Politics Show and Webcast

Calling all political junkies. If you haven’t had enough of the election yet, I just wanted to tip you off about two upcoming BBC events. Sunday’s Politics Show is a full hour-long local programme. We’ll have three main debates: one within unionism (including Bob McCartney), another within nationalism, and a third with all the main parties including Alliance. If you have any nuggets you think I should explore with the parties please post your suggestions. Then on Monday I’m hosting another webcast – this one’s with the smaller parties and I’m really keen to get into some interesting topics. It’s going live at half two and will be available on demand thereafter. The panel will consist of: PUP, Dawn Purvis; UKUP, David Hoey; Green, Brian Wilson; Conservatives, James Leslie; Workers Party, John Lowry; and Rainbow George Weiss who wants to consign his fellow panelists to history. You can contribute questions in advance http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6405249.stm

Look forward to hearing from you.

  • mchinadog

    Trust the BBC to show their bias once again. One of the smallest Unionist Parties namely UKUP are getting two bites at the cherry, what more them than the PUP on the Politics Show. If this is a debate within Unionism then all Unionists should be on the show not allowing one of the smaller parties on at the exclusion of the rest of Unionism. The Webcast for the smaller parties should be for all the small parties as you suggest. If I were the UUP and the DUP, I would pull out of the Politics Show if McCartney is not removed sure with his rantings he could fill the hour for Jim Fitzpatrick

  • Henry94

    Jim,

    Are the republican dissidents not going to be featured in the small parties (smarties?) section. They will get more votes than Rainbow George or The Workers Party.

    I’d ask Mark Durkan who he world prefer to see as First Minister, Ian Paisley or Martin McGuinness. I’d ask Sir Reg the same.

  • SuperSoupy

    Henry,

    I’ve pointed out elsewhere the red-herring nature of the question.

    Both roles carry exactly the same level of power and responsibility. Unionists may want to get hung up on who has the shiniest hat (or the pointless prefix or no-prefix issue) but I think every Nationlist knows it doesn’t matter.

    McGuinness won’t be Paisley’s deputy or vice-versa, they’ll be equals. That is something the DUP may be shocked to learn once they get over this who can piss the highest stuff.

  • mickhall

    Typical BBC, who always favor the larger parties, not least because the organization works on the pretext of who pays the piper, and it is always at the expense of the smaller parties and independents. Then the Beeb spend the following year wining about people not being interested in politics.

    By stopping the smaller partys getting on the airwaves, the beeb has become part of the problem. Christ we have to spend all year listening to the BBC’s favored politico’s getting away with their crap, at least come election time the BBC should do the democratic thing and give all of the candidates and parties the same amount of airtime. As the BBC does not do this, your clearly favoring some candidates over others. As the great man said, impartial my arse.

    Anyone who goes along to the above will be making the numbers up and is being used to give the BBC a democratic cover they do not deserve. It is time the law was changed so that during the three weeks of an election campaign, all candidates and party leaders should be given exactly the same airtime, or none at all.

  • seabhac siulach

    A whole slew of questions…all directed at the provos…

    How about asking the Provos about the new MI5 barracks in Holywood…how is this an example of Britain having no ‘selfish strategic or economic’ interest in the six counties? How does this conform to the basic idea supposedly underpinning the peace process, the one that the British have no vested interest in denying national self-determination, only an interest in upholding the principle of Unionist consent for any such self-determination? How do the Provos think that the British are somehow going to disengage from the six counties when they are busy digging in in Holywood? How is it that after more than 12 years of the peace process the most visible symbol of where it has led us republicans (on quite a merry dance) is the great hulking new MI5 building? Not much self-determination there. Was anyone asked about this MI5 building in advance? Were the Provos asked if this was acceptable? Why are they so silent on the whole subject? We should be told…(some chance…)

  • SuperSoupy

    Mick,

    I agree there are elements of the policy that seem unfair and it benefits those with an established electoral base but why should I and many others like me living in constituencies where the ‘others’ don’t even offer us an option of voting for them be forced to listen to their wasted message as much as those that actually put themselves forward?

    I agree they are entitled to more but certainly not the same.

  • SuperSoupy

    SS,

    That’s only one question asked many times in different ways.

  • seabhac siulach

    SS

    “That’s only one question asked many times in different ways.”

    Yep…a slew of questions making up a super-question relating to ‘self-determination’ or lack thereof…

    Okay, another question off the top of my head…
    Where do each of the parties stand on the issue of the EU constitution? Should it be passed, and more power handed to Brussels? (It is being revived by the Germans at the moment…for an another attempt at ratification in 2009)Does increased EU integration, meaning a de-facto dismantling of the border not spell the end of unionism in the long-term as Ireland will be united in a de-facto manner within the EU? In this case, it perhaps makes sense for Unionists to be anti-EU (based as their philosophy is on quite conservative social, economic foundations). But one could ask why Provo Sinn Fein is still anti-EU? Do they really see a place for a small country like Ireland to go it alone outside the EU? This point alone should be an election issue…north and south…

  • Henry94

    That’s only one question asked many times in different ways.

    Must be Noel Thompson in disguise.

  • SuperSoupy

    SS,

    Why ask something that is common knowledge?

    SF, DUP, UUP – against

    SDLP – for

    SF have published their reasons for rejecting it:

    http://www.sinnfein.ie/news/detail/9687

    http://www.sinnfein.ie/news/detail/9686

    If you are a Nationalist and believe the constituition will lead to a United Ireland you should vote for the SDLP. I have seen nothing to convince that is what it will deliver.

  • GavBelfast

    On economics, ask Sinn Fein if they are still keen on the Euro being adopted in The North while wanting the Punt reinstated in The South.

    😉

  • mickhall

    SuperSoup,

    This is not a matter of personal bordom, as 9/10 candidates bore the pants off most of us, it is about fairness and equality. For if one candidate who is standing in a constituency is invited onto the air, then so should all the others. Why should the national UK broadcaster give preference to one candidate, or even three or four over the rest. It is undemocratic as the whole point of democracy is a level playing field, otherwise it is sham democracy.

    The same goes for Party leaders, why should the leader of say the DUP get continuos airtime whilst the PUP leader hardly gets a look in. It must effect the outcome of the ballot as publicity in an election is the motor that get people elected.

    Indeed this was the very reason why in the past the PRM was barred from the airways, thus SF of all Party’s should understand that if there is to be an Ireland of equals, a level playing field during the electoral process is essential.

    We either live in a democracy or we do not, what we have at the minute is an electoral process that favors the sitting candidates and the established parties. Which is no democracy at all, for if citizens get sick of these parties, they have an uphill struggle when they try to remove them at the ballot box due to the lack of equality with access to the media at election time.

    That all the main party’s in the north accept such chicanery in the electoral process without a wimper is a disgrace.

  • Paul

    I take it Jim will have James Leslie,Conservative on as well on Sunday or has McCartneys little gimmick worked

  • Crataegus

    Mickhall

    it is about fairness and equality. For if one candidate who is standing in a constituency is invited onto the air, then so should all the others. Why should the national UK broadcaster give preference to one candidate, or even three or four over the rest.

    I totally agree. It is a serious distortion. We should aim to present all candidates for election on an equal footing. We should not base coverage on past performance.

    Why not base coverage on policy or those that have something new and interesting to say? We all know what most of the usual wind bags are going to say anyway. We know their phrases and evasions to the point of utter tedium.

    The current policy maintains the status quo and sends out the message that these are the ones that matter and the rest do not.

  • Who’s gone where?

    Latest talk this Ard Fheis weekend is that a high profile member of SF in North Armagh resigned from the party 3 weeks ago. Given this person’s background and standing with the grassroots membership and support base, its no wonder that it has not become public so far. Word is that, although dissatisfied with the leadership’s policies, he is not prepared to go public as it may be seen as an endorsement by him of one of the various dissent groupings. Watch this with interest!!

  • SuperSoupy

    Mick,

    I understand your point.

    But..why should I have to listen to politicians not willing to give me the chance to vote for them?

    If they don’t think I’m worthy why should they get the same coverage as those that do?

  • SuperSoupy

    Maybe I’m not making this clear. I agree smaller parties are treated unfairly.

    ‘Crazy George’ doesn’t offer himself for election where I live, no ‘independent’ gives me the option. Why should they get equal coverage to those I and everyone gets the option to vote for?

  • Who’s gone where?

    Word is a senior member of the SDLP has been abusing children but they are hiding this until after the election.

    See how it works, WGW? Put up or shut up bullshitter.

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    Where do the Greens stand on the national question?

    What would they advise the N Irish public regarding which would be in the best interests, the Union with Britain or an all-island, independent nation.

    They have nothing in their manifesto on this. How would they designate in Stormont?

  • Jim Fitzpatrick –

    As the structure of your programmes suggests, all the talk of ‘bread and butter issues’ so beloved by our Fourth Estate simply serves to disguise the fact that Wednesday will see two polls: one for supremacy within nationalism; and one for supremacy within unionism.

    If there’s a prospect of an EndGame it is merely a result of the settling of question of who is top dog within the two major identity communities.

    Heres a question for journalists and Alliance Party types:

    Doesn’t the over-stated separation of constitutional and ‘bread and butter’ issues only serve to disguise the abnormal nature of our democracy, which guarantees places to the major power brokers in an involuntary Executive for the foreseeable future.

    Voters of nationalist and unionist hues are being locked into a clientelist state, with the dominant parties competing to service their own communal blocs.

    Voters will catch on to this eventually and vote for alternatives – but, in the meantime, journalists might think twice about the service they are providing to the status quo by colluding with the myth that we are on the brink of ‘bread and butter’ normality.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Trust the BBC to show their bias once again. One of the smallest Unionist Parties namely UKUP are getting two bites at the cherry, what more them than the PUP on the Politics Show. If this is a debate within Unionism then all Unionists should be on the show”

    Nonsense. The UKUP has a distinct policy whereas Dawn Purvis’s policy is “yeah yeah yeah, whatever you say Reg-please let me in to your party”. Without Bob the “debate” within Unionism would be “You sold out first” versus “Yeah, but you sold out worse”

  • mickhall

    Crazy George’ doesn’t offer himself for election where I live, no ‘independent’ gives me the option. Why should they get equal coverage to those I and everyone gets the option to vote for?

    Super-soupy [great handle by the way]

    The fact is you do not have to watch them, just turn the tele/radio off or over. In any case I am sure you would agree that democracy has to be more than about what irritants us as individuals. It might not be perfect, but it is the best system of government human kind has come up with to date. You mention that some of the smaller party’s are of no interest to you as they fail to put up candidates in your area.

    Inadvertently you have hit the nail on the head, for how are these candidates to build a larger electoral base if the media denies them the oxygen of publicity. There is a real danger here that we should all be alert too, as it has actually happened in the norths/NI recent past, for if political organizations feel that there is no viable avenue open to them within the current electoral process, they may well turn to violence to create such a space, after all is that not what the Provos have done.

    So I say again during an electoral campaign the publicly funded media must not only be fair and impartial, but must be seen to be so. Other wise who knows what can crawl out from under disgruntled stone.

    Peter
    I agree with your post completely as the issues you mentioned are one of the reasons I have been opposed to the GFA. During the last period when the Stormont administration was up and running, it is difficult to argue against the fact that it was nothing more that a clientelist administration. For example it voted through programs that the main party’s own manifestos opposed, yet because it was the policies of the Blair government, the Stormont administration rubber stamped them through.

  • mchinadog

    Darth Rumfield

    What a lot of nonsense. UKUP have not one policy. As regards to UKUP adding to the debate or having a rational debate with other Unionists, well I have seen Bob in operation and he is anything but rational. He has nothing to contribute to Unionism now, he is now a spokesperson for Sinn Fein/IRA. Regarding Purvis and the PUP, they are just another fringe party but at least she has not pulled the same stroke as McCartney, she will if elected work for the people of East Belfast and has a voice for a certain number of people and after Friday, we will find out how many. Unlike McCartney who has divided loyalties, North Down plus the other constituencies he is standing in, how is he going to fully represent everyone, impossible. No one thinks except himself “what and ego” that he will be elected anywhere and I hope that is true Northern Ireland does not need Bob McCartney. Regarding the debate within Unionism the UUP lost that debate a long time ago and they are still intent in going in Stormont with Sinn Fein/IRA without any preconditions, how can they defend Unionism or Northern Ireland for that matter they let us all down many many times.

  • Inspector Clouseau

    Darth,

    The UKUP do not have one policy. Are they are devolutionist party or an integrationist party? FFS is the UKUP even a political party at all?

    Bob McCartney,the Cubbits and “party” doesn’t really go at all does it?

  • darth rumsfeld

    mchinadog

    a lot in what you say, and I’ve previously stated that I’m not a fan of Bob the man (very few are) But what he has to contribute to Unionism is a platform for those of us who were, are and will be anti-Agreement. Agreed that it’s never too long into a debate before the swivel eyes and the fingerpointing start when Bob’s in a debate. But you’d still pay to see him go ten rounds in a ring with Peter Robinson. And he has a surprisingly good slate of candidates-er, with the possible exception of 5 cardboard cutouts.

    But Purvis and her clique of groupies mourning for the lost leader contribute as much to politics as Kurt Cobain fans do to music in the Noughties. Move on,

  • Cynic

    One question to all candidates, bearing in mind the comparatively weak position of politicians in Ireland.

    “Why should the electorate believe that a using their vote in this election will have any bearing on their lives?” (Other than the usual use it or lose it argument.)

  • Mick Fealty

    There could be a supplementary to that one C.

    Is devolved government in the least meaningful without substantial control over fiscal policy?

    The obvious one, what is the point in voting for a party that will clearly not gain a place in this forthcoming executive? And what would they do if/when at some point in the future they do achieve sufficient seats to take such seats?

  • gerry & the peacemakers

    Are the republican dissidents not going to be featured in the small parties (smarties?) section.

    Henry 94

    Henry TV wasn’t invented in 1916 – or maybe as its the BBC they refuse to recognise it. Or maybe the debate will be more than a debate on policing and that would render them speechless.

    Anyway what I would ask the republican dissidents if they went on is, what have you done for the Irish people since you walked out on them in 1986? Also how would you deal with rapists and child molesters in the north?

    Id ask the DUP – do you think members of the UDA and UVF vote for your party and are you happy to accept those votes?

    I’d ask the SDLP, is Irish unity an aspiration or absolute a core principle?

    I’d ask the UUP will Reg resign on Thursday or Friday?

    I’d ask SF for details of plan B that they have discussed with the Government.

  • brendan,belfast

    I would ask SF if, when they talk about ensuring that human rights abusers won’t be involved in a new police service, they include former paramilitaries from all sides? will Gerry Kelly for example be acceptable on the policing board or does his past rule him out?

  • Phil

    In relation to WGH above, who has jumped ship?

  • Crataegus

    Mickhall & Peter

    I agree. At some future date, preferably sooner than later, we need to revisit many of the truly abhorrent, sectarian aspects of that agreement and get rid of them. It could be a lot better.

    I could never understand why (well I do vested interests) we ended up with the SDLP vision of parity of esteem taking tis form. The structures nourished, recognise, reward, and institutionalise sectarianism. It is a major part of the problem.

    We could as easily have made it a requirement of those standing for election that to be elected they gain a measure of cross community support. We could also have had two votes, the usual one as now for a candidate and a second against. Add up the ones for take away the ones against and I bet there would be a totally different attitude to politics here. Make it the responsibility of individual candidates to appeal to a wider spectrum.

    There are easier less controversial way to improve the set up.

  • Crataegus

    Mick

    Good points

    Is devolved government in the least meaningful without substantial control over fiscal policy?

    The Assembly is about as relevant as a county council without fiscal. A supplemental to yours; why not recognise this and get rid of all councils and have an increase in the number of Assembly men? Or the converse?

    The obvious one, what is the point in voting for a party that will clearly not gain a place in this forthcoming executive?

    To not vote ensures that those that you disagree with get in. You vote for what you want in the hope that many others will do the same. In which case with enough success they are in the Executive.

    And what would they do if/when at some point in the future they do achieve sufficient seats to take such seats?

    This is the nub of the problem. My own instinct would be to go into voluntary opposition rather than prop up the nonsense, but who knows what the Alliance, Greens, Labour or Conservatives may do at some future date. The structures really are odious. Use your position to highlight the problems.

  • frankie

    It would have been interesting to hear from John Lowry of the workers party about his members threatening a senior trade union member and saying he would “end up in every ward of the Royal”

    http://www.sundaylife.co.uk/news/article2326626.ece

    Not much point talking about water charges when you are threatening to kill trade unionists.