Up and Coming Politician of the Year…

With the Assembly moving into its third year of operation, perhaps now is a strange point to ask for nominations for the most up and coming politician. But as all politicians know the future health of any political party depends on their ability to connect with a new generation who have new sets of needs and preoccupations. That means bringing on new voices and or older voices finding new ways to connect.So who were the fresh voices of the last year? Who will be shaping the future of politics in Northern Ireland? And let’s not restrict it to local government either. Are there wanabee MLAs who have created an impression? New MLAs who are still making a splash?

With your nominations, please try to include:

1. A brief account of the qualities your candidate has brought to the job.
2. The reasons s/he have achieved in the last 12 months.
3. What you believe are the critical qualities required by a rising politicians.

Please make your nominations here. Be as expansive as you wish, so we can make the best pitch possible to both the reader and judges panels who may not be as familiar as you with your favoured candidate. This thread will remain open until exactly 6pm Friday 13th November. Remember, just nominations of who YOU think deserves this Award. It’s the single most valuable insight we bring before the judging panels.

  • Mark McGreg

    I was initially stuck between Agnew and Parlsey but have plumped for Steven Agnew of the Green Party.

    In the European elections he came from nowhere in public consciousness, doubled his party vote in % terms from the 2007 Assembly election and increased it in real numbers also. He has made the fight to retain Wilson’s North Down seat for the Green’s look like a live possibility instead of the almost guaranteed lose to APNI many pundits assumed it to be. For a first timer he preformed competently in front of the media and on panels. The election result shows whatever he does/did it connected with the electorate to an unprecedented level for his party in the north.

    While by no stretch of the imagination the finished product I can’t think of anyone else that came from such a low profile and surpassed expectations to the level he did.

  • I would endorse Mark’s comments on Parsley and I expect much bigger and better things from him in the future. By the way I’m a bit confused as to the committee chair stuff.

  • Jamesy

    Parsley will be a success if things go as normal and peace wins.

    Alistair will win if things go belly up.

  • Brian Walker

    At this distance I have little impression of most backbenchers, which may be a story in itself.
    But if I’m allowed to range from the new and to ministers, I’d nominate Arlene Foster for her network media competence (different from local) and for allowing that cable thing to come into Derry, thereby not surrendering to loyalist pressure. That’s a cheer for DUP objectivity, a cause worth noting.

  • drumcairnharp

    I would like to nominate Billy Armstrong. He has shown us how to avoid planning permission for buildings,how to keep your expenses in the family and how to make your wife a landlord and pay her rent for office space.
    These for me make Billy my number one.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Diana Dodds?

  • Maeglin

    Peter Robinson – for high grasp of detail during debates and questions. I also think he is a “first team” batsman when negotiating for unionists, negotiating for northern Ireland within the UK and internationally. I can’t think of anyone I would choose over him in that role. A genuinely capable politician.

    Naomi Long – excellent contributions during debates. Usually takes an intelligent line without personal or petty influences. Strong, confident and highly capable voice for her constituents. Appears to care genuinely about issues. I think she would be an excellent minister.

    john O’dowd – holds his own in studio or debate despite trying to defend the indefensible (ruane and her monumental incompetence) Would have made a far superior Ed Minister. Has a hardline constituency in Lurgan yet takes a moderate line and routinely defends devolution and gov with DUP despite others in the party seeming less supportive.

    Arlene Foster – competent, cool and an excellent all rounder.

  • Mick Fealty

    Great stuff, please keep them rolling in. I’ve taken off some of the humorous material and the useful riff on the cable-house, because we want to keep this nomination process semi serious and on-task.

    Checkov… it would be good to get more detail on why you think Parsley is good for this category. Happy for you to do that on your own site and then link out from here if you’d prefer?

    These nominations will play an important role for both sets of judging panels (a readers panel to sift the shortlist and the official panel to make the final decisions)…

  • He is articulate and moderate, but tending to a unionist / conservative position. He performed well in the European election debates, managing to rise above the sectarian fray. He has, to the best of my knowledge, a background in business, i.e. beyond politics. He’s the type of candidate which the CUs in particular should be trying to replicate. I voted for JN, but personally, I preferred Parsley.

    Finally – my 2 1/2 year old niece took a shine to his name and showed great excitement about ‘Parsley, the politics man’.

  • Junkhead

    It’s got to be Agnew – for someone who was barely interested before he came along, he seems to breathe a bit of fresh air into politics. Finally, someone who seems human…

  • Marcus

    The Green Party simply couldn’t have had a more successful candidate in Steven Agnew. So many people were impressed with his interviews in the media and on debates. He made the Greens look rational, articulate and sensibly radical to the voters and this definitely played a part in them increasing their vote by 300% when all the other parties vote percentage went down.

    His party political broadcast was something different fresh and sincere taking us away from the usual political broadcasts in northern ireland and i feel hugely surpased ian parsleys one.

    As Mark McGregor said he also seems to have withheld, it seems even increased, the Green vote in North Down (according to the tallies)which shows that the voters do not see Brian Wilsons vote as an alliance party vote as alliance would have us believe. so he is definetly an ‘up-and-coming politician’ especially since he is based in North Down.

  • prolefodder

    I nominate Steven Agnew of the Greens – young, articulate and certainly brought not just some ‘real politics’ to the European campaign (i.e. real issues not the usual tribal headcount crap) but also a refreshing approach whenever he was on a platform or the media. His interview with Noel Thompson (who didn’t pull his punches) for a first timer was impressive and both in interviews and on panels that I attended he did well under pressure, knew his brief and consistently got his key points accross. While of course there is room for improvement, he went from a standing start to triple the Greens EU vote which is impressive (and was only 11,000 behind the Alliance candidate who had a lot more support and funding). Agnew is clearly one to watch.

  • Another vote for Steven Agnew. During his television interviews and panel appearances he fielded questions intelligently and with passion and humour. A refreshing change from the bickering of the mainstream parties.

  • Kevin Gough

    Agnew without a shadow of a doubt! The bit in his political broadcast where the plane is flying right over his head and he is shouting over the noise of the engine was simply a fantastic way at showing the constant noise abuse us residents in east belfast have to face. Also the first time my sister ever showed interest in politics was when she seen agnew holding the puppy to show his parties animal welfare side.

  • Regan

    I nominate Steven Agnew. Despite his having a beard and (according to one of my work colleagues), a ‘dodgey looking jumper’, he consistently came across as having fresh, interesting and pragmatic ideas compared to the tired, trite, ‘traditional’ arguments of main stream politicians here. It was so refreshing to hear about policies other than how much better than the opposition such and such a party is. It was also refreshing to see a young man who could argue his point of view with polite dignity, unbiased opinion and a professional manner, unlike most of the other candidates in the Euro Election campaign who behaved like a bunch of playground bullies. Watch Agnew’s space – he’s got a lot to say.

  • YelloSmurf

    Gotta be Parsley or Agnew. Going with Parsley because of the fact that he managed to smash previous records for Alliance votes.

  • LittlePoint

    Parsley got the best Alliance Euro vote since 1979 but got significantly less than Olivier Napier’s vote of 39,026, so he certainly didn’t smash any records.

    Agnew however got 15,674 votes, smashing the Greens previous record of 6,569.

  • anon

    Good grief, youse see them on tv twice and suddenly they’re God’s Gift. think outside the box- what about sone women?

  • Mick Fealty


    Indeed. So give us some names and reasons for nominating them?

    (PS, last year’s winner was a woman)…

    Others: come on! Two candidates in five days. I know the last year was not good, but come on someone else has got to have done something noteworthy this year? Surely?

  • Scaramoosh

    Agnew – for rescuing the colour Green from the one dimensional sectarian cul-de-sac in which it has been parked for the last 100 years. For managing to swim against a very strong tide and pushing to the fore the issues that actually matter.

  • anon

    Mick – From what I call Daithi Mckay won this last year – not sure he’d appreciate being called a woman!

  • Paul Reilly

    Steven Agnew. Engaging, sincere, brought actual promises to the table, rose above the electoral mud-slinging and his humility was refreshing (compared to some of the ‘bigger names’ who attempted to dominate live debates.)

    Oh, and he takes the time to reply to Twitter posts.

    Brian Wilson has made it clear he will not stand at the next Assembly election, let’s hope Agnew is a shoo-in for his North Down seat.

  • jitterbug

    John O’Dowd has to be in with a shout, not only for this but for MLA of the Year. Saw him speaking the other day and he can face down any of the other parties in the chamber quite easily. Hes articulate, hard-working and a real leader in the making for Sinn Féin.

  • Salem

    John O’Dowd – The Sinn Fein Rottweiler ! mmmmmm perhaps not !

    I would support Steven Agnew for this award –
    joined the party in 2003, council candidate 2007 and then MEP Candidate in 2008 !

    Confident, Composed and a Class Act !

    Not only he did perform incredibly well for the Green Party in the Euro Election but has gone along way to highlight the postive impact our new younger generation of politicans can have on Irish Politics. I was at several of the EU hustings this year and whilst the TUV/DUP had mock fights. Steven was the voice of reason in the corner, often pointing out the Hypocrisy of several members on the stage.

  • Chris K

    I have to go for Steven Agnew. A true breath of fresh air in Irish politics, who did exceedingly well in the Euro election for the Greens. He was Northern Irelands best up and coming politician for me.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    It has to be Jim Allister – he may done some up-and coming previoulsy but not in his role as leader of the TUV.

    He is articulate, an excellent debater and attends to the minutiae, he has almost single-handedly taken on the DUP who everyone thought were unassailable and scared the red-white-and-blue out of them.

    He is likely to be the the big story in the 2011 Assembly elections if not the Westminster elections and totally overshadow the intervention of the Tory party with all their resources.

    You may not like him, and like me not agree with him, but you simply cant keep this big, politically awkward, annoying, distinctive Ulster Prod down.

  • Anon

    Simon Hamilton.

    Great presence in the assembly, very politically astute.

  • anon

    Mick – Deirdre Nelson won Councillor of the Year last year – not ‘Up and Coming’ – I think that’s what you had in mind?

  • Johnny B Good

    Danny Kinahan MLA.

    Breath of fresh air in the Assembly – sees the bigger picture. Eloquent speaker, deep thinker, committed to building a better Northern Ireland.

  • Corrina Langelaan

    Not a huge fan of his party, but Simon Hamilton gets my vote. Scarily intelligent and doing extremely well in his new role as Chair of the SD Committee. Handled much of the PR debate about the future of public finances earlier in the year very well.

  • Karly Greene

    Steven Agnew without a shadow of a doubt! Parsley is hardly a breath of fresh air after alligning himself to the conservative party!!!!

    Steven Agnew showed great confidence in media performances, tripled the Green Party vote in Northern Ireland and brought to the forefront pragmatic and realistic ideas to the forefront.

    He was the only EU candidate to actually care about EU issues it seemed!!!!!

  • The safest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it in your pocket. http://uprifunnmvc.com

  • Dont be nosy

    I’d nominate Simon Hamilton. Hard worker in his constituency, very able speaker on the issue of the day and is coming into his own as Chair of the DSD committee

    Was strongly tipped by many to take the Junior Minister role in the DUP reshuffle and is a safe pair of hands the party can role out if somethings going on / wrong – says a lot about him and a sign of things to come. Rising star of DUP and of the Assembly and deserves to be recognised

  • mick mc cann

    Michelle O’Neill gets my nomination. Admittedly shes not as high profile as some of the others nominated but shes one of the hardest working MLAs up there.

    Shes a fantastic constituency worker and has really grown over the past year on the health committee. She really grasps the issues and gets whats going on and keeps gnawing away until she gets answers.

    She did a brilliant job as chair when Iris was off ill and brought a sincerity to the role which is vital giving the often difficult issues that are discussed there.

    She has a practical head on her shoulders and is razor sharp in terms of the issues and potential implications.

    This is only her first term as an MLA has she has really grown into the role and understands in a way that so many others fail to that whilst constituency issues are undoubtedly important, this is an NI Assembly and strategic decisions for the good of all are the name of the game.

    Shes definitely one to watch, a real up and coming politician whos more interested in the work than the limelight and this deserves to be recognised.

  • Rebecca

    I support the nomination for Simon Hamilton. He is hard working and committed at the council level as well as in the Assembly. He does his research, accepts responsibility and is capable of speaking intelligently on a range of issues. He also has the ability to empathise with others and to think creatively when problem solving. I have been very impressed with Simon in his first term in the Assembly and expect quite a lot from him in the coming years.

  • LabourNIman

    I vote for agnew