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Election briefing: From poster thieves and a determined postman in Upper Bann to a nuclear warning-style TV broadcast

Andrew Madden


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SDLP election posters are stolen in south Belfast

SDLP election posters are stolen in south Belfast

UUP leader Doug Beattie

UUP leader Doug Beattie

PA

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SDLP election posters are stolen in south Belfast

The poster thieves

The stealing of election posters in the run-up to the polls is seen across the world, but in Northern Ireland people seem be to turning it into a veritable sport.

We've had reports of posters being stolen in pretty much every constituency, with reports of even some candidates allegedly nicking their rivals’ posters.

Over in Upper Bann, Doug Beattie revealed people are actually leaving the posters and nabbing the lampposts!

One courageous SDLP candidate, Elsie Trainor, pursued a couple of poster thieves in south Belfast and was attacked in the process for her troubles. Police are now investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Figures obtained by the Belfast Telegraph from the PSNI reveal the extent of the problem here.

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From March 22 to April 11, there have been 41 election poster thefts reported to the force. That's a rate of just over two a day and is likely to be a conservative total as it doesn't include the thefts that are not reported.

So, what can we do to tackle the problem? Well, there is the old greasing-the-lamppost trick. However, then you would probably be liable if someone had a tumble.

I suppose GPS tracking of all posters would be too expensive, so, short of having 'Poster Protection Officers' monitoring every lamppost in every constituency, we're probably just going to have to deal with it.


A party election video or 1970s public service nuclear warning?

The TUV has unveiled a dramatic, to say the least, party election broadcast video.

Jim Allister's party went for an interesting choice in the direction of the clip, which opened more like one of those public service broadcasts from the 1970s that warned people what to do in the event of a nuclear strike.

It opens with a black screen with a red block-capital ‘warning’ message pasted across the screen.

This remains in place for 17 seconds of the two-minute-and-17-second video, while a narrator relays the grim message: "This broadcast contains home truths, which will be unpalatable to anyone who thinks the present Stormont shambles provides good government and who is a supporter of the trade-busting protocol. Save yourself the pain: turn off now." Bit much, in my opinion.

Mr Allister then goes on to warn against the perils of Sinn Féin as part of his own version of Project Fear. Business as usual.

A determined postman in Upper Bann

Over in Upper Bann, Royal Mail has gone above and beyond to ensure letters to UUP leader Doug Beattie get to their destination.

The Assembly election candidate took to Twitter to post a letter he received that was simply marked “Douglas Beattie, Portadown”. No actual address, but it got to where it was supposed to nonetheless. Mr Beattie said: "You have to take your hat off to Royal Mail."

A bit of consistency please

Following the news that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have been fined over attending a lockdown party, there were curious reactions from Northern Ireland's political parties.

Remember the Bobby Storey funeral furore? Well, that saw the DUP, among others, call for the resignation of Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill over breaking Covid guidance.

In the wake of the news from Whitehall, Ms O’Neill said, unsurprisingly: "Well, Boris Johnson's position is a matter for the Tory Party and for the British public and I'm sure they'll make their own judgment on that in the time ahead."

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said it was a matter for the PM and the Conservative Party, adding: "I welcome the fact that the prime minister has apologised, which, I have to say, he's gone further than, for example, our deputy first minister, who said she would not apologise for attending a funeral, which, in our opinion, breached many of the rules around the Covid regulations."

Interesting stance.


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