15 March 2007 Edition
SDLP beauty contest
With SDLP election mastermind Seán Farren obviously having a long lie-down in a darkened room for most of the Assembly election counts, SDLP doyenne Bríd Rogers was wheeled into the TV studios to put a brave face on the result.
BBC man Mark Carruthers tried to ease her disappointment over the failure in Newry & Armagh of promising SDLP hopeful Sharon Haughey. Look at Eamonn McCann, Mark soothed, pointing to the veteran Trotskyist defeated in Foyle but who keeps plugging away regardless.
The SDLP grande dame perked up about the future for her pouting protégé, described by the Belfast Telegraph as “a glamorous 25-year-old”.
“Well,” Bríd said, comparing the sultry Sharon to the craggy McCann, “she’s easier to look at.”
An interesting perspective from the SDLP’s top woman on International Women’s Day.
Also going for an early bath in Newry & Armagh after the results was the hot gospel singer and one-time golden child of the DUP, Paul Berry.
Four years ago, Rockin’ Berry topped the poll with more than 8,000 votes in the strongly nationalist constituency. In the subsequent general election, the hard-right unionist councillor’s vote was even bigger. A tabloid tale involving Brother Berry and a sports injury being given a rub-down by a male masseur in a Belfast hotel, though, saw him frozen out of the DUP. He went Independent and, last week, he limped out of the race with just over 2,000 votes.
Mind you, Berry did better than the much-travelled champion of “innocent relatives”, Willie Frazer, ‘The Armagh Globetrotter’. The Harry Potter look-alike came tenth out of 12 candidates, securing just half a dozen votes more than the Green Party, notching up 605 votes and 1.2 per cent of the poll. Frazer was knocked out after the first count.
Sourpuss in Poots
The unionist people have seen fit to re-elect DUP man Edwin Poots, the longest puritan streak of misery since Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas.
Whatever people could call Pootsie, it sure couldn’t be colourful. The Lagan Valley MLA has all the charm and personality of a stick insect – a dead stick insect – but that doesn’t stop the DUP press office putting him on RTÉ and BBC against Sinn Féin personalities like Mary Lou McDonald and Catríona Ruane.
Edwin Poots: crazy name, not such a crazy guy, but he makes me laugh.
Two Morrows may never come
Why did DUP Assembly member Maurice Morrow not use his full, formal title on the ballot paper – Lord Morrow of Clogher Valley?
Maybe that aristocratic poser would have been too much even for grassroots unionist voters to swallow in Fermanagh & South Tyrone.
One man who has elected to be judged by one of his peers rather than the public is Lord Justice Stephen Richards. This lord has been charged on two counts of exposing himself to women on London trains. Richards threw out Sinn Féin’s legal challenge that the unionist-inspired International Monitoring Commission was outside the Good Friday Agreement.
At his first court appearance, last Thursday (8 March), Sir Stephen Price Richards elected to be tried by magistrate rather than by a jury. His two-day trial takes place at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on 11 June.
UK Unionist Party leader Bob McCartney suffered such a drubbing in the six constituencies he personally contested – even in North Down where he’d been the MP - that he stayed away from the count centres. Instead, bitter Bob sat at home and licked his wounds, dispatching one of his underlings to the media with his resignation letter, part of which read:
“I believe democracy and terrorism can never co-exist in government but clearly the electorate takes a different view.”
At least Dick Tuck, who lost a US senate primary in 1964 for the Democrats, didn’t mince his words when he was rejected by the voters: “The people have spoken, the bastards.”
Goodbye, Sideshow Bob
So, farewell then, Bob McCartney,
You thought the voters couldn’t get enough of you
So you stood in six seats,
But they’d had so much of you
That they wouldn’t even elect you in one,
‘Sideshow Bob’? Now you’re not even that