With a handful of potential candidates already rejected, Nigel Lutton’s name came very late to the unionist party leaders and constituency associations.
Martin McGuinness indicated that he would be standing down as MP for Mid Ulster on 11 June 2012, giving plenty of time for candidate selection processes within parties and behind-the-scenes conversations about unity candidates.
Instead, a day or so before the selection meetings – and a week before the deadline to hand in nomination papers to EONI –
an agreed candidate finally emerged who was acceptable to DUP, UUP and TUV. a unity
The (US) Republican Party learned a lesson about accelerated candidate selection and suitability through the choice of Sarah Palin as running mate for John McCain. Nigel Lutton can’t choose his relations, and this morning’s Belfast Telegraph story (page 17) about his uncle Joey (who belonged to the UVF and was jailed for the 1976 murder of Frederick McLoughlin) will likely not harm his vote. But his shyness of the media does dog his campaign.
If unionist parties had been serious about challenging Sinn Fein’s hold on the seat, they had plenty of time in the long nights over the summer for a sustained period of door-knocking, leafleting and campaigning. [Feel free to correct me if there is evidence that Mid Ulster constituents were consistently bombarded with political activity and electoral motivation since June.]
Instead, they threw away the slim chance they had of convincing voters to go out of their way to turn up at a polling station next Thursday to make a difference to the result.
(If you haven’t seen Nigel Lutton, the News Letter caught him on video for six minutes while he was in Johnston Press’ Craigavon office doing his online webchat.)
If only we made plans for Nigel We’re only making
no future in a British his Parliament steel
We’re only making plans for Nigel
candidacy is as good as whole future over sealed
Nigel is not outspoken
He likes to speak
And loves to be spoken to
But not to the media about his work Nigel is happy in
Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about cinema and theatre over at Alan in Belfast. A freelancer who writes about, reports from, live-tweets and live-streams civic, academic and political events and conferences. He delivers social media training/coaching; produces podcasts and radio programmes; is a FactCheckNI director; a member of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland; and a member of the Corrymeela Community.