North Down refuse SDLP and Sinn Fein reps

Interesting heads up from Jimmy. Apparently North Down Borough Council have refused Women Into Politics permission to invite members of the SDLP and Sinn Fein to one their events on council property. Something to do with them not having official representatives on the council. Perhaps our own IJP can give us a local perspective on the issue?

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  • Mick Fealty

    Crat,

    I don’t have an argument with the idea that the centre is weak. The balance of power in the Republic is held by the PDs, a party with a tiny slice of the popular vote, but with a strong core identity and sense of purpose, and a settled polity within which to attain power.

    The Alliance and any of the other parties of the centre do need to work on the professionalism of their approach. But realistically, do they stand a chance of leveraging any power whilst constitutional politics is in flux?

    As for the story of about the UUP Councillor. I heard that rumour too. But I’m not sure I follow your logic?

  • qubol

    Mick: “He has made the case that his party already represents the local Catholic and (cross community) vote and the introduction of delegates outside is pure tokenism – albeit in the purely local sense.
    You may not like it, you may even think it was petty but I’ve not seen one post here that falsifies that central point.”

    He may believe he represents the local Catholic vote but on one of the defining issues in local politics he can’t possibly represent Nationalists because he is a Unionist. The other point that is far from ‘ignorant blunderbussing’ is that although IJP has a vote in chamber etc that doesn’t mean he has the right to exclude others just because he ‘feels’ that he and his colleagues in Alliance already give them an adequate voice. People should be free to choose who they speak to; if there aren’t enough Nationalist votes in North Down to bother about, then let the SDLP or Sinn Féin decide that its not worth their while to send anyone. The guessing game about IJP’s motives are interesting too – who’s to say that he was even playing Politics, the really scary thing is that he might actually believe what he’s been saying.

  • Mick Fealty

    qubol,

    “The guessing game about IJP’s motives are interesting too”.

    It is interesting for some because, as with most ad hominem arguments, it allows people to veer away from complex fact into the realms of ‘whatever you are having yourself’.

    Check out the entry on playing the man.

  • tadhgin

    Mick said “You may not like it, you may even think it was petty but I’ve not seen one post here that falsifies that central point.”

    No but I have seen plenty of points about the right of a council to dictate who outside groups invite to their functions just because they are on council property.

    That, frankly,is disgraceful. This was not a council event. The council had no objection to the type of event being organised. What would opinion be if they had objected to the women’s coalition being invited?

    The women being encouraged to enter politics might very well have radically different opinions to the politicans currently represented in ND (part of the reason for WIP is to reflect the different perspective that women might bring to politics). Deciding the types of parties that are legimate for others to CONSIDER joining (or voting for?) is undemocratic, not to put too fine a point on it, and whining about the system for electing FMs and DFMs in an executive which is not sitting is not an argument.

    It is hardlyy incoceivable that there are women in ND who might want to join the SDLP is it? Petty protectionism from IJP – and his party. And another sad example of councillors in Northern Ireland abusing their position when it comes to the use of public property (Lisbutn and Newry councils spring to mind).

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Mick Fealty: “It is interesting for some because, as with most ad hominem arguments, it allows people to veer away from complex fact into the realms of ‘whatever you are having yourself’. ”

    When the issue is an indiviual politician’s action and his or her motivations for said action, is not the man the ball, as we are discussing the workings of his psyche? Ian himself introduced the Alliance’s(and implication, his) personal feelings when he posted: “All sides might further reflect, then, on how we in Alliance feel when we are denied a fair vote for First Minister, denied representation on the ‘one-Unionist-view, one-Nationalist-view’ media, and denied representation at similar events.”

    His post *invites* this speculation and introspection. The subtext of the above sounds like someone hurt Ian and the Alliance’s feelings and their going to share that hurt to the best of their ability. Its petty, its grandstanding and does nothing to support the Alliance’s lofty rhetoric. In fact, their rhetoric of inclusion and even-handedness is exposed as empty words by this action. He asked for this reflection, Mick. That the answer is not complimentary has more to do with the input than the asking.

  • Mick Fealty

    Look lads. I’ve just had to take off another thread because some smart Alec decided to speculate himself straight into an area that could come with bunch of legal complications.

    Not everything is going to land you in court, but if you simply speak out of what you know rather what you think might be the case, you can’t go far wrong!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    IJN: ““All sides might further reflect, then, on how we in Alliance feel when we are denied a fair vote for First Minister, denied representation on the ‘one-Unionist-view, one-Nationalist-view’ media, and denied representation at similar events.” ”

    So, in order to avenge itself upon lazy media and macro-visioned negotiators from the UK and the Republic who failed to give your party the time of day, the Alliance endorsed an undemocratic embargo on Nationalist ideas, all the while claiming the middle ground and tolerance… an entertaining bit of sophistry.

    (this better, Mick?)

  • missfitz

    Mick. although your last post was addressed to the lads, I hope you dont mind one of the girls having a say.

    Sadly, I had to work and am just catching up on the craic.

    I was fascinated listening to the WiP spokeswoman on Talkback today. She said that she would make a statement but that she didnt want to get involved in politics. Well dear jesus, what else is her organisation about? I really nearly despaired when I heard that.

    Also to go back to an earlier point, that the council has a right to veto guests. Erm, no it doesnt, as I said earlier when talking about the Newry & Mourne v. Wille Fraser case. It was shown that the counicl had an obligation to make public property available to groups on request.

    Mick, you talk about no-one falsifying IJP’s central point- what central point? I’m sorry, I still see it as an act of paternalistic sectarianism. I think that a lot of people on this site have made compelling arguments, and I think that any fair and right midned person would have to see this as playing for a political advantage while riding roughsod over equality concerns

  • missfitz

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/talkback/

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4071664.stm

    These are links to the Talkback show, also to the Newry & Mourne case which was covered in depth on Slugger last year for wilful discrimination

  • tadhgin

    “another sad example of councillors in Northern Ireland abusing their position when it comes to the use of public property (Lisbutn and Newry councils spring to mind).”

    The Newry and Mourne case is sub judice, so probably best not to mention it. N & M has an admirable record for cross-community relations, as I’m sure any Ulster Unionist from the area will verify. There have been plenty of UUP mayors.

  • missfitz

    Sorry ElMat, i thought the Newry case was settled. The link is just to the BBC report on it, hope thats ok.

  • Crataegus

    Mick

    The vote in Hollywood (from N White) was

    Gordon Dunne, (DUP) 1282
    David Alderdice, (Alliance) 1240
    Ellie McKay, (UUP) 999
    Diana Peacocke, (UUP) 603
    John Barry, (Green) 577
    Ian Parsley, (Alliance) 343

    IJP owes his seat to Unionists not Nationalists transfers so on one hand he cannot offend that constituency and is bound to them, but equally on the other he does not wish to see say the SDLP establishing a foothold in North Down as that would further weaken the Alliance position. These considerations must have influenced a decision of this nature. In my opinion it was an appalling lapse of judgement and I am sure quite untypical.

    With regards the centre ground and leverage, given the governments approach, which has always made it clear who does and who does not matter to them, there is not a chance in hell of the centre making its presence felt, certainly not in its current state. However there is a substantial constituency that is not effectively served by our local political class and with the decline of the UUP and SDLP there is the potential for someone to make a breakthrough, but I must confess I don’t see anyone in the centre ground with the attributes necessary. Also many in that constituency are employed in sectors that directly or indirectly preclude them from active involvement in politics. So the curse of the public sector purse impinges on local politics as well as the local economy.

  • kensei

    “He has made the case that his party already represents the local Catholic and (cross community) vote and the introduction of delegates outside is pure tokenism – albeit in the purely local sense.
    You may not like it, you may even think it was petty but I’ve not seen one post here that falsifies that central point.”

    Straw man. The question is not whether or not he represents those people in the area (though he clearly doesn’t represent Nationalists, by definition) because this isn’t an elected body they were invited to, but rather whether or not those shades of opinion are included with the SDLP and SF excluded – and as I have already pointed out, they are not.

    And secondly, no one has answered the point that the Council had no right to interfere. Could Alliance please remind me what liberalism is about.

  • Snuff Box

    In fairness to Alliance party as a whole their words have matched their actions in other councils as regards inclusion. eg Helping to elect both a Nationalist and Republican mayor in Belfast. One must wonder then is the Noth Down party’s decision supported by others in the party. Would any other Alliance supporters/members like to step up to the plate? Would be quite interesting to note.

  • missfitz

    Kensie
    Picking up on one of your points, the word “delegate” keeps creeping in. I know you quoted here, but isnt it worth noting that the issue here is about choosing speakers at a public event, not delegates to any kind of conference. Nor delegates in a political sense either for that matter.

  • Crataegus

    Missfitz

    A major problem in NI is on one hand the perceived, shear, odium of local politics coupled with the massive State and a Quango sector that is reliant on funders to maintain its existence. This combination effectively neutralises the political involvement of a large portion of well educated people. This political deterrent extends right into the business community where being openly political would be a liability. Of course if you happened to be a zealous reformer the obvious fact that there is no point in political involvement as there is no effective power being executed must also dampen enthusiasm.

  • missfitz

    Crat
    Something like this current situation really brings your points into clear and depressing focus. I have been a member of several political parties over the years, and 2 while living here. More from a research point of view I guess!

    I had often heard your argument about the best and brightest not getting invovled, and wondered if it was a fudge. I dont know if you saw my comment earlier when I recalled the woman on the radio from WiP earlier today saying she didnt want to get drawn into a political discussion.

    Perhaps they should consider a name change? WiK (women into knitting)

    What is the point of being a political activist if you refuse to be active or engage? Your answer helps to illustrate the sheer pointlessness and frustration with politics in general.

  • middle-class taig

    “[IJP] has made the case that his party already represents the local Catholic and (cross community) vote and the introduction of delegates outside is pure tokenism – albeit in the purely local sense. You may not like it, you may even think it was petty but I’ve not seen one post here that falsifies that central point.”

    But, Mick, that statement is based on nothing other than deceitful misrepresentation of reality. If you’re going to accept such a statement as “making the case”, then you’ll be accepting any old canard just because some local politico says so.

    The cold hard facts are that in every constitutency across the North in which nationalists are in the majority the Alliance is absolutely nowhere, its vote vanishingly small, its local influence derisory and its local organisation pathetic.

    The Alliance Party, on one analysis, could be said to have abandoned the nationalist community, except that would be a lie. The correct analysis is that the nationalist community’s rejection of the Alliance Party is is one of the most complete and comprehensive rejections in the history of Irish electoral politics.

    In the seven constituencies in which nationalists are in the majority, the most recent figures for elections in which Alliance has had the courage to offer itself for rejection by the electorate show that it averages approximately 257 (TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY SEVEN) votes, giving it a vote share of approximately 0.6% (NOUGHT POINT SIX PER CENT) in those areas. Even assuming that every such voter was broadly nationalist/”catholic-community-background”, those figures would suggest that the Alliance receives support from approximately one in every 125 (ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FIVE) nationalists. (Unless you’re telling me we should be assuming significant numbers of Catholics vote for unionist parties, in which case, I’ve won the argument by default.)

    IJP, on any objective analysis, has no right, no authority (political or moral) to presume to represent catholics/nationalists. For Alliance to arrogate to itself that authority, in this society where so much suffering has been caused by the denial of representation to nationalists, would require Nelsonian blindness so blatant and disrespect for the electorate so gross, that it is hard to see how you can start from the presumption that Alliance does so in good faith.

    Satisfied?

  • middle-class taig

    Crataegus

    “the centre is hopelessly weak and lacks a sense of direction and common purpose.”

    The centre is weak because it has lost its moral compass. On several matters recently it has been skulking around behind the DUP like the playground bully’s pathetic little henchman. I’m glad I aready thought so little of the Alliance, otherwise this scandal might have surprised and upset me.

    “Although Alliance is the strongest brand in that sector if it was a commercial product I wouldn’t be in a hurry to purchase.”

    SDLP is the strongest brand in the centre ground. It attracts more middle-of-the-road types than APNI. If Alliance was a commercial product there’d have been an embarrassing product recall years ago. Alliance is the Dasani of political parties.

    “Next Assembly election they could easily be down to two or three seats, and next council election God knows.”

    Not unless nationalists have a vote transfer pact. This nonsense will hasten the day.

  • kensei

    “Picking up on one of your points, the word “delegate” keeps creeping in. I know you quoted here, but isnt it worth noting that the issue here is about choosing speakers at a public event, not delegates to any kind of conference. Nor delegates in a political sense either for that matter.”

    Oh I do know that, I’m effectively arguing to points

    1. As you say, it is not analogous and totally beside the point
    2. Even if it was, it would still be wrong.

    “The correct analysis is that the nationalist community’s rejection of the Alliance Party is is one of the most complete and comprehensive rejections in the history of Irish electoral politics.”

    Possibly why they are mortally afraid of the SDLP nicking their vote in North Down?

  • mischief

    Response to missfitz’s comments about WIP’s spokesperson. The comment made was that they did not want to get involved in ‘immature’ politics.

    Referring to another inaccuracy, I have been informed that the Alliance Party was invited to WIP’s events in Enniskillen and Derry but they declined the invitation.

  • missfitz

    If that is correct mischief, I unreservedly apologise. I heard it on the radio, and it did not sound like that. I was struck by how little engagement there was with the spokeswoman. It did not seem like an issue anyone wanted to take on.

  • Crataegus

    I would have thought the term ‘immature politics’ just about sums up politics here.

    Middle-class taig

    “SDLP is the strongest brand in the centre ground. It attracts more middle-of-the-road types than APNI.”

    It is all a matter of perception for if you include the SDLP as centre then should you not also include the UUP? Personally I would exclude both, but I share your distain for the Alliance Party. It is a party that once had council seats in places like North and West Belfast. It was given the opportunity to build something inclusive and constructive and what did it do with the opportunity? Why would anyone vote Alliance? Is it because of idealism or their visionary politics or simply because there is no one else palatable on the ballot?

    The reasons why Nationalists abandoned Alliance is a matter for another thread, but I think it is symptomatic of a wider drift to the periphery. Tribalism is easy politics and is a simple message to sell. Sitting on the fence is more difficult and often painful.

    With regards a Nationalist pact; with or without it Alliance is unlikely to hold 6 Assembly seats. Their strongest seat is probably East Antrim, but they seem in general decline and few of their seats are better than marginal.

  • Valenciano

    Craetegus
    “The vote in Hollywood (from N White) was

    Gordon Dunne, (DUP) 1282
    David Alderdice, (Alliance) 1240
    Ellie McKay, (UUP) 999
    Diana Peacocke, (UUP) 603
    John Barry, (Green) 577
    Ian Parsley, (Alliance) 343

    IJP owes his seat to Unionists not Nationalists transfers so on one hand he cannot offend that constituency and is bound to them”

    A very dubious analysis, especially since there was no Nationalist candidate. Look on the same site and you will see that Catholics make up 21% of the electorate in Holywood, so yes he may have only received votes from Unionists meaning that either

    1) all the catholics stayed at home
    2) they voted for Unionist parties before transferring to Alliance

    I would suggest that a more likely hypothesis is

    i) they voted for APNI and the Greens
    ii) David Alderices surplus 400 votes went mainly to IJP taking him ahead of the Greens who finished last.

    I don’t have the full counts in front of me but would suggest that that would be a much more likely scenario, in other words he gets more votes from catholics than protestants if you want to look at it that way.

  • Crataegus

    Valenciano

    Like you I don’t have the count at hand, but from memory IJP was behind until he received transfers from the UUP. Also if I remember correctly the UUP transfer pattern to Alliance seemed unusually high compared even to that of the DUP! At the time it seemed odd as one would have expected the Greens to receive a UUP transfer rate more equal to that of the Alliance, but apparently it is claimed, a UUP councillor was actively campaigning against the Green and asking for transfers to go to Alliance to keep the ‘whatever’ out. The UUP – Green transfer rate was practically zero and when compared to transfer rates in other parts of North Down seemed very odd.

    It was of passing interest at the time, but has anyone got the figures as I wouldn’t mind revisiting to satisfy my curiosity? Or simply to reassure that my memory is not playing tricks.

  • miscreant

    In all this blather about opportunities for the SDLP and SF to address the public and opportunities for small parties to be included in debates, so many seem to have forgotten that the event was an opportunity for the young women of North Down Borough to address a range of political thought. It is these young women that North Down Borough Council is supposed to represent and it is these young women that NDBC has denied a significant opportunity to become more involved in politics.
    So often we hear about the apathy of young people towards the democratic process. Women into Politics is working to combat that apathy through the events they organise for young people. The attendees of the event should not have been denied the opportunity to question representatives from SDLP and SF. They would probably have been more challenging to them than the Unionist adults.

  • IJP

    My thanks to Mick for attempting to stop the ad hominem stuff.

    Firstly, Crat et al., I was ahead of Dr Barry by 715 to 691 before Unionist transfers – meaning that I was elected, not entirely unreasonably, on my own party’s transfers.

    The Green Party deliberately put out lies to the contrary in public. A pity, because Dr Barry made an outstanding speech at an event I was at tonight, proof that I would’ve looked forward to working with the Green Party had they not engaged in sour grapes in public. I would still hope to work with them where possible, because they have some outstanding people on board and we need a strong centre ground.

  • IJP

    As for the breathtaking Nationalist hypocrisy, one hardly knows where to begin… let’s try once again to ask a few straight questions in the hope of a few straight answers.

    1. The original letter to Council contained mention of invites to all parties represented in Council plus the SDLP (alone), plus the Chair was to be an SDLP member too. So each elected party was to have one elected rep and, uniquely, the SDLP was to have a non-elected rep plus the Chair. Care to explain why this was justified?

    2. The UK Unionists have an MLA and had the last Mayor; the Women’s Coalition had a Cllr and an MLA; within the past decade the Conservatives were the largest party on Council: care to explain how it is democratic to exclude all these in favour of a party which has never been represented?

    3. Where was the SDLP when non-Christians were deemed ‘Protestant’ and treated unfavourably for entry into a police service in which they were already underrepresented?

    4. Where was the SDLP when parents wishing to send their children to integrated schools were forced to choose segregated schools instead?

    5. Why does the SDLP defend a system where cross-community votes were not counted equally to ‘Nationalist’ and ‘Unionist’ votes in selections of First/Deputy First Minister?

    The above record appears to prove the following: the SDLP supports equality for Nationalists, but not for anyone else; opposes majority rule, except where it suits them (e.g. Derry naming); accepts democracy, except when it can’t get elected; claims to respect diversity, but has no respect for those who choose to identify as neither ‘Nationalist’ nor ‘Unionist’. In other words, its stance on the basics (equality, human rights, diversity, democracy) is entirely conditional upon these all working out favourably for Nationalists – where they do not, support is withheld.

    Can someone disprove this? Because if not, the SDLP is guilty both outrageous sectarianism and stupendous hypocrisy…

  • qubol

    IJP, Just a note on points 1-5: You’ve managed to type about 320 words there to say nothing of any relevance whatsoever. The SDLP’s policies and its attitudes towards sectarianism aren’t in question. What is in question however, is your own amazing ability to represent Nationalists whilst being a Unionist and your belief that you and your friends in the DUP should be able to able to dictate who the women of North Down can talk to on Council Property! We’ve had quiet a few posts on this thread, many directed at you but you’ve completely failed to address any of them.
    WiP has no obligation to involve anyone in their meetings. The makeup of the panel is WiP business. I can only think of a very tiny number of reasons (such as the meeting may lead to violence etc) where it would be appropriate for a council in these circumstances to refuse access to any group. You and the DUP have deliberately excluded a group because you disagree with its political makeup! Simply put it is an abuse of power. Furthermore, although you’ve stated your reasons for supporting this you actually seconded a motion that was in no way aimed at preventing ‘tokenism’ but rather a clear as day, sectarian DUP attempt to isolate nationalists.

  • IJP-

    By reading your ‘response’, it seems you are employing a tactic of Death by Boredom. Skirt around the issues with breathtaking inclusion of non-relevant points, and you can manage to avoid actually addressing the meat of the issue in question. Bravo!

  • yerman

    I find it very interesting that people have managed to ignore a few very relevant points amongst some stuff from IJP which in all honesty wasn’t completely relevant.

    We were all told that WIP wanted a completely representive event, the same as they had in other areas. Well, it looks now like they didnt care too much about that becase WIP themselves were prepared to exclude SF from this event, but for some reason include the SDLP.

    That is a relevant issue because the Council after that are perfectly entitled to question why the event organisers have chosen that particular line-up for this particular event.

  • CS Parnell

    Let’s face it, Alliance hate the SDLP and their position is that we all ought to respect their superior perspective and we’re all uncooth yokels for voting for a party that expresses a progressive political programme and has the audacity to say we have a right to be Irish on the island of Ireland.

    After all, like the man said if we all had decent jobs we’d all be like good protestants and forget about all that nationalist crap. O’Neillism lives on.

    Look at their ranting about police reform – they could easily form common cause with the DUP (as well as being useful idiots for Sinn Fein).

    It is difficult to see how you can be part of building an inclusive society if you refuse to recognise the sectarian nature of the previous policing dispensation. Nor you actually assiting the police in doing their job if you are constantly undermining them.

    Alliance are no part of the solution to the north’s problems. Nor is it “non sectrian” to say one position – unionism – is ok while anyone who is a nationalist is a sectarian.

  • IJP

    El Matador

    On the contrary, that is what others have done.

    Few have bothered to deal with the actual issue.

    It was the SDLP which thought it appropriate to exclude other parties better qualified, and it was the SDLP who brought sectarianism into the debate.

    The failure to address this is telling.

    Yerman

    Good points.

    CS

    How rude of us not agreeing with the SDLP! I mean, taking a different position from another political party – shocking!

    Irish Nationalism in its modern form is fundamentally sectarian by definition – but care to refer to where I said Unionism isn’t?

    I made it quite clear that were Unionist parties demanding representation without a mandate I’d have made the same choice – but sure, why deal with the facts when it’s easier to play the victim?

  • kensei

    “Irish Nationalism in its modern form is fundamentally sectarian by definition – but care to refer to where I said Unionism isn’t?”

    For a start that’s true only if you view political opinion as some kind of prequisite to a relationship, which is inherenetly wrong. Second, even if it was true, saying, well you should all just give up your beliefs and get along (while staying the Union, of course will get precisely no where. Which is why the Alliance party is in the state it’s in.

    Look at the relationship between the South and England. Now compared to 50 years ago, they get along quite well. Oirish things are popular in England, and while it’s still fun to watch England lose at football, it’s not such an obsession with Irish people to see England screwed. Why has this happened? Because of forced “cross community” outcomes? No. There are a lot of reasons, but part of it is because they aren’t fighting anymore, they are both succesful in their own ways and are confident in themselves. Part of it is because there is population movement and travel, so people can mix and meet othetrs and relate to one another. The problem here is that we have neither – but focusing narrowly on one side will get nowhere.

    Also, explain to me – if the Alliance is so keen to have everyone working together on bread and butter issue, why isn’t the question of the Union a matter of conscience, like abortion policy in England?

    And all this, of course, is completely irrelevant to the issue of you sticking your nose into other people’s affairs in a sectarian fashion.

  • missfitz

    I’ve been really sickened by this particular thread and debate.

    The core issue has been taken out, misshapen and then moulded to the political grandstanding needs of the commentators.

    The core fact remains that a woman’s group had to re-route a meeting because the council refused ceratin speakers.

    Am I missing anything?

    It is inequal treatment and discriminatory.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    IJN: “As for the breathtaking Nationalist hypocrisy, one hardly knows where to begin… let’s try once again to ask a few straight questions in the hope of a few straight answers. ”

    IJN: “The above record appears to prove the following: the SDLP supports equality for Nationalists, but not for anyone else; opposes majority rule, except where it suits them (e.g. Derry naming); accepts democracy, except when it can’t get elected; claims to respect diversity, but has no respect for those who choose to identify as neither ‘Nationalist’ nor ‘Unionist’. In other words, its stance on the basics (equality, human rights, diversity, democracy) is entirely conditional upon these all working out favourably for Nationalists – where they do not, support is withheld.

    Can someone disprove this? Because if not, the SDLP is guilty both outrageous sectarianism and stupendous hypocrisy…”

    As is the Alliance — you can either claim what they did was wrong *OR* emulate them. Doing both simply makes your party as much the hypocrite as theirs.

    Physician, heal thyself.

  • John

    Now that the terrorists have been defeated and forced to surrender by the citizens of NI, we will soon see the NI assembly going from strength to strength.

    The majority of people in NI should be confident that the future will see the political middle ground of the U.U., Alliance and SDLP governing the country, with the DUP and SF sidelined.

  • kensei

    “Now that the terrorists have been defeated and forced to surrender by the citizens of NI, we will soon see the NI assembly going from strength to strength.

    The majority of people in NI should be confident that the future will see the political middle ground of the U.U., Alliance and SDLP governing the country, with the DUP and SF sidelined. ”

    Ball not man etc etc but seriously, are you on crack?

  • At North Down Borough Council’s committee meeting on 11 April 2006 it was unanimously agreed :

    ” To host a conference at the Town Hall on 26th April 2006 for the Women into Politics organisation.”

    It is heartening to know that the Council has recognised that the original decision was discriminatory and have taken the only proper course of action by reversing their ill-conceived decision following receipt of my equality complaint.

    I look forward to participating in the forthcoming debate as the SDLP representative.

  • It seems we have a flip-flop on our hands: http://elblogador.blogspot.com

  • LG

    what a laugh. so much the the ‘justification’ being used on here for their initial decision. maybe the threat of a tribunal outweighed their belief in their position.

  • Snuff Box

    I’m mightly confused.
    First of all I thought it was a point of principle on the part of IJP that unelected members sit in on the discussion.
    Secondly I thought that a discussion on women in politics would have speakers who were, well women.

    Congratulations to Andrew Muir on your victory on equality grounds however wouldn’t it be more inspiring to the women of North Down to have a panel exclusively of Women.

  • Keith M

    This is the 143rd post on this thread, proof positive of “much ado about nothing.”

  • qubol

    At North Down Borough Council’s committee meeting on 11 April 2006 it was unanimously agreed :
    “ To host a conference at the Town Hall on 26th April 2006 for the Women into Politics organisation.”

    What does IJP have to say about this?? Does he believe he was wrong first time round? I guess we can all make mistakes, some bigger than others. Good job Andrew Muir.

  • Snuff Box

    I’m still waiting for justification on NDBC’S u-turn from IJP. Has the campaign against sectarian “tokenism” run aground. Even a Berryesque “cant comment for legal reasons” would suffice.

  • qubol

    me too snuff box. IJP u out there????