Alliance: all (about leading) change

Alliance launched their election campaign this morning but gave away little about the specific contents of their upcoming manifesto. The paper copy of David Ford’s speech this morning was titled: “Ford launches Alliance campaign saying the party is leading change”.

Certainly it seemed like the party leader was embarking on a record breaking attempt to overuse the word change. If his short speech was passed through Wordle, the word “change” would overshadow all other content. [Ed – by popular demand, now added at the end of the post.] And it pops up more than a few times in the quick interview with him afterwards.

Change is not a word that many people associated with elections in Northern Ireland … But we believe change is possible … Because this party has been in the business of change – the business of leading change – since the day and hour it was formed … We didn’t accept then [1970s] that change wasn’t possible, and we don’t accept it now … Real change that people want … Anyone who thought change wasn’t possible didn’t could on the people of that constituency [East Belfast]. People who imagined what change would look like, believed that it was possible, and voted to make it happen. People who decided that they wanted to join us in leading change … And so today we launch the next phase in our campaign for change.

Alliance 2011 election candidates - Assembly and Local governmentThe campaign launch was preceded with a short silence in memory of Ronan Kerr. The majority of their 22 Assembly candidates and 75 Council candidates were present.

Ford’s election goal is to return Alliance to the Assembly with a couple of extra seats that should be enough to guarantee them a ministry when d’Hondt process is run. Alliance’s success or failure in May will be judged on getting a ministry and moving up a league to become the fifth “main party”. By my calculations, they’d be likely to pick up 8th choice out of the 10 ministries allocated that way.

Indeed, we are ambitious enough to believe that we can increase both the number of Alliance Councillors and our number of MLAs. Enough Assembly Members to guarantee a seat on the Executive under the current system for appointing Ministers. If I am returned as Justice Minster that would mean two Alliance Ministers at the Executive table. Two Alliance Ministers, pledged to deliver change within their departments and to drive the Executive towards a new level of joined-up government. That’s not an ambition for our Party – that’s an ambition for our community.

However, Executive seats for Alliance could be short lived if agreement is reached to reduce the number of ministries down to 7/8, and if parties agree to appoint Justice by d’Hondt after May 2012.

Alliance’s whizzy animated Party Election Broadcast will be broadcast tonight. I’ll embed a copy here when it appears online next week.) Asked whether voters are swayed by PEBs, David Ford explained:

I think what is the key issue is the image your party has. And I think what we’ve got at the moment is the image of being genuinely about change, genuinely about reforms, genuinely about a shared future. And I think in that sense, doing a different kind of election broadcast will be interesting in terms of the amount it attracts. What’s quite clear is that most of the other parties seem to be back in the same tired old formula of talking heads, saying how great they are without actually confronting the issues behind it.

Update – just for vanhelsing, here’s the Wordle!

David Ford 2011 campaign launch speech wordle

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  • I have a strange feeling that this Election is about six months too late for the Alliance Party. There was a certain euphoria a few months ago. The mood music is different now. They will gain maximum of two and Id look closely at the Council performances.

  • Sean Og

    Where will they gain the 2 seats? East Belfast and North Down look like the best bets. Maybe East Antrim.

    They have selected poor candidates in East Belfast and will probably hold one. If Long had been on the ticket 2 was a strong possibility.

    Neither candidate in East Antrim is strong enough to bring in a running mate and both may lose out to SDLP or SF.

    North Down is their best bet for a gain but I also see McCarthy losing in Strangford to SDLP.

    Overall no change.

  • Obelisk

    Slightly off topic, but if Justice were run by d’hondt it would be the ultimate ‘Sophie’s Choice’ moment for the largest party, which I presume to be the DUP.

    Do they pick Finance or Justice? Finance controls real power, but then Sinn Fein on the second choice would get Justice. But if they pick Justice Sinn Fein would be very happy with finance.

    I predict the current arrangement suits the DUP very well, and that they will try and extend the current arrangement for as long as possible and with it, an Alliance place at the table.

  • Seán Og.
    You could well be right. No doubt East Antrim and Strangford will be discussed individually but Im talking purely in terms of “maximum”
    To gain two….the perfect storm…they need to hold the seven spread over seven constituencies. One or two might be vulnerable.
    But “maximum” that means they get a second seat in one of the four places they are running two candidates.
    East Belfast……possible but on a seperate thread Ive already dismissed that more or less.
    North Down…….more possible but probably not (unless Im contradicting what I said on the North Down thread a lifetime ago 🙂 )
    East Antrim……little or no chance of two.
    Upper Bann…….as a spoofer myself I know spoofery when I see it.

    The alternative is breaking new ground. They did well in East Derry but as I recall their candidate is the only AP councillor in Coleraine (or west of the Bann) and he won a council bye election in specific circumstances. His performance in 2010 caused some AP people to talk up his chances. He has a remote chance.
    They have also talked up ex-Tax Inspector Billy Webb in North Belfast.
    I give AP credit for standing everywhere and I think every candidate of all parties in every constituency deserves my respect.
    In cold hard terms AP would be happy with the gain of a single seat. A ninth seat would delight them.
    But they have a battle
    1 they can no longer rely on SDLP transfers with the emergence of the Greens.
    2 The Greens will outvote them outside the Alliance heartlands.
    3 Their new friends in the DUP (much over-stated in another thread) will alienate traditional supporters and certainly those tempted to give them second preferences (from UUP and SDLP)
    4 Their unseemly (as some would see it and AP dont) rush to grab the Justice Department.
    5 The “cuts” agenda will impact on public service workers, many of whom live in suburban Belfast.
    6 “Liberal Unionism” has sunk without trace and some survivors have swum to the Alliance boat. Good news for the survivors but less good news for those already on board. Rations cut all round. And it wont be long before the survivors want the Alliance boat to sail towards the right and away from othe “middle ground” positions.

    Now I think those are reasonable points. Certainly debatable. But they cant be denied.

  • vanhelsing

    Change is great but when you mention change it’s only fair to detail what the outcome will be. Think they just feel the word is a vote winner. Would love to see the wordle on his speech.

    I agree [again] with FJH analysis above – can’t see them getting the 1/2 seats for all the above reasons.

    VH

  • iluvni

    Listening to that 5th rate ‘change’ claptrap from Ford would bring on a migraine.

  • ga11

    FJH,

    Technically the Alliance Party cllr is not from the west of the bann as he represents the Skerries which is east of the bann.;)

    Cant see any gains for the Alliance materialising. They are at risk in Strangford and will not pick up in East Belfast or East Antrim. North Down is a possibility but the DUP could take a seat away from either the UUP or Greens.

  • vanhelsing – just for you – post updated with the Wordle!

  • ga11……I knew somebody would mention Skerries but I reckoned if I said “no councillors west of the Bann”, the AP would be all over me. 😉
    The answer which (Blue Peter style, is one I prepared earlier) is that the Town Hall is west of the Bann…(is it?..i assume it is) so technically Barney Fitzpatrick is running (or standing) in Skerries and sitting in Coleraine.
    But isnt Portstewart where the Bann meets the sea? Is all of Skerries (Strand, Atlantic etc on east)?

  • JH

    So if they do win a ministry, then they’ll have two ministries, despite only barely scratching the numbers for one? Something should be in place to make sure that they’re limited to Justice unless they can produce the numbers for two or more. There aren’t enough ministries to make two seats anything but wholly unrepresentative.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Yeah, I’d imagine if Alliance got ministry it would be at the expense of the UUP. That would mean that Alliance would have to ministries with 8-9 seats and the Sdlp and UUP would have 2 ministries with 33-34 seats. Joke

  • aquifer

    Change, to what?

    Alliance in a muddle in the middle.

    But the UUP are gifting all round them, so who knows?

  • vanhelsing

    Cheers Alan, that’s a big ‘CHANGE’

    Ps of course whether they get it or not is another matter 🙂

  • Lionel Hutz

    I blame Obama. Lol. Change has been the political buzzword for the last three years. Amazing considering it’s happened in conversative countries

  • Mr Crumlin

    As the liberal unionist party I think AP will take a few votes from UUP and I also think they are positioned to make one or two modest gains.

    I think their vote for the homecoming parade will kill their hopes of the 2nd seat in East Belfast – it will be difficult to get transfers from the Short Strand etc. Not sure about the other areas.

  • granni trixie

    Funny you should mention the word, ahem, Change. Canvassing in Castlereagh West half an hour ago change was on my mind. A few examples may explan why: “I’m DUP through and through but I’ll give Anna (Lo) my next vote – she speaks good sense”; another says “Only the SDLP will do me. But Alliance will get my second preference”.

    These are neighbours,only the house between separating them. Who would have thought it.

  • Barry the Blender

    The answer which (Blue Peter style, is one I prepared earlier) is that the Town Hall is west of the Bann…(is it?..i assume it is) so technically Barney Fitzpatrick is running (or standing) in Skerries and sitting in Coleraine.
    But isnt Portstewart where the Bann meets the sea? Is all of Skerries (Strand, Atlantic etc on east)?

    The Bann splits Coleraine in two with the town hall in the town centre on the East Bank.
    The council offices may be the seat of local power in the borough. They however are on the East side also on the road out to Portstewart.
    All of the skerries is east of the Bann, the Bann estuary lies between Skerries DEA and Castlerock ward in Bann.

    You can still be right though, I think I remember reading that although elected from small DEAs, the councillors don’t have a specific constituency, and sit to represent their entire council area. (please correct me if I’m wrong anyone)

    The Alliance Party therefore have no representives who were elected west of the Bann.
    That could well change. They held a council seat in Omagh town until 2001 when she didn’t seek re-election. They might be able to claw back their following there, but it’s possible that much of that vote would have dissipated to independents over the last decade. I suspect they’d also be in with a shout in Coleraine central which has elements both east and west of the river.

  • quality

    granni trixie

    Those second preference votes are practically meaningless, given the 1st went to candidates who were likely to be elected. Also, they could have just been telling you anything on the doorstep.

    It’s extremely possible the DUP will get 3 seats in east Belfast, really squeezing the Alliance. It’s a big risk going in with Chris Lyttle and Judith Cochrane, two relative unknowns (especially compared to Naomi Long’s years of profile-building), and hoping for gains in seats.

    Also interesting, the lack of numbering on Lyttle/Cochrane posters – trouble in paradise? Worth saying I wish Chris Lyttle all the best, I hope he doesn’t lose out.

  • The lack of numbering on the Alliance posters is not significant
    …..unless of course there is numbering in East Antrim, North Down or Upper Bann.
    Trouble in Paradise?
    Well “insiders” would never say. And if they do say, it would be either the truth (which AP does) or “spin” (which it doesnt do). Obviously.
    But I suspect that the decision to run two candidates was taken early on.
    Certainly after Naomi Longs victory in 2010.
    Or even after her victory in 2007.

    So Id speculate that in the euphoria of Ms Longs 2010 performance, it was anticipated that AP would be in the shake up for two seats in 2011.
    Mr Lyttle was co-opted. Maybe Ms Cochrane feels she should have been.
    And Id speculate Ms Cochrane knew at an early stage she would be on the 2011 ticket.
    Two things have happened since then.
    The euphoria has subsided. And Chris Lyttle has not performed well in the Assembly. Of course “on the ground” he might be brilliant.
    “Trouble in Paradise”…..nah……Alliance Party is a party at peace with itself. 😉

  • quality

    It just seems like poor vote management to me, especially as it will really be a battle in east Belfast to get those two seats. Compare this with how Sinn Féin and the DUP will manage their votes, and the results this will likely bring in some constituencies (am thinking Mid-Ulster/West Tyrone and Belfast East/North Antrim/Strangford respectively).

    I would say strong DUP tickets and successful vote management could see Alliance lose out in both EB and Strangford, certainly in Strangford where Joe Boyle could take some of Kieran McCarthy’s core vote.

    I would like to see some Alliance gains, as really I agree with the message in principle and they have been relatively consistent and sound on the economy (particularly the Green New Deal). But I can’t help thinking they just don’t have enough talent to pull it off, even with the UUP implosion.

  • Actually Alliance have a LOT of talent. I greatly admire Andrew Muir, Brendan Heading, Michael Bower and Keith McGrellis who I might describe as Reserve Team at the minute. Any one of those could step up. Thanks to Granni Trixie, I have added Cathy Curran in my list of people to watch.
    It is right and proper that all of the above should have a political career…..and it does nothing for them that survivors (especially those with tthwarted politica ambitions) from the “liberal unionist” wreck are now in the same Party with them.
    Despite appearances, all is not well.

  • jeep55

    Quality

    Vote management is not an issue for Alliance in Strangford – there is only one candidate. The issue is that the boundary changes are slightly against them and slightly pro SDLP. But Alliance have to do nearly as badly as the 2003 Assembly election (when they had 3.7% of the overall NI vote) to lose in Strangford. Most commentators expect them to do sizeably better than that in which case Strangford becomes safe and the final seat is more likely a DUP-SDLP contest with (my prediction) the latter making a rare gain.

    East Belfast is entirely different. They need to strike an imaginary boundary along the Knock dual carriageway and run Judith 1 to the East and Chris 1 to the West. Do this and they can get two seats off a total vote in the low 20s – which is only asking a couple of per cent up on Naomi’s performance in 2007.

  • Sean Og

    I think he/she was refering to DUP vote management in Strangford.

    People like backing winners. The SDLP had no hope of a seat in Strangford and didn’t even bother running for years.

    Nationalists in the southern part of the peninsula voted Alliance. Now that Joe “Hotspot” Boyle is in with a real chance watch them rally to him.

    All politics is local. Little to do with the overall NI vote in this case.

  • granni trixie

    Maybe my example of change was too cryptic. The change I meant was that parts of Castlereagh has such a mixture living side by side. Also, I find that usually DUP members do not value compromise,something with which Alliance is identified. So second pref. votes from DUP I take as a sign of change (bear in mind that most people identify Anna Lo the local MLA with down to earthness, commonsense etc.- something this man also valued). Yes, I am v. aware that people can tell you anything on the doorsteps – but on this occasion mainly by the way it was saId,I believed what was said.

    Re EB : I seriously doubt there is any significance in the numbering – I would say that in most places where there is more than one candidate they split the area up for canvassing and number on posters to give each an equal chance. Some toss a coin.

    Judith Cochrane is a local Alliance councillor who works for Naomi and must fancy her chances in EB. Chris Lyttle,in situ as an MLA. is not a loud personality (and may not be a Sluggger favourite) but I have seen him on the ground in action with community groups and he listens,gets on with people to help with isssues,increasing his votability. Also remember that some people vote for the individual candidate and some for the party.Alliance supporters are highly likely to vote for the two candidates. One change I do notice “on the doorsteps” is that success over the past year has laid to rest that old chestnut, “wasting your vote on Alliance because they wont get in”. Success breeds success.

    I also do not think that it is euphoria or “bad vote management” to try to get two people in in EB. Infact there are a few areas where I would have put up more candidates than local branches putg up. Having seen APNI through bad patches I consider that this is a time to take risks. Come to think of it many of our success over past year have come about through calculated risk taking.I include in this council level decisions on what to vote for etc. For example Tom Ekin and Belfast Alliance voting in the first SF Mayor. It attracted criticism at the time but it was productive in moving things on and I like to think that voters approved with hindsight in a consistent approach to change.(oops that word again).

  • jeep55..Im not quite sure what you are saying about East Belfast. Has the line” been drawn? You seem to be suggesting that it has not been drawn and should be as with a boundary there is a reasonable chance of two seats.
    And I concur.
    But how does that leave the position without vote management.
    Canvas teams (often friends and family) acting for one or other candidate will inevitably favour one candidate and cherry pick the most profitable areas. A recipe for discord. And unlikely to produce two seats.

  • jeep55

    FJH

    I haven’t noticed any line drawn yet and it worries me a little. Having said that, the comparative newness of the two candidates might leave them fairly evenly balanced – something which did not happen when John Alderdice was the No1. Judith is a well respected Dundonald East councillor and she will tend to get the new E Belfast vote – but she will also get some from her Bloomfield hinterland and she will get some of all important female vote – notably she and Dawn Purvis are the only possibilities for female MLAs from EB. Chris is a new MLA and has something of a head start – but maybe not much.

  • I think Granni Trixie just about gets it right. Inevitable but minimal spin.
    But I think her main point is that Alliance have been a little too defensive in candidate selection. To progress they need a “second seat” or break new ground.
    I would certainly have selected a second runner in Lagan Valley and South Antrim.
    Nothing ventured….Nothing gained. But it can backfire. As Brian Lenihan discovered. And no doubt sitting MLAs in any party have an input. It is after all a job. Elections affect peoples lives/careers and we need to be aware of it.

    But can I take issue with Granni Trixie of Chris Lyttle not being a “Slugger favourite”.
    On my own part I calls it like I sees it. I dont know the fella. Nor do I know Muir, Heading (met him once), McGrellis or Bower. My only connexion to Ms Curran is that I once visited Anna Los office and talked to someone (with hindsight that might have been Ms Curran) so I dont think Im being vitriolic about Mr Lyttle.
    I said he is a poor performer (Granni Trixie says hes not a loud personality). I say (and I cant know) that he might be great “on the ground” (Granni Trixie says that he is).
    So what I said is hardly unblanced.

  • I think the Alliance Party candidates are well balanced in terms of vote drawing potential. Lyttle has the MLA label, Cochrane has perhaps the “Naomi” factor.
    There is actually a third woman candidate. Magdalena Wolska. It would be foolish to write off her transfers. Most will go to the Green Party (and I did some research on him and he is interesting) but those SDLP transfers that go to AP will be for Cochrane.

  • quality

    Sean Og is right, I (he) was talking about DUP vote management in Strangford.

    jeep55 – re: the imaginary boundary. It would have been so much easier if they worked like other parties and just did numbers one and two.

    I wish Alliance success, but I think its a big ask to increase Naomi Long’s previous vote (built up after years of profile-building), especially given a resurgent DUP in the area (with a very interesting choice in Sammy Douglas, who has the *slight* possibility of getting the Short Strand’s second preferences), Brian Ervine, and Dawn Purvis all presenting stiff competition.

  • granni trixie

    Laura McNamee who took over as Councillor in Victoria ward from Naomi is another likely hopeful.

    BTW, Keith McGreillis is certainly a winner – he won 2K (or even possibly 4K, the story grows by the week) through having a bet on Naomi to win last year.

  • Granni Trixie…..
    1 you cant just keep casually mentioning Alliance people in the knowledge that I will promote them every time I mention Muir, Heading, McGrellis etc.
    McGrellis a winner? In Foyle?
    But winning £2,000 or £4,000 is brilliant (did I mention Dr De……oops I did) but isnt that amount the same amount that a regualr Alliance commenter on Slugger O’Toole won?

  • Comrade Stalin

    fjh,

    I’m struggling to see where the objectivity is. You list four candidates (and you’ve been listing the same three or four basically for the past year or so), some of whom are basically paper candidates who have stood for election once or twice and have almost no public profile, and you say you admire them. Don’t get me wrong, I like the four of them. On the other hand, you constantly barrage Chris Lyttle, a person who campaigns tirelessly for his constituents and in whom the party had sufficient faith to select for one of their strongest seats, on the basis of one of his speeches you happened to catch on TV one day where he didn’t speak very well.

    Your contributions here make it sound like you take things very seriously, yet it is very clear that you either lionize or write off party candidates on the basis of a whim. Very hard to take any of your other opinions seriously, if the above examples are representative of how you approach things.

    Just in case you’re wondering, I am not Keith McGrellis. I’m from Belfast, he’s from Derry. I hold no position within the party. I did do very nicely out of Naomi’s victory though (several other Alliancers did as well – proceeds being returned substantially to the party in most cases), uncouth as it might be to say it.

  • RyanAdams

    I notice a pattern in the areas where alliance has targeted two seats – All have 2 UUP seats (well in 2007), with the exception of East Belfast.

    Also think Alliance are at serious risk in Strangford, its lost virtually all of Castlereagh which was there in 2007, in exchange for areas of Down where they are barely known. Basically 3 safe DUP, 1 safe UUP but DUP 4 v UUP 2 v SDLP v Alliance for last two seats.

    Also in East Antrim, with a massive battle between all five major parties for the last two seats, it could backfire on Alliance badly, especially as Neeson is not standing this time. Similar to Strangford, DUP 3 and UUP 1 very safe, but besides them big five going head to head for two seats.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Also in East Antrim, with a massive battle between all five major parties for the last two seats, it could backfire on Alliance badly, especially as Neeson is not standing this time.

    Well it might seem that way, if you’re the sort of person who feels it appropriate to wilfully ignore the fact that the SDLP and UUP aren’t equipped, staffed or organized to conduct any kind of “battle”, massive or otherwise. The UUP in particular are in serious trouble and you’ll note that they are in the same position with one of their MLAs standing down.

    Right now I’d say 3DUP, 1UUP, 1All with one seat going on a knife edge to either SF, DUP or Alliance.

  • Comrade Stalin,
    I dont think I actually lionize the Alliance candidates/people to whom I often make reference. Like I said Ive only ever met one, perhaps two. I heard Mr Muir speak at the Alliance Conference. He got a lot of praise for it (I actually had a reservation but tended to want others to be right). In retrospect I should probably have been more critical of that single moment. I gave him a bye ball basically because I saw it as a glitch. He had banked enough evidence the other way.
    and basically if any of the others had been standing beside me in the Dunadry Id hardly have known. Maybe you did.
    Nor am I “constantly barraging” Chris Lyttle. On the contrary I have said he isa poor performer. A few months ago even his greatest supporters on here would have hardly disagreed. I think one Alliance supporter here said something along the lines of “he is new, he will get better” and I have openly stated that hes maybe better “on the ground” and again if I had taken some kinda whim to be unpleasant to him, I would have hardly qualified what Ive said.
    As you have stated above “that day he didnt speak very well”. Some might consider that to be an understatement.
    I think all of the people I “lionise” stood in the Westminster Election and Im a rather avid reader of local newspapers and formed my very positive opinions about them at and around that time.
    At the suggestion of Granni Trixie I even added her nomination of Cathy Curran on the basis that Granni Trixie usually knows what shes talking about and I have no evidence to the contrary.
    But I dont actually see how making statements agreeing with me …as you are doing…..is evidence that Im singling him out on a whim.
    Other MLAs seem to get a greater “barrage of abuse” than Chris Lyttle.
    How on earth does saying hes a poor performer AND happily accepting assertions that hes a brilliant constituency person add up to a barrage of abuse.

    You are under no obligation to take my opinions seriuosly. Nor is anyone else.
    Nor am I under an obligation to take what you say seriously.

  • Oh Comrade Stalin……like Ive said under no obligation to take what you say seriously ….East Antrim…sheesh.

  • Sean Og

    The spin on East Antrim is getting out of control!

  • RyanAdams

    “Well it might seem that way, if you’re the sort of person who feels it appropriate to wilfully ignore the fact that the SDLP and UUP aren’t equipped, staffed or organized to conduct any kind of “battle”, massive or otherwise. The UUP in particular are in serious trouble and you’ll note that they are in the same position with one of their MLAs standing down.”

    Equipment, staff and organisation don’t come into it. Its how the numbers add up on the day that counts. SDLP and UUP have the benefit of liberal tranfers coming in from the centre ground, in fact it happened in 2003 in Lagan Valley when SDLP lagged SF on first preferences by 100 votes, and at the elimination point SDLP were 250 votes ahead of SF and went on to win the seat.

    Alliance stand no chance of a second seat whatsoever, with 11.8% of the vote in 2010 with the absence of Neeson and boundary changes going against them. Remember West Tyrone and the SDLP 4 years ago … The whole boat could capsize here for Alliance.

  • jeep55

    RyanAdams (my daughter is a fan of his!)

    Just to amend some facts about East Antrim. Alliance got 11.1% in 2010 with new boundaries already in place. But I personally know of some Alliance voters who thought UCUNF had a better chance to oust the DUP and so voted that way. That is what happens in Westminster first-past-the post elections. In the last Assembly election in 2007 they got 15.8% of the vote under old boundaries – predicted to fall to 15.0% under new. They are expected to do better than 2007 so forgive me if I conclude that a seat in East Antrim is as safe as houses. As for the second seat – to do this they must absolutely balance the vote and both stay ahead of the SDLP runner. This could happen on little more than 18% evenly split so it is worth the risk. But suppose they only take the one seat and that falls as expected to Dickson. Geraldine Mulvenna will have been sufficiently in the eye of the electorate to make absolutely safe her Coast Road council seat.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Equipment, staff and organisation don’t come into it

    Ah yes, of course they don’t. So which are you, UUP or SDLP ?

    . Its how the numbers add up on the day that counts.

    It’s probably appropriate at this point that I introduce you to a concept you may be unfamiliar with, called “campaigning”. This is where candidates and parties use a variety of techniques to try to maximise the chance of “how the numbers add up on the day” falling in their favour. Of course, good politicans are always campaigning.

    SDLP and UUP have the benefit of liberal tranfers coming in from the centre ground,

    I’m not at all convinced about this, certainly not in the case of the UUP which is in a downward spiral and already down a well-known name. The SDLP not in such a bad way, but nonetheless is flagging.

    in fact it happened in 2003 in Lagan Valley when SDLP lagged SF on first preferences by 100 votes, and at the elimination point SDLP were 250 votes ahead of SF and went on to win the seat.

    That happened to David Ford as well, in 2007 I think it was. But it didn’t happen due to some mystical alignment of the planets as you seem to think. It happened because the party campaigned hard and had a message which attracted votes and transfers.

    And the fact that this can happen isn’t faintly surprising to those of us who are familiar with how PR-STV works.

    Alliance stand no chance of a second seat whatsoever, with 11.8% of the vote in 2010 with the absence of Neeson and boundary changes going against them.

    That’s a forceful prediction to make on the back of a Westminster result, and which doesn’t account for the headwind the party will have in the absence of credible UUP or SDLP challengers for moderate votes.

    Remember West Tyrone and the SDLP 4 years ago … The whole boat could capsize here for Alliance.

    So you reckon that Alliance’s progress in elections over the past few years is going to reverse ? Why’s that ?

  • RyanAdams

    “Ah yes, of course they don’t. So which are you, UUP or SDLP ?”

    ->DUP actually.

    “It’s probably appropriate at this point that I introduce you to a concept you may be unfamiliar with, called “campaigning”. This is where candidates and parties use a variety of techniques to try to maximise the chance of “how the numbers add up on the day” falling in their favour. Of course, good politicans are always campaigning.”

    -> Good luck with that, the Socialist party seem to be campaigning harder than anyonelse in S. Belfast, But we all know their screwed.

    SDLP and UUP have the benefit of liberal tranfers coming in from the centre ground,

    I’m not at all convinced about this, certainly not in the case of the UUP which is in a downward spiral and already down a well-known name. The SDLP not in such a bad way, but nonetheless is flagging.

    -> Provide me with a relevant example of were DUP/SF candidates took more transfers from centre ground candidates than SDLP/UUP candidates in 2007 and i’ll be more than happy to concede that one to you, but im telling you 95% of the time thats the way it goes.

    in fact it happened in 2003 in Lagan Valley when SDLP lagged SF on first preferences by 100 votes, and at the elimination point SDLP were 250 votes ahead of SF and went on to win the seat.

    That happened to David Ford as well, in 2007 I think it was. But it didn’t happen due to some mystical alignment of the planets as you seem to think. It happened because the party campaigned hard and had a message which attracted votes and transfers.

    -> 2003 actually, and thats dismissed because Alliance are a centre ground party, not liberal unionist/nationalist.

    And the fact that this can happen isn’t faintly surprising to those of us who are familiar with how PR-STV works.

    Alliance stand no chance of a second seat whatsoever, with 11.8% of the vote in 2010 with the absence of Neeson and boundary changes going against them.

    That’s a forceful prediction to make on the back of a Westminster result, and which doesn’t account for the headwind the party will have in the absence of credible UUP or SDLP challengers for moderate votes.

    -> Its a prediction none the less, and a fairly likely one. Alliance deselected their popular candidate, there in the same boat as UUP/SDLP.

    Remember West Tyrone and the SDLP 4 years ago … The whole boat could capsize here for Alliance.

    So you reckon that Alliance’s progress in elections over the past few years is going to reverse ? Why’s that ?

    -> In relation to East Antrim, Its probably very unlikely but as was West Tyrone 2007. Apologies if that was implied as NI wide. Its also more in relation to electoral mathematics than progress in general also.

    BOTTOM LINE 2 SEATS IS A BRIDGE TO FAR FOR ALLIANCE HERE.

  • Comrade Stalin

    ->DUP actually.

    I don’t believe you. I have met several DUP members, candidates, and a couple of their MPs, and none of them would ever dare to claim that the outcome of an election cannot be influenced by campaigning, as you have just done with your Socialist Party example.

    -> Good luck with that, the Socialist party seem to be campaigning harder than anyonelse in S. Belfast, But we all know their screwed.

    I am not claiming that those who campaign automatically win elections. I am saying that those who have won elections have done so by campaigning. As I said above, I can’t accept that you’re a DUP member if you need to be persuaded of this fact.

    -> Provide me with a relevant example of were DUP/SF candidates took more transfers from centre ground candidates than SDLP/UUP candidates in 2007

    Nope, because I haven’t made that contention. I am making the contention that as of now (2011 not 2007) SF and the DUP are substantially less transfer repellant from the centre than they were four years ago.

    It’s not a case of believing me, look at what the DUP have been doing. Robinson has spent most of the last year reaching out to moderates and eschewing the traditionally uncompromising lines and reaching out across the lines.

    I expect you’ll see more transfers between DUP and SF as well, bypassing the centre.

    and i’ll be more than happy to concede that one to you, but im telling you 95% of the time thats the way it goes.

    I am not arguing with what happened in the past. I am pointing out what I believe is likely to happen in the future.

    I don’t regard the UUP as “centre ground”, they are the same as the DUP except they are uneffective and incompetent, and I think most people with an eye on things will see things in the same way. I did ask why you regard the UUP as centre ground, and I note that you carefully omitted to reply to this.

    -> Its a prediction none the less, and a fairly likely one. Alliance deselected their popular candidate, there in the same boat as UUP/SDLP.

    I wouldn’t call a second Alliance seat “likely”. I have called it “possible”. I don’t regard the party as in the same boat as the UUP/SDLP.

    -> In relation to East Antrim, Its probably very unlikely but as was West Tyrone 2007. Apologies if that was implied as NI wide. Its also more in relation to electoral mathematics than progress in general also.

    If your conclusions/electoral mathematics are all based on 2007 then why are you even arguing that the outcome of the election may change the seat distribution at all in the first place ?