With the Republic’s general election done and dusted (not withstanding the small matter of forming a government), campaigning is about to get underway in earnest in Northern Ireland. This morning the DUP announces its candidates for the Assembly, with polling for both Stormont and local councils set for 5th May.
Alan in Belfast appears to have scooped this morning’s newspapers and the BBC. You can read the complete DUP line-up and his analysis over at Slugger. There are some signs of the party‘s much vaunted change of direction on the list, but it also contains its fair share of grizzled veterans.
At Open Unionism O’Neill congratulates the DUP for its partially successful action on double mandates. He notes that the party’s participation at Westminster has increased exponentially during this term and he chalks that up as one of the few positive legacies of UCUNF.
It’s fair enough comment, but it should be said, the DUP has tackled double jobbing - except where it hasn’t.
Peter Robinson’s pledge that he would be the only Democratic Unionist MP to retain an Assembly seat has been broken.
There wasn’t too much resistance where Sammy Wilson was concerned. Even the Belfast Telegraph implored the Finance Minister and East Antrim MP to retain his post at Stormont.
With Peter Robinson losing his Westminster seat to Naomi Long, the DUP might be forgiven for strategically redeploying its one exception, especially in a turbulent economic climate.
It’s not at all clear why Gregory Campbell should also be considered indispensable at the Assembly. He presides over a substantial personal vote in East Londonderry, but his presence on the list will be difficult to justify on anything other than purely selfish grounds.
Maurice Morrow will also juggle Assembly duties with attendance at the House of Lords, if his election campaign is successful. That mirrors the UUP's cynical decision to field Lord Empey in East Belfast.
The UUP unveiled its candidate list last November.