Councillor of the Week: Roberta Dunlop

All politics is local. As the poet Patric Kavanagh once said, “while the provincial man looks to the opinion of the metropolis, the parochial is never in any doubt about the social and artistic validity of his parish” And it’s true, despite the rather cynical view some commenters here on Slugger, that the public generally retains a high opinion of the local councillors. That’s largely because they are the first call when you want to get something done. Approachability is critical. Which is why Roberta Dunlop is our Counicllor of the Week.She’s a UUP councillor in North Down and has only recently set up her page and already has a nice, chatty, folksy style.

Whilst some of our resident barflies may wish to have their usual pop, Roberta presents herself as approachable, friendly, with views that are held in a conversational way This is what makes local government matter to people.

Whilst there is a general perception that local government isn’t that important, that surveys show a similar thing to the ‘Hospital Effect’ (i.e. “The NHS is in a terrible mess. As it happens, *MY* local hospital and surgery are very good…)”

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  • billieJoe_remarkable

    “views that are held in a conversational way”? Eh?

    This is meant to enthuse people about politics? I don’t know the woman but her site is poor and for a second I thought I’d logged onto the letters page of Viz or something. This is week three? How many councillors are there in the north? I dread to think what the poor sites are worth. Flagging up the views of cynics, sceptics and people with a bit of brain hardly makes their views irrelevant. I’m sorry, but this is poor stuff. Or, at least, I’m not certain what the point is and she seems dull

  • Mick Fealty


    You were called and you answered. Thank you for coming! And your blog would be where, exactly?

  • wild turkey


    Spot on at comment 2.

    should your post read ‘views that are held in a controverisal way’? I know Councilor Dunlop does not have the ear of the Prime Minister (who does?) but this press release from her website is impressive

    ‘President Bush’s Fond Farewell 6/21/2008

    I was astounded and disgusted to see our Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Northern Ireland today. It is my belief he should have been in RAF Lynam supporting the families of the five fallen heroes from 2Para who paid the ultimate price in Afghanistan.

    Only last week President Bush told our Prime Minister not to withdraw our troops too quickly and today Gordon Brown announces he is sending another 250 troops to Afghanistan. Who exactly is making the decisions, especially policy decisions involving the lives of British service personnel.’


    I’m not certain what the point is but it seems dull

    There is a poster in my kids primary school. It reads.

    ‘You can be pleased with nothing if you are not pleased with yourself’

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    “And your blog would be where, exactly?”

    And your point is, caller?

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    Not going to bang on about this as I seem to have struck a nerve but… just to point out a simple truth. I went back again to look at her page. Her ‘My Politics’ page is blank. F***ing Blank!

    I’m sure she’s a nice, personable woman, but seriously…

    The defence rests.

  • Tony B

    Well, BJ, you can have your awfully boring parochical elected councillors that trigger predictable responses from idealists like yourself, or you can have your terribly exciting unelected ‘community representatives’.

    It’s funny how people who have to be elected by a large slice of the population just behave so differently, isn’t it? Personally, regardless of the political party she comes from (and I’m no Unionist), I’d rather a one open conversational councillor that writes about the kind of things that people talk to them about than a dozen tedious political obsessives, parroting the idealistic nonsense that they read in the newspapers.

    As long as the general tenor of public discussion is dominated by those who sneer at the kind of people that will stand to be local councillors, then you can expect all of the worst aspects of our political culture – the centralisation, the spin, the misdirection, and the low grade of local government to get worse – not better.

    As a sideline, BJ, it’s funny that you think that there’s a large crossover between cynics and ‘people with a brain’ by the way. Most political scientists would conclude more-or-less the opposite. Don’t take it too hard though – I’m sure you’ll feel at home at Guido Fawkes’ site – try it.

  • Blackmouth

    Such a great Unionist that she wouldn’t let Orangemen stay in her B&B;during the Twelfth period.

  • Eddie

    Ms Dunlop should be made aware of the above allegation so that she can respond to it.

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    Jeez Louise. I haven’t been advocating anything to do with community activism.

    Not sure why they need praised at all but I’ve said that after the SF guy was nominated. Yesterday all I did was look at her site and comment on the fact that she doesn’t seem to have done much to have earned her award.

    I’ll take back the people with a brain remark if it was poorly expressed. I was just referring to the idea that cynics should be dismissed by the editor as he posts a far from compelling case for Ms Dunlop. Her comments are a bit ropey and as I said, she has no politics on her politics page. A considerable oversight.
    I have backed up what I said.

    And may I repeat that I am not running down the concept of council politics. Nor did I suggest community activism was the preferred alternative.

    In summary, democracy good, Roberta Dunlop a wee bit bland. I didn’t realise that was such a controversial view.

  • Tony B

    Her ‘My Politics’ page does have a link to her political party as it happens – it isn’t blank.

    If you look at the bottom of the site you’ll see that there are rules saying that they can’t use their sites for political purposes because they are publicly funded – I’m guessing that a link to the party site is about the limit.

    She’s only just set up the site – and it’d be fair to say that Councillors aren’t – for the most part – from the kind of background that makes them take to using the web to communicate very easily. Slugger seems to be encouraging them to do that. You seem to be just sniping from the sidelines.

    Looking at your comments here and under the other post, I’d say that you are implicitly running down the concept of council politics. It seems to bore you BJ.

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    “Looking at your comments here and under the other post, I’d say that you are implicitly running down the concept of council politics. It seems to bore you BJ.”

    Excuse me! Why even as you read this I’m off to choose my favourite local authority for an award.

    Moyle to win!!!! Lol!!!!! Castlereagh are losers!!! lol!!!! xxxx

  • Roberta Dunlop

    Just to clarify the situation for Blackmouth. I retired from business two years ago and up until then hosted many Orangemen in my B&B;.