Slugger Awards 2008: MLAs…

108 to choose from – party leaders, Ministers, Speakers, humble backbenchers, they come in all shapes and sizes. Attendance matters, but more important to the voter, probably, is delivery. This flagship award recognises the MLA felt to have had made an impressive impact on the NI Assembly and more widely, who has changed something, challenged an orthodoxy or simply been a good representative for the people who elected them. And the winner is…Winner: Naomi Long.

One of the top considerations, although not the only one, was speech craft and the capacity not simply to speak without notes but to contribute fluently and combatively (if required) on the floor of the Assembly. Naomi is one of the outstanding speakers in the house, and has used her presence there to great effect in breaking what might be considered an almost impenetrable ‘sound barrier’ for one of the smallest parties in the Assembly. But she has also managed to consolidate the Alliance vote in her East Belfast constituency.

Commended: Margaret Ritchie

One of the few ministers to make it to the short list, Margaret has made a huge impact in a very short time, both in terms of how she handled her Ministerial brief and in making strong and cogent representations to the Assembly. She showed considerable personal courage in facing down the Executive over the cutting of CTI funding. She has also picked up an number of key social issues in her brief as DSD minister and run with it.

Commended: John O’Dowd.

John came into the Assembly in the November 2003 election and was considered a relative outsider. He quickly became leader of Sinn Fein in the Assembly, but only really began to shine in public when he defended his party’s controversial Education policy with a number of highly adept performances on the media. He’s battled well in difficult circumstances and is probably one of the big discoveries of talent in 2007/8 parliamentary season.

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  • The Raven

    An excellent choice. ‘Nuff said. Also, a good show for Margaret.

  • Dewi

    Are you all drunk? Can’t cope with this stuff.

  • joeCanuck


    You have an obvious problem – you haven’t drunk enough.

  • Insider

    No really who did win. You’re yanking my chain. Naomi Long has no presence in the chamberr and has achieved nothing. As for Margaret Ritchie.. well. She FAILED to stop the CTI funding because she did not follow proper proceedures and now she is facing legal proceedings.

  • Hi all
    Mick will probably post when he wakes up – but the Podcast from the Awards can be downloaded directly from here:

    Or you can subscribe to all the DC Podcasts here:

  • Driftwood

    Like choosing the best performer at Nuremberg. IIRC Hermann Goering was the star turn. But from a much higher calibre than this bunch.
    Oh, and they had charisma, a few of them anyway.
    Naomi Long?
    Is she the L/derry girl from Girls Aloud?

  • Driftwood

    Oh, Why not Michelle McIlveen, she’s a babe!

  • Edward Carson

    She is the local version of Sarah Palin

  • DC

    “the best performer at Nuremberg. IIRC Hermann Goering was the star”

    No, I disagree. Albert Speer – he got out alive, wrote a book and had an affair when he was in his 70s with a woman a generation younger than him. He was an good architect but a classic politician too, he had more faces than those in Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody montage.

  • Danny O’Connor

    I must admit I heard Naomi Long on the Nolan show one morning defending a city council trip to the USA and she gave a very good account of herself despite an onslaught from Nolan about a group who couldn’t get funding.
    1- she had the guts to go on
    2- she was prepared to defend her stance
    3- she did it reasonably well

    I have to cofess that I would have voted for Margaret Ritchie,nevertheless well done Ms Long.

  • Guys,

    You all had the control over this. There was no voting on this. People got through on the merits, in the first place, of the arguments of Slugger readers. Now clearly once it goes to the various judges panels, you don’t control what they do. But I have to say that what people said here featured hugely in both the readers’ panel and judges’ panel.

  • dosser

    Tim McGarry hosted the awards? Was Uncle Andy busy?

    Good to see Nevin win an award? I’m slightly puzzled as ro why the Jesuits missed their chance to take him out at the ceremony.

  • JD

    Can we please clarify this ‘legacy’ issue of Margaret Ritchie, for which she continues to recieve such plaudits. Margaret Ritchie is still funding the UDA through the CTI, and has done so since her bluster for the fear of a court case. Please check it, its true, so can we stop the pretence.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    I see the Sluggar Awards are mentioned on BBC Ceefax page 168.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “Oh, Why not Michelle McIlveen, she’s a babe!”

    So Michelle McIlveen is the DUPs bit of crumbit!

    The SDLP’s Sharon Haughey is a cracker!

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Oh, Why not Michelle McIlveen, she’s a babe!”

    Probably the sight on the Union flag in the photo gets ye going a bit too Driftwood?

  • ellie

    Ms Long winning – I’ve heard it all now!!