Hain’s carrot and sticks for 06

Peter Hain has undoubtedly been given a tough nut to crack. The political atmosphere in the wake of bank robberies, spy rings and mysteriously dropped legal cases, proposed massive changes to local government, not to mentioned the minor historical footnote of apparently complete IRA decommissioning, is soporific to say the least. His task is to whip some energy back into a polity in which most parties are nursing some form of internal discontent with the general state of things. It’s a tall order, but one that Hain, as one of Blair’s heavyweights in cabinet, will relish.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty