SDLP scraping home should ring loud alarm bells…

So the SDLP’s  Alasdair McDonnell keeps his seat in the toughest battle of his political life. Like the UUP however, despite some vital signs of life outside the city, Alban Maguinness and Alex Attwood look like they walking the Green Mile towards the next Assembly elections.

Even if he topped the polled in south Belfast that second Assembly seat in South Belfast is up for grabs with consolidation by the DUP and Alliance. One seat for the SDLP in the city does not look unlikely on this showing.

The drop in SF’s vote in relative terms will provide them with little comfort, nor will the relative rise in the performance in Alliance and Unionist parties.

A healthy performance in their heartlands of South Down and Foyle too is unlikely to hide the stark reality that the SDLP is looking like a party without a sustainable mission.

The sheer lack of communication (or competitive instincts) has brought them to a very difficult pass. Having achieved many of the aims it set itself you have wonder whether it has any other purpose than providing nationalists with a theoretical alternative to Sinn Fein.

Indeed it’s beginning to look very like the old Nationalist party it once energetically replaced at the turn of the 70s. Just getting rid of yet another leader won’t end their woes. The promised entry of FF in 2019 (just four years away now) ought to concentrate minds.

  • Gopher

    The one bright spot for the SDLP last night was Claire Hanna she probably would serve herself and the people of Northern Ireland better if she joined Alliance. It will be a shame if she goes down with the rest of them after last nights performance.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    The other thing to note here is that Sinn Féin seem to have faltered and even gone into reverse.

    In both North and South Belfast, Sinn Féin were widely expected to mount a significant challenge to the incumbents, especially in North Belfast with the sectarian aspect there. In each case they failed, showing results consistent with, or even poorer than, other recent elections in each constituency.

    I think this is a consequence of Sinn Féin focussing on the south and taking the electorate in NI for granted. I suspect some middle class SF voters are staying home or lending votes elsewhere due to frustration with progress on the Executive.

  • Gingray

    Mick this is the 3Rd or 4th time post election you have predicted the demise of the sdlp and from what the archives show the second time you have mentioned Fianna Fail coming to get them.

    It wasn’t awful, they got 3 seats, the general apathy within nationalism is not restricted to just the sdlp, and it’s worrying how many, including me, want Fianna Fail to come north just to shake things up.

  • chrisjones2

    YOu keep talking her up but there is an utter lack of evidence of substance

  • chrisjones2

    Looks like we have p[assed peak Sinn Fein. They are starting to show feet of clay as voters realise the reality – that they have no substance or real workable policies.

    Time for new faces – starting at the top who engineered this mess – and a renewed focus on the South where they still have the chance to con more voters until reality sets in. But they wont do that clear out because the cabal who control the whole operation behind the scenes are so wedded to old Army mates they wont let the politics happen

  • Zig70

    The SNP and Labour are an example of the difference a leader makes. Politically there isn’t a lot of daylight. I want the SDLP to do well, we deserve a moderate left. I’m sure there is a leader in the SDLP. Maybe even Margaret again with a bit more experience. FF won’t get any traction in the north unless they change the patronising tone about the conflict and then we’ll just have another useless nationalist party here. I do hope they do and give a balance to nationalist politics in the north.

  • Antain Mac Lochlainn

    I think some people in the SDLP might be thinking ‘Can we have another look at Mark Durkan please?’

  • barnshee

    Well she is a very articulate (and pretty) politican who comes across well Gets my vote.

  • Antain Mac Lochlainn

    I think that Fianna Fáil might add a few percentage points to the Nationalist totals but beyond that, I’m not sure. They won’t be arriving as all-conquering Celtic Tiger heroes and they will find it very hard to answer the question ‘Where have you been all our lives?’

  • Kevin Breslin

    We have three excellent leaders in Durkan, Ritchie and McDonnell … I think we need more.

    You need “leaders” outside the leadership.

  • Sharpie

    To me he is the best politician in Northern nationalism by far. He could if in the right place be a huge name in politics.

  • Kevin Breslin

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2014/05/30/after-the-election-the-sdlp/

    Don’t attack me for “playing the man” but let’s just take apart this fantastic piece of commentary after the SDLP?

    * Copy Sinn Féin and the TUV who’s vote has dropped as well?

    * Copy UKIP’s narrative? You must really be impressed by the stories of Henry Reilly and Joe Jordon.

    * Stop trying to fix other people’s problems (like erm voters?) .

    * Rapidly Aging party – Four young candidates in the West and the likes of Nicola Mallon, Eastwood and Mark H Durkan in reserve.

    Sinn Féin and the DUP’s negativity winning them votes (both lost a seat) and yet they both were relying on pact politics to save or even win seats .

    ———————————————————————————————–

    Mike, it’s political zeitgeisters like you which are why the likes of the British Labour Party bomb in elections in England. They detach themselves from the real voters and try to follow a “narrative” or a “mood”.

    No one ever said “I lost my job, give me a narrative politician!”.

    In this world Tory and Fine Gael get hammered by Green Party idealists and the Fabian Society Champagne Socialists.

    My advice is to the SDLP is quite simple go back to John Hume’s Europeanism, be everything that UKIP isn’t, just like the SNP and Plaid.

    The one “pact” they should do with Sinn Féin is an internationalist one, co-operation on getting a No vote in a referendum in the North of Ireland on the issue of leaving Europe (and it will be phrased as a No vote with the Tories), the way Sinn Féin are doing with political opponents in the South.

    Get together with Alliance, both Labour parties, all the Green Parties and the NI Labour one and Libdems, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, NI21, civic society and business, even those Unionists and Southerners who are pro-reform anti-withdrawl.

  • Robin Keogh

    I was a bit surprised at MOMs result in South Belfast, I didnt expect him to eat ino the SDLP vote so much. The Unionist pact has obviously worked to bring the Unionist vote out while on the Nationalist/ Republican side apathy sems to be the order of the the day.While the SDLP reject pacts I wonder is anybody in the party thinking that maybe it should be something to consider in the future? Is it possible that a Nationalist Pact to face Unionists pacts in the relevent constituencis might mobilise voters to come out? The turnout in FST and the leap in votes for Gildernew suggests that maybe this is what nationalist voters want. The antagonism between SF and the SDLP might be the very thing that is putting voters off.

  • Kevin Breslin

    When people play the swing game they have to remember that correlation does not mean causation.

    Ó Muiilleoir is getting some swing, but he’s also getting non-voters off the couch.

    O’Donnell has lost some vote for a few reasons, one overlooked might be the absence of Conal McDevitt within the constituency which is a big loss, no disrespect to Ferghal McKinney.

    However the people going to the couch from the SDLP, may not be the same ones going off the couch for Ó Muiilleoir. It may not simply be loyalities switching, but loyalties lost to apathy and loyalties gained from apathy.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Why should a left-winger like Hanna join the Lib Dems?

  • james

    I still think the SDLP offer the only credible future for nationalism in NI. Sinn Fein might thrive in the current anarchic mess (and they are certainly the most active in trying to make sure we never really get anywhere), but longer term they just cannot offer serious political leadership beyond sectarian politics. The sooner they recede back to skulking on the margins – where they seemed happier anyway – the sooner we can all get things together.

  • Gopher

    Its the first time Ive actually mentioned her

  • Gopher

    Well it depends how seriously she wants to improve life here. If she wants to stay with a catholic middle class party of pensioners stuck in 1969 with a fixation on the border above getting things actually done that poses at being more left wing wing than every other public purse socialist in Northern Ireland fair play to her. Though I would caution her potential ability will be dragged down to quite a low level.

    If she wants to challenge herself and improve things here she need look no further than the example Naomi and Bradshaw set this election. Presently Alliance would be her best home. But of course if left wing cred is more important than being dynamic thats an understandable though waste of talent

  • Gopher

    Alasdair can put Gerry Kelly and Jim Wells on his Christmas card list for above all their combined efforts saved his seat. It is noticable that the SDLP were down on votes again this election some 10,000 votes, they only have 99,806 left and they always poll better at Westminster than Assembly. I hope somebody from the SDLP could explain the point of running Alex and Alban in West and North Belfast Belfast? Gerry Carrol has only been at the game a couple of days. Does that not tell you guys something?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Why would a Galway woman living in Belfast give up interest in the border?

  • P Bradley

    Didn’t expect MOM to eat into the SDLP vote! Don’t take us for fools. MOM was the SF middle class poster boy, with his selfies and social media. He was supposed to be the game changer, but he wasn’t. Just a wannabe who was supposed to be smarter than the rest of us and the future. McDonnell is not a great candidate but he still bate MOM.

  • Gopher

    Because the constitutional question has was settled by the GFA and this election confirmed its unimportantance (yet again). Of course you would have to be interested in politics and not a monolithic bore. If she is happy being a Galway woman obsessing about something that aint going away in our lifetimes like I said she is setting herself a low bar. Alban, Alex and Alasdair were young men once. Such a shame really.

  • Robin Keogh

    Misquote me if you wish but at least dont judge me on your own standards. I said i did not expect MoM to eat into the SDLP vote ;so much’. Which clearly shows I expected him to eat into it to some degree. Most commentators had AmD doing better due to tactical voting and as I dont know the ground in SB I thought it to be reasonable expectation. Elsewhere I also stated that I was not excited by the Idea of the SDLP losing that seat to Unionism so I am betyond happy that they managed to hang on. I am equally happy that the SF vote there has grown so much. If you cannot be accurate about my comments please dont bother.

  • Robin Keogh

    The GFA was not a settlement it was an agreement, read up and learn the difference.

  • Gopher

    Settlememt or agreement its not changing in our lifetime

  • Robin Keogh

    hmmm they said that about Dublin involvement in affairs of the North

  • P Bradley

    “Indeed it’s beginning to look like the old Nationalist party it once energetically replaced at the turnoff the 70s”. care to explain Mick?

  • Jack Stone

    Couldn’t you also argue that the specter of the hung parliament combined with Sinn Fein abstentionism, a successful Unionist pact and a specter of direct rule over welfare reform (with the DUP/Kingmaker narrative) might have created a perfect storm against Sinn Fein in this election?

  • P Bradley

    Show me the misquote.

  • A vote share of 21% in the 2001 Westminster election in the north, 17.5% in 2005, 16.5% in 2010 and now 13.9% in 2015 illustrates the gloomy trend of the SDLP’s electoral fortunes in the 21st century.

    As was alluded to in the blog, it’s difficult to see the party other than being without a distinctive purpose. It portrays itself as progressive, and yet its abortion position and the Stormont marriage vote highlighted the party’s undercurrent of Catholic social conservatism.

    It’s apparently anti-austerity, yet it’s happy to associate itself with the austerity champions in the form of the southern Labour Party and Fianna Fáil, members of both parties (Eamon Gilmore and Brendan Smith) having helped canvass in recent weeks for Alasdair McDonnell in South Belfast.

    In light of Fianna Fáil’s 2019 entry into northern electoral politics, if southern Labour avoids a Liberal Democrat-like decimation of its TD’s, returning say a respectable 8-10 of them in the upcoming 2016 Dáil election, a future could be had for the SDLP by linking up with their supposed sister party, giving them at least some relevance in an all-Ireland political landscape.

  • Gopher

    I think that was all part of the agreement/settlement that aint changing in our lifetime, Of course there is always returning to armed struggle if your bored waiting. Or you could seize Kilwilkie Post Office on Easter 2016 to speed things up but the guys would really have to brush up on their idealism to make it convincing.

  • P Bradley

    You said ” I didn’t expect him to eat into the SDLP vote so much “,

  • Robin Keogh

    and when you quoted me initially you deliberately left out the ‘so much’part at the end, which was crucial to a proper understanding of what I meant.

  • P Bradley

    sorry for leaving out the ‘so much’ part at the end. Makes all the difference.

  • Robin Keogh

    apology accepted

  • Zeno

    I don’t think it matters what you call it Robin. The Nationalist vote has at best stalled and at worst declined. Is that 3 consecutive elections now where SF have dropped votes?

  • Robin Keogh

    And the agrrement at one time was assumed to be impossible. My point is nobody can credibly predict the future based on current events, if you think you can then i am afraid you are fooling yourself

  • Zeno

    Em …… were you not predicting a United Ireland a week or so ago? I seem to remember you saying something about it being only a matter of time or something?

  • Robin Keogh

    actaully the combined nationalist vote is up a smidgeon on
    last year both in % terms and numbers. However you are right in the sense that things have stalled. I only hope that the stalling might be followed by some growth in the near future.Only tweleve months to wait and a shed load of work to do.

  • Robin Keogh

    Nope, I predicted a majority in the assembly and westminister at some point in the future due to demographic changes. And yes, I do believe there will be a United Ireland but as I have pointed out probably a million times on this site already, I am in no hurry to see it

  • Gopher

    Are you sure those 70,000 immigrants and their children are going to vote for a United Ireland?

  • Zeno

    It would be a bit embarrassing if I find a post where you have predicted a United Ireland as being inevitable at some time?

  • Robin Keogh

    I dont see why, u suggested I said it one week ago?

  • Robin Keogh

    They only thing I am sure of is death and taxation

  • Zeno

    “My point is nobody can credibly predict the future based on current events, if you think you can then i am afraid you are fooling yourself ”

    Read your own thread Robin. You predict all sorts of things based on current events.

  • Gopher

    I can predict the future, the SDLP will head into the next election
    still obsessing about the border and their vote will go down.

  • Zeno

    Sinn Feins has gone down 3 elections in a row now unless I’m mistaken.

  • Robin Keogh

    And you might be right, or you might be wrong

  • Gopher

    I might be but I doubt it thats why I suggest that Hanna quits the SDLP for a more dynamic party that actually does politics.

  • Robin Keogh

    Yes their share has dropped from 25.5% to 24.5% since the last Westie election. Vote numbers have increased from 171,942 to 176232. A parties percentage share is dependent on overall turnout.

  • Robin Keogh

    Ya I think she should join SF

  • Robin Keogh

    I dont predict certainty, I predict probability

  • Zeno

    So if I produce a post where you made a prediction and didn’t mention probability where will that leave you?

  • Robin Keogh

    it will leave me as is, so long as i didnt mention certainty

  • Zig70

    I don’t think you can say there is one political monolog that is the future for nationalism. Certainly the Catholic influence has brought a oddly economic socialist but socially conservative mindset that is represented by the SDLP but a lot of nats are moving away from this. We need a political rainbow and to put the nationalism on a non-political footing. What is sure is that the SDLP under McDonnell are making a hames of it.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think there are many issues relating to the border that do impact a lot of the politics we have here, the whole Strand Two section of the Good Friday Agreement was set out to deal with it. Alliance doesn’t have border seats so often is seen not to have a border interest, even less than the unionists.

    In terms of the “border question” well you can judge how the people think about that by who they voted for and why they voted for them.

    There’s 3 generations of the Hanna family in the SDLP, this is a person who grew up with the SDLP and the fact that she chooses politics and chooses to remain in the party highlights the passion for politics she gets from the party.

    In comparison to Hendrons who defected from the SDLP to Alliance, she seems to love this party more. She’s not wasted in the SDLP, she’s fought for the SDLP and against Alliance’s best options in Balmoral.

  • Zig70

    I was surprised how good Margaret Ritchie after the leadership ended and the pressure was off but Mark does stand out.

  • Kevin Breslin

    You speak of dynamic politics then you say everything is settled … Can’t do both in my opinion.

  • BetsyGray

    I disagree..It’s a bit more Machiavellian than that…….do you really think the strategy was to sweep AL away and take the seat for the Shinners…?..A chance leader decapitation morelike and it nearly happened. Al got 9650 votes, some 40 votes shy than he got in 1997…nearly twenty years ago….!.. Al got the lowest percentage of vote ever across the UK to win the seat in 2015…he won it by 906 votes……(vote dropped by -16.5%)

    MO’M was only in the game the last six months from go – for gods-sake and incumbent Alastair nearly loses the seat.!…politics is a blood sport indeed..read the runes…!…the game has changed. But a wins a win……enjoy it while it lasts…:-)

  • puffen

    As a Unionist, I watched her last night, for the first time, If you have not heard of her, she is called Claire Hanna, and she has the X factor

  • james

    Fair do’s.

  • Gopher

    Yes, SF stood in South Belfast which they decided not to do in 2010 so in real terms their vote stayed the same as they usually poll around 4-5 thousand there. At least they did not lose 10,000 votes like the SDLP. Which I suppose is harsh because 5 thousand were only borrowed

  • Gopher

    The Border is settled how you want to live North of it is not . The people interested in the SDLPs vision are getting less while a Party like Alliance put on 20,000 votes. Dynamic one understands is not a word you would use in conjuction with the SDLP.

  • Kevin Breslin

    People define their own borders, and the fact that Alliance doesn’t make much inroads around South Down or East Londonderry indicates that this dynamicism that you talk about, this settled border that Alliance believes in ends within the sphere of the Belfast-Lisburn-North Down-Newtonabbey conurbation hinterland. Fermanagh, Tyrone, Derry-Londonderry whatever you want to call it and a lot of Southern Armagh and Down may as well be in a foreign country to them, may as well be the Republic of Ireland to them, the “real dynamic” Northern Ireland is very much centralised to the richest most urbanised most Easternly parts of Northern Ireland where the Alliance MLAs are concentrated. If you are Rural, Western or poor, even some of the Alliance members on their fringes including Trevor Lunn and Stuart Dickson you don’t process the dynamic vision that the Alliance Party stand for.

    If this is the dynamics of a a Shared Future where a party entrenches the East-West division, you can see why the vast majority of the people in the West generally don’t want anything to do with the Alliance Party. There’s no sharing with either our neighbours in the Republic or to some extent with Great Britain in this either.

  • Kevin Breslin

    No one who looks at their own history should no more about losing ground than Alliance, they had plenty of council seats in the West of the Bann throughout the seventies they’ve been significantly reduced now by apathy in the west and the blow in of candidates who generally don’t even live there, while the SDLP have a councillor in every supercouncil now, whatever the faults on the SDLP in the North West of Belfast they are still well ahead of the Alliance Party here.

  • Granni Trixie

    I disagree. – there is ample evidence from her Tv and radio performances where she shows herself to be articulate, informed and positive. Any party would be fortunate to have her on board.

  • Granni Trixie

    Unless you know something I don’t “the Hendron’s” did not defect to Alliance Infact they were founding member of the New Ulster Movement (1969) which within months went on to found APNI.
    I suspect you are thinking of Joe Hendron, a past SDLP representative in WB where he was a doctor. Maire and Jim Hendron Are past Alliance councillors at BCC.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Thought Joe and Jim were related and were connected to the parties, fairly sure Maire was at one stage in the SDLP but I might be wrong and was sure Jim never was.
    My comment was on blood ties and people’s ability not to be bound by them. Claire is no more bound by her parent’s connection to the party than Jim is to Dr Joe’s.

    I should note that the New Ulster Movement was not the sole property of the Alliance Party

  • chrisjones2

    In politics you tend to make your own luck – or your opponents do it for you.

    SF is looking tired and unfocused.

    Gerrys Sectarianfest in North Belfast and the Doods letters play to two camps – those who see SF as sectarian and those who see them as political chancers willing to pull any (dirty) trick

    Look around. Its all the same old faces.

    McDonnell looks even worse. At Westminster he’s almost an abstentionist.From next year he’s banned form double jobbing.His image is bumbling and unfocused – but still he beat the Shinners by a mile. Dodds is secure in North Belfast and even Margaret Ritchie gave them no quarter in DOwn.

    Peak SF has come and gone. Stopping murdering people isnt enough any more. Aside from the utterly workshy and benefit slaves, people are looking around at their areas and start to ask ‘what the hell are they doing’.

    They have been at Stormont for 8 years now and little has changed in people’s lives. It just not good enough and the Tory Cuts Mantra Is just another excuse for lack of ideas and lack of ability.People have to soon ask ‘are they really any good at this poltics game’? Can they deliver?

    Jury is out ….and its not a Diplock Court this time so they can hardly complain

  • chrisjones2

    Yeah there are a couple of posters oin here who keep saying that. Its beginning to sound desperate

  • chrisjones2

    But she is left wing and therefore shows serious lack of judgment in supporting an ideology that has utterly failed people

  • Granni Trixie

    To expand:The seminal NUM group did indeed consist of people aligned to Labour,Ni Liberals,Unionist, Methodism,Quakers and no ‘political’ leanings whatsoever. Some of the latter two were totally against the move to formal politics, indeed this was a source of tension in the group. When APNI formed the remaining NUM group rewrote its constitution to clarify its non political status.

    It is true to say however that the seminal group which formed APNI was virtually 100 per cent NUM (according to Oliver and Jim Hendrons accounts).

    I believe that the NUM is more significant than as presently – a footnote in the history of the Troubles.

    (Researching NUM is a hobby of mine)

  • Gopher

    The elegible voting population of Northern Ireland went up by 6.36% the actual turnout increased 7%.

    Lets see who kept pace with inflation

    DUP 9.53% increase
    UUP 11.98% Increase
    Alliance 43.95% increase
    SF 2.86% increase
    SDLP -10.05%

    So when one talks about all these numbers nobody mentions the “inflation rate” in elections the actual “pay rise” number of votes you need to stay the same. In real terms the SDLP are in deep trouble.

    You would have thought a staggering increase of electorate of 73963 ONE would have voted SDLP. Bear in mind the electorate only increased 22,000 between 2005 and 2010. which makes the unionist and Alliance performance in this election absolutely phenomonal.

  • Zeno

    Robin,according to the Irish News SF/SDLP took their lowest share of the vote in a Westminster Election since 1992 at just 38%. They say the two parties have lost 7000 votes in 5 years. They point out that the warning signs were there in the Euro Elections when they dipped to 38% for the first time since 1998.
    I think Nationalist need another party.

  • Robin Keogh

    Yes I agree and apparently Fianna Fail ahve said they will eneter the contest for the 2019 Ass elections but I will believe when I see it. More than that I think nationalism needsa mobilisaing factor to get the vote out and unfortunately there is nothing obvious to look to. However, the upcoming debare on EU membership might do the trick. Nats are traditionally more favourable to Europe, if membership comes under threat it might mobilise the troops. Unionism has the Fleg, Marching, Demographic threat, fright over Scotland extc. to stir up emotions, so long as that is the case I thin k you willcontinue to see the Unionist vote in a healthy state.

  • Jack Stone

    Well, except for the fact that while Sinn Fein’s share of the vote decreased, their overall vote increased. More people voted for Sinn Fein this election than in 2010 in many races. The Unionist parties were forced (due to the popularity of Sinn Fein and the SDLP) to field unity candidates (and Sinn Fein only lost a single seat and the Alliance vote increased). Sinn Fein seems to be on the rise south or the border. How can you ignore the fact that perhaps being abstentionist in an election where every major pundit was predicting a close election might lead to there being pressure on Sinn Fein’s natural constituency to vote tactically? It seems that after losing a single seat (and taking more votes off McDonnell than ever before) perhaps again you are reading far too much into a single election. The fact is that in order for the Unionists to overcome Sinn Fein, it had to join together in Fermanagh & South Tyrone . For example, if Sinn Fein has peaked, did the number of Sinn Fein votes increase or decrease in Fermanagh & South Tyrone ? Oh it increased by over 1700 votes. So it was a pact working rather than Sinn Fein failing to retain their seat. In Belfast East, the overall Unionist vote only increased by 229 votes while Naomi Long increased her votes by thousands and the Republican parties also saw an overall vote increase higher than the traditional Unionist vote increase. I believe that anyone who honestly looks at the numbers will see that it was pacts and the pundits view of Westminster not the “fall of Sinn Fein”.

  • puffen

    What is a progressive view of abortion and gay marriage, is it one that you agree with? I do not know, I wish I had your certainty, What age are you? I am sixty and do not know the answer,

  • Gerry Lynch

    In the areas where there are both SF voters in numbers and Alliance MLAs or realistic chances of getting them, Alliance should really stick it to the Shinners, on their complete lack of delivery in government and obsession with justifying their own past to the point of damaging the future.

    South Antrim, South Belfast, North Belfast, East Antrim and East Derry all have SF voters who could be won over by Alliance. Lots of people who already rate Naomi Long and Anna Lo highly. Much of the growth in Alliance’s pale green vote over the past few years comes from young adults who started out life voting for SF and never really saw the SDLP as a serious political option. The Greens also do well in this sort of market.

  • Gerry Lynch

    If this is a serious comment, you must be the only Shinner on the internet who didn’t spend the last 18 months telling us all that Mairtin was the best candidate for any party, like, in the history of the entire universe and that SDLP voters and even Alliance and maybe even business-friendly UUP types would be stampeding to vote for him. Wasn’t there a site poll at the time of last year’s Slugger awards which showed a majority of readers thought he was going to win?

    Instead he got a whole 1% more than Alex Maskey got back in 2003 and came 4th. And that despite a dirty below the radar campaign reminiscent of the worst SF threw at Joe Hendron in the 80s and 90s against a clearly disturbed and out-of-sorts McDonnell.

    I like Mairtin, but I won’t pretend that watching this tidal wave of hype come crashing to earth at three in the morning didn’t brighten what was otherwise a pretty depressing night…

  • Kevin Breslin

    No major pale green vote for Alliance in the “border” constituencies or mid-Ulster?
    Is it difficult to attach a shared future from family and relatives one might have in the Republic, more so for the Alliance than seems to be the case for Strand Two unionists like Basil, John McCallister and Willy Hay even Jim Wells, or a Strand Three nationalist like McDonnell or Durkan.

    I suppose Sinn Féin and a few others might argue that the pale “yellow” vote in the Down constituencies bar East Belfast and North Down are not secure.

  • Gerry Lynch

    The first rule of electioneering is to remember that any vote is only secure as far as the next election. David Miliband forgot that, lost a million votes to UKIP and with it the election…