Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


UUP-Has Northern Ireland’s ‘grand old party’ finally past its sell by date?

Sat 14 September 2013, 7:49pm

Tweet Last week I did an analysis of the decline in the SDLP’s electoral support since 1998. In the piece, I questioned whether the party had a future if it continued losing voters. A lot of these same problems affect the Ulster Unionist Party. This party which founded the Northern Ireland state had led every single […] more »

Sectarian wrangling over sharing and integration can only be averted by raising sights towards higher standards

Mon 1 July 2013, 3:28pm

Tweet A debate on the future of education has begun in confusion but at least it’s underway. Since Obama’s speech which was accorded more significance than it deserved, the debate on sharing or integration in education got into a terrible muddle straight away. Is sharing a big step towards integration or the very opposite?  Since […] more »

SDLP is the only Assembly party to refuse the latest £5,000 pay rise

Thu 13 June 2013, 9:09am

Tweet Interesting use of an FOI by a political party (never wrong for long, I’m told it was the Nolan Show wot found it out), ie to find out whether any of the other political parties at Stormont refused their 11% pay rise. Mark H Durkan: “The independent panel which recommended the payrise are completely […] more »

Help us with drafting a FOI request on the MLA’s indemnity insurance claim…

Fri 19 April 2013, 4:43pm

Tweet This is an experiment in participation. I would like to get to the bottom of this business of MLAs insurance, and it seems to me that it’;s best done openly. So I’ve begun a draft Freedom of Information request which is open for Slugger readers to add to and redraft… Or simply to comment […] more »

At the current rate of progress, gender equality of MLAs at Stormont will only take another 65 years

Fri 25 January 2013, 12:00pm
Everyday Life After the Irish Conflict

Tweet Bronagh Hinds’ chapter of Everyday Life After the Irish Conflict: The Impact of Devolution and Cross-Border Cooperation [reviewed yesterday] examines women’s political participation points to limited progress in addressing the gender balance of political institutions. The proportion of councillors who are female rose to 24 per cent in 2011 from 14 per cent in […] more »

16 Nationalist MLAs in the top 20 of free ink claimants…

Thu 5 April 2012, 12:40pm

Tweet Interesting front page story in the Irish News today… They’ve been digging on the use of free toner to political parties and it breaks down to this: Sinn Fein £93,550 SDLP £58,693 DUP £52,770 UUP £25,515 Pat Doherty in West Tyrone claimed about £16,300, although the party say that Doherty shared an office with […] more »

Every little helps…

Wed 26 October 2011, 2:35am

Tweet I DOUBT if our Sammy has been down at Writer’s Square lately, or whether he’s been flicking through the pages of Tescopoly - but there’s little doubt he has managed to piss off one multi-national more than our tent-dwelling comrades have. And after reading Tesco director David North’s threats the other day about cutting […] more »

“Just following orders”: SF Ministers are subordinate to their own command structure

Thu 23 June 2011, 1:42pm

Tweet Tuesday night’s Spotlight on the killing of Mary Travers was indeed fascinating, not so much for the story of the ambush itself – although I had never seen the family members speak on camera before, and their continuing suffering was palpable – but for its insights into the inner workings of Sinn Féin. SF’s […] more »

Do not mourn the octopus

Wed 27 October 2010, 6:16pm

Tweet In news Slugger predicted last year, Alliance’s Sean Neeson has announced his retirement. You won’t have long to wait to check if the 2nd half of the prediction is correct and Gerry Lynch is selected to run in his place. more »

Will you know who you’re voting for in May 2011?

Mon 13 September 2010, 10:00am

Tweet Looks like there could be an(other) opportunity for parties to play candidate/co-option games in the Assembly and local government elections in May 2011. With at least two elections being held on the same day (never mind the strong chance of a voting reform referendum) some politicians may be fighting to retain several different jobs. […] more »

2011 Northern Ireland Assembly election

Sat 4 September 2010, 8:54pm

Nicholas Whyte has kindly given Slugger permission to reproduce this article. more »

Gender quotas

Wed 4 August 2010, 5:40pm

Tweet Over on the Anti-Room group blog, Amanda posts about female political representation and gender quotas. She notes: Now we hear news that Irish female politicians as a group (all be it a very small one in comparison to their male counterparts) are not in favour of introducing quotas to ensure a greater number of […] more »

Commons cuts will force radical reform and a smaller Assembly

Fri 9 July 2010, 8:29am

Tweet It’s now clear that the UK coalition’s decision to cut the number of MPs by 50 to 600 will have radical implications for the Assembly. Northern Ireland is set to have its numbers cut to 15 MPs, three fewer than at present. This is the up to date data Electorate                                                                 600 MPs England 38,241,036                                                 […] more »

Distrust of MLAs and rejection of the parties dominate annual survey

Mon 5 July 2010, 12:28pm

Tweet A browse in the NI Life and Times Survey for 2008-09 published recently reveals the usual benign political attitudes without being able to explain how these fail to have a decisive impact  on voting patterns or the attitudes of elected representatives. Cynics say this shows the persistent unviability of political polling even now.  But this […] more »

NI Assembly – bak 2 skul in the form of a comic

Fri 11 June 2010, 4:24pm
Snippet from NI Assembly comic

The NI Assembly’s education service has produced a comic aimed at educating school children about the local democratic institutions. As well as covering the daily/weekly life of a MLA, departments and ministers, it even gets as far as working out an example of the transferrable vote system in action! So far, none of the cartoon characters seem to resemble real elected representatives ... more »

No ‘Special’ day at Stormont

Tue 25 May 2010, 8:45pm

Tweet Yesterday the following motion on the Anniversaries of the B-Specials (demise) and UDR (creation) was defeated in the Assembly and there will be no call from the Assembly to honour either organisation. That this Assembly notes that April 2010 marked both the fortieth anniversary of the dissolution of the Ulster Special Constabulary, or B-Specials, […] more »

Alliance a ‘legitimate target’?

Wed 12 May 2010, 10:13pm

Tweet Moving from an oppositional role in the Assembly to taking on the role of Justice Minister ran political risks for the Alliance Party. At the time I flippantly noted David Ford had put himself in the firing line in more way than one. However, his and Alliance’s responsibility for the conditions of Republican prisoners […] more »

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