Pushing at boundaries

Great to see some politicos working outside comfort zones in their chase for votes.

In the last day we’ve had Niall Ó Donnghaile out in Castlereagh helping his SF colleagues hunt those final ticks, Conall and the SDLP trying their luck in Belvoir and Mark Finlay and the UUP giving the Markets and Lower Ormeau a punt.

So who else has been working an area not know for easy votes?

(I’m still waiting 4 years for the APNI to canvass Crumlin, nevermind a Unionist)

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  • Chris Donnelly

    Brings back memories eh Mark?

    The days and nights meandering through Moira, Hillsborough, Lisburn and rural hinterlands around Lagan Valley brought a particular sense of anticipation not matched by the more traditional canvass of a heartland area.

    I’m with you on the Crumlin scene- apart from Burns and Sinn Fein, not a soul has been to the doors in my development in any of the elections in the past five years.

    Personally, I would’ve thought Alliance at least would have seen merit in putting in a concerted effort, not least because I think their council candidate could be in danger of losing out to the SDLP’s number two.

  • Mark McGregor

    Chris,

    I’ve a lot of respect for anyone willing to present their message where it may not be well received. These days that includes shinners coming to my door 😉

    btw: those pointless LV journeys into areas where anyone with a Catholic sounding name mostly ended up turning out a screw or cop did come to mind.

  • Some well publicised and disgusting exceotions of course but I think the most hopeful sign in the Election is that candidates are moving out of their comfort zones. Certainly Ive seen and heard examples but unfair to mention them perhaps as necessarily they relate to those parties with whom I empathise….and there are Im sure other examples.
    Its a sign of Decency. Both of the canvassers to respect the Electorate and indeed of the Electorate to respect those who visit their neighbourhood or knock the door. No point in having “cead míle fáilte” in the porch if I dont respect its meaning.
    Certainly people WILL get hostile receptions (just as likely in their own neighbourhoods than different ones) and for every “F*** off” there is several reminders of the decency that is quite different from the message the dissidents give our communities.
    Seemingly one Party is a little niggled that their “entitlement” to being non sectarian and canvassing everywhere (or is it nowhere??) is being undermined by Parties breaking out of the comfort zone.
    Alas I am still waiting on my first Alliance canvasser (17 years here). Nor did anyone knock my door in previous house (same constituency 12 years). Nor in Fermanagh-South Tyrone (3 years) but in fairness Alliance did canvass me in West Belfast in the 1970s.
    Every night I look longingly at the driveway hoping for some sight of a person wearing an Alliance rosette.
    By the way last nights “Not the Royal Wedding BBQ” went well. My sister-in-law in Crumlin HAD heard of Alan Lawther (but it took some prompting) but had not heard of Mark McGregor. Sorry.
    And I did manage to explain my theory of not giving AP a preference and it got thru.

  • separatesix

    Niall O’Donnghaile stood in North Down last time didn’t he? now East Belfast. What unwinnable seat are SF going to stick him in next.

  • Mark McGregor

    FJH,

    My election campaign is doomed to failure then? Did you suggest she gives me a preference?

  • separatesix

    I don’t think candidates should be canvassing where they’re not welcome!

  • Mark McGregor

    separatesix,

    No. He has been running in East Belfast/Pottinger since 2007. He’ll get the intended council seat this time.

  • separatesix

    I haven’t been canvassed once by any party this year!

  • Reader

    Mark McGregor: those pointless LV journeys into areas where anyone with a Catholic sounding name mostly ended up turning out a screw or cop did come to mind.
    So they may not have seemed pointless at the time; though it would have become clear after the ceasefire.
    separatesix: I don’t think candidates should be canvassing where they’re not welcome!
    Absolutely wrong. All of the parties need to start looking for votes – and platforms – where they never had them before. It might change the candidate’s perception, it might change the voter’s perception, and it might feed into broadening the party manifesto. Plus I’ll give a voting preference or two for nerve or effort, within reason.

  • separatesix

    Will his vote come from mainly from the Short Strand or whatever it’s called Mark?

  • JeanMeslier

    Had a discussion the other night with a canvasser for Davy Hyland who is standing in Newry town.
    He was emphasising the “independent” aspect of Davy’s persona.
    So I asked if Davy was indeed an “indepenent” then why were his 4 canvassers all members of éirígí?
    No answer was forthcoming, but I found myself standing alone with the “independent” candidates leaflet nestled on my now lonely doorstep

  • As far as I know Niall is a Press Officer at Stormont apologies if I am wrong) so already fairly influential without actually having MLA attached to his name. The Pottinger seat might be won by him.
    My sis in law will be looking out for anyone loudly proclaiming they are spoiling their vote and taking a very long time to do it. 😉

  • separatesix

    Sinn Fein sent me a personally adressed election leaflet, they’re just wasting their funds where they won’t be elected.

  • separatesix

    I can understand O’Donnghaile running for the council which he could very well be elected to, but can’t understand him running for the assembly I’d imagine the vast majority of voters in East Belfast would have absolutely no truck with O’Donnghaile or his views.

  • separatesix

    Don’t want to get of topic but who will win Purvis or Ervine?

  • Yeah well thats what Democracy is all about.
    Just over 1,000 people DID have truck with his views in 2007.
    And for example the vast majority of voters in South Down last year had no truck with Ivor McConnell (TUV) or his views.
    But 1,500 did have truck with his views.
    Which is equally ok….isnt it?

  • Mark,

    When you’re in the WP there’s quite a few places you canvass that aren’t easy for getting votes. Always amusing to see the leaflet you just delivered reappear in the middle of the street microseconds later in a scrunched up ball.

    I missed the really fun days though, like Fermanagh/South Tyrone in 1981.

  • separatesix

    I’m personally not TUV but leave Ivor McConnell alone!

  • separatesix

    Poor Ann Cooper has been branded a racist yet not one person has said a word against Niall Donnelly who’s party coined the phrase “armalite and ballot box” what blatant hypocracy. Even though I’m not TUV Harry Toan is the only one deserving of a number 1.

  • JeanMeslier

    Mickey Brady’s campaign manager tells me they were canvassing in the unionist heartland of Shandon Park. A former UDA leader comes out of his house walks up to his garden gate, takes Mickey’s hand in a firm handshake and thanks him for his help with some recent issue.

    Changed times, but good changed times.

  • separatesix

    I dispair that a lot of unionists have gone soft and let their guard down.

  • AGlassOfHine

    Mickey Brady’s campaign manager tells me they were canvassing in the unionist heartland of Shandon Park. A former UDA leader comes out of his house walks up to his garden gate, takes Mickey’s hand in a firm handshake and thanks him for his help with some recent issue.

    The recent issue being,so my sources tell me,the banishment of Gerry,to some far off,foreign land !!

  • separatesix

    Is that Mickey Brady former assembly member? I don’t understand the mentality and feel bitter against anyone from a protestant background who would speak to Sinn Fein or those who would have the nerve to use their absentee MP’s.

  • Obelisk

    I saw the SDLP out canvassing in West Tyrone last week if that counts.

  • 241934 john brennan

    I have been canvassed twice and visited once.An SDLP Assembly candidate and a local SDLP councillor canvassed me separately. Two unknown Sinn Fein men visited, complete with SF election leaflets, clipboard and pen, but adressed me by an incorrect name, then asked for directions to a named person on their list, and left without asking for my vote. As they were obviously not looking for a number 2 for their candidate, I will respect their wishes.

  • separatesix

    Keep hearing on twitter how UUP have been canvassing like crazy in my district yet I’ve not even been canvassed once by any party.

    [Try to keep to the subject – Mod]

  • Drumlins Rock

    Rite guys see if you can top this one, got on a Jet Ski last Tuesday and went down the Blackwater River to Canvas the sole resident of Coney Island, although he is actually in Upper Bann. I’m not sure he was impressed enough to vote for us though, but it was rather a nice day on the Lough, (apart from the flies).

  • separatesix

    He’s voting David Vance!

  • JeanMeslier

    “…Is that Mickey Brady former assembly member?..”

    Actually sixxy
    They’re all former assembly members. All 108 of them.
    But you might be seeing Mr. Brady back in an teacht mór post May 6th.

  • Comrade Stalin

    As far as I know Niall is a Press Officer at Stormont apologies if I am wrong) so already fairly influential without actually having MLA attached to his name.

    Oh dearie me.

  • Backbencher

    In all my years of voting I can’t recall any of the Nationalist parties ever calling at my home looking for my vote, which is surprising as I live in a majority Nationalist area. Do parties use the electoral register to target homes of those most likely to be of a similar persuasion?
    This time round I’ve had the UUP and TUV.

  • JeanMeslier

    “..This time round I’ve had the UUP and TUV..”
    Backbencher, Was it as good for you with the double U’s and the Traddies as it was for 241934 john brennan “respecting” the 2 unknown Shinners at his (back) door?

  • To some extent we have to consider where we were and where we are.
    In the vast majority of cases theres nothing intimadatory about 2011 canvassing.
    Nobody in the Markets could possibly feel in any way “threatened” by the arrival of UUP canvassers. Good luck to them.
    Nor SDLP canvassers on Ravenhill Road.
    Or indeed Sinn Féin or DUP in an unusual setting.

    There is perhaps something “seemingly” threatening about people from the tribal minority being canvassed by people from the majority tribe.
    As we move thankfully from an exclusive society to an inclusive one …there are grey areas.
    In Larne for example perfectly decent and honourable DUP, UUP, TUV canvassers might wish to be inclusive and knock on a Catholic door. Or they might for the highest motives think that the house would feel slightly ill at ease with it. And they dont wish to offend.
    Likewise in Coalisland, for example, perfectly well meaning decent folks from SDLP or SF might want to appear inclusive and canvas a Protestant house but might hesitate to so for the best of reasons.
    I dont think we should be over-critical of that.
    Especially in the case of elderly folks.
    For myself, I live in an area where any canvasser could knock my door. And walk down the single street with ease.
    Its probably the case for most reading this.

    To some extent it is “easier” for UUP, DUP, TUV to knock on a door in a strange place. Or for SDLP, SF to do the same.

  • Chris Donnelly

    I noticed that Sinn Fein’s Patricia Magennis led a team of canvassers into Tonagh in South Lisburn. Certainly new territory for canvassing for republicans, though I know from experience that the boxes always showed a decent Sinn Fein vote in the area.

  • I actually don’t see a big issue with parties not canvassing in areas where they have no support. This isn’t an issue unique to Northern Ireland, it happens everywhere.

    Parties and candidates have limited resources and so they are deployed where it is most likely to bring a return.

  • Nordie Northsider

    While he was with SF Billy Leonard always canvassed Protestant estates around Coleraine and Portrush, places such as Glenmanus where there was zero chance of a vote. That takes physical as well as moral courage.

  • separatesix

    “Moral courage” what rubbish! if a candidate from an avowedly republican party is canvassing where they have zero chance of being elected, their actions could be viewed as trying to antagonize and intimidate the local community, what other purpose would there be. I felt Billy Leonard was wrong to do that. If he had have received a hostile reception he could have used it to his advantage to play the “victim card”.

  • Nordie Northsider

    You must have thought long and hard about the word ‘separate’ in your moniker. Let’s all stay in our trenches and never the twain shall meet.

  • andnowwhat

    I have to agree with SimpsoninBangor on this. Parties in Britain campaign and stand in areas where the have zero chance of a seat all the time. I know times are different now. Maybe as recently, such things would have not been just unusual but also possibly dangerous.

    It’s interesting IMHO to compare the story of hope on this blog to the message re. the UUP poster on another blog here.

    Re canvassers, I haven’t seen one never mind had one call (I’m in Newtownabbey).

  • Mr Crumlin

    Crumlin – loads of posters from just about every party but alas only Thomas Burns has bothered to have a word. Expected to see SF but the closest I came was this morning after mass – had a SF sample ballot paper on the car. Still a few days to go!

    Ive been in Crumlin over 12 years – never seen the ‘lesser spotted alliance canvasser’ – I used to give them a 2nd or 3rd but stopped that a few elections ago when I realised they couldn’t care less. I did have Willie McCrea canvassing once but that was a while ago.

  • JeanMeslier

    Newry SF female council candidates, Valerie Harte and Marian O’Reilly, have just completed the 3rd canvass of their respective areas of the city.
    The populace of Derrybeg, Meadow, Ballybot, Chinatown and Barcroft will not be neglected from hearing the SF message whilst these ladies are about!!!

  • fordprefect

    Fitz,
    I remember a right few years back canvassing for SF on the Ravenhill Road. I was talking to a girl when her hubbie phoned her, and he went apeshit when she told him where she was. I had to get on the phone with him to tell him that we were alright, we were across the road from St. Augustines (now St. Josephs) when he phoned and I explained to him that there were a right few nationalists that lived on that part of the Raven.
    Separatesix,
    How could Billy Leonard be intimidating and antagonizing the local community? He must have had balls to go into Unionist areas (being an ex-RUC man that joined SF), imo, I think he would have been more worried about being intimidated.

  • andnowwhat

    I live in Merville Garden Village which is listed as a conservation area. All parties have respected that in the past but the DUP have stuck a few of those horrible day-glow orange posters up this time.

  • separatesix

    Fordperfect you’ve missed my point! why was Leonard canvassing somewhere his party was weak? whatever happened to Leonard has he joined Alliance or the UUP now?

  • separatesix

    PSF supporters on the Ravenhill Road! is nothing sacred anymore?

  • fordprefect

    Separatesix,
    LOL@ the Ravenhill Road comment. What is wrong with people with a different political view going into areas where they wouldn’t normally have gone? Maybe the original person/party they voted for did nothing for them, did you never think of that scenario?

  • fordprefect

    Sepatatesix
    As far as I know, he was de-selected by SF, don’t think he’s standing at all.

  • Wabbits

    In Derry it makes sense for parties to canvass where it might be perceived that they have little support. Particularly in the case of the SDLP candidates. Many SDLP candidates are respected across the traditional “divide” and as it’s a PR election transfers will be significant in the end up. So votes should be asked for wherever they can be found. It’s called democracy and this is a good example of how it works well.

  • orly

    Cant remember the last time we had anyone round our way in North Down.

    Would be many years ago.

  • Drumlins Rock

    OK i’m going to canvas my local “republican” estate, anyone want to come for the company? please?

  • JH

    My father, an ardent SDLP voter, was always surprised when the local UUP candidate canvassed our house. A Catholic family in a largely Protestant area, the effort allowed the candidate to show his personable side and dispel the negative associations of the party. I don’t know if it ever got him a transfer but it didn’t hurt him.

  • Ive pushed the boundaries myself today.
    Instead of moping around, pining for my Alliance candidate to call, I printed out a non-election address explaining why I couldnt vote for Alliance.
    And we drove six miles over to his house and delivered it.
    Unfortunately he wasnt in but the lady of the house was quite pleasant.
    Im putting her down as a “dont know”.

  • Aontachtach

    Times definately have changed. It is good to see the SDLP posters in and around Bangor and Newtownards being respected. Can’t see that happening if they were SF posters.
    It is also good to see the SDLP standing in the Ards council elections in Newtownards Central and East. While I will voting Unionist in the Stormont election my wife and I are going to vote for the SLDP candidate at the council election. Changed times indeed.

  • RyanAdams

    In my area, I wouldn’t expect to be canvassed door to door as the DEA I live in (Downshire) is a vast rural area, but some candidates haven’t even bothered to send out election litreature – Fair play to the DUP who have sent me out council and assembly material, but asides that all I’ve got is Council stuff off UUP, Alliance, SDLP and TUV.

    I’m very suprised at the lack of nationalist canvassing in my immeadiate area, I live in a ward which has been prone to a lot of nationalist overspill from near by Carryduff, as people climb further up the property ladder and move to larger homes in the country. – Given theres now more catholics on my road than protestants, in an output area which was 83:17 Protestant:catholic in 2001 (extremely higher than the rest of the DEA excluding Dromara). Census 2011 will indeed be interesting.

  • jeep55

    Aontachtach

    “While I will voting Unionist in the Stormont election my wife and I are going to vote for the SLDP candidate at the council election. Changed times indeed.”

    What’s wrong with the Alliance candidates then? Or have you fallen for the fjh rant!?

    Good luck to the SDLP candidates in Ards East and Ards Town but they will not win a seat. Alliance should take a council seat in both areas.

  • A surprising number have fallen for my rant. The balance of probabiliity is that many more wont. Its not as if “Slugger O’Toole” is compulsory reading for voters. A surprising number of people dont see me as Sage.

    SDLP setting up in unfamiliar territory in Ards Council is of course good news for those who support normal democratic and non sectarian politics (like the Alliance Party used to support).
    Hardly a surprise if AP take a seat in Newtownards Town as Alan McDowell already holds a seat.
    And who knows Linda Cleland might make it inArds East She has a base of 11.0% plus from last time which gives her a decent chance and SDLP will be bringing new votes into the contest which will likely transfer to Ms Hopkins (Green) or Ms Cleland (Alliance).
    Indeed the whole point is that these are new votes but not unrelated to the Strangford and North Down Elections. The handful perhaps of SDLP voters will possibly vote for Joe Boyle or Liam Logan at Assembly level.

  • john

    No word on Nick Griffin canvassing in East Belfast on slugger? – could be considered new territory for his party. Anyone know how was he received on the streets?

  • Aontachtach

    Jeep/FJH

    Linda Cleland (Alliance) lost her seat eight years ago. I wasn’t impressed with her when she was on the council and believe that this is a backward step by Alliance. I will be giving Kieran McCarthy my second preference after Mike Nesbitt for Stormont as he is a hard worker and a decent spud. The Unionist cadidates standing for council in Ards East have been there for years and I personally have had enough of them. That is why I am voting SDLP in the council election. I am prepared to step out of the box on this ocassion and lend them my vote. While I disagree with them on many things ie United Ireland, education and 50:50 policing they have never supported murder. Rest assured SF will never be loaned a vote by me.

  • jeep55

    Aontachtach

    Sounds a very reasonable argument to me. 25 years ago (yesterday) I left Strangford (well Comber) for Belfast East so I still take an interest. FWIW my top 2 in the assembly election would be your two choices in reverse. I personally owe Mike Nesbitt a favour because he was willing to stand up and tell the truth about what had been going on in a case of unfair practice against a close friend of mine . It ultimately cost him his job at UTV. Not many people would put so much on the line.

  • Mark McGregor

    Happy to report that Alliance seem to have found I exist and two pieces of addressed literature arrived today (was it something I said?). Still no sign of a canvass from anyone other than SF.

    That’s a bad move from the SDLP, while no one is getting a vote at Stormont and Burns isn’t getting anything due to his MoD jaunt, there was an outside chance of their other council candidate getting a tick for work at St James – if they’d bothered to call and ask.

  • Still no sign of Alliance here either.
    I thought I was certain to get a wee knock on the door having contacted the local person on Monday.
    I even left my email addy and phone number.
    I am………….bereft.
    On the other hand I have been visited by Sinn Féin more often than the Postman.

  • Mark McGregor

    FJH,

    Being visited that often you are totally giving away you are in a target constituency – Upper Bann.

    I’ve it down as one of my SF gains.