Wednesday 5 May 2010

Preferences, not predictions

This blog does not intend to try to predict the outcome of the Westminster election. Although in some constituencies the outcome seems almost certain, in others it is too close to call, or complicated by too many unknowns.

Instead, this blog will simply list the outcomes it would prefer – despite the obvious improbability of some of them. Where there is simply no chance of a nationalist victory, a choice must be made amongst the unionist candidates – the reasons for the choice will be explained below:
  • Belfast East: Peter Robinson (DUP) – this blog sees less danger in the DUP than in UCUNF. The DUP as 'Ulster nationalists' are devolutionists, whereas UCUNF are increasingly integrationist.
  • Belfast North: Gerry Kelly (Sinn Féin)
  • Belfast South: Alasdair McDonnell (SDLP)
  • Belfast West: Gerry Adams (Sinn Féin)
  • East Antrim: Sammy Wilson (DUP), as above.
  • East Derry: Gregory Campbell (DUP) is more likely, but a victory by Cathal O hOisin (Sinn Féin) would be nice if the unionist vote splits three ways.
  • Fermanagh and South Tyrone: Michelle Gildernew (Sinn Féin)
  • Foyle: Martina Anderson (Sinn Féin)
  • Lagan Valley: Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP), as above.
  • Mid Ulster: Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin)
  • Newry and Armagh: Conor Murphy (Sinn Féin)
  • North Antrim: Jim Allister (TUV) – this blog has a soft spot for Allister – he has done a lot for nationalism, and if elected he would be a great help.
  • North Down: Sylvia Hermon (Independent Unionist)
  • South Antrim: This is a really tough one. This blog wants both main unionist challengers to lose. On balance, though, McCrea (DUP), extremist as he is, is a better friend of nationalism.
  • South Down: Caitriona Ruane (Sinn Féin)
  • Strangford: Jim Shannon (DUP), as above.
  • Upper Bann: John O'Dowd (Sinn Féin)
  • West Tyrone: Pat Doherty (Sinn Féin)
So, if this blog had its way, May 7 would see nine Sinn Féin MPs abstaining from Westminster – an almost impossible outcome, but one that would blow open the debate on Northern Ireland's constitutional future. The UCUNF, astute readers may have noticed, get not one seat in this blog's fantasy outcome – the sooner that non-party withers away the better.

Although the TUV is as far to the right within unionism as it is currently possible to go, this blog wishes them some limited success. Partly because they are useful splitters of the unionist vote, and partly because they would advertise to the world just how backward, bigoted and odd unionism can be. A TUV MP would show the world outside Northern Ireland just how strange unionism is, and drive a nice wedge between unionism and the metropolitan political elite in London.

The reality, of course, will be different to the list above – and this blog will be disappointed. There may be only four Sinn Féin MPs, there may be three SDLP MPs, there may be one or more UCUNF poodles sitting on Tory laps, and there may be no rabid TUV MP to scare the horses. But this blog will not be disheartened – the future is long and change comes dropping slow (apologies to WB Yeats).


Nordie Northsider said...

Re. East Derry. It's a long shot of course but the SDLP are spinning the (slim) chances of their man above Ó hOisín. The SDLP are still marginally in front in this constituency.

Anonymous said...

Your thinking is much the same as mine. An extreme Unionist is better for nationalism than a moderate such as say Ringland in East Belfast or Alliance anywhere.
And of course THREE unionist (UUP/DUP/TUV) is better than TWO.
A good outcome would be the TUV actually emerging as credible.
Even if they dont pick up any seats, the prospect of TUV picking up 7 or 8 in Assembly is a good prospect.
Coupling the increasing "Boer laager" mentality of unionism and a further greening of the west if nationalism picks up extra seat in say West Tyrone and East Derry in 2011.
Along with genuine prospects in Strangford and Upper Bann,East Antrim possibly at the expense of Lagan Valley and South Antrim.
To some extent AP (I expect a collapse in East Antrim in part due to Gerry Lynch) do well in the elections before nationalism flexes its muscles (South Belfast, Lagan Valley).
While I could never bring myself to actually "vote" for Mcrea instead of Empey or Robinson instead of Ringland or Long. Or Simpson instead of Hamilton, I firmly believe that in Proportional Representation Elections, there is a real chance for nationalists to get "their man/woman" elected AND influence the result in Unionism.
Traditionally the "Spectrum" says a logical vote in 2011 is
1 SF or SDLP
2 SDLP or SF
3 AP
but in say Upper Bann, Strangford and several others there is a real chance of getting 1 or 2 of our philosophy elected AND influencing unionism for the worse.
Thus as a matter of choice, a "thinking nationalist" should go
1 SF or SDLP
2 SDLP or SF
and no votes at all for the parasitic Alliance Party. Getting AP out of the game is as important as getting TUV IN the game.

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with being Right as long as you're right?

Funny, isn't it, that SF, which must count as a fringe leftwing party [in a European perspective], has no influence South of the border, where all influential parties - those having been in power, at least - count as being on the right side ?

So, if you get your will at some point, at least partially, and the western part of Northern Ireland joins the Republic, will that leave the voters voting for SF in Ireland, thereby totally marginalising Irish Ulster?

Is that a perspective, which you fancy? What party would you vote for, if you were living in the Republic, Horseman?

A Scandinavian in Germany.

Horseman said...

Scandinavian in Germany,

I see SF in the north as a sort of 'national-liberation' party. It has no strong policies apart from the constitutional position. In a UI I expect SF to wither away, with many of its supporters going either to the Labour Party or Fianna Fail (of the current parties). But in truth, I expect (and hope for) new political groupings in a UI. Parties based upon the drive for independence are a bit obsolete once that has been achieved.

Likewise for the unionists - once unionism is a 'past-tense' political ambition, there will be no further need for such parties. They'll cling on, of course, but will eventually melt away or merge with other groupings. I guess many unionists would be at home in a right-wing party ... Fine Gael, maybe, but after a big face-lift, and a name-change.

If I were voting in the south, it would depend where I was. Many areas have 'single-issue' politicians who appeal more than the parties. But in very overall terms I would probably hold my nose and vote Green. I loath both Labour and Fine Gael, ... and Fianna Fail - well, they've blown things a bit!

Luckily the south has STV PR in all elections, so I could hedge my bets, and give a no-hoper (hospital campaigner or environmentalist) my No 1, and then go down a little (but not too far). I imagine my vote would end up as one of the wasted 'non-transferrable' ones.

Horseman said...

Note to the commenter TUV are lundies:

I have rejected your comment, and I expect you know why. Please don't try to treat this site as an extension of your kindergarten playground.

Anonymous said...

Way too many parties, especially in a first past the post form.

JC Skinner said...

We're all allowed our wet dreams, I suppose.
Taking the macro view of what might progress or regress Irish unification, I would have thought the balance of power in London, with the possibility of DUP holding up a Tory minority government, was way more important right now.

Manfarang said...

UCUNF has come to nothing.
Belfast East?
Yes its been 30 years but what did I tell you.
Chai Yo Chai Yo Chai Yo
as they say in my place of exile.

Colm said...

So 12 out of your 18 preferences came to be elected.

Assuming you would prefer Alliance to the DUP leader that's another one to add to the basket.

It's interesting to note that some 2200 North Belfast DUP voters are all that kept any unionist being returned from the city.

Also interesting to note is that nationalists outpolled unionists in South Belfast for the first time, albeit very slightly.