As people who visit this blogsite probably know, I lay claim to be among the top five worst predictors in the universe. I could no more number-crunch and come up with a sound prediction than I could spend a pleasant evening with the Doddses comparing mushroom-growing techniques. If it’s “What’s going to be the state of the parties post-election?” you’re asking, maybe try up the street.
The question of “What’s going to happen now?” was one that was asked again and again in the early days of the civil rights movement and civil disorder that followed. People would assure you that Event A would lead inevitably to Event B. And guess what? They were almost always wrong. If you go to Paddy Power right now you’ll get odds of 1/9 on Dodds and 4/1 on Gerry Kelly. For South Belfast you’ll get 4/7 on Alasdair McDonnell and 11/4 on Jonathan Bell. Since they say the bookies always call it for real, Gerry Kelly and Jonathan Bell should just pack up and go home now – it’s not going to happen. And Tom Elliott might want to do the same in Fermanagh/South Tyrone: Michelle Gildernew is at 2/5 and poor Tom is at 7/4.
Except not even the bookies get it right every time. Things happen. Ask Peter Robinson five years ago and he’ll tell you. Things can look comfortable and next minute you get this gigantic bite in the bum. A candidate can come out with something that’s a total turn-off, damaging not just him/herself but their entire party and their chances. Ask big Jim if you don’t believe me. Alternatively, candidates can be so cautious in what they say, the electorate gets sick of their clichés and say-nothings. Ask Nigel Farage, he’ll tell you.
So am I going to predict victory or defeat for one candidate over another in any constituency? Not a chance. And if you think that’s excessively cautious, why not give us your prediction and back it up with, oh, say £20 and the odds you’ll offer, let’s see if there are any takers.
The only change will be East Belfast. I made several predictions over on the vote UK forum.
Alliance will be be hoping too cling onto their 1 seat but they will lose by about 3000 votes
SDLP should hold their 3 seats, South Belfast the SDLP will beat the DUP with 2000 votes to spare. MoM will poll well but talk of him winning is nonsense.
UUP will be close but just short in Upper Bann and South Antrim but Elliot will be several thousand votes short of Gildernew in FST contrary to all the hype.
DUP gain in EB as mentioned but only scraping home in UB, SA, and NB
SF will comfortably hold FST and I personally think have more of a chance of gaining UB than NB but unfortunately will be short in both by 1500-2000 votes.
Very scientific analysis boondock, only hope your wrong about east Belfast, and Niaomi Long holds the seat.
Have you factored in the possible effects of a big story blowing up in South Belfast?
Ha ha, Sherdy. I think a lot of people know what you’re referring to. But I do have pretty stern views on that kind of thing. People are innocent until proven guilty, but for a lot of people accusation = guilty and that’s wrong in my view. That’ why I hope there is no big story. Or not that one. Tonight’s debate might be interesting…
I am lead to believe this big story is another smear from your favourite party jude
Really?Who’s your source, neill?
I predict Kelly will win North Belfast. I’ve been hearing noises from some that traditional S.D.L.P voters fear 9 or 10 D.U.P MP’s at Westminster and so may hold their noises and vote tactically for Kelly to keep Dodds out. Furthermore, the most recent homophobic rants by yet another DUP member could encourage people to vote Kelly. The SDLP’s conservative catholic attitude to gay marriage seems to be out of step with many younger voters and all these factors could lead to Kelly taking the seat.
“Is it about a bicycle?”
Perhaps it is less about predicting outcomes and more about electoral choices this side of the election. Is it about more of the same or is it about giving mandates to individuals who will help create decent working and living standards for all citizens? It is not about who is going to win, it is who will lose out if the status quo prevails?
It was more of the same from the leader of the Official Unionist Party today at his confused best, addressing the need for a strong union. The reality is that the OUP, DUP, PUP, TUV, UKIP, SNP and Plaid Cymru, are seeking mandates with competing and conflicting manifestos.
Mr Nesbitt was obliged to regurgitate a mantra about testing models when he was unable to present a business case for his economic plans for the north of Ireland. It was evident that he is in favour of a minimum wage as opposed to a living wage. There was a clear message for the unemployed, similar to that issued by Norman Tebbit, “get on your bike to look for work or you will lose benefits.” Monetarism still rules OK
The Health Service is in crisis and Mr Nesbitt talked about inefficiencies. He did not address structural underfunding in the Health Service. There was a clear implication that staff needed to work harder, longer and at weekends. When probed about his views he queried if staff in the Health Service had consciences? Yes, that is all we need, another conscience clause? Stormont is a more appropriate location to deal with inefficiencies. Are we getting value for money? How would some of our elected representatives fare if their remuneration was based on performance related pay?
The mantra concluded with a vague reference to Mental Health services. Structural unemployment, endemic poverty and health inequalities need to be tackled in order to create and sustain improved standards of living for all in this deeply divided society. To vote or not to vote that is the question.
D’odds are definitely on Alderman Dodds
This not being a beauty pageant for Prods
Thus,no Prunella or Nigella
Will X for yon sexy Kelly fella
Nor,Come into the Garden Centre Maudes.
SF are on the rise, and the equality agenda is one that they are capable of pursuing with energy and pragmatism, something very much lacking in the SDLP. Many voters with a previous traditional affiliation with the Stoops, have rightly become disaffected. Many people I know from a Unionist background/constituency have people quietly switching their allegiance to SF, and their change of heart is not mostly guided by the National Question, but by a pragmatic stance on Social issues. Gerry Kelly will get more votes than the mere demographic indicators in North Belfast might suggest, and hopefully will get elected as simply this is a choice between SF on the left, and the Conservative Unionist alliance.
This new consensus is spreading, and hopefully this will bear fruit in the coming elections. The Welfare issues, and the Axe that is attacking our whole community in the north of Ireland needs blunted. Gerry Kelly in North Belfast will either fracture this Quasi Tory block now, or the following election.
Disaffection within some of the Republican constituencies’ have some weight when it comes to erosion of rights, and horrendous mistreatment of prisoners. For SF to bring the disaffected aboard, and call for redress of legitimate grievances, they may be able to bring more people on board in the polls, and fracture this regressive Unionist block.
Gerry Carroll’s vote for People Before Profit will continue to increase I predict, and SF on Social issues should not dilute their egalitarian foundations. Equality must mean Economic equality too. Massive disparities in wealth are known to foment discord. The single mother from the Shankill with damp on her kitchen wall, trying to balance between heating and food, is now much more likely now to vote for a left-wing SF, than the PUP/DUP/UU Conservative alliance. Lets hope these realities may continue to convert into political capital.
Francis what ever you are on I want some no unionist or protestant would ever vote Sf!
I think you’ll find your wrong about the Protestants, neill. Agreed, it wouldn’t make much sense for a unionist…Although it might in certain circumstances..
I assure you Neill, I have friends from traditionally Unionist constituency areas, who vote SF. Your regressive slight about “Prods” not voting SF, veers towards the Sectarian head count theory. I know people, old friends from Uni, and elsewhere, who don’t like to be pigeon holed in the first place by labels, some of whom have switched their vote to SF. I did not say they were Unionists! However coming from traditionally Unionist areas, and most baptised into one or the other Protestant denominations, they may be regarded as “Prods”, by yourself. It can be a minefield qualifying identity in this part of Ireland, and there is no shortage of such hazard when the subject has been broached in the past with two of my closest friends. I affirm their utmost integrity, and not a whit of doubt exists that they Will be voting SF. One friend is very Republican minded in the spirit of Wolf Tone, Robert Emmett, Jemmy Hope, William Orr, Mc Craken, Thomas Paine, the list goes on. The other has become extremely disaffected with regressive tory unionism, and cringes when the inarticulate Afrikaner who represents her , opens his gombeen mouth esp when outside the north his thinly veiled sectarianism is observed by rational people.
These are but two, and I’ve played my part in helping convince one of them to not waste their radical sensibilities by abstaining, but to vote. The other voted SF in the last election already,-They are but two! I know for a fact their are more, and I have no reason to doubt their switch of allegiance. The SF advice centres have their fair share also of “Prods” as you call them, quietly coming for advice. The once working class PUP elements who showed such green shoots of promise(not that they wanted to shoot anyone), have abandoned their traditional support base in favour of a Tory pact. Hutchinson et al must be snorting some of those drugs that Wilkie in Camp Twaddle, and the UVF are poisoning their communities with.
You may deny the irrefutable facts regarding this growing and wholly understandable disaffection among down to Earth, good Protestant people, or those traditionally from this diverse constituency, but the writing is very much on the wall. Presuming you live in such a Unionist Constituency area, would you broadcast your rational change to a progressive agenda and you intent to vote SF…..? Exactly, but reasonable people are doing so, there and elsewhere. Ask your neighbors and they would probably deny it, such is the hazards of living under the shadows of Loyalist sanctions. Look at the lay Preacher Billy Leonard Councillor for SF. There are many, many more like him who don’t opt to be pipe bombed for their new Ireland leanings.
As for what I’m on? I don’t do drugs, but if you ask Mike Tv Nesbit, or OO Chissick, or Nelson “hate the Taigs” Mc Causeland to turn around at their next photo shoot at Camp “Twaddle”, being on great terms with UVF druggie Wilkie, or Billy the kid Hutchie, they have an abundance of drugs they can sort you out for……..
What rational person who sees this cameo of imbecility and regressive Afrikaner mentality would envisage these titans as making any headway into a positive future in Ireland? Increasingly Neill many are deciding to jump ship from the good ship Titanic ll…praise be as they say on conversions to the light, praise be.
One friend is very Republican minded in the spirit of Wolf Tone, Robert Emmett, Jemmy Hope, William Orr, Mc Craken, Thomas Paine, the list goes on. The other has become extremely disaffected with regressive tory unionism, and cringes when the inarticulate Afrikaner who represents her , opens his gombeen mouth esp when outside the north his thinly veiled sectarianism is observed by rational people.
I suspect the above mentioned people would have been horrified by the party that has claimed them sectarian violence I would be sure would have horrified Wolf Tone.
If you want gobshites on the Republican side you don’t have to scratch to hard to find them and as for Mr Hazzard he was taken completely apart by Nolan this morning especially over his statements on mortgage. If you believe SF are all sweetness and light that’s fine many people like me don’t its always easy to be progressive but to follow it through….btw just look at their track record in West Belfast for creating jobs for people outside their party…..
DUP 9 SF 5 SDLP 3 Hermon to win N.Down.
Much a do about nothing.
I predict that “sir Alisdair” ( as Danny Morrison calls him) is gone and no matter what the Stoops say in public ,his own party will be more relieved than anybody else to see the back of him.
I would subscribe to Boondocks views North Down will be interesting to see if the DUP can get near Lady Herman and what that hold for the next elections
Lady Herman will keep her seat Neill, from what I gather she’s very popular in North Down. Even the UUP were wise enough not to stand against her, though I don’t know about anyone else but I kind of got the impression the UUP was trying to get into Lady Herman’s “good books” by not running against her, so desperate are the UUP to make friends and cling by the finger tips to survival. I wouldn’t be surprised if the UUP beg Lady Herman to return to the party, which she already ruled out.
One thing is for sure, if the UUP don’t win a single MP seat this election then Mike TV will be asking for his old UTV job back.
This will be the last time she runs and if I was he uup I would have wanted to run a candidate to get them ready for the next general election.
I suspect the UUP wont win any seats and Media Mike wont be invited back into his old profession!
I don’t really understand all this “odds” business in the bookies, I get the 1/4 or 1/10 chance but the whole 7/4 thing is where things get confusing for me, I got a pass in GCSE Maths but that was quite a while back. My brother likes to place a bet every other week on the football but apart from that I have no other connection to the bookies whatsoever.
Anyway I do have opinion on what way the elections here is going to go and I see several seats that are not seat or could potentially change hands due to a number of factors:
1. Upper Bann: Upper Bann is certainly a Unionist majority seat but both the UUP and DUP are contesting it with strong candidates and there’s a strong possibility the Unionist vote could be split and Sinn Fein (who got over 10,000 votes in 2010, while DUP got 14,000) could sneak in and win the seat. I think there could be a shock and Sinn Fein will win on this occasion. True the SDLP are running too but their vote has been declining nearly every election, I even see more SDLP voters voting tactically for Sinn Fein in Upper Bann, knowing that’s the only chance of getting non-Unionist representation. We’ll wait and see.
2. North Belfast: I honestly don’t have a clue who will win this seat, its a very close one. Certainly if the SDLP had accepted a pact with Sinn Fein the seat would be Gerry Kellys (despite the Unionist pact) but that didn’t happen. Its a slim majority Nationalist area now and the numbers are definitely there to defeat the Unionist pact and hand the seat to Sinn Fein, its really up to SDLP voters voting tactically, which is a strong possibility because the SDLP vote is so low in North Belfast that SDLP voters will know its really only a choice between DUP or Sinn Fein, if nationalists get out and vote then Dodds will lose his seat but no one can predict how big the overall turnout will be. One way or another, this election or the next, North Belfast will be Sinn Fein turf due to the demographic changes.
3. Fermanagh/South Tyrone: This is a very close seat, won last time by Sinn Fein by 1 vote. Its definitely a nationalist majority area. On this occasion I don’t think there will be a repeat of 2010, I see Sinn Fein winning the seat back with a couple of hundred votes to spare. Why? well because SDLP has fielded a weak (sorry if that’s offensive to John but its not personal) and inexperienced candidate who will be lucky to gain over 1000 votes. SDLP voters in that region definitely know its a choice between Sinn Fein or UUP, so i see them getting behind Sinn Fein and the Shinners holding the seat. Also, Tom Elliot is a pretty unpopular politician with nationalists, that will certainly get nationalists out to vote to keep him out.
4. South Belfast: South Belfast will more likely be won by a nationalist, either held by SDLP or won by Sinn Fein, why? because the Unionist vote will be split 4 ways. Also South Belfast is a pretty liberal area and Sinn Fein’s candidate is very popular candidate, I could see Mairtin potentially unseating McDonnell.
5. Foyle: The SDLP holds Foyle but every election since the 1990’s the SDLP’s vote has fallen, going by those trends there’s strong possibility their vote will fall again while Sinn Feins will continue to rise. At last Election SF got 12,000 votes, in 2005 election SF got 15,000 votes, so their votes are going up and down. SDLP got nearly 17,000 votes in 2010. If Sinn Fein gets a boost of votes and SDLP’s vote continues to decline, then we could see Sinn Fein taking it. Its more likely SDLP will hold Foyle but if trends continue it will be Sinn Feins within the next 10 years.
6. East Belfast: Maybe the most spoken about seat. I see the DUP retaking it this time around but not by as many votes as people think. I think it will be a close call. I certainly see Naomi Long increasing her vote (she got around 12,000 votes in 2010) but you never know, shes a very popular candidate and she has potential to bring out a lot of people who usually wouldn’t vote. I’m a SF voter but I have to say I want Naomi Long to hold this seat more than any other seat in the North.
7. West Belfast: lol this is the easiest seat to guess. It’ll be held by Sinn Fein but I know Sinn Fein don’t take things for granted and Paul Maskey will fight to make sure he has an outright majority in percentage terms. I think the only potential risk in the future to Sinn Fein in West Belfast is People Before Profits Gerry Carroll, who got a elected to Belfast city council last year.
That’s my predictions for some seats, this time in 2 weeks we will know how wrong I have been lol Should be interesting 🙂
Thank you, Ryan – a thorough analysis and v thought-provoking.
I might stick a tenner on Gerry Kelly for North Belfast. That may prove to be the upset of the evening (in this part of the world at any rate). Dirty Dodds has recently been attempting to appear all statesmanlike, no doubt preparing himself for Peter Robinson’s inevitable downfall. Gerry Kelly may just snatch that opportunity from under his nose…
Saw the TUV election broadcast earlier.Scary music and a couple of accents even more culchie than my own!
I believe that the DUP are on the downward slope and will from here on in be on a slow decline, For that reason I think Gerry Kelly has a fair chance of taking North Belfast.
The good doctor will probably hold SB but only just and as for the rest I see few changes.
As for the marriage equality vote SF have flushed out the SDLP and Alliance and shown them not to be as liberal as they protest.