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Elections: how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

1. Fermanagh/South Tyrone. An upset for Sinn Féin in a seat they were expected to nail down firmly after their last squeaky-bum win. Ex-UDR man and former UUP leader Tom Elliott won the seat with a comfortable 500-vote margin.  What have we learnt? The Orange Order is the card to play in Fermanagh/South Tyrone, if you put a Union flag on a donkey it can win, and the SDLP can give itself a pat on the back for having once again handed a seat to unionism.

2. North Belfast. The DUP and the SDLP seized on Gerry Kelly’s use of  the Catholics/Protestants leaflet to label him sectarian – and it worked. Mission accomplished. Even had the SDLP not run, Dodds would still have had enough votes to see him through. “We have exposed the sectarianism of Sinn Féin for what it is” Dodds told his whooping supporters. Is there a consolation for republicans? Well I suppose they now know what being churlish in victory looks like. Well done Nigel.

3. Upper Bann. All the dreams of young Catherine Seeley lie shattered as David Simpson romps home again. Even if Jo-Anne Dobson of the UUP had been tighter to him, Seeley still wouldn’t have won. But if Dolores Kelly of the SDLP had stood aside, Seeley would probably have squeaked home. But Dolores didn’t and Catherine didn’t. Again, the DUP winner was gracious in victory: he told his audience that the campaign had “slumped into the gutter” and that his family been abused in a “despicable” way. He also said it hurts when the DUP has a victory. He’s right on that last one at least.

4. South Antrim.  Danny Kinahan of the UUP unseated Willie McCrea. Kinahan spoke of being “ecstatic” on being elected (no, Virginia, that doesn’t mean he was on ecstasy) and praised the work of his predecessor. So now South Antrim has lost a right-wing fundamentalist guitar-plucking ‘singer’ and gained a man said to be of a liberal bent who was so gracious in victory, he found a way of saying that Singing Willie was good for South Antrim. In pretty sharp contrast to Willie’s speech when he was defeated by Martin McGuinness. Willie then warned the electorate that “If you lie down with dogs you’ll get up with fleas”. Stay classy, Willie. Bye-bye.

5. Did Sinn Féin have a good election? To quote one member of my family, “Noooooooooooooo!!!” They had five Westminster seats, they now have four.  Sound familiar? Yep – In the general election to the Dail in 2007, Sinn Féin had five seats and were expected to double or treble that number next time out. In fact in 2007 they lost a seat, causing Eoghan Harris to get reckless and make me a public offer of 10-1 that Fianna Fail would “mop up” those four seats at the next general election. In the 2011 General Election, Fianna Fail went from 77 seats to 20, Sinn Féin went from 4 to 14, and I collected my winnings. How much did I bet? £100.

As Sean O’Casey had a character say in one of his early plays: “God is good and the republicans won’t always be down”.

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71 Responses to “Noooooooo!!!”

  1. Aidan COllins May 8, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    In the grand scheme of things, Westminster seats loss or win are not important. The fact that Sinn Féin are an abstentionist party makes this more so. The important thing is that Cameron gets his majority (looking likely) and renders the DUP offer of support unnecessary (the price being too high).

    In the round, this election – with the SNP romp – has destablished the “union”. It also signals the end of Blairism, in itself well worth waiting for.

    The next five years will prove cathartic, especially if Cameron goes for his Brexit strategy. It´s all now in the melting pot.

    Nevertheless, watch the Southern usual suspects try to paint this as a castrophic election for Sinn Féin. That is far from the truth, and time will show this election to have been one major turning point in the history of the “UK”. IMHO!

  2. Westofthebann May 8, 2015 at 9:02 am #

    Shocking night to be the left leaning Fenian that I am. Very disappointed with Michelle Gildernew losing out. Only Highlights were willie mccrea getting beat and the SNP cleaning up. Apart from that, bleak stuff. After a period of reflection I hope Sinn Fein come back out swinging. I’m all for reconciliation but you can’t reconcile with many of the bigots within unionism who will never accept the rights of those of us in the six counties who regard ourselves as Irish. Don’t ever back down to these right wing proponents of inequality. And call out the SDLP for being the pro partionist party they are. If Margaret Ritchie is a nationalist then my real name is Bob Geldof

  3. michael c May 8, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    Jude, I predicted emigration would hurt Michele .There are too many young people in Australia and other places who would have been at home but for the recession.The logistics of organising postal or proxy votes from Australia is virtually impossible.The fact that Cameron was returned and will give us more austerity could also send more young people abroad.

  4. Perkin Warbeck May 8, 2015 at 9:21 am #

    It might be of some consolation to you, Esteemed Blogmeister, to learn that RTE Radio 1 rose, in the My Wild Irish sense of that flower by any other name, majestically as ever to the occasion.

    Not least where Fear Manach / Deisceart Thir Eoghain was concerned.

    With two Reporters , of, impeccable, erm Impartiality in situ it could scarcely have been otherwise.

    Take Audrey Carve-up, oops, Carville (to name but one !). While fulsomely congratulating an orgasmic Mike Nesbitt on his,erm, Stand Alone Party’s well-earned victory, she somehow forget to remind him of the minuscule but not insignificant helping hand from their imPACTful friends in the SDLP.

    (SDLP which formerly stood for Soi Disant Loyalist Party has now been de facto de pacto renamed as SDUUP).

    And then, take, Tomm.ie Gorman (to name but one other !).

    The SDLP corespondent, not.

    The neutral Nor Cor Gor for RTE
    Could scarcely contain his gleee
    Note how STUUP.
    Rhymes with Stoop
    ‘Shinners, not winners, are so an-gry !’

    • Perkin Warbeck May 8, 2015 at 10:51 am #

      PS The versatile Audrey’s tone turned a tadeen wolfish when sweetly putting it to (who else) Mary Lou that even in West Belfast Paul Maskey’s (19,000 plus) main rival (not Alex Atwood who is known to talk to RTE’s Joe Duffy) was (gulp) at (6,000 plus) …….HOT. ON. HIS. HEELS.


      To Perkie’s inner abacus thumbing number cruncher , this close conference call can mean either one of only two things:

      1. The proboscis of the People before Profit’s candy-flavoured candidate is as elongated as a non-sectarian steeple of all-inclusive ding-dong darian ;


      2. Said proboscis is as (gasp) ………Pinocchio’s.

      Surely not, Shirley.

      • Perkin Warbeck May 8, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

        PPS One thing we in the Fat-headed Free Southern Stateen are irrefutably blessed with is a variety of cool correspondents in Norneverland who circulate their cool comments through our air-conditioned heads.

        Comments ranging from Alpha to Beta in the spectrum of political opinions.

        Thus, while we have, say, Tomm.ie, the Nor Cor Gor of RTE slanting one way we also get the Nor Cor Mor of the print wing of RTE, The Unionist Times,slanting another way altogether and entirely.

        Take this take on the Norneverland elections, from the slanted quill of Gerry Moriarty (for it is he !’):

        ‘Despite managing to hold on to their three green seats in the Mother of all Parliaments, nonetheless the SDLP ‘s decision to retake the oath of allegiance to the anti-Catholic Auntie and sectarian Supreme Governor of the Bank, oops, Church of England, is a ruse the party will come to regret’.

        (History footnote,oops, umbilical note:: this Catholic exclusion order dates back to the Tudor times of Fat Harry himself. How obesity seems to be becoming something of a leitmotif here).

        Thump ! Thump ! Thump !

        Please scrap the above misquotation and replace with the actual quote:

        ‘That Sinn Fein Catholic head-count leaflet in North Belfast is a ruse which the party will regret’.

        Let Perkie’s inner results nerd take this resulting puddle of muddle as a warning against staying up till the Wee 6 hours of the morning, boggled-eyed in front of the toggle box.

        • Jude Collins May 8, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

          Perkie – I think you’ve put your,um, finger on, um, it: there is nothing sectarian about Britain’s Head of State having to be a non-Catholic, but everything sectarian about Gerry Kelly quoting figures from the Electoral Commission. As they say so pithily online these days, WTF????

  5. Séamus Ó Néill May 8, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    Sad but entirely predictable that the Unionist voters of F & S T would choose a homophobic racist in preference to someone who works for the entire community. What is unbelievable is the the metamorphosis of the SDLP from a pseudo United Ireland Party to a Unionist ( albeit ,presently, with a small u ) party. However I take comfort from the knowledge that in the 2020 Westminster elections the constituency of South Belfast will no longer exist and Dr Mc Donnell will probably be installed in the House of Lords where the conversation is hardly likely to blind him…….intellectually.

    • Jude Collins May 8, 2015 at 9:52 am #

      I doubt v much the last part of your prediction, Séamus – the rest seems on the button.

  6. sherdy May 8, 2015 at 9:43 am #

    I think we can safely say that the Orange Order had a good election in FST, as they had thrown the weight of their anti-Catholic organisation into their ‘no Taigs here’ campaign.
    And of course he was also helped by the pig-headedness of SDLP leader, the Demon Doctor who threw the unfortunate John Coyle in to take just enough votes from the nationalist side to give the seat to UDR man Tom Elliott.
    He is meant to represent all his constituents, but when an aspiring MP describes roughly half of those people as ‘scum, it seems a forlorn hope.
    Back to the Demon Doctor who managed to hold onto his seat despite hiding from the electorate during the seven week campaign. I fear it may turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory.

  7. Colmán May 8, 2015 at 10:09 am #

    Does this mean we might be leaving the EU? Thanks to all you non-voters out there in England and the North of Ireland. Your apathy has left ud up the creek without a paddle!

  8. Colmán May 8, 2015 at 10:09 am #


  9. Belfastdan May 8, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    Just a few random thoughts on what has passed.

    Sinn Fein were never going to win in N. Belfast this time around, but they should have finished closer to Dodds than they did. The headcount leaflet probably backfired on them and encouraged the unionist vote to come out in force.

    The SDLP have done slightly better than expected but if there had been a unionist pact in S.Belfast Alasdair would have gone.

    Some SDLP voters would rather vote for Satan himself rather than vote for SF so we end up with one of the most bigoted members of the UUP taking what should be a nationalist seat. However I expect this is the last time this will happen and the seat will return to the nationalist fold the next time round.

    Mike Nesbitt has morphed into dancing David Trimble and has moved the UUP so close in policy to the DUP that a united unionist party must be a possibility in the not too distant future.

    The SDLP are finished in W. Belfast and I predict that Gerry Carroll will take Alex Attwood’s seat in the Assembly election next year.

    Sinn Fein must bring forward younger candidates like Catherine Seeley, re-energise and try to reach those who do not vote.

    I fully expect the next Assembly election to be extremely nasty affair as the only thing worse than a sore loser is a sore winner. The lack of grace from the unionist pact winners in E. Belfast and Fermanagh South Tyrone was not a surprise but depressing to say the least.

    Between grinning Torys and triumphalist unionists this has been a bad election for those of us who are of a left or republican persuasion except for the result in Scotland which ensures that in the long term the UK as an entity is finished.

    • Jude Collins May 8, 2015 at 11:06 am #

      Wise words, Belfastdan, the wisest of which are “re-energise and try to reach those who do not vote”. It should not be beyond the combined wit of nationalists/republicans to crack this one.

  10. Cushy Glen May 8, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    The bigger issue surely is Scotland.

    Scotland has effectively left the UK. There’s just the paper work to be tidied up.

    The English have already accepted that

    Why would they want to hold onto part of Ireland especially if they – the Tories – don’t need unionist votes?

  11. michael c May 8, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    I saw Alisdair being interviewed today and after winning he still came across very badly.

  12. Iolar May 8, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    I ndiaidh a chéile a thógtar na caisleáin/Rome was not built in a day.

    Like ships in the night, the SNP stayed on course while Labour and Mr Galloway drifted off course. The Labour Party and Mr Galloway are paying the ultimate price for the arrogance and contempt shown to the electorate in Scotland. The SNP avalanche and a Tory mandate have sounded the death knell in relation to political unionism’s aspiration to act as power broker in Westminster. The electorate in the north of Ireland have opted for austerity and the status quo, for the time being.

  13. RJC May 8, 2015 at 10:46 am #

    The only real surprise on the night was the UUP.

    Tories look to be on their way to an overall majority, which means they won’t have to rely on the support of the DUP. Westminster can carry on ignoring the DUP as it as always done.

    Given that the SNP absolutely romped home in Scotland, I wonder do any Ulster Unionists seriously believe that ‘the Union is safer than ever’? It ain’t.

    On the SF front, I think Chris Hazzard got blooded by this election. The experience will do him good – he’s only 30. Margaret Ritchie is 57. Depends whether or not she chooses to stand in the next Westminster elections, but is it too early to stick a tenner on Sinn Féin taking South Down in 2020?

    • Jude Collins May 8, 2015 at 11:02 am #

      I think young Mr Hazzard is a man to watch. Good style, articulate, confident, people-friendly…

      • Argenta May 8, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

        Judging by his Nolan show interview,his grasp of economics is somewhat bizzare .

  14. Cal May 8, 2015 at 10:50 am #

    The greatest hinderance to SF in the north is not the SDLP but apathy. Far too many nationalists don’t vote. Not sure how SF can overcome this trend.

    • Jude Collins May 8, 2015 at 11:01 am #

      I think you’ve nailed it, Cal. I think part of the answer may lie in social media communication, but how and where I dunno…

  15. Argenta May 8, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    Doesn’t look as if your experiments with Periscope had much success.Maybe for the most part, you were preaching to the converted.They were unlikely to appeal to the floating voter if such exists.

    • Jude Collins May 8, 2015 at 11:00 am #

      I’m inclined to agree, Argenta. Although there was a lot of others of more significance periscoping as well…

  16. IrelandSaoirse May 8, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    I don’t really understand the point of SF running for seats in the british government when they won’t take the seats anyway, the SDLP are a joke from a nationalist point of view,I suspect their voters are the same kind of westbrit voters we have in the ‘Republic’ who vote for FG.
    The most encouraging thing I see is that the UK is likely PG to break up,the Scots have finally found their balls and hopefully will have another independence referendum,
    the UK might vote to leave the EU, great news from a nationalist point of view because it makes the continued partition of Ireland ridiculous,
    then again who really wants those unionist bigots in an all Ireland Dail?

    • Jude Collins May 8, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

      IS – I’ve been convinced that just as councillors do their real work outside the council on behalf of their constituents, the same applies to MPs in Westminster. Their impact on votes (or speaking) is next to zero (notice the Echo when they speak?); whereas they can do the job of a super-supercouncillor, so to say, by helping their constituents with whatever matters to them.

  17. Brian Mac Domhnaill May 8, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    In fairness, I think that even if the SDLP stood aside their most committed voters would probably not have voted for Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew. It is a mistake to assume that they would do so (as it would be to assume that committed Sinn Féin voters would ever place a ‘X’ beside the name of an SDLP candidate). Having been actively involved in the campaign to have Michelle re-elected, a number of things struck me. On the positive, we had a fantastic candidate … a strong republican, personable and warm and acknowledged to be hard-working. We also had a tremendous team campaigining for her re-election. I was based in Enniskillen and was blown away by the enormous effort put in by local activists, who were supported by SF members from across Ireland. On the negative (from our perspective), unionism seemed to be better prepared, particularly in terms of registering postal voters (a 2:1 ratio). The negative impact of dissidents cannot be underestimated and I suspect that many of them will be as happy as the Orange Order at the result. It isn’t that they put forward a candidate themselves, never mind a political strategy, but they poison the well. Their activists don’t vote (which is their right), but they encourage non-participation by others with the ‘what’s the point?’, ‘they’re all the same?’, ‘what’s in it for me?’ line of non-argument. There is another group, the ultra Catholic moralists who are as bitterly opposed to the equality agenda (gay rights etc.) as Jim Wells and they don’t vote SF either, as is their right. In the face of the loss of votes from those who once would have been SF voters, I think that the increased vote on this occasion was a remarkable achievement. As she says herself, Michelle won’t be going away and I have little doubt that from next week the republican campaign will begin to retake Fermanagh/South Tyrone.

    • Jude Collins May 8, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

      Thanks for that insight, Brian – very revealing. One question: why didn’t the sF team make sure all postal votes were operating? Or at least work hard to make it happen? I know it’s stirring to say Michelle won’t be going away – I’m sure she won’t – but what needs to be done differently to make sure she returns?

  18. RJC May 8, 2015 at 11:30 am #

    A pretty solid analysis of the state of things over on ‘the mainland’


  19. Freddy Mallins May 8, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    I take heart from our Scottish cousins. The Union is finished. Just a little housekeeping to be done first. Until the Title deeds are physically returned to the Scots, they will make some merry trouble at Westminster. After all, there will be 56 anti-union representatives, whipping up an extreme English separatist agenda. The union will be gone in a generation.

    • Chunks May 8, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

      I doubt it is as simple as that Freddy.

      The Scots had their chance last year with the referendum and didn’t take it.

      I doubt the 8 extra months of Conservative rule since the referendum suddenly made something in the order of 200,000 Scots (5% of the electorate) decide to switch to supporting independence.

      Although demographics seem to show a younger generational bias towards independence it remains to be seen if as Scots age they become less nationalist and more worried about their pensions.

      Really, last night’s SNP result says more about the electoral system than it does about independence.

      • Neill May 9, 2015 at 7:37 am #

        I suspect you are right Chunks

  20. Oriel27 May 8, 2015 at 11:52 am #

    As a nationalist, im not disappointed at all by the results. The election was pointless and meainingless for these parts. I actually think its exactly what we needed, a good ‘kick up the backside’. As cal says above, ‘Apathy’ is the biggest problem.

    As an ulster man, living in one of the 3 free counties, but working in the 6, it hasn’t been pleasant today seeing the smirks on some of my work colleagues. ‘ Unionists are on the rise, nationalists are finished’ is what was remarked to me earlier. But hi, who cares about Westminster right?.

    If anything, the loss of Michelle’s seat will create the nationalist interest again for the ‘big haysheds’ elections next (Stormount). Do you not think for one minute, the treat of the border checkpoints returning (as a result of the EU referendum) will not rise the nationalists and those in its natural hinterland ?
    The image alone of being stopped as again and asked for a passport and to open my boot as one goes from one end of the parish to the the other (as in my case, my parish is on both sides) will be enough to get nationalist blood boiling.

    Let the unionists gloat, let them cheer, let them have their day, because we will have the last laugh….. its a waiting game remember …

    • Jude Collins May 8, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

      It’s good to see someone is optimistic, Oriel – but if nationalist/republican blood didn’t boil after being referred to publicly as ‘scum’…

    • Chunks May 8, 2015 at 5:50 pm #


      The problem really is that potential nationalist voters are not engaging anymore. Theoretically, demographics says nationalism should be going from strength to strength but far from it.

      I suppose this could be unionism’s last hurrah. They used the trick of a pact to exploit the FPTP system and the fact the older population are more likely to vote to get one more big day.

  21. giordanobruno May 8, 2015 at 11:53 am #

    It is clearly time for SF to get rid of the dinosaurs as Catherine Seeley suggested when you interviewed her.
    Sadly a fairly good election for Unionism will lead to their dinosaurs hanging on for another while.
    I don’t think you can blame the DUP for portraying Gerry Kelly as sectarian, he portrayed himself as sectarian.
    The DUP did not trick him into putting out that backward looking leaflet and I am sure you must now agree it was a mistake?
    An increase in votes for Alliance, the Workers Party and the independent Fra Hughes, as well as for the DUP, suggests the voters of N Belfast did not like that message.
    And I wonder could open support for Naomi Long from Sinn Fein have helped her retain East Belfast, where it looks like Nationalists decided to stay at home.

    • Jude Collins May 8, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

      Gio – re Naomi- you may be right: it would have been a daring and desirable move if SF had withdrawn/urged their followers to back Naomi – that couldn’t be seen as sectarian. Re GK and the leaflet – I know lots of people, esp unionists and the SDLP, have said it was sectarian, and so have some republicans. But if words mean anything, ‘sectarian’ means animosity towards those of a different faith or religion. I do not believe the Electoral Commission was sectarian in compiling the figures, nor that GK was being sectarian in using them. But you’re right, in that enough people seem to have been convinced/convinced themselves it was sectarian and that can’t have helped Kelly’s case. My Question for the Day is: what is the difference between the SDLP and Sinn Féin? Apart from SF being abstentionist? If that’s the point of division I think it’s worth looking at more closely. But is there something else that is different? They’re both in favour of a UI, they’re both – I assume – anti-austerity. So. What separates them?

      • Chunks May 8, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

        Are the SDLP in favour of a united Ireland? Do they not cast themselves as “post-nationalist”.

        I’ve always seen the SDLP as being Catholic Unionists who can’t bring themselves to vote for an outright Unionist party.

        Conall McDevitt was a nationalist and they turned on him.

        • giordanobruno May 8, 2015 at 10:26 pm #

          It is right there on their website;
          “The SDLP believes in a United Ireland. We are the only party with the vision, the standing and the strategy to deliver unity.”

    • Antonio May 8, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

      And I wonder could open support for Naomi Long from Sinn Fein have helped her retain East Belfast, where it looks like Nationalists decided to stay at home.

      Unfortunately I think open support for Naomi Long from Sinn Fein, a party loathed in East Belfast, would have resulted in a lower vote for Naomi. And possibly even another arson attack on an Alliance party office. So I think Sinn Fein were correct to not openly support Naomi even though privately many Shinners would have loved to see G.Robinson fail.

      • Jude Collins May 8, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

        Makes sense, Antonio. Thanks for that.

      • giordanobruno May 8, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

        Yes you may be right, but clearly the Nationalist voters did not get the unspoken message,so maybe it needed to be said. Perhaps if they thought they had a real chance to influence the outcome in their constituency they might have turned out in sufficient numbers to offset any potential losses she might have had.
        Your question about the SDLP is a good one.On the face of it there is not much difference policy wise between them and SF.They do seem more firmly anti-abortion than SF,who are rather vague on it, but broadly, as you say, they have the same agenda. Under McDonnell they do not look very progressive,but he is another of the old guard that have been hanging around far too long at the forefront of our parties.
        I realise I go on about it a bit but we really do need to shift them on and let the next generation have a go..

  22. Catholicus May 8, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

    You’ve got to laugh at Jude’s approach – if only the SDLP had stood aside SF would have won. SF nearly lost South Belfast to unionists so wise up. Nationalists who don’t support abortion need someone to vote for and it ain’t gonna be SF.

    • Jude Collins May 8, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

      Well I’m not sure that SF are pro-abortion, Catholicus. And while I have strong views on abortion also, I recognise that there are other issues as well. Or don’t they count? Besides, a pact could well have divvied up different constituencies. Or would that have been sectarian?

  23. fiosrach May 8, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    My wife and myself went to vote in Dungannon at about 4.30 and were the only people in the station. Other people attended at 7.30, 2.00, and 6.00 and observed the same. In 20 years of voting I have never wiitnessed the like. No canvassers called at the house and their leafletting was patchy. Maybe they have become a bit arrogant or are so hot in pursuit of the LGBT vote that they have become careless. Lesson learnt?

  24. michael c May 8, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

    Gio, “the independent Fra Hughes” that you use to bolster your arguement is actually a member of the dissident RNU .His miserable 500 votes compared to Kelly’s nearly 14,000 gives the lie to Ardoyne being a dissident stronghold.

    • giordanobruno May 8, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

      My point was that other parties increased their vote from the last election, suggesting to me that Gerry Kelly’s prods v taigs leaflet was counterproductive..
      Perhaps people who did not bother to vote the last time came out and voted for ‘anyonebutGerry’

  25. Belfastdan May 8, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

    It has got to be accepted that there are nationalist voters who will never vote SF and if there was a united Ireland would most likely be FG voters.

    I am anti abortion and a SF voter but I also realise that some people have very hard choices to make in life.

    People have every right to hold conservative or progressive views on social issues but all views must be tempered with compassion and empathy and respect.


    • Ryan May 8, 2015 at 8:10 pm #

      I agree Belfastdan. I am anti-abortion and a SF voter but the road SF appear to be going down recently in regard to the likes of abortion is concerning and I think it will lose them votes (potentially even my own vote) instead of gaining them.

      I think Sinn Fein underestimates its own voters conservative social views.

  26. cararua May 8, 2015 at 6:02 pm #

    Jude, I would have to agree with Brian Mac Domhnaill, it is foolish to underestimate the ‘Catholic’ element of the Nationalist electorate.

    No body has done much insight into this element which is very closely aligned to hierarchy of the Catholic Church. They are incredibly powerful especially in more rural areas.

    You may laugh but a wide circle of friends I know openly joke about the SDLP being the political wing of the Catholic Church.

    I put a challenge to you. Look at the members of Parish Committees,
    knights of Columbanus, St. Vincent De Paul, Legion of Mary, School Boards of Governors, Chambers of Commerce, which include Catholics and look at at the numbers who are SDLP members / supporters and the much smaller numbers who are associated with Sinn Fein.

    SDLP May now only represent the minority of Nationalists but they still hold all the real levers of power in the community! Sinn Fein need to start looking at getting an equitable number of representatives on school boards of governors as a first step!

    A second point I think that Sinn Fein are much more progressive than their electoral base. Many older people just can’t fathom gay marriage and I have a sneaking impression that they would be prepared to see an SDLP candidate elected or even see a unionist elected (by refusing to vote). I think this will change in the long term but there will be short term pain!

    • Jude Collins May 8, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

      Some excellent points, cararua. Like the SDLP, school boards are a class thing (no pun intended). You’re in the middle classes? You’re a member.

  27. michael c May 8, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

    Fiosrach, Michele actually increased her vote by1700 and the turnout in FST was the highest in the North by a mile.

    • fiosrach May 9, 2015 at 9:45 am #

      I’m only reporting what I saw

  28. Ryan May 8, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

    Jude, I think the success Unionism gained yesterday wasn’t due to the strength of Unionism, it was due to the division of Nationalism and the low voter turnout in the Nationalist community.

    The SDLP, without a doubt, are to blame for Tom Elliot getting elected. The lack of co-operation between the SDLP and Sinn Fein is very concerning. You could see it in the 1980’s in places like Mid Ulster with clear Nationalist majorities but yet it constantly had Unionist representation due to a split vote between SF and the SDLP.

    Its time nationalism learned from the results yesterday and worked on sorting out our divisions and internal issues because the only ones benefitting from this is Unionism. The SDLP and Sinn Fein need to co-operate and work together. Make no mistake, if they don’t work together places like South Belfast will go to the DUP in future, with or without a unionist pact. Petty party interests need set aside by both the SDLP and Sinn Fein and nationalism in general needs to be the first priority. Is getting the SDLP and SF to work together easy? No but nothing Is impossible and yesterday proves it NEEDS to be done.

    Another issue is the low nationalist turnout. We need to do far more to inspire those nationalists who sit at home and don’t vote to come out and support nationalism at the ballot box.

    Fermanagh/South Tyrone will have Unionist representation for the next 5 years but will it be the UUP’s seat again in 2020? I doubt it, it will be won back sooner or later by Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein/SDLP need to focus now on working together and getting those nationalists who don’t vote out casting their votes at the ballot box.

    Nationalism should take this opportunity to identify our weaknesses and improve on what can be improved on because more seats will go to Unionism if we don’t. Remember, it wasn’t due to Unionisms strength in F/ST that they won, it was due to Nationalisms divisions.

  29. Tony McPhillips May 8, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

    Well Jude I enjoy seeing the boul Brian venting his spleen yet again, this time it’s not just the “dissies” getting it but the Catholics and those in particular who have a moral stance on the Chuck Feeney funded SF campaigns for “LGB” rights, abortion etc. I wouldn’t like to live in an Ireland where Brian would have any control because he might open the gas chambers for all those who seem to annoy him!

    • Brian Mac Domhnaill May 9, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

      Far from ‘venting my spleen’, as Tony McPhillips asserts, I actually said that it is wrong to assume that the 2,700 people who voted SDLP would have voted for Michelle in the absence of a candidate of their own. I also said that it is the right of anybody, dissident or ultra Catholic, to use their vote, or not use it, as they see fit. It’s not about apportioning blame, but was an attempt to explain various forces that are at play in persuading some from the nationalist community who may have voted SF in the past not to vote for for them on this occasion and perhaps to go further in voting for our political opponents. I don’t know where Tony McPhillips comes up with the nonsense that Chuck Feeney is funding the SF campaign for LGBT rights … the SF position on this, as on all such issues, is based on the basic republican principle of equality, nothing more and nothing less. Should we back off from our support for civil equality because some conservative Catholics are unsettled by our stance? Absolutely not. This is not to disrespect their deeply held religious beliefs, but is an assertion that such denominational beliefs can never be enshrined in law so as to curtail or deny civil liberty to any of our citizens. As for Tony’s reference to gas chambers, it is worth remembering that gays, like Jews and Gypsies, were victims of Nazi intolerance also and were condemned in their thousands to death in concentration camps. Far from being intolerant of people of differing lifestyles or views, I rejoice in diversity. What I despise is cant and hypocrisy and those who spit venom from the sidelines while political leaders like Michelle Glidernew (and Tom Elliott et al.) have the personal and political courage to put themselves before the people. So what about it Tony, can we expect RSF to do likewise, or will the naval gazing continue for another generation?.

      • Tony Mc Phillips May 9, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

        Well Brian, you may address your last point to RSF, I don’t know what they would make of your “naval gazing” remark, my understanding of the Republican Movement is that electoral intervention has always being a tactic to be deployed when it was felt appropriate over the years. The simple fact of republicans be it in Fernanagh or elsewhere not voting or indeed in encouraging people to do like wise is because they do not have anyone to vote for at this time. Allow me to clarify for you the Chuck Feeney comment. Chuck Feeney a Zionist supporting American has funded your party, pro LGB rights and pro abortion lobbies in this country for quite some time and therefore “he who pays the piper calls the tune”, you get my drift. As a practicing catholic who doesn’t always agree with the leadership opinion I don’t identify with your ” ultra catholic” description whatever you mean by that. The simple fact of the matter in question is that republicans either didn’t vote this time or spoilt their vote because they didn’t have anyone to vote for. This is their right, just as it is your partys right to stand in an election and promote whatever agenda that you wish to promote. I don’t spit venom from the sidelines in fact I enjoy good healthy debate with those who I politically disagree with and I to despise cant and hypocrisy from others, unfortunately there is a lot of that nowadays from those who at one time claimed the mantle of Irish Republicanism.

  30. RDME May 8, 2015 at 11:06 pm #

    It’s a disappointing result, but I think it’s too tempting to blame it all on either the Unionist pact or the SDLP. Sinn Féin should be taking that seat with >50% vote share, even with an SDLP spoiler candidate and a pact. I think there are a couple of things Nationalism needs to do to end the stagnation and political apathy.

    For Sinn Féin, they need to get rid of the Gerry Kellys and bring in the Catherine Seeleys if they want to return to growth. The days of cannibalising the SDLP are over, they’re a spent force and their voters know it, but they’re now either staying at home or going to Alliance/Greens rather than to Sinn Féin. Even if the vast majority of Sinn Féin members and representatives are of a new breed, stunts like Gerry Kelly pulled in desperation to win Belfast North undermine all of that and put off everyone but the core vote.

    For Nationalism as a whole to end the malaise, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that Fine Gael organising here would be the best thing that could happen. I’m a massive leftie myself, but there are many Nationalists who aren’t, and more importantly, a ton of unionists who aren’t. Unionism has a monopoly on the right at the moment, and is haemorrhaging voters on its left to the Alliance and Greens. Nationalism needs to watch for the same thing happening on its right, and I think the signs are there that this has been happening for a while now.

    If there’s anything we should take away from the Unionist pact it’s not bitterness over F&ST, it’s the fact that it caused the overall Unionist vote to drop in the other 3 constituencies. Strong ‘internal’ opposition is a good thing. The SDLP is no longer fit for that purpose, and I think Fine Gael represent the best chance of picking up Nationalists who can’t bring themselves to vote SF.

  31. glenshane May 8, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

    What’s the difference between SF and SDLP? Come off it.

    One party planted bombs and shot people and turned on teenage criminals in the community by shooting their knees and still today have perpetrators of these deeds in their ranks justifying it all. Then there’s the abuse ‘allegations’, the continual denials…

    The other party did none of this and condemned it all the way along.

    Some Catholics make different moral judgments from others. Some consider that a toxic way of life / cult cannot simply be touched with a barge pole or supported in any way.

    Just because they may have similar ideas about a constitutional position does not trump other moral outlooks and behaviour

    • Jude Collins May 9, 2015 at 8:33 am #

      Thanks for thoughts, glenshane. But I did ask “What IS the difference”, not what was. Past has happened, can’t be called back or reshaped. Only thing we have, I’m afraid, is the future, and we’ll make a right hames of it if we’re doing rear-mirror driving all the time.

      • glenshane May 9, 2015 at 9:04 am #

        but that IS the difference. Sinn Fein continue to minimize/deny/justify what their current members and some candidates AND leadership did in the troubles. Do you think that painting a mural to Gerry Adams and having a rally teeming with ex-combatants just a stone’s throw from where Jean McConville was abducted is not current?? Or the abuse and sexual violence allegations?? We had another reminder in election week of the McCartney murder – bet that put a few people off an X against SF. The past is very much the present with SF as their current ranks shows and it is like groundhog day with continual denials, deflections, minimizing, winding up and pissing off. 40 years of groundhog day. Some of the younger candidates/members are like little Gerry Adams Proteges. This IS current.

        This IS the dynamic is why many Catholic people can’t stand Sinn Fein, feel physically repulsed by them.

        • Jude Collins May 9, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

          Thanks for your thoughts, glenshane. And sorry to say I disagree with virtually everything you say. As you indicate in the first two sentences, you’re talking about thirty years ago – not now. As for a mural ‘just a stone’s throw from where Jean McConville was abducted’ – come on. Is there an area around that spot where nothing republican must happen? The abuse and sexual violence allegations – indeed – allegations. I could allege that you have two heads but I’d find it harder to produce proof. The McCartney killing – which conveniently popped up again to, as you say, paint the likes of Michelle Gildernew or Catherine Seeley as bearing responsibility for. Total rubbish. You’re dead right it’s like groundhog day – or a stuck needle in the record – again and again and again what the IRA did, never a word about the British army, collusion, the arrogance of the Orange Order, the DUp. As for younger SF candidates being GA proteges – why wouldn’t they be? Are you suggesting he prepare for the future the way John Hume etc prepared the SDLP -that is, not at all? Yes I know there are Catholic people who can’t stand Sinn Féin – the VO is daily evidence of that. And your point is?

          • glenshane May 9, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

            Oh dear Jude, your answer exactly illustrates the sort of answer as to why some Catholics will never touch Sinn Fein with a barge pole.

            The Gerry Adams mural and rally at Divis should not have happened as it was specifically related to him being released from questioning about Jean McConville. At best it was highly insensitive to the family, at worst it was a show of strength about whose boss around here. Other republican stuff fine in that area, but not that specific issue

            The allegations. We all know they are more than allegations, but I am wary what I say lest I get a solicitors letter getting all heavy on my ass. Let’s not defend th indefensible.

            The McCartney murder popped up again – why shouldn’t it? He was murdered and no one was ever caught. The reason it popped up was because of another murder in Belfast this week. Are you saying this all happened ‘convieniently’ in election week, that this was more than a coincidence?

            You think that past behaviourss are past behaviours and have no bearing on the present. I disagree, they impact upon people’s perceptions now. That’s why there’ll be no pact between SF and SDLP.

            Plenty is said about the Orange Order, the wrongs of British Army etc. But this discussion is about why SF and SDLP are different. And that’s what my point is.

            And you think Gerry Adams is someone to be looked up to, a role model for younger aspiring politicians. For the core sdlp vote, it is a very different view altogether

      • ben madigan May 9, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

        indeed – look what happened to miss GFA northern ireland https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=629&action=edit&message=1

  32. michael c May 8, 2015 at 11:38 pm #

    I think the issue of abortion is overstated,There are a number of individuals who are to be found on a weekly basis in the newspapers warning SF on the issue but very few people listen to them.You have to remember Michelle was fit to add 1700 to her vote.The vote in what I would term “wishy washy areas” is the vote which is the hardest to get out.I remember a cop boasting in 1981 that life in a certain town “went on as normal” when hunger strikers funerals involving tens of thousands of people were taking place 3 or 4 miles away.”Castle catholics” still exist and will never vote to rock the boat and I think not one of the 2700 who voted for the stoops could ever be persuaded to vote SF.More work on registration and identifying postal and proxy votes are the key to success.Apparently Elliot was getting postals and proxies at a ratio of 2 to 1 (no doubt organised by the orange order) and this would be unusual as in my own area SF would be the main force in securing postals and proxies for their supporters.Elliot’s supporters tried to copy SF this time and SF didnt notice until it was too late.I suspect that work wasnt commenced soon enough and from personal experience that McGuinness’ success in 97 was due to to non stop election work in the year before his ousting of McCrea. If I was in FST I would be starting to prepare for next years assembly poll now.Immediate registration of voters,helping people to obtain the necessary ID and identifying people who work away and need absent votes . I have no doubt that in the week before polling scores of people will have been coming to SF complaining about receiving no polling cards only to discover they are not registered and it is too late.As few as 20 votes in every ward would have saved Michelle.

  33. Wolfe tone May 9, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    Me thinks people are ignoring the elephant in the room. In the shinners thirst to be all things to all men they seem to be failing to notice the discontent within the community they claim to come from. The attitude that the discontented will vote for them anyway just to stop a unionist winning a seat is arrogant and lazy.
    It might appeal to certain sections of voters mcguinness doffing the cap to sweaty Betty Windsor but to many people I know it goes against everything they believe. The usual excuses that are fired out by s.f spokesmen don’t wash anymore. In fact it is insulting the intelligence of people. People feel they are being played for fools. Whilst the campaign to appease unionists is in theory commendable the reality seems to be that the shinners are becoming so arrogant they can’t even see that the unionists are running rings around them. When the shinners were declaring that the fact that the unionists had agreed to appoint McLaughlin as speaker of the house, as a victory, I swear Jesus wept. These super negotiators had the unionists under pressure in them recent stormont talks due to their refusal to agree on parades etc but they let them off the hook. You would have thought the very least the shinners could have got Robinson to agree to was the restoring of the long kesh scheme? No all they ‘won’ was speaker of the house. Brilliant.
    Also I know of staunch Catholics who are horrified at their abortion stance and have declared they will never vote for them again. I for one commend their stance, at least they have principles. I assume they realise it really doesn’t matter who wins a House of Commons seat? When was the last time an MP from the north effected any real change in Westminster? These elections are just bragging rights locally and nothing else. Realpolitik are not involved in these spats.
    One more footnote, in their desire to become respectable sort of speak, there is a whiff of snobbery coming of them. They dismiss the complaints of the working classes and assume they are smarter than them by fobbing them off. Big mistake. People are wising up and don’t care about tokenism polls.

    • ben madigan May 9, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

      seems as if you are listing similar reasons as to why labour was routed in scotland. if what you are saying is true, it’s time for SF to look and learn and listen to what people are thinking and feeling.
      otherwise they may end up like the scottish branch of british labour , not like the SNP which i presume they aspire to.

      • Wolfe tone May 10, 2015 at 10:19 am #

        A few years ago in my town a Sinn Fein cllr, whilst organising a group of people to do some electioneering, was asked where were all the ex POWs, where were all the prominent republicans, why are they not helping or indeed voting. Her arrogant response was that ‘we don’t care if republicans don’t vote for us just as long as they don’t vote for anybody else’! Now that’s vision we could do with out.

  34. michael c May 9, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

    Glenshane ,any SDLP member or supporter mentioning “abuse allegations” has a brass neck.Do you not wonder why SDLP spokespeople have gone strangely silent on a subject which they were trying to use for their political advantage up until a few weeks ago.You are either very naieve or burying your head in the sand but when the big story breaks your party will be running for cover.

    • glenshane May 9, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

      well let’s hear it then, I have been working away on and off and have not followed this election as closely as I might

      but any party/politician involved in anything untoward like that and which has covered it up, and perhaps as importantly, continues to cover it up/ deny / deflect / dance on the graves / retraumatise the victims etc, is rotten to the core and I want no truck with them

  35. michael c May 9, 2015 at 10:54 pm #

    As a stoop groupie,if not a member you know dammed well that a legal device has been deployed to stop us hearing it but this ploy is only giving the Redmondites a temporary respite.When the time comes you are going to look very foolish indeed.Your use of the name “glenshane” gives a clue as to why you direct so much bile at SF, Stoops have never got over the fact that their beloved party is regularly given an electoral thrashing on both the North and South sides of the historic Glenshane pass.