Stormont looks set to be getting a lick of green paint with Sinn Féin now officially overtaking the DUP as the statelet’s premier party.

Riding on the back of demographic shift and a political crisis within unionism, the Shinners romped home with an impressive 29% ahead of an erstwhile DUP at 21%.

While the sectarian zero sum game of northern politics normally leads to little change each election season, the Sinn Féin triumph alters the apple cart of Stormont if only for psychological effect.

A major symbolic wound for mainstream unionism in the form of the DUP, the result will no doubt add fuel to the fire to the identity crisis of post-Brexit loyalism. 

Flanked by moderates in the form of the UUP and Alliance the militants of the TUV saw a marked tripling of their share largely at the expense of the DUP. 

Overall there appears to be a tendency of middle class liberal unionists opting for Alliance with the fortunes of Eastwood’s SDLP continuing to wane.

With a protocol-fueled storm brewing in East Belfast as evidenced by the disturbances near the Port, such a shift in loyalism spells badly for the future of that movement as the decade proceeds.

Loyalism has existed for centuries as a sort of political insurance policy for Britain, but now with Sinn Féin transformed into a generic Atlanticist liberal party working within British institutions, the necessity to keep Orangemen on the books diminishes.

No matter what, expect loyalism to slam the door on the way out and likely be used by Westminster as leverage in negotiating for a potential United Ireland.

Further down the ballot, it was a solid performance for Aontú, securing a 5% in the republican heartland of West Belfast indicating its long term place on the right Sinn Féin and potentially capitalising off the SDLP’s now certain demise.

For the radical left it was a case of business as usual with PBP holding their own despite a dip in vote share with the stickies (Workers Party) fielding 6 no hoper candidates across the board.

Experiencing near constant state harassment the left republican splinter group IRSP polled well in the two constituencies they contested in Foyle and Belfast West.

Hardly a friend of this publication, the treatment of the IRSP, in particular the closing of their banking facilities by Ulster Bank illustrates perfectly the hollowness of northern democracy for parties that cross certain ideological lines as well as a warning for those on the radical right of the spectrum.

In keeping with the great traditions of northern democracy, the Executive has been periodically immolating itself with this batch of voting marked by the quickfire resignation of Paul Givan this year. 

Overall the elections should be contextualised with the fact the North is not a normal statelet with most real power vested in Westminster mandarins or various intelligence organs.

Those seeking national unity should reconcile with the fact that grouped all together there still isn’t a republican majority to enable a slim border poll mandate.

The real politics in the North transpires on the streets, within the army councils, and in the dark alleys of clandestine networks making the occasional electoral content rather pointless.

While this week represented a more absorbing election period than the usual sectarian headcount, don’t go thinking for a nanosecond that Stormont actually matters in the real running of the North.

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Posted by Ciaran Brennan

8 Comments

  1. Looking at 81 results out of 90 so far, the Nationalist vote (SF+SDLP+Aontú) is 341,000 and the Unionist vote (DUP+UUP+TUV) is 346,000. Don’t run away with the idea that the UK is finished.

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    1. The vast majority of English voters will be delighted to get rid of the bankrupt 6 . No way will Stan in Sunderland or Dave in Derby sacrifice the Nissan & Toyota car plants they work in , just to placate the DUP .

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  2. Just to correct, the figures 341,000 for the Nationalist vote and 346,000 for the Unionist vote are the full first-preference count (the fact that only 81 seats had been declared when I posted that reflects the fact that seats are awarded after exhaustive recounts of second preferences – but the figure for first preferences was not a partial figure, but a final figure).

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  3. Ivaus@thetricolour 08/05/2022 at 8:37 am

    No reason for a “Head in the Clouds ” moment. Reality will hit street level tomorrow and making Stormont work is the only measure of success and stability.
    A United Ireland, pull your heads in SF. The chances of a British Republic would probably happen first, but over time and time again into a distant future
    The United Ireland will happen,and only by the Union of United Irishmen.
    So, it will be goodbye and good riddance to all these poor performers North and South, the people are sick and tired of your divisive selfish political bullsh.t , you
    have all failed miserably in governance because of your Traitors Sellout Stupidity….the FOOLS are everywhere.

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  4. Alliance also devoured the SDLP vote. That would be the SDLP the West Brits from the South sent up to canvas against SF and attempted to split the vote. Like it or not the SF vote will always be first port of call by Irish here to block rabid loyalists. no other solution has been offered from outside the North. You see most people know in a few months time another vote will be called and this time more people will vote for SF or Alliance. If you paid attention many votes were transferred between Alliance and SDLP.. this is playing nice! many Irish unwillingly to throw the oar in with SF completely avoided SDLP and voted Alliance. if the orange men huff in the corner , which they will , another vote will be called, that will be the vote of import. Loyalists are now classified in the UK as a minority group , next up will be rights granted to them under this guise by the British and West Brits.
    Ulster Unionist Party moderate? lol. founded by Carson, founder of the loyalist militia the Ulster Volunteers ? Christ even Trimble danced on the streets with Paisley as the Irish Quinn children were burned in their homes by the UVF because the Orange Order demanded to march through an Irish majority area

    a cursory read of any self proclaimed Nationalist output from the South, one would be forgiven for thinking its aimed at Americans , you lot down there think you live in America or what?

    This week was a hugely symbolic result.. seems to have triggered the Orange men and West Brits though.

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    1. Nationalist vote of 39 % in 2022 is the same as in 1998 . Unionists are down 13 % , Alliance up by the same amount .

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      1. uptick in Alliance is not only from unionist votes.. lol
        plenty of data on vote transfers already available , small sample =

        SF had 17% of Alliance transfers in W Tyrone / 18% of Alliance transfers Newry and Armagh went to SF
        Alliance transfers went to the SDLP Newry and Armagh 54% West Tyrone 47%.

        Brit Media of course are claiming the upsurge in Alliance is ltd to disenfranchised unionists when many unionists coincidently also voted for SDLP. SDLP transfers won the DUP a seat in Foyle etc. The 26 sent their best unionists + a rag tag bunch to canvas for the SDLP , didn’t work did it. As expected the loyalists + British Gov now busy working towards removal of the protocol . In the North we all know the loyalist sights are really set on the removal of the GFA.
        People vote here to keep loyalists out and will continue do so aware that even more loyalist violence is on the horizon , nobody outside the 6 will come to the rescue, certainly not the Gov of the 26. One could really ask how on earth SF gained so much traction outside of the North, surely this is indicative of deeper issues in the 26 that really should have been addressed in the 100 + years they have enjoyed relative peace whilst working under their own steam.

        The UK Gov designated Ulster-Scots as a minority under the Framework Convention , the loyalist Ulster Scot next step to minority ethnic status will be endorsement by FF and FG via the North-South Ministerial Council (NSMC).
        Surely you must be aware the NSMC funds the research output of loyalist leaning Ulster Scot Historians such as Jane Ohlmeyer in Trinity. Jane arguing there is no such thing as an Irish identity hence anyone can be Irish whilst simultaneously arguing that Ulster scots were ethnically cleansed by Irish in 1641.. her views astro turfed without challenge across west Brit media .
        one has to wonder why FG and FF sign over millions per year to loyalist hardliners who are rewriting Irish History/
        hugely symbolic result + more hardline choice in coming months
        lol at all the pearl clutching.

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