Gerry Lynch: ‘purely a staffing matter’?

Despite attempts via several avenues to get clarity on this I have been unsuccessful. There is a chance the reason behind it being kept quiet is entirely valid but Slugger has not been given even a gentle indication there are issues that mean this post shouldn’t be in the public domain (and more than just me asked or looked into this).

I had previously tipped Gerry Lynch, now former Executive Director of the Alliance party, Westminster candidate for East Antrim and North Belfast Party rep for greatness. I was pretty confident he would be successor to Sean Neeson in the Assembly.

My prediction was so wrong I have to revisit the topic even though it involves changes within the Alliance party that are inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

In the last week, as first mentioned by Liam Clarke on Facebook, Gerry Lynch left politics :

Liam Clarke is sorry to hear that Gerry Lynch, Executive Director of the Alliance Party, has bowed out of poltiics. A clever, well educated and charming man who hadn’t forgotten in roots in working class North Belfast.

Gerry has quietly left his position as Executive Director and been replaced by former Assisitant Director (Development): Stephen Douglas who now seems to be in a newly created role of (Acting) General Secretary. Gerry’s profile page has also been deleted from the Alliance website.

When I asked Stephen Douglas what was happening he responded:

Gerry left his post as Exec Director by mutual agreement. Since it’s purely a staffing matter, rather than anything to do with policy, or electoral politics, it would be inappropriate for the Party to comment further.

I did reply this was intriguing and I would be likely to blog it but received no response.

So why has Alliance let such a longstanding and senior member go without any note? Goodbye? Mention at all? Or even efforts to dissuade questions from the like of Slugger?

Gerry has been a great friend of Slugger over the years and fantastic company at many of our events. If he’s leaving politics, we are certainly going to note it.

UPDATE

I don’t take the Sunday Life but have been sent this article:

Alliance left in shock as Lynch quits

THE Alliance Party was reeling last night after the shock departure of executive director Gerry Lynch.

His decision to quit ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections caught many party members on the hop.

Mr Lynch, 33, was based at the party’s HQ in Belfast and was a key figure in recent election campaigns.

When contacted on Friday, party chairman Stewart Dickson said in a brief statement: “Gerry Lynch has left the employment of the Alliance Party by mutual consent.”

Speaking from his home last night, Mr Lynch told Sunday Life: “I tendered my resignation a few weeks ago and the simple fact is I was burnt out.

“I was working too hard and wanted to do something else in life. I’m doing a bit of voluntary work in overseas development and I’m going to go abroad and see things for myself.”

East Antrim MLA Sean Neeson, who is to stand down at the next election, said:

“Gerry is one of the most talented people I know and I’m not surprised he is considering other alternatives. There are other areas and avenues he wants to explore.”

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  • joeCanuck

    Mark,

    Well spotted.You don’t need permission to resign from a job so the “by mutual consent” line is indeed intriguing and begs further questioning like you have tried.

  • padraig

    Medieval theolgians used to earnestly how many angels there might fit on the eye of a needle.

    Now anoraks debate the supoosed proceedings of…….sigh……yawn…………snooze….. my goodness the Aliance Party……..

    Stamp collectors how are yez………………

  • Chris Donnelly

    I detect the distinct sound of a constituency selection snub…perhaps the Bradshaw defection did come with the predetermined price of an Assembly run at East Antrim.

    In any case, a bad loss for Alliance.

    Good luck Gerry and hope we’ll hear from you soon, not least when it comes to Morse’s famous constituency profiles.

  • joeCanuck

    Yes, it’s passing strange that on a N.I. based blog, devoted principally to the political arena, that people would discuss the goings on in a Northern Irish Party.

  • pippakin

    ” By mutual agreement” is not the usual resignation line, where is the ‘sadly missed, irreplaceable, uniquely qualified, etc.

    Burnt out? at thirty three!

    Odd, very odd.

  • joeCanuck

    Yes Chris, it could be a perceived snub; it’s not uncommon in business as well as politics.
    Hope you haven’t outed one of my favourite commenters and supreme election analyst.

  • YelloSmurf

    Gerry will be sadly missed (there, I’ve said it). He is a formidable campaigner and I, personally, hope that he will return to politics eventually. He is still very young (for a politician), so you can never say never.

  • DC

    I hope he isn’t ill, but I do think if it was an illness of concern it would be mentioned and he would be supported collectively – rather than to delete his Alliance page.

    Unless he is about to be convicted of something with a big stigma attached to it?

    Likely guess is a heated blow up inside a party with an extremely individualistic (self-interested?) and volatile culture. But hey generally that’s politics, nature of the beast.

    Anyway, good luck.

    Given these recent departures and new members is this the emergence of Blue Alliance?

  • Mark McGregor

    It is bizarre that Alliance didn’t note his ‘passing’ in any form and when asked called it a ‘staffing matter’.

    I doubt many will take this on the face value now.

    They delete his profile, replace him, keep it quiet and then when pressured give a statement via Neeson not carried in any form – where are the thanks and plaudits? There is something going on.

    Stormont had no idea he was leaving/left – I asked.

    Odd.

    Not just odd, when getting any comment is like pulling teeth, it is unbelievable.

  • pippakin

    Mark McGregor

    Look (you did?) at all the obvious: other girl/boy, remember the potential libdem leader?. If all other possibilities fail chances are it was an almighty row. He lost and will no doubt return to reak his revenge in suitably merciless fashion.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I have often mentioned the fact that Mr Lynch was in my opinion a rather poor candidate (Slugger O’Toole passim) and many Alliance folks chided me for having it in for Gerry Lynch.
    Alas I calls it as I sees it.
    And if indeed it is a selection snub, it is perhaps an indication that people within the Alliance Party felt the same way as I did.
    Alliance people will of course quite properly seek to minimise the damage. No harm in that.
    I did caution that AP rejoicing at potential “liberal” defections from UUP as it was a double edged sword and if indeed Ms Bradshaw has been given a nod anda wink at East Antrim selection in place of an ambitious and loyal party stalwart (who many here inside and outside AP believe to be very capable)…..it is frankly disgraceful.
    There will of course be a public stance of unity by the able AP posters here but sadly this does reflect rather badly on APs leadership. The simple fact .for all to see….was that the introduction of Bradshaw and possibly others will have a ripple effect in AP………some good…..some bad.
    The lesson for AP of Westminster 2010 was not just Naomi Longs stunning victory in East Belfast but the emergence of some rather able and articulate young candidates who were able to wave the AP flag with some distinction west of the Bann. They deserve more than this.
    Gerry Lynch was perhaps unable to take one for the Party……or maybe uncomfortable with Bradshaws defection …..or maybe its “just a staffing issue”.
    But NOT a good day for Alliance Party.

  • In the business world, ‘by mutual consent’ is usually read to mean that it was neither mutual nor consensual

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Football Managers are sacked (!) by mutual consent.

  • emanonon

    Maybe the Conservatives will be his new home, if they are to contest seats.

  • exactly.

  • slug

    I don’t comment much here, but, as its possible Gerry is reading this, I wanted to simply say on a personal note I always found him very bright and good value. I challenged him under a previous name I used, and he under a previous name he used. We go back a way on this forum.

    I find it credible that he would choose to leave politics – he is capable of many rewarding careers. I am not sure that electoral politics is the career that suits his talents best.

    I actually think a person of his talent should be in the Assembly, for the sake of NI, but should do something else, if he wants to use his talents to the full (the Assembly is not a very inspiring place). A bit like Esmond Birnie for example.

    I wish him all the very best and hope he has a very fulfilling next stage in his career.

  • slug

    I see I have writen that “I challenged him”. This sounds odd. What I mean is I engaged with him intellectually.

  • PaddyReilly

    Gerry Lynch has a degree in Politics, unusually for a politician, and it is nice to see a bit of erudition being brought to bear on that subject.

    It may be though that he was sidelined by those who thought that an Alliance politician should be a bit more of a Joe Ordinary. It is, after all, the party of the middle of the road. Standing for a Westminster seat is, for small parties, a thankless task. The vote usually goes down, for no fault of your own, because voters vote tactically for someone with a better chance of winning, and you get the blame.

    I would recommend a career in academia. Someone to take over from Paul Bew, that sort of thing.

  • Seosamh

    Where is Comrade Stalin?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    First and foremost this will be perceived by Alliance people as a shock and even a personal loss. So I have a certain empathy for them on that.
    People tend to forget that a lot of personal faith is tied up in politics (it would be a lesser thing if people did not feel committment) and one of the inevitabilities across the political spectrum is that personal disappointment is inevitable.
    Mr Lynchs position is confused somewhat by the fact that he was both a paid employee of the Party and a leading politician within it.
    Alliance says that its a purely staffing issue. It might well be. But it does not explain the decision to quit politics. Arguments are inevitable …not only within politics but within the small or medium sized office. But there seems no reason why Mr Lynch could not have continued in politics while gracefully leaving full time employment.
    “Mutual Consent” is of course a coded phrase. Clearly there was a row. If it was simply a matter of whose turn it was to buy the chocolate biscuits or have the photocopier repaired……it should not concern us.
    Especially as “mutual consent” implies a desire for both sides to put it behind them……presuming adequate severance, confidentiality, very public airing of grievances etc.
    But there are frankly unanswered questions here. A Headquarters senior staffer leaving by mutual consent was seemingly not noticed byanyone outside the Office. The Press? Where were they?
    Released thru Facebook? Can that be serious?
    But Mr Lynch was also a senior AP figure……and as recently as last week we were told by two or three folks a certainty for election in East Antrim (I had expressed reservations).
    Seemingly Mr Lynch was in the process of leaving his job and politics as that thread was developing.
    A Staffing matter? Probably. But clearly theres more to it. And APs attempts to close off discussion is obviously the right tactic for them but obviously should be scrutinised.
    As has been observed, Alliance Party has much talent. Certainly more than the DUP. But opportunities are limited and therefore at a premium.
    By opportunities I mean the chance to be a serious player both in terms of a political career and the opportunity to serve the community.
    Whether this is in Westminster, Stormont, Headquarters, Press Office, local councils or Party Executive……..the opportunities are few. But Gerry Lynch was both a candidate in a winnable seat AND a senior employee. A player. Probably one of the top ten movers and shakers in the Party.
    So……the question is……….why.
    Last week Comrade Stalin kindly observed that I had made a “characteristically sober” analysis of the consequences of Ms Bradshaw joining the Alliance Party.
    Perhaps the qualification (justified……as it was merely an analysis) he expressed was that I was underestimating Mr Lynchs capabilities as a candidate.
    Comrade Stalin might well have been right on this but if Lynch was about to be passed over for another.then clearly senior AP people shared my misgivings.
    If Mr Lynch was/is to be replaced by Ms Bradshaw…..then clearly that does present the possibility it was part of a deal which brought her to her new political home. But we have been assured that there would be no fast-tracking.
    I suspected there would. Of course Ms Bradshaw has not so far as I know been selected for anywhere.
    My suspicion is that Mr Lynch (who is after all a keen observer of quotas and such) may have concluded that there is a single AP quota in East Antrim (not a certainty) and may havebeen reluctant to share the ticket with a high profile running mate. (Ms Bradshaw?)
    Can it be simply personal…..lingering resentment from Euro elections where old memories are awakened. Does the mention of Ms Bradshaw conjure up an elephant in the room?
    As I have said opportunities are few and .
    any fast tracking is a mixed blessing for able and loyal Alliance Party members who seek a career in politics. They are frankly more desrving.
    The suspicion lingers that Mr Lynch is the first to pay the price. Others……..Heading, Muir, McGrellis etc may be more willing to take a hit for the team. But if she is a candidate in East Antrim, just how many AP people will be willing to knock on doors for her.

  • Rory Carr

    Exactly indeed. Mutual consent tends to imply that the employer said, “Fuck off, now!” and the employee replied, “OK.”

  • Valenciano

    I spoke to Gerry last week so I do know why but won’t comment as that’s for him to do. What I will say is that a lot of speculation here is very wide of the mark, particularly the rumours involving Bradshaw, who won’t be the Alliance candidate in East Antrim.

  • Granni Trixie

    FJH; I do enjoy it when you are completely wrong in your analysis.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    As I said above there is an aspect of personal trauma here. And I fully respect that. But Mr Lynch is in the position of being a paid staffer AND a high profile political figure in his party.
    There will inevitably be speculation. But there are four sides here and Mr Lynch is but one of them. Id be inclined to believe his version.
    A second side is the AP official version that its a staffing issue. Possibly true. Possibly lame.
    A third side is rank and file AP members. Do they have an opinion……Id say yes……but not wanting to parade their washing in public.
    And a fourth side is the wider public. Do we have any entitlement here?. Like it or not it HAS political fallout.
    At the very least Mr Lynch and AP have indicated to the East Antrim electorate that he would be representing the Party next year. Id suggest they at least require some more detailed explanation. Or maybe they dont.

    As for Ms Bradshaw.I certainly welcome the your clear statement (ahead of a selection convention to replace Mr Lynch) that she wont be a candidate in East Antrim.
    On a personal level Im glad that she wont be taking her skills portfolio to East Antrim. And hopefully nowhere else until she has paid her dues.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Im sure you do.
    But probably “idle speculation” is a better description than the “characteristically sober analysis” much admired by Comrade Stalin.
    An analysis would be facilitated by more facts….please feel free to share.

  • Citizen Lenin

    2 local APNI Councillors have applied to be the candidates in East Antrim.
    1) The Party Chairman and long-time political bridesmaid who is a Presbyterian elder from Greenisland, and 2)a female RC from north of Larne. That’s nicely balanced from a tokenistic point of view.
    Both of them were utterly appalled by Mr Lynch’s Westminster candidature on their patch, and both would not tolerate Ms Bradshaw’s sudden candidature (against party 6 month membership rules).

  • pam

    FJH – Stewart Dickson and Geraldine Mulvenna were selected last night as the Alliance candidates for the Assembly Elections.

  • Big Bad Bob

    The facts, FJH, are that alliance already had it’s share of perfectly competent candidates in East Antrim, of whom two, Stewart Dickson and Gerardine Mulvenna, were selected last night.

    That Dickson is the Party Chair and ex-candidate Lynch the departing Chief Exec is coincidence I’m sure.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    So lets tease this out a little folks.
    Mr Lynch left his paid post last week by ahem “mutual consent” and has quit politics.
    We can look at the 2010 Elections as I am sure Mr Lynch did in his alter ego and reckoned there was the probability of one AP seat in the constituency.
    Yet the decision was taken to run two candidates. Probably this decision was taken some time ago. Whether it was the advice of a known shrewd analyst and candidate Mr Lynch, I dont know.
    But as the selection meeting was last night, clearly Mr Lynch who last night was merely a former member of the Party was not available for selection.
    So while some actually know the circumstances of last week, its reasonable speculation that there was a bust up.
    Why?
    With due respect to Ms Mulvenna who I am sure will make a worthy candidate, Id submit that any selection convention pre-disposed to run two candidates would select Mr Dickson and Ms Mulvenna.
    Presumably there are people reading this who know how many candidates made themselves available last night. Mr Dickson and Ms Mulvenna and no others? One other? Two others?
    Was Ms Mulvenna effectively a late addition.
    So that brings us no further on?
    Yet I calculate at best (and I suggest any reasonable analyst and Mr Lynch is better than reasonable) that there is one AP seat there and Mr Lynch has been working on it.
    Two candidates makes little sense.
    And Mr Lynch would obviously have stood a better chance with a low profile running mate. Mr Dickson is scarcely low profile.
    How was territory being divided up?
    And there are few better analysts on this than Mr Lynch.
    Was Ms Mulvenna already nominated to contest two places with Mr Dickson and Mr Lynch?
    Did a kingmaker in the constituency change sides.
    My assertion that AP in East Antrim have a record of shafting each other (Matthews/Neeson) has been ridiculed as nonsense. It doesnt quite look that way today.
    Or did some AP people in East Antrim just decide that Mr Lynchs performance in May was not up to scratch(I am on record as saying he was a poor candidate) and panic.

    Last week I was assured that I was wrong and that Mr Lynch would hold the Alliance seat.
    This week he is not even a candidate.

  • Granni Trixie

    FJH:what part of completely wrong do you not understand?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    oh but Im having fun Granni Trixie.
    Like I say Im working in the dark. Some of your colleagues are lighting a candle for me.

  • pippakin

    Leave the Alliance fine, they are a bit hereandthereian after all but Why leave politics?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    well I think we have most of the jigsaw pieces except the one Granni Trixie is hiding. 🙂

  • GoldenFleece

    0 seats for Alliance in East Antrim then.

  • Dewi

    “….clearly Mr Lynch who last night was merely a former member of the Party was not available for selection.”
    Has he resigned from the party?

  • YelloSmurf

    Pam, I am going to tell you now that I was talking to a press officer last night who said that the source of the next leek is going to get their head kicked in. So don’t reveal the outcome of any more selection meetings. I am now slightly worried that what I have just written counts as a leak.

  • Granni Trixie

    Can anyone explain to me why some people have “profile” in red beside their name yet when you click there is no profile. eg wanted to see if Yellow Smurf was in Sinnfein (reference to a kickin’, geddit?). Explanation,anyone?

    Personally, I am happy to be unprofiled as I obviously wish to be anon. If I did do a profile I would definately give some thought to creating an exciting identity (having grown out of air hostessing ambitions) .

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    He has “bowed out of politics” (Liam Clark) and while he possibly still has a valid Alliance Party membership card in his wallet and indeed might well have been at last nights meeting, he had resigned a few weeks ago and was “burnt out”.
    But as Mark McGregor points out…..that is seemingly the entire story ……as AP would have it.
    Their line that it has nothing to do with policy or “electoral politics” its not actually a story.

    Does that line actually make sense. Is it not newsworthy that the Chief Executive of a political party resigns. Would it not merit a press release from AP. Even “all the best” rather than a “we wish him well” when prompted by a journalist.

    And why did the media not pick it up?
    Now Im a firm believer that things are usually just exactly as they appear to be. But isnt this just a bit odd.
    The nothing to do with “electoral politics” line is not credible when as recently as May, he was an Alliance Party candidate and AP bullish about his chances in the Assembly. Note the comments last week.

    Now quite possibly there is a valid reason (health for example) why the story is not more public but that hardly explains the untidy end to his Alliance career.
    My position is not that I know all the answers. Quite the reverse. My position is that other people DO know the answers but are unwilling to share it.
    In the vaccuum there is speculation.
    As I recall a few months ago, you yourself started a thread on Alliance Partys (and others) position after Westminster. Id submit as I did then I believe (I certainly so stated in other threads), that AP had suffered a reversal in East Antrim. I queried candidate selection.
    In some threads I think some AP people have acknowledged the reversal which they believe can be addressed before the Assembly. A valid point.
    But I dont see two quotas in East Antrim. And I dont think an analyst of Gerry Lynchs calibre would se that either.

    Now of course those “in the know” can say all of this is wide of the mark. And they would be failing in their duty to Party loyalty to say otherwise.
    But in the last month here we have had threads on de-selection and selection involving other Assembly parties……UUP (Bradshaw, Hamilton) , Sinn Féin (Leonard), SDLP (Quigley) and the stories have been extensively scrutinised here on Slugger O’Toole……AP supporters have enthusiastically joined the discussions. I think we must as a matter of equity scrutinise the untimely demise of Mr Lynchs political ambitions.

    Now of course there is a line between political disappointment and personal trauma and I have absolutely no wish go beyond what Id call “legitimate scrutiny” but APs stonewalling has I suggest not helped at all.

  • YelloSmurf

    I am not in Sinn Fein, I’m an Alliance member. The kicking was purely figurative.

  • pippakin

    Granni Trixie

    I think if you log in you are given a profile. It is up to you to edit it or not. Logging out removes the profile and consequently the ability to mark, judge or commend.

    I’m staying logged in for the time being just to test the system

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I didnt want a profile and I got one. Except it says nothing at all which is exactly the way I want it
    No idea how it works and care even less.
    Last I saw of my own profile, I was in total +10 agrrement with people I usually disagree with and in total -10 disagreement with people that I usually agree with.
    So the process of “giving me a profile” is actually as inaccurate as any mysterious identity that you create.

  • Granni Trixie

    FJH: O but it has.(as you often put it).
    You are none the wiser.

  • pippakin

    FJH

    Same here I apparently disagree with me -10 and the people I agree with you would not believe. I mean Turgon may be a very nice person but I do NOT agree with him.

    If you logged in once you have a profile. To get rid of it log out. It doesn’t say anything until or unless you edit it.

  • Granni Trixie

    Pipakin
    many thanks for that – what exquisite temptation – to profile or not to profile now that I know how to do it.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Dont do it Granni Trixie. Youll hate yourself in the morning. Consider the high of discovering that 72% of people agreeing with me rate my posts as “quality”.
    But consider the bewilderment of discovering that I agrre with diverse people such as Comrade Stalin AND Turgon to a factor of + 10
    And that I disagree with Pippakin (factor-10) and Joe Canuck (factor -7).

  • Belfast Dissenter

    I actually met him walking up Castle lane yesterday afternoon with another man I don’t know. He said hello and walked on. I knew nothing of this until now or I’d have stove and asked him about this. He’s a great guy and Alliance – a party I normally have no time for – will be the poorer without him.

  • Salem

    I always had a lot of time for Mr Lynch and I will miss him in politics. But I know he will do well in any future plans.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Is it a coincidence that they have selected a prod and a taig? Is the Carnlough vote being courted?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    No. That would be a little unfair. Actually very unfair.
    Where its possible for Alliance Party to run two candidates (and Im not sure two in East Antrim) is a good idea..then theres a logic in selecting the two best available but also in balancing the ticket as much as possible.
    In the case of Alliance, clearly its not a sectarian party and should therefore play to its strengths and demonstate that it is non sectarian and clearly the best way to demonstrate this is to run a candidate from each community……again where its feasible to do so.
    Stewart Dickson is from the Carrick end of East Antrim. And Ms Mulvenna is from the Larne end.
    Therefore thats balanced.
    Mr Dickson is quite evidently a male. Ms Mulvenna a rather pleasant looking lady. Balanced.
    While I could make an educatied guess as to “perceived community affiliation” its not something Im comfortable with…..but for a party which is avowedly agnostic on a United Ireland, we could suppose that the candidates are agnostic or lean one way or other. Balanced.

    As there is a genuine chance of a nationalist seat in East Antrim, there is also a strategic advantage in running a candidate from the Carnlough end of the constituency, there is also a logic in running a person from that heartland. She could take enough votes there to keep one candidate (Dickson) ahead of any nationalist particuarly the SDLP.

    Stewart Dickson is a serial loser but he will never have a better chance of taking an Assembly seat. He is Alliance Chairman so is clealy the front runner. In his view he probably thinks his experience (mostly of losing it has to be said) balances Ms Mulvennas inexperience…..at this level. He is the one that AP want in the Assembly. Hes the frontrunner.
    So I see nothing particuarly sinister in a Party wanting to maximise their vote by touching as many geographic, gender, national identity bases as possible….particuarly as the Party is clearly non sectarian.
    To some extent you might argue that I undermine my own case by saying that AP have a record of running Neeson and serial loser Dickson here and they were both from the Carrick area. True of course but AP would argue that they were the best known candidates and this time round Larne area becomes more important.

    Comparisons are odious and too few to be useful as it is only relevant where AP can field two candidates and really only relevant since the days of 18 constituencies rather than 12.
    If you look for that kind of evidence….and I dont…because I think of national identity as a bigger factor (with AP and indeed other parties than actual religion) then you will probably find the evidence contradictory.
    Not going to look thru my records to disprove my own case as I think its not a bad sign that a Party could (randomly) field say Eileen Bell/Brian Wilson in North Down or further back Charlie Dunleath/John Cushnahan….or more recently Tom Ekin/Geraldine Rice in South Belfast. For the most part just good candidates reflecting the social mix in their areas.

  • Granni Trixie

    This being NI, because of his strange name I would have identifed Stewart Dickson as a Prod. However I have absolutely no idea what Geraldine Mulvenna “is”.

    I do however identify her as having a grand “portfolio” of skills and experience equal to Stewarts so it didnt just happen theat they were chosen. Each are keen as mustard and good luck to them.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Indeed Granni.
    As Ive said, I wouldnt dream of factoring in a persons religion but it does surprise me a little that you yourself are in the dark about Mr Dicksons religion.
    In an effort to help, I took the step of looking up “People” in the Alliance Website. Mr Dickson is candid…..and as its in the public domain with other AP profiles, I can confirm that Stewart Dickson is Captain of 1st Greenisland Boys Brigade anda governor at Central Primary School and Silverstream Primary Schools. He even ran a successful drugs awareness campaign. And attends Greenisland Presbyterian Church.
    Im sure some or all of that has appeared in his election literature and it surprise me that you have never read it.
    It might even have appeared on his election literature when he became Chairman of the Party.
    Like you I have absolutely no idea about Geraldine Mulvenna. Her Alliance profile makes no mention of it. And as Ive said above, its not something about which I particuarly care.
    Mr Dickson seems to take a different view, which is the only reason I feel obliged to draw it to your attention as you have not read or remembered the profile of Party Chairman and veteran party stalwart who has been contesting…and losing elections for decades.

    Good to see that you have faith in these candidates as “good” . Not every good candidate wins of course. I formed an opinion that Mr Lynch was not a good candidate and am obviously pleased AP found not only one……….but two…….who are better.
    Thanks for using the term…..”portfolio of skills”. I love that term. 🙂

  • Granni Trixie

    Please reassure me that you understand my use of “portfolio” – would hate anyone to think I would use it seriously.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Oh I dont think you would dream of using it seriously.
    I take the view….and Im sure you do also….that politics is quite an honourable profession and that while wishing to have a career is not a bad thing…….it is secondary to the desire to do a bit of good.
    People who talk (seriously) about their “portfolio of skills” are really better suited to appearing on The Apprentice than appearing before a selection committee and I say this regardless of their party label.

    I am all for politicians being “professional” but just a little suspicious of politicians who are “too professional”.

  • Granni Trixie

    Now that is an interesting topic – for what we are seeing, as I write, is the professinalization of politics in NI.(btw,am multitasking – watching Take Thon on Pudsey show,thank God yer man came back,drugs or not).

    I am reminded of the professionalization of community relations after 1990/CRC in a field largely populated by women, when all of a sudden Men were the real deal.
    It fitts the analysis of Elsie Boulding (peace activist of Boulding Colarodo as it happens) that when something becomes a hot subject,men take it over. Anyone reading this may not agree – but wait – you will see that it is an accuraatre observation.

    But to get back to professionalization of field of politics in NI. If it means being more efficient,using money smartly,having writing skills etc etc – good.But they still need the convinced (like me) who muddle along and in many ways are the backbone (fundraising,contributing to committees,policies etc etc). It nis up to the parties and leaders to appreciatre these resources and ensure that the values of a Party reflect them.In other words: political parties need to value professionals and equally, the rank and file.

    (Pudsey doing great,you will be glad to know).

  • Easty

    Dickson is not so much a serial looser but rather a serial supporter of Neeson, besides he has been holding a council seat in his own area for over 30 years now and has topped the poll and brought in second councillors on many occasions. One to watch.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Granni Trixie……For the record I think its Boulder Colorado.
    But yes your point is well made that “men” have taken over the the Community Relations “industry”. Or perhaps turned it into an “industry”.
    Rather like the lady (Arabella Weir) in The Fast Show, who had good ideas ignored by men ……who then adapted the ideas as their own. The irony is that Weir based this observation on experiences she had at script conferences.

    I think there IS a danger in too much professionalism. “New Labour”……Id rather have Dennis Skinner than several thousand Milliband brothers…the most unlikely MPs for Doncaster and South Shields since ….well since Mandelson was MP for Hartlepool.
    Profesionalism gained at the expense of a Soul.
    Ive decided……with your permission that Ms Bradshaw ..will be my new bete noire in the Alliance Party. Now go on…..you know that Ive been reasonably complimentary about quite a few.
    But frankly its not so much her confused political angst or even ambition…….so much as that “portfolio of skills”.

    But on a more serious note….I think that some issues are too important to be “womens issues”. Violence against women. Ive heard percentages of around 20% to 25% mentioned as reasonable estimates of women who have suffered significantly.
    One in Four. One in Five.
    As a man will always have a mother and two grandmothers, usually one wife, usually a couple of sisters, maybe a daughter, possibly a few granddaughters, a daughter in law far too many neices and more sisters in law that are good for health, aunts,and an adequate supply of cousins….plus afew co-workers, friends…thats actually qute a lot of women.
    And however you read one in four or one in five……that makes it a Mans issue too.
    And Im of the opinion that the whole subject could be dealt with more quickly if as many men were involved in the solution as are involved in the cause.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    A serial loser at Assemly level .2007…..2003…..1998…..1996 (Forum)

    A serial supporter (ie played second fiddle) to Mr Neeson.
    A serial supporter of and prepared to play second fiddle to Gery Lynch?
    Alas we will never know the answer……other than knowing one is still the AP Chairman (and frontrunner in East Antrim) and the other was a party Official and the frontrunner and is neither now.
    Wouldnt it be funny if AP held its East Antrim seat and Ms Mulvenna got to Stormont. Thats an interview with Noel Humphreys Id like to see.

  • Citizen Lenin

    well who proposed the vote of no confidence in Sean’s leadership of APNI then? ask the MLA for Lagan Valley if in doubt about that one.

  • Anon

    Her name is GerARDine, not Geraldine. You were obviously thinking of the fragrant Gerry Rice: shafted in South Belfast when tokenism took over in 2007.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Im happy to call her Gerardine. I also have a friend “Gerardine” who is always mightily annoyed at her name being mis-spelt or mis pronounced.
    But tokenism in South Belfast.
    This is rather odd charge.
    Earlier in this thread (17th November) Big Bad Bob announced the AP candidates in East Antrim with a dig at the coincidence of Dickson being Chairman and Lynch being CEO ……didnt Bob make a similar point yesterday in relation to South Belfast where “Cathy Curran” is claimed to be more effective than “over-rated Ms Lo”.
    Now it is anonymously suggested that Lo is merely a token…….
    All of this is very odd.
    Who can benefit?
    As Granni Trixie said in a thread (where comment seems no longer available) one wonders about the obsessions/vendettas that appear to exist.
    Certainly Gerry Adams gets about five threads on any one issue. I think their frequency and length has as much to do with the unwillingness of Adams/SF supporters to fully engage with Slugger and a certain frustration manifests itself with the anti-Adams majority on Slugger.
    But certainly the obsession with some stories and personalities is interesting.
    As is the “nothing to see here……move on” replies that partisan commenters post when there seems a real story (like Lynchs resignation)

  • Granni Trixie

    FJH: dont believe a word Anon says – clearly a plant.
    Let me tell you something different: Anna Lo could not be rated highly enough,inside and outside of Alliance,infact I admire her gifts so much think I would feel the same even if she defected to UCUNF. What you see is what you get.
    Catherine Curran her assistant and she get on just dandy seeing to the issues which constitutients bring to them.
    It is a natural progression for her that she was successful at a hotly contested selection meeting recently.
    This is not spin,it is my perception,from close to the action. Though Anon has clearly some axe to grind, I would be surprized if she/he had the support of others in SB.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Granni Trixie….let me assure you that I dont believe a single word of it……and indeed think his contribution was “tacky” and insulting.
    Indeed the contributions of Anon, “Bob” and now “Citizen Lenin” (see above) seem to be stirring…A single plant with three names or three people on a co-ordinated attack seems to be a problem.
    But the tackiness and thinly disguised subtext in respect of Anna Lo……seems to suggest personal motives rather than “political”. Possibly a combination.
    When these things have a personal element, there is usually a slip-up and the mole or troublemaker unmasked quite quickly.
    Im sure the mole catchers are on to it already. Or they know already.
    Clearly if its political, its more worrying.
    Id assumed it was more general than merely South Belfast so its interesting you feel it originates maliciously in South Belfast. Although its interesting that the selection convention was “hotly contested”
    Faint praise for Ms Curran. Animosity towards Ms Lo and Ms Rice. Praise for a recent AP convert who may or not have made hereself available for selection in Laganbank.
    While we see who it is meant to damage, I wonder who its actually meant to benefit….a sign of things to come I suspect.

  • YelloSmurf

    I think the reason why Stewart Dixon is, as you put it, a serial loser is that has so far always been on a ticket with Séan Neeson. With the Alliance vote being in such a terrible state between 1998 and circa 2007, we were never going to get two seats in East Antrim. Séan’s retirement makes it much more likely that Stewart Dixon, as the better known of the two candidates, will win a seat, and the upturn in the vote might just (fingers crossed) lead to two seats.