Monday, 13 December 2010

SDLP goes after Polish vote.

The SDLP is showing some imagination by running a Polish candidate for next year’s council elections.  Immigrant communities in Northern Ireland have grown exponentially over the last few years and parties need to examine how immigrant votes can be won.

I know that the UUP experimented with leaflets in minority languages during the 2005 general election campaign, but I’m not sure quite how engaged unionist parties were with this issue in 2010.

Poland is obviously a strongly Catholic country and some people might assume that the natural allegiance of Poles living in Northern Ireland would be to nationalist parties.  Immigrants of all types, though, are far more likely to be swayed by economic and practical arguments, rather than the age-old constitutional debate.

There’s a swathe of new voters to be tapped and the best way to go about it is by reflecting their presence and their concerns in the political arena.  That's the approach the SDLP is taking and Alliance too has well documented instances of minority involvement.

All votes are valuable and it would be remiss of other parties not to look into the best strategies to represent the changing composition of the population in Northern Ireland.


Lee said...

I highlighted this voting group in my Union 2021 piece. However, any ME vote strategy will take some time to overcome 1) under-registration and b) culture of non-participation.

Simply running a person from a ME background does not solve these if the 07 Assembly South Belfast vote is anything to go by. Anna Lo's candidacy had no identifiable impact on ME participation.

The DUP has managed to pick up small numbers of ME members.

Phil Larkin said...

Thank you Chekov for highlighting this recent development. I also believe that it demonstrates imagination on the part of the SDLP. It's an awful pity that they didn't show the same imagination in relation to their economic programme!

rutherford said...

this is the 2nd Polish election candidate in NI if memory serves correctly. What became of the Lisburn DUP man, or did he just join as a member?