An Appeal On Behalf Of The Alliance Party

I have now published 24 Election posters. You will be delighted to know that I have another twenty to be published over the next few days.

Why am I doing it? Well mostly for the craic. But the serious nerdy reason is that I want to record this Election. Some candidates are taking their first steps in politics and others, well known for decades are probably standing down. Necessarily this means that I have to travel (on my bus and train pass) thru Norn Iron. And it means I get a feel for the visibility of Parties. It is often a reflection of the effort being put in.

And it means that I often travelling to the same towns on a fairly regular basis.

On Saturday, I was in South Belfast (about the fourth time I have been), went by train to Larne (first time) and back to Yorkgate and a bus along Shore Road in North Belfast (maybe fifth time)and a bus to and from the Abbey Centre in Newtownabbey.

On Monday, I was in Short Strand (about the fifth time) and got a train to Coleraine (first time in East Derry) and got a bus to Portrush (geographically in County Antrim and electorally in East Derry) and back to Coleraine…and a bus to Limavady (East Derry) and another bus to Derry (Foyle…fourth time) and a train home.

It means that I am building up a picture.

In East Belfast, posters for Naomi Long (Alliance) are all over. Gavin Robinson (DUP) is everywhere except Short Strand. Niall Ó Donnghaile (Sinn Féin) is only in Short Strand. Mary Muldoon (SDLP) and Ross Brown (Green) are all over but in limited numbers.

East Derry was interesting. Coleraine Town Centre had very few poster at all. I saw no SDLP, Sinn Féin or Alliance posters in the shopping area. And at Dunnes Stores spotted UUP, DUP and CISTA. On the road to Portrush, I saw more UUP, DUP as well as SDLP and possibly Alliance. In Portrush SDLP posters probably outnumbered the two unionist parties.

The bus to Limavady …some SDLP and one Sinn Féin as well as the unionist parties. The villages along the way reflected the general demographic but I think there were posters of the four main parties fairly evenly distributed. I did see a lone generic Alliance poster at a small country crossroads.

Limavady Town…the four main parties. And likewise on the road to Derry. No Alliance.

The main purpose of my 45 minutes in Derry, effectively a walk from the Bus Station to the Railway Station was to photograph unionist and Alliance posters and I managed to get UUP and DUP. No Alliance at all.

Of course things change during a campaign. North Belfast has Sinn Féin and DUP posters from a very early stage on Crumlin Road and Antrim Road and into Glengormley. As of Saturday, there were SDLP, DUP, Workers Party and Alliance in York Street and DUP, Workers Party and Alliance on Shore Road. No SDLP or Sinn Féin until Star of the Sea school.

My guideline for taking pics….I dont take any from a bus, unless I am convinced that it is the only one I will see. And it helps if there is “juice” in my ipad. Even if I am being unflattering to a candidate or Party, I need the poster.

Of course, Parties will have a schedule for postering their constituency. It takes a while to get all the posters up and what I have been seeing is literally a snapshot of the election on any given day. I dont photograph de-faced or posters (there are very few) but I daresay a number have been taken down by anti-democrats. I dont photograph “generic” posters.

But I am getting a vibe from the Alliance Party. In East Derry, Upper Bann and Foyle, they are almost invisible. A few generic posters at best. And yet “feedback” is that at least two candidates from western constituencies are more likely to be seen canvassing for Naomi Long in East Belfast than for themselves in their designated area.

So…basically I am short of Alliance pics. I am trying….Mick Fealty and the guys at Slugger O’Toole like to see LetsGetAlongerist Porn.

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2 Responses to An Appeal On Behalf Of The Alliance Party

  1. Cleenish says:

    Posters: A barometer of intent and of an on-the ground political virility presence. Are they worth the expense, the time and energy, do they change how people vote or encourage people to vote. Can you have too many and what message do they impart other than, ‘we are here’. A political academic’s (nerdy) dream topic for study I daresay. Do posters affect societal perceptions, attitudes and can they act as agents for change?
    I have been found the local election surprisingly interesting; there is the underlying sense of change, of passive drift and CBA, an old yet fresh feeling of a disconnect between the nationalist community and our political class.
    One aspect that is particularly interesting has been the shift of language and message of the SDLP.
    Is the SDLP moving towards a left-leaning post-nationalist stance? Is it slowing moving onto the ‘LetgetsAlongerist’ centre ground – as some would see it – a fabled place where Northern Ireland is at peace with itself, celebrating and, in turn, accepting of the British context we live out our lives?
    I’ve noticed the SDLP persistent use of ‘Northern Ireland’ (which should please the bold ‘the Union is Safe’ Alex) in their literature, in interviews and on broadcasts.
    The positive strap line of ‘Making Northern Ireland Work’ is one that would make Alliance proud.
    The negative policy line is one of positioning the party as being anti-Tory, anti-austerity and anti-cuts and of trying to latch onto the general air of disillusionment with local politics and local politicians.
    In contrast Nationalist ideals have not so much been placed on the back-burner but put into the fridge while parity of esteem and mutual respect of our identities have been glossed over in true ‘LetsGetAlongerist’ fashion.
    So is the SDLP moving to the dark side of Letgetsalongerism? What says you?
    Are you destined to become a privileged gold-carrying member of the Slugger netherworld?

    • Certainly Alliance have moved to the right. Tory Cuts etc and of course Alliance is increasingly unionist. Id happily post a pic of Bradshaws 2010 poster alongside her 2015 poster.
      Alliance moving to right assists Greens and SDLP.
      Alliance increasingly unionist assists SDLP.
      The complete disappearance from the scene of the Labour NI wasters also helps SDLP.
      Elections are fought independently …councils, Europe (where SDLP positioned itself as the PES).
      This one the SDLP are fully entitled to represent themselves as the left wing alternative to British Labour. …like SNP.
      As I have said before, the Labour Party is a sister party and the SNP is the girlfriend party.

      This election, I think SDLP is carving a niche for itself. There are people who SHOULD be endorsing the SDLP….unions, students, migrants, charities, farmers, NGOs…the SDLP could do with a bit of help from people we have stood for.
      Assembly 2016 is different again. nationalism will always be relevant.
      Slugger O’Toole is unionist…now as anti SNP as they are anti SDLP.
      Proud of this campaign.

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