Slugger Awards 2008: Representatives external to Northern Ireland…

This includes all those, elected and otherwise, who represent the interests of Northern Ireland both within and beyond the jurisdiction. We asked who represents us well outside our own ‘narrow ground’? Who promotes a positive image or at least an articulate expression of their own strand of opinion? And the winner is…Winner: Peter Robinson.

Peter became MP for East Belfast in a memorably tight three way fight. He has fashion a strong coalition of often disparate views, and deployed his party’s resources in a strong manner. In the negotiations up to and including the St Andrews Agreement, he outmanouvered Sinn Fein, by enshring the principle of the ‘triple double lock’ on policing and justice in Westminster legislation. It’s generally thought that he further strengthened his hand with Gordon Brown earlier this year when he marshalled his nine troops into the pro government lobby in favour of passing the 42 days anti terrorism measures.

Commended: Jim Allister.

Many people thought Jim Allister was walking into the wilderness when he resigned the DUP whip in Brussels. In fact he has fought a rearguard action against his former party making a powerful, if highly local intervention in the Dromore byelection causing the party to lose a seat in what had been strong DUP territory. What started as a ragbag movement has now incorporated into a relatively disciplined political party, the TUV. Jim is also highly respected, not to mention feared, in Brussels as an astute lawmaker and interogator of European officials.

Commended: Baroness May Blood.

May was elevated to the House of Lords in 1999, and has carved out a reputation as a strong advocate in Westminster for Northern Irish civil society. In particular she has made important contributions in the House on child protection legislation. She’s also played a role in chivvying the Northern Ireland Office to have Westminster social legislation translated into Northern Ireland.

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

  • Edward Carson

    The best unionist award?

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    I would have picked Baroness Blood myself but then again I wouldn’t piss down Peter Robinsons throat if his heart was on fire so maybe I am biased…

  • Yvette Doll

    Jim Allister is something out of the ordinary. I also feel we need signage to mark the border.

    I’m not fussed with Baroness Blood, she hasn’t been much use to the UNCRC camp, it is a weak area generally, I prefer them to stay clear of what they’re not prepared to do.

    Barnardos, NSPCC, nah, best to stay clear, it is the Victoria Climbie school of child protection. They don’t mean anything at the UN or away from these shores.

    Lord Laird did a lot better, he’s the best performer at Westminster on child protection, something recognized in the corridors of power in Washington DC.

  • pith

    “Astute lawmaker”?

    Do tell.

  • noel adams

    As child protection legislation was going through the end of last session it was opposed by lord Laird.Not because it did not improve protection for children but because the age of concent was lowered to 16.
    The way UUPs amendment was worded the entire bill would have been lost not just the section on age of concent some of the law this replaced had not been looked at for 100 years.
    May Blood flaged this up in the debate and the UUP amendment only got 60 votes.Well done May.

  • Yvette Doll

    I’ve no time for her, Lord Laird is worth a hundred of her kind. He has a good reputation with the FBI as does Esmond Birnie.

    The FBI are the people who actually do the protecting of our kids, of which there will be fewer if abortion is dragged over to NI

    I’ve little time for Barnardos, or the NSPCC, both have track records as bad as the worst elements of the Catholic Church, in fact Barnardos is probably far worse.

    Baroness Blood is a negative input, in my opinion, I’m also not that fussed on *any* Sinn Feiner, nor Dawn Purvis. The UUP have frequently entirely stood alone on these issues.

    The facts speak for themselves. Baroness Blood would run a mile from a real child protection issue. She’s likes club & cosy. In my view she is a dead loss to the cause.

    I don’t know anybody (in bona fide child protection circles) with a fair opinion of her. Having said that, she is clearly pitched at ‘the club’ of familiar noises.

    With the NSPCC kind of thing, Victoria Climbie, is what you get. As for Barnardos, it is a history of abuse piled on child abuse.

    Yvette Doll