Eamonn McCann, MLA?

…When Chekhov saw the long winter, it was a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope; and yet, we know winter’s only one more step in the cycle.

Before Mick loses interest – I think this is one to watch for the upcoming Assembly election (or #ae11 as you will come to know it). If you take the trajectory of Eamonn McCann’s vote in Foyle (I’m guessing #fyle) over the last three elections, it has risen from 3.6% (2005) to 5% (2007) to 7.8% (2010).

While there is the usual waiver over the different electoral systems, at the time of McCann’s elimination in 2007 the highest of the second- and third-placed SDLP candidates had barely achieved 0.6 of a quota (McCann’s 2010 vote would amount to about 0.55 of a quota if he received it in an Assembly election). The last distribution of votes separated the three remaining candidates, all from the SDLP, electing Mary Bradley and Pat Ramsey (those same second- and third-placed SDLP candidates). On McCann’s elimination his vote distributed fairly evenly between the SDLP and SF candidates left in the field (with obvious implications if he could stay in).

Pat Ramsey is the only SDLP MLA elected in 2007 among the four candidates expected to stand in May. With one definite unionist quota and Sinn Féin holding steady well above two quotas, the pressure is on the SDLP to hold their third seat. If McCann, standing for People Before Profit, polls as he did in 2010, he may have enough behind him to stay in play until the elimination of the third Sinn Féin candidate (assuming there is a third). If he can out-poll, or out-transfer, that third Sinn Féin candidate that may leave him and two SDLP candidates in play for the last two seats with the lowest-placed eliminated.

Given McCann’s visibility against the backdrop of Saville, and noting the retirements of Durkan and Bradley from the SDLP ticket, there is every chance that the third SDLP seat may be in play in May. While Sinn Féin obviously will have designs on that seat, too, locally, McCann’s final reward for his efforts on behalf of the families of those who died on Bloody Sunday may well be his election as an MLA.

On a related note, I’m reckoning on #fyle as the Foyle hashtag in the absence of an agreed list (Mick?), although that may be a safer bet than putting Eamonn on the Hill as the, eh, crowning achievement of his political career (or will that thought be enough for him to reconsider his candidacy)…

, , , ,

  • ForkHandles

    I hope he gets in. He is different from the average NI politician in that he can have a discussion about issues and argue a point.

  • Mick Fealty

    John, I think we should open a thread on constituency hashtags.

  • aquifer

    He’d have the other MLAs tortured.

    They would have to listen to him, and we can watch them squirm. Worth a vote though a one man party has its limitations.

    A bit early to open a book on him getting thrown out by the speaker on day 1?

  • granni trixie

    Having taking note of McCann’s utterances over the years I conclude that he could not hack a job as MLA. You need to be solution focused and pragmatic. He is bettter suited in his long term role of slagging from the sidelines.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Are there Prod People before Profit types on the other side of the river?

    Does he have any cross community support – I presume he’s made some efforts in that direction?

  • I have to agree with Granni Trixie. He would be exposed as a lightweight in the Assembly.
    John O’Neill is also right. The third SDLP seat is vulnerable and without looking at the precise figures, I dont think that McCann can do enough to actually win. The actual number of voters turning out for Assembly should be higher than 2010 Westminster. I think that makes it harder for him. Conversely the whole People Before Profit fad (its a sexier name than Socialist Enviromentalist or whatever he was last time) will help him.
    “Lefty” types will talk him up. That will help.
    The intervention of Pauline Mellon and another dissident whos name eludes me (Im not at home at the minute) will make it more difficult.
    At this pre-election stage I wont predict anything other than 2 SDLP, 2 SF, 1 DUP with the sixth seat most likely going SDLP.
    But I expect the Blogosphere to talk McCann up.

  • John Ó Néill

    FJH – if I was going to be put in the dock here, it would be more likely for talking down the SDLPs third seat rather than talking up McCann. If you follow the numbers (it gets too boring for the main post) – the third seat is vulnerable if McCann can keep ahead of SF candidate number 3 whose elimination will elect SF 2 (and while he stays in the field his vote obviously isn’t distributed). While the SDLP will probably take transfers from the UUP candidate, the balance of the SF transfers stacking up on McCanns first preference etc may keep him ahead of the remaining SDLP candidates. On balance (SDLP retirements and McCanns profile regarding Saville etc), I think it is one to follow.

    As to the PBP name – didn’t they successfully run a ‘Joan Collins’ as well? Wait and see – maybe they’ve got a ‘George Best’ to roll out for another assembly constituency (although relying on name recognition hasn’t helped Ian Parsley much, to date).

  • Neil

    There’s no point, literally none, in comparing Assembly with Westminster results.

    McCann’s Assembly trajectory would plot as follows:

    2003 – 5.5%
    2007 – 5%

    Working on those figures we should expect him to secure 4.5% of the vote next time then. I don’t believe that will be the case necessarily, I’d imagine he’ll continue to stangnate arount his current level.

    For his Westminster outings he’s more or less doubled his vote. Durkan’s been elected with a 44% – 46% share of the vote. Working on the trajectory again, Eamonn will need to double his vote 3 times before he can claim a seat there. So around his 85th birthday.

    As an illustrative as to the differences between Westminster and Assembly elections I’ll compare 2007 (assembly) with 2005 (Westminster). Mark Durkan (shudder) secured first place with 46.3% of the vote in ’05. In ’07 he came second with a total of 15.6% of the vote,

    A 30% difference in vote share between Westminster and Assembly. Even if we tot up the numbers there’s generally a drop in vote share in Assembly election as you would expect as the vote’s spread thinner, for example RSF don’t stand at Westminster, neither do greens.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’d agree with Neil and with John over what he’d be put in the dock for. In fact I think there’s still keen competition in and around the city between SF and SDLP which should probably keep Eamonn out.

    Don’t agree with the lightweight argument though, even the press in Dublin breathed a sigh of relief when Joe Higgins got back in for his sharp eye for stupid orthodoxies.

    With an opposition that can be numbered on the fingers of one hand Eamonn would be an asset at Stormont.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    I agree with Mick, he has both the ability and the determination to invigorate proceeedings.

    Hopefully he will get in, as he has the independence of mind to focus on cross tribal issues which may well have both SF and DUP supporters sitting at home nodding their heads and saying to themselves (at least) – the boul Eamonn has it right.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Not much change at Westminster the SDLP lost more of a share than Sinn Féin from the previous Westminster elections, could be explained mainly due to the loss of Claudy and Bannagher, and to a lesser extent the drop in across the board turnout. Though I have to give credit to Anderson (as an SDLP voter, this is fairly hard to do) for not losing more of McLaughlin’s personal vote, indeed anything more significant than that lost by the two rural areas. Hay’s done an excellent job as speaker and will be certain to get elected again, the loss of the two rural wards may mean he doesn’t top the poll.

    Because Foyle is now a more urban constituency, McCann seems to be he main if not only benefactor from this. He ran a decent campaign and it seems he’s won over ‘new voters’ than taking votes off of nationalist parties.

    He doesn’t have much Unionist/cross community appeal, he’s never had much time for the other Nationalist parties either. How he stands out against other left-wing nationalist parties who do much the same things as him one way or the other. Both Sinn Féin and the SDLP lean towards ‘Democratic Socialism’ in Foyle perhaps more than in any other area.

    You’re talking about a candidate list of virtually all young to middle age university graduates, who oppose tuition fees, wish to end academic selection and who’ll be pushing jobs, and oppose the cuts. Does McCann offer anything more than that?

    McCann win the votes of non-Provisional republicans, radical socialists, secularists, feminists, internationalists, and some small traders, and perhaps even a strong “other” vote from immigrants and those who had no time for either side.
    People who agree with these policies and feel abandoned by the rest.

    How he radicalizes enough of ‘the rest’ will be the problem, He needs a swing from the two big nationalist parties and there’s nothing there to provoke it.

  • Greenflag

    Mick’s right . Regardless of what anyone may think about Eamon’s ‘politics’ he probably would be the only ‘opposition’ in the new Assembly . I hope the people of Derry/Londonderry can put away their sectarian bunting for long enough to elect McCann to the Assembly.

  • oracle

    Granni Trix

    Granny Trix had a bit of a snipe himself when he typed the following

    “he could not hack a job as MLA. You need to be solution focused and pragmatic. He is better suited in his long term role of slagging from the sidelines.”

    What would Granny trixie know about the individual fortitude of McCann? I’ll tell you nothing!
    Granny Trixie for your information McCann has been involved in many labour/union disputes over the years and has always been pragmatic and focused, so what have the Alliance party achieved in their history? I’ll tell you nothing!
    They are a joke grouping for people with no politics and who are devoid of all vision; they are rather like the women’s coalition with a few penises’s thrown in.
    He sooner this collection of non-entities is removed from “their long term role of doing nothing” and consigned to the political dustbin the better, now that will indeed be an outstanding day for the Northern Ireland electorate.

    Your party disgracefully willfully and undemocratically light-fingered a position it was not mandated to do, tell me Trixie was that pragmatic or just focused.
    Other than that and a protest vote in East Belfast the Alliance party has made no achievements whatsoever in Northern Ireland yet you have the audacity to try and slight someone who has worked tirelessly on his own, at his own cost, for the betterment of others for decades.

  • oracle


    You wrote “He would be exposed as a lightweight in the Assembly”

    Is that an early April-fool you’re trying to get in? You cheerlead for a party full of nothing and you think McCann would be exposed as a lightweight!

    Your party has an Agricultural minister whose department let rich farmers swindle tens of millions from the EU which now has to be paid back out of the agriculture subsidies because the brief was beyond her. (and you think McCann is lightweight)

    Your party has an Education minister who isn’t even allowed to speak for herself on TV and radio! Your party substituted John O’Dowd at every opportunity because she had lost all respect from everyone including SF. (and you think McCann is lightweight)

    Your party has a minister for Regional Development who has been so out of his depth with the NIW issue he needed water-wings. He sacked people who shouldn’t have been sacked and kept people who should have been sacked before having to sack them after-all because people wanted him sacked! (and you think McCann is lightweight)

    Eamon McCann sat through every single day of the Saville inquiry SF sent no one! But you couldn’t beat their faces off the TV cameras on the day of the publishing of the Saville report they were as thick as flies, whist McCann quietly went round every single bereaved family to ask them how they felt. (and you think McCann is lightweight)

    Barry McIlduff is a heavyweight? Pat Docherty? Martina Anderson? Raymond McCartney? Paul Maskey? And last and certainly the least Caral Ni Chuilin


  • oracle


    I didn’t even list the lkes of Jennifer McCann Fra McCann Willie Clarke because no one has ever heard of them

  • Nunoftheabove


    Difficult to quantify the support secured as a result of it per se but McCann and the PBP supporters did canvass in the Fountain for example at the last election. They were received in some cases with a little curiosity but were by no means chased and were listened to and wished well by quite a few on the doorsteps too – they were struck by the hostility that ordinary voters had for the DUP, interestingly enough, and in overall terms appeared pleasantly surprised by the ‘fair play to you’ goodwill generated by their presence by pure virtue of them having had the moxy to go door-to-door in a loyalist area in the first place.

    Separate to that, I also understand that an approach was made to elements of the PBP and fellow-travellers (republican fringe groups among them, as I heard it, IRSP types and the rest of it) by loyalists recently and that discussions were had however things rather came to something of an impasse regarding the role and position of the British army within the north (presumably historically rather than simply or solely contemporaneously). Interesting in its own way that the contact was initiated by the loyalists themselves though – unprecedented, even. It’s a sign of something.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    Yes, thanks for that, I suspected he would be up to some cross-community-nosing about it.

    Interesting that the other contact was initiated by loyalists and slightly suprised that McCann – if he was involved – would have allowed it to fall at the first fence over the previous/current role of the army.

    Presumably there is some sort of protocol in these cross-community-dealings and number one written large on the protocol would surley state that both sides should stay off topics that will lead to immediate Faltyesque uproar over who started the war or who did what during it .

  • The Word

    Eamon did a fine job at the start of the Troubles stirring things up, but even he realises that the power of those events was dependent of the support of the mainsteam leaders.

    Everyone took part in some way and that would never have happened without the natural leaders guiding their people cautiously.

    It all culminated in Bloody Sunday, an event that served to end the Orange state in effect. Our non-violence had won its essential victory.

    Peace would have then been inevitable if it were not for those who failed to understand that victory and sought to continue to score even under the guise of republicanism.

    Security became the key word for loyalism and we were locked in a war where real people suffered horribly.

    In order to stop that war an impression may have had to be sent out that we were fighting some psychological war that the big bombs sought to win.

    But it may be argued that the reality was that so many people had suffered so much in terms of loss and imprisonment, it would have been impossible to disengage them without some sense of a win for them.

    A hollow victory? I’m sure Eamon will tell us that people were dying and killing for very little, and it changed very little.

    Eamon’s own party (in the 1980s) felt that they would come to power when the IRA had destabilised Ireland.

    That was never going to happen as Eamon knows. Eamon’s never been a politician. A man who keeps us all on our toes, but not a politician.

    His life’s work is well admired even beyond these shores but if he was a politician, he would never have been able to keep us all on our toes. Derry will be forever grateful for him.

  • Big Boss

    fjH a shinner? wow

  • joeCanuck

    It would be a great shake-up if he got elected. He is a fantastic debater and he can certainly make puffed up personalities look foolish. Some will certainly squirm.

  • andnowwhat

    Is it now some sort of idea that members of the civil rights movement are “stirrers” now?

    Back on topic, I like Eammon. He had the nice mix of politics and balls back in the day.

    I do not think he has travelled the sad journey of cynisim and reality that we all have. His politics come across to me as those of the student’s union. I like the man fiercley, please do not get me wrong but politics are a horrible wee game of compromise.

  • FuturePhysicist

    I think Fitzgeraldshorse meant a lightweight economically, i.e. economic illiterate. A far cry from other journalists like Mike Nesbitt and Ferghal McKinney talking about economic affairs in the lead up to the Westminster elections.

  • son of sam

    As a relative newcomer to Slugger I would not have classed F J H as a cheerleader for Sinn Fein. .Jude Collins definitely but not F JH. As regards Eamonn, I think the last thing he would want is to be elected to the Assembly.He might actually have to start attempting to fulfill some of his election promises! Im sure some of his friends in the media will talk his chances up, but he sill has an uphill struggle.

  • Mark McGregor

    I think he has a good chance. An extra 500 votes on his usual should keep him ahead of enough to be picking up transfers until the last 7/8.

    With the IRSP running two council candidates but no one for Stormont there will be a pool of dissenting republican voters coming out to vote that he can tap, I’d estimate the bulk of the equivalent of O’Hara’s strong poll in 2007 is available for him – it certainly isn’t available for any other candidate. Boundary changes are also a benefit.

    It’d be a SDLP loss though.

  • Actually I dont think my worst enemy (and its a competitive field) would call me a cheerleader for Sinn Féin.
    I frankly dont take John O’Neills point about putting him in the dock.
    I actually agreed with his analysis that the sixth seat (as in a lot of constituencies) is the vulnerable one and McCann is the most likely beneficiary if that happens.
    And I make the point that Leftys will talk him up……as they did before…….and before…….and before.
    As for the name “People Before Profit”. Its a statement of fact that anyone with even soft left feelings can feel some sympathy. And it is a catchy name/sexy name that has a broader appeal than its actual manifesto.
    Indeed the best thing about “People Before Profit” is the name. Their entire policy is their name.
    I take McCann seriously as a candidate. He might win.
    In all other senses I dont take him seriously. Lightweight economically of course. But just a throwback to the 1970s and a bit of a rent-a-quote.

  • Son of Sam makes a good point re McCanns friends in the media.
    Is he still top man in the NUJ in the North West?
    They never bite their own.
    Mark McGregor is right about a dissident pool of votes to help. I know little or nothing about Pauline mellon an Independent and I will be taking a look at any info after nomination day.
    But for the record in 2007, a dissident Peggy O’Hara ran inFoyle.
    My records show that when she was eliminated on 1812 votes……26% went to SDLP, 24% to SF, 33% to McCann.
    So its not a done deal.
    Likewis shorn of his Enviromental credentials he might lose a few votes to the Greens.
    And not forgetting McCanns vote itself shows a lot of SDLP 2nd Preferences. (41% went to SDLP, 31% SF, 26% Not Transfered.). Looks to me that a lot gave him a personal vote but if people actually thought hed win, theyd never vote for him.
    And one last point. He picked up 8% of the vote last year. DEcent performance but the turnout was just 58%. I dont think he can sustain that at Assembly level where the turnout is likely to be nearer(say) 62%.

  • granni trixie

    Oracle: delighted to have rattled your cage.

  • Mark McGregor


    And of course none of us should kid ourselves that regardless of his current flag of convenience – SEA or PBP or whatever – he is anything other and always was a SWP candidate that realises just how toxic admitting membership of that Trot sect is.

    Terrible when one of a party’s most commited activists has to hide his involvement from any, not just polite, company.

  • Mark


    Re your posts today exposing the obvious ” look down one’s nose at all things beneath them attitude ” …….

    Spot on – don’t always agree with your views ( touche I hear you say ) however , it’s not your cage that can be heard rattling …..

  • John Ó Néill

    FJH – I think you have misread my point.

  • son of sam

    It will be interesting to see what coverage Eamons party will receive in the Derry Journal once the election formally kicks off.He is a weekly columnist with the paper but the Journal is quite shameless in its support for Sinn Fein .Perhaps it will have to adopt a more balanced approach to comply with electoral legislation.

  • Mark McGregor

    Give me strength, the Derry Journal being called for SF bias – will this hoped for balance extend to the rest of Johnston Press?

    As with all their titles, most of which are English, whatever editorial bias the paper has will reflect the local target demographic and ultimately the profit motive of owners.

    The only thing they will be complying with is the drive to make money – the same motive of all their titles, albeit poorly implemented in more than one case.

  • Indeed Mark McGregor…..being a Trot is box office poison. He is a professional agitor and classic hurler on the ditch. Electing him to the Assembly would be just cruel.

  • Mark McGregor


    Not sure about ‘cruel’, Joe Higgins (cut from similar cloth but honest about what he is) was a star turn in Dáil Éireann and a lot of people are looking forward to his direct style making a return.

    The problem with Eamonn as with his fellow travellers in the 26 who were recently elected (RBB and Joan Collins) is they start from a position of dishonesty.

    If they cannot and will not admit they represent the SWP, this front group bullshit makes them seems pretty (totally?) dishonest from the get go.

    Eamonn should have heard of ‘speaking truth to power’ – when it come to this PBP nonsense everyone should be pulling him on not speaking the truth at all.

  • Eamonn McCann is no Joe Higgins.
    More a colourful lcal character than a bona fide politician.
    To be honest he always struck me as a bit of a spoofer. I suppose he reminds me too much of myself 😉

  • FuturePhysicist

    I have to agree with Son of Sam, Sinn Féin are always mentioned in bigger and bolder font in comparison to other politicians in the Derry Journal. They’ll go back to balancing it a little in the run up to an election but the rest of the time they’ll put Sinn Féin first regardless of the story’s priority.

  • Mark McGregor


    Lets not forget Higgins was ‘militant’ and entryist himself. He now doesn’t feel the need for the deceit but he still was at exactly the same nonsense as McCann for decades.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    the socialist Ulster electorate fits with a squeeze into the proverbial phonebox and the cramped conditions within presumably explain the depth of ill-feeling between the fellow the socialists jostling for postion.


    You have always struck me as a reasonable sort of chap but the very thought of the boul Eamonn entering Stormo seems to have rather set you off on one – he’s surely more suitable to the Assembly than many of the current crop?


    eamonn dunphy?north clondalkin?civil rights?war n a dublin town?


    entryism,oh so 70s,80s,90s.entering what?parliament?


    fado,fado,i received on article,actually a poem by a senior elected representative of the socialist workers party,then knowm as the socialist workers movement.it was printed in a local bilingual magazine,ie irish/english languague,why are the views of this silly publication been censored by slugger.are the coments offensive?these words and articles are harmless pieces of history.


    why is slugger censoring the views of a vegetarian buddist?

    [See @ 11.52 pm – the software censored you and I had to release it this morning. Hate the machine not the people. J.]


    a democratically elected representative of a legitimate parliament?

  • Mark McGregor,
    True. But its only deceit if people cant see thru it. I think we can all see thru it.

    Mr McNally
    I deny that I have ever been reasonable.
    Theres only two politicians in Norn Iron that I dont like.
    One because he cost me money on a bet.
    One because disliking him requires absolutely no effort on my part.

    Eamonn McCann is neither.


    the censorship and propaganda on slugger been directed against eamonn mccann is appalling.it was the swp who first highlighted the problems of black emmigrants in the south.whats the fear.these are elected representatives we’re talking about.not ecstacy tablet ravers.

  • The other factor of course is the quality/otherwise of the Candidates actually opposing Eamonn McCann.
    Pat Ramsey is a good constituency man and seems to have a popularity inside and outside SDLP.
    Pól Callaghan might be a bit nervous about his prospects as even though he is a sitting MLA, he is possibly not too far above or at same level of recognition factor of the two other SDLP runners.
    Colum Eastwood current Mayor..didnt he win or get nominated for a Slugger award?
    Mark H Durkan…….name recognition factor a newcomer can only dream of.

    Presumably SF (for whom I am apparently a cheerleader) will run Martina Anderson who strikes me as ok. And Raymond McCartney who strikes me as less than ok. might lose out to the third SF runner.
    Its not just about Eamonn McCann.

  • FuturePhysicist


    Sinn Féin’s third candidate here is Lynn Fleming.

    It’d be interesting to see who loses out in the SDLP race, initially I thought the SDLP wouldn’t really mind if Eastwood missed out, so he could focus on his Mayor duties, but he’s the stand-alone Shantallow candidate. Mark H and Pól are both from the Northlands branch, which is perhaps the SDLP’s strongest DEL, but the vote there would be split (then again they ran 3 Northlands candidates the last time). As you say Ramsey is popular across all branches, stands in the Cityside.

    My guess is that Durkan and Callaghan are safe, and it’s Ramsey vs. Eastwood for third place, and this could come down to McCann’s transfers.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The SDLP have absolutley no chance in picking up 4 seats. In that respect running 4 candidates to satisfy the egos of local ‘personalities’ could see them do a West Tyrone and actually lose a seat.

  • John Ó Néill

    Pat – nevermind the nonsense 4 candidate strategy (in a big rural constituency it might have some vague logic behind it) – the irony is that the SDLP have to hope that SF get below 2 quotas or get 2 quotas plus a proportion of a third quota that is more than McCanns vote. If he does better than the third placed SF candidate it would likely see him last longer in the counts. Transfers on McCanns elimination broke slightly in favour of the SDLP. If he stays in the race, I’d imagine SF transfers will break in favour of McCann (and the SDLP won’t have had the bump of McCanns transfers to help keep their noses in front). About 25% of the unionist vote ultimately transfered to the SDLP – so with three candidates they would probably hold okay in the end, but four opens the door. So despite the denials above – the third SDLP seat is in play and McCann may be positioned to take it (unless SF tip towards a third quota instead).

    I’d imagine a few people will be telling the SDLP that the four candidate strategy is, eh, a very good idea …

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    John I would agree that it is primarily down to SDLP vote management.
    If it breaks that there are 2 SDLP candidates monoplising the party vote with circa 5k votes each then it would be likely that the 4 candidate approach will cost them dear. How will the non candidature of Durkan effect the SDLP vote?

    If Mc Cann can hold the 2k votes he secured in 2007 and can act as a magnet for about 1k of the O’Hara vote then he could end up as the last person standing after the elimination of SF3,

  • son of sam

    Has Mark Mc Gregor actually read the Derry Journal recently?He says it reflects local demographics.At the last count the S D L P had 1 MP and 3 M L A s.Sinn Fein had 2 MLA s.That is hardly reflected in the papers coverage over the last few years.The paper claims to represent the views of the broad nationalist electorate but in reality has become open house for the S F press office.Its safe to assume the S D L P also submit their material to the paper but for some reason it never quite makes to the relevant pages all the time!

  • Aontachtach

    I for one hopes he gets in. He would be a breath of fresh air!

  • john o’neill…..last time the McCann transfers were 41%-31% in favour of SDLP. I am not sure that qualifies as “slightly”.
    On Flemings SF elimination last time 74% (a low figure by SFs usual vote management strategy) went to SF guy McCartney and 16% to the SDLP runners.
    Fleming is based in Waterside so its a bit odd that so “many” transfers went to Bradley (Shantallow) and Ramsey (Bogside).
    I wouldnt want to talk up 16% of course.
    On McCartneys final transfer, 57% was shared between the SDLP runners.
    I dont dismiss McCanns chances but it takes a near perfect storm for him to take the seat.
    1…..a high vote (but less than 3,000 votes at Westminster a year ago).
    2……keeping the “Green/Enviroment” element in his vote and not losing it to a Green candidate who will do better than 359 votes
    3…..mopping up every dissident independent transfer (only 33% from O’Hara last time (SF/SDLP took 50%) and only 16% from a combined AP/GP /Willie Fraser last time (the SDLP/SF took 46%).
    4….the four SDLP candidates is one too many (the only certainty but not necessarily a killer…especially before Nomination Day).
    Id certainly not deny he has a chance but just about everything needs to go right.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    This time it may be different becuase people may believe he actually has a chance of being elected.

    Incidentally, I presume he had stated that he would take his seat if he had been elected to Westminster last time?

  • FuturePhysicist


    I think these results show the folly almost of ‘vote management’, as much as the SDLP and Sinn Féin will look to have a party vote. The people will speak their voice on the basis of the individual instead. There may be people who might (for example) like Ramsey and McCartney but have no time for say Eastwood and Anderson, and would mix and match accordingly.

    Whether this promotes constituent issues better than block partisan votes, is perhaps a matter of debate.

  • Its always the nature of things.
    Martina Anderson for example will be the woman from a nationalist/republican Party. That will be an advantage. There will also be cross-party voting based on geography (even in a city), personal loyalties, personal dislikes, membership of clubs, charities etc. Contrary to rumour , social networking was not invented by Facebook.
    But in the main as evidenced by statistics, our electorate (encouraged to so do by the Party) will vote the Party ticket.

    Some (like me) see the Electorate as worthy of respect and much more sophisticated than the people who criticise them for a lack of political sophistication (which their critics claim to have in abundance).
    Others see Political Parties as a blight on Democracy…but if we elected 108 Independents in 2011 they would form parties by the time of the next election.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Yeah, I might be transferring to Sinn Féin (after the Greens and SDLP) just to keep McCann out.

  • John Ó Néill

    FJH @ 3.28 pm

    That appears to be the conundrum – do the SDLP run a four candidate sweeper strategy to bank three seats or go with three runners. Both have risks. We’ve mostly discussed the former but the latter being that somehow the first two candidates bank too big a first pref and attrition through the counts and a quirky order of elimination sinks the third candidate (e.g. if the unionist vote split more evenly and with 2 SDLP and SF seats filled, the last count was between an SDLP candidate and two unionists with only a few votes splitting them but the SDLP candidate back in last place – that would also see them eliminated).

    Obviously different people will be hoping for different perfect storms.

  • FuturePhysicist


    The SDLP are running a 4 candidate strategy, and the Westminster vote seems to feel this is safe, there are also risks to Sinn Féin’s 3 candidate strategy in the same way. The SDLP getting 4 may be unrealistic, but it’s not more unrealistic than Sinn Féin getting 3.

    Let’s remember that the fight for the final seat the last time, was an all SDLP affair, and very few things have changed since.

  • FuturePhysicist

    If the SDLP did run three candidates, say Ramsey stood aside, and it was Pól, Mark and Colum…

    Let’s say Westminster held up in split 1st preferences, SDLP’s 44.7% would see three candidates elected all with a quota by hook or by crook, 2 Sinn Féin candidates would be elected on the 31.9%, once their third candidate was eliminated, and it would be the DUP 11.8% who would be struggling to get elected but would on UUP and other transfers.

  • For SDLP…..there is more risk in running four candidates than three. I cant see any way they would win four seats. There is a safe unionist quota and two safe Sinn Féin seats.
    It really becomes a matter of which if any SDLP person stands aside and I see no why reason why it should be Pat Ramsey. He is a good constituency man. Colum Eastwood and Mark H Durkan have good council records.
    Oddly for an iincumbant the one I see in the weakest position of the four is Pól Callaghan.
    Essentially Pat Ramsey can get to parts of voters that the others may not be able to do.
    Pól Callaghan has come thru the “political staffer” route. This is of course a reasonable route into Political Life. I have not met him but sometimes the skills to be out on the stump and as a constituency person are quite different from the range of skills needed to be a back room man/woman.

    It must be clear to them and the Party hierarchy that the most likely outcome is three seats……and that four is less likely than two. No point winning seats in East Antrim, West Tyrone and Strangford if theres a home banker lost in Foyle.
    It would be hard to persuade a sitting member to stand down (as indeed it should be hard) but Id turn my attention to Colum Eastwood and Mark H Durkan.
    All will be forgotten if SDLP holds its three seats. But there will be a lot of bad feeling if a seat is lost.
    My hunch is that on nomination day there will be three SDLP candidates, which is the most sensible option. Mr Durkan and Mr Eastwood have youth on their side.
    Pat Ramsey is 52……which is a heck of a lot younger than me……..but I can certainly see a scenario where he stands in May and wins his seat (he will definitely connect with a lot of folks that the others wont) and after three years into the Assembly retires and a co-option will take place and the selected person will be the person who sits 2011 out.

    “You know it makes sense”

  • FuturePhysicist

    Well the SDLP are running four and you know that, there are risks to Sinn Féin running three two. As I’ve said little has changed in Foyle. There were 3 trends short of Alliance getting a share of the vote from the Westminster elections.

    1. Both nationalist parties saw their vote share drop, due in part to turnout, to the loss of Bannagher and Claudy and due perhaps to the rise of McCann, but as it were in full quota shares

    2. There was a slight swing in the unionist community away from the DUP to UCUNF. This may reflect Hay’s popularity even amongst UUP voters. The combined unionist share of the vote was the same indicating that few tactically voted for the SDLP.

    3. And then there is McCann, someone suggested to me that his share only rose because IRSP supporters turned out to vote this time. I believe he’s attracted new voters who aren’t party aligned. He’s on half a quota and will still need a perfect storm to be elected.

  • FuturePhysicist

    UUCUNF I mean … silly acronym.

  • FuturePhysicist

    I don’t believe this … UUCNF

  • FuturePhysicist

    yes and it should say ‘three too’. Very early in the morning for me.

  • righteousbabe

    The entry of former BBC journalist Paul McFadden into the race in Foyle as an Independent, but with no obvious focus, should help get McCann elected. His problem in the past has always been no one to get a lot of transfers from since it’s usually SDLP or SF people being eliminated and their transfers go largely to their own parties. McFadden’s transfers could just be what McCann needs.

  • I wonder how serious Eamonn McCann actually is about getting elected.
    He has been a candidate in Euro Elections.
    Its rather obvious that he would have no chance winning a European or Westminster seat but an Assembly seat was a reasonable proposition (as it is now) and it would have been made easier if Mr McCann was already a member of Derry City Council. Id suggest that a high profile candidate like Eamonn McCann would have an excellent chance of a Derry Council seat and winning one in 2005 would have put him in with a good chance for Stormont 2011.
    My conclusion is that he is a campaigner rather than a public representative. If he won a seat in May, he would demand a recount.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Worked for Ming Flannighan I guess

  • Even hippies need a pension plan.