Monday, 10 May 2010
THANK crunchie its Friday, murmured more than one politician stumbling from a count centre, blinking into the glare of sodium street lights and the incessant pops of photographers flashguns.
Northern Ireland's political landscape used to have an air of stable predictability about it. McGinty's Goat would wait patiently to see which unionist party would place a sash around its neck; while on the nationalist side the 'blessed peacemakers' of the SDLP/Sinn Féin (delete as you see fit!) would compete for the green sprig that they could place on McGinty's Goat.
Of late, there have been increasingly strident claims amongst the more 'shouty' type of unionist to represent the party with the right to bestow the sash on the abovementioned goat.
Alas, such claims were put to the test at Thursday’s elections. Awkward things elections. They're not like Radio Ulster talk shows, who wait for the numpties and bampots to comment; often welcoming and even encouraging the claims and outlandish statements of the 'shouty' type of unionist.
Fortunately, talk show appearances are not reliable indicators of the will of the electorate. For one, most of electors are at work, even those in the public sector.
Which, of course means that the Traditional Unionist Voice was a voice that most of the unionist electorate didn’t bother to listen to when casting their vote? The proportion of airtime given to a party that has, as yet, failed at every electoral outing, gave lie to the reality.
When the European election saw TUV supremo and Jim Allister QC snag 66,000 votes, he had high hopes of grabbing at the very least the North Antrim Westminster seat. Instead, he was trounced, and across Northern Ireland the party received just 26,000 votes.
Barristers generally get paid no matter whether the result is a win, lose or draw. But in politics, generally it is winning that counts.
Meantime it is rumoured that all TUV phone numbers have been taken off the Stephen Nolan Show's speed dialler...