There are too many candidates, and too many of them are well known, for a comprehensive list to be useful – so here are a few thoughts on some of the surprises or lesser-known names amongst them.
Firstly, those who are missing:
Alex Maskey – a surprise pull-out by Sinn Féin in South Belfast. Clearly Maskey was never going to win the seat, but Sinn Féin have obviously decided that it could be to their advantage to be on the side of the angels. Plus, of course, the fact that this makes a McDonnell victory more likely, and conversely a win for either the DUP or the UCUNF non-party less likely. McDonnell is still, of course, far from home and dry.
The TUV candidate in Upper Bann – despite his strong disapproval of David Simpson, Jim Allister decided not to stand a candidate against him, but rather gave a strange and illogical semi-endorsement of the UUP's 'celebrity' candidate.
Adrian Watson in South Antrim. This blog had high hopes that this multiple-bigot would split the unionist vote and shake the race up. But in the end his Westminster aspirations just fizzled out.
Then those who are odd:
Martin McAuley in North Belfast pretends that he is a serious candidate. He isn't – he's a joke. He is like Blackadder's Pitt the (even) younger, as has been cruelly suggested elsewhere.
Lyle Cubitt, an old UKUP candidate is standing in North Antrim, but without any party identification. Given that the constituency enjoys a wealth of unionist hopefuls, from the UUP though the DUP to the TUV, it is hard to understand what market segment Cubitt is aiming at. Some of his supporters have a UKUP history, but since most people of 'that persuasion' will vote for Allister, Cubitt will fail badly.
And those without a hope:
The Alliance Party everywhere and the Green Party in the few places they are standing (Strangford, North Down, South Down, South Belfast). A lost deposit costs £500, so why throw it away when history tells you that you haven't a hope of getting elected. Concentrate on local or Assembly elections first.
Eamonn McCann. Why bother? Honestly? Surely the pen is mightier than the ballot box (when you always lose)?
John Stevenson in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Who on earth is he? And why is he standing? He has no political history known to this blog, and nor do his supporters. What is their platform, and why do they think people would vote for them? His supporters are apparently drawn from the Protestant/unionist community in the constituency, but it is doubtful if they will draw many votes away from the 'unionist unity' candidate.
Ciaran McClean in West Tyrone – the return of the hopeless leftie! McClean's last outing was in 1996 when he stood for Democratic Left (DL) in the Forum elections. DL were one of the splinters of the old Workers Party, and eventually merged with the Labour Party. Is McClean standing as a Labour proxy? This blog will keep an eye on West Tyrone to see what McClean is wasting his £500 on.
Willie Frazer, the unbalanced 'victims' campaigner is standing in Newry and Armagh. He will take his few votes from the unionist pool only, thus increasing Conor Murphy's majority. One wonders who's side he is actually on.
And lastly those who could really upset an apple-cart or two (though probably won't):
William Ross in East Derry. The man Gregory Campbell beat to take the seat in 2001 now returns on behalf of the TUV to try to turn the tables, at an age when most politicians have long since retired. Ross would probably be the oldest MP if elected.
Michelle Gildernew. If she beats the unionist ganging-up and holds the seat the cheering will be audible as far away as Albertbridge Road and Dundela Avenue.
Caitriona Ruane has an outside chance of defeating Margaret Ritchie – and the more Ritchie opens her mouth the greater Ruane's chances get.