After #AE17, the DUP…

Last Thursday changed everything and nothing for the DUP. Gone is the petition of concern. Gone too is the large buffer of seats with Sinn Fein. What hasn’t change is the outcome.

They still have the First Minister’s position and with the UUP’s downsizing are more dominant in unionism.

On the other hand, in the course of less than a year, Mrs Foster has overturned recent patterns of nationalist and unionist turnout in a way that has cost her both in seats and public prestige.

She quickly became for Sinn Fein what Ian Paisley had once reputedly been to the IRA, a political recruiting serjeant.

Her thin-skinned reaction to the RHI crisis cost her credibility amongst voters who care as much about competence as they do about the tribal head-count. The siege based “vote for me or the Union gets it” works, but it has a ceiling.

In its heartlands, DUP voters either stayed at home or flipped.

So what happened to the seemingly invulnerable DUP? The simplest way is to look at how they failed to hold on to all but one of their firewall three-seaters: South Antrim (-3.8%), East Antrim (-0.9%), North Antrim (-2.4%), East Londonderry (-3.3%) North Belfast (-2.9) and Lagan Valley (-5.9%).

The coup de grace was in Fermanagh South Tyrone where Foster’s own running mate fell to a 2.8% drop in the party vote, and humiliatingly for those now calling for unionist unity, the second unionist MLA only came in on SDLP transfers.

Overall the vote held, with an aggregate loss of just 1.1%.

Lagan Valley offers a clue to the nature of their troubles. Poll topper Paul Givan’s decision to cut the Liofa programme before Christmas inflamed the passions of many who barely give the language the time of day, but was rewarded by a socially conservative base who appreciated the cut of his jib.

It was this narrowing of the party’s recently achieved broad appeal that brought it below the 30 seats and put it uncomfortably close to Sinn Fein. In Lagan Valley this meant voters rolled the shutters down on Brenda Hale, their only candidate with a broad appeal, rewarding the SDLP instead.

If the party thought voters would be afraid to vote nationalist after their voluble attacks on the UUP leader for saying he’d transfer out of the family, they weren’t discouraged in south Antrim either where both unionist parties dropped vote share, the UUP by 1.4%.

In May 2003, when the Assembly elections were put on the long finger pending negotiations over IRA decommissioning we published A Long Peace. The last few sentences seem relevant:

1066 and All That tells us that the English Civil War was ‘an extremely memorable struggle between the Cavaliers (Wrong but Romantic) and the Roundheads (Right but Repulsive).’  

In future struggles, unionists need to be both right and attractive. For that, a firmer, bolder, more far-sighted unionism will be needed. In a ‘long peace’, after all, people must want the Union for it to survive.

We await to see what comes out in the Public Inquiry on RHI twelve months hence. I suspect it will take a far more positive view of Mrs Foster’s role in the whole affair and her party’s belated but relatively effective attempts to fix it than either the media or the voting public has given them credit for.

“Right but Repulsive” may hold on to enough votes to win, but it doesn’t grow them. In greater Belfast, the party has found much to its cost that whatever grip it thought it had achieved with the Protestant middle class has melted like snow off a ditch in the course of one short election.

 The contrast with a year ago when we were asking if the only way was up for the DUP is stark. Their best hope is a period of stasis to cool things off while they recover and figure out exactly just what went wrong.

Only time will tell if they are actually capable of putting things right.

You can pick up all the post election profiles here.

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  • mjh

    “At what stage does your vote stop being effective?”
    The best answer to that question, Sharpie, is probably when you stop indicating preferences. An example of this can be seen in North Belfast. Most of those UUP voters who transferred to the DUP did not vote all the way down the ballot paper. As a result they got a second SF elected when they could have elected an Alliance candidate instead. Similar examples can be found in this and previous elections where supporters of all parties chose not to exercise an influence on the outcome in the later stages of the contest.

    “If you voted someone who was over quota as your number two and your No1 is eliminated early – what happens your vote?”
    In this case the candidate to whom you gave your first preference was eliminated. So your 1st preference had no effect.
    The candidate to whom you gave your second preference was already over quota – so does not receive any transfers. So your 2nd preference had no effect.
    If your 3rd preference is for a candidate who has not yet been eliminated or reached the quota it will go to that candidate with the value of one full vote.
    If your 3rd preference has already been eliminated or reached quota your vote will transfer with the value of one full vote to whichever of the remaining candidates has received your highest preference.
    Your vote only stops working for you when you stop giving preferences.

    Surpluses from candidates who reach quota are more complex. If, after receiving your first preference vote or transfer, the candidate had still not yet passed quota they would need the full value of your vote to help them towards victory. In that case you would have used the full value of your vote for that candidate and your vote would play no further part in the election once they reached quota.

    On the other hand if your first preference vote or transfer was part of the batch which actually put the candidate over quota they would only need a fraction of each those votes to get elected. The fraction of your vote that the candidate did not need is available to be transferred as part of the surplus.
    If you have not expressed a further preference that fraction is Non-Transferable and stops working for you.
    What many people do not realise is that those Non-Transferable votes are excluded from the calculation of the transfer value of the surplus. This effectively increases the fractional value of the transfers from those voters who did express a further preference.

  • burnboilerburn

    How many times are we going to be told that SF have reached their zenith? After every election over the last twenty years both north and south we get the same sort of pronouncements. Can everybody agree at least that whatever skills we have, we cant predict the future.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “If the DUP were a client company I’d be asking the Board what it thinks its brand stands for. I’d also be asking why it’s deliberately diminishing its appeal and addressable market.”

    Jeffery, I worked with Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) in the 1980s and had the privilege of seeing John Hegerty in full creative flow. This, along with an involvement of about thirty years of my career in film and advertising has made me analytically aware of just who amateur Unionist self-presentation is here. I’ve long been suggesting that the DUP simply have to get some serious PR if they are to even begin to meaningfully compete with SF’s slick marketing although John’s ideas are perhaps too multi–layered and satiric. As you say “Our politics needs sanitised, secularised and simplified. None of the parties, apart from the smaller ones defined by unpopular ideologies, are going anywhere.” While never a political Conservative myself, coming as I do from a family which has championed liberal principals locally for three centuries, what is really needed here for to represent the British interest is a successful Conservative Party that can intelligently modernise Unionism and market this to the entire community. That the standing Conservatives seem to get a risible share of the vote tokens an encoded death-wish within Unionism itself.

  • Korhomme

    Check up on history of marriage, preferably from sources other than a church.

    Marriage seems to have started with settled agriculture and the division of labour; and the concept of individual property. Marriage was about passing ones property to ones legitimate heirs. Hence the need for virgin brides, the need to keep wives away from other men; wives were for procreation. For fun, there were others.

    This concept was taken over or syncreted by Christianity, who combining it with notions of ‘purity’ and ‘sin’ allowed themselves to give permission to marry to others. And marriage, despite what some say, wasn’t a Sacrament of the RC church until around the 11th/12th century.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    One sees so many posts, Jake, where the demographic shift is simply wished away by Unionists. I’m reminded of Hitler and Goebbels wishing for “the Miracle of the House of Brandenburg” and a complete reversal of their fortunes in the last days (literally) of WWII.

  • Sharpie

    Once again thanks mjh. This is gold, really helpful. I have one further assumption to test. If my No2 is already over quota and No1 eliminated in first round, does the vote counter automatically distribute to my No.3 and then if they are also over quota to my No.4 – even at the second round of counting – or is it 1st pref in first round, 2nd pref in second round, 3rd pref in third round, etc.?

    I’ve learned more from these posts than on any website (including wikipedia on Gregory method of STV).

  • mjh

    It took rather a long time to draft the answer to your question, so our comments crossed. Please see my reply above.

    No matter what order you place your preferences your vote keeps working for you until either
    1) you have used the full value of that vote to get someone elected or
    2) you have stopped expressing preferences.

    If you voted all the way down the ballot paper your vote would be bound to have some impact on the result – unless you were unlucky enough to have your vote stop with the runner-up.

  • Sharpie

    Yes I have discovered from your post that it stopped with the Alliance guy who got close. Still, it had bounced round a bit before it got to him.

    I wonder in the cold light of day if voting down the list habits are actually as important as first preferences and why do we put so much emphasis on first preferences when counting the votes? Surely an equally critical statistic is the amount of transfers a candidate receives – a much better insight into electability.

    Is it possible for a candidate who is over quota to work out how many extra votes they could have had sitting in the transfers?

  • mjh

    Your preferences and the stages of the count are completely independent of each other. The only time they coincide is that the First Stage records all voters first preferences.

    So if your first preference is eliminated on the first round, your second preference was over quota on the first round, and your third, fourth and fifth preferences had also been eliminated on the first round on the Second Stage the counters would transfer your vote to your sixth preference.

    Your vote never stops working as long as you have expressed preferences left.

  • North Down dup

    I wasn’t justifying anything, read the posts, I was just answering a question, I see it hold a sore point with you , exaggerating the definition of equality, people use the definition of equality to suit there purpose, and the liberal movement is the best at it, lest get back to the blog before we get banned

  • johnny lately

    They dont seem to have any objections to all those Kings, Queens and princes and princesses who marry into the same bloodline.

  • johnny lately

    I was speaking about those Orange order types who every year hijack the memories of those men who sacrificed their lives, both for different reasons and regardless how misguided I believe they were, both Catholic and Protestant volunteered to sacrifice their lives for their country while other able bodied Orangemen acted like the cowards they were by hiding under the bed.

  • Liggy85

    It is a wee bit of a sore point, I’ll give you that. Primarily because I’ve had it rammed down my throat my whole life that I’m wrong for being gay and the Bible says this and the Bible says that when I’m the living personification of how all that is completely wrong. Long story! Lol!

  • newniman

    Hmm,

  • Liggy85

    Marriage never was about procreation. Sex is about procreation. You don’t have to be married to procreate.
    Marriage is about two people legally joining their lives together for may reasons. Procreation is one reason, yes, but it isn’t the defining principal reason for marriage.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    We can’t but the vote history indicates that’s the case. In 2003 SF was polling a similar share of the popular vote here as the SNP in Scotland i.e. about 23%. But the SNP’s vote in 2016 was 46% compared to SF’s 27.9% in 2017 (its best result ever). SF did well in 2017 but not that well. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/627db54466122324f4155e884628a367079e1b927f7f91b9f98e71b0785d269a.png

  • Jeffrey Peel

    I’m no defender of the DUP so I’ll ignore your comments…but look at the chart I’ve posted in another comment comparing SF performance here with SNP in Scotland.

  • North Down dup

    Do you believe a brother should be able to be with his sister and get married, and no then why not, strawman

  • JoeCro

    Incest has nothing to do with marriage equality.

  • Guilty of Wrongthink

    It doesn’t surprise me that those wanting to destroy marriage only look at it superficially and have little consideration for its greater, more important, purpose . That being protecting any potential children in a stable environment — that key purpose is now being redefined.

    You’re also ignoring the point you replied to. Why can’t siblings get married then, if not for genetic health related to procreation?

  • Skibo

    I have been married for around thirty years and if she can put up with me, I hope for alot more. The fact of two men or two women getting married does not effect my marriage at all. My actions and that of my wife effect my marriage and the sanctity of it.
    If you believe same sex marriage will effect your marriage then I suggest it is not what you think it is.

  • Guilty of Wrongthink

    No, a logical conclusion that marriage is being redefined away, opening doors to all sorts of chaos, and something which you have no logical retort to. Most “prejudice” is also rational and not going anywhere.

  • Skibo

    Trap set and one caught. Do not allow people to associate equal marriage with incest or bestiality.

  • Guilty of Wrongthink

    Yes, “to one’s legitimate heirs”. To protect the next generation.

  • Skibo

    I firmly believe that those who have a problem with same sex are not so confident of their own sexuality

  • Skibo
  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hiding under the beds in both wars! Old soldiers knew this, even LOI members. My grandfather was a friend of Major Bob Hynds, a working class east Belfast man risen to a commission by sheer merit. Hynds won the MC on D Day for stopping German advance single handed until his wounded were taken off. During a services match at Ravenshill Park in the 1950s a companion asked him should they not join the other officers on the stand as it was raining hard. Hynds spat on the ground, and turning said “I don’t think so. I’d have nothing to say to them. None of them saw action.” There’s a different, less barbed response in the version on the RUR website, but what I’ve posted is the one I heard myself.

    https://sites.google.com/site/pvthyde/majorbobhynds

  • Skibo

    Not only have they not absorbed the demographics, they deny it will ever happen. Their politicians have been telling their electorate lies on this for years.

  • North Down dup

    Never said it did, can you answer the question strawman, am not trying to be rude just interesting to hear a leberal view on this matter

  • North Down dup

    No we can’t do that now can we, skibo you come across as a smart man, do you think a brother and sister should be allowed to get married equality and all that, am sure there’s thousands of people who would if it becomes acceptable

  • Mark Petticrew

    Aye, that’s the short-sighted element of it. This action may well unite unionists under one political umbrella, but it isn’t going to expand the breadth of the umbrella itself into new territory.

  • Jollyraj

    The talks, eh?

    That’d be the talks in which….. SF are threatening to refuse to enter Stormont to form a government. Which is my point.

    Are you saying there is a story I’ve missed where SF have agreed to act like a normal party and form a government with the DUP led by the DUP’s choice of First Minister and a SF DFM? Please point it out. I promise to read it twice if you supply the link. Today, please.

  • Skibo

    JR that would be the talks where SF have taken up a negotiating position and are discussing it with all parties.
    Is the SOS still of the position where he will not release the information for legacy or where the DUP have stated there will be NO Irish Language Act.

  • grumpy oul man

    Well SF have not refused to enter goverment, all the DUP have to do is the decent thing.
    Arlene takes gardening leave and the DUP live up to their commitments under the St Andrews agreement.
    You alway seem to forget their is a SDLP this is why you should read some papers. It will get you out of the Pavlovian response of blaming the shinners on everything. And you might also realise that there are two nationlist parties who share a view on what has hapoened.
    Read this twice.

  • lizmcneill

    As LAD put it, “Vote till you boke!”

  • ScottishClive22

    What went Wrong: A Foster when wrong and too much hubris.

  • David Crookes

    DUP ASK CLAUDIA SCHIFFER TO REPLACE ARLENE FOSTER AS LEADER

    (Sorry, Jeffrey, I’m trying to catch a moderator’s eye.) Yesterday’s posting on the Orange card by Cathal McManus is being attacked by gremlins. Every time I try to open it, the whole site closes down. Furthermore, one comment has been under moderation for a very long time.

    * * * * * * *

    Now back to this thread. One thing that may have allowed what Jeffrey calls ‘stalemate’ to encompass us is the fact that things could have been much worse for the DUP.

    AE17 ought to have been the TUV’s election. We had the ultimate high priest of rectitude and integrity urging us all to ‘drain the swamp’. In the event, the TUV’s performance was abysmal, and the party of impeccable righteousness remains a one-man band.

    I wonder if the DUP xystarchs are saying to themselves, ‘At least we weren’t wounded on our right flank.’

  • Korhomme

    That’s no longer much of a reason. Today, you dispose of your property and wealth through a will or testament. You don’t have to be married to have kids who can inherit.

  • Skibo

    I would have concerns with that on a biological issue. Are you going to start a political policy demanding it?
    Perhaps following up from your previous point, are you looking for marriage between people and animals? I believe there are states in America where you can marry your horse!

  • Skibo

    I had heard that Ian Paisley spent his war years studying for the Ministry in Wales. Any truth in that?

  • Jollyraj

    “Arlene rake gardening leave”

    Hahaha that is a classic even for you 🙂

    Doing ‘the decent thing’ to you means allowing SF to nominate the DUP First Minister for them? Don’t be silly….

  • Jollyraj

    Haven’t they said they won’t form a government with the DUP if they appoint AF as First Minister – safe in the knowledge that that is almost a certainty.

    Sinn Fein clearly looking to ‘deliver’ Direct Rule from London for their beleagured voters. Quite a breathtaking contempt in that political bait-and-switch. Votail Michelle, getail Theresa May 🙂

  • Skibo

    JR that is not a certainty. The DUP have already set up Arlene in saying that it will be her decision and not a party decision.
    Anyway even if it is a red line, that does not say the don’t want devolution, it merely lays down one of the terms they would require for it to happen.

  • Skibo

    JR they are not saying who can be the FM but who is not acceptable as FM while the investigation on RHI is ongoing. Two different things.

  • Skibo

    But Jeffrey, SNP are not SF and SF are not SNP. Neither is Scotland NI. You are making comparisons where they are not factually correct.

  • Skibo

    Lucid talk were 100% correct on their poll predictions.
    They also poll support for reunification following Brexit to be 44%.

  • Jollyraj

    Do you have any objection to someone in one of the FMDFM roles who publicly endorses terrorism?

  • North Down dup

    44 percent amongst Catholic’s or overall

  • grumpy oul man

    Oh dear, you obviously dont understand how the system is supposedd to work you in the rest of the world when a minister is subject to a inquiry for whatever reason then they take gardening leave. Peter done it twice ( but then Peter knew what he was doing)
    Sf and the SDLP are both insisting on this and Alliance would prefer it( strange how you forget this) Arlene spends more time with her family and someone steps in to take her place(as she done for Peter) its a normal procedure in a Democracy.
    Of course unionists have a unique view of democracy.
    For whats it worth i think Arlene is guilty of nothing more than failing to keep her SPADS under control but nevertheless the proper procedures should be followed.
    Of course it might notbe a problem as Arlene didn’t rule it out in a interview during the week.
    I suspect some face saving device might be used, maybe another bout of manflu ( very handy for avoiding embarrassing questions in the past) might occur.
    And the heat (get heat, RHI) is off when the DUP agree to a ILA and other equality issues (same sex marriage. ) or the problem is also solved by direct rule until the enquiry is completed (assumuming Arlene is cleared) then can resume her post, which will be joint first minister.
    Read it twice.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    A comparison is neither fact nor fiction – it’s merely a comparison. I think it’s a valid comparison because the SNP has managed to adopt a clearly leftist/nationalist/socially liberal/pro-EU position and make it successful when SF hasn’t to such a great degree. That’s because the SF vote is delimited by its past and its sectarianism. SF has the same baggage as the DUP. It doesn’t have broad enough appeal ever to achieve all-community support.

  • 1729torus

    You need to adjust for the fact SF are only substantially fishing in at most half the electorate as of now.

    The SNP have both the Highland Vote and the urban working class Vote, which is split between SF and the DUP in NI to some degree.

  • mjh

    Sounds like you are describing South Down, Sharpie If so, that is another example of where many voters lost out on their opportunity to effect the outcome of the final seat by not exercising their option to vote down the list.

    You make an important point that the amount of transfers a candidate or party is able to attract is a critical factor to be taken into account when assessing electability. It is often neglected or inadequately analysed.

    However first preferences will always be the more critical factor for a candidate. Unless they receive enough of those they will not stay around long enough to benefit from many transfers.

    There is no way for a an elected candidate to work out how many more transfers they might have received. Although it would be possible to make some educated estimates, I’m not sure what use that information would be to them.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Indeed…that’s my point. The SNP, for all its faults, is not tainted by paramilitarism. There’s a significant percentage of the electorate (regardless of religion) who could never countenance voting SF even if they agreed with their policies. And, of course, there’s a large conservative (with a small c) cohort that does not agree with their policies either.

  • 1729torus

    As soon as the 2021 census came out, it would have been apparent to everyone just how badly the demographics had shifted. It would have been impossible for the DUP to stay in power forever without all the corruption rotting it to the point of implosion, like FF in RoI.

  • mac tire

    Recent Lucid Talk poll (December 2016) – 10% or so of Unionists would vote for a UI in the event of Brexit. And that is just with the decision, let alone the consequences.

  • hollandia

    In fairness ND, vote share “did not go up 10%”. Their vote rose by 10%. Their vote share was actually down, as almost everyone else’s vote went up. It’s a small, but important, distinction.

  • Sharpie

    The “surplus” transfers would surely indicate first where their potential expansion lies, secondly whether they have the potential for another quota with an extra candidate. In South Down (where I know some people, ahem) SF must be working out if they could eke out another seat. I imagine that a transfer can be potentially converted to a first preference – in some cases anyway.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    He was certainly of age to serve, and clearly did not join up. I’ve heard the “ministry” story also, and was told he attended the Barry School of Evangelism, a South Wales training school for conservative evangelism founded in 1936. Certainly, a year after the war’s end Paisley was acting as an evangelical pastor at what was then called the Ravenhill Evangelical Church, only setting up his “Wee Frees” in 1951 on a tide of an anti-liberal Presbyterian reaction to changes within Presbyterianism itself. A major influence on the growing Paisley was the Cavan born John William Nixon MBE, a friend of Paisley’s father and anecdotally the leader in the Cromwell Club in Belfast during the early 1920s.

  • North Down dup

    True

  • David Crookes

    That would be the ultimate act of infantility, and therefore it cannot be ruled out.

  • Croiteir

    What shifted was the changing stand of SF from ne of appeasement to oone of confrontation, the people had something to vote for.

  • Gavin Smithson

    One woof yes, two woofs no. Works for me 🙂

  • Gavin Smithson

    Absolutely.

  • Gavin Smithson

    Yes. My comment is under moderation since I edited it to insert a missing word which didn’t change the meaning of my post

  • mjh

    Wouldn’t argue with that, Sharpie. It would be an additional element for the party to put into their calculations.

    However converting voters from another party is difficult, takes time and the level of success is unpredictable. A well organised party like SF would put their primary campaigning effort into identifying those electors who are already favourable towards them and then getting them to actually vote. There would almost certainly be a higher and more predictable return from a given effort to improve turnout than from the same effort put into converting voters from another party.

  • AndyB

    Excellent post, but I want to disagree with the premise that faith should be personal.

    Because I’m a Christian, I want to see what I believe the Bible says would make Northern Ireland a better place in human terms. Fair wages, fair prices, fair reward for a good day’s work, opportunities for people to give and be their best. Social justice is massive in the Bible, and could probably be summed up as not letting your own “rights” trump those of others – putting others first. At the very minimum, the liberal ideal of freedom as long as your freedom doesn’t take away from the freedom of others to do equally lawful things.

    However, that is limited by what we can persuade Society at large to be a good thing. A lot of people like their money a bit too much to support ideals such as paying more than the minimum wage and recognising excellence properly.

    Beyond that, religious freedom so that Christians and others can worship freely and preach publicly (much as I think street preaching isn’t exactly effective!), and good governance that doesn’t waste money on pointless duplication.

    Then you get to things like equal marriage, where I ask three questions, and I have to confess to a little whataboutery in the first. Why does the church say so much about homosexuality and so little about greed? Which affects more people? The second question is the “what harm?” question – and one which the Irish people fairly emphatically answered in their referendum.

    The third one is the most serious one. Since when was gay people getting married the biggest threat to traditional marriage? Has abuse of husbands and wives suddenly stopped? The biggest threat to marriage remains men and women who cannot keep their vows to love their spouses properly.

    Perhaps it comes down to one thing. Christians cannot make non-Christians do what is in the Bible. To a non-Christian, the Bible is no more than the holy book of a faith they do not share.

    The Bible is an awful lot more to me, but then again I’m a Christian. I want to see more people coming to know Jesus, but in the mean time, why should a non-Christian do what I say just because it says so in the holy book of my faith?

    And so… I’m a Christian, whose faith definitely makes my politics. My powers in the public arena are strictly limited to persuading society at large that they should support the social policies I support for their own reasons.

  • hollandia

    They can’t retract. They’ve one eye on SF in the south, and standing aside would mark them as cowards. That said, the expected electoral kicking they’d receive would also allow SF bragging rights next time they get all moral about the North.

  • David Crookes

    Must have been the quare word, Gavin!

    I still can’t get Cathal’s thread to stay open for more than a few seconds.

    It has to be a conspiracy…..

  • David Crookes

    A real contest always says something about the political virility of a party.

    By contrast, a unanimous grinfest suggests a paucity of leadership material.

    One argument that I hear for keeping Mrs Foster as leader is based on the question, ‘Who else is there?’.

  • johnny lately

    Change to another internet browser David.

  • mjh

    By the way, an analysis of the first preferences and transfers will have already told SF that if there were to be another election this year they could run three candidates in South Down without any risk. On last week’s vote they would still only win two seats, but with half-way reasonable balancing this would stop the transfers which gave the SDLP their second seat. However SF would need to take nearly a third of the SDLP first preference vote to be confident of taking a third seat for themselves.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks a lot, Johnny. I’ll get a younger member of the clan, who will understand your advice, to do the needful.

  • Reader

    mjh: So if your first preference is eliminated on the first round, your second preference was over quota on the first round
    I don’t think both events can happen in the first round – no one is eliminated until the first round surpluses are distributed.

  • Mark Petticrew

    That’s the one thing making me think otherwise, for it’d be a bit of a humiliating climb down to pull out of standing, especially as we edge month by month that bit closer to 2019.

    Unless they start developing a more public presence and promoting a few Fianna Fáil profiles in whatever council areas they’re targeting, I can’t see their venture north being a particularly successful one.

  • burnboilerburn

    Jeff there are a few differences not least the glaring fact that the SNP has been the only real party for Scottish Nationalism while here we effectively have three now. SF, SDLP, PBP with a combined vote share of 42%.

    Scottish Nationalism has been met with a Scottish Unionism which is proud of its Scottish identity too, even if it wants to remain in hok to London. Irish Unionism has no similar irish pride. Irish identity is anathema to Irish Unionism.

    Scottish Nationalists were not terrorised by their state sparking a conflict between two ethnic groups. As such there is no seige mentality where Scottish Unionists feel obliged to bludgeon their neighbour.

    Apples and Oranges dear boy.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    These aren’t glaring differences at all. The SNP and SF had exactly the same share of the vote back in 2003 despite the competition. The SNP is the only Nat party in Scotland but SF is the only Republican party here. The SNP faced competition from Labour just as SF faced competition from the SDLP. The SNP grew its vote, SF didn’t much.

    Your criticisms of Unionism are irrelevant for me – I’m not a Unionist (although I am pro-Union).

  • Jeffrey Peel

    So democracy must be annoying for you…the fact that so many people love living here and are perfectly happy with being part of the UK and so very close to our good friends in the Republic. As for history…it may not have been kind but the future, hopefully, will be.

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    20,500 votes wasted on TUV….what a friend SF have in Jim Allister.