Speeddating your stakeholders: good or bad…

I see Bobballs gets a name check on Sam McBride’s story about a Stratagem (declaring an interest, they are the chief sponsors of the Slugger Awards) supported speed networking lobby session for the Alliance party… The controversy seems to lie in the fact that the Stratagem sponsorship of an event 14th October… In the past I’ve done or been invited to do speaking events for nothing more than travel expenses… I’ve got one coming up in London in October, but I would not have called it sponsorship… Anyway, Bobballs’ guest poster has a whole slew of questions about the probity of the event…

UPDATE: Stratagem have made it clear to Slugger that they are not organising the event…

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  • Mark McGreg

    I spotted this last week and raised with someone I know in Alliance it would come back to bite them in the ass.

    Silly idea, badly executed.

  • Mark McGreg


    You’ve completely missed where the controversy lies. It is in making people pay to influence policy. It may be a small amount (£30) but they are clearly mixing fundraising with a say on policy at this event.

    It is a hamfisted fundraiser that ends up looking like buying a say in policy.

    It also makes them look cheap as chips.

  • otto

    Too much multi-tasking from a bright but thinly stretched back-office team reinventing too many wheels.

  • jone

    £30 to meet David Ford sound a bit steep to me.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Perhaps Mick is getting in first, before the “don’t Stratagem sponsor the Slugger Awards?” question whilst making connections with the Boballs and Sam Mc Bride pieces?

  • Michael Shilliday

    This story demonstrates what a verifiable waste of time the Alliance Party are. They tout for £30 quid a head for the honour of having an infulence over a manifesto no one will vote for, and then when they get rumbled deny that there will be any infulence at all! What is the £30 quid for? That’s expensive tea.

    They say that if you have a pet project you want raised in Parliament, go to a Lib Dem, they have nothing better to do. That is the role the Alliance Party play in Northern Ireland. If they want to make that into a cottage industry then there are serious ethics issues with that.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “That’s expensive tea”

    Yes but a variety of teas including herbal and fruit teas will no doubt also be served.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “UPDATE: Stratagem have made it clear to Slugger that they are not organising the event…”

    So what exactly is their role, given that the letter refers to them as “generous sponsors”.

    Are they being “generous” or indeed “sponsors”?

  • Driftwood

    David Ford could take a walk in mini-skirt and stockings round the back of the city hall of an evening and it would still seem classy compared to this desperate display of shameless soliciting.

    just pathetic.

  • Hogan

    “David Ford could take a walk in mini-skirt and stockings round the back of the city hall of an evening and it would still seem classy compared to this desperate display of shameless soliciting”


  • DC

    Now now Michael, keep your cool.

    Remember the law courts threw out that case of benefit fraud against David Hilditch you and Stevie Nolan tried so hard to assert.

    No case to answer apparently, so what was your point – other than picking on unionists with disabilities and entitlements?

    Driftwood, that might be pay-per-view material.

  • Scrutiniser

    Alliance’s Executive Director Gerry Lynch got very hot under the collar while being quizzed about it on Radio Ulster earlier.

    He defended the debacle by launching an attack on the News Letter, which has given more than fair coverage to Alliance in the past.

    Something along the lines of questioning the News Letters political leanings because they did a story that wasn’t fawning.

    Seriously? Your sad little event is getting free publicity and all you can do is whine, perspective Ger, perspectve.

    Besides it is never a good idea potentially libelling a newspaper, Alliance may have narrowly avoided a big pay out to Margery Hawkins in an industrial tribunal earlier this year but could end up paying out tens of thousands of the News Letter.


  • Observers


    I heard that on Talk Back what an idiot!

    Alliance think that their relevant

  • Scrutiniser

    Wonder where Sammy Morse is, would have thought this was right up his street …

  • Michael Shilliday


    At no point did I accuse David Hilditch of benefit fraud.


  • DC

    No but all the information you supplied was made out in a way that his condition was or must be better than that which he stated, asserting forcefully that he might be over-claiming. Or indeed looking suspicious and Nolan was involved and got him on his show saying: oh d’ya know how this mite look to the punters.

    Anyway it went to court, thrown out straight away clear as day.

  • how to beat the system
  • Michael Shilliday

    I did not accuse David Hilditch of anything. You now seem to admit that and I assume will now change the record.

  • DC

    Michael, you laid out a few snippets of info about him playing football once for a charity do then proceeded to tell us how he was on DLA, openly and transparently recorded by Hilditch on the NI Assembly website. The simple but inaccurate conclusion was drawn that he was a chancer, and you sought to embarrass him at least.

    It didn’t go to court for nothing and got exposure by both you who instigated it on Slugger and was followed up by Stevie Nolan on the BBC.

    And as I said, it was thrown out straight away at once by the Courts.

    No case to answer, so I’m asking now that you are “Open Unionism” what exactly was your point?

  • Michael Shilliday

    DC. It was the Belfast Telegraph who pointed out that he had played football for the Assembly team, not me.

    Now you can keep quiet.

  • “And will preferential treatment be given to Stratagem clients?” … bobballs

    pro bono or otherwise.

    Last night I did a Google search with “common purpose” coleraine. It provided a fascinating insight into the scope of the Common Purpose network and raises questions about Purpose.

  • DC

    So it’s the new Open Unionism of Shut-Up.

  • Michael Shilliday

    No, it’s tell the truth or shut up.

  • DC

    Oh right, hang on. You were waffling originally about means-testing all benefits linked to these MLAs on DLA. Then you realised that DLA is an entitlement payment based on disability then you corrected yourself also about child benefits too. Fair enough. But it did feel at the time you were trying to fix your argument incorrectly around MLAs on DLA.

    Your debate focused in particular on DLA, an issue which is a reserved matter; benefits responsibility remains at Westminster.

    This debate coming from a person in a party that doesn’t want to see any more devolution of other more difficult matters, I failed to see and still do fail to see your actual point. Other than trying to embarrass people.

    The Courts seemed to reach that view too. The fact that it ended up there means somebody started something that wasted probably both time and money. Something which UCUNF is concerned about re policing and justice!!!

    On the topic of justice, where is the justice for Hilditch in particular. An apology to him is in order for the events that followed from your original posting on Slugger. I say that in the spirit of what is probably proper ‘open unionism’.

  • Michael Shilliday

    You seem to be accusing me of deliberatly causing a court case by drawing attention to one section of the register of members interests. You are a fantacist.

    I will not be apologising for repeating here what was published on the assembly website. That is all I did, no matter what kind of nonsense you have dreamed up.