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Author Topic: The Election in Northern Ireland  (Read 4042 times)
Јas
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« on: April 08, 2005, 06:03:43 am »
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This is the one area of the upcoming election where I can claim reasonable knowledge about. So I shall make my list of predictions for the 18 seats in NI.

EAST ANTRIM (Sitting MP: Roy Beggs, UUP)
In 2001, Beggs won by just over 100 votes from Wilson (DUP). The Assembly elections saw the DUP lead the UUP by 700, though Beggs didn't contest them. Wilson is now a leading member of the DUP and the tide is heading their way generally.
Predictuion: Lean DUP (Gain from UUP)

EAST BELFAST (Peter Robinson, DUP)
Robinson, Deputy DUP leader, easily won in 2001. Reg Empey, UUP, would only stand a chance if he got most of the Alliance and SDLP vote also. Even if it happened Robinson would be favoutire.
Prediction: Strong DUP (HOLD)

EAST DERRY: (Gregory Campbell, DUP)
Campbell took the seat from the UUP in 2001. The Assembly election was another good result for the DUP.
Unless tactical voting takes hold Campbell should be safe. Though one should keep watch for possible pacts here.
Prediction: Lean DUP (HOLD)

FERMANAGH & SOUTH TYRONE: (Michele Gildernew, SF)
In 2001, Gildernew won the seat from the UUP by 53 votes, amid allegations of irregularities at one polling station after the official time for closing polls.  Short of some kind of unity unionist candidate, Gildernew should hold on, and given the DUP nomination of Arlene Foster (ex-UUP), this seems unlikely.
Prediction: Lean SF (HOLD)
« Last Edit: April 12, 2005, 05:18:09 am by Jas »Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2005, 06:28:34 am »
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FOYLE: (John Hume, SDLP)
It's unlikely many seats in this election with 5 figure majorities will be under threat, but that is the case in Derry. John Hume, former SDLP leader and giant of the peace process is retiring. Current SDLP leader Mark Durkan will be fighting SF chair Mitchell McLoughlin. One might imagine that Durkan should of course hold this seat but in the 2003 Assembly election the SDLP without Hume was only 1,500 votes in front. Hume's huge personal vote is up for grabs. A key nationalist battleground, the SDLP should hold though with a much reduced majority.
Prediction: Lean SDLP (HOLD)

LAGAN VALLEY: (Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP)
Donaldson has won the last two elections here with majorities in the region of 17 and 18 thousand. However they were under the banner of the UUP. No chance of change here, Donaldson will safely hold.
Prediction: Strong DUP (HOLD)

MID-ULSTER: (Martin McGuinness, SF)
The Northern Bank robbery, the Robert McCartney murder and the allegations of Mafia-style IRA money-laundering have not helped Sinn Féin, though while it may impact somewhat on their vote eleswhere their chief negotiator McGuinness is not under any real pressure.
Prediction: Strong SF (HOLD)

NEWRY & ARMAGH: (Seamus Mallon, SDLP)
Mallon, like John Hume, bows out of politics, handing the task of holding this seat for the SDLP to Dominic Bradley. It will be an uphill struggle. SF have made real inroads here over the past decade, Mallon's retirement will probably see them take the seat.
Prediction: Lean SF (Gain from SDLP)
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2005, 06:46:06 am »
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NORTH ANTRIM: (Ian Paisley, DUP)
Their is no person living or dead who could prise this seat off Paisley. His majority might only be about 14,000, but this is the safest seat in Westminster.
Prediction: Strong DUP (HOLD)

NORTH BELFAST: (Nigel Dodds, DUP)
Dodds should be safe here, SF will be looking to put themselves in a position to really challenge next time round.
Predicition: Strong DUP (HOLD)

NORTH DOWN: (Sylvia Hermon, UUP)
The UUP gained this seat in 2001 from Bob McCartney of the UKUP, aided by the non-running of the Alliance party. McCartney is considering his position this time round, if he runs one would imagine the split vote with the DUP's Peter Weir (ex-UUP) would see Hermon safe, if he doesn't this will be a race. Given all of this Hermon is provisional favourite.
Prediction: Lean UUP (HOLD)

SOUTH ANTRIM: (David Burnside, UUP)
If Foyle is the main nationalist battleground, this could be the main unionist one. Two hardline unionists are the main contenders here, Burnside for the UUP and William McCrea for the DUP, who varies his constituencies between South Antrim and Mid Ulster, where he has his Assembly seat, raising a local representational credibility question.

McCrea won the by-election in 2000 by 800 votes, but Burnside with some Alliance voters tactically supporting him against McCrea took it by 1,000 votes in the general election a year later.

In the 2003 Assembly poll, however, the DUP was 300 votes ahead of the UUP, reflecting a general trend.

Prediction: Tossup UUP (HOLD)
« Last Edit: April 08, 2005, 07:10:23 am by Jas »Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2005, 06:52:36 am »
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SOUTH BELFAST (Martin Smith, UUP)
This is the seat vacated by the Rev Martin Smyth, now contested for the Ulster Unionist Party by Michael McGimpsey. The chances of a unity unionist candidate may be receding here, although the issue is still not fully decided.

With the UUP, DUP and SDLP respectively on a 27 per cent, 21 per cent and 23 per cent share of the vote based on the Assembly 2003 turnout there is an outside chance that the SDLP's Dr Alasdair McDonnell could sneak it.

McGimpsey must be favourite but if the DUP candidate, yet to be announced, has the necessary clout and profile then this could be a rambunctious three-way contest.
Prediciton: Lean UUP (HOLD)

SOUTH DOWN: (Eddie McGrady, SDLP)
A unionist unity candidate would have no more than a theoretical chance of regaining this seat, which Eddie McGrady won for the SDLP from the UUP's Enoch Powell in 1987, and has doggedly held since then.

This should be a straight battle between McGrady and Sinn Féin's Caitriona Ruane who, unlike some other Sinn Féin candidates, doesn't have the whiff of cordite about her. While she has been groomed to appeal to SDLP waverers she will find it difficult to unseat the veteran McGrady.
Prediction: Strong SDLP (HOLD)

STRANGFORD: (Iris Robinson, DUP)
When former occupant John Taylor (UUP) walked away from this seat in 2001 it was a close-run battle between the DUP's Iris Robinson and the UUP's David McNarry, who is not standing this time, with Robinson victorious by 1,100 votes. Since then, the DUP has consolidated Strangford, and the wind is with Robinson.
Prediction: Lean DUP (HOLD)
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2005, 06:59:08 am »
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UPPER BANN: (David Trimble, UUP)
With South Antrim, a major unionist battleground, with plenty of media interest. This should be the bitterest of struggles, with David Trimble not only seeking to hold his seat and his leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party but striving to save the UUP from potential annihilation by the DUP.

In the 2001 Westminster election Trimble, who suffered intimidation while canvassing in his constituency, held the seat by 2,000 votes from the DUP's David Simpson.

In the Assembly election in November 2003 the DUP was only 400 votes behind the UUP, and that doesn't count other anti-agreement unionists in that race. If the DUP can maintain that momentum then Trimble is in serious trouble.
Prediction: Tossup DUP (Gain from UUP)

WEST BELFAST: (Gerry Adams, SF)
Unassailable
Prediction: Strong SF (HOLD)

WEST TYRONE: (Pat Doherty, SF)
This was another gain for Sinn Féin in 2001 when Pat Doherty took the seat. He appears a certainty unless the other parties agree that independent hospital campaigner Dr Kieran Deeney should be allowed a free run against the Sinn Féiner.

The UUP said the DUP was opposing such a strategy. Also, the SDLP walking away from a battle would be exploited by Sinn Féin as the SDLP effectively walking away from politics. But who knows what might be agreed between now and the close of nominations? Certainly, a straightforward Doherty v Deeney contest could go either way, but I fell that may be unlikely.
Prediction: Strong SF (HOLD)
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2005, 07:09:53 am »
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Based on those predictions:
DUP  8 (+3)
SF     5 (+1)
UUP  3 (-3)
SDLP 2 (-1)

So NI would return the following to Westminster:

DUP: Paisley, P. Robinson, Dodds, Donaldson, Wilson, Campbell, I. Robinson and Simpson.

SF: Adams, McGuinness, Doherty, Gildernew, Murphy.

UUP:  Burnside, McGimpsey, Hermon.

SDLP: Durkan, McGrady.

And I'm sure they'll all fit in nicely barely distinguishable from MP's from elsewhere. Wink
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2005, 07:49:38 am »
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Based on those predictions:
DUP  8 (+3)
SF     5 (+1)
UUP  3 (-3)
SDLP 2 (-1)

So NI would return the following to Westminster:

DUP: Paisley, P. Robinson, Dodds, Donaldson, Wilson, Campbell, I. Robinson and Simpson.

SF: Adams, McGuinness, Doherty, Gildernew, Murphy.

UUP:  Burnside, McGimpsey, Hermon.

SDLP: Durkan, McGrady.

And I'm sure they'll all fit in nicely barely distinguishable from MP's from elsewhere. Wink

A very good analysis of those seats Jas. I think it's inevitable that the DUP will become the dominant unionist party at Westminster (consolidating on their gains in the Assembly elections). I've little love for the UUP (largely due to it's his historial association with the Conservative Party). I'd like to think that the SDLP would make gains on Sinn Fein

Dave
« Last Edit: April 08, 2005, 11:16:36 am by Democratic 'Hawk' »Logged

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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2005, 08:22:11 am »
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I don't see much hope of SDLP gains ... and my impression of the DUP is by no means better, or even just as bad, as my impression of the UU.
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2005, 09:48:57 am »
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Are there any fifth parties in Northern Ireland that try to sidestep the nationalist/republican angst?
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« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2005, 09:51:20 am »
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Are there any fifth parties in Northern Ireland that try to sidestep the nationalist/republican angst?

Alliance: a small liberal party that (IIRC) grew out of the old NI Liberals.

Er...

That's it...
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« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2005, 11:15:53 am »
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Are there any fifth parties in Northern Ireland that try to sidestep the nationalist/republican angst?

Alliance: a small liberal party that (IIRC) grew out of the old NI Liberals.

Er...

That's it...

Do they manage to get their deposits back or are they out £9,000 (18 NI seats * £500) each election in Northern Ireland?
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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2005, 11:52:50 am »
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Do they manage to get their deposits back or are they out £9,000 (18 NI seats * £500) each election in Northern Ireland?

It varies a hell of a lot... a good seat to try for NI elections is: www.ark.ac.uk/elections
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« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2005, 04:22:36 pm »
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Wow, excellent breakdown.  Anyone else care to try at their region?
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« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2005, 05:54:31 pm »
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Why is it that the votes in Northern Ireland are counted the day after the elections, instead of election day?
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« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2005, 11:52:45 pm »
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Is the UKUP going to be factor this year or will its supporters decide to vote for moderates like Paisley. Wink 
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« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2005, 04:45:01 am »
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Re: Smaller Parties

The UKUP is essentially just Robert McCartney, when it comes to the Westminster elections anyway, indeed he is their only MLA (NI Assembly member). And as I said above (North Down) he may or may not run.

The Alliance party are the 5th party of NI, and aim to be neither unionist nor nationalist. Indeed they are designated in the assembly as 'Other', which isto their disadvantage because it effectively makes their votes worthless. IIRC they have 6 MLAs in East Antrim, Stranford, East Belfast, South Antrim, Lagan Valley and North Down.

They get a lot of transfers in the Assembly elections from the SDLP and many from the moderate end of the UUP.
They won't run in all constituencies, those they do they will mostly be in and around the 5% they need to get their deposit back, IIRC. They should get their deposit back in East Antrim, East Belfast, Lagan Valley and Strangford. And if they do well in South Antrim and East Derry also.
They won't really be in the running for any seat though.

None of the other small parties can have any substantive impact.
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« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2005, 04:51:09 am »
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4431733.stm

This is another kick in the teeth for Trimble. While Molyneaux's support for Donaldson in Lagan Valley is unsurprising, the support of both he and Smith for Spratt in South Belfast could make all the difference. Indeed it will galvanise the DUP across NI.

On the basis of this I shall be changing my call on South Belfast to a Lean DUP (from the UUP).

Therefore new overall seat distribution of NI:
DUP   9 (+4)
SF      5 (+1)
UUP   2 (-4)
SDLP  2 (-1)
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« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2005, 01:01:44 pm »
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4431733.stm

This is another kick in the teeth for Trimble. While Molyneaux's support for Donaldson in Lagan Valley is unsurprising, the support of both he and Smith for Spratt in South Belfast could make all the difference. Indeed it will galvanise the DUP across NI.

On the basis of this I shall be changing my call on South Belfast to a Lean DUP (from the UUP).

Therefore new overall seat distribution of NI:
DUP   9 (+4)
SF      5 (+1)
UUP   2 (-4)
SDLP  2 (-1)

Do you think the UUP will fold altogether? Looks like it has become a 'house divided among itself'

Looks like the DUP are on course to become the fourth party of Westminster!

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« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2005, 05:02:26 am »
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Is anyone here of the opinion that Adams' call to the IRA to disband (or whatever) is an attempt to bump up the SF vote?
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« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2005, 05:09:09 am »
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Do you think the UUP will fold altogether? Looks like it has become a 'house divided among itself'

Looks like the DUP are on course to become the fourth party of Westminster!

Dave

I don't think they will fold, but this election will highlight the new found dominance of the DUP. Even with their apparent collapse in these elections, the current suspended assembly has 28 UUP members, IIRC, more than either nationalist party. They remain a major party in NI, though they are now well within the shadow of the DUP.
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« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2005, 05:12:52 am »
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Is anyone here of the opinion that Adams' call to the IRA to disband (or whatever) is an attempt to bump up the SF vote?

I think that there is both electioneering and substance to his comments. It would have been a much bigger story but got drowned out by other news last week. With regard to the substance, we shall have to wait and see what the IRA say or do.

In electioneering terms, it is certainly aimed at the SDLP voters, in each of the 3 constituencies which the SDLP hold but can conceiveably all be taken or at least strongly challenged by SF.
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« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2005, 05:17:53 am »
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/vote_2005/northern_ireland/4433887.stm

The news that McCartney will not run and that Alliance will run in North Down, means the UUP are under serious pressure here too. The seat is too close to accurately call now, momentum is clearly with the DUP, but Hermon appears to be reasonably popular.

Prediction Altered:
NORTH DOWN: Tossup UUP (HOLD)
 
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« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2005, 06:59:07 am »
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For those of you that don't know of this already, there is a contest for successfully guessing the results of the Northern Ireland seats, and there is actually a chance of winning a book or $50 worth of online book vouchers.

Its run by a guy called Nicholas Whyte and you can enter here

Its worth a guess and we give plenty of guidance here on the seats, though you may have to guess the local election seats.
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« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2005, 07:54:49 am »
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I keep getting told "the total number of seats predicted does not add up to 582"...no matter how exactly it does do so.
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« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2005, 11:09:28 am »
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I entered that.  Pretty cool actually Smiley
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