Belfast Telegraph

Alice Cooper's words rang true in General Election 2015

The iconic rocker Alice Cooper wrote the song ‘I Wanna Be Elected’ in 1973, lyrics that echo the last minute rallying cry of so many in the 2015 Westminster election.

Mr Cameron almost paraphrased Cooper’s words, part of which are, ”We’re gonna win this one, take the country by storm”. But, they could also have been the words of Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader.

In the aftermath of the election, UK party leaders fell like so many men of straw with Milliband, Clegg and Farage falling on their political swords...even if in Mr Farage’s case it wasn’t fatal.

Pressure is likely to mount for a different electoral system, as UKIP received four million votes, the Green Party one million votes against the Conservatives 10 million. Yet UKIP and the Greens only won a single seat each.

And, how much different could the Scottish results have been had a proportional representation system been in place?

With Northern Ireland’s voters mostly familiar with the different ways to mark ballot boxes, the current system was not raised by many, if any, of the candidates.

As the dust settled those who stayed up bleary eyed throughout the night blinked in the dawn’s early light as the final result from Fermanagh and South Tyrone was announced.

A turn-out of more than 72% saw the Ulster Unionist, Tom Elliott returned with a slender 530 majority, which was still better than the defeated Michelle Gildernew who in 2010 scraped in with a four seat margin.

Mr Elliott was, of course, a beneficiary of the DUP/UUP pact, which opened the door to Gavin Robinson ousting of the Alliance Party’s Naomi Long with almost a 3,000 majority. Ms Long, however, will be encouraged by her party’s vote share ahead of next year’s Assembly election.

And, vote share is something that all the candidates have been keeping a weather eye on. With the electoral pact working out for the DUP in North Belfast as well, with Nigel Dodds returned, UUP leader Mike Nesbitt was quick to emphasise that it was just an electoral pact not a wider political pact.

He was no doubt buoyed by the success in South Antrim, which saw Danny Kinahan manage to make sure that the long term incumbent, William McCrea, can now concentrate more on his gospel song recording career.

While most of the other seats went according to predictions, the acrimony was ratcheted up in Upper Bann with David Simpson laying allegations of a campaign of ‘abuse’ against his family.

This was rivalled by the reaction to Gavin Robinson’s comments after securing East Belfast, with many commentators on Friday morning contrasting this with his party leader’s gracious acceptance of his defeat in 2010.

Now, with the proverbial fall-out being picked over in each constituency, there is one thing that we can say for certain...the campaign for the May 2016 Assembly election has started in all but name. What shape that Assembly may finally arrive at? Right now nobody should dare predict that.

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