On the silence of the backbenchers…

Given how our local parties seem to have an iron grip on their backbenchers these days, it’s worth seeing how it is done elsewhere. Dan Hannan, a descendent of an émigré from Randalstown, is a Tory MEP for SE England, and apparently has no problem with criticising the leadership of his party, when it even looks like departing from a previously charted course. It’s impossible to imagine that many DUP backbenchers were happy with Arlene Foster’s decision to retain the deeply unpopular PPS14 rural planning measures (though at least they were careful enough not to mention it in their manifesto). But it went through without a whimper.This is how Sinn Fein described it back in March:

The disastrous PPS14 rural planning policy will severely restrict new-builds within rural communities, further increasing demand for housing in rural towns and urban centres, and inflating house prices.

Though it doesn’t appear to have made any rash promises to get rid of it…

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