The latest PoliticalOD podcast is a week behind our initial schedule. Waiting a week was a good idea to see how the electoral contests would like up. Though of course there is a risk that until all nomination papers are submitted and the campaigns are fully on ‘go’ some of the comments may quickly fall out of date.
That said, the broad sweep here should stand up. Even if the opening comment on Upper Bann might quickly age, the proposition that this is likely a DUP hold would need a political earthquake to shake.
Neither the SDLP nor UUP have made decisions that reflect well on their respective leaderships, with strategies that are neither coherent or face up to the political realities. The most they should have done is set out a stall for a future Assembly election (whenever), avoid the dangers a First Past The Post election brings for smaller parties, and been brave enough to stick to their own Party interests. Brexit was so 2017, they should have been looking ahead, not backwards.
Many of the seats where Greens and SDLP and Sinn Fein are nobly standing down are little more than a gesture, a willingness to beat the DUP, and a hope to be more transfer friendly among each other when it comes to the Assembly.
The announcement by the Greens not to stand any candidates in Belfast would seem to be a calculation that few Unionists would transfer to them anyway – or that such votes are worth discounting in the future. It marks an unwelcome point where virtually the entire political landscape can be painted green or orange. Not quite what the Good Friday Agreement anticipated, and not entirely clear what that means for the future.
Whatever is happening locally, the likelihood of influence on the Brexit debate nationally is notional should Boris win, and irrelevant if Corbyn wins. Whatever happens the Commons timetable before the 31st January is tight, and we’ll either have an unscrutinised Withdrawal Bill rushed through Parliament, or at least a year of more Brexit dither although that might be the least of the country’s worries at that stage.
if a week is a long time in politics, the next five weeks may feel like a lifetime…
We’re learning that it is hard to update a podcast so check @thedissenter and @3000Versts for comments on stuff before our next podcast.