It has been an odd sort of an election campaign. A quiet one. The only sound I hear is Sinn Féin politicos deleting tweets featuring Donald Trump and Peter King, the architect of the Muslim “ban”.
Sinn Féin like to present themselves as modern and left-leaning but Trump seems to have copied their “Ourselves Alone” title.
Only Sinn Féin apologists would claim they have had a good year. The collapse of the power-sharing Executive (in realiity – two party coalition between DUP-Sinn Féin) would appear to be ample evidence of Failure….and blaming the Opposition for the Failure of Governmentt seems a bit unfair.
RHI, Nama and handing out cash to paramilitaries…at best shows Sinn Féin weakness. ANd compounded by SF failures on Brexit, Welfare and the non-existent Irish Language Act…shows that Sinn Féin were the junior partner in a centre-right coalition (as Christopher Stalford MLA pointed out last year).
Sinn Féin seem to have two contradictory responses. One is to say that they were not the DUP poodle and the other is to say “yes we were the DUP poodle but elect us this time and we wont be the DUP poodle and this time we really mean it”.
SDLP can escape blame for the failure. Colum, Clare, Nichola backed by old campaigners like Patsy and Alex have performed well. It is a strange role reversal. Sinn Féin looks old and tired and SDLP look young and eager.
How will voters respond? I dont think this election is about 2016 or 2011. It is not simply a matter of analysing numbers. Its not simply a matter of re-calculating last years quotas based on six seat constituencies and distributing the (now) five seats accordingly.
For in the last year Politics broke out of the Stagnation. People, have already been drifting away from the ballot box. Will they continue to do so?
Will voters be so disgusted at the DUP-SF coalition that they turn out to vote against it? Or will they be so disgusted at the DUP-SF coalition AND the entire settlement that they just dont show up at the polls?
Anecdotal evidence seems to be contradictory. As usual, all parties report a warm welcome on the doorsteps.
A “warm welcome”? Where have I heard that before?
Ah yes! Before they got into election mode SF were right behind giving a “warm welcome” to Donald Trump. Now in election mode, they think a visit is inappropriate. Seemingly they only discovered he was a racist, sexist, a bigot and a man who mocked people with disability AFTER the Inaugeration.