October 25th, 2009


The North Down conundrum

North Down is a peculiar parliamentary constituency even by Northern Ireland's rather odd standards. It is currently (since 2005) the only seat held by the Ulster Unionist Party, in the shape of Lady Sylvia Hermon; from 1995 to 2001 it was the only seat held by Bob McCartney's UK Unionist Party; and from 1980 to 1995 it was the only seat held by Sir James Kilfedder's Ulster Popular Unionist Party.

Collapse )

So, who will win? Collapse )

On this basis, I think I can make the following set of predictions:
  1. If Hermon is endorsed as the UUP candidate, whether or not jointly with the Conservatives, she is very likely to retain the seat.
  2. If she stands as an independent, she has a pretty good chance as well. This rises to a near certainty if she is formally or informally endorsed by Alliance and the Greens. Without such an endorsement, she will need to repeat her record of pulling in non-UUP votes and also persuade at least half of the UUP's habitual voters to abandon their party's official candidate and support her, in order to beat the DUP who one assumes will have support in the mid-30s. If the UUP officially supports Ian Parsley, who will then be a Conservative running with UUP support, this will not be too difficult a task.
  3. If Lady Hermon decides not to contest the seat at all, then it is more open. However it is pretty clear from the numbers that the DUP are ahead of the field.
This has been much discussed on Slugger O'Toole, especially here. (I see one SDLP supporter thinks that with a sufficiently split Unionist vote, the Stoops might have a chance. Bless.)

Who's On What

I have been pondering the amount of material on each Doctor available in the Whoniverse, considering TV, audio and novels/novellas (I'm not quite sure how to tabulate comics and short story collections).

Collapse )

Collapse )

Collapse )


For what it's worth, averaging out the rankings you get the following:
  1. Four - Top on screen time, decent number of books, let down by his audios but is improving there
  2. Eight - just tops books and audios, but way way behind on screen time.
  3. Seven - strong competitor on audios and books, let down by screen time
  4. Six - likewise
  5. Three - decent mid-list on books and audios, pulled up slightly by screen time
  6. One - tie with Ten broken by having more screen time though fewer books and same audios
  7. Ten - now unlikely to rise higher, unless he starts doing audios
  8. Five - surprised to see him this low, but only scores well on audios
  9. Two - despite good screen time, has not been the most popular subject of spinoff fiction
  10. Nine - poor chap, least books, no audios, and second shortest screen time


This Month's Who from Big Finish

Time to write up the two October releases from Big Finish - a Companion Chronicle with Lalla Ward reprising Romana II, and a new Five/Nyssa story set in the village of Stockbridge and partly in the twelfth century. I had read reviews of both of these over at Unreality SF (here and here) so this slightly coloured my expectations. I have to say that in both cases I enjoyed them slightly more than the Unreality SF reviewers did.

The Pyralis Effect is a standard Doctor and aliens runabout. My expectations for this were pretty low, based partly on steve_mollmann's review but largely on the fact that it is by George Mann, whose fiction and non-fiction has failed to impress me. The fact that it more or less held my attention to the end has to be considered a major triumph, and (given the discussion in the extra tracks of the number of rewrites extracted from Mann by Big Finish) a triumph shared by many. Let us consider it equivalent in quality to the average Season 17 story, and leave it there.

On the other hand, I quite liked The Castle of Fear. Partly, it made me nostalgic for The Kingmaker, which is one of my favourite Big Finish audios; it's not as good, but then few Who stories are. I hate John Sessions, and luckily all the bits I thought weren't funny enough were the bits with him in, so I was happy enough to enjoy the rest. A clever plot, just about as funny as it could bear (Sessions apart), and good stuff from Davison and Sutton. John Sessions fans (the mad, deluded fools) will like this one.