The selection of yet another graduate from the SDLP Youth team to fight the Westminster Election is both welcome and interesting.
A declaration of interest here. I know and like Malachy Quinn. I first met him during the 2011 Assembly Campaign (a hustings event). And in July 2011, he was a contributor in a SDLP-UUP Debate on the GAA and Orange Order. Indeed after that event in East Belfast UUP building, he drove me to to the train station. So I have always been impressed that he was one of the leading figures within the SDLP Youth Group. I suppose the real test of a young politician is that you forget they are young. If you listen to a speech and think “that was good” instead of “that was good…for a youngster” then the politician has a certain talent that needs to be nurtured.
I wrote last week that this was the moment that the SDLP Youth needed to be given its head and take a leading role in the Westminster Campaign. I am therefore delighted that Malachy was chosen last night to represent the SDLP in Mid Ulster. It is a great choice.
Malachy is already a councillor, elected last year for theTorrent (Coalisland) DEA to the new Mid Ulster “Super Council”. He was on the SDLP platform that read thru the Collusion Report (of the Pat Finnucane Centre)….two Coalisland SDLP members, Mr and Mrs Devlin were murdered by rogue UDR elements. And already pioneered Living Wage acceptance thru the new Mid Ulster District Council.
There is however a lazy narrative that SDLP is male and elderly. Last years Council Elections went some way to disproving it with around forty per cent of elected SDLP councillors being women.
Sinn Féin, of course dont go to Westminster if elected but it increasingly looks like a retirement home for SF MLAs who are being sidelined.
So Malachy Quinn is I guess about 28 years old. But in Mid Ulster, he takes on Francie Molloy (Sinn Fein 64). In Armagh-Newry, Justin McNulty (39) takes on Mickey Brady (Sinn Féin 63) and in West Tyrone, Daniel Wray McCrossan (26) takes on Pat Doherty (Sinn Féin 70).
So I wish my friend well in Mid Ulster. Malachy has only one flaw….he supports ….Liverpool.
This is good forward planning.
SDLP showing good strategic nous selecting candidates who are young and can become better known to electorate before the 2016 election.
Do you know who has been selected for West Belfast? It might make sense to select someone who can then be Alex’s running mate in 2016.
As far as I know, West Belfast is still not selected.Also North Antrim, North Belfast, East Derry, Strangford, North Down ad East Belfast.
As far as I know it is 11 selected and 7 to go.
4 of the 11 are women.
So definitely more youth and women to come. ANd probably some old faces also.
Getting people known before 2016 is important. But SF and anti-SDLP message boards like Slugger O’Toole and politics.ie will probably say they are “inexperienced”.
West Belfast….it might be a brave choice or a safe choice.
Efectively the Party has limited choices in Strangford, East Be,fast and North Down so there is likely an opportunity there for a new face from a nearby constituency or an experienced person.
With 40 per cent of councillors being women, Id expect that there will be at least seven standing in May.
Its NOT a quota but clearly women (two from fourteen) are under-represented in Assembly.
Hopefully female candidates in winnable seats to follow.
Well….I think so.
The candidate in South Antrim is Rosisin Lynch and there will be a push to bring that seat back in 2016.
Margaret Anne McKillop is in Esst Antrim and thats a harder task so interesting to see if she will outvote SF who hold a seat.
North Belfast may not suit Nichola Mallon in 2015 (it would be difficult to be a Mayor of Belfast during campaign).
East Derry…if the candidate isnt John Dallat, Id guess a woman (theres some good choices in East Derry).
North Antrim….no idea.
But Strangford (SDLP hostorically under performs here) North Down, East Belfast….These are small branches and it may be difficult to get someone locally to “go public” which means the candidate could be someone who is established or a young person who will carry the banner.
East Antrim is interesting – SF are not as strong as they like to think they are. Margaret Anne is of course and ex SF councillor. Is she the only person to successfully keep her seat on a council after swapping from SF to SDLP?
I have heard good things about her. The head to head with McMullan will be interesting. He is in his 60s also.
I would have thought D O’Loan a natural choice for North Antrim as he was successful for the SDLP in standing in one of the new Super Councils in that area.
Declan O’Loan is still the best known SDLP person in North Antrim. But it might be good to think in terms of 2016.
On a purely personal view, I think there is an ideal person who should be on the ballot paper.
The last few elections I keep thinking the SDLP have bottomed out and are about to start making some gains and every time I am disappointed with the results. I know in the last council elections you tried to put a positive spin on things but the vote % still went down and Attwood in the Euros was even further away from taking the 3rd seat than Alban was 5 years earlier. This time round despite the Dr making a bit of a mess of things every time he opens his mouth I still think the 3 seats are very safe. I also believe we will see improvement in the SDLP vote share in a number of constituencies such as MidUlster and Newry and Armagh with only FST and North Belfast resulting in further squeeze for obvious reasons. Its good to see the SDLP giving some new faces a go and will give them a good foundation for 2016. Roll on the election and I hope my predictions dont look daft on Friday 8th of May
By nature I am a pessimist.
In an Election Campaign, everybody involved in a Party is optimistic.
I think the Council Elections was neither good or bad…(it was patchy). Derry andBelfast Councils were not good at all. But I think Slugger in particular, played up the negativity mostly because the people who write on Slugger couldnt find their way out of South Belfast with a satellite system.
Just two nights ago, David McCann was spoofing about hashtags and covering the Election thru Twitter.
And thats treating Politics as a spectator sport. Nobody can watch football on Twitter. So McCanns interest in politics is a form of voyeurism. He is not gonna get out there and try and change his little part of the world…merely observe others in seven parties who at least try.
I honestly dont think that the 2014 Election was as bad as Slugger or poiltics.ie contributors claimed.
The bottom line as Whyte pointed out was SDLP lost 1 seat, Alliance lost 2, SF 3…..and I take your point on percentages and Europe (that was a concern).
To some extent this Blog is reputed to be independently SDLP leaning. But obviously in an Election campaign, I will be more guarded. I think I have always made that clear.
So obviously the next 11 weeks, I will br guarded.
One thing I said nearly two years ago was that everything within SDLP is about 2016 and that the three elections in three years….2014, 2015, 2016 are in the right order. Things did not get worse in 2014. Id like to see evidence of turning it around in 2015…. A lot depends on who actually is standing for other parties eg North Belfast will be a squeeze and presumably with Fermanagh South Tyrone, there will be a squeeze if there is a Unionist Unity candidate. A truer picture would emerge if there is two unionists.
Likewise South Belfast. Id be pessimistic that there will be one unionists…and lets be honest, SF and Green and Alliance (a poor candidate) would love to see SDLP beaten.
I think the story of 2014 was that SDLP had patched up problems in SOME places and work still to be done in other areas. Its ongoing.