A Unionist disaster waiting to happen.
A word of friendly warning. It is pronounced Tir Eoghan or “Tear Owen” Land of Eoghan. I bridle at the “Coronation st” pronunciation of “Tyre own”. Sorry, had to be said. (I originally titled this post “Tyrone” until corrected, thank God by Fitzjameshorse)
With the upcoming Westminster by-election us number crunchers have a whole new vista opening up. Firstly it is a very safe nationalist seat with a balance of at least 65/ 35 in favour of nationalism. The fun will be the contests within Nationalism and Unionism. The current electoral boundaries were set in 1995 and ever since the seat was won in 1997 by Martin McGuinness from, who I think I may describe as the detested, Willie McCrea, the seat has remained a solidly nationalist one. Further historical detail may be read at Sammy Morse’s 2007 constituency profile.
Of course demographic changes since then have accelerated the growth of nationalism. Lets look at the seven principle towns. Cookstown , Magherafelt , Coalisland, Maghera, Castledawson, Moneymore and Bellaghy. With the possible exception of Castledawson all are majority nationalist. By the end of this month we will have exact figures.
The contest for the nationalist vote is simple. Will the SDLP stand a good candidate and will he or she draw a credible vote thus vindicating the leadership of Allistair McDonnell and growing the nationalist vote? How much will the Sinn Fein candidate, Francie Molloy win by . I would have provided a link for the SDLP mid ulster party but I can’t find one. (Bit like North Down) Enough said. The dissident republican groups may also stand a candidate.
Unionism, as usual is much more interesting and amusing. It boils down to 1 thing. A unity candidate or not. If they opt for a unity candidate he or she will lose. For that reason I don’t think it will happen. So my guess is that we will have the entire multi coloured range of Unionists fighting it out for their 35% of the vote so that they can claim bragging rights for the “Leadership of the peepil” (They can no longer claim the majority of course). We will have the DUP, the UUP, the TUV. great stuff! We will also perhaps have bold Willie Frazer, possibly the best indictment of “judging a people by the quality of their leadership” I have ever seen. We may have the Protestant peoples forum, the pup (Doubt that one) and a few assorted wingnuts and spitfire pilots standing as independents.
Personally I can’t wait.
(Graph Courtesy of Horseman)