Results service

Well, that was quite the night, wasn’t it? I will eschew the British results for the time being in favour of bringing you the local breakdown by constituency, plus a few brief reflections.

Belfast East
Long (Alliance) 12,839 (37.2%, +26.2%)
Robinson (DUP) 11,306 (32.8%, -19.6%)
Ringland (UCUNF) 7,305 (21.2%, -8.3%)
Vance (TUV) 1,856 (5.4%)
Ó Donnghaile (SF) 817 (2.4%, -0.1%)
Muldoon (SDLP) 365 (1.1%, -1.1%)

The shock of the night, as the First Minister lost his seat, the DUP was decapitated and Naomi Long became the first Alliance candidate ever to be elected to Westminster. Obviously an enormous anti-Robinson vote, largely on his expenses and property dealings, with the TUV vote making up more than his deficit (and David Vance will count that as a result). Turnout fairly stable at 58.4%, so no mass abstention – except maybe an abstention of DUP supporters and high turnout of the anti camp. Naomi Long, whose canvassers had assiduously pushed the idea that she was the candidate who could beat Robbo (see those “Yes she can!” posters on the Newtownards Road), secured the perfect storm, energising her core vote, squeezing Trevor Ringland, pulling in a few hundred nationalist tactical votes and also – having been out canvassing working-class loyalist areas with Dawn Purvis – pulling in the PUP vote. Peter looked a broken man last night, and there has to be a question mark over his continued leadership of the DUP.

Belfast North
Dodds (DUP) 14,812 (40.0%, -2.9%)
Kelly (SF) 12,588 (34.0%, +7.1%)
Maginness (SDLP) 4,544 (12.3%, -4.5%)
Cobain (UCUNF) 2,837 (7.7%, -1.8%)
Webb (Alliance) 1,809 (4.9%, +2.0%)
McAuley (Ind) 403 (1.1%)

Deputy Dodds hanging on as predicted. This was always going to be a long shot for Gerry K – the SDLP vote is too high and the UUP vote too low for a South Belfast-style result – but he did put a squeeze on Allbran, whilst pulling in young voters in Glengormley to add to his inner city core. Note the swing of 3% from unionist to nationalist, essentially a working out of demographic change, which shows North Belfast – now the only unionist seat in the city – moving into marginality. And a decent result from Billy Webb in an area where Alliance have done poorly in recent years. Turnout stable.

Belfast South
McDonnell (SDLP) 14,026 (41.0%, +10.9%)
Spratt (DUP) 8,100 (23.7%, -5.9%)
Bradshaw (UCUNF) 5,910 (17.3%, -4.9%)
Lo (Alliance) 5,114 (15.0%, +7.7%)
McGibbon (Green) 1,036 (3.0%)

Big Al winning more easily than expected, and would probably have won – albeit narrowly – even if Maskey had not withdrawn. Note the slump in the unionist total, partly I think due to unionists staying at home – turnout down 5% here – but also liberal unionists, Paula Bradshaw’s target market, voting Alliance, Green, even SDLP. Anna Lo more than doubling the Alliance share and making her Assembly seat solid in an election where she could have been squeezed. Adam McGibbon will also be pleased, but Jimmy Spratt very disappointed. Paula Bradshaw might be relieved not to have done even worse, and looks to have a lock on an Assembly seat if she runs next year – she had a good campaign that her result belies.

Belfast West
Adams (SF) 22,840 (71.1%, +2.5%)
Attwood (SDLP) 5,261 (16.4%, +0.3%)
Humphrey (DUP) 2,436 (7.6%, -3.3%)
Manwaring (UCUNF) 1,000 (3.1%, +0.6%)
Hendron (Alliance) 596 (1.9%, +1.8%)

Nothing really to see in the stronghold of Teflon Gerry, as the Great Leader once again has the safest seat in the north. Alex Attwood still flatlining, Shankill voters not bothering. Notable, though, that turnout slumped by 13.5%, while there were upwards of 500 spoiled votes after dissident republicans encouraged vote-spoiling. Evidently there’s potential for someone to put up a challenge, but no such candidate is on the horizon.

East Antrim
Wilson (DUP) 13,993 (45.9%, -1.0%)
McCune (UCUNF) 7,223 (23.7%, -1.4%)
Lynch (Alliance) 3,377 (11.1%, -3.6%)
McMullan (SF) 2,064 (6.8%, +1.4%)
McCamphill (SDLP) 2,019 (6.6%, -0.8%)
Morrison (TUV) 1,826 (6.0%)

Nudie Boy remains secure, with both UCUNF and Alliance falling back slightly (with no disrespect to Gerry Lynch, a new Alliance candidate would always struggle to match Neeson). A notably poor performance from the TUV, who had made a lot of noise around Larne, and rather a decent one from Oliver McMullan. Turnout down by 6.6%.

East Londonderry
Campbell (DUP) 12,097 (34.6%, -6.3%)
Ó hOisín (SF) 6,742 (19.3%, +1.9%)
Macaulay (UCUNF) 6,218 (17.8%, -1.9%)
Conway (SDLP) 5,399 (15.4%, -3.9%)
Ross (TUV) 2,572 (7.4%)
Fitzpatrick (Alliance) 1,922 (5.5%, +3.1%)

Gregory Campbell wins with a decreased majority. What we see is Willie Ross (a poor result for him) taking votes from Campbell, and a creditable return for Alliance’s Barney Fitzpatrick not allowing Lesley Macaulay to capitalise. On the nationalist side, SF establish a clear lead over the SDLP even without Francie Brolly in the frame. Turnout down by 8.4%.

Dreary Steeples
Gildernew (SF) 21,304 (45.5%, +7.3%)
Connor (Ind) 21,300 (45.5%)
McKinney (SDLP) 3,574 (7.6%, -7.2%)
Kamble (Alliance) 437 (0.9%)
Stevenson (Ind) 188 (0.4%)

Didn’t I say this one would be too close to call? In the end, SF’s military-style organisation just about pulling it off for wee Michelle, with not only her own vote mobilised but the SDLP vote halving, and that SDLP Assembly seat looking under serious threat. In fact, the SDLP must be breathing a quiet sigh of relief, because had Michelle lost then Fearghal McKinney’s name would be mud and the SDLP would struggle to ever get anyone elected here again. Unionists mumbling about court action, and a few glares being directed to spoiler independent John Stevenson, but note that turnout was actually down over 6%, and Connor couldn’t even poll the combined DUP-UUP vote from 2005. It may be that our popular agriculture minister is just not effective enough as a hate figure, even for Fermanagh unionists.

Foyle
Durkan (SDLP) 16,922 (44.7%, -1.7%)
Anderson (SF) 12,098 (31.9%, -1.4%)
Devenney (DUP) 4,489 (11.8%, -2.2)
McCann (PBP) 2,936 (7.7%)
Harding (UCUNF) 1,221 (3.2%, +0.9%)
McGrellis (Alliance) 223 (0.6%)

The SDLP advantage in Foyle not dented at all, with Eamonn McCann doing rather well but taking votes equally from SDLP and SF. Turnout slumping from 70% to 57.5%. In an Assembly election, this would confirm the status quo of three SDLP, two SF and one DUP, with McCann probably the runner-up.

Lagan Valley
Donaldson (DUP) 18,199 (49.8%, -8.5%)
Trimble (UCUNF) 7,713 (21.1%, -1.8%)
Lunn (Alliance) 4,174 (11.4%, +0.5%)
Harbinson (TUV) 3,154 (8.6%)
Heading (SDLP) 1,835 (5.0%, +1.5%)
Butler (SF) 1,465 (4.0%, -0.3%)

Jeffrey Donaldson winning by a mile as expected, with the decrease in his share all going to the TUV, and Daphne Trimble unable to make an impact. Aside from the swing from DUP to TUV, the other results are remarkably stable. Turnout down by 6.6%, but then there was no drama about the result here.

Mid Ulster
McGuinness (SF) 21,239 (52.0%, +4.4%)
McCrea (DUP) 5,876 (14.4%, -9.1%)
Quinn (SDLP) 5,826 (14.3%, -3.2%)
Overend (UCUNF) 4,509 (11.0%, +0.4%)
Millar (TUV) 2,995 (7.3%)
Butler (Alliance) 397 (1.0%)

Martin McGuinness wins easily in his fiefdom, actually increasing his share at the expense of the SDLP, who will have been suffering some knock-on from Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Quite a good performance from Walter Millar at Ian McCrea’s expense, which makes the Assembly election interesting. Turnout down by 12.3%.

Newry and Armagh
Murphy (SF) 18,857 (42.0%, +0.6%)
Bradley (SDLP) 10,526 (23.4%, -1.7%)
Kennedy (UCUNF) 8,558 (19.1%, +5.2%)
Irwin (DUP) 5,764 (12.8%, -5.5%)
Frazer (Ind) 656 (1.5%)
Muir (Alliance) 545 (1.2%)

Little drama here, as Conor Murphy slightly extends his dominance. Rather interesting that Danny Kennedy performed so well, which would boost his chances of taking over the UUP leadership. Turnout down by 13.3%.

North Antrim
Paisley (DUP) 19,672 (46.4%, -10.4%)
Allister (TUV) 7,114 (16.8%)
McKay (SF) 5,265 (12.4%, -1.8%)
Armstrong (UCUNF) 4,634 (10.9%, -4.1%)
O’Loan (SDLP) 3.738 (8.8%, -2.2%)
Dunlop (Alliance) 1,368 (3.2%, +0.2%)
Cubitt (Ind) 606 (1.4%)

Baby Doc retains the seat bequeathed him by an Dochtúir Mór with some ease, thanks not least to his inherited cushion, as Jim Allister’s challenge proves to be a damp squib. This return would see Allister easily take an Assembly seat, but he might be the only one for the TUV. If you look further down the line, there’s obviously lots of tactical voting here, but it’s not exactly clear in which direction. Turnout down by 7.3%.

North Down
Hermon (Ind) 21,181 (63.3%)
Parsley (UCUNF) 6,817 (20.4%, -30.0%)
Farry (Alliance) 1,876 (5.6%, -2.0%)
Kilpatrick (TUV) 1,634 (4.9%)
Agnew (Green) 1,043 (3.1%)
Logan (SDLP) 680 (2.0%, -1.1%)
Parker (SF) 250 (0.7%, +0.1%)

Lady Sylvia by a landslide, beating the whippersnapper Parsley by better than three to one and confirming her status as monarch of our own wee California. Sylvia soaking up lots of centre-ground votes as well as DUP votes, and Parsley polling less than the UUP (minus Sylvia) did at the 2005 local elections. Basically, the Lady is unbeatable as long as she wants to run. Turnout stable.

South Antrim
McCrea (DUP) 11,536 (33.9%, -6.4%)
Empey (UCUNF) 10,353 (30.4%, +0.9%)
McLaughlin (SF) 4,729 (13.9%, +3.2%)
Byrne (SDLP) 2,955 (8.7%, -2.5%)
Lawther (Alliance) 2,607 (7.7%, -0.6%)
Lucas (TUV) 1,829 (5.4%)

The end of the road for Reg Empey’s leadership of the UUP, as UCUNF fails to take its top target (or indeed any target). Mel Lucas, performing reasonably for the TUV, shaving enough votes off Singing Willie to make the seat marginal, but Reg failing to pick up support, either from Alliance or from nationalist voters. One may salute his audacity in trying to win tactical votes from Crumlin, but it just didn’t work out for Reg, and one can’t help suspecting that the embarrassing Adrian Watson might have stood a better chance. Mitchel McLaughlin consolidating his position as lead nationalist challenger. Turnout down 8.2%.

South Down
Ritchie (SDLP) 20,648 (48.5%, +1.6%)
Ruane (SF) 12,236 (28.7%, +1.7%)
Wells (DUP) 3,645 (8.6%, -7.6%)
McCallister (UCUNF) 3,093 (7.3%, -1.5%)
McConnell (TUV) 1,506 (3.5%)
Enright (Green) 901 (2.1%)
Griffin (Alliance) 560 (1.3%)

In the end, Margaret Ritchie holding on very comfortably, not only maintaining Eddie McGrady’s cushion but even extending it a little. Lots of tactical voting here – Jim Wells reported loads of loyalists in Kilkeel voting for Ritchie – but it must be said that Caitríona Ruane has been an unsuccessful minister (even SF implicitly recognised that by making the talented John O’Dowd the education spokesman) and a weak and polarising candidate. Unionist votes for Ritchie would be at least matched by SF voters backing Ritchie or staying at home. If the Shinners are serious about taking this seat within the next decade, they’d better headhunt a new candidate.

Strangford
Shannon (DUP) 14,926 (45.9%, -8.8%)
Nesbitt (UCUNF) 9,050 (27.8%, +6.4%)
Girvan (Alliance) 2,828 (8.7%, +0.5%)
Hanna (SDLP) 2,164 (6.7%, -1.8%)
Williams (TUV) 1,814 (5.6%)
Coogan (SF) 1,161 (3.6%, -0.1%)
Haig (Green) 562 (1.7%)

The DUP vote hit here by the Iris Robinson scandal, but Iris’ majority too big a mountain to overcome and so Gun Boy defeats TV Boy as predicted. Mike Nesbitt actually doing rather well, taking some votes directly off the DUP as well as some tactical votes. Debbie Girvan will be pleased that she avoided a squeeze and managed to maintain Kieran McCarthy’s base. But this belongs firmly to Ulster Scots-speaking pig farmer Jim Shannon, who has proved that his many years of hard, plodding constituency work as a councillor and MLA, though often overlooked by the party leadership in the past, was not in vain, and he’s saved the local DUP from what could have been a meltdown.

Upper Bann
Simpson (DUP) 14,000 (33.8%, -3.7%)
Flash Harry (UCUNF) 10,639 (25.7%, +0.1%)
O’Dowd (SF) 10,237 (24.7%, +3.8%)
Kelly (SDLP) 5,276 (12.7%, -0.2%)
Heading (Alliance) 1,231 (3.0%, +0.8%)

Upper Bann now becomes a three-way marginal, with David Simpson leaking some votes but Flash Harry, despite a creditable performance, being unable to capitalise. A very good result from John O’Dowd, with demographic change meaning that Upper Bann can no longer be reported simply as an intra-unionist contest. Turnout down by 9.2%.

West Tyrone
Doherty (SF) 18,050 (48.4%, +9.5%)
Buchanan (DUP) 7,365 (19.8%, +2.0%)
Hussey (UCUNF) 5,281 (14.2%, +7.3%)
Byrne (SDLP) 5,212 (14.0%, +4.9%)
Bower (Alliance) 859 (2.3%)
McClean (Ind) 508 (1.4%)

Again, the result here was never really in doubt, but the 27% scored by hospital campaigner Kieran Deeny in 2005 made things a little unpredictable. Deeny had particularly squeezed the SDLP and UUP votes, but many of his votes seem to have gone here to Pat Doherty, who managed to raise his vote despite a 14.2% slump in the turnout. Ross Hussey will be pleased with his performance, while the SDLP did poorly, now languishing below an Assembly quota, and will not have been helped by the Fermanagh effect.

And that’s it for our whistle-stop tour. We’ll be back with some thoughts about what this means, but in the meantime, discuss.

Rud eile: Have only just heard that Peter Hadden, long-serving leader of the Militant/Socialist Party in Belfast, has died. That’s very sad news indeed. RIP.

34 Comments

  1. Phil said,

    May 7, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    And the net benefit to Cameron of the UCUNF lash-up was… nil. Not a sausage. Bugger all. In fact all it really seems to have done is accelerate the decline of the UUP. Seems like a good omen.

  2. neilcaff said,

    May 7, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Thanks for that last bit Splintered. It’s a huge loss for the Irish organisation and the CWI as a whole.

  3. DC said,

    May 7, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Young McAuley in North Belfast broke 1%, so well done to him.

    I’m with CLR on the result in East Belfast-the DUP losing a seat makes me feel surprisingly uneasy.

    I think the story that will reverberate will be Gilderew winning in FST-the Unionist family threw everything they had at it, and still came up short. That’s got to have some major psychological effects, especially if SF look like they will be the top party in votes in 2011.

  4. harry monro said,

    May 7, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    On the East Belfast vote, from this side of the water it looked like in the last week as if Peter was going soft on the Tories in Westminster, leaning towards them. Could that be a minor problem amongst the major ones he already had? I’m sure he’ll try to carry on as leader, after all he’s brazened it out so far, but will plotters be out after him again?
    I know nothing about the wild west but it does seem an awful lot of Unionists were not that worried about SF winning, interesting eh. Anyone with general figures on the turnout in terms of community/religion?
    After all the last minute posts I didn’t experct s/s to surface for days, congrats.

  5. THATS NOT MY NAMA! said,

    May 7, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    I would like to put on record that Toome is in Antrim (Cushy wasn’t amused), thought, I have been amazed by your knowledge of the sectarian geography (knowing your D’town from Tobermore etc.etc) wonder what was causing the fall in turnout in Mid Ulster and South Antrim. As someone who had hoped to build up Hadden’s party in these areas it is hard not to be more than a bit dejected at the past few days. Needless to say McCann and McClean’s turnout were the only results apart from the two Unionists leaders losing out that make me in any way happy.

    McClean polled 508 I wonder if those remaining within the SP from that constituency could take that onboard as they once campaigned for Deeny before transplanting to Belfast where they plan to stand in East and South and to snatch one from the 5 Shinners in Lower Falls come the Locals.

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      May 7, 2010 at 11:50 pm

      Oh aye, I know where Toome is. I pass through it on the way to Magherafelt.

      Shinners were thin on the ground in West Belfast, partly because they were all in Fermanagh for the duration. Gerry doesn’t need to campaign, and indeed there was no sign of Attwood either. Those big drops in turnout, especially in the west, have me scratching my head a bit. Then again, the Assembly election in March will be a lot more important – Westminster seats are mostly about symbolism, unless you get odd arithmetic as we do now.

    • Garibaldy said,

      May 8, 2010 at 12:22 am

      That’s Not My Nama,

      I’m confused by you point about the Lower Falls. The SP don’t really think they could take one of those do they?

      • THATS NOT MY NAMA! said,

        May 8, 2010 at 12:44 am

        You mustn’t of noticed the plastering of posters up around the Royal? Well I wouldn’t vote for him put it like that certainly electioneering for him a year in advance didn’t appeal to me either but you can see them at the Conway Mill this Wednesday (clashes with the Connolly commemoration so I won’t be going) they’re bringing Joe Higgins up on Thursday 27th as well. http://socialistpartyni.net/campaigns/stop-the-health-cuts/272-pat-lawlor-speaks-out-against-health-cuts

      • Garibaldy said,

        May 8, 2010 at 1:14 am

        Yeah I’ve noticed the posters. But have you seen how many votes it takes to get elected in the Lower Falls? The lowest councillor had 1245 on the first count. Any first time candidate would be doing astoundingly well to get anywhere near that. I can see standing to build the profile of the organisation but surely any hope of taking a seat is wildly over-opimistic.

      • THATS NOT MY NAMA! said,

        May 8, 2010 at 1:46 am

        Not realistic at all they have overall target of 500. Thats why I was looking to McClean’s respectable result. Most of the lefty blogosphere was lamenting the WP decision and overlooking SP’s statement not to stand anyone as Gary Mulcahy wrote: “The Socialist Party has chosen not to contest this general election but instead to build to fight next year’s local and Assembly elections which are more favourable for smaller parties. The cuts being implemented by the Assembly Executive are becoming more visible and tangible. … It is crucial that a working class electoral alternative, based on real social forces and campaigns, is built before next year’s elections which can challenge the right-wing policies of the sectarian parties. The trade unions should break their unofficial partnership with the Assembly parties and support the creation of a new mass party for workers. The Socialist Party believes such a party should put forward a clear socialist alternative to the capitalist policies of the Assembly which can give workers a necessary political voice.” http://socialistpartyni.net/component/content/article/60-assembly-/285-northern-ireland-northern-ireland-new-party-needed-for-working-class

        After Haddens passing I can see them disintegrating unless their WWPC takes of again but I can’t see them working along with what remains of the Left Republicans such as éirígí, the IRSP or stickies (even RNU were talking of building a ‘Republican Congress’) to form anything electorally over the next year.

      • Garibaldy said,

        May 8, 2010 at 2:05 am

        McClean’s result was interesting, and impressive. Although his pitch was very much as environmental and non-sectarian rather than as explicitly left. It’s also entirely possible that an independent for some reason is more attractive than a party candidate with exactly the same programme would be. 500 in the Lower Falls is a tough enough target.

        I hope we’ll see more left cooperation for the elections next year, whatever form it takes. Someone pointed out at CLR that Peter Bunting I think it was had talked about the need for a labour party in NI at the recent NIC ICTU conference. I’m not sure that that way of thinking is too widespread within the unions as yet.

      • Mark P said,

        May 8, 2010 at 9:23 pm

        Just to clarify something here, the Socialist Party are not under the impression that council seat wins in Belfast are at all likely in the next local elections.

        And no, they won’t be trying to get any kind of joint operation with the IRSP, Eirigi or the RNU in the next year, or at any point in the forseeable future!

      • Ciarán said,

        May 9, 2010 at 12:55 am

        The SP have been going a bit further than just plastering posters all over the place with Pat Lawlor’s name taking up a third of the space, there’s also been a few letters popping up in the likes of the Irish News signed off as Pat Lawlor, Socialist Party, West Belfast (presumably he is the Socialist Party in West Belfast).

        It’ll be interesting to note what SF’s reaction to Gerry’s result will be. He was down 1,600 votes – and that’s before you take into consideration the 3,000 extra they were expecting from Lagan Valley. They must know that a number of their council seats are definitely under threat (but not from the Socialist Party at any rate). Who knows, they might try their hand at a bit of street politics again before next year – which would be even more fun considering the Public Assemblies Bill that Martin and Peter have introduced to Stormont.

      • Mark P said,

        May 9, 2010 at 3:37 pm

        Nah, for the first time in a long time there actually is a West Belfast Socialist Party. They won’t be storming their way to a council seat next year, but they exist.

  6. May 7, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Thanks again for the wonderful coverage and the word ‘misoverestimates’ still has me laughing.
    Regarding Peter going soft on the Tories
    Looking at some of the DUP election literature part of the fold out was taken up with an attack on the UUPs link up with the Tories rather than the Tories themselves.
    ‘Vote for a unionist party that will act on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland -not the Tories at Westminister’ (note unionist didn’t get a capital U, where tories got a capital T)
    It goes on to say that UUP MPs would have little or no influence over Tory policy. There is a criticism of the Tories support of the 50-50 police recruiting policy as well as “voting against longer periods of detention for terrorists” but nothing over Tory economic policy or anything else.

    On the night of the count I recall Sammy Wilson emphasising something along the lines of ‘that as they were British they wouldn’t be looking for special treatment’

  7. May 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Oh and whoever did Robinsons main election leaflet should really have left out the picture of him at a building site with what looks like a crowd of happy developers.

  8. anthony cleland said,

    May 8, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I am from the republic of ireland and i must say that all you nationalists in northern ireland are an incredible bunch of childish chaps,nothern ireland is part of the uk and alwayts will be “get over it”.The vast majority of the northern ireland population want it to remain this way protestant,catholic,no religion,etc.Fact. Regards,anthony.

    • Ramzi Nohra 1 said,

      May 8, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      You’re right. Unionists won all of nine out of eighteen seats in the elections.

      • WorldbyStorm said,

        May 8, 2010 at 6:11 pm

        Never much liked the phrase ‘get over it’…

        Good points Ramzi and Garibaldy.

    • Fergal said,

      May 9, 2010 at 9:47 am

      i don’t know if the south can claim any kind of sophisticated position/moral high ground here.Politics in the south is based essentially on what your grandfather or grandmother thought of Mick Collins.Listening to FF and FG-“incredible bunch of childish chaps” springs to mind all the time.Isn’t it time “to get over it”(like WbS never liked this phrase).The southern education system is still based on a sectarian headcount for all the south’s maturity,as opposed to childishness.
      Never understand putting the word “fact” in an argument.Isn’t it essentially meaningless?E.g.I am a millionaire,fact.

  9. Garibaldy said,

    May 8, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I doubt there are any nationalists commenting on this thread Anthony.

  10. May 8, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    […] the results post by the blogging king (or should that be People’s Commisar) of this election, Splintered Sunrise. The results have left the DUP with 8 seats (a loss of one, and what a loss!), PSF unchanged at 5 […]

  11. B said,

    May 8, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Speak for yourself Garibaldy!

    I loathe the idea that being:

    1) Irish nationalist = being sectarian
    2) Irish nationalist = means I am not internationalist or that I am a chauvinist

    While, it is true you can be a nationalist and these things, and the same goes for unionism, it is not the same thing. Only those who seek to divide and conquer would wish to instil such an idea in what is in effect a political and social position.

    And, frankly from a socialist perspective, I thought these issues were resolved around 1914.

    And, by this I am in no way implying the north is black and white!

  12. Garibaldy said,

    May 8, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I don’t think you had commented on this thread when I typed that B had you? I did have a quick look at who had first before typing that.

    I think there is a difference between believing in national liberation or national independence and nationalism as a belief that the nation must be the basis of one’s politics as opposed to class. I do believe a civic form of nationalism and unionism are possible. But as politics exists in NI, they are very small parts of the overall blocs.

  13. weserei said,

    May 8, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    I think class-based politics will never get off the ground in a divided Ireland. I’d be more than happy to be proven wrong, though. What does that make me?

  14. Garibaldy said,

    May 8, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    We already have lots of class-based politics in Ireland, just based on the middle class alas. But we’ve seen in the south in the past evidence that socialist politics have the potential to make quite significant inroads, confirmed recently by Higgins’ election as an MEP. We have to avoid getting over-excited but I think there is enough evidence that in the right conditions and with hard work socialist politics can attract support, As for the north, sectarianism remains the big problem. And there’s no reason to suppose it might magically disappear overnight, especially if unity comes about as a result of a series of bitter sectarian headcounts.

    • De Northside Socialist said,

      May 10, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      Well said Garibaldy. Anyone who has to live in the 26 counties and be bombarded daily with pro-business and pro-elite propaganda from the likes of IBEC, ISME, Independent Newspapers, Dennis O’Brien’s radio stations etc. knows there is class politics in Ireland, as you said it’s their class politics not ours….

  15. weserei said,

    May 9, 2010 at 12:20 am

    I’m pessimistic about what Higgins’ victory means for the prospect of socialist politics in the South–we are talking about a relatively charismatic figure edging out a Fianna Fail candidate on the seventh count at about the nadir of Fianna Fail’s popularity.

    As for the actual process of unification, I don’t think that it could or should happen all that soon, or on the basis of too narrow a referendum win. Some time is still needed for a local economy to develop. But I think countries where majority rule cross-cuts disparities between ethno-religious groups tend to develop healthier politics than ones where majority rule reinforces and institutionalizes such disparities. The partition of Ireland is itself a pretty good example of this; it’s not a coincidence that it’s the northern side where sectarianism is still a major issue.

  16. Garibaldy said,

    May 9, 2010 at 1:21 am

    I understand, but he still got what, 50,000 votes I think. I can’t remember. I’m not saying it’s the harbinger of massive political change, but it is evidence – as was The WP’s growth in the 1980s – that socialist politics can be attractive to a substantial number of people.

    I wouldn’t disagree about normal politics being healthier than communal politics. And I agree that the north is a fine example. On a minor point regarding north and south and sectarianism, there’s a big difference between 10% and falling of a population, and over a third and rising, and I reckon that had something to do with how quickly the southern state got over a lot of those problems.

    • May 9, 2010 at 11:31 am

      It’s worth pointing out as well that Higgins also defeated Mary Lou McDonald in a constituency that was contracting to three seats, two of which were always going to be filled by long-standing MEPs with massive personal votes. If people simply wanted to boot out the FFer, it would have made more sense to vote for the challenger in possession (McDonald.)

      • dilettante said,

        May 13, 2010 at 1:29 am

        Fair point.
        But bear in mind that. Joe wasn’t the revolutionary socialist candidate – he was the “stop Sinn Fein” candidate.
        His campaign (despite being principled from his side) only grew wings when it became clear that Eoin Ryan would not beat Mary Lou – and that a less threatening alternative was required.

  17. Wednesday said,

    May 10, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Caitríona Ruane has been an unsuccessful minister (even SF implicitly recognised that by making the talented John O’Dowd the education spokesman)

    I think you’re reading too much into that. SF has separate Assembly spokespersons for all the ministries it holds, ie Raymond McCartney for Transport, Pat Doc for Agriculture.

    Agree that it doesn’t look like we’re taking that seat any time soon though.


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