A high unionist turnout is essential in this Stormont election

News Letter editorial on Wednesday May 4 2022:

By Editorial
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 5:41 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 6:34 am
News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

This editorial column yesterday looked at the way in which a seat such as West Tyrone gives 80% of its five MLAs to nationalist or republican politicians who only get around 60% of votes (see link below).

There are many reasons for that, some of which can come down to a degree of luck based on various factors as to how votes are cast among all the candidates.

Tomorrow this column will look further at the importance of transferring between all the unionist candidates and then descending down the list to give lower preferences to parties other than Sinn Fein.

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Some people will be appalled at such thinking, pointing out that the republican party has changed over the decades.

It has changed but it does still want Northern Ireland to fail, and it seems unable to get away from that impulse in so many of the key political decisions that it makes, yet it has to be in power at all times.

But transfers are not the only consideration in countering the influence of Sinn Fein. A high unionist turnout is also essential.

This does not just mean a high turnout among people who feel strongly about unionism but who might be feeling disillusioned in recent years.

It means a high turnout among people who value Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom, but who might not get round to voting in some elections.

The University of Liverpool survey for the Irish News yesterday showed a combined nationalist vote that was larger than the unionist one. There can, therefore, be no room for such complacency about voting, or for wallowing in disillusionment.

Various detailed surveys of people’s attitudes to various aspects of life and policy show high levels of instinctive support for the Union, and Northern Ireland’s place within it.

Instinctive support is not enough. These things need to be registered in the ballot box, and there is a very large range of unionist candidates to back, reflecting the large range of views in the swathes of pro Union voters.

Come out to help them get into Stormont.

• Other opinion or analysis articles:

Owen Polley May 2: Underwhelming campaign hasn’t given NI Protocol the focus it need