How Republican intransigence drove boost in Unionist turnout (and flattened its own)

So shortly I will be wrapping the proverbial wet towel on my head for my customary post election analysis for most of the major parties in NI and GB.

To keep you going in the meantime, here’s the start of my OpEd analysis for the Irish Independent on how SF’s intransigence over parades in North Belfast drove the unionist vote upwards:

I’ve lost count of the number of Northern Ireland media commentators who regularly and spontaneously burst into laughter at the mere mention of Peter Robinson’s “graduated unionist response” promised over the parading stand off over the Ardoyne shops in North Belfast.

Flicking through the pages of Belfast newspapers on Saturday morning, there was little laughter and few explanations as to how, for example, Nigel Dodds managed to effect a full 7pc bounce in the Unionist vote.

Undoubtedly Sinn Féin’s refusal (or inability, it is never quite clear which) to broker an accommodation to enable a very small number of Orangemen to walk home past the Ardoyne shops every 12th of July has acted as fuel to a Unionist electoral bonfire.

Of course the problem is deeper and wider than that. All is my no means not lost for, but recovery depends on a new willingness to engage and win public arguments rather than relying on winning a series of private deals…

Do try and read the whole thing

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