But spare a thought for those who weren't so lucky. Those who didn't find themselves on the right side of the party lines. Those who were caught receiving a 'sports massage' in a Belfast hotel in the middle of an election campaign for the most socially conservative political party since Ian Paisley could sit in place for more than a half hour without urinating uncontrollably. Nevertheless, Paul Berry's valiant effort to convince the nation that ability to govern and sexual preferences were unconnected fell some way short, though picking up over 2000 first-preference votes in Newry and Armagh district is not to be sniffed at. Northern Ireland: We're Getting There!
So that's it! Another election under the belt - the Northern Irish have more politicians and elections per head than any country on the earth - and things have more or less panned out as expected. Trimble and Hume retired to international diplomacy, Paisley can only eat soup, his son's a bollickin fool; it won't be long til Gerry's the only piece left on the board since '97. Strange how these things pan out.