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South Belfast

Delighted to see that the Alliance Party has selected a candidate for South Belfast from outside the usual charmed circle of party activists. Back in the day, I was always hopeful that the party (indeed, that all parties) might be able to enlarge their talent pool a bit. It's good to see that a) there are people like Anna Lo willing to take the plunge and b) poltiical parties ready to encourage them.

Note the careful wording of the statement that she is the first ethnic minority candidate to stand for the Northern Ireland Assembly. There was a minor candidate in the 1982 Westminster by-election, also in South Belfast, called Jagat Narain, and the Green Party ran a couple of candidates for the 1996 Forum whose names suggest non-European background. However, she is certainly the first ethnic minority candidate to be selected for a potentially winnable seat, and almost certainly the first ethnic Chinese candidate to stand for any election in Northern Ireland.

It would be unwise to overstate the importance of the Chinese vote - the 2001 census had 4155 ethnic Chinese in the whole of Northern Ireland, of whom the 1112 in South Belfast were the largest concentration; but some of those will be under 18, and not all of them will have registered to vote. But Alliance failed to win the last seat in South Belfast by only 150 votes in 1998, and the margin between the last elected and the runner up in 2003 was even tighter. So every vote will count in March (assuming, of course, that there is an election then).

See Slugger O'Toole for the usual begrudgery.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 15th, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC)
Did you hear about this result?
Dec. 15th, 2006 02:40 pm (UTC)
Yes, I did!
Dec. 15th, 2006 02:42 pm (UTC)
Ah right, sorry. I've been away since yesterday morning and am still catching up with my friends page.
Dec. 15th, 2006 02:42 pm (UTC)
apropos of nothing, did you see the spoof Wallonia TV show?
Dec. 15th, 2006 02:46 pm (UTC)
No, but my (Belgian) assistant has been raving about it! See also here!
Dec. 15th, 2006 02:51 pm (UTC)
I wish her well. I have no friends or relations in South Belfast having grown up on the Oldpark Rd. so I can't push any votes her way.
Dec. 15th, 2006 03:06 pm (UTC)
It has to be said that I have a strange interest in this because I had a friend who's MA dissertation was about the experience of Chinese community in Northern Ireland and while he said it was quite a small community I didn't realise exactly how small.
Dec. 16th, 2006 08:43 pm (UTC)
Do you mean begrudgery on the part of the Slugger O'Toole commenters or the article itself? The article seemed perfectly reasonable.
Dec. 17th, 2006 06:38 am (UTC)
Oh, the commenters. I should have been clearer.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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