The Northern Ireland Assembly election

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SF says that this result demolishes the Unionist majority.

The Unionist parties still have more seats than SF and the SDLP combined.

Look at the share of the vote. Unionists have 46% of the vote as against 40% for SF and the SDLP put together.

By Unionist I mean the DUP, UUP, Conservatives, TUV and the Progressive Unionists. Part of the problem is the diffusion of resources. WHy this needless duplication. TUV is anti agreement. The DUP and UUP can merge. They could join the Conservatives. The Progressive Unionists have no role to play.

The Alliance Party surely lean more towards unionism than nationalism.

There are others such as the Greens or the People before Profit Alliance who do not appear to have a settled view on whether Northern Ireland should belong to the UK or the Republic of Ireland.

Yes, nationalists are doing better than before. People have been saying for a century that nationalists will be the majority. It may yet happen. The Catholic community is growing but is becoming less nationalist. In fact until Brexit polls showed that most SDLP voters would vote in a plebiscite to remain within the United Kingdom. Even 20% of Sinn Fein voters said likewise. Now that Brexit is in the offing that may have changed. Much depends on the kind of Brexit deal that is hammered out.

It is far too early to write a death certificate for Northern Ireland’s position within the UK. The DUP is led by a tainted leader. It was the cash for ash scandal which precipitated this early election. Arlene Foster is damaged goods and may have to go. SF may make that a condition of sharing office. SF is led by a dynamic young woman who is not mired by an Troubles era controversy.

Sinn Fein forced this election partly for partisan reasons. They calculated that this would be to their advantage. They surmised correctly. The economic situation, Foster’s scandal and questions over Brexit made things uniquely favourable for Sinn Fein.

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About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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