The View held a debate in Fermanagh/South Tyrone last night and the SDLP candidate who is not quite so new to politics as first suspected and was naturally nervous did not have a good night. And, who could blame him? He is running in the most marginal seat in the UK and he is up against two political veterans in Michelle Gildernew and Tom Elliott.
Trying to get heard above the din is always going to be difficult but we should with all newcomers allow for some degree of nerves. It’s very easy to just dismiss someone because of a bad media performance. This is not John’s first election [elected to Fermanagh & Omagh Council for Erne North back in May 2014] and I am sure he has many more ahead of him, but the social media sphere should cut some slack to newer candidates. It takes real guts to walk into a seat like that and put up your hand. For that, John deserves real credit.
Here I have to give an honourable mention to Sinn Fein’s Phil Flanagan, who despite Coyle standing against his party colleague, stood up to the herd mentality;
At my first public debate, I was as white as a sheet. Normal to be nervous at first. If we don’t allow for nerves we won’t attract newcomers
— Phil Flanagan (@PhilFlanagan) April 2, 2015
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs