And So…South Belfast?

This is not a return to Blogging. I just cant be arsed anymore. There is a lot of stuff that I just cant be arsed about. Coronation Street, Manchester United and Politics just dont interest me anymore.

I believed in Ireland. I still do. But it is harder. I believed in GOD. I still do. But it is harder.

I was 18 when I voted in 1970. I have voted in every Westminster election since…except i spoiled my vote, rather than vote for Bobby Sands in 1981. I have consistently voted SDLP or Sinn Féin since. I will not be voting on 8th June. David Simpson (DUP) will be re-elected. Sinn Féin will posture that every nationalist can rally round their candidate and win Upper Bann. They have peddled the same lie in 2010 and 2015. Sinn Féin may be committed to a united Ireland. But I have no time for them. Charlatans.

This is a campaign in which I wont be involved. But I hope that SDLP retain their three seats and make some inroads in other places. It reminds me a little of the time when DUP and UUP resigned their Westminster seats to contest bye-elections in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement. They actually lost Newry-Armagh to SDLP. In the majority of cases in June, there is no real point in voting but obviously in a few places, it can be crucial.

South Belfast? I like Alasdair McDonnell. Despised by the Media of course and the Belfast-based Twitterati and the BLogosphere. Will he be the victim of one last conspiracy?

A diverse constituency, he has done well to hold it. Not least because of a fifth column of anti-Al conspirators within SDLP. There is a genuine threat but Id argue that the March Assembly results do not translate into Westminster, three months later.

So….will there be a contested Selection Conference in South Belfast? Will Claire Hanna throw her Easter bonnet into the Ring?

In basic terms, Al might not be charismatic but he can claim that he has actually delivered against the odds when his SDLP rivals cant. Whatever his shortcomings, I think the SDLP faithful are a bit pissed off with his critics.

The prize is a big one. Holding South Belfast extends the mandate until 2022. The constituency was not going to exist beyond 2020.

SDLP might just be catching another break in 2017.

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20 Responses to And So…South Belfast?

  1. boondock says:

    If UUP and Dup both stand then he should be fine as Mon is now an MLA (or is he?) I cant see any other SF candidate pulling in 6-7000 votes here and some Green and Alliance votes may come back to Al to keep the DUP out. A unionist pact though and he is toast unless SF and SDLP can agree on this anti brexit alliance. Quite frankly I was looking forward to a general election on the new boundaries which seriously favour nationalism so this snap election just puts that off for another couple of years and I can actually see Unionist doing Ok this time giving them one last cheer before the inevitable tipping point.

  2. Political Tourist says:

    I’m trying to work out where the SDLP go from here since the John Hume Europe of the Regions EU project is dead in the water.

  3. boondock says:

    Greens seem quite keen on a pact or at least willing to listen which is a slightly more mature approach than Long dismissing it as another sectarian pact.

  4. WilliamMcGowan says:

    Rumours have it that Mike Nesbit will get a free run for the UUP in South Belfast (despite the DUP being well ahead in this constituency in recent years) If this is true, Nesbitt will play well with liberal unionists and non-aligned voters but he won’t go down as well with the local DUP Party and voters, some of whom would have been looking forward to a Christopher Stalford candidacy and who might choose now to stay away from the polls altogether.
    With Alliance also likely to stand (which will hurt Nesbitt more here) Allistair McDonnell will need both SF and the Greens to stand aside to have any chance of retaining his seat. Even with this he will still need to pick up a healthy chunk of their vote to win, which is a lot easier said than done when relying on many different individuals to lend you their vote.

  5. boondock says:

    In 2010 he got 14000 votes when SF pulled out, Anything near that this time and he will walk it. Unfortunately McDonnell’s popularity has fallen off a cliff so lets wait and see.

  6. SDLP activist - North Down says:

    Long time fan of Alisdair McDonnell here. Hoping for him.

    Shame also that Alex Attwood has gone – he was a very good SDLP MLA and a loss for West Belfast.

  7. boondock says:

    McDonnell should be comfortable and in the past has built up a broad coalition of supporters but he has annoyed many over the years with his antics. His stance on pacts will have lost him many borrowed SF votes and with the SF vote also slowly increasing year on year fewer voters are likely to switch if they sense an outside chance. He should have just ignored the Green parties recent slur against him which was pretty appalling but they do get several thousand votes many of whom again are likley to switch to keep DUP out. What will save him is the DUP are pretty toxic to a number of Unionists here and the UUP are finished. Alliance has been growing but their recent attack on the Green party and SDLP over sectarian pacts will probably hurt them here so I expect the Dr to hold on just. Its almost a shame this constituency will be gone next time as it will be close and exciting.

    • Vince says:

      Going to be tight. Alasdair McDonnell did remarkably well to get this seat in 2005 and held on in the face of a fairly despicable campaign against him by SF in 2015. If there is a Unionist agreed candidate then I think the seat is gone. If not, still marginal, but think he will shade it. There is a certain grumpiness about him but he has spunk and takes unfair abuse – the comments by the Greens about his pro-life stance are just alarming. Previously they would have got 2nd/3rd preferences from me in PR elections. Never again. Their single campaigning issue seems to be regarding abortion as a form of contraception up to the point of birth.

      • SDLP activist - North Down says:

        Alisdair is a great guy and gets my respect – he put down a lot of the spadework that helped the SDLP that the most recent Assembly Elections.

  8. Vince says:

    Agree. Have a lot of respect for Alasdair McDonnell. Was of huge help a few years go in securing an important public service that benefits people in need across the whole community and region.

  9. SDLP activist - North Down says:

    News: the UUP and DUP have decided not to have a pact in this constituency. In fact I think that is a good decision for all the parties. And I think Alasdair now has a very good chance.

  10. Vince says:

    Fitz, are you gonna make a short comeback for the next 4 weeks?

  11. Vince says:

    Fitz, just 3 weeks to go. How about that comeback. Miss your analysis.

  12. Political Tourist says:

    After the remark about Bobby Sands maybe best FJH called it quits.
    That probably said all there is to know about his politics.
    Enjoyed the history though.
    Could take or leave the narky Belfast stuff.

    • SDLP activist - North Down says:

      Why? His positions are in my opinion entirely honourable. And honest. There is no need for him or the SDLP to call it quits. Quite the contrary.

  13. Political Tourist says:

    Europe of the Regions?
    What border?
    Could always rename the SDLP the “We’re nice Catholics and not the Provos”
    Killed by Brexit.

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