I think this is all but confirmed now.
Given the likely candidates to replace McGuinness the move from military to civilian leadership seems likely to take a big leap forward. That provides a new challenge for everyone. They choose to have an election and it isn't hard to see why. Beyond fending off the odd PBP candidate they don't have much opposition within nationalism. On the up side they have a nationalist electorate energised by Brexit and the chance to have a do over after the mess they made of Fermanagh-South Tyrone last time.
They will have a bright future but it seems like this has come a bit early for them to make big gains. Gerry Carroll will get back, Eamonn McCann pobably will, and they might even get a 2nd in West Belfast, but they needed more time for their candidates to build a profile.
I like Colm Eastwood, and Clare Hanna is obviously a formidable operator, but after that the quality of their candidates falls of a cliff and they have massive problems local organistation. It's hard to see anything but another set of results that leave them licking their wounds after yet another kicking from Sinn Féin
Probably as you were for Alliance. Gains are probably very unlikely and given the reduction in the number of seats they could possibly lose a seat or 2, but they will get most of their team back. David Ford looks vulnerable in south Antrim
No chance of gains with the number of seats going down. They will be delighted to retain their 2 seats
Anything could happen in unionism. The lack of polling that has been done makes this a bit of a mystery really. Mike Nesbitt seems to have solved the internal problems in the party and has been impressive in opposition. Depending on what comes out about the RHI scheme they could well be the big winners, or they could end up worse off with the reduction in seats.
They will do their best to turn this into a sectarian headcount, but everyone else will be trying to do the opposite. It remains to be seen how much success they will have. Their administration has been marked by scandal after scandal after scandal. For people who are so insistent about being British they would fit into Irish politics very well indeed.
Jim Allister will get back, but the real fun here has to be Jonathan Bell if he attempts to get elected in Strangford up against his former DUP colleagues with the UUP leader hanging around into the bargain.
Bring Back Belfast Celtic F.C.
Mostly agree with this analysis. As you say unionism could go any way. The DUP have been making plenty of distraction noises since this came to a head but do seem to be running scared of an election, Paul Givan's about turn on the Liofa scheme won't go down particularly well with their grassroots who may defect in some numbers to the TUV who would see such actions as a sign of weakness. The softer DUP voters may also drift back to the UUP over the RHI/NAMA/RED Sky etc etc scandals as well, though who knows if it would be enough to cause the DUP serious damage. I think that they're in trouble regarding getting the numbers for a Petition of Concern though and can also see a few of their members staying at home particularly some of the biblical ones over all the corruption. Any absence of MMcG would put an end to a stop Martin campaign too which was so effective last time out.
On SF, I wouldn't say they've completely abandoned their previous image seeing as the front runner, and in my opinion the strongest candidate Conor Murphy did time for RA/explosives stuff back a time ago.
It could be any one of a dozen people.
Afternoon all. A few comments:
Marty is obviously very ill. Rather than gurn about coverage of that, he should have announced his retirement and asked for privacy. Many Unionists would likely have respected that as they're pleased to be rid of him.
Are there really up to 12 possible successors? I've only seen Murphy, O'Neill and O'Mulleoir mentioned even on social media (assuming there's no real chnce of Adams returning North). 12 possibles suggests no-one is particularly well-supported, which might persuade McGuinness (unwisely) to stand again?
The slogan 'This Election is about DUP arrogance' is a bit odd. All political parties are arrogant; whinging about others being so is such childish. Time to grow a set?
Bad news even if their vote share holds, with the loss of seats. What news of FF maybe standing up here, might they be merged in?
I've changed the order. They claim to be non-aligned, many obviously see them as a left-wing Nat party, but as suggested by only standing in three seats they are just a Handful of Independents. East Belfast anyone?
Keeping eight seats would be great for Alliance- it would probably mean a bigger vote share.
As per Alliance on a smaller scale. As a member, I'm hoping our voters are less disillusioned with their reps than the Nationalists and Unionists are
Agreed, very hard to predict. Mike Nesbitt Anchorman has made improvements, but needs a bigger vote share to keep his job and any relevance.
I think Arlene's toast, that seems to be word on the street down Fermanagh way. Apart from anything else, she's turned a strength- personal experience of violence- into a mantra parroted as an alternative to talking to SF. And most of the misogynists pressing her are...other women.
Squeaky Jim is McCann or Carroll writ large. He's grudgingly respected but that wasn't enough to get his mates elected while Arlene covered all Unionism from Big House and Garden Center to Prayer Meet and Sink Esate. Interesting how far that changes.
Indepedent Unionist Sugden should return. You'd think there's scope for UKIP but McNarry is thick and lazy even by NI hack standards.
Overall- no floating from Uni to Nat or vice versa. Hamilton and O'Neill as joint head goons my prediction.
I honestly can't see Sugden getting back. I think it was Brian Feeney who described her as the political version of a cheap cushion, and then explained it as because "she bears the impression of whoever was the last person who sat on her".
Given her performance at justice I'd assume the McClarty vote will revert to the UUP.
I'd assume PBP will be looking to spread their wings a bit further this time round. North Belfast would be worth a rattle and maybe a few trial balloons elsewhere. You are right about them being seen as a nat party, but then Alliance and the Greens are seen as small u unionists. That will always be the case until a party comes along that is truly agnostic on the union and allows it's members to hold independent opinions rather than attempting to enforce a version of getalongerism on society. As we saw with Anna Lo that certainly isn't the case in Alliance yet. Hard to say what would happen in the Greens or PBP until it happens but I would assume a similar reaction as in Alliance.
Edit: I never addressed the question about potential leaders for SF. I was perhaps guilty of exaggerating for effect, but I wouldn't have ruled out them doing something unexpected. Depending on what will be most advantageous to them they could potentially skip a generation and go for the likes of the likes of Megan Fearon, or if events lead them to want to poke the DUP in the eye they could give it to Gerry Kelly. I'd imagine it will be a bit like one of conventions the Chinese Communist Party have where the old boys go into a smoke filled room, decide what the plan is for the next decade, then the new leadership walk out on stake and are unanimously approved by the party congress.
All that being said the push they are giving O'Neill is making it all a bit obvious. If nothing else having an O'Neill running Ulster must appeal to them on an atavistic level (Terence should have played on that a bit more, we might never have had all this bother).
Last edited by backstothewall; 16/01/2017 at 10:12 PM.
I wouldn't have the Greens down as small u. They have close connections with the greens down south as well as to the east. I remember one of their reps stating that SF weren't the only party to organise on an all island basis as they were doing it too. Environmental problems have a way of transcending national boundaries.
They had a bit of a scene a few years ago, about the time that Agnew came in, when a few long time members from The Larne area left in a hissy fit over having a few Irish words on their election posters.
Intriguing comments on Fearon and Sugden. It's a big step from getting back in- whether on a big party ticket or as an effective indepedent- to bcoming head honcho. Surely Nolan, and co would eat the inexperienced Fearon alive even before the Unionist hacks got anywhere near her? Whereas Sugden's early promotion will have gained her some votes through recognition even if others were unimpressed by her performance at the 'Ministry'.
I'm sure Brian Feeney has used similarly unflattering terms for almost every Unionist hack that's ever lived
As I suggested, PBP are hamstrung as long as they only stand in three inner-city seats. When they branch out (as the Greens have), to cover Unionist suburbia and up-country, they can more credibly claim to be agnostic on the Union. I'd say the Greens already are, as PR suggests.
If Gerry Kelly gets the Shinner gig, will he get a lift on a Police landrover?
Betting on Next Ulster Joint Deputy Ard Ri Supremo:
Michelle O'Neill 4/5
Michael O'Neill 5/2
Martin O'Neill 5/1
Skeg O'Neill 25/1
Lig O'Neill 33/1
Shaquile O'Neill 50/1
The Captain and Tennile 100/1
I'm disturbed by how polite and agreeable this thread is. Please insert some vile sectarianism immediately.
Maybe i've judged this very badly but I suspect the people who gave Sugden a vote last time will be less than impressed by her acting as a human shield for Arlene Foster. Not anywhere near East Derry but where i live the overwhelming attitude among garden centre Unionist types, who I would assume to be her base, is that she should have called a public inquiry.
I wouldn't mention Fearon for the leadership of any other political party but SF are different. Not least because whoever gets the gig isn't going to be the leader. That will be Adams until it is M.L. McDonald. The dFM needn't even be the leader of SF in the north. They could very well have someone like O'Neill in the office but have someone like Conor Murphy leading the party from the back benches. I mentioned Fearon as she has been the junior minister in ofmdfm since this executive was formed. You are right to say Nolan would eat her alive but only if he gets talking to her. Can't remember the last time the FM or dFM appeared on Nolan. Trimble or Malton maybe. They could protect her very easily if they wanted to.
GR. On the Greens, as a member, are there many in the party who would be in favour of unity? Even if as a secondary concern compared to other issues
I mean at a pinch I'd consider it if the Brit govt gets any crazier...
Just to clarify, I'm registered as a member in North-West BelAir as well as in England. Cassidy's Bar is my notional address.
Sugden will be gone. She only got the MLA gig because of a residual sympathy vote from McClarty from ex UUPers and the Justice gig as there was no one else who would do it. She has been less than impressive in both roles and with the UUP having more of a handle on things than previously, Coleraine votes will end up back with whoever they put up. She was always going to have her vote squeezed anyway with the last seat being done away with. Her profile may have been raised a bit by her justice job but there wouldn't be too many who could pick her out in a pub quiz even with that exposure. I think that she has been completely anonymous, a bit like the new guy at work who bluffed his way into the job and for fear of being found out hides in the bog the whole time.
PBP have named a running mate for Gerry Carroll in West Belfast...
...He's called Michael Collins
So Martin has decided to step away from politics. This campaign has gotten more interesting.
DID YOU NOTICE A SIGN OUTSIDE MY HOUSE...?
I'm going to thoroughly enjoy watching the unionists, Tories and particularly the Blueshirts paying tribute to him through gritted teeth.
He's proven Enoch Powell wrong as well...
“all political careers end in failure”
Bring Back Belfast Celtic F.C.
Well we could be technical and think that resigning and getting elections called counts as a failure.
I don't, mind you.
DID YOU NOTICE A SIGN OUTSIDE MY HOUSE...?
But he failed to get a united Ireland, failed to beat the Brits militarily and failed to stop the DUP bettering him at Stormont.
There are exceptions to Powell's rule (Eddie Coll?) but Party Marty isn't one of them. For all that pained international statesman look he's been sporting for some time, even before his current illness.