After a week of nominations in the Up and Coming category of the Slugger Awards, it is interesting (and perhaps instructive) that the two front runners come from outside the main ‘government’ parties, and neither are MLAs, and one is not even a councillor. Ian Parsley started the week as the face of the Alliance party’s relatively successful European campaign, and ended it with a controversial crossing over to Conservatives. Stephen Agnew of the Greens, another who made his mark in the European campaign with particular success in almost the same North Down constituency boxes Parsley would have been targeting as an Alliance candidate. Beyond these two Arlene Foster gets a shout for her ‘objective’ handling of the cable landfall controversy. Naomi Long gets in there again, despite having won this category last year (there’s no reason why she would not win twice). John O’Dowd who one commenter reckoned “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.” We’ll be opening nominations for the second category after today’s Lisbon Essay goes live. But nominations for this category stay open until 13th November. If you’d rather not comment publicly then drop me a line with who you think has come on this year. They don’t have to be newcomers. And they don’t have to be in your party. IN fact, the nominations that are likely to carry most weight are those coming from people nominating opponents they think have done particluarly well. For once we want you to look at them as democratic representatives (or potential representatives), rather than cogs in a party machine.