorrow. Everyone sees that there is no alternative.

    Peace depends on the understanding that the conflict can play out within normal politics, all the way to whatever the future status of NI turns out to be. SF now has far more support than the PIRA ever did. If SF are denied the same rights as all other parties, then the democratic process is a sham. The consequences of driving republicans out of the system that way could be pretty horrible.

  • dundonald voter

    whats the old saying? let sleeping dogs lie. they should have heeded that.

    by the way heres a wee snipet from davenport. Some Conservative and Unionist sources claim that at the time of the Hatfield House talks in January the DUP was so keen to take the Tory whip that it offered a deal which would have given the new force Upper Bann and South Antrim on a plate. Oh, how times have changed! so there digs at the cu’s is sheer hyprocisy

  • Oracle

    Neil,

    SF/IRA have robbed banks one being the Northern of 26million some of this stolen money was recovered from Sinn Fein sources and members.

    SF/IRA have robbed post offfices since the ceasefire one being in Newry were they also murdered one of the workers

    SF/IRA have been responsible for up to a dozen other murders since the ceasefire, including rival dissident Joe O’Connor, drug dealers, and drinkers in a pub in Belfast (McCartney)

    I think you keep confusing SF with a normal political party instead of a collection of gangsters, murderers and pedophiles

  • slug

    I think the plan is that there would be a return to the GFA idea that a cross community vote is needed to elect the First and Deputy First Ministers.

  • Michaelhenry

    unionism of all shades and the S.D.L.P have followed sinn fein into a free thinking assembly where Irish people from 1998 on no longer take the oath to the crown, let peace reign.

  • slug

    Are you sure you don’t mean a thinking-free Assembly?

  • Michaelhenry

    are you saying that the electorate are thinking free slug.

  • slug

    “are you saying that the electorate are thinking free slug.”

    No I am saying the assembly they elected has not shown much original thinking so far.

  • madraj55

    Gerry Lvs Castro. For some Unionists, the old siege mentality is alive and kicking, and mixed in with their bigotry. They know the Union is safe, but they still hate the idea that the NI they’re in is still not the one they had before those pesky croppies stopped lying down in ’68, so that eats away at them. Any loss of westminster seats now won’t actually matter but it raises the morale of ‘themmuns’ and every voter can see the Majority sipping further out of reach for Unionism.

  • Greenflag

    slug ,

    ‘I think the plan is that there would be a return to the GFA idea that a cross community vote is needed to elect the First and Deputy First Ministers.’

    Is that because it no longer suits some ‘Unionists’ ? The response from ‘nationalism ‘ will be a correct we have what we hold now piss off .

    ‘No I am saying the assembly they elected has not shown much original thinking so far.’

    Why would it need any ? Any original thinking would have to be predicated by the demise of the present assembly. It can’t be otherwise in NI . Expecting ‘original ‘ thinking from the DUP/SF/SDLP/UCUNF is like expecting the incoming tide to heed Canute’s call . It’s just a band aid and best not to forget that’s all you can ever expect it to be .

  • Free State Barsteward

    The real question here is when are Unionist poloiticians going to come clean with their voters and tell them there is no difference between the FM & DFM, they both have an equal veto.

    JA has consistently denounced PR for not being able to whistle dixie without MMcG’s permission. So even if this change is made, it won’t make a blind bit of difference.

    It’s called power-sharing!!!!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Turgon,

    “This position has been agreed to by the CUs.”

    Do we have a quote from them ?

    Having already broken his pledge on the 18 constituencies this will be another embarassing example of tribal backtracking by Davey & Co.

  • Comrade Stalin

    i have a feeling that gerry kelly getting the north belfast seat is now a reality.

    No, it isn’t. The UUP are just saying this to try to get the DUP to divert resources away from South Antrim which they are currently throwing the kitchen sink at.

  • PaddyReilly

    Waste of time really. The shape of things to come is as follows:-

    1) Sinn Féin becomes the largest party in the Assembly;
    2) Nationalists become the largest designation.

    How long between 1) and 2)? Five years at most.

    It’s like giving a colostomy to someone with advanced terminal bowel cancer. Just keep repeating (as per Cynic2) “We won the war and the Union is safe. This is the truth.”

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    That’s some impressive spinning right there MH.

    Unfortunately you forgot to mention that said assembly is firmly rooted within the UK and will be for the forseeable future. You also omitted that to enter this Brit-funded utopia SF had to agree to partition with no end in sight, had to persaude the provos to decommission and effectively disband and have since endorsed the PSNI. None of which brings a UI an inch closer.

    Quite a lot to exchange for a UK local assembly wouldn’t you say?

  • mick

    if your a member of shame fein your not allowed to think u follow

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    PR,

    “Five years at most” – much and all as I would like to agree with you surely that is a tad over-optimistic.

    Gerry Lvs Castro,

    “Quite a lot to exchange for a UK local assembly wouldn’t you say?”

    Well they did get a constutional link with the Irish Republic,
    recognition of Ireland’s right to self-determination, all their prisoners out, the abolition of the UDR and the RUC, British declaration of no strategic enshrined in the GFA to go with their seat in government.

  • dundonald voter

    i have a feeling that gerry kelly getting the north belfast seat is now a reality.

    No, it isn’t. The UUP are just saying this to try to get the DUP to divert resources away from South Antrim which they are currently throwing the kitchen sink at
    well its not the uup whosw saying it comrade. sinn fein are saying it and a lot of voters in north belfast

  • Michaelhenry

    the brits accept a crown free assembly, wonder why.

  • PaddyReilly

    Sammy, I can tell you exactly where it’s going to happen.

    Unionist designation: 36 DUP + 18 UUP + 1 PUP = 55.

    Loses 6 Assembly seats, 1 in each of SD, Strangford, EB, EA, UB, EL.

    New count = 49.

    Nationalist designation: 16 SDLP + 28 SF = 44.

    Gains 6 Assembly seats, 1 in each of SD, Strangford, WT, EA, UB, EL.

    New count = 50.

    How long will this take? It might be over-optimistic to say it will all happen next year, but two elections should do it, average loss/gain of three seats per election. Only what happened last time.

  • slug

    The cross community vote ides would be the way out of impasse if there is one.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘the brits accept a crown free assembly, wonder why.’

    Because it’s irrelevant window dressing. I don’t see many Unionists losing much sleep do you?
    Fact is SF signed up to unlimited partition, continued British rule and the humiliating failure of their armed struggle.
    Given that scenario, your ‘crown free assembly’ is a tiny crumb off the table.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Paddy,

    to make a prediction like that you need to analyse each constituency and show the number of % points movement that is required compared to the % shift in that constituency in the previous five year period and you also need to factor in boundary changes which could see one seat move towards Unionism. The fact that 3 seats moved in a previous electoral period doesnt mean it will simply happen within the same period again.

    From my own cursory review of the figures I would suggest that your prediction of 5 years is over optimsitic.

  • Greenflag, you’ve overlooked the fact that TUV is on the side of the angels aka the mostly constitutional parties in the deep South when it comes to having the ‘Irish mafia’ in government. Surely that can’t be bad 🙂

  • RepublicanStones

    I remember bringing up the possibility of a nationalist first minister a few months ago, and mentioned how some unionists would seek to prevent that, a couple of our unionists commenter’s scoffed at me for suggesting so.

  • madraj55

    Paddy Reilly. That’s my point exactly. If the hung parliament scenario turns out to be the reality, we could have another election in the autumn as happened in ’74, so another opportunity for nats to consolidate any gains this time, [and the same opportunity for unionists, but the tide is heading the wrong way for them. If there’s an second election this year, i would expect most seats would be contested by only one candidate from either communities here.

  • PaddyReilly

    Sammy

    Let’s say that I have put some thought into it. All of the six are near misses from 2007, or have become so as a result of boundary changes.

    As for your idea about constituency analysis in general and North Belfast in particular (you stated that there had been no movement here in a decade), the reason for this last is that the North Belfast Constituency itself has moved, in a Northerly direction, over the period, snatching it back from Fenian takeover on one occasion. N Belfast is a very rapidly evolving area, demographically.

    5 years you may think is optimistic, but bear in mind we are currently operating on 2007 results, which were obtained before important boundary changes came into being, so much of the preparation has already been made: it’s actually a 10 year perod from start to finish.

  • JR

    As far as I can see this is born out of a sense of superiority and entitlement still very strong within a section of the Unionist community.

    If anyone here can show otherwise I would be more than happy to change my mind.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Paddy,

    boundary changes will work to Unionism benefit in at least one Assembly seat and in order for your theory to hold water and with due respect to your “Let’s say that I have put some thought into it” unless you can show the relevant percentages – ie the existing gap and how it has narrowed in the preceeding period – then I stick to my contention that you are being over optimistic.

    Of course I would love to be proved wrong.

  • Henry94

    Accepting a nationalist First Minister and carrying on as normal would be the the very best thing unionists could do for the union. Nobody would be expecting it and it would display generosity and confidence.

    It would be like the handing over of power in the Free State by Cumann na nGaedhael to Fianna Fail in 1932 thereby consolidating the legitimacy and stability of the state.

    If they follow the TUV’s plan they will telling nationalists that they can never be equals until the NI state is abolished.

  • slug

    I agree.

    One thing that I liked about the new rule is that it removed designation. It makes sense for the largest party to hold the post or for the posts to be elected on a majority vote. (As present they are automatic).

    However, in terms of Northern Ireland moving forward, I think we have to have opposition as well as government . For the time being I think we need a government that can command broad support in both of the unionist and nationalist communities. But an opposition party with an official role of opposition would fill an important vacuum in the present system.

  • slug

    Plus obvious we have to have a system where Alliance and Green MLAs, and cross-designation independents such as Deeny, count equally to the others.

  • Michaelhenry

    GERRY Lvs castro, lots of tiny crumbs, the armed british army of our streets is another crumb, from tiny crumbs flow great loafs.

  • Freya

    Catch up dude. The shinners are behind the police now,

    Really? Well what was Fra McCann on about then when he suggested that the Police were in the wrong when they raided a bar in West Belfast after hours the other night? Or is this like other issues SF has a view on – they can pick and choose the parts they like and discard the rest? Burns report anyone? Get real Dude!!!

  • TheHorse

    Freya Fra McCann condemned the heavy handed tactics used by police, he did not say the police were wrong. Is he not right about the police being nieve going into a bar at that time when it was full with customers who had one too many. Espically with the area they were in, it make a mockery out of the excause the police give to their non response or delayed response to the bomb warning in Newtownhamilton.

  • madraj55

    ‘Peter the Punt, great stragegist? don’t make me laugh.’

    DV. Perhaps you forgot to add, ‘I’ve got a split lip’

  • Greenflag

    henry94,

    ‘If they follow the TUV’s plan they will telling nationalists that they can never be equals until the NI state is abolished.’

    Spot on .Thus nationalists and republicans will draw the only conclusion they can and abolish the State sooner or later and most probably sooner .

  • bemused

    Eamonn Mallie claims on Twitter that Gerry Adams has called on all nationalists to support McDonnell in South Belfast.

    Isn’t this against the Sinn Féin constitution?

    e. No person who is a member of any organisation which approves of or supports the candidature of persons who, if elected, intend taking part in the proceedings of the Westminster parliament, or who approves of or supports the candidature of persons who sign any form or give any kind of written or verbal undertaking of intention to take their seats in this institution, shall be admitted to membership or allowed to retain membership.

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    There are many here who are now coming to believe that we may already have the ‘mafia ‘ in government . Not your simple minded gun toting but largely ineffectual ‘northern’ mafiosa but suited banking and financial sector types who have now been accused of ‘economic ‘ traitorism’ by our guardians of the civic police i.e our blueshirts now known as the Gardai .

    The TUV are on the side of the past -that past which left thousands dead and maimed for life and billions in property destroyed 🙁 Somebody needs to tell them that ghost walking into the past may raise even more ghouls than NI needs .

  • Neil

    Ah, wonderful. My question In a democracy is it not the case that people are considered innocent until proven guilty? is now answered. The unproveable suspicions of what is widely considered the the backwoodsmans party, one which provides representation to no-one and as a straw poll the average thread on this site attracts 20 people sneering at the TUV for every one supporter, these people can act as judge and jury when bandying about accusations that have already failed in a court of law? Allow me to respond to your well thought out points:

    IRA have robbed banks one being the Northern of 26million some of this stolen money was recovered from Sinn Fein sources and members.

    Prove it.

    IRA have robbed post offfices since the ceasefire one being in Newry were they also murdered one of the workers.

    Prove it.

    IRA have been responsible for up to a dozen other murders since the ceasefire, including rival dissident Joe O’Connor, drug dealers, and drinkers in a pub in Belfast (McCartney).

    Prove it.

    hink you keep confusing SF with a normal political party instead of a collection of gangsters, murderers and pedophiles.

    Prove it.

  • PaddyReilly

    Sammy

    “boundary changes will work to Unionism benefit in at least one Assembly seat”

    I assume you are refering to Lagan Valley.

    The combined Nationalist vote for this constituency in 2007 was 19%.

    We are informed that the new boundary chages make the constituency 6.4% less Catholic. As a small number of the lost Catholics were probably Alliance voters, then there is probably still one quota of Nationalist voters in the area, but it is more likely to be available for the SDLP than for SF. If SF is eliminated first then the SDLP will take a seat: if SF, then this is less likely.

    But given that I have allowed two elections for them to sort the matter out, I imagine that any loss which might take place next year will be recovered in the election after.

  • Neil

    Perhaps, and I know this might shock you, but perhaps he’s right? No one is saying that any party by declaring support for the police is giving up any right to criticise them. For example I believe that some Unionists found the response to the bomb at the week end highly unacceptable and were vocal in their criticism of the cops; does this then mean that these Unionists don’t support the PSNI? Bollocks.

    They support the PSNI but they have every right to highlight when that ineffective organisation breaks the law or fails to deal with crime. I suppose the SF criticism of the police in Woodburn Station when they failed to prevent a man being beaten to death 10 yards away from the wall of the station which is covered by CCTV from more than 10 different cameras was further evidence of SFs utter opposition to the PSNI? Of course not, it’s legitimate criticism.

    Fra’s statement:

    “There must be a better way of enforcing licensing laws than to go into a bar full of drinkers at 1.30am.

    “When the drink is in, the sense is out. What happened at the end of the night was uncalled for but I hope lessons have been learnt from the incident,”

    Very sensible. If a few cops wandered into an after hours session where everyone was pished in Glasgow they’d have been scrubbing the officers off the wall. Fra’s suggestion (not suggesting that they were in the wrong, simply suggesting there was a better way of doing things), not weighing into a crowd of 50 pissed up Lower Falls drinkers at 1.30 when they’re all blocked sounds quite reasonable to me.

    What about the Burn’s Report then? Abolishing the 11 plus and introducing non selective education, enlighten me as to what hypocrisy you’re pointing at.

  • slug

    On the whole, I’d be inclined not to worry about the FM DFM thing – and allow SF to be FM if its their’s under the present rules.

    There are deeper and more important issues to be dealt with – the development of a system of voting that does not designate and the desvelopment of an opposition role.

    Fundamentally the idea that “designation” shoud determine the FM’s role is the old politics that we should move away from.

  • cushy glenn

    …as opposed to those terribly democratic Shinners and their forebears
    First they were just against people-1641,Scullabogue, Dunmanway, Altnaveigh, through to Abercorn,La Mon, Darkley, Droppin Well etc
    then they were against the free State
    then they were against the republic,
    then they were against the EU
    then they were against NATO
    then they were against the Anglo irish Agreement
    then they were against the police
    then they were against power sharing with the Unionists in NI
    then they were against majority rule with weighted majorities
    then they were against direct rule

    I used to be a non TUV supporter until I started to read some of the republican drivel which passes for Shinner politics

  • Joe Bryce

    The SF First Minister when it comes (& it will be soon) will be a good thing. All that can postpone it is dissident lunacy.

  • joeCanuck

    TUV MPs would work along side any other unionists to try to ensure that the legislation be changed back

    The silly season is upon us. It will not be possible to change that without opening up the whole can of St.Andrews worms and getting S.F agreement and, for that, there would have to be a substantial quid pro quo. Ministry for Gaelige Language anyone?
    And I thought this was a Westminster election. Could SF seize Downing Street?

  • orly

    Might be the idea of a party full of terrorists being elected (by numpties) to the post.

    But then, most sane people already know this country is buggered and are leaving anyway. Hopefully shant be too long before I’m away too. Had enough of the comedy here.

  • Ulidian

    PaddyReilly

    Geography & arithmetic aren’t your strong points obviously. The changes to Lagan Valley will barely hit Alliance’s vote at all – the latter is concentrated in the Downshire, Lisburn Town North & Lisburn Town South DEAs, which aren’t affected. They will though hammer Sinn Fein’s vote, particularly the loss of Glenavy. Unionists will take a fifth seat easily.

    Your other predictions are frankly risible.

  • slug

    CUs are certainly hopeful of adding to their tally in this constituency.

    While the TUV will hope to take one from the DUP.

  • PaddyReilly

    Maths and reading don’t seem to be your strong points.

    I clearly stated that a small number of the lost Catholics voters might be Alliance voters.

    19 – 6.4% is 12.6%. A quota is 14.28%. Even if every single one of the lost 6.4% is a SF voter and not an Alliance one, that only leaves Lagan Valley 700 votes short of a Nationalist quota, and Marietta Farrell managed to pick up 200 or so transfers from smaller parties before she was eliminated last time.

    So if there are any Catholic Alliance voters at all in Glenavy, Dunmurry or Derryaghy, we may assume that there is still one Nationalist quota in Lagan Valley.

    Sinn Féin would not draw maximum benefit from this quota: but the SDLP would be capable of winning it. SF are transfer repellant: the SDLP the opposite.

    As for the other constituencies, I take it that a Nationalist gain in Strangford, where the SDLP only lost by 31 votes last time and boundary changes have improved their chances, is your idea of risibility?

    Unionism is, I am afraid, on a losing streak. Even if Unionists miraculously manage to gain a seat, they stand to lose it at the next election.

  • PaddyReilly

    A fuller explanation of what is likely to happen in the next Lagan Valley Assembly election.

    Last time round Paul Butler (SF) won 5,098 1st preference votes, or 12.2% of the total.

    Since then, boundary changes which remove Glenavy etc have taken away a good number of his voters, making Lagan Valley 6.4% less Catholic.

    Assuming that most of these are SF voters, Butler will have lost half his votes, giving him a notional 2,500 1st pref votes.

    As a result he will be eliminated ahead of Marietta Farrell (or her successor in title as SDLP candidate) and she will benefit from the bulk of his transfers, bringing her just short of a quota and putting her in 5th position, after the (4 highest) Unionist candidates.

    However, she will consequently not be gifting half her votes on transfer to Alliance, leaving them well short of a quota. Theoretically they could be beaten by a Unionist candidate, but Alliance are quite transfer friendly, universal recipients as it were: they pick up votes every time a candidate is eliminated, and it is more likely that they will pip the last place.

    However, if the SDLP candidate is eliminated ahead of the SF one, then the Nationalist quota may go to waste: SDLP voters do not transfer to SF as enthusiastically as vice versa.

  • lilguy10

    why stop a sinn fein fm? the fm and dfm have equal powers, the only difference mainly being an extra ministerial post, if sf becomes the largest party,
    and for the tuv who feel that terrorists shouldnt be in government, well the people of ni have voted them in that postion.

  • Ulidian

    PaddyReilly

    Nice try, but you’ll have to do a lot better. Butler will indeed be hit badly, but the SDLP will also suffer – it’s not just Glenavy that’s being moved.

    Alliance may well be good at picking up transfers, but the Unionist bloc will start with a significantly higher share of the first preference vote than in the last election – I wouldn’t be surprised if it reaches 75%.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Ulidian,

    in the last 2 assembly elections the SF and SDLP combined totals have increased from 13 (1998) to 16(2003) to 19(2007). I presume these changes were not boundary related. Also perhaps most of the potential growth in the Nationalist % is in the bit that has been lost – but it does lend some weight to PR arguement dont you think?

    PR,

    Leaving LV out of the picture are you now predicting just Strangford as the net Nationalist gain next time out in 2011?

  • PaddyReilly

    Except that the Unionist bloc exists only in the mind of David Vance. UUP voters regularly transfer to Alliance and even sometimes the SDLP in preference to the DUP. There is still one quota of Nationalist voters in Lagan Valley, plus two thirds of a quota of Alliance voters, which is generally sufficient for them.

  • PaddyReilly

    Itwas SammyMcNally

    No, S Down, E Antrim, Upper Bann and West Tyrone are also possibilities.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    PR,

    having looked at the ARK site my guess is Nat gain in Strangford and EA but with a possible loss of LV – perhaps boundary change partly ofset by quite strong Nat demographis in the area – any insight on demographics there? There is also ‘some pressure’ (ARK) on 2nd Nat seat in SA – any thoughts on that?

    In relation to SD, UB and WT what % does the Nat vote have to get to in order to win the extra seats? The next most likely seat to turn to the green side after these is probably EL?

  • PaddyReilly

    Sammy

    East Belfast

    The reason why Unionists are likely to lose a seat here is that Alliance has a whole quota plus a half more, to which they can hope to add transfers from Greens, SDLP and SF to make a second quota. This is their plan and they intend to make it a reality. No swing required, they just need to field two candidates.

    West Tyrone

    The reason why Nationalists are likely to gain a seat in WT is that Deeney, a bit of a one man band, is liable to lose his seat back to the SDLP, though looking at the figures I see that the last Unionist candidate finished only 300 odd votes ahead of the SDLP, so possibly Deeney will keep it and there will be a Unionist loss here as well. Swing required for Unionist loss: none. For Nationalist gain: 0.8%.

    Upper Bann

    According to Nicholas Whyte “An unusual example of both the DUP and Sinn Fein missing out on strong chances of extra seats due to poor balancing”. Technically no swing is required, just better balancing, though another 500 votes would make this more certain: swing required: 1.1%.

    East Londonderry

    New constituency 2.1% more Catholic than the old. Unless Derry Catholics turn out to have Unionist proclivities, suggest this would bring Nationalist vote closer to three quotas. There is still quite a gap, though, so don’t expect anything from here before 2015. Swing required: 2.5%.

    South Down

    According to Nicholas Whyte “This makes the new constituency 3.3% more Catholic, and 3.1% less Protestant than the old. The effect must be to put the second Unionist Assembly seat into question, though it is not at all clear which of the Nationalist parties would pick it up.”

    In South Antrim and North Antrim, Nationalist candidates would be ‘under pressure’, though by my calculations, they would just scrape in. It would help considerably if the SDLP were to field just one candidate instead of two.