The True Story of Dr Who and the SDLP
Those confidential emails:
“Astute and brilliant leader of constitutional nationalism, inheritor of all that is noble and Nobel, I wouldn’t half mind becoming a member of your party if you give me a free run on May 5 th against the Provies. As an SDLP MP and an SDLP MLA for West Tyrone, I would be prepared to become SDLP Euro MP for the occupied six counties in 2007 or accept the SDLP candidacy for President of Ireland in 2013. I am also prepared to run against Mitchell McLaughlin MP in Foyle in the next general election as the leader of the united SDLP on the issue of acute services at Altnagelvin. Is mise,
To Doctor Who:
“I have never met you, don’t know who you are, don’t know where you’re coming from, know not where you’re going, I have never been in Tyrone West and never want to meet you. You’ll never be on one of our posters or in one of our parties as long as I remain leader. Get the picture?”
News Letter Exclusive! Candidate Apologises
“I would like to apologise unreservedly to all the good people of West Tyrone, especially the unionists whose votes I was seeking as a united candidate before they were given the impression that I was a closet nationalist. You see, I was trying to persuade Mark Durkan that his party should not field a candidate in West Tyrone because me, myself, I alone, was the only one who could unseat Pat Doherty with the help of God, the DUP, Ulster Unionists, the SDLP and a Sinn Fein boycott. I now want to make you two promises. First, I never had any ambition to join the SDLP and I will never join the SDLP. Never! Never! Never! Especially not under Mark Durkan who acts in such a dictatorial fashion. I am, however, prepared to run against David Simpson MP in North Armagh in the next general election as the leader of the united Ulster Unionist Party, Deo volente.
Daily Ireland Prediction: Sinn Fein win.
Daily Ireland Prediction: Daphne Trimble to top poll and unseat Jeffrey Donaldson! (Apologies: that was an Ulster Unionist prediction. Daphne’s running elsewhere.)
Outgoing Ulster Unionist MP Roy Beggs faces tough DUP challenge from Sammy Wilson. Ulster Naturist Society has sent a questionnaire to all candidates in this unionist heartland on the issue of establishing a naturist beach on Islandmagee.
Daily Ireland Prediction: Sammy Wilson will easily get in
Please note. Ian James Parsley is not a spelling mistake but is the name of the chairperson of Young Alliance. He is NOT the DUP candidate in North Antrim. That’s a much older gentleman.
Take nothing for granted in this cliff-hanger. A real boot-shaker for Adams.
Daily Ireland Prediction: Could be taken by General Alex Attwood with the help of a dozen T52s and five regiments had he a barracks in which to station them.
South Belfast/South Antrim/ Lagan Valley
The number one pin-up in these three constituencies has to be former Ulster Unionist leader, Lord Molyneaux. In South Belfast he has been pictured not with his party’s candidate, Michael McGimpsey, but with the DUP candidate Jimmy Spratt. In South Antrim he is pictured with the UUP candidate, David Burnside, who is taking on the DUP’s nightingale, Willie McCrea. And in Lagan Valley he is backing the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson against the UUP candidate whose name nobody remembers.
Daily Ireland Prediction: Widespread schizophrenia. Quiz: And which candidate was photographed with Enoch Powell at a well-known hostelry during the week! Answers to Anti-Racist Network, Belfast.
So with just two weeks to go all parties have reported fantastic canvasses and incredible levels of support, particularly in areas traditionally held by the opposition. Without doubt, this is the election to “watch”, and there will definitely be “some turn-up for the books”.
Candidates have been particularly encouraged by the “warmth and dignity” of old people; the “strength” of women; single parents “who should not be condemned but who need our sympathy”; young people “who are our future”; students “whom one would normally expect to be alienated and disillusioned”; the unemployed “who deserve better”; and trade unionists whom they “can clearly identify with”.
Candidates love to get out canvassing, “because you meet so many interesting types”. Doors shut in their faces are caused by “sudden draughts”. Dogs which bite “haven’t been fed yet”.
All candidates boast that they will wear out “at least three pairs of shoes” pounding the streets. They will lose “at least a stone”. All are agreed that opinion polls “notoriously underestimate” their real level of support.
All candidates hate each other – even party running mates with whom they have to share the limited glory.
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© 2007 Irish Author and Journalist - Danny Morrison