It was of course a two-horse race. Right and proper that other parties stood. Democracy is about Choice. The political parties can choose to stand. The Voters (and it is about the Voters) have the choice to vote or not to vote.
When I went into the Kings Hall for four Belfast Counts it was about 10.30pm. At that stage, ballots were still in the boxes but there were folks from DUP and Alliance around. The clue was their attitude. For both, it was “wait and see” but DUP seemed to think the glass was “half full” and Alliance seemed to think that the glass was “half-empty”. One Alliance member was pretty candid. Naomi Long had lost.
Thru the night, there was some talk that a “box” had been good for one or the other. But there was never any real feeling that it would be on a knife-edge.
It is a funny thing. Everything seemed very civilised. But all turned a bit nasty with the Declaration. Much has been made of the lack of grace in Gavin Robinson’s speech. Most DUP workers were just too triumphalist. There were honourable exceptions.
Beneath the veneer of nice dark suits and well groomed hair…the preppiness, the look of young Christians, the DUP youth are extremely nasty.
Most people from other parties…SDLP and Alliance near me were just shaking their heads.
Anything in the air for for 2016? Well LetsGetAlongerists are spreading the notion that it is a simple 3-3 split between DUP and Alliance.
But this.azy narrative takes no account of the Pact between DUP, UUP, TUV and other loyalist fringe. Nor does it take account of Alliance appealing for other parties to lend votes. Surely these are votes that the highly moral Alliance Party intend to repay?
I prefer to think of it as a certain two for DUP and Alliance. Both would be foolish to think a third seat is inevitable. Other results showed that the UUP is in a revival and there is I think enough elbow room between DUP and Alliance for UUP to hold their seat.
The sixth seat? It all depends on where the surplus and transferred votes go. The Green Party, TUV, DUP and Alliance will all be in the mix.