#AE11 Open Thread: East Belfast (#bele11)

Okay, East Belfast is really interesting. Will we see two Alliance MLAs, after Naomi Long’s historic victory last year? Can Dawn Purvis hold on the seat she won against the odds four years ago without the backing of the PUP machine? What effect will Sammy Douglas have on the DUP ticket?

And at Council level how will the UUP fair banking on two old stagers, Jim Rodgers and (the recently rewhipped) Ian Adamson alongside the rookie Stephen Warke.

So what have I missed…

Sammy Morse’s 2007 constituency profile

– And Splintered Sunrise’s profile from last year…

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  • Dawn will steal some from Alliance (Naomi) but give votes away to Sammy Douglas (DUP) and Brian Ervine (PUP). The UUP will have given some away to the DUP and Alliance. The TUV are unlikely to eliminated from tge race after SF, SDLP and PUP.

    The big question is what happens to Alliance’s vote? Peter Robinson was being “punished” by voters in the first past the post Westminster election. But that wave will subside.

    If the Alliance vote is up maybe 2,500 on the 2007 Assembly win, then with eliminations at the bottom end, they could pick up the second seat. Otherwise, the UUP and Dawn will scrap it out for the sixth seat, and I’d say Dawn has a lot more opportunities to pick up transfers.

    Either way, the DUP will end up with 3.

  • lamhdearg

    With alan on this. sixth seat will be a scrap for transfers and Dawn will pick up a lions share, i do feel she will be hit hard on first prefs though and this may even lead to her being the one to pass on her vote. someone please provide link to all runners and riders, thanks.

  • lamhdearg

    got one (link)

  • Drumlins Rock

    Mick, was just thinking, should you provide a list of all runners when you do threads like this? I guess it’s not a legal obligation like mainstream media, but would be good policy after the nominations close on Thursday.

  • A genuine “race” where a lot of people will be thinking they have a chance. And a few will be worried. And an indication that a lot can happen in a year….and that a lot HAS happened in the year.
    The DUP wer indeed punished last year. But Peter Robinson has emerged a much chastened and much different man. He might have been shocked last year. So were the Electorate …they surprised themselves.
    At times Robinson has appeared likeable (not a bad quality for a politician to have) and almost statesmanlike. The DUP have head hunted Sammy Douglas but that outreach looks a little uncomfortable to me.
    So Id say two safe DUP seats.
    Id have to say that the Alliance Party have gone backwards. From the euphoria of the Westminster Election night, when their policies were either fully endorsed (their version) by the electorate or they picked up the protest vote better than the rest and got the Belmont Bowling Club on board (other folks version) to a current uncertainty which they would deny.
    Chris Lyttle is no Naomi Long. As the sitting MLA he might be given the lions share of “territory” by AP but Judith Cochrane is the much better candidate. Either way one “safe” seat.
    The UUP runners seem to be a version of the confusion within that Party and an election seems to be a bad time to be confused. The original choices have decided they have better things to do. Michael Copeland, who was a MLA before is indicative of the “councillor route” to Stormont and Philip Robinson indicative of the staffer and professional. He has a nice ironic name to help but being well known by those in journalism, fringe events, campaigning etc is really no substitute for being known “on the ground” as Copeland is. And Copeland has probably the advantage. The third strand of “liberal” unionism was rejected last time.
    UUP “safe” for one?
    Dawn Purvis…..is she safe or has she a fight on her hands. I tend to think she will make it.
    First off losing the PUP connexion will lose her votes in one direction but most PUP transfers will filter back to her. It also frees her from the baggage….and frankly she would be in a better position if she had done so a year or so earlier. But shes emerged as her own woman, not the mere disciple of the over-rated David Ervine….or the poster girl for QUB self congratulatory Henry Higgins/Eliza Doolittle style of education. Her report on the education of protestant working class is obviously timely and she is well thought of by the media.
    With Alliance single candidate already elected on first count in 2007…Purvis picked up some WP transfers and more transfers from SDLP than the more conventional unionists……without the PUP label she will do better. Alliance with two candidates might well have at least one candidate in the field when the “Short Strand” transfers occur but this time round she will do much better, if she even needs them.
    The days when AP could take for granted that the Short Strand vote is half a quota waiting to happen are long gone. Too easy. There will be an element of “Anyone But Alliance” about it…..just simply because Dawn (or even Greens) provide a choice.
    Which brings me to the nationalist/republican vote. No winners here but its good to see the changes in our society reflected in a Polish born candidate, Magdalena Wolska for the SDLP. A fresh face and a fresh accent is a good sign in the development of East Belfast. She will reach places that other SDLP candidates wont reach.
    so……DUP 2, AP1, UUP1 Purvis 1……..and I think DUP.

  • Three Dupes, one Alliance, one UUP certainly.

    Strongly suspect Purvis is a more a favourite of the media set, the Human Rights Industry and Sluggerites than of yer actual real people who both live and vote in E Belfast. The orginal PUP vote was also very much a personal vote for Ervine’s brother so can’t see him pulling it off here this time

    So, between the UUP and Alliance for the 6th.
    Think with tfrs, Alliance will probably pick up the 6th

  • Alliance cant get the sixth seat without Short Strand or “Catholic” transfers. Its at least more competitive. Certainly when a politician is referred to as “Dawn” in the media its a better sign than being called “El Beardo” so certainly she is a media favourite.
    But my point is that while David Ervine has been serially over-rated by people who should no better, Dawn Purvis has been under-rated. Its better to be under-rated than over-rated.
    I confess to under-rating her. Obviously dropping the PUP connexion makes her worthy of re-appraisal. And certainly nobody dismissed her more as an “Educating Rita” figure than I did…..but she is much much more than another working class girl from East or West Belfast, kidnapped by do gooders from South Belfast, brain-washed and sent back to her roots to say the right things.
    Nobody “plays” Dawn Purvis. I celebrate the fact that she is way smarter than the Human Rights/Conflict Resolution “industry”, the PUP, the media, the entire blogosphere, . She “plays” them and has done so in the interests of her community. Thats brilliant.
    Even if she loses her seat, she will have a future.

  • Driving up the Newtownards Road this morning, it’s of note that while candidates on DUP posters are all clearly labelled 1, 2, 3, both the Alliance and UUP have no numbers beside their candidates. So their vote management is a lot less strict – is that not a mistake?

    Lagan Valley’s the same with unnumbered UUP posters for Hill and McCrea, while in South Belfast’s Lisburn Road, UUP’s Finlay is very firmly 1 with McGimpsey 2.

    Strange strategy.

  • It would be interesting to know what the Alliance strategy (poster wise) in the other places where they are running two candidates…..North Down, and East Antrim. (Upper Bann they arent really running two candidates, they are spoofing).

    The only AP poster (early days) Ive seen in Upper Bann is a generic one near the Craigavon Shopping Cente.
    But my understanding in East Antrim is that Ms Mulvenna has been given the Larne end of the constituency and Mr Dickson the Carrick end. I dont know North Down well enough.
    Of course it can be argued that East Belfast is urban and “territory” doesnt have the same impact. Id argue that it does. And I would have assumed that AP would have gone territirial in East Belfast.
    There are different “two runner” strategies. Usually in the expectation of one seat, a candidate is designated as a sweeper. A genuine equal billing (like perhaps East Belfast) is rare.
    But posters are a very interesting area and one perhaps worthy of a thread in itself.
    Im going off with a notebook and a camera into Lagan Valley in a few minutes. Oddly Mrs FJH thinks this is a Mothers Day treat.

  • edgeoftheunion

    I say this more in sorrow than in anger, but the UUP need to lose very badly and hopefully emerge with some fresh thinking. If Peter Robinson can start asking questions why is it beyond Tom Elliot?

  • BobbyG

    I think East Belfast is probably the most interesting constituency election that is going to be fought. The six Assembly seats and various Council seats are up for grabs amongst an array of different parties.

    I think the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) will do well. I believe they are the party of the ordinary man and woman in East Belfast. They do not have an air of arrogance or snobbery about them unlike the other mainstream unionist parties. They have done a lot of good work on the interface areas of East Belfast and continue to do so. I think Brian Ervine will get in and carry on the good work in East Belfast and beyond that his brother did before him, providing a voice for disadvantaged, working class communities. I also think they will get all their council candidates elected in the East.

    The UUP are a split party with David McNarry attacking John McAllister and Basil McCrea for their views on a Sinn Fein First Minister and calling on them to resign. Then there is the Barry Crowe and Altnagelvin scandals and contraversies. Not to mention the fact that Sir Reg Empey abandoned East Belfast to go stand in South Antrim at the last Westminster elections.

    I think its ironic for the DUP to talk about stopping a SF first minister from happening when it was their meddling at St. Andrews that ensured it was the largest party and not the largest community that got the First Minister’s post. Pure hypocriscy and its obvious now they did it to keep a stanglehold on the unionist vote by whipping up the fear of a SF First minister.

    Naomi Long is not standing this time so the Alliance vote whilst high in the Westminster elections might not be so high this time due to relatively unknown candidates. I also think Naomi got in at Westminster partly on a protest vote against Peter Robinson due to his political scandals.

    Dawn Purvis I feel may not get in, she will take some votes from Alliance as she is a better known candidate and some liberal unionist votes from disillusioned UUP/DUP voters but I don’t think it will be enough.

    I think the result will be 2 DUP, 1 Alliance, 1 UUP, 1 PUP, and a fight between DUP/UUP and Dawn for the last seat with the DUP maybe nicking it.

    I think the PUP vote will stand and actually grow. They seem a more united party now and Brian is pretty well known in East Belfast not just because he is David Ervine’s brother but the fact that he was a teacher in Orangefield High School for over 14 years as well as being involved in church and community work in the area, an area in which he has lived all his life.

  • Comrade Stalin

    FJH:

    There will be an element of “Anyone But Alliance” about it…..just simply because Dawn (or even Greens) provide a choice.

    Not sure about that part.

    I like Dawn and think she deserves to be re-elected. I think the UUP are in serious trouble; they only got one seat last time so I see them as being even less likely to take a second seat than they were before. The DUP’s three seats are safe as houses.

    The only way Alliance could take the second seat is either a total UUP meltdown (possible .. Sir Reg ain’t running and I don’t think Copeland draws appeal from quite the same demographic, to put it mildly), or an even split between Ervine and Purvis. Of course, Ervine’s voters may all transfer to Purvis next, or vice versa. Hard one to call, IMO.

  • Comrade Stalin
    “Not sure about that part”
    I thought you might not be sure about that bit. But its self evidently the case that about 2,000 nationalists/republicans vote in East Belfast (for SF & SDLP) and self evidently the case that a lot of other Catholics in East Belfast give AP a first preference vote. And some others just dont bother of course.
    But the AP could rely on transfers as they (nationalist/republican terms) better than a unionist party. We are even told AP contains both unionists and republicans and the party is agnostic as is the Leader.
    In a post conflict situation where I believe it was Peter Shirlow who said last week on UTV that this is the first election where the constitution is secondary. Thats bad news for AP in East Belfast in terms of transfers from nationalist parties. especially as both SDLP and SF proclaim themselves socialist.
    The Greens are Id guess centre left.
    Dawn is too (I note Im calling her “Dawn”).
    AP is……well I dunno….lets ask Harry Hamilton and Paula Bradshaw why they joineda left of centre party.
    So AP cant do that “all things to all people” thing quite so easily. Are they agnostic or “pic m mix” on social and economic issues? Or a “centre” party.
    I must look up the 18 constituencies and compose a list of where AP and Green did against each other. South Down for example?
    The APs great advantage is that they are actually in Stormont. And have of course experience?
    But going partly back to my Friends, Rivals and Enemies thought, you I think are on record as saying you are considering DUP as a second preference. Yet most AP voters would see Grrens, UUP or SDLP as closer.
    The last thing AP needs is a serious rival in the “centre”. The Greens (despite the Dublin wipe out) might not be the footnote in electoral history that NIWC was.

  • Mick Fealty

    This is just a first pass DR. We will cut through some of this territory several times in different ways before May 5.

  • Darkwing

    With Dawns constant reference to the late David Ervine and also to Gusty Spence i sometimes wonder has she adopted P.U.P policy whilst wearing another hat. From living and working in East Belfast with a close eye on the community/politics front I wouldnt be so quick in ruling out Brian Ervines chance in taking the seat. From the rumours on the ground he has the full backing of the old support, and with a new all inclusive, vibrant regime in place now within the P.U.P he has the wider backing of the community, churches and his ex pupils of which there are generations upon generations. (he was an ex teacher in Orangefield). I don’t believe Dawn is electable having just scrapped in last time round on the sympathy vote from David Ervine Supporters, i’ve yet to even see her about in East Belfast, I didn’t even see her when she was leader of the P.U.P. David Ervine would be ashamed in how she ran the P.U.P into the ground over the years, going totally against all what she supposedly stands for “Working Class”, to me she is the prime example of a politician…A Careerist who will trod on anyone to get where she wants to be. Sadly for her this time round in my opinion, it’ll be back over the Queens Bridge to South Belfast for some quango do gooder job that no one cares about.

  • lamhdearg

    If Dawn is to get elected she must out poll Brian (and others) in first prefs then she has a chance, not all of the pup core now hate her, so Brians transfers should in the main go her way.

  • Perhaps “Darkwing” is right but he seems to be attacking Ms Purvis (Im neutral again) on two contradictory fronts. The first is that she hasnt changed and is still PUP at heart (just wearing a different hat). Paradoxically she has changed and is now a careerist.
    Of course I am on record as saying that Ms Purvis will still be highly employable even if she loses her seat.
    As another politician might have put it…..Ms Purvis has a “portfolio of skills”.

  • PaddyReilly

    Funny this. In 2003 Dawn Purvis got 9% of the 1st prefs and won a seat.

    In 2010 she got 37% of the vote, and yet we are told Alliance can only win one seat in 2011? What has happened? Has Comrade Stalin jumped ship to the DUP?

    The difficulty with this constituency is that it has moved so far into Dundonald it isn’t the same place any more. It is a lot more middle class. The 2007 results aren’t much use for predicting 2011.

    The Alliance surge of 2010 was achieved with borrowed votes. As far as I can make out, they were borrowed from Dawn Purvis. She will get them back this time. But that still leaves Alliance with 2 quotas or very nearly. They will win 2 seats.

    Similarly, the 32.8% of the vote the DUP got guarantees them 2 seats. It is still too little for 3, even with the whole of the TUV vote transferring to them, which won’t happen because the UUP will get some.

    The 21.2% of the vote the UUP got guarantees them one seat, but it isn’t enough for two.

    So now we have a DUP candidate with half a quota, a UUP candidate with half a quota, and Dawn Purvis with perhaps 2/3rds of a quota. Here there is the factor of the interplay of PUP and Dawn Purvis, which I cannot pretend to understand.

    But I still see Dawn Purvis ahead of the other two. Result: Alliance 2, DUP 2, UUP 1, Purvis 1.

    I should say that from a Nationalist point of view this is a crucial election. The aim is to take the word ‘Unionist’ and couple it permanently with the word ‘Minority’, something that can be done by lowering the Unionist score by 2. We cannot hope for a Nationalist victory this time, but we can aspire to a Unionist defeat. This will be achieved by a slight surge for the centre parties.

    I realise that many would argue that Alliance are little different, and that an Alliance member representing East Belfast will be much the same as a Unionist, but—it provides a slight variation on groundhog day.

  • A Careerist who will trod on anyone to get where she wants to be. Sadly for her this time round in my opinion, it’ll be back over the Queens Bridge to South Belfast for some quango do gooder job that no one cares about

    Just so happens….

    NIHRC is presently looking for a Chief Commissioner and seven Commissioners and Ms Purvis’s “timely” recent report on Prod w/c under-achievement would serve nicely as an appendix to her letter of introduction.

  • IJP

    I’d be nearer Paddy on this one.

    I can’t see the UUP losing one, starting from over 20%. However, despite selecting well (Douglas may prove an inspired choice), I fail to see how 3 DUP seats is by any means a certaintly. It only just happened in 2007 (in surely more favourable circumstances in the constituency), and didn’t in 2003.

    So really only DUP 2, AP 1, UUP 1 can be written into the book as certain. On a vote declining from 21%, I’d confidently say that’s all the UUP will get.

    So there are still two seats in play, with a third DUP, a second Alliance and Purvis, I would’ve thought, in the running for them. From what I am hearing, I would’ve thought Purvis is well positioned right across the constituency to capture the fed-up/embarrassed UUP vote and the disenchanted/still angry DUP vote.

    As a final point, there is a lot of talk here about “borrowed” votes. It’s a lot harder than some may think to get “borrowed” votes back (ask the Alliance Party in North Down); conversely, once you’ve got them there’s an odds-on chance you’ll keep them. Alliance won’t get to 37% this time, but I wouldn’t bet on too sharp a decline.

  • PaddyReilly

    Major error in my last posting. For “Dawn Purvis got 9%” read “Naomi Long got 9%”

  • Ive made the point about borrowed votes before.
    Fermanagh South Tyrone with their Unity candidates and Coalition candidates (as well as no Stormont opportunity) stunted the DUP (Foster being a defection) and SDLP.
    Borrowed votes do in many cases turn out to be stolen votes.
    Its no different to lending a few tea bags and a cup of sugar to a neighbour.
    Do the neighbours ever give them back?
    The most obvious case of a Party condemning itself to the wilderness thru lending its vote is the Alliance Party in West Belfast.

    But theres something rather unpleasant about borrowed votes…(and I mean this in respect of ALL parties). I think I can honestly say that I have never directly voted AGAINST a Party. Ive never actually gone into a polling station to vote for any party other than my own choice of conviction.
    And the only occasion in my life on which I didnt vote was when my chosen party was not on the ballot paper.
    I salute those parties with the decency to put themselves forward everywhere.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Fitzjameshorse1745,

    Dawn Purvis has still got the politics of the PUP constitution with her because she helped to shape it along with David Ervine and others and she continued to fight hard to keep it that way after the untimely death of David. David Ervine knew he had a PUP stalwart in Dawn and that is why he nominated her to take over his position in the event of his death.

    You say she could well be a careerist if that was her goal she would have left politics long ago and made twice the money & career somewhere else. Dawn has stuck by the political principles she was taught over her time in the PUP & as an MLA to her credit.

    Dawn finished 5th ahead of Robin Newton at the last election and with the tally from different polling stations she picked up a lot of votes from outside traditional PUP area’s.

    I think 2 DUP, 2 Alliance, 1 UUP & 1 Ind.

  • Turgon

    o’neill,
    I agree re Purvis. She seems to be facing two ways. I am sure she would like to hold her seat and as I mentioned in June last year she seems to be trying to get some Alliance typed voters. It would be particularly loathsome and opportunist if the self proclaimed voice of working class unionists were elected not by working class unionists (for whom she seems to have done very little) but instead by the Alliance do gooders of Ballyhackamore.

    If Purvis does fail to get a seat I fear that quangodom calls for her: I have heard her named touted for Children’s Commissioner. That would be a particularly loathsome and hypocritical option in view of Purvis supporting a child murderer (Billy Hutchinson) when he was arrested over with holding information on the murder of a child.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Turgon,

    I would rather have Dawn Purvis looking after my interests than any 500 TUV people. You really do have a hate for this woman, someone you have never even talked to your knowledge comes from your ignorance – guess it is good that you know everything.

  • Comrade Stalin

    FJH,

    You sort of avoided my point.

    Yet most AP voters would see Grrens,

    The Greens will be eliminated early on so those transfers won’t matter.

    UUP or SDLP as closer.

    I think with that comment you’re exposing yourself as being somewhat out of touch. The UUP would have been transfer friendly from nationalists and from the centre in the past, given that they were actually moderate and operating the agreement. These days – well, I’ve got two words for you. “Tom Elliot”.

    And getting back to the bread and butter, are the UUP transfer friendly after the farce over Altnagelvin (which I think will play badly in Belfast, although not quite as it will “up there”) ? Or the SDLP’s rather poor performance during the budget debate ?

    It would be folly to argue that everyone will transfer straight to the main executive parties. But I think you’ll see a lot more of this than you would have seen four years ago. I think there’s going to be a cleaning of the stables, especially when it comes to the UUP.

    And I did say I’d give my #2 to the DUP, mainly because their local guy here has been extremely good and has solved a number of problems for me, so I figure he earns it.

  • tinman

    On AP’s vote management strategy: election literature handed to me on my East Belfast doorstep yesterday by young Mr Lyttle himself instructs me to vote: Lyttle 1 Cochrane 2. Not sure if different wards get different advice?

  • Turgon

    Stephen Blacker,
    My knowledge of this woman comes from her public utterances. They include her support for a child murderer rather than a murdered child.

    My knowledge includes the fact that from 1994 until 2010 she was a member of the PUP and was a cheerleader for the UVF. Indeed she was promoted to cheerleader in chief after Ervine’s demise. Purvis was signing her name on the membership form as the assault rifles were shrieking in Loughinisland. She continued cheerleading for dozens of murders until leaving supposedly in a fit of conscience after the murder of ex prisoner Bobby Moffett. At the time I was very dubious as I detailed in the blog I linked to above. No less a figure than Mark Davenport suggested she feared losing her Stormont expenses.

    Although she left over Mr. Moffett’s murder; all the other murders seem not to have mattered, let alone the drug, extortion, organised crime and prostitution rackets: the women’s champion seemed to care little about them.

    You yourself seem to speak almost nothing about the problems faced by working class unionists. However, say a word against David (sectarian terrorist) Ervine whom you hero worship with “the late” before his name as if it were “peace be upon him” after the prophet’s or against Dawn (ex-cheerleader for sectarian terrorists) Purvis and suddenly you pop up denouncing anyone who criticises your idols.

    Stephen I know all about what loyalist terrorists have done to other human beings: I have seen it with my own eyes. That is why I have such utter contempt for them and similar contempt for their cheerleaders. That is the sort of knowledge I wish I did not have of these people. however, I do have that knowledge and I intend to use it and every facility I have to try to consign Purvis and the rest of her ilk to the footnote of history they should be.

    Compared to my hope for the defeat of both Purvis and the PUP, I have no interest whatsoever in how any other unionist party fares in this election.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Paddy:

    In 2010 she got 37% of the vote, and yet we are told Alliance can only win one seat in 2011? What has happened? Has Comrade Stalin jumped ship to the DUP?

    I take a conservative approach to things, especially predictions. One must take great care not to patronize the electorate. I think Alliance are in with a good chance of a second seat. I think the DUP vote will hold firm and they will keep their three seats, so it won’t come from there. It’ll be taken either from Dawn, or from the UUP. It’s most likely going to be the UUP but if you’re willing to put your neck on the line and say that the UUP are likely to lose their only seat in EB you are a braver man than I am.

    I also try to bear in mind that Naomi is wonderful and has a great deal of personal appeal, but it would be excessive to try to claim that the victory in 2010 would have been the same had it not been for serious missteps by Robinson that year – East Belfast was the DUP’s only anomaly. The trick the party has to pull off is to make some of Naomi’s popularity rub off on two candidates who have never stood for election before. I think there’s a good chance that it’ll work, with a good stiff campaign. Which started well before Christmas, I might add.

    Similarly, the 32.8% of the vote the DUP got guarantees them 2 seats. It is still too little for 3, even with the whole of the TUV vote transferring to them, which won’t happen because the UUP will get some.

    I think you’re missing a trick by relying solely on the numbers in that way without looking at political events. Long’s result showed that people don’t feel threatened by the prospect of having a representative who is not a hardliner on the union. Robinson has, in kind, moderated his tone substantially. The DUP will recover a lot of their vote.

  • Comrade Stalin

    On AP’s vote management strategy: election literature handed to me on my East Belfast doorstep yesterday by young Mr Lyttle himself instructs me to vote: Lyttle 1 Cochrane 2. Not sure if different wards get different advice?

    tinman, yes you’ll find that the parties all do different leaflets in different areas – I’d expect you will see posters that urge different prefs in different areas too. In fact in some areas where you have a well known/popular politician they’ll only let him canvass a small portion of the constituency because the votes will come out for him/her anyway.

    It’s a sign of maturity and experience when you see a party getting several candidates elected with a very similar number of votes each – look at West Belfast in 2007 as a case in point (SF are extremely good at this stuff). Even the DUP have figured this out now – back in the day they were a lot more ego driven and they always wanted their top man in each constituency to take a big share (look at East Belfast in 1998, compare with 2007).

  • dennis the menace

    The Late David Ervine has done more to help the cause of peace in this Island…..

    if it wasn’t for terrorists like Ervine there would be no need for a peace process

  • Stephen Blacker

    dennis the menace,

    That is totally correct, you could also say if it was not for the sectarian nature of the ruling Unionist party in Northern Ireland than there would have been no troubles!

  • Comrade Stalin,
    You have edited my point.
    Your version of my point……..”Yet most AP voters would see Grrens”…. (as closer)
    But it wouldnt have taken much effort to copy and paste a few extra words.
    Yet most AP voters would see Grrens, UUP or SDLP as closer.

    So what makes me say that? Well basically the evidence of Naomi Longs transfers in 2007.
    UUP got 42%, SDLP 15%, Greens got 14%.thats 71% and your choice of second preference the DUP got 6%.
    So quite obviously most of AP voters DO see those three parties as closer than the DUP.
    But you claim Im out of touch. That was 2007. But the main reason that youre giving your second pref to DUP is the local guy is a good constituency man. So its not based on policy. Therefore not too much has changed.
    You make the excellent point that the Green will be eliminated before the AP in East Belfast….but theres the slight problem that there is probably going to be two AP runners still in the race. There is no front runner.
    So Green transfers are vital.
    Where will they go?
    Well of course theres no evidence we can call on from 2007 because Ms Long was elected on 1st count.
    But accross the road in South Belfast we can get a clue.
    The Green transfers went 41% to AP 23% to SDLP and 10% to UUP…74% and……3% to DUP.
    So quite evidently they are in same part of spectrum. Vote “rivals” on one hand from whom a lot of transfers can be picked up.

    So what again are your two points
    1….the Greens will be eliminated early and wont matter. But they will matter as you have two runners.
    2….that SDLPs “poor” budget performance and Tom Elliotts leadership will result in AP voters transferring to DUP……and er in any case you only recommend them cos you like your local DUP man.
    And I think its safe to assume if you lived in East Belfast and voted AP…..you would be in the same pattern as usual.

  • IJP

    Comrade

    I guess my point is that merely retaining its 2007 vote does not by any means guarantee the DUP three seats (indeed, it took only two with a higher first-preference share in 2003).

    Add this to your point about transfers going all over the place and it becomes very unpredictable even if you call the first preference share correctly. I’m increasingly sure this is a significant problem for the UUP, particularly where its candidates are less well known.

  • dennis the menace

    That is totally correct, you could also say if it was not for the sectarian nature of the ruling Unionist party in Northern Ireland than there would have been no troubles!……

    If you think that the IRAs muderous campaign was for some sort of equalty then you really do need your head examined.

    The IRA campaign was to kill as many brits/prods/unionists as possible and also any of their own people who got in the way in order to force they out of Northern Ireland.

  • Not to lose sight of the fact that Mr Fealty drew attention to Jim Rodgers, Ian Adamson and Stephen Warke.
    I think that the first two have been excellent servants to their community and regardless of politics good and honourable servants of the City of Belfast in its highest office.
    Ive not seen any info about this. Not really thinking about prior to full lists.
    I have a lot of time for Rodgers and Adamson.
    I dont think that their “age” should be an issue. But what I have noticed from different local newspapers a high number of “senior” councillors not standing down. There seems to be years when voters just decide that its one term of office too far and forcibly retire older councillors from across the political spectrum. This might be one such year.
    In part this is something Ive heard a lot lately ..that there are good older candidates around and some great young ones….but a lack of folks in their prime.
    Stephen Warke? The staffer for one of the UUP MLAs.? Isnt Lisburn/Banbridge his area? Why East Belfast?
    In general terms the whole professional staffer route makes me uncomfortable but hes at least earning some credits standing for councils. But when he was a bit younger he was a bit ……I dunno…lacking political nous.
    But good luck to him

  • Comrade Stalin

    Yet most AP voters would see Grrens, UUP or SDLP as closer.

    I think this was true five years ago. I don’t think it’s quite such a given now. Back a few years ago the DUP were troglodytes who wanted to wreck everything and SF were the political wing of the IRA. To describe them in such terms now would be a failure to recognize how things have changed.

    So what makes me say that? Well basically the evidence of Naomi Longs transfers in 2007.
    UUP got 42%, SDLP 15%, Greens got 14%.thats 71% and your choice of second preference the DUP got 6%.

    So what are you saying, that none of that will change ? That events – over the past year or so in particular – won’t effect people’s choices ? Of course they will. Speaking personally, in 2007 there’s no way I’d have transferred to the DUP anywhere high up the ballot paper. Now it is very much an option.

    But the main reason that youre giving your second pref to DUP is the local guy is a good constituency man. So its not based on policy. Therefore not too much has changed.

    That’s not right either. The “gets the buses running on time” argument applies, but the other fact is that the DUP have made themselves more palatable. They’re competent in government (the UUP are not), together with SF they have delivered four years of stability (the UUP and SDLP could not) and they are busy modernizing their outlook (the UUP are not). Robinson is taking what would have until recently been significant risks, for example by attending the reopening of St Malachy’s in the Markets. That is leadership, and I think it’s permissible to respect someone’s leadership without necessarily agreeing completely with their politics. It is obviously my perspective but I imagine there must be at least some proportion of those of us in the centre who feel the same way.

    If the DUP were still about exclusion and wrecking, it would be impossible for me to transfer to them.

    1….the Greens will be eliminated early and wont matter. But they will matter as you have two runners.

    When I said “they won’t matter”, I meant they’re not going to take a seat off anyone. Of course their transfers will count.

    I think that the first two have been excellent servants to their community and regardless of politics good and honourable servants of the City of Belfast in its highest office.

    I have no idea what makes you think that. Adamson was more famous for his wife who was just about the right age to be his granddaughter. Not that I care about such things, but I don’t remember much else about him .. oh of course apart from his weird pseudo-intellectual obsession with the “Cruithin” theory which, for me anyway, had nasty echoes of hard-right race theory. Jim Rodgers is a political vuvuzela – a high-pitched, irritating background noise, usually of course reliable for a far-out rentaquote. If anyone wants to try to argue that these people are more moderate than the DUP, it’s pretty easy to point out that they participated like everyone else in the systematic exclusion of Catholics from committee chairmanships and posts when they were int he majority on the council. And if they were still the majority, they’d still be doing it.

    Stephen Warke certainly isn’t on the moderate wing of the UUP. Try reading some of his articles some time.

  • Comrade Stalin

    If the DUP were still about exclusion and wrecking, it would be impossible for me to transfer to them.

    I might add that the DUP are still about exclusion, for example on Newtownabbey borough council; they won’t countenance a Catholic mayor – and neither will the UUP. That means they don’t get my vote at council level obviously, and it is a reminder that we have some way to go before we reach the point where unionism embraces sharing without being forced to do so.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Looking at transfers last time round the largest proportion of Alliance ones went to the UUP, then SDLP & PUP, at least two thirds of the nationalist vote just dropped out before it was even used, and 20% of the DUP vote leaked after Robinson. Never just go by first preference!

  • Stephen Blacker

    dennis the menace,

    The IRA campaign never stopped it was just losing support until the late 1960’s civil rights marches and it started building again from then. Revisionism can justify any story.

  • YelloSmurf

    “So there are still two seats in play, with a third DUP, a second Alliance and Purvis”. I said that when Douglas was first selected. It is going to be really very interesting.

    Be careful about dismissing the Westminster result as a protest vote or a reaction against Peter Robinson. Remember that Alliance polled very strongly in East Belfast in the Euro Elections of 2009.

  • Turgon

    Stephen Blacker
    “Revisionism can justify any story.”

    Yes indeed that pretty much sums up David Ervine’s supposed transformation from terrorist criminal to “statesman” and Purvis’s transformation from cheerleader to “women’s champion”. Such revisionism might keep her seat; if it does not it will help her assent into quango-land.

    Sadly the people for whom the PUP and Purvis really have contempt for (the working class unionist population) will continue to be failed by them – not that the mainstream unionist parties are that much better; though at least they do not jsupport and cheerlead for the loyalist terrorists who oppress and betimes murder working class unionists.

  • Turgon

    On the topic of the two seats in play it is interesting. Two DUP seem certain as does 1 Alliance and almost certainly 1 UUP.

    After that it becomes difficult. If Alliance get a bounce form Long they could get a second seat but equally there may be leakage back to the UUP. Also it must be remembered what a woeful candidate Trevor Ringland was.

    Now some may like him as a person etc. but as a candidate he was too liberal when a real liberal was standing (Long) and also not cut out for politics. Clearly hustings does not do everthying but his arrogant behaviour at such events probably lost a few more votes as did the endless silly rugby analogies. Hence, unencumbered by the man who managed the greatest drop in the UUP vote at Westminster last year the UUP might do better. Against that they have had their recent problems.

    The TUV will poll at least some votes and although David Vance did very badly last time Jim Allister did get a good vote in the European elections in East Belfast. If the TUV can stay in then they might even have a chance as DUP and UUP votes transfer.

    Finally Purvis has made strenuous efforts to shed her cheerleader skin and come out as a shiny unionist-lite Alliance type. That may get votes but equally many will have long enough memories to remember that until last year she was cheerleader in chief. She will lose some loyalist support to the PUP and Ervine.

    Much of the outcome will rely on transfers. If Purvis is transfer attractive she may get back in otherwise I would be surprised. If the DUP transfer well they should get 3 and could drag the UUP’s second in on their coat tails – that would be the best scenario for the DUP as it would greatly assist them in getting Long out at the next Westminster election.

    For Alliance the question is how much of Westminster’s protest can they hold on to but also how much of Long’s vote is a personal one and how much of her star dust can rub off on others.

  • Comrade Stalin
    “So what are you saying, that none of that will change ? That events – over the past year or so in particular – won’t effect people’s choices ?”

    No of course I am not saying that. But I am saying that things will not change THAT much in four years.
    Remember this is not what Party members think. This is what the voters think?
    Are Alliance recommending that their voters give #2 to DUP. because things have changed so much in the last year (among which is David Ford at Justice courtesy of the DUP & SF).
    Are you recommending that on the doorsteps when you canvass for Gerardine Mulvenna and Stewart Dickson (youre in that neck of the woods if I remember). Are Chris Lyttle and Judith Cochrane saying that in Short Strand. Or the Belmont Bowling Club which memorably deserted the DUP for Naomi Long?
    Now it turns out the DUP arent so bad. What a difference a job makes.

  • Yello Smurf
    “Remember that Alliance polled very strongly in East Belfast in the Euro Elections of 2009”.

    The candidate was a Tory a few months later. So does that mean you take the view that AP voters are closer to UUP, SDLP and Greens than to the DUP?
    Or do you share your Party colleagues view that they are now closer to DUP?
    On the doorstep where are you recommending the transfers go?

  • IJP

    Said candidate also realised the error of his political ways and is back on the doorsteps for Alliance this time…

    Yello Smurf makes a legitimate point, and I remember from that campaign whole groups of voters beginning to shift to Alliance because not just of Naomi, but also because of the work of her office staff. Two of those are now the candidates, so again it’d be foolish to understate how well known they are. That said, as noted above, the DUP has also chosen wisely.

    I don’t believe it is the role of a canvasser to advise on further transfers, nor do I ever recall being asked to recommend them, so that’s a pointless discussion.

  • lamhdearg

    i’ve just Seen someones poster for the first time today, cheshire cat came to mind. must remember to downplay their chance next time i mention them. for purely political reasons of course.

  • the lone ranger

    turgon some of your comments regarding dawn purvis and the late david ervine (by saying the late david ervine does not mean i am worshipping him) i find quite distastefull. i may be wrong here and forgive me if i am pre judging you but if you are a tuv supporter i take it you are a former dup voter. (again forgive me if i am prejudging you). the problem you have with convicted terrorists is very clouded in my opinion.

    your founder leader the great ian paisley during the middle to late sixties created an atmosphere in my opinion that gave rise to the period we know as the troubles. any quick search on you tube to see some of the speeches made by the big man will show you that. in fact i will quote one of his speeches form around 1974 during the agreement of sunningdale was as follows. if the republic of ireland dont start behaving themselves it will not be as brian faulkner said hands across the border but shots across the border!! now not so long after that speech it wasnt shots across the border but bombs. dublin and monaghan to be precise. did the good reverend apoligise for this?? ive never heard it.
    what turned young men into secterian killers during the late 60s and 70s? now you can check this out if you like turgon but northern ireland had the lowest crime rate in britain prior to the troubles. so were did the atmosphere for killing and hating one another come from? who built up this bubble of hate and bile?? ed maloney has a great quote from the great man what are you people of the shankill doing allowing italian papists to live in your area. not long after that an old age pensioner matilda gould lost her life when her house was burned down as she was mistaken for a roman papist. was there an apology?

    he might not have light the petrol bomb shot and killed but words can inflame and make an impression on impressionable young men. the bottom line turgon is this that no party in the unionist bloc has ever lifted a finger for the working class people of the unionist community. this is reflected in the eduction sector and the housing and the type of employment young protestants are attaining to. in fact in my humble opion this suited the unionist politicians because if the protestant people had an education and had a mind of their own and their own thinking structure the possibility is they would never had listened to paisley and robinson and realised a long time ago that the union was safe and that it was actually the antics of paisley and robinson who were actually threatning the viability and safety of the union. your disgust for david ervine who was a reformed terrorist (and who stated that the dup met him to ask for the uvf not to go on ceasefire!!) and who wanted to see a changed northern ireland away from the perceived threat that we were sold out. turgon if you tell people they are in mortal danger and sold out and that they need to defend themselves and fight for ulster you have to accept the consequeneces of what materialises after your bellicose speeches. can we expect an apology from the said ian and his ilk for their part in the inflamming of an already inflammable situation? maybe your disgust for others would be better balanced if you find the bigger picture and what went on in this little country of ours.

  • I have already pointed out that Parties do not recommend transfers and Ive indicated on previous posts that on the occasions that they do, its usually in only the blandest terms and usually in terms of vote for my Party first and then those that seem closest to that Partys viewpoint.
    While Comrade Stalin has made it clear (well I think he has) that his DUP 2nd Preference is on the basis of a debt of gratitude to his local MLA….entirely reasonable of course. Less reasonable is the assertion that the DUP has changed so much that AP voters might find it closer to AP than the range of parties (SDLP, UUP and Green) which have total or part “moderate” credentials. (the figures show a particular story).
    Its good of course that the AP Euro candidate has seen the error of his political ways and will not make the same mistake again.
    Lets hope the Alliance Party has learned its lesson too.

  • Comrade Stalin

    No of course I am not saying that. But I am saying that things will not change THAT much in four years.

    The evidence is against you. Look at the change between 2003 and 2007. Or between 2005 and 2010. Voters voted to bring down the Executive and Stormont; and then voted to underpin it later.

    Remember this is not what Party members think. This is what the voters think?

    Yes, and I would argue that the voters are often away ahead of the parties. What other conclusion can be drawn from May 2010 ?

    Are Alliance recommending that their voters give #2 to DUP. because things have changed so much in the last year (among which is David Ford at Justice courtesy of the DUP & SF).

    No, they’re not. You evidently aren’t familiar with canvassing 🙂 No political party will ever recommend you transfer to someone else.

    And I think I have said more times than enough that I’m not a spokesperson.

    Are you recommending that on the doorsteps when you canvass for Gerardine Mulvenna and Stewart Dickson (youre in that neck of the woods if I remember).

    Like I said, nobody will ever volunteer a recommendation to transfer. Nobody with sense, that is.

    If I was pressed I wouldn’t say “transfer to X”. I’d say that I was still thinking about it but that I would be transferring to the parties which were showing leadership and which had proven themselves competent in government.

    Now it turns out the DUP arent so bad. What a difference a job makes.

    That’s a cheap and sadly pathetic comment. I have been complimentary of the DUP since they made the decision that they would go into government with SF in 2007. I have been consistently complimentary of their ministers. I have also been consistently critical of the UUP and their incompetence, both as a party and as governing ministers.

    But I don’t think I’m getting through so let’s turn it on it’s head. Who are you transferring to, in what order, and why ?

    I have already pointed out that Parties do not recommend transfers and Ive indicated on previous posts that on the occasions that they do, its usually in only the blandest terms and usually in terms of vote for my Party first and then those that seem closest to that Partys viewpoint.

    I’m wondering then why you seemed to be under the impression that Alliance canvassers might recommend that people transfer to another party.

    While Comrade Stalin has made it clear (well I think he has) that his DUP 2nd Preference is on the basis of a debt of gratitude to his local MLA….entirely reasonable of course.

    Not only that. Please re-read my 9:02AM contribution.

    Less reasonable is the assertion that the DUP has changed so much that AP voters might find it closer to AP than the range of parties (SDLP, UUP and Green) which have total or part “moderate” credentials. (the figures show a particular story).

    I explained why I believe that is the case. You are more than welcome to challenge my reasoning, but simply claiming “stuff doesn’t happen that fast” is at odds with the experience here of the past five or so years.

    Its good of course that the AP Euro candidate has seen the error of his political ways and will not make the same mistake again.
    Lets hope the Alliance Party has learned its lesson too.

    I’m not sure what lesson you have in mind. The only lesson I have learned over the past number of years is that Alliance wasted a lot of time and credibility propping up crappy, supposedly “moderate” candidates (who were often anything but) and got sweet FA for it. The UUP are going to fade out of existence and I will relish the day – their existence is harmful to the country. The SDLP are not so bad but when I read an SDLP supporter right here on Slugger telling me that it was wrong for David Ford to get the Justice Minister job because he isn’t a Catholic, I was reassured in my stance.

  • lets bookmark this and return to it on 7th May. Agreed?

  • Darkwing

    Dawn has stuck by the political principles she was taught over her time in the PUP & as an MLA to her credit.

    Now that is a definate mis-truth had she stuck by her principles she would still be leader of the P.U.P, she was only thinking of herself and her career when she left. As for representing the working class????? Dont make me laugh, she comes up with one report timely enough just before the election and this is working class representation? I’ll be voting for someone who lives in East Belfast for a start who see day to day problems and not through rose tinted glasses. Photoshop worked wonders on her posters too.

    Maybe a map required for the working class areas of East Belfast for in 4 years as an M.L.A and a Party leader havn’t seen her about too much. Quangoland here she comes.

  • Stephen Blacker

    😉

  • Turgon

    the lone ranger,
    Yes you are prejudging me and incorrectly. I was in the UUP for years before leaving in the early 2000s: I did not resign I was not important (or self important) enough to do so. I have never been in the DUP. I always voted rejectionist UUP / united unionists.

    So yes an apology is due but I doubt I will see one.

    On the issue of working class unionists, I wholeheartedly agree: I have mentioned the issue repeatedly in blogs. If you read my UK politics blogs you would discover I am mildly left of centre on economic matters.

    I do think the working class have been progressively failed by the UUP and DUP. Once the DUP had a very large working class base and even the UUP had significant working class membership (remember the likes of Harold McCusker and still Fred Cobain). However, there has been progressive gentrification of the UUP and DUP. I note with pleasure the fact that the DUP are making some attempt this time to address this problem.

    No matter how much the UUP and DUP have failed the unionist working class, however, that failure is nothing beside the effect of the loyalist terrorists and their cheerleader politicians. They have not failed to help working class unionists: No far from it they have actively oppressed them. The loyalists have for many years been a much greater threat to working class unionists than republicans.

    Purvis and Ervine have repeatedly suggested working class unionists are wrong in voting for proper unionist parties rather than for the loyalists. Working class unionists may get inadequate representation from proper unionist parties but they certainly get much worse from Ervine, Purvis et al.

  • One thing people haven’t mentioned is the disillusion with all politicians in parts of East Belfast. In the general election, Alliance canvassers were told that voters had chased away DUP canvassers. You might think things are better for Peter Robinson now. But while canvassing in the working class areas of Victoria I have listened to harangues from voters who insist that all politicians are on the make, they cannot be trusted, and he will never vote again. I don’t think I managed to persuade any of them to try voting for the Greens instead.

    What does get the cynical to vote is a lot of local exposure through constituency or other work on local issues. That’s what got Naomi Long in last year, rather than any of Peter Robinson’s other opponents. Now several of the candidates are locally known. In Dundonald a lot of people get and like the BT16 Newsletter that Martin Gregg (Green Party) edits and delivers to 4000 houses there.

  • I hope they recycle it 🙂

  • the lone ranger

    turgon you will get an apology from myself regarding pre judging your political allegiance.

    still disagree on your comments on david ervine and dawn purvis. david ervine was a very good politician in my humble opinion.he gave lead to the loyalist community which he represented and as far as i know never had a range rover neither a big house to live in. he articulated the wrongs in the loyalist community far better than any other unionist politician that i have ever known. (the fact remains though that would not be very dificult) yes i know he represented the uvf and what they carried out during the troubles was despicable and i noticed in one other post of yours, you described billy hutchinson as the child killer. i have two questions for you turgon and the first is this. what turned young protestant men into secterian killers when prior to the troubles northern ireland had the lowest crime rate in britain?

    my second question is more general. will you now withdraw your support for britain and all who carry out wars in their name? i mean britain has killed more children than billy hutchinson ever did, and no later than recently (iraq, libya, and even here in our we country) i know the incident you are refering to with regards billy hutchinson (which was despicable) but heres a question for you turgon were does that leave the people responsible for running that wee mount vernon team headed up by the notorious mark haddock? was the state (british state) not aware of this man’s activities? we cant be selective turgon on who we denounce as child killers.

  • I note David Ford believes that Alliance will win two seats here.

  • Drumlins Rock

    FJH, good to see some political traditions never change 🙂

    Alliance are always looking that breakthrough, I see he also wants to steal an additional executive seat, greedy sod.

  • Stephen_Warke

    FitzjamesHorse

    Just for info, I worked for George Savage, both at Stormont and managed his two Constituency Offices in Banbridge and Portadown but I was born, raised and continue to live in East Belfast. I travelled to Upper Bann to work minimum 3 days a week – suffice to say it’s nice to be a lot closer to home when the diesel isn’t getting any cheaper.

    In respect of how I see the Campaign going so far, I’m encouraged by the response on the doorsteps, however, until that is borne out with the results from the ballot box I’m loathe to count any chickens, but if you ask me do I think we can win a seat back from the DUP in Victoria my answer would be yes… I believe we have a stronger and more united team that can and will deliver.

  • scrabopower

    Darkwing..if the PUP had stuck to their political principles they would have ended the association with the UVF rather than strengthening it.

    If the PUP had stuck to their political principles they would have continued to move to the left rather than lurching dangerously to the right since Dawn resigned.

    …”As for representing the working class????? Dont make me laugh, she comes up with one report timely enough just before the election and this is working class representation?..”

    And what has the PUP come up with?

    “…I’ll be voting for someone who lives in East Belfast for a start who see day to day problems and not through rose tinted glasses….”

    The PUP see plenty of problems, but what solutions have they come up with?

    “..Photoshop worked wonders on her posters too…”

    Classy line in criticism there!

  • Flow

    I commented in the Fermanagh & South Tyrone thread on the impact of another Elliott on the ballot paper beside Tom. I think the same comment applies in East Belfast for another Robinson on the paper. It’s got to be worth a few misplaced votes!! Having said that, I think Peter Robinson will top the poll this time round. He has to, and the vote management will be set up in such a way to ensure if the voters come out, he will be returned 1st count. If that doesn’t happen, then questions will be asked. Other than that, Dawn Purvis needs at least the same number of first preference votes as last time to stand any chance. She was fortunate to pull transfers from all over the place. I’m not so sure that will be the case this time. Looking at the stats from last year, TUV took 0.36 of a quota from DUP, meaning Peter Robinson only lost about 0.25 of a quota elsewhere. If all Dawn Purvis’s votes go back to her this time out Alliance are sitting just under 2 quotas (1.92) and DUP are sitting on 2.30 quotas. UUP had a slight drop, from 1.54 to 1.48 quotas. Prediction: 2 DUP, 2 Alliance, and 1 UUP. Last seat between Dawn Purvis and second UUP.

  • Comrade Stalin

    FJH,

    I don’t see why I have to wait until 7th May for you to explain your logic. Why should a person with a moderate perspective transfer to the UUP ahead of the DUP ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Stephen,

    Didn’t you work for Reg Empey, either in HQ or in East Belfast ?

  • Stephen_Warke

    Comrade Stalin

    I did some voluntary work over two summers (2004 & 2005) for both Sir Reg and Michael Copeland whilst I was at University. I was never on Sir Reg’s payroll in East Belfast or at Party HQ.

  • Thank you for clarifying that Mr Warke…..and like I said good luck in your campaign.
    Am I right to recall that you might be the same Stephen Warke who fell out with some UUP people over a selection convention for Banbridge Council?
    I think Slugger had a thread about it.
    Thats what made me ask the question as to your East Belfast credentials.

  • Stephen_Warke

    FitzjamesHorse

    Yes that was 2007/8 and I was a lot more wet behind the ears than I am today… Fair to say Dromore wasn’t one of my better decisions.

  • For what it’s worth, I see two safe DUP seats and one for each of Alliance and the UUP, with the last two fought between 2nd Alliance, Dawn Purvis, PUP, 2nd UUP in that order of probability.

  • Well fair play to you Mr Warke….just when your name came up, I thought I know that name from a few years back and its not Belfast.