Saturday, March 10, 2007

Election wrap-up

With an average of around an election a year in NI over the last 20 years or so, there’ll be another one just around the corner. So no need to make this one draw out any longer than necessary.

But it deserves a few closing comments as AiB puts a lid on its election coverage.
I started off intrigued by Hilary Clinton’s mantra of “Let the conversation begin” ... and while our election campaign is over, hers is barely starting! While the conversations that our local parties began were often continuations of well worn arguments, their websites did transform over the last month.

The DUP introduced a daily video blog on the days they could be bothered to post a clip, together with some speeches on YouTube!

And both the SDLP and PUP re-launched their websites. The PUP really came back online to make much difference in Dawn Purvis’ successful campaign, and the SDLP one only works if you put the “www.” in front of the “”.

The NI Election 2007 blog was launched in early February. It posted thoughtful pieces during the campaign, including David Porter’s strongly worded contribution on polling day itself which started by reminding us ...

“Election Day. Nothing too remarkable – the population has not been queuing since before dawn and we don’t expect the hundreds still waiting outside at closing time to pose major problems for those in charge of the polling stations. No one has been required to walk miles from their village to the nearest polling station.”

... before going on to suggest that “we have a God given and God answerable responsibility to exercise power”, though I’m not sure that in all circumstances will this equate to filling out a ballot paper with a pencil stub.

And AiB covered the hassle of getting signed up in time for a postal vote.

Brian Rowan tried to do something new in the crazy constituency of North Down. Crazy since it was nearly home to a Conservative victory in my school days, voted in Bob McCartney, returned Lady Sylvia Herman, and now has given the Green Party their first seat in the NI Assembly with the election of Brian Wilson. Remember him: he had the first YouTube campaign video of the election.

And we wasted a lot of brain power wondering what would happen if Bob McCartney won more than one seat and finding out the Eastwood’s odds, when we should have been thinking about him not winning any seats at all!

My prediction for East Belfast was partly right, but quite wrong in places too. I guessed that Dawn Purvis (PUP) would get in. But Michael Copeland (UUP) was trounced by the DUP who brought home all three candidates, adding Wallace Browne to their ranks. And I was wrong about the Alliance vote: it increased, mostly at the expense of the UUP.

But the big question remains: will Rainbow George beat his record 65 first preference votes he picked up in 2003?!

He failed. Only 47 this time!

Even the Conservative living around the corner polled better with 427 first preference votes for Glyn Chambers.

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