‘Celebrity’ candidates shouldn’t give up the day job

In this election we had six candidates with hopes and decent media profiles beyond their political exposure (in three cases their political background was essentially non-existant). All of them failed to translate this into anything approaching a successful campaign:

Fearghal McKinney – ex-journalist
Mike Nesbitt – ex-journalist, ex-victims commissioner
Eamonn McCann – columnist (also a political activist)
David Vance – political pundit and blogger
Harry Hamilton – singer
Trevor Ringland – former rugby player

Seems being known doesn’t guarantee being rated by the electorate

Blogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

  • Did you forget … Jim Allister – QC!

  • Fabianus


    “Seems being known doesn’t guarantee being rated by the electorate”

    Peter Robinson was well-known too. People knew him too damned well and that’s why they rejected him.

  • argosjohn

    Some of these do not belong in your list. They are nobodies or, like McCann, an old horse, flying the flag as they see it.

  • Wasted Ballot

    Celebs should stand but only if they have an issue. Those mentioned above were just jumping on a band wagon.

  • chewnicked

    New possible careers for our losing candidates?

    Harry Hamilton-Former Freddie Mercury impersonator, possibly may now consider impersonating a real politician.

    Mike Nesbitt-Sunday World Agony Aunt.

    Peter Robinson-May start an Estate Agency business loosely based on the Pound Shop theme-‘A Fiver a Strip’? His missus may also use the same brand name.

    Reg Empey-Weetabix salesman.

    Ferghal McKinney- Err… ……….sorry but there’s really not a lot out there for Fearghal…..

  • Michaelhenry

    that liberal democrat lembit opik went with a weather girl, then went out with one of the cheeky girls, then did some T.V shows, he became a bit of a celebrity,he also used to be the liberal democrat spokesperson for the six counties, he stood for election again, but the people give him the boot.

  • I’m pretty sure T Ringland is highly rated in some parts today.

  • Mark McGregor



    I know several people that rate him as a person but that was a poor electoral result from him.

    Against a weak DUP he managed the UUPs worst ever result in East Belfast.

  • alan56

    Flash Harry did pretty well in UB

  • alan56

    interesting no-one on here predicted the EB result

  • Mark McGregor

    Define pretty well?

    He slightly increased on their 2007 result which was their worst ever.

    He now has their 2nd worst result in the constituency ever (by a small margin).

  • Re: Reg Empey as Weetabix salesman above… the story continues

    Sir Reg seeks to widen the appeal of Weetabix to younger eaters
    Sir Reg seeks alliance with Kellogg’s aiming for inclusion in the Kellogg’s Variety pack
    The search for Britain’s Best Breakfast Cereal for kids announced by Channel 4
    Kellogg’s threaten to reduce number of different brands in Variety Pack from 8 to 6 in order to cut costs
    Tony the Tiger and Snap, Crackle and Pop postpone visit to Belfast
    Weetabix lacking a recognisable cartoon character in their branding, a fundamental strategy weakness, are voted worst cereal
    Sir Reg given his Cheerios

  • Mark McGregor

    I’m waiting for the strategem result to see how many called that one. I didn’t. Or FST or UB.

  • Mark McGregor

    I did get West Tyrone right as the DUPs best improvement though.

  • Elvis Paisley

    very good.

  • feismother

    McCann’s been standing in elections since the seventies. Whatever you think of him and his politics you can’t lump him in with Ringland and Nesbitt…and Rantzen.

  • alan56

    Celebs have a very poor record throughout UK/Ireland. Can’t think of many successful. Glenda Jackson?

  • More in the vote splitting line Mark McG. A less credible candidate might have made those fleeing PRobbo’s camp pause.

  • slug

    Nesbitt pushed up the UUP vote in Strangford.

  • Granni Trixie

    Alan56: for the record, I and a few others on this site did not so much predict, but show why Naomi was a likely candidite to take the seat….usually when certain others claimed that Ringland was the one to watch which seemed just illogical to me.

    I was basing my opinion on direct experience of canvassing for Naomi and on her track record for East Belfast. Ringland on the other hand was a blow in with no track record known only for sports in middle class circles. Presumably he had the backing of the 200K the Tories gave to UU whereas Naomi was rich in having a party machine and local goodwill behind her. As one of what is considered the ‘bigger’ parties, Ringland potentially had the benefit of media coverage and Alliance tends to get sqeezed out except that what publicity they did get was used smarter to benefit Naomi.

    What I am getting at is that the EB result is not at all a miracle but that when the time was right for change the right candidate with backup was available to voters.

    A point that I hear a lot of people making is that it also shows that it offers hope for a politics not based on sectarian headcount (as I heard this election defined by Eamon Mallie on the radio).

  • After the result in Upper Bann, it looks like Flash Harry won’t be singing “We are the champions” any time soon!

  • Michaelhenry

    honesty counts, being a good worker for the people counts, thats why the vote counts worked in NAOMIs favor, her future work will make east belfast a safe alliance seat, who would have thougt it.

  • Granni Trixie

    Many thanks for your generous remarks MH.

    BTW, talking of media factors in election (which i was) – UU/Tories employed a new,well experienced media person when Alex Kane? ditched them in exasperation it looks like. Yet this doesnt seem to have turned their fortunes around. So although resluts are clearly affected by media mangement and support or not, in this case, all the media resources in the world does not seem to have made up for not having a good case to articulate.

  • RepublicanStones

    The question is Mark, how many of those ‘faces’ do you think will hang around in situ and have a stab at the assembly elections?