NI21 announce their Euro Candidate @NI21Chair Tina McKenzie

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Ok, folks well the wait is over and it was really what we expected but NI21 have officially announced the party Chair as their European candidate.

Speaking about being nominated Tina McKenzie said in a party press statement that;

I want to maximise the potential of Europe and will focus on getting the best for Northern Ireland not the best for any one community.

I want to represent and promote our people, their talents, skills, commitment and drive to improve Northern Ireland and Europe. NI21 represents everyone equally with the same levels of commitment and enthusiasm. I will hold the Northern Ireland Executive to account on its European performance, as a member of Northern Ireland’s unofficial opposition.

She will clearly make her business experience part of her campaign as McKenzie says;

We want to stand on a clear agenda for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs. My background in business means I can get the most for our economy. We need to ensure that the Northern Ireland Executive maximises the opportunities and impact of European funding and investment.

NI21 have announced a position on European membership;

I will argue for Northern Ireland and the UK to stay within a reforming EU, promoting the benefits of the Single Market

Well, there you have it. This brings the total number of women in the race to 4 out of 10 candidates-which I think by Northern Ireland European Election standards is a record.

 

 

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  • OneNI

    So Basil bottled out?

  • JH

    A few things it might be worth asking Tina;

    This party have no experience in European politics, who will be advising them and what will the learning period be before representation will be effective?

    Which EU party(s) will they be aligning with?

    What are their positions on EU hot topics, like Net neutrality and CAP reform?

    They don’t have a voting record. Since both Britain and Ireland are in the EU, the national issue is irrelevant and questions like this are important to know exactly what we’re voting for.

  • http://alaninbelfast.blogspot.com Alan in Belfast

    In her own words …

  • OneNI

    Four minute video and I’m still non the wiser what she or they stand for! Beginning to make Alliance looked policy rich!

  • Gopher

    Got my vote. Brave decision to stand and correct one for NI21, comes across intelligent and articulate.

  • keano10

    What on earth is NI21′s election strategy?? This is all pretty shambolic stuff.

    Whose votes are they intending to target? They are a Unionist Party who seem loathe to mention the word Unionist. There is a total lack of any substance in relation to their broader European policy’s and voting intentions.

    Furthermore, a cursory glance through Tina’s Tweets reveals an attitude more akin to The Alliance Party than anything else.

    I sense much voter confusion here in relation to NI21…

  • Charles_Gould

    Takes courage and energy – I like Tina and I wish her well.

    She will get a lot of criticism from people like Ian Parsley; that does not matter as he is a representative of a specific competitor party.

  • Dec

    Finally, a politician who claims to know ‘how to get things done’. Who cares what those other 750 MEPs think (or want to get done themselves). Also Tina’s claim to understand ‘the European mindset’ (whatever that is) because she’s been there, isn’t at all patronizing.

    Tina’s the NI candidate because everyone knows their realistic target is to retain their deposit and neither Basil or John want an hammering at NI21′s first elections soiling their respective resumes.

  • JH

    Hate to be a naysayer but I have to agree with most of these comments, there’s simply no content to that video.

    NI21 seem to want to get across why they exist at every opportunity without actually giving away anything on policy.

    They say we need ‘radical change’. What kind of radical change? What does it look like? What are the achievable outcomes?

    How does the opportunity cost compare to other radical change already on the table; for example a united Ireland or the abolition of Stormont?

    Finally, you take a large number of people with widely divergent views, call it the ‘silent majority’ and then start telling people what it wants.

    Sorry.

    The non-voting bloc is as diverse, if not more-so, than the voting bloc. At best you get a small portion of it, although since it self-identifies as non-voting even that should be an uphill struggle.

  • http://alaninbelfast.blogspot.com Alan in Belfast
  • Granni Trixie

    In the Off the Record Interview Tina says that though there are “great people in Alliance…the leadership is not there” She also “doesn’t see where Alliance are taking us”. I would like to know what does she base this on as:

    - for a number of years now the leadership has delivered organisationally and in terms of election results which is why there is no internal clamour for change at the top

    - Though she may not ‘get’ the Alliance vision of a united community in which people grow to accept diversity and name and oppose sectarianism, most people know this as the raisin d’être of Alliance.

    She will have to do better than this to tAke votes from any party.

  • gaygael

    I think they have left it late. I know some people in the party and I have been haranguing them since before Xmas on this announcement.

    They also have their councillors announcement to come. Maybe they are hoping this will make a splash. They need to get Tina some coverage, pronto. A particular policy area, relevant to Europe that she can sell an alternative message and the much heralded fresh politics.
    And there are upcoming opportunities to differentiate themselves from alliance. The critique of leadership may become recurrent. They will also attack alliance for being part of the executive.

    I think there is definitely some scope for them, and they will shred what remains of the uup liberal side. I think around 5% for them.

  • Granni Trixie

    Gay gale

    Can you clarify 5 per cent ..does it mean from the unionist vote generally (unrealistic I think) or a particular party? I’m sure you agree that at this stage all one can do is base the guesstimate on a gut feeling,

  • Gopher

    5% would be a decent first outing. Coming out over the Greens and Alliance on first preference would be an exceptional result. I’ll be taking a punt on her as all the the other parties have had their try and failed and the news today that the assembly was considering getting an private company to implement legislation makes me believe opposition ann NI21 are the only game in town.

  • Granni Trixie

    Gopher
    And can you tell me also as I honestly am not clear – 5 per cent of what? How did you arrive at this figure?

  • gaygael

    Hi grannies. It is a haunch.
    I think that the uup are in trouble. They will not get 17% again and that was 2009. There last results were 13.2% in 2011 assembly. I think that most of ni21 score will come from people who may have voted uup in 2009 and a smattering from the other centre parties and new voters.
    I feel the uup will be just over 11% and less transfer friendly. I think greens will hold up, from last time, and alliance will have significant increase, good choice with Lo and she has been profile. This will be a few from SDLP and uup.
    I do not think ni21 will be close to alliance but need to be ahead of greens.

  • gaygael

    Additionally There are 230k unionist votes. If ni21 get 5% overall, that’s approx 25k. I don’t think that is out of bounds with my prescription of the uup

  • Gopher

    5% Of the vote. Hermon got 21,000 votes to Alliances 1,8000 without a Union Jack in sight in 2010 so the market is there for a lady who knows her mind. East Belfast, Strangford, North Down have a history for not voting but the whole anti gravy train on the hill might galvanise their more radical tradition to get off their arse and land a blow. NI21 are the only protest vote around. South Belfast and Down I’m sure would relish actually being Liberal Radicals rather than vote for crusty old calaborators in a farce. The rest well that would be a bonus

  • Granni Trixie

    Thanks gaygael, will be interesting to compare the actual results with your gut feeling and figures.
    Personally I will be interested in what happens for other than academic reasons namely that I and many others have been trudging the streets these past months with door to door focus leaflets and contributed over the years to policy development. So – this election and the Council elections should test if all that work was necessary. ….as NI21 seem to have neither policies nor people power to deliver. We shall wait and see.

  • Granni Trixie

    Ni21 are as yet untried so plucking good results out of thin air is a recipe for failure. Just Wishful thinking.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Firstly, the launch statment is blandness supreme, the only info about Tina is she is a business woman with three kids, as an unknown to even us geeks voters need to know the person.

    The short timescale, with Easter, State visit, Nw200, etc. filling peoples attention it is going to be hard to raise her profile, but just enough for her fathers background to come to the surface but not be dealt with.

    At the race for the bottom, with Jamie out of the running now, I think she will beat the Conservatives, neck in neck with the greens and behind UKIP & TUV. 2-3% tops. Deposit is lost below 6.25% at any stage I believe, so bye bye £5k.

  • Charles_Gould

    My sense is that UUP will hold level. They have had a more united approach recently, with the divisions of former times a thing now of the past, and they have run on a number of issues, such as victims and the Maze. I can see them picking up some vote they lost to DUP in recent years. I see DUP losing on two fronts: TUV and UUP. I see SDLP gaining against SF but losing some to Alliance, who have recently taken a more pro-UI bent, and I see Alliance losing some to NI21 (for the same reason). I see Greens doing the same as last time. As for UKIP, there may be a Farage factor – I don’t know – they might surprise. So the main losers the two big establishment parties.

  • Gopher

    I see the Euros as a single issue vote on the uselessness of the Assembly and the established parties taking the piss out of the electorate by asking for their support after of unsurpassed levels of incompetence. NI21 is my protest vote, hopefully their will be more like me.

  • DC

    She’s just like Naomi Long in style- good talker – and content – lack of – with the added bonus of not having been associated with taking the flag down. Definitely a challenge to Alliance.

    Share future souffle politics no longer belongs to Alliance.

  • Gopher

    I tend to prefer the cosmopolitan nature of Tina to the quaint one of our own parochial girl image of Naomi.

  • DC

    well it looks as though she’s got a challenger to challenge her on shared future scared future slogans and maybe tina could help us find out whose unshared future is scarier???

  • Charles_Gould

    Tina has a major problem: she is not known.

  • Gopher

    Charles, Alex Attwood has a problem, he is.

    Tina has the guts of two months to raise her profile and like I said Opposition and Secular politics do it for me.

  • Charles_Gould

    Gopher

    Alex Attwood is a strong candidate: great Labour values combined with strategic sense. A well known public figure, respected for his work as a minister.

    Now that all candidate nominations are in, I can confirm it’s my view that he is the best candidate.

  • Gopher

    Like I said Its lost on the West Belfast electorate and anyone outside the SDLP

    Anyway DC I don’t think there is much to be scared of with Tina and she seem to identify the fundamental problem with Alliance in that interview in that they are headless and spineless. Tina strikes me as someone who would put her head on the block for her principles not somebody else’s. I like that in a candidate that I give my vote too.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “Though she may not ‘get’ the Alliance vision of a united community in which people grow to accept diversity and name and oppose sectarianism, most people know this as the raisin d’être of Alliance.”

    @Granni,

    She has a vested interest in not getting it. NI21 is basically trying to appeal to the same electorate as Alliance–those people who identify primarily with the “other” category rather than as unionists or nationalists as well as soft unionists and soft nationalists. If she thought that Alliance was doing a good job there would be no raison d’etre for the existence of NI21, so the party must purport not to understand Alliance’s vision and criticize its performance.

  • Granni Trixie

    Thanks for spelling that out. Ultimately however surely there has to be more if it is to achieve anything. Like work on the ground, a vision other than what you are against …O and or numbers of ‘helpers’ to get going organisationally. I doubt if it will amount to more than their two leaders continuing to existing as independents.

  • Gopher

    You see that is the thing, the renewed election cycle got me thinking about the use of my vote. Previously I just 1-2-3 Alliance in every election not because of any work on the ground, that was invisible to me a mere voter and the organization of Alliance never troubled me it was the ethos of of middle ground politics. I voted Alliance despite their image of a church coffee morning and their increasing capacity to attempt to legislate the fun out of life because they are just so morally superior. I accepted that because I believed the middle ground was worth defending.

    So along come NI21 who are secular and not too worried about preaching at you, they sound like they might even attempt to get rid of legislation and help the working man (or woman) for a change . But that did not swing it for me it was the commitment to Opposition which give me someone to vote for. Like many others, probably now the majority we cant stand that self serving over paid farce on the hill which Alliance is part of.

    Tina stands for Opposition its that simple

  • Reader

    Granni, another factor this year is that NI21 have just arrived. Normally I wouldn’t rank a constitutional position as much of a decider in Euro elections, so I would normally go Alliance #1 then Nicholson #2 as he seems to be a sensible, decent bod. This year I want to encourage NI21, so they get #1. I suppose Nicholson will probably end up with my vote after transfers (as usual), whether he then wins or loses.
    Net result from my vote this year, one less first preference for Alliance, no effect on final outcome.
    Similar for the council elections, except I’ll probably punish the UUP in general for being a load of gutless, thoughtless DUP hangers-on.

  • Granni Trixie

    Fair enough,Reader but maybe you are the person to help me with a puzzle re Nicholson. I know little about him except having seen him being so inarticulate on TV leading up to the past two Euro elections I was sure people wouldn’t vote for him. But as they did I accepted that he must have qualities not apparent to me. But If it is that infact people vote for him traditionally as representative of UUP then now that they are on the slippery slope will he suffer in this election?

    In other words,what would you say is his voter appeal? (No party political broadcasts please).

  • Gopher

    I think it is generational and countryside thing with Jim also people don’t necessarily want someone who starts a fight a day representing them which was one reason why Eddie McGrady was so well liked. Jim always seems constant which I think appeals to people.

  • Reader

    Granni, no danger of a party political broadcast for the UUP from me! Remember also I am only planning a 3rd preference for Nicholson this time round.
    Basically, your dismissal of Nocholson because he wasn’t a shiny Blair clone may have missed the point for many voters, who will probably take more notice of his position on the national question, and whether he is willing and able to play the Euro game on the matter of the interests of his constituents. I expect he scores highly on both counts.
    That he is less in hock to ideology than either the DUP or SF candidates is probably reassuring to most of the people who actually voted for him.
    Surely though, all that matters is that he should get enough first preference votes to keep him in the race with the DUP and SF until everyone else is knocked out? Even hard core Alliance voters need to transfer to someone after Green #2 (a vote that is unlikely to ever be counted). That will either be Nicholson or whatshisface from the SDLP.

  • Granni Trixie

    Reader
    You make reasonable points. I was just trying to explain the position of one such as myself whose sole source of information about a politican comes from TV where he is not impressive. People ( as you no doubt know) vote for many reasons eg they may be taken with a candidate, a party, through loyalty or because they feel they “know” a person through their public persona. So why would I vote for someone when I am not impressed by their person nor their party? O yes,as you imply, for strategic reasons. Not in this case.

  • Gopher

    Having a round table European election debate at the Legahory Ecclesiastical society this evening. Problem is we have 10 representatives and only 7 free seats definitely cancelling the conservatives but I think we are going to have to chop the SDLP and UUP attending as there is no real difference between them and DUP/SF. TV producer told me they were starting to draw the same conclusion just not enough studio space, airtime or public interest to have guests repeating one another. Who would have thought the Legahory Ecclesiastics were pioneers.

  • RyanAdams

    I think people are being over expectant of NI21 on their first outing. Everyone from DUP to Alliance members should know a political party does not grow overnight. It takes cycles.

    Gopher is exactly on the mark. North Down is an electorate which refuses to conform to the norm of NI politics. I believe there are many floating voters out there to be claimed, especially after the flags/parades debacle. The conduct of the DUP was totally unacceptable of a government party and there are DUP votes from 2011 now looking for a new home.

  • Charles_Gould

    Gopher

    SDLP are distinct from SF.

    SF have a weak candidate.

  • Gopher

    @ RyanAdams I hoping peoples loathing of Stormont will actually create a bit of a wave NI21 can ride.

    .

  • Red Lion

    I believe some DUP voters are likely to move directly to NI21, smallish numbers mind, but it all adds together. The flags protest was a bridge too far for some unionists, and now they have an genuine alternative intelligent pluralist pro union option that did not exist before, in the form of NI21

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    Don’t see why I would criticise Tina, other than for being naive enough to throw 5 grand at a campaign which exists only to provide Basil McCrea with a vehicle to try to maintain his own salary. She is exactly the type of person we need in politics – but she is being thrown in immediately at far too high a level without having learned the ropes.

    The basic difficulty is that NI21, like the NI Conservatives, has no concept as to how elections actually work.

    This has nothing to do with “policy” (although NI21 did say at the outset it “wouldn’t sit on the fence” before doing precisely that on absolutely every conceivable issue). It has to do, as Granni says, with hard work for constituents “on the ground”. That is what got Naomi elected to Westminster; that is what got Anna elected top of the poll to Stormont; that is what will get countless campaigners (of various parties, to be fair) elected to Councils on 22 May. NI21 simply hasn’t done that, and the results will show it.

  • Red Lion

    IJP, you sure do expend a lot of energy repeatedly dismissing NI21 as not having a snoball’s chance of gaining a single election seat. Why bother if they are such little threat?

    It is precisely because Tina is new to politics that is part of her appeal at this juncture.

    NI21 have not sat on the fence on every ‘conceivable’ issue yawn…designated days, Maze, opposition, LGBT rights are ‘conceivable’ issues as I understand the definition of that phrase. The constitutional question definitely not fence sitters on that wee one no agnosticism there.

  • Red Lion

    Oh and IJP let’ s knock the ‘Basil’s only using Tina to get himself elected’ line on the head.

    Basil could have easily remained in the UUP and kept his head down said nothing in his safe seat and been elected no sweat, but he has principles see? That’s why he left and undertook the difficult task of setting up a new party.

    And I think Tina has the wit to spot a user when she sees one

  • Charles_Gould

    Red Lion

    You make a fair point.

    Neither Basil, nor Tina, nor John had any financial reason to do what they are doing.

  • Gopher

    @ IJP Naomi got a protest vote pure and simple. In 2005 she got 3746 votes! door knocking and hard work did not get her 9,000 votes. BBC Spotlight got her further 9000 votes, that and the already floundering UUP deciding to run as conservatives.

    NI21 and Tina are the only place to register a vote against the debacle up in Stormont (other than not actually voting). That certainly gives her and her party a fighting chance.

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    Gopher

    No harm, but you don’t really understand politics and elections, do you?

    Tina will get fewer votes in the whole of Northern Ireland in 2014 than Naomi got in East Belfast alone in 2010. You do realise that, don’t you?

  • Gopher

    I think it is you who does not understand Politics or human nature, Naomi’s last prayer is that Tina does well in the Euros so the unionist vote is split further in East Belfast, A forlorn hope I know but its either that or “Door Knocking” and as I have explained “Door Knocking” did not elect Naomi neither will it save her.

    Tina is reliant on a lot of factors most important of those is will the electorate get up of its arse and vote. But nothing motivates people like a protest vote and the people have a lot to protest about

  • Neil

    Gopher

    No harm, but you don’t really understand politics and elections, do you?

    Tina will get fewer votes in the whole of Northern Ireland in 2014 than Naomi got in East Belfast alone in 2010. You do realise that, don’t you?

    Bit of a brass neck on ya there Ian. She’ll almost certainly match your own success rate in European elections. She’s knew, what’s your excuse?

  • Neil

    *new

  • Reader

    Neil: Bit of a brass neck on ya there Ian. She’ll almost certainly match your own success rate in European elections. She’s knew, what’s your excuse?
    What sort of success rate in elections does anyone need to be allowed to make a prediction?
    I predict that there will be lots of election predictions on Slugger over the next month, almost all of them from people who have never even stood for election themselves.

  • Neil

    What sort of success rate in elections does anyone need to be allowed to make a prediction?
    I predict that there will be lots of election predictions on Slugger over the next month, almost all of them from people who have never even stood for election themselves.

    No sort of success rate at all, but to describe someone as naive for throwing 5 grand at an election (which she’ll get back if she reaches the dizzy heights of half of IJP’s total) when you have yourself thrown 5 grand at an election campaign which is almost certain to have been as successful as Tina’s, assuming she does hit the 2.5% mark and gets her money back.

    I just think it’s a bit rich to describe her as ‘naive’ for throwing her hat in the ring when Ian did the same, with the same results and with an established party behind him. The worst she can do is match his success.

  • Charles_Gould

    The Green party have shown that a campaign at European level can be a good way of raising the profile of a party. The £5000 can be seen as an “advert” for NI21, that can bring returns in the longer term both for the party and the candidate.

  • Gopher

    Agree with you there Charles if Tina does not make it in the Euros, South Belfast looks a perfect fit

  • Red Lion

    We now have the best chance ever of breaking into the big 5 arrangement in the form of NI21. May not happen, or it may not happen overnight, but it is the best chance so far.

    In the process I hope NI21 may act as a moderating force, an educative voice, an innovative force, a constructive force. Their very presence is forcing others to think twice and that is a great thing and I salute them for it. There will be an ‘X’ going against Tina McKenzie’s name from me and I will encourage friends to do exactly the same!

  • PeterBrown

    There will be an ‘X’ going against Tina McKenzie’s name from me and I will encourage friends to do exactly the same!

    Please do – its a PR 123 election and maybe they will earn this support when they actually produce a policy!

  • Gopher

    The policy is governmental reform.