Many voters are assuming it will be one of the two – or both – Nigels who will call the shots as to who gets the keys to Downing Street next weekend; Nigel Dodds of the DUP, and Ukip's Nigel Farage.
But while the Northern Shinners have been regularly kicking the SDLP's asses in many polls over the past decade, the Stoops possess a crucial ace card – their MPs take their Commons seats.
While it may require some tactical voting by Unionists, sitting Stoop MPs Alasdair McDonnell, Mark Durkan and Margaret Ritchie look safe bets to hold their seats.
The Stoops have pledged they will not support Dandy Dave Cameron's Tories, and will join the so-called 'Rainbow Coalition' trying to get Red Ed Miliband elected Prime Minister.
People's minds may be wondering which of the two main Westminster parties the DUP will deal with, and what impact the Shinners not taking their Commons seats might have.
But the Stoops are not dead and buried just yet. Granted, they are on course to take a real battering in at least a dozen other Northern constituencies.
If the Stoops Gang of Three find themselves as kingmakers, they need a deal which will secure the future of their party – namely, a seat in the British Cabinet, and the balls to merge with Fianna Fáil in the South by boosting the cross-border bodies and British-Irish institutions.
Irish politics have always been the art of the impossible – Sinn Féin TDs taking their Dáil seats, and Northern Shinner MLAs working a partitionist parliament at Stormont with the DUP.
If the Shinners' ticket of so-called 'draft dodgers' put in a good showing, namely candidates who have no known links, connections, or served their republican movement apprenticeship in the 'RA, abstentionism could finally be on the slippery slope.
Scotland's modern-day version of Queen Boudica – Scottish Nats boss Nicola Sturgeon – could become a power-broker to persuade Sinn Féin to ditch abstentionism and join the Miliband bandwagon on the historic green benches.
If the DUP and Sinn Féin can work the Stormont Executive, Sinn Féin and the DUP can work together in Miliband's Rainbow Coalition.
Draft Dodger Shinner MPs can also fuel the perception the party has matured enough for Southern voters to give Sinn Féin enough TDs to become Dáil coalition partners.
The Stoops will only remain standardbearers for moderate nationalism until the Shinners dump abstentionism and 'retire' all ex-IRA jailbirds as candidates. At this point, it will be time for moderate Catholics to launch a new Northern-based Nationalist Party.
As for the UUP, unless it wins at least two seats, the party is buggered. It's only way forward is to join the DUP and become a Right-wing pressure group in the Robbo camp similar to the old Ulster Monday Club in the Ulster Unionists.
Or the UUP could play the liberal card, and become the 'right-wing' of Alliance. The UUP's South Antrim runner, Danny Kinahan, is trying this tactic with his open support for gay marriage.
This will either get him tactical votes from Alliance to pip the DUP's Gospel-singing cleric Willy McCrea, or the Christian vote in South Antrim will desert Kinahan.
My crystal ball tells me it will be 'as you were' in 17 of the 18 seats – with only the DUP squeaking home against Alliance's Naomi Long in East Belfast. The Shinners will increase their grip in the nationalist community, but the UUP will face the long-awaited wipe-out.
As for the Dodds DUP bandwagon, it should remember that every time Unionists have pussy-footed with Tories in the past – Heath, Thatcher and Major – Unionism has been stabbed in the back.
Dodds has only one sensible option – form a Celtic Coalition with Labour, the SDLP and SNP. This is one rainbow where there could be a massive pot of gold for the North at the end off!
John, I'm afraid you might be assuming too much, have a wee duke at this.ReplyDelete
South Belfast, with a poor incumbent, a popular Martin O Millionaire will I think go DUP this time while their one seat might, I would Hazzard a guess, may go eleswhere before Christmas in the next brit general election.
Who cares who 'sits' where? Westminster or the Dail?ReplyDelete
What is obvious is that both parliaments (and associated governments) have failed the people of the two states; sadly the 'state' of Northern Ireland continues to exist like a vampire that will not die.
While pundits speculate about parties and alliances millions of ordinary people continue to suffer the consequences of policies imposed by the two governments.
What the 'peace' has shown unfortunately proves the paucity of thought and vision in the political parties that operate there.
Enough. Cannot we rid ourselves of the DUP, Sinn Fein and the other idiots?