Trouble at Alliance’s (Lisburn and) Castlereagh mill…

Oh dear. Going to war election is causing all manner of ruckles inside various political parties, even Alliance. Two councillors Geraldine Rice and Vasundhara Kamble have left the party over allegations of racism and ageism.

Rice goes back a long way with Alliance. It’s true, as she says, she played a rearguard action in Peter Robinson’s small state model of a local council in Castlereagh from her first election in 1989 as a local champion for Carryduff (when John D Taylor topped the poll).

Vasundhara Kamble replaced Judith Cochrane in Castlereagh East when the latter was elected to the NI Assembly in 2011.

Not a great start, but in absence of more concrete evidence, I’m inclined to chalk it up to an “issue-we-didn’t-think-we’d-have-to-deal-with-for-four-more-years-after-waiting-five-years-for-the-last-election-this-one-happened-in-just-eight-months”.

Neither woman is now mentioned on the Alliance party website. By my reckoning that knocks Alliance down from six to four councillors on Lisburn and Castlereagh Council (ie, about the same as the SDLP).

Not a great start to the campaign, but since they are both down the Castlereagh end of the Council area, it’s hard to see it tipping anything in Upper Bann (the Lisburn end), where SDLP man Pat Catney entertains the hope of easing ahead of Alliance vet Trevor Lunn.