Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Bloody Irishman On Northern Ireland Elections

Captain Ed has an excellent analysis of the results of the elections in Northern Ireland. He claims the results show a move toward polarization and away from the Good Friday Agreement.
The lessons that both Paisley and Adams will take from this election are that the people want victory over accommodation. It threatens to reduce the GFA to nothing more than a footnote in the Troubles, since neither man has ever enthusiastically supported the Stormont Assembly structure. If that is borne out in the weeks ahead, the various militias will start feeling the pressure to re-arm themselves and start planning their war operations all over again. Indeed, one can argue that the IRA anticipated this result and started with its earlier armored-car robbery.
(Gerry Adams results here. Ian Paiseley results here.) He also notes the strength of Sinn Fein:
Interestingly, Sinn Fein has suffered no such loss of credibility, despite the involvement of their IRA partners in a brutal, senseless murder and a spectacular bank robbery in the past few months. In fact, SF gained a seat at the expense of the SDLP in Armagh. Gerry Adams, longtime spokesman for the SF and publicly outed as a commander in the IRA just weeks ago, increased his margin of victory in West Belfast by over 4% at the SDLP's expense.
This is quite a different result than I expected given that Republic of Ireland leaders campaigned for the SDLP (see here) and Sinn Fein looked quite dead because of the activities of the IRA (see here and here).

As Captain Ed expected, David Trimble stepped down as head of the Ulster Unionist Party. (Good analysis here, here, here, and here.)

Pay attention class, this may get very interesting. We will see if this analysis has any validity.