Assembly Election 2017: East Belfast

The key difference between Assembly 2016 and Assembly 2017 is that only five MLAs will be elected from each constituncy. For at least eighteen MLAs and their staff, this election has come four years too early.
The percentage of votes required to get elected…the quota…will be higher but I am not thinking in terms of percentages. Rather I am thinking in terms of votes cast in May last year and the number of votes likely to be cast this year.
Too often …analysts with some justification …focus on the statistics of elections. Arguably this one is different. There might actually be Politics involved.

So East Belfast.
May 2016: Quota 5311
DUP (3 seats) 13647
Alliance (2 seats) 10659
UUP (1 seat) 4142
Others: Green 2185, PUP 1772, SF 946, TUV 887, UKIP 631, Lab 517, Tory 471, SDLP 141, Lab (again!) 78,
Independent 1100.

2017 Candidates:
DUP: Robin Newton, Joanne Bunting, David Douglas,
Newton (The Speaker) and Bunting are outgoing and Douglas replaces his father.
Alliance: Naomi Long, Chris Lyttje
Both are outgoing. Alliance had a third runner in 2016.
Andy Allen.
Outgoing. Two runners last time.
Green: Georgina Milne.
PUP: John Kyle.
Sinn Féin: Mairead O’Donnell.
TUV: Andrew Girvan.
Tory: Sheila Bodel.
Some Kinda Labour: Courtney Robinson.
SDLP: Seamus de Faoite.
Independent: J McKeag
Likely Turnout.
There are three scenarios.
People will be so disgusted at Stormont itself, that they just dont come out.
They are so disgusted at DUP-Sinn Féin, they will turn out.
DUP and Sinn Féin will play the bogey man card and people do turn out.

My gut feeling is that this election is a little like the 1998 Referendum on the Good Friday Agreement. Unlikely people will vote.
I am guessing at 38,000 valid votes and a quota of around 6,300 plus.
Question 1….will DUP vote go up or down? I dont think that RHI will play well in East Belfast…not a big place for chickens. So I would say DUP vote will go down….12,000 maybe.
Alliance….up or down? Well Greens had targeted a seat here but Ross Brown leaving the local scene and just five seats this time…Id say Alliance will gain some votes. Again 12,000 maybe.
This means that with DUP and Alliance on just about two quotas, they are safe for two seats.
UUP….up or down? I cant see any more than 5,000 and thats still a way off quota. The candidate will need transfers.
TUV will go up in votes. No UKIP this time….up to 2,000 votes there.
PUP again might get 2,000.

My mate Seamus and Courtney Robinson will transfer into the middle ground as will the latest O’Donnell from Short Strand.
The Tory will transfer to mostly UUP.
A lot depends on whether TUV or PUP hold their votes and attract transfers. Who will be eliminated first. If DUP are “balanced” they wont be elected early. Indeed Alliance might have their two home first.
Which DUP people are elected will be determined by Girvin and Kyle.

My prediction. DUP 2: Alliance 2: UUP 1:

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19 Responses to Assembly Election 2017: East Belfast

  1. FJH,

    Sounds plausible.

    Cant get much interest going in this election. I’m beginning to think apathy is quite a good option/choice.

  2. Wolfe tone says:

    If I were one of these MLA’s whose seat is under pressure I would take the bull by the horns and find out the identities of some of the people that benefitted from the RHI scam and name them under ‘parliamentary privilege’. Nothing to lose and possibly everything to gain.

    • SDLP activist - North Down says:

      You can’t do that unless the house is sitting. Also some people took advantage of the scheme legitimately. The real people in the wrong are the politicians. You can blame the Civil Servants too but ultimately the buck stops with Arlene Foster in my opinion as she was the relevant minister at the time. The focus should be on her real and serious failings, while not going so hard that it seems like its opportunistic personal abuse (which could generate sympathy for her strangely).

      • Wolfe tone says:

        Ah well no option then other than to try the big house in London? At least make use of it. The haste and speed in which court injunctions were produced really does suggest that there could be a few telling clients on the list.

      • The news today that the RHI scheme was used by “dormant” companies is amazing.

      • I dont think that there would be much sympathy.
        Obviously DUP will circle the wagons but there is a balance of probability that (say) six DUP MLAs will be out of a job…plus their staff (and as I understand it from the Register of Interest June 2016) that includes some family members.
        No ….if they are chucked out of office before the date they expected….they wont forgive Arlene.

    • The Assembly is closed down so I dont think they can say anything. Id take the risk anyway.

  3. Wolfe tone says:

    The SDLP has taken a gamble saddling up to the UUP. SF are taking a gamble basing this election on being ‘fed up’ with intransigent and bigoted unionism. They may pray that those of a nationalist persuasion buy it. Personally I don’t. If nationalist turnout drops further then both parties will be in a panic. The game could be up?

    • I certainly wont give any preference to any UUP person.
      Two reasons …UUP does not represent any of my ideals or interests. And to me it is still a toxic anti-Catholic and anti-nationalist Party.
      I dont know if anyone has spotted that this has been tried before….1969 O’Neill and 1973 Faulkner.
      Nesbitt has as much understanding of Catholics as O’Neill and Faulkner.
      Of course back in 1969, there were decent unionists …Phelim O’Neill for example….or in 1973 there were decent unionists like McIvor.
      But now as then, there are still too many bigots.
      So they wont get any preference from me.
      From a SDLP perspective this is four years too soon. Nesbitt overstated the “co-operation” as almost a pact.
      It cant be sold to nationalists like that.
      As I always say….it is a bad idea to recommend transfer to another party. It is simply divisive.
      It is hard to convince a voter to vote for one party, but impossible to convince them to vote for two parties.

    • Vince says:

      In fairness to Eastwood he has simply asked for voters to give preferences to those who can effect change. After 10 years of DUP/SF effectively being in charge (a long time in politics) that seems a reasonable request. There will always be a least worst option. It could stop additional DUP seats in places like North Antrim, Strangford, East Belfast etc. Surely a good thing given the incompetence, bitterness, cover-up and corruption inherent in their recent behaviour.

      • It is all he can do.
        For as long as I have been voting in PR elections (1973), the formula for most parties is “vote for us….and then in order of your preference”.
        I think Gerry Adams is on record as saying that he would not give a preference to SDLP. And Barry McElduff (also of SF) has said that he votes for nationalists.
        I think UUP and SDLP are two very different parties.
        The SDLP has a proud record of anti-sectarianism. UUP does not. I wouldnt look at them.

  4. hoboroad says:

    What is the name ofthis English Organisation that gave the DUP 250,000 pounds?

  5. SDLP activist - North Down says:

    Good to see Seamas standing he’s a good guy.

  6. Vince says:

    Fitz, re your comment on G Adams – very true. He refused to recommend 2nd preferences for the SDLP candidates in European elections.

    • Yes….in part there is a difference between party activists and party voters.
      It is more likely that a regular punter in (say) Warrenpoint will transfer between Sinn Féin and SDLP and vice versa but a committed member of a Party who lives and breathes Politics on a daily basis would not want to promote a rival.
      And really Mike Nesbitt cant deliver his own Party to transfer to SDLP. If he cant do that he has no prospect of getting ordinary UUP voters to do it.

  7. hoboroad says:

    The Democratic Unionist Party has confirmed that it received £425,000 from a group of business people led by a Scottish Conservative party member and passed it on to help fund the UK pro-Brexit campaign.

    The money was used to help finance an advertising campaign in Britain during the EU referendum.

    The money was given to the DUP by the Constitutional Research Council, which is chaired by Richard Cook, a former vice chairman of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

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