Friday, 2 April 2010

Wise men came from the east

IT is said that the wise men came from the east. And every Glentoran fan maintains this to be the case. But can a wise woman from the east represent the ‘wise men’ from the east in Westminster?

It’s set to be the battle of the party leaders as Peter Robinson seeks to enhance his 49% poll share last time out in East Belfast and Sir Reg Empey, MLA for the area, wants to nibble away at the DUP poll backing with his Westminster candidate for the consitituency, former Irish rugby star, Trevor Ringland.

And into the fray is the Lord Mayor, Naomi Long of the Alliance Party.

In the past two elections in East Belfast, Alliance has been nudging the 20% mark. Given Ms Long’s profile as Mayor, she could attract a few extra votes. But where will these come from? Will it be from DUP female voters? Or will her moderate tones appeal to UUP voters who are Tory refusniks? Or will it be from Sinn Féin voters who think that Ms Long is so nice she deserves that wee ‘x’ on the ballot paper?

Where Naomi takes votes from could indicate so much. On the other hand it will show so little in the first past the post poll.

What can be said definitively is that should Ms Long drive a wedge between the unionist dominance, the Liberal Democrats would be eternally grateful for what would effectively be an extra seat when it comes to bargaining in what the pollsters predict will be a hung Parliament.

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