#SluggerReport: Trump and grown up politics, and #AE17 in South Belfast and North Down

So yesterday’s #SluggerReport featured commentary on the Trump issue (and should Kenny and/or May protest, in the former’s case not go to the Whitehouse for March 17th).  Kevin Meagher on Labour Uncut nails it for me:

We need to properly accept that Brexit means we are living in an age of realpolitik. Idealists who want to wag their fingers at Donald Trump are free to do so; but they should not pretend this is anything other than idle posturing.

Britain is leaving the EU and Donald Trump is now US President. These are now immutable facts. The task is to work with the grain of these twin realities and ameliorate the worst excesses of both.

On the election, two profiles (NB, this is presuming a similar turnout to last May). In South Belfast:

  • The projected quota is 6121, up from 5,247. Two candidates should come home with help of running mates: Alliance’s Paula Bradshaw on a party quota, and Claire Hanna who had 1.2. When the SDLP sweeper gets Hanna over, her other transfers should bring Mairtin O Muilleoir home.
  •  The DUP candidates, Emma Pengelly .7, and Chris Stalford .6, may look weak, but several Unionist candidates won’t be standing.  The UUs have another new face in, so it’s hard to see them breaking. Since the overall Unionist quota is 2.1, the two DUP seats should be safe.
  • Greens Clare Bailey has by far the tallest order. This time Alliance should have little to share. Unless the RHI scandal plays strongly for her, even with transfers from the SDLP, it’s hard to see how she catches the DUP duo.

In North Down:

  • The clear rule in STV is: get in the top five with more than half a quota, and you are at least 90% there. In North Down, it seems the DUP have already recognised the implications, and have ported their Education minister next door to Strangford to try and keep him in the next Assembly.
  • The DUP have 2.5 quotas, but three of the top five places look certain to go to Stephen Farry (Alliance) on 1 quota, Alan Chambers (UUP) .93  and Agnew (Greens) .76. An even split (probably impossible on existing trends) would likely leave one of three DUP candidates behind.
  • As a footnote, whilst Weir has only been in Education seven months it’s telling that whilst in the Republic Ministerial office adds a premium, in Stormont it’s still a matter of some indifference to voters. If, or when, that changes perhaps we might finally be getting somewhere?

Do play with ElectionsNI’s great data and graphics to see how things went last year.

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