Colum Eastwood new leader of the SDLP (updated with interview)

Colum Eastwood new SDLP leaderLeadership: Eastwood 172 (56%) – 133 (44%) McDonnell

Deputy leadership: McKinney 158 (53%) – 138 (47%) Kelly

In an emotional speech, runner up Alasdair McDonnell said that he’d “given his all and then a little bit more” to the leadership of the party. He thanked his family who “soldiered with him” and received a long standing ovation as he finished: “I’m gone – though not far away – it’s over to others to keep going”. The defeat had clearly hit him hard.

New leader Colum Eastwood gripped the podium and gripped the delegates in the hall in a way that would have been welcome at lunchtime. He paid generous tribute to the work of his predecessor saying that McDonnell had “stretched every fibre of his being for this party” and contributed “two lifetimes” of effort.

On the SDLP, Eastwood said “people are right to expect more of us”. Discussions had centred to much on the party and he promised:

Our principle conversation will be shaping this region and this country for the next 20, 30 and more years.

He finished his ten minute address:

It’s time to win again.

David McCann spoke to Colum soon after the result.

Earlier in the somewhat haphazard announcement of the results, the new deputy leader Ferghal McKinney spoke about his vision for the more active role of deputy leader and criticised those who had leaked party documents to the media. (Defeated deputy leader Dolores Kelly didn’t have a chance – or didn’t take the opportunity – to speak.)

SDLP Conference 2015 new leader Colum Eastwood and Deputy Leader Fearghal McKinney

Photo Carrie Davenport for SDLP.

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  • Gaygael

    I think it’s a careful calculation for the DUP. Bell was Strangford, but they have McIlveen and Hamilton there. Running all three could be a risk that theylose one. Parachuting bell into south Belfast may also be risky.

    Stalford and Patterson probably would have expected to be the second candidate after Pengelley. That may not happen. And Ruth could jump ship. Let’s see what they do over coming weeks. It’s that UUP seat at risk, and it may just be worth the risk for the DUP to run Bell and Pengelley.

  • chrisjones2

    Kings is dead ……..

  • kalista63

    No one is Team Ferghal

  • Jack Stone

    I know he isnt super charismatic but I like him. He comes off a bit like an old school politician. I also am not sure that Gerry goes anywhere until he sits in Government in the south.

  • Jack Stone

    Exactly, The SDLP needs to appeal to Nationalists of a different spectrum. If they just focusing on attacking Sinn Fein just to attack Sinn Fein, they are more likely to be viewed as “soft” and “disloyal” but if they actually have policy disagreements then they wont be seen as taking cheap shots (like Fianna Fail is often seen to do).

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Absurd or not. Keeping quiet on partition does not make you a unionist.

  • I note the small electorate, surely there’s more to the SDLP in something as significant as the leader’s role than 305 delegates.

    There’s the obvious reality of there being a share of 44% who didn’t want the leader they now have. How Eastwood deals with this component of the party who wanted to keep things as they were will be interesting to follow.

    This leadership battle has been more so a clash of personality than a clash of ideology.

    Given that the deterioration of the SDLP has been a result of an uncertainty of what the party’s message is, it’s difficult to see the point in just simply changing the messenger.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I think some people are reading too much into the split in the vote.

    McDonnell and Eastwood, during their respective leadership campaigns, appear to have made no efforts to differentiate each other on policy. Eastwood didn’t really explain what he was going to do differently, and McDonnell didn’t really explain why he needed to stay other than to say that he had started a programme of reorganization and wanted to be allowed to complete it.

    A proportion of those who voted for McDonnell will have been people who may not have agreed with him but felt that they would be better going into an election without being seen as the sort of people who stab their own leader in the back – a reasonable enough concern.

    There are a lot of parallels with the Ulster Unionists here. The party ejected a stalwart and replaced him with someone who essentially came out of the left field, offering a slicker, more media-friendly and presentationally focused style and the promise of a reinvigorated and more energetic party leadership. The SDLP delegates may have noted that this worked for the UUP and they may be calculating that it could also work for them.

  • Croiteir

    Keeping quiet about murder does not make you a murderer

  • Croiteir

    Those fleggers are not ordinary people – just for instance

  • murdockp

    Have to say Conor murphy is the most impressive of the SF delegation.

    Sdlp reform might result in him being brought to the front more quickly

  • Dominic Hendron

    I give up

  • Granni Trixie

    Excellent points.

  • Granni Trixie

    Has Patterson not already left?
    I always thought that para shooting Bell into SB for Westminster was risky as it depended totally on loyalty to DUP but for Stormont election he has a better chance than Pengelley given she has association with PR favouring her and has no association whatsoever with SB, an insult to voters ( of whom I am one).

  • Granni Trixie

    Sorry to be makng the same point: it’s not about age so much as new blood.
    If I had my way I would have it in writing that MLas./MPs can only stand for two or three terms.

  • Ryan A

    Sticking my neck out based on 2014 Locals I see Alliance and SDLP neck and neck in South Belfast come next year. Westminister is different as the centre has always leaned to Al to keep the DUP out and I suspect that has been the case this year as 2010. Hanna and McKinney might be raising their profiles but can’t help but feeling both are far behind MO’M in that regard. Green Party transfers will probably be the big decider.

  • They’ve been added to the post now … but weren’t read out in the hall and weren’t handed out by the SDLP by the time David and I left Armagh on Saturday evening!

  • Kevin Breslin

    If the DUP undermine their local party and local constituents then it’s Swish Robinson and East Belfast all over again. They could’ve parachuted anyone into East Belfast but they didn’t. Stalford is younger than Bell, he’s been fighting the seat for years. Lose a minister they’ll be shoed into a Westminster by election, lose a constituency branch and you don’t win, you lose your party’s profile there anyway. You’re left ten years with people like him not accelerating through the ranks and too many old faces staying in keeping a bottle neck on the youth.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Remember when Máirtín Ó Muilineoir won the South Belfast seat with the high profile. Sorry I forgot votes matter not the number of Twitter followers or selfies taken or press photos or television appearances or like press speculation.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    I don’t see the UUP seat at risk. DUP got 8654 votes in 2015 Westminster. Again like the SDLP vote I believe this was inflated. The core DUP vote is 7845 from the 2011 Assembly Elections. UUP got 3549 votes 2015 Assembly they will pick up the majority of transfers from the UKIP 2K votes and PUP 1K votes in the constituency which will get the UUP candidate over the line. The DUP will take some balls to ignore these figures and run both Pengelley and Bell in South Belfast ? Good Luck to the guy who makes that call I would not like to be standing around the count waiting on them two horses coming in. I don’t even think it is vote manageable you could not predict how many votes the DUP would pull out of each ward for a Vote 1 Vote 2 campiagn. One thing I do know that within them Inner city loyalist wards of South Belfast the DUP will have their work cut out to pull some sort of a vote out in their favour of this faction of the constituency.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    I agree Ryan, but where I differ is that Alliance got 6711 votes in 2015. I see Clare Bailey vote of 2238 increasing to close to 3K more from SDLP voters as she got squeezed in a sectarian vote in Westminster. I see the Greens picking up further transfers across the board and knocking out both the Alliance and SDLP 2nd candidates to take the last and final 6th MLA seat.

  • Skibo

    Sorry Grainne should have been directed to Peter L with his religious photo. I too found disillusionment with the church, probably more to education and my failing of questioning everything. Now I have crossed the half century I find myself looking for comfort within the doors again. Maybe approaching my acceptance that I will not live for ever!

  • Skibo

    Listened to Colum this morning and other than progressive nationality, what ever that is, there is no change in SDLP policy so what was the leadership[ challenge all about?

  • mjh

    Actually in the 2014 elections the DUP benefitted more than the UUP from transfers from both PUP and UKIP. This was particularly marked in Balmoral and Botanic where the PUP transferred 554 to DUP and only 224 to UUP.

    On the basis of the votes cast and transfer patterns in recent elections the UUP seat in South Belfast is certainly in play next year (along with the SDLP second seat).

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Fair point mjh but I see a swing in them transfers away from the DUP and to the UUP. Would you run both Pengelly and Bell in South Belfast and take the risk of one of your big hitters not making it past the post ?

  • Granni Trixie

    In favouring particular candidates to lead SF does their association with the IRA (or not) figure at all in your thinking? I ask about this elephant in the room because of the recent controversy over who exactly ‘runs’ SF.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The printer ink thing basically steers me against him, Boylan, Ní Riada , Carthy might be a next generation Sinn Féin leader in the South. I think looking at the likes of Murphy and Ó Snodaigh who are in their 50’s does nothing to tackle the generation shift. Pearce is a big favourite in my book, he could even head to the Assembly if needed.

  • Kevin Breslin

    One litmus test would be seeing if Mary Lou gets shunned entirely.
    http://www.thejournal.ie/the-next-sinn-fein-leader-2411707-Oct2015/

  • Granni Trixie

    Pengelly has only been appointed a few weeks and had no association with SB whatsoever so what evidence have you for saying she is doing “a lot” of constituency work and networking in SB?

  • Granni Trixie

    Though infact you could end up in jail for not reporting one.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Check out her Twitter Account she has been quite a busy bee attending various forums and community groups in the constituency more so than Bell !

  • mjh

    Of course there could be a swing in those transfers. We don’t know yet. Could it be enough to wipe out the DUP advantage? That would take an huge swing. And an absolutely enormous swing to give a significant advantage to the UUP.

    Of course there is a risk in running two big hitters in such a tight contest, and I’m glad it’s not me taking the decision. But it would probably take two big hitters to secure a second seat.

    Sometimes in politics you have to be bold or be second.

  • Granni Trixie

    From the outside I thought it was about horses for courses – people wanted someone with better presentation and leadership skills. I see that as separate from a change of direction to move the SDLP from decline which has to involve more than the leader.

  • Granni Trixie

    I’m an interested person in SB who does not delve into Twitter – so I’ll have to take your word for it as her ‘activities’ haven’t reached around these parts.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Like you say mjh I am also glad I am not making that call as that is definately Alex Ferguson’s “Squeaky Bum Time” at the Count ! I can also see a voting directive being given by Loyalists to their voters to vote PUP 1 UUP 2 which even tightens your DUP backside up further !

  • T.E.Lawrence

    @little_pengelly

  • Gaygael

    Yes T.E.L.

    Kev and I have a significant discussion and disagreement on this. Bailey needs to be close to the second SDLP and alliance on first prefs. Likely in the region of 3k first prefs. She has some leeway as the elimination of the smaller left parties and conservatives and the smaller unionist parties, right up to UKIP will see her pull in a rag tag of decent transfers. Much better than SDLP or alliance and added to by the fact that any transfers for SDLP and alliance will be across 2 candidates. If she is ahead of them both, it should be more straightforward. Elimination of the alliance second will put their first over the top and transfers from the eliminated and surplus from the elected will significantly boost Bailey. The same with the elimination of the SDLP second. She did it before in botanic in 2014, splitting between both SDLP and alliances two candidates each. A five seater saw her 6th.

    I feel there will be a whole clutch of candidates on 7-9% of first prefs. UUP, Green, SDLP 2nd, alliance 2nd, UKIP. I think there will be a second higher clutch of candidates between 10-14%, namely both DUP, alliance and SDLP firsts and SF. MOM or Claire Hanna to top the poll both within touching distance or bang on a quota.

  • Gaygael

    So why do I posit that the UUP seat is at risk?
    1) the UUP share dropped even further from 2010 to 2015. From 17.3% to 9.1%. This was the only real campaign they ran in Belfast. East and north had pacts and west was a minimal campaign. That they took such a hit despite it being there only campaign in the city and despite the modest revival in the locals 2014 suggests all is not well.
    2) the UKIP candidacy. Bob Stoker is former UUP, and has a significant personal vote. This will mostly come from the UUP.
    3) PUP and TUV have yet to announce their plans. And may be a factor. Admittedly, these may impact the DUP vote more so than the UUP.
    4) Ruth. What will she do? And who will she take votes from? My sense of the mood music is that perennial jump to TUV is on the cards.
    5) the UUP scored 13.6% at the last assembly election, split across 2 candidates. After his running mates elemination, McGimpsey was elected over quota, just ahead of the two DUP candidates. He was only 450 ahead of Patterson who was eliminated, with spratt elected under quota.

    The calculation of the DUP must be, run 2 candidates (as always) and ensure that they balance well and stay ahead of the UUP sole candidate. As MJH has already said, the DUP can expect to get as much as possible from the other unionists parties when they are eliminated.

    It’s high wire and tricky but the other option is that bell stays in Strangford and they have the same head scratcher there of trying to keep 3 candidates. There they will face a solid alliance solid on a quota, UKIP looking to hold, and a UUP running 2. The SDLP will be hopeful but if they haven’t done it yet, they won’t do it this time. SDLP transfers, and alliance spur may shore up that second UUP candidate, with UKIP eating into the DUP vote rather than the UUP. It will be another interesting seat.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I merely said, she needs a much higher first count than Westminster and unionist support. That’s the realpolitik of South Belfast. You mention Botanic, but you can’t assume and juxtapose that onto the Balmoral vote (which I believe is more unionist) thinking that a different set of constituents will simply double it. I don’t think the Green Party will work hard enough to win the seat, if it relies on picking up upon SDLP and Alliance failures and transfers and detach itself from the voters but rather focus upon the “numbers”, as I’ve seen Sinn Féin supporters behave in Foyle.

  • Sharpie

    This may be interesting but also not that attractive. We all know its time for something totally different and an SDLP resurrection is not it.

    They are stuck with the small c conservative sword of Damocles. Northern Ireland is splitting into factions – not just U and N but more importantly along social convention lines – old against new. Who will lead the rearguard action of the Catholic (middle class) hierarchy – probably the SDLP, meantime who will lead the social, liberal, progressive part of the younger (and liberal middle aged) population who are not that bothered about the border? – While the SDLP is in hock to the small c people, many of whom care about the border, there is not much space to carve out something new. The currently politically dispossessed will remain so, unless…

  • T.E.Lawrence

    If Ruth Paterson goes over to the TUV it will be interesting to see how much of that 3,800 votes she took in 2011 can come over with her. If she could take that vote with her over to the TUV then this horse is definitely in the race ! The PUP could also surprise us if they where to run a girl who is becoming very popular with the media recently ? Like I said I think South Belfast is going to be an exciting constituency to watch at the next Assembly Elections as there are so many permutations in the mix of it !

  • Kevin Breslin

    Eastwood barely in the job a couple of days and he’s suddenly the major interest story in Northern Irish politics at the moment. This is a guy who’s been in democratic politics here for over 16 years working on his break.

    It’s either that hard, or too easy and he’s overworking … it can’t be both.

    If you demand to get into the political ascendancy in the next 16 minutes or 16 months through force of complaining you don’t really understand the difficulty in political success.

    If you have something to offer the young, liberal, progressive, younger population, and feel it is a majority of like minded individuals, so if you have the ideas to save them, change the entire society to see the advantage of being like-minded to you either put yourself forward or back someone who does.

    Saying people I don’t agree with should stop voting, people I agree with should vote more is basically an armchair dictatorship. An observing apathetic person who changes nothing is conservationism par excellence.

    Attacking people who put themselves before the people with the possibility of rejection is shallow. Saying I know what the zeitgeist want but why aren’t politicians doing something about it is overblowing your own self-importance, not the values, work and partnership that bring people together around a cause.

    Stop blaming the electorate, you are just a very small part of it, we all have an equal share in this society whether we’re DUPers, Shinners, Stoops, Greens, or Alliance supporters … the days of non-mandated ascendencies, and non-elected non-consented direct rule thinking they know what’s best for the rest of us are over.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Oh no a lost voter … with a mandate of zero votes. Great opinion, hope you know it’s completely worthless to the rest of us.

  • Gaygael

    Sophie?

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Yes – What do you think ?

  • Gaygael

    Yes – and Conall McDevitt (9.9%) got elected with just over 3,000 first prefs in 2011, and McGimpsey (9.2%) with under 3,000 first prefs. McDevitt and McGimpsey both jumped the 2 DUP candidates when the 2nd UUP and Bailey were eliminated. McGimpsey got 1299 and jumped the 2 DUP candidates that got 210, and 117, compared to McDevitt getting 592 which also put him ahead of the 2 DUP. McGimpsey reached quota and McDevitt was deemed elected under quota.
    Botanic was 32.2% first prefs to unionists while Balmoral was 37.4% which is not a huge difference. (That’s not including NI21) I mentioned Botanic as relevant to both the SDLP and Alliance running two candidates each, where there was a serious green competitor.
    You think the greens won’t work hard enough. That’s fine. That’s an opinion. A part-time campaign in a competitive sectarian headcount election saw Bailey get 2238 votes at Westminster 2015. That was squeezed by tactical voting to save Big All against the DUP. Those voters will be much more flexible in 2016 and an STV election. And as I have repeatedly stated Greens can make it if they are close to the SDLP and Alliance 2nd candidates. If she is above them in first prefs, it should be a walk in.
    I’m a numbers guy. It’s one of the key things I post about on this site. Let’s see what coming months bring us eh?

  • Gaygael

    Interesting. They used to have a decent vote here many moons ago. The did ok in locals 2014, and they should be focusing on growing that vote for a breakthrough in council 2019.
    They didn’t run in Castlereagh South which is partially in this constituency. They got 6% (630) in Lishnasharragh but that will primarily be in east as it straddles east and south. They got 3.9% (351) in Botanic and 6% in Balmoral (533).
    They could hope for over 1,000 and get 3% or so. Getting close to 5% and holding their deposit would be a great result. I think however their focus should be on North, West and East, where they have chances to breakthrough (West may be a lot more tricky, but they need to be ramping the idea that only they can get a unionist seat here and not the DUP who lost it)
    The Unionist slate is far from complete and could be a very interesting line-up. We only have McGimpsey for UUP confirmed. Pengelley is definite for the DUP, but they have yet to select a second. Bell or Stalford, and for me I think they will punt at Bell. UKIP must be running Stoker but I don’t think they have announced. TUV and PUP will be smaller players in the bigger unionist battle. And of course, what will Ruth Patterson do?
    All to play for in this seat.

  • Croiteir

    If they identify with either Irish or British Labour, or both, then how will they appeal to nationalists on the right wing?

  • Croiteir

    Yep – you get punished

  • Croiteir

    You should – digging holes and all that

  • Kevin Breslin

    Look Bailey didn’t contest the two wards, saying she merely has to bring up the vote is disingenuous to the Green Party candidate in the other area. They should not dismiss any shortcomings simply on the basis of the profile of the other candidate.

    What bothers me even more is you’re still playing numbers, even big Al who won that contest made that mistake recently. Trying to identify a block to be sheered off one pile just to be put into another. McDonnell was a man doing three jobs including MLA, MP and the party leadership which effected his campaign and his ability to get votes. Hume, Durkan and Ritchie focused on one job after experiencing three eventually.

    McKinney might be deputy leader, but he doesn’t have to commute to London to do that job. It’s three jobs between two SB SDLP candidates, so both will have more freedom to campaign and put a more competitive SDLP foot forward.

    It’ll come down to voters and their agency, not number playing and presumption.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Alliance party have centre right people in both traditions. The left/right divide is rendered somewhat meaningless given the lack of fiscal powers anyway.

  • Gaygael

    Those were paper candidacies Kevin. I am not denigrating them in any way. They played their role as expected. Smaller parties have to utilise their resources wisely. We don’t have big donors flooding us with cash in the knowledge that parties will do their damndest to ensure these donations are not publicly available. The Greens publish all donations over £500 and don’t except corporate donations.
    It makes sense to be clear where your potential voters will come from. Big Al choose to have 3 jobs, and seemed reluctant to let 2 of them go. The numbers are hugely important, and it informs strategy or should anyway.
    I agree. The good people of South Belfast will make the call ultimately. I sense they are ready and wanting to have a green representative, offering something that none of the big 5 parties are offering. The trick is to make them aware of that offer, and persuade them its viable.

  • Gaygael

    Yes. And ‘Progressive Nationalism’ will have no problems in nominating 3 men in Foyle.
    Progressive my eye.

  • eireanne3

    that’s what the 5 star movement is proposing in italy

  • Kevin Breslin

    And the SDLP don’t have SF’s resources, you campaign for donors and resources. In the last European election in the Republic all but one of the highest spenders in each area won their seats, the exception being Harkin.

    It’s a reality that the opposition people outspent the government parties through donations. I respect a party has to be fiscally conservative with its own resources. The likes of Harkin have to do more with less.

    I disagree that trying to second guess the electorate through a numbers game is going to beat a rival who wouldn’t economise their efforts. That’s not doing more with less, it’s doing less with less.

  • Ryan A

    Yeah but it’s extremely disingenuous not to notice he has improved the overall SF vote and is likely to be miles in front of Hanna or McKinney on first preferences. Suffice to add McKinney hasn’t been on a South Belfast ticket yet. In years gone by the SDLP wouldn’t have had to break a sweat to outpoll SF 2:1. Not anymore.

  • Granni Trixie

    Just a minute …make that centre left too!

  • Ryan A

    Kevin’s right on this point – You also have to remember 40% of the votes in South Belfast sit in the Castlereagh South DEA (http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/nlglc.htm) and the Ravenhill Road (Lisnasharragh) – where Alliance & SDLP are by far outpolling the Greens on local results. In any case I expect a furious Alliance campaign here as I think this seat is one of their best shots at a gain this election – Unless they go all out in East in a bid for 3 with Naomi heading the ticket, but that vote management would be a challenge.

  • Granni Trixie

    Not sure to what extent regular voters (as opposed to activists) follow ‘directives’.

  • Dominic Hendron

    🙂

  • Granni Trixie

    Kevin
    Are you labelling Balmoral ‘mainly unionist ‘ on voting patterns? If so, what about the numbers not inclined to vote?

    My perception from living there is that it tends to be much more diverse – a place to live if you are in a mixed marriage or newcomer to our country. And an integrated school flourishes there.
    Then there is around Finaghy Rd south which was/is probably solidly SDLP-land.

  • Sharpie

    Is that all addressed to my point or is it a rant you just needed to get off your chest. I obviously hit a nerve. When comments contain the term “people like you..” I’m afraid it goes straight to the spam folder.

  • Slater

    Dolores Kelly must be really unloved, even by Big Al’s enemies to be so roundly defeated.

  • Granni Trixie

    Why are you calling them “big hitters” – at least one of them isn’t.

  • Granni Trixie

    Very impressive knowledge.

  • aquifer

    Ruth Patterson is a good councillor to hoover up votes in Sandy Row Donegal Pass and Donegal Road, the DUP will take a lot of trouble to keep her.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    we have plenty of fiscal powers of our own. We choose not to use them.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Yes. I think that’s exactly my point.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think Ryan A probably addresses a bigger poll there. I thought the UUP polled better there.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Apart from Bailey, McGimpsey, and possibly Stalford who has been on a South Belfast Assembly ticket that will be contesting this election again?

  • Gaygael

    New shiny ‘progressive nationalism’ confirming that a change in leadership means no change in the party’s anti-choice position. Keeping them well behind public opinion and out of step with their counterparts in the PES. As part of a wider discussion at 6:45 on radio Foyle.

    http://bbc.in/1N6c3XZ

  • Jack Stone

    Same way that Tony Blair did …

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Yes agree Granni, you can stand outside polling stations and give directions to your voters as how to vote only to stand at the opening of ballot boxes with your head in your hands whinging “We’ll that went Tits Up Didn’t It !”

  • T.E.Lawrence

    They are Ministers of Government even though as you say one is only a junior !

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Pengelly is already moving in on this territory. These places have been her first port of call in her” get to know the constituency protocol !” Your not at the races aquifer !

  • Reader

    Washington Irving A.K.A. Isiah?
    And not a “globe” either. “round” or “circular”, perhaps.

  • Kevin Breslin

    You can report my comments, but I really didn’t mean offense. There are just too many Little Napoleons with no armies behind them in this society.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The clean out is happening in the Republic, bar a few of Adams inner circle. In the North there’s plenty of young people simply co-opted in who haven’t really been noticeable possible exception being Meagan Ferron.

    One of the Fermanagh South Tyrone MLAs might even be deselected to make way for Michelle Gildernew, if they care about generational change it should probably be Sean Lynch, Or they could do what the SDLP did in Foyle and let the electorate decide.

  • Sharpie

    It wasn’t me who took offence. It was you. You do raise an interesting point. Does anyone who comments here speak for anyone else but themselves? The views in my comments are mine. I am not on this forum to make change happen or to change others. That is impossible. This forum to me is a sounding off place where individuals propose theories, mostly wrong ones, and probably largely as they see the world.

    It should not be taken too seriously.

  • Skibo

    So it is how the message is presented and not the message itself. How will this differ them from the SF policy? I assume with Colum’s softer attitude to same sex marriage and abortion, SF and SDLP policies will actually be even more synchronised.
    How will this encourage the nationalist voters to get up off the sofa and make the ten minute journey to a polling station?
    It absolutely infuriates me how people divorce themselves from voting and then sit back and complain about ” thon shower up there doin nathin”

  • Granni Trixie

    Let me clarify. Ofcourse I believe in substance over superficial appearances but when a leader of a party continually demonstrates that he/she is inarticulate and doesn’t impress when representative the party it hardly inspires people to vote for that party.
    That is also what I meant below by ‘horses for courses’ – that a politcan could be skilled in other important ways such as being reliable in constituency work or behind the scenes encouraging others, But if they don’t put up a credible performance in public they are not suited to the job of Leader. Bringing policy ideas to the table is a separate consideration.

    Btw, hope you’re not getting at me as a non voter – I vote regularly and often.

  • Skibo

    Grainni I assume anyone who makes the effort to publish their beliefs on politics on a site like this is more than committed to get out and vote but you know what assume does!

  • Gaygael

    Bob Stoker likely for UKIP.
    There may be a WP,Cons and SP/PBP on the ticket that have been before.

  • Gaygael

    I would dispute your call re Lishnasharragh. The Greens candidate in 2014 scored 4.6% (485 votes) and that figure has grown in the Westminster poll. It is true of Castlereagh South though. For now.
    Alliance have potential gains in the following; North Belfast, East Antrim, North Down, South Belfast and a 3rd in East Belfast. They will have to strategically call which ones they put resource into. They will be hard pressed to mount huge challenges in 3 of 4 Belfast constituencies.
    I also agree Long may mess up their balancing in east.
    There are also outside chance in East Derry but I think Sugdens independent candidacy will stop any growth their.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Stoker changed party. Not sure if Lowry would contest it. Nico who contested the election the last time will not contest again I don’t think.

  • Gaygael

    Apologies. Just seeing the assembly part. Paddy Meehan might.

  • Ryan A

    Most have at least featured on a council/WM ballot somewhere in the constituency and are known to an extent. I look forward to seeing how all parties divvy up the constituencies given the importance of balancing. I think the DUP and SDLP splits are easy to predict (Hanna & Stalford the West Bank (and a bit more for Hanna from somewhere else) and Pegnelly and McKinney the East Bank) but Alliances might be a bit trickier.

  • Ryan A

    Morrow is also a bit further left than Bradshaw which makes it a bit more difficult for Claire I reckon.

  • Gaygael

    Saying anyone is further left than Bradshaw doesn’t really mean much. She stood as a Tory in 2010.
    We shall see.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Surely Bradshaw takes care of the East and Morrow the West?