Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


What makes a good local Councillor?

Sun 13 April 2014, 12:40pm

Tweet Over the coming weeks hundreds of people will be seeking a job with an interview panel of thousands asking questions about their ability to deal with local problems, create jobs and run local services. But, this year will be a little bit different as local councils take on a lot more powers. Speaking about […] more »

OFMDFM: “open and transparent…” – redux

Sat 29 March 2014, 4:44pm

Tweet Via The Irish News.  As UUP leader Mike Nesbitt says, “We’re not North Korea…”  [Thankfully... - Ed]  ANYhoo…  The UUP leader has welcomed a recent (27 March) decision by the Information Commissioner (not yet online) that the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers were wrong to refuse to release the results of market research, […] more »

McCann meets…David Ford MLA #AP2014

Mon 24 March 2014, 7:50am

Tweet In my second interview from the Alliance party conference, I was able to chat to the party leader, Justice Minister, David Ford. In the interview we chatted about the conference, his predictions for the future growth of the party and the On the Runs issue. I asked him about the comments made by Anna […] more »

TUV, SDLP and UUP host victims commemoration at Stormont

Tue 11 March 2014, 10:47pm

Tweet Alan has a post on the Alternative Ms. Ulster event hosted by Steven Agnew at Stormont on Sunday complete with the inspiring / daring / indecent, speech/ behaviour by Ms. Park. In contrast yesterday the UUP, SDLP and TUV hosted the third annual day of remembrance for victims of terrorism. 120 people attended and […] more »

Belfast’s Big Tweet Up-Thursday 13th March 7:30pm. #TweetupNI

Tue 11 March 2014, 6:26pm

Tweet Calling politico’s across the land-we are going to be hosting our big tweet up in McHughs bar this Thursday night from 7:30pm. We will have the finest collection of bloggers, politicos, journalists and politicians that a free basement in Belfast can buy. Plus we will have our guest speaker, the Lord Mayor, Máirtín Ó […] more »

Organ Donation: Should we be ‘Opting in’ or ‘Opting out’?

Sat 18 January 2014, 2:56pm

Tweet Okay, a short enough question to chew on for a bit. The core of this argument between JoAnne Dobson (UUP) and Alastair Ross (DUP) is that the former wants to change the law to make organ donation a default position which you and your relatives can opt out of, whilst Mr Ross’s proposed amendment […] more »

McCann meets….Jamie Bryson

Thu 9 January 2014, 6:27pm

Tweet When I put out a call for who I should interview on this segment Jamie Bryson’s name came up. He is a controversial character and invokes very few muddled opinions as the interview went out live on Lisburn’s 98FM the twitter feed went into action with people tweeting praise and criticism in equal measure. […] more »

DUP outflanks UUP on #Haass

Tue 7 January 2014, 3:46pm

Tweet When he went into his fight with George Foreman in 1974, Muhammad Ali used a strategy now famously called ‘rope a dope.’ At its core it is basically give your opponent enough rope and they will hang themselves with it. In Northern Ireland politics we have seen the equivalent of this today as the […] more »

Nesbitt recommends politics over further street protests; McCallister disses talk of “culture wars” in speech to Ulster GAA

Sun 10 November 2013, 12:00pm

Tweet In other non-SDLP news, the Belfast Telegraph report that Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has told party colleagues via an internal bulletin that the tactic of flag protests should cease. The tactics used to protest over the flag have alienated many who instinctively supported the cause … He warned against disrupting Belfast city centre […] more »

Who has the youngest assembly group in NI?

Thu 7 November 2013, 1:07pm

Tweet I had to do a bit of research during the week on the assembly and the people who work in it. On the side I thought it would be interesting to find out just how old the average MLA is and what party has the youngest assembly group. Let’s begin with the overall picture-I […] more »

“So, what was British policy?”

Fri 1 November 2013, 5:42pm

Tweet John mentioned, in passing, Alex Kane’s column in today’s Irish News.  But, in reaching for his hyperbolical conclusion, he missed the more interesting part of the article.  From Alex Kane in the Irish News. As far back as 1972 the Heath government introduced the concept of power-sharing, the ‘Irish dimension’ and the constitutional guarantee: and […] more »

DUP-are they really the voice of Unionism?

Sun 27 October 2013, 12:04pm

Tweet This piece is a bit delayed but rounding off the party analyses of the four major parties I present to you the electoral performance of the DUP over the past 15 years. Instead of focusing on gains that the party has made over the last number of years I thought I would take a […] more »

#UUP2013 Legacy proposals for mental health hub, education and the economy along with attacks on DUP and SF

Sun 20 October 2013, 10:00pm
Mike Nesbitt

Tweet UUP members seemed on a high at Saturday’s conference. They were relaxed and not on edge. They’d put the party’s internal troubles (“shrinking to grow”) behind them. Not a single mention of Basil, John, NI21, David McNarry or even Lord Maginnis. No major slip-ups. No longer any talk about Mike Nesbitt taking over as […] more »

The fear of ‘them’: “They start a process of neutralisation” and then “they start imposing their Irish language [and] their Sinn Fein republican agenda onto everyone”

Sun 20 October 2013, 10:12am
UUP conference generic

Tweet The UUP suffer from the same problem as their larger rival: there’s a tension between the leader’s more moderate language and the more traditional and hard line rhetoric of other elected representatives. Here’s a portion from Mike Nesbitt’s speech as party leader: [Mike Nesbitt] I say this to the pro-Union community: It is time […] more »

McCann meets….John McCallister MLA

Thu 10 October 2013, 8:35pm

Tweet Yesterday I sat down with NI21 deputy leader, John McCallister. In our interview we spoke about the upcoming NI21 conference, his relations with the UUP and the summer violence we have experienced. On his relations with the UUP; The hardest part (of leaving) was the strain that might put on some of this friendships […] more »

McCann meets…..Michael Copeland MLA

Mon 30 September 2013, 7:42pm

Tweet Last week, I sat down with East Belfast UUP MLA, Michael Copeland. We talked about his entry into politics, the flags protests and the performance of the PSNI. I want to apologise first for the audio but here are some quotes that I thought were interesting On the Executive’s performance in tackling underachievement; Thus […] more »

Alliance party-Is it really the Belfast party?

Sun 22 September 2013, 10:58pm

Tweet I often think of the Alliance party as the Helen Lovejoy of Northern Ireland politics. They are well intentioned but have suffered from a ‘do gooder’ image that they at times project out. In my last piece on the SDLP and UUP, I was very pessimistic about the future of those parties going forward. However, […] more »

So we dislike our politicians-but what are we going to do about it?

Tue 17 September 2013, 6:13pm

Tweet In an earlier post I cited the latest Lucid Talk poll which showed Stormont’s approval rating at an abysmal 9%. This low approval rating while perhaps overstated does mirror a sense of disillusionment among the wider general public about the direction that we are heading under this current assembly. We have falling turnout at […] more »

Despite the hostility of the press “…it’s still the DUP which has the muscle to get things done”

Tue 10 September 2013, 2:49pm

Tweet Interesting observations by Alex Kane on the internal life of Unionism… …the Orange Order’s decision to support Gibson’s participation is a very clear signal of their recognition that it’s still the DUP, rather than the smaller unionist parties, which has the muscle to get things done. The PUP also has some big choices to […] more »

Team Jasil – that’s John and Basil – say: “Get off your backsides and vote for people that are trying to make a difference”

Sun 12 May 2013, 9:00am
John and Basil at IRiSS UUJ

Tweet Basil McCrea and John McCallister were the invited guest speakers at a Friday lunchtime Politics and Change in Northern Ireland seminar run by the Institute for Research in Social Sciences at UUJ. The room was mostly full of academics and postgraduate researchers. It was an opportunity to hear John and Basil deliver what might […] more »

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