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.