I kinda like Barry McElduff, one of three Sinn Féin MLAs in West Tyrone. Some people think he is a buffoon but I think he just acts like a buffoon. This is often the case with people who are self-deprecating and who dont take themselves seriously. The problem in Politics is that if you dont take yourself seriously, nobody else will.
So Barry McElduff…now the senior of his three Sinn Féin colleagues …is the destined to be the “class clown” on the SF benches. But he is the least likely of any Sinn Féin MLA to getany kinda Ministerial post. In some ways …thats a pity….but the rewards for being the stand-up comedian in Sinn Féin is exactly the same as any other post…”the average industrial wage”.
Usually, Barry McElduff is fully aware of his role in politics/entertainment.
So…nice to see him give an unwitting performance.
He sent out a circular to a thousand constituents in part of his constituency, pledging to fight “Tory cuts” and noting how the budgets of local services were under pressure.
Few would disagree with him.
The problem was that Barry claimrd £900 in postage costs from the hard-pressed Taxpayer. He has had to pay it all back.
Oops. Frankly no big deal in many respects. The expenses claimed by or for Sinn Féin MLAs have come under acrutiny before.
But it is embarrassing. Obviously, it is in the interests of Sinn Féin spinners to say “nothing to see here….please go home”. And obviously its in the interests of opponents of Sinn Féin to highliight the the case and to make the most of the embarrassment to Barry and his Party.
i think there is a deeper issue. Usually Sinn Féin can deflect criticism. They are held to a low standard and their publicity machine can go quickly into top gear. But to me, it is yet another sign that Sinn Féin have lost their touch.
Sinn Féin have stopped being lucky…all the time. Like the Welfare issue itself and the over-reaction to people daring to protest the decisions, there is a hint of a Party that is wounded.
It comes at a time when SDLP has made itself more relevant tnan at any time in recent years. SDLP seem to have a degree of momentum.
Today, it is Barry McElduff’s turn to take the Sinn Féin pup for a walk.
Maybe this is why non unionists in big numbers have stopped voting.
I think “non voting” in nationalist communities is for two reasons.
One is the sheer pettiness of northern politics.
And the second is that the five party coalition means that it cant realistically be changed.
The phrase I hear most often is “does it matter?”
Sinn Fein are doing exceptionally well in the polls.
The opinion polls.sf look set to increase representatives in dail and stormont come June 2016, expect SF to add seats in upper ban and derry
i live in Upper Bann… I know more about it than you do.
I hear SF should pick up a seat from SDLP in upper bann
And where do you hear this?
Sinn Féin have a reputation for talking themselves up in Upper Bann.
Some would say they lie thru their teeth.
Earlier this year they “predicted” that they would take the Westminster seat. How did that work out?
In 2011 (BEFORE I re-joined SDLP) they tried the same trick.
They managed to lie out of both sides of their mouth.
Firstly they put banners up in Lurgan (near Tesco) confidently “predicting” that nationalists would take three seats.
On some doorsteps they appealed for a vote for Johnny McGibbon on the basis that Dolores Kelly (SDLP) and John O’Dowd were both safe.
On other doorsteps they said that Dolores Kelly was “toast”.
Now …to recap…in May 2015….Sinn Féin talked up Upper Bann AND North Belfast.
They actually under-performed.
And just to emphasise….SF LOST Fermanagh-South Tyrone.
There was a unionist pack in Fermanagh s Tyrone, the SDLP refused to stand aside which resulted in a unionist getting the seat.
I deplore electoral pacts.
They are undemocratic.
Not sure this will damage Barry who has a good reputation as a politician fighting for the people of West Tyrone.
Yes thats his job But then selling out on Welfare and Republicanism is hardly a good job.
But thinking that the public owed him money he was not entitled is a poor reflection on the “average industrial wage” nonsense.
By the way this is indeed a little difficulty, as compared to the SDLP difficulties in same constituency down the years and right up to the present. A fair. Point I think by me.
And one which I have addressed.
Any reasonable person might say that SDLP have turned a corner in West Tyrone.
The rise and rise of Sinn Fèin is not as inevitable as they pretend.