Allister first, Nicholson second, de Bruin last

Well it is only a three horse race, but About EU blog points out that the Northern Ireland’s MEPs’ difference in parliamentary attendence record is not trivial.

  • Dessertspoon

    It’s easy to sit in a chair gently dozing while listening to others gibbering on about whatever they are gibbering on about. I’d be more intestered in work they are doing, committees they are involved in etc etc than how often they “sit”.

  • foreign correspondent

    SF don’t believe in the EU anyway, (what DO they believe in, I sometimes wonder?) so I suppose de Bruin is at least being consistent in her lacklustre attendance.
    To go off at a tangent, who is the blonde in the homepage photo? She gets my vote 🙂

  • Carrington

    Dessertspoon

    Fair enough point. But I would be pretty certain Allister would be even further out in front in terms of speeches mades and committees attended.

  • fair_deal

    I agree with Carrington – Allister is a workaholic so I would expect his Committee participation etc to be very good. Being a rapporteur will probably help Nicholson’s committee figures too.

    The headline of the most active representation of all the British parties is a useful one for the DUP election literature next time round.

  • Traditional Unionist

    being on more committe’s, i’d imagine nicholson does more committee work than allister

  • Carrington

    Speeches made in Plenary Sessions since June 2004:

    Nicholson 9
    Babs De Brun 10
    Allister 32

    source: europarl.eu.int

  • George

    Not defending any of them but this is just evidence that they signed in, which they have to do to claim expenses. Nothing else.

  • Carrington

    George

    The figures above indicate that Allister does a great deal more than “sign in”

  • fair_deal

    George

    The speech score of Allister would provide some corroboration that he’s done more than try to claim the expenses

  • Carrington

    Just checked – Allister’s attendance rate is in fact 100%

  • uptown ruler

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  • uptown ruler

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  • Vlaams

    Jim Nicholson is a President of the College of Quaestors, which means he is responsible for sorting out many of the practical arrangements related to the running of the Parliament, particularly on how they affect the work of MEPs. This is a full time job over and above any committee work, which makes his contribution to normal parliamentary business even more exemplary.

    Jim Allister doesn’t have the big administrative support that the others do, since he does not belong to a political group. However, he is assiduous not just in attending plenary debates, but also in contributing to them.

    SF are part of the Communist group and therefore have plenty of group staff to help them. Their main emphasis has been in doing things through their political group – a couple of hearings for example – and lending their support back in Ireland. Their impact has been less so far than many had expected.

    Attendance is an indication, but not the complete be all and end all, especially since officers of the Parliament often have duties which take them away from the Chamber at times when votes are taken, which is the basis for compiling these statistics. Nicholson as a Quaestor would find his attendance figures affected by this.

  • bootman

    maybe allister speaks more because he’s in a technical group full of loonies who cant be bothered speaking on any issue

  • Zorro

    Let’s face, we have no pro-european representation in Europe. What do you expect?

  • Keith M

    It’s interesting to note that for the MEPs from this country, SF/IRA’s Mary Lou McDonald is ranked 3rd from bottom. The only ones below her are Eoin Ryan and Marian Harkin, who are both TDs, so they have an excuse as they are working with a dual mandate.

  • vada

    Vlaams is obviously someone who knows what they are talking about!

    The EU is the vital importance to our day to day lives in every respect, whether we like it or not.

    The fact that Nicholson is a quaestor means that he has access and influence in the Parliament far beyond the reach of others, and that NI’s needs can be placed at the fore-front of the EU.

    Its good to see that the DUP are representing well, and finally making up for the short-comings of their previous representative.

    SF/IRA are a waste of time in any parliament by the looks of things!

  • Carrington

    bootman

    Allister is non-aligned. Given the conduct of some of the people in the ID group and the federalist agenda of EPP-ED (which Nicholson and the UK Tories claim to oppose, yet remain members of the group) I think his decision to be a free unfttered voice was probably the right one.

    As for a group of loonies – take a gander at the Shinners group – not that’s weird!

  • Carrington

    should have read “now that’s….” not “not that’s”. Sorry.

  • vada

    Carrington

    Agreed on the shinners comment. You only have to look at their marxist leader to know that!

  • crat

    Carrington,

    Of the 32 Â’speechesÂ’ made at plenary by Member Allister significant number are only technical speeches. Questions to the Commission/Council often end up as written exchanges merely recorded in the minutes and when raised are just the reading out of a pre-submitted text of limited length. The explanation of votes aren’t speeches but technical amendments to the record. Even the 1 minute speeches are ‘theatrical’ set pieces of no relevance. Alongside his excellent attendance record they are figures making Member Allister look like an effective parliamentarian. However, not one of those figures relates to advancing an actual report through committee or successfully pushing through amendments, the true markers for most deputies. In this aspect Member Nicholson has a distinct advantage being clearly respected by the EPP as indicated in his Questor role (which is pretty insignificant being limited to implementing the smoking areas, ensuring the building is clean and dealing with MEP gripes, a bit like a school prefect) this gives him access to rapporteur roles and a good support base to promote amendments. Member de Brun has access to the much smaller GUE/NGL but will still be courted and able to influence others as the block votes she can offer could occasionally be needed, particularly by a Green/EFA Socialist alliance. I see very little opportunity for a NI like Member Allister to influence Parliament, he can only offer one vote. Still they all scored over 80% for attending a rubber stamp plenary.

  • Occasional Commenter

    Talking of Europe, the Dutch exit poll is 63% no, 37% yes.

  • bootman

    Sinn FĂ©in’s group-partners have been the leading opponents of the constitution in both france (PCF)and the netherlands (SP). They seem fairly effective and relevant to me; now compare them to allister’s partners- le pen in france, vlaams belang (blok) in belgium and mussolini! in italy.

    It seems fairly obvious who actually gets listened to by intelligent people on european issues.

  • queens_unionist

    The unofficial Europarliament website ranks MEPs on their attendances and votes during plenary sessions. We learn that, at the moment, Jim Allister arrives at the top ranking of the three Northern Irish MEPs (81/729) having attended all the sittings, followed by Jim Nicholson (239/729) and Bairbre de Brun (524/729).

    says it all really IMO

  • yerman

    I dont disagree that Jim Nicholson’s role as a quaestor (very Star Warsy isnt it!) gives him some level of influence. But can anyone tell me what he has done with it?

    I love the convoluted arguments people attempt to come up with in some way to denegrate any DUP participation or involvement. The figures are there, they are plain and simple. Quaestor Nicholson has been knocking around the European Parliament for years and achieved nothing. I suspect that isn’t going to change.

  • Traditional Unionist

    and what have paisley and allister achieved exactaly?

  • Traditional Unionist

    and what have paisley and allister achieved exactaly?