Belfast Telegraph

Laughs, double acts, proclamations of love... it's Strictly Northern Ireland politics

By Noel McAdam

Hearty laughs have not exactly been easy to come by during our short, sharp Assembly election campaign.

Gerry Adams came close when his response to Arlene Fosters’ depiction of republicans as “crocodiles” was “See you later, alligator”.

But my award goes to the SDLP’s Sinead Bradley who was quick to come back when the DUP’s Jim Wells asked for reassurance on social media that people had got his election pitch.

It was the nearest thing to cross-community craic this unexpected contest has seen.

Former Health Minister Wells asked on Facebook: “Have folk living in South Down received my election leaflet through the post ? Please let me know if this has arrived.”

And Sinead swiftly came back: “No Jim, thank goodness”

Not to be deterred Mr Wells replied: “Now Sinead - you don’t mean that.

“I know that you can’t wait to read my leaflet.

“All my supporters in Warrenpoint and Burren feel deprived that my leaflet has not as yet arrived. Your face seems to be on every lamp post in South Down.”

Cue Mrs Bradley: “I spoke to both of them at lunchtime Jim, they are managing the delay well.”

A new double-act for South Down, surely ?

My runner up, however, would be Green Party stalwart Clare Bailey who knew when the canvassing had to stop during the actual - rather than the electoral - storms last week.

She revealed: “Team Green were on the doorsteps in South Belfast battling through storm Doris on Wednesday evening and a woman shook my hand and said “it’s lovely to meet you”. When I replied “I love you too” I knew it was time to call it a night.”

We love you too, Clare.

DUP chairman Lord Morrow should be mentioned in dispatches too for his wry observation linked to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scandal which is central to why at least half of us should be finding time for a polling station on Thursday.

As DUP members including leader Arlene Foster posed for photographs, someone remarked that it was a “lovely sunny day”.

A laughing Lord Morrow responded: “It’s hot. Yes, the boilers are all working.”

Mrs Foster could barely supress her laughter, telling him: “Stop it, stop.”

She was also among the senior figures who swapped dancing for debating during the campaign and who surely should be told ‘strictly, come off it’.

The DUP leader tweeted: “Swapped knocking doors for the dance floor with this young gentleman.”

But she was completely outdone when Gerry Kelly became Gene Kelly at the Sinn Fein Strictly Come Dancing Belfast Sinn Fein fundraiser.

He was, of course - along with MP Paul Maskey - dressed as a crocodile.

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