So Euros…How Was It For You?

The Euro Campaign is over. I have not blogged much. Too busy on Slugger with the usual regiment of Sinn Féin bots and Alliance Party trolls.

I have been in Coalisland, Dungannon, Carrickfergus and spent a few hours in Derry yesterday (polling day). And I spent an afternoon last week on the Eastwood Express. And of course I was getting a few messages from SDLP friends.

I voted SDLP. I did not give a second preference to anyone.

I am not optimistic. We needed a good turnout. SDLP canvassers told me that supporters who can be guaranteed to be early voters or school-run voters or lunch-time voters had not been seen.

Maybe there was just no enthusiasm to vote for representatives who will only be in a parliament for a matter of months.

Obviously I can only vote SDLP. To be fair they had a good campaign. And could credibly campaign on the basis that they were the most committed Remainers.

No second preference?

No …not this time. I am a nationalist, a republican, a socialist. Naturally I express my preferences along those lines. In the locals, it was 1 SDLP 2 Aountu and 3 Sinn Féin.

In this election, I did not give a preference to Sinn Féin. They don’t need it. Martina Anderson will be near the quota or maybe over it. Likewise DUP.

The conventional wisdom is that UUP, SDLP and Alliance are in contention for the third (final) seat. So when DUP and SF are elected and the minor parties eliminated, it is likely that the transfers will be added to the first preference votes for the three parties left in.

The final seat will be determined without reaching the quota.

It boils down to……..3 Alliance… 4 SDLP… 5 UUP (and elimination of UUP electing Alliance) or 3 Alliance ….4 UUP….5 SDLP (and elimination of SDLP electing Alliance)  or 3 SDLP…4 Alliance …5 UUP (and elimination of UUP electing Alliance) or 3 SDLP …4 UUP  …5 Alliance(and elimination of Alliance electing SDLP) or 3 UUP …4 SDLP….5 Alliance (and elimination of Alliance electing SDLP) or 3  UUP ….4 Alliance….5 SDLP (and elimination of SDLP electing Alliance).

In other words, Alliance has more paths to the third seat than SDLP. Maybe SDLP will pick up transfers to add to their first preferences. But if the three parties are as close as expected, SDLP need Alliance to be the fifth party. I just cant see that.

To their credit, SDLP don’t play the “green card” and have urged transfers to pro-EU candidates.

Sinn Féin ARE the “green card” but their position on transfers is odd. You might think that they would like to see a good “nationalist” total but according to Lucid Talk poll, committed Shinners are transferring to Alliance. The SF bots on Slugger O’Toole are also seemingly transferring to Alliance.

My local SF canvasser…admittedly very young asked me to vote Sinn Féin but I said that I could not do so as I am a committed SDLP voter and his Party was advocating transfers to Alliance. Why should I give a second preference to Sinn Féin.

He said that transferring to Alliance was not SF policy…but admitted that he personally giving his #2 to Alliance as it is “progressive”. When I pointed out that Trevor Lunn, Stewart Dickson, Kieran McCarthy were not notably “progressive”, he quite credibly said his transfer was to Naomi Long. Fair enough.

We did have some repartee around his belief that the Irish National Flag is green, white and gold….accounting for the not-too- subtle “yellow” (Alliance colour) on his leaflet. Article 7 of the Irish constitution notes that the Flag is “green, white and orange” and when I pointed this out, the canvasser said “well it used to be green, white and gold”. Even a young Sinn Féin canvasser should know this stuff.

But…the lesson here is …don’t get angry and post about this on Slugger. Like I say, the guy was young.

An interesting anecdote from polling day outside a polling station. A Sinn Féin canvasser handing out a leaflet “you know its 1, 2, 3 etc…so 1 Martina Anderson and for example (sic) 2 Naomi Long”.

Hmmm now that seems like over-doing advice. In fact, the voter was so disgusted that he changed his vote to Colum Eastwood.

Overall the impression I have of Sinn Féin is that they play dirty.

Alliance of course portray themselves as the non-sectarian middle ground. They are in the parlance of Norn Iron elections “transfer friendly”. But if your pitch is “give me #2 so that the nationalist does not win” or “give me #2 so the unionist does not win”, then you forfeit the right to call yourself non sectarian.

This sort of tactic merely panders to the worst in people.

Alliance has pandered to DUP and Sinn Féin, getting ministerial salaries and perks beyond their electoral strength thru supplying “neutral” Ministers for Justice…as they would claim for the Greater Good of Norn Iron.

I have always been critical of LetsGetAlongerists. Of course getting along is great. But this is faux letsgetalongerism.

How exactly do Alliance get away with this con trick.

Well it helps to be bank-rolled. And it helps to be the Norn Iron Offices favourite political party.

So…if Alliance win that third seat, look out for the Media and Slugger O’Toole to rejoice at the break thru of “progressive politics”. It is of course…bollox.

So….SDLP? All is well?

No…..but that’s another story.





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28 Responses to So Euros…How Was It For You?

  1. Wolfe tone says:

    I did not vote as did many people I know. Not surprising that the turnout in my local polling station was very low according to an official there. The lack of turnout could alarm the nationalist parties who claim that we all want to remain. Personally I am enjoying the brexit mess and I dare say it’s a gift to the shinners although they don’t realise it.

    • I also voted LEAVE as I have previously stated. As I looked at it in 2016, my vote would be counted twice. In Norn Iron, REMAIN was certain to win so more important that my LEAVE vote was in the “UK” total.
      I always thought that the overall result would be close so my tactic was to drive a wedge between England and Scotland/Norn Iron. The breaking up of the precious union is a good thing.
      But I think part 2 of that strategy was to vote nationalist on Thursday.

  2. CON MCKENNA says:

    I voted UKIP then DUP and then for Jim Allister.    I did not  go further.   I would not vote for a Remainer.     I used to vote Sinn Fein  – from 1982 to about 2012 or 2013.   I stopped after Sinn Fein voted for an attempt to compel Catholic schools to employ heretics.   From 1973  to about 1979/80, I voted SDLP – even to the extent of ferrying voters to the polling station on behalf of an SDLP candidate.  That all ended when Sean Farren,  then Chairman of the SDLP, in a letter to the Sunday Press, boasted that the SDLP was not a tribal party and would not become a tribal party.  I decided that, if the SDLP would not provide tribal leadership, it did  not deserve tribal loyalty.  The first time I had a vote was in 1973.   I was 28 at the time.   I had always gone to the polling station but my name was never on the register even though I had been living at this address since 1951.  The Prods, who controlled the electoral register, had cheated me out of my right to vote.  In my first adventure into voting, I gave my first preference to the Alliance Party. What a fool I was.   That night, watching TV, I learned that the Alliance Party was recommending coercion in order to achieve integrated education.   I have never voted Alliance since then.   I have recently been posting

  3. Vince says:

    Thanks John, this is a pretty depressing but accurate perspective on the likely results. I think SDLP did run an excellent and honest campaign, well ahead of the others. They should be rewarded for that but I fear will not. I have a hunch that the UUP vote share may have collapsed and that they will be in either 5th or 6th place. In that context it is impossible for SDLP to win.
    SF may gloat about this and in the short term they may see some gain from it but in the not very longer term it will come back to bite (in the GE later this year). We are already seeing the beginning of their decline here. Transferring to Alliance whilst having “intellectuals” like Brian Feeney and Jude Collins in their midst is a stretch too far.

    • The exit polls and actual local elections in the South are interesting.
      At the very least, Sinn Féin wont move forward and might even go back a little when local results are known.
      The SF bots and trolls have a mantra that they move forward piece by piece but I think they have to take stock in the north as well as the south.
      The generational thing is no longer with them. The Greens are now in that territory and the left thing is no longer convincing….whether its People Before Profit or Independent Socialists.
      The significance is not just about actual votes …its about influence.
      SF look less likely coalition partners in the Irish Government than they think. There will still be enough Independents, Labour, Green, Social Democrats around to be courted ahead of Mary Lou McDonald.
      But even if SF was reduced to five or ten seats, that might be as useful to them as 25 seats in the Dáil…provided the overall arithmetic was right.
      Mary Lou McDonald or her successor would be happy to lead a smaller SF if they had a Cabinet post than leading a bigger SF in Opposition.

  4. Political Tourist says:

    More curious in the non unionist v unionist vote. Will it be 2 unionists to 1 non unionist on the MEP front or will it change. Will i see a change in the percentages and/or the actual vote numbers at first preference level? Watching the numbers for 40+ years now since the old Irish Weekly days when the IW published the results from the Irish News.

    • I just don’t know.
      I suppose there are two factors.
      The Alliance Party would present themselves as neutral but if they are status quo, they are in my view unionst. More so if they get more unionist votes> They are returning to their liberal unionist roots.
      Alliance have/had a niche vote which built around staying under the radar. They now have to take up positions.
      The new LetsGetAlongerists are the Greens and they can more legitimately claim to be “progressives”.
      The nationalist vote…well Sinn Féin happily transfer to Alliance.
      So if the middle ground is 20% (say) and nationalists get 41% to unionists 39% …I am using these figures as examples then it would be a bit cheeky for SF to claim a nationalist victory.

    • Vince says:

      It looks as if turnout in strong Alliance areas has held up better since the locals compared with areas west of the Bann where they are weak. Ergo their vote share will get a significant boost. Greens will also get a small boost since everyone in NI had them on their ballot paper compared with the locals. This provides Alliance with more transfers and Naomi’s election is therefore inevitable with the concurrent drop in UUP vote share.

      I would predict that both SF & SDLP vote share will take a hit with Martina Anderson depending on some Green transfers to get over the line & Colum Eastwood down at perhaps 10-11% first preferences.

  5. Vince says:

    I think that Danny Kennedy is a very decent sort who got left making an argument that he does not believe in. Gift for Alliance to be the only status quo remain party.

  6. SDLP Activist - North Down says:

    What is happening in the south council elections today, with such a massive fall in SF and a rise in Greens, came as a surprise to SF I think. Yes they may have expected to fall a bit. But to lose a third or a half of their vote? That was a shock.

    A small fall could perhaps have been seen given the results in Northern Ireland council elections a couple of weeks ago. But its a bigger fall in the south for SF.

    I am sure even with a lower vote they will continue to be relevant in the Dail, And at some point FF might form a coalition with them as a minor partner. But its a lot less exciting than had been imagined. The idea that they would in the driving seat in any such arrangement is a bit more difficult to put forward now. And in fact such a coalition would likely damage them – if history is a guide with what happened to the Greens and Labour.

  7. Political Tourist says:

    Here’s to John Hume and Europe of the Regions.
    Maybe next century.

    • Deeply disappointed. But after a couple of days I will try and figure it out.

      • Vince says:

        John, don’t be too disappointed. There is plenty of life in the SDLP – to increase vote share with a fairly hostile media, no money and a surge for Alliance/Greens was a very decent achievement – they need to build on it. There will be a GE later this year and I believe that they could win back Foyle and South Down with the correct candidates.

      • I was in Derry for a few hours. Turn out was terrible even with two local candidates.
        As Wolfe Tone comments there is a lot of spin going on.
        UUP will get a new leader (Doug Beattie I think) but Alliance was boosted by the locals, the surge of emotion after Lyra McKee was murdered and it was the only party that anti Brexit unionists could vote for.
        Some will come back to UUP before a General Election.
        Any votes SDLP lost to Alliance were prolly made up by votes gained from Sinn Féin. In the north SF had a setback (but it was adisaster in south) and SDLP held their own with a good honest campaign.
        But in posts to come, I will not shy away from mistakes SDLP are making. It COULD have been better.
        Alliance…their roots are in liberal unionism, allied with “Castle Catholics” and churchy people who went to conferences in Corrymeela.
        That’s a coalition.
        And arguably in the locals they got new secular “progressives”….with more voters now from the unionist community, that actually gives them a problem in a few years….how to keep that coalition together.

  8. Deborah in Dublin says:

    While boundary changes in some individual constituencies meant that there were a number of Councillors that unfortunately lost their seats…..ETC ETC

    EDIT…total bollox

  9. Political Tourist says:

    Third election in a row that Unionist parties have came in under 50% of the vote. Long that may continue.

  10. Wolfe tone says:

    Despite the spin put on it by some this election is certainly no mandate for remain in the EU. Quite the opposite. The lack of turnout(36%)despite the unrelenting scaremongering and bias for ‘remain’ certainly didn’t achieve the turnout the Brit State would’ve desired. Taking into account some folk were critical that Farage was even lending credence to this poll by participating in it(they wanted a boycott) and added to that that Europeans nationals in the UK could vote, it safe to assume most ‘Brit citizens’ are at least not bothered or/and want brexit. The words and speeches on the contrary from the political ruling classes are but propaganda.

    • It was a bizarre election and maybe Brexit is just a big thing with the chattering classes.
      Alliance strength is interesting. I am not yet writing off UUP as unionists who were anti Brexit only had one logical choice…Alliance. And in a General Election or Assembly election, some but not all new Alliance votes will go back.
      But we are now maybe in a transition phase where a lot of unionist bonds have been broken.
      But as I said to Vince, Alliance were originally a coalition of liberal unionists (Bob Cooper), Castle Catholics (Oliver Napier) and churchy types like Basil Glass.
      They still are that way. but arguably some of their Belfast councillors would say they are “progressive”.
      The nature of a coalition is that it cant please everyone (look at SDLP in recent months) and if it is to keep those new ex-UUP votes, then it means policy moves in that direction without losing their “progressives” and “liberals”.

  11. Political Tourist says:

    By my reckoning that’s 9 Euro elections since 1979. Alliance lows have been 14,000 votes and one election there was a Unity candidate for the smaller parties that got 33,000. Alliance and the Workers Party, go figure. And there’s been one or two howlers in Alliance like the chap that was completely against Gay Marriage, all very liberal!! I wonder who Eamon McCann voted for?

  12. Political Tourist says:

    Went back and looked at the SDLP stats in previous elections. It looks a lot more steady ship than the chatter stated. There was even a small gain. Certainly wouldn’t panic. As for Alliance lets be honest, that’s as good as it’s going to get this side of Irish Unity. Throw it on a few years and they could be right back at 44,000 votes on a good day. There only hope to stay in the big time would a melt down in the UUP and Alliance to hive off permanently a section of UUP voters.

    • I think youre under-estimating Alliance and the “middle ground”.
      BREXIT has severely dented unionism. It has had no real effect on the overall standing of TUV/UUP in terms of future elections but UUPs reputation for backing the economic pragmatic reasons for staying in the UK are severely damaged.
      Thee is no anti-Brexit voice within traditional unionism and the garden centre unionists, Belmont Bowling Club have defected to Alliance on this single issue but I think many will stay with Alliance.
      Alliance has a problem in how it deals with the component parts of its “new” base…the liberal unionists, the “Castle Catholics”, the churchy do-gooders and the new “progressives”.
      For example a renewed “Flags dispute” would be a problem. A controversial march. Irish Language Act. And some of these new Alliance voters will want to be Alliance members. And candidates and so on.
      The reality is that unionists were never going to stop being unionists on one day in (say) 2025 and become nationalists the next morning.
      It was always going to be a transition thru Alliance and/or Greens.
      As a committed SDLP supporter, I think you underestimate problems there. You are right in that the ship is steady…with the proviso that in 2014 there were problems in Derry and now Derry is ok. But in 2014 there were no problems in Newry. Now there is.
      Omagh and West Belfast are problems.
      There are people who simply wont vote Sinn Féin and yesterday a neighbour who I thought was apolitical and had little interest….you know the kinda guy that is always complaining about rates going up and not voting because of it….well yesterday he was pretty happy that SF had taken a beating.
      There are good signs for SDLP …they WILL take back Foyle but Alliance look a good thing in East and South Belfast.
      South Down??? I dunno.
      But the underlying problem SDLP has is no real growth. They fight to maintain seats not to increase seats.
      I will go into detail in a post next week.

      • Benbulben96? says:

        They need to focus on Foyle, South Down in WM. Focus too on FST & Strangford for AE. They need to get Margaret Ritchie back on a ballot paper in S Down and decide now to run Colum Eastwood in Foyle in GE. Sharon McAleer is their best bet for FST – the sooner that they recognise that and get everyone used to it the better.
        They would also benefit from more candidates with a story to tell and experience to bring – education, healthcare, business, housing etc. And in future they have to fight everywhere, even if only with paper candidates.
        In West Belfast they need to back the young candidate they had in Blackmountian, move on from the Attwood era, and bring something of the Mallon/McCusker approach from N Belfast. Growth is possible. The mindset has to be front foot and not defensive.

      • The problem with Foyle is that Mark Durkan probably harmed his chances with the Dublin adventure. If Colum stood, he would win but then have to give up the leadership of the party. Mark H Durkan is not Westminster material.
        We don’t need another leadership election…Mallon versus Hanna.
        Its the same situation that SDLP had in Upper Bann when Dolores Kelly lost her seat. You never miss a good thing til its gone. SDLP are now pretty good in Upper Bann.
        Strangford is a possibility but maybe in exchange for Lagan Valley.
        The result in Ards Peninsual DEA was just about the best SDLP performance in the locals with the exception of Paul McCusker. The problem is that its hard to put together a quota when the other part of the constituency is isolated from the Peninsula and there is no presence in Newtownards area.
        South Down…I really don’t rate Colin McGrath. Im glad Margaret has recovered but standing for Westminster would be an admission that there is nobody ready to fight the seat. I do rate Sinead Bradley and Laura Devlin.
        Fermanagh-South Tyrone is looking good. I have never met Sharon McAleer but I have heard good things.
        Your point about candidates with a story to tell is a good one (eg Mrs McAleer is a nurse) but there are other problems not necessarily the same in each constituency.

  13. Vince says:

    I think Pat Catney has dug in to Lagan Valley and may be hard to dislodge. I certainly hope so. Apart from Killultagh, the other DEAs that make up the Lagan Valley constituency saw a growth in SDLP votes in the locals – he can do it and he has genuine cross-community appeal.
    They need to throw the sink at Strangford – there is a very good councillor in the other part of the constituency in Rowallane (Terry Andrews) who should be out knocking doors on Joe Boyle’s behalf right now.
    BTW, comment above was mine – apologies, hit wrong button.

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