I used to teach research methods to reluctant journalism students but, despite their lack of enthusiasm for quantitative vs qualitative methods, they seemed quite bright and knew a bit of history.
I’ve often thought that Mark Smith is not so bright and further hampered by what I think was an education in England but that headline is a cracker.
Leaving aside his juvenile wee nationalIST reference, anyone with a sense of history is going to think: ‘Mark! Do you know nothing?’
I forced my self to read on. He has found a Sinn Fein MP for North Belfast saying that if they emerged as the biggest party in the Assembly Elections, it wouldn’t be a mandate for a border poll and that they’d need this to stretch over a lot more than one single election.
Well yes, but in 2017, Sinn Fein won 27 out of 90 seats, coming second to the DUP on 28. DUP support is falling fast in polls but SF support is flat at around 25% of the electorate. Because the DUP will lose seats to the UUP and moderate groups, that will allow the SF to be the biggest but nowhere near a majority.
Smith’s comparison between the SNP and SF is just daft. The SNP is currently polling at around 50%, twice that of SF and has been in power, the largest party (64 out of 129), with nearly half of the MSPs for 14 years. Now that’s a mandate for a border poll.