Author Archive | Michael Shilliday

Turning the UUP around. Maybe.

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Lord Maginnis was wrong. I’ve no intention of condemning the man, he’s a personal friend and doesn’t deserve it. But he was just downright wrong. The substance of his comments was not good. There is a logic to the argument that homosexuality is on the ladder to bestiality, but only if your starting point is more…

New Tories, old Tories, what’s the difference?

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Everyone seems to be talking about the headline of Lord Feldman’s press release today, and no one is talking about what he actually said. Let’s be clear, there is to be no “new party” in Northern Ireland. They are not farming off their existing branch, they are attempting to tart it up a bit. And more…

Can we get some things straight?

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I’m getting a bit sick of reading nonsense about Loughgall. Firstly, all that is new in the Belfast Telegraph is that the HET report is due out soon. If that report states that the IRA fired the first shot, that will simply be a regurgitation of the facts as detailed in the European Court of more…

Opposition or bust

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A couple of weeks ago a few of us put on a fringe event at the Ulster Unionist Party conference, where the prospect of going into opposition was discussed. On the same day, the coverage of Tom Elliot’s speech mostly focused on the same issue. Since then the matter has gained traction and comment, with more…

The rubber stamp gets smaller?

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Mark McGregor is of course right. At the very least the disclosure of the d’Hondt private run by the Executive Twitter account was a violation of the Assembly’s right to be first to know. It was like that in 2007, and is now. However there probably is some justification for it, given that such an more…

At least now, the UUP’s blinkers will probably come off

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The last time a major Unionist party was lead by anyone from west of Portadown it was Harry West in in 1970′s. That was not a happy period of the UUP’s history. The sense of ‘otherness’ that exists amongst border Unionists is well known, researched and documented. It is not a fictional notion dreamed up more…

Should unionists be entitled to vote?

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That is the logical question arising from what the UUP candidate claims SF have said in their literature in West Belfast. Mr Manwaring said; “Gerry Adams says that moves to secure a Unionist Assembly seat “represents the old unionist agenda of resisting equality and denying nationalists’ representation.” The message in this is that “old unionism” more…

Is David Ford safe this time?

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I don’t think we’ve had an open thread on South Antrim yet, but here’s a thought.  A lot of the talk in 2003 and 2007 in South Antrim was over David Ford’s safety, at both elections he was the most vulnerable Alliance sitting MLA.  Indeed a couple of weeks out from 2007 when asked I more…

A thought on the Alliance Party Manifesto

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The Alliance Manifesto is certainly the longest of any produced.  In the summary on page five they commit to: Introduce transparency around political donations What interests me is, has anyone gotten around to asking Alliance if any part of their manifesto is brought to us courtesy of money changing hands? Seems a fair question in more…

Nominations published

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The Electoral Office have published the list of those seeking office at the Assembly elections. Having a quick scan two things stick out. The TUV are standing two candidates in North Antrim. Given that their ability to pick up transfers from anyone but eachother is going to be reasonably low, I don’t see why they more…

Belfast and lost constituencies

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The Belfast Telegraph also has a story on the boundary review. The revamp could mean — for example — that Belfast will be represented by two MPs rather than the current four, with south and east, and north and west constituencies in the city being amalgamated. Very little factual basis for this claim, Sunderland and more…

UKIP announce candidates. World shakes.

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UKIP have announced, apparently only some, of their 2011 Assembly Candidates.  Yet more spurned UUP members show up.  Trotter was Harry Hamilton’s campaign manager for UCUNF and was rejected for Assembly selection by both East Belfast and Upper Bann, while Reilly went to UKIP in 2007 after losing out to John McCallister in South Down. more…

One last go at the Gerry thing

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The Gerry Adams “resignation” is probably one of the most pointless but nerdishly interesting things I’ve ever seen. Pete has already brought us the BBC’s report of the exchange between Sir George Young and Hiliary Benn earlier today, but it is worth exploring a little. Sir George said: During the subsequent exchanges, Members raised the more…

How do you solve a problem like Gerry?

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Gerry Adams’s chicken run (a term admittedly used quite loosely) seems to have presented him with a bit of a problem.  He is perfectly prepared to follow the niceties of the British Constitution to become a Member of the national Parliament, but not to cease to be so at a time of his choosing in order to become a member more…

Strong words

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The DUP have taken a somewhat populist line on water charging, jumping on comments by John McCallister . Calling charging proposals a poll tax, is indeed strong stuff: targeting struggling householders who are trying to keep up mortgage payments, meet the expectations of their children at Christmas and also hold on to their jobs…Rather than more…

Can’t pay? Won’t understand.

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What angers me most about the opposition to raising the cap on student fees probably isn’t the rioting and vandalism that the protesters get up to. It’s the ignorance, stupidity and ill-informed manner with which the opposition is presented and articulated. “I can’t afford nine grand”, “it will put poor kids off university”, “we shouldn’t more…

Compare and contrast

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The SDLP on Patten: “At present only 29 per cent of the PSNI is made up of Catholics – that is far from being broadly representative of the community. The SDLP believes that the percentage of Catholics in the PSNI should be between 40 and 44 per cent. “Such a figure would be broadly representative more…