Two Gallants

This week a messianic nationalist party of still dubious respectability came within 600 by-election votes of cementing beyond doubt its credentials as the main electoral threat to the senior coalition partner.

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Born and live in London, brought up in Dublin, roots in East Belfast. Occasional blogging at and far more frequent tweets at

An Ynys Môn by-election – a psephologist’s dream.

Tomorrow sees an Assembly by-election in Ynys Môn as Ieuan Wyn Jones seeks pastures new. (from the BBC). I won’t dream of predicting the result as Anglesey people taught thrawn to you lot… There’s only one rule that the islanders follow. Once elected you only lose by retiring, dying or being thrown in clink…. Here’s the list of UK Parliament MPS since the war: 1929 – 51 Megan Lloyd George Liberal 1951 – 1979 Cledwyn Hughes Labour (the exception to … Read more

SDLP chooses Patsy McGlone to contest Mid Ulster…

This is worth noting since it’s a smart choice. And the SDLP have not been known for those in recent years. McGlone has a sound rural base of voters, and a decent local machine. You can almost certainly rule out a win against SF veteran Francie Molloy. In the last Assembly elections Sinn Fein’s team scooped 50% to the SDLP’s 15%. That’s roughly in line with the last Westminster elections. McGlone may see a decent improvement in that relative performance, … Read more

McGuinness follows Adams to become Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead

Updated with a photo of the letter. Six a half months after announcing that he would resign as MP for Mid-Ulster to concentrate on being deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness today finally announced that he’d sent his letter to the Commons to kick of the process. Back in January 2011, Gerry Adams was disqualified as a Member of Parliament when the Chancellor of the Exchequer appointed him as “Steward and Bailiff of Her Majesty’s Manor of Northstead in the county … Read more

And the #belw11 winners were … Paul Maskey (26% of the electorate) and the EONI (165 minutes)

Paul Maskey blowing out candles on a muffin - it's his birthday

It was going to be hard for either of them to trip up. Paul Maskey’s coronation to continue Sinn Fein’s reign in West Belfast would have required some kind of enormous scandal to have brewed up earlier this week to spoil his chances – and even the ongoing, rumbling Mary McArdle story wasn’t enough to do that. The Electoral Office wanted a slick, faster-than-expected result to cancel out some of the bad publicity surrounding the referendum and Assembly election counts … Read more

The small matter of a Belfast West by-election #belw11 … and two questions

It’s difficult to get excited about the Westminster by-election. Polling stations have been open again across West Belfast for the second time in five weeks. This time, it’s a simple one-ballot first past the post election to see who will replace Gerry Adams TD in Westminster. The count will start soon after 10pm in the Kings Hall, with boxes verified as they start to arrive from across the constituency. It struck me this morning that where else in the UK … Read more

It’s all happening in Scotland..

Excellent stuff from Alan Trench in the Scotsman It’s difficult to choose specific quotes so read the lot….How the SNP are strategising for independence. And in the here and now: (from the BBC) A by-election In Inverclyde on June 30. I thought Labour might let things cool down a bit before calling this. (Held the nearest comparable SP seat by 511 votes only). “Labour previously said a 30 June date was “unlikely”. The party said last week it was keen … Read more

Donegal SW: Runners and (expected) riders…

So today the Irish government will move the writ for the Donegal SW. Wikipedia already has a page up and ready to go, with three candidates already named and ready to go: Frank McBrearty for Labour, Pearse Doherty for Sinn Fein and Barry O’Neill for Fine Gael. Its widely expected that the Fianna Fail candidate will be Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill, when the party gets around to holding its convention. In terms of choosing winners, keep your money in your … Read more