Slugger Awards: Challenging your own community…

Okay, we are going to be shortlisting nominations for all the Awards categories at the Big Political Breakfast at the Europa next Thursday (there are still some few places left, but you’d need to book soon), so let’s give them something to bowl at… In this category, which started off as a media category is now well populated with politicians, we already have:

– Dawn Purvis for her high profile resignation from the PUP…

– Basil McCrea for his appearance at Amnesty’s Pride Talk Back a few weeks before the leadership election in the UUP..

– Margaret Ritchie for her wearing of the Poppy…

– Naomi Long for her openly non Unionist campaign in Unionist East Belfast…

Okay, that’s one of the awards that’s captured the imagination better than others, but let’s try and fill in some gaps before next Thursday. And if you want to second or third someone already nominated, let’s hear your reasons why.

Let’s stay away from the ‘why nots’!

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  • Chris Donnelly

    I’d nominate Martin McGuinness for enthusiastically supporting Derry’s UK City of Culture bid. He did so because of the benefits it could provide for the area, in spite of the obvious contradictions involved which provided ammunition to dissidents in a city they are attempting to establish a firm footing in, and in spite of the knowledge that unionist politicians would find it impossible to resist goading the ‘UK’ aspect of the contest.

    Indeed, given the demographic profile of the city, his gesture was akin to Ian Paisley advocating Ballymena as a possible Irish city of culture!

  • joeCanuck

    Great idea, Chris. He certainly stuck his neck out and the gesture should be appreciated.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Im not actually sure that Margaret Ritchie was challenging her own community with the poppy thing. It was more to do with the co-incidence of the Party Conference falling before the Remembrance Week. When she made her speech the only person in the room wearing a poppy was a journalist at the back of the hall. And the only politician I saw wearing one was Jim Wells who strayed into the hotel.
    It would have been more of a challenge to “her own community” if she had worn a poppy while making the speech or if anyone else in her party had done so.
    Likewise the applause she got for stating that “I am not afraid to say the words Northern Ireland” might have been less if she had added “nor am I afraid to say Londonderry”.

    She was NOT chalenging her own community. Rather…..and strategically correctly ……she was challenging so called moderates in the political centre to take a closer look at the SDLP. Indeed that was the whole focus of the SDLP Conference. Ms Ritchie was on safe ground.
    Likewise Dawn Purvis did not challenge “her own community”. To her credit she left the PUP and has everything to gain and nothing to lose by so doing.
    Naomi Long…….an “openly” non unionist campaign in East Belfast well surely that does not challenge her “own” moderate community (the third tribe). Its a logical consequence of a Party being agnostic on the border. There might be an implication in the nomination that AP soft pedals or emphasises its agnostic stance or candidates preferred option in local circumstances. But surely that suggestion would undermine what AP claims to be about.

    Of the nominations only Basil McCrea really challenged his own community and did himself no favours.
    Of the above he is the only logical choce.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    oops sorry….I appear to have misunderstood the nature of the thread. Moderators if it is helpful please delete my previous post.

  • Drumlins Rock

    This award is supposed to be in the Media Section (not sure we need one but…) so it is too late now to start discussing politicians.
    Anyways it sounds like PC crap to me, a politicians job is to REPRESENT the views of the community that elects them, and serve the needs of everyone if they voted for thwem or not.

  • Neil

    Have to agree with DR for a change, politicians can’t really challenge or annoy their target audience. It’s the ultimate popularity contest, that’s the bottom line.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Trevor Ringland for resigning from the UUP over the new leader’s attitudes towards the GAA.

  • themagpie

    Gerry Kelly and Bobby Storey for confronting rioters at Ardoyne shops back in the summer?

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2010/07/15/the-king-is-dead/

  • McQueen

    Richard O’Rawe, author of Afterlives

    For speaking a truth and relentlessly pursuing it, and the way it has completely changed the accepted narrative of one of his community’s most revered events

  • Dixie Elliott

    I also nominate Richard O’Rawe. He proved that you can be caught out lying but never in telling the truth and never once has he had to retract what he said. Unlike Danny Morrison who had a piece in this weeks Andytown News in which he has effectively rubbished their claims that the Brits reneged on a deal during the 1st Hunger Strike…

    Danny said:

    “Although it is now well-known that Brendan Hughes ended the hunger strike unilaterally, without consulting his O/C Bobby Sands, we on the outside finessed the sequence of events for the sake of morale and at a midnight press conference merged the secret arrival of a British government document (promising a more enlightened prison regime: falsely, as it turned out) with the ending of the hunger strike.

    It was either that or admit – which to the republican base was inconceivable – that Brendan had ended the strike without getting a thing.

    Bobby – who turned out to be right – did not believe the British had any intention of working the unsecured promises contained in the document. But we begged him to put them to the test and that if the administration made things impossible then it could be claimed that the Brits were reneging. ”

    Now the British government document as Danny knows was in the hands of Fr Meagher en-route to the prison when Brendan Hughes ended the Hunger Strike and it contained the line…

    “As soon as possible all prisoners will be issued with civilian-type clothing for wear during the working day”

    Effectively what conforming prisoners were entitled to, so what unsecured promises of regime change did it contain that Danny said could be claimed that the Brits were reneging on?

    But surely if this is true in that “if the administration made things impossible then it could be claimed that the Brits were reneging” Then what were they reneging on if, to quote Danny, “we on the outside finessed the sequence of events for the sake of morale”

    Most importantly if the Brits didn’t ‘renege’ on an offer/deal, then the men on the 2nd Hunger Strike were labouring under a misapprehension, when, they were insisting on a Brit official coming in to endorse any offer ‘because of the way the Brits had reneged at the end of the first hunger strike’.

    Why weren’t those men told that in fact the Brits never made any deal to renege on and why was this line used in order to discredit O’Rawe by Adams, Morrison, McGuinness etc since the publication of his first book?

  • Turgon

    I largely agree with Drumlin’s Rock: politicians are meant to represent. I accept some degree of challenging their community may at times be appropriate but that tends to be what politicians claim they were doing when looking back to explain their loss of touch with their voters.

    As to the proposed candidates.I largely agree with FJH.

    Ritchie was mainly playing to the moderates: not necessarily the wrong thing to do but only a bit challenging to the SDLP base most of whom will have known and approved of what she was at.

    Naomi long was doing absolutely nothing different to what she has always done. She got her usual East Belfast Alliance vote. then she also gained a protest vote against Peter Robinson and the UUP vote collapsed as people who normally vote UUP saw her as the strongest candidate to beat Peter Robinson and of course the UUP’s own candidate was a hopeless choice for the seat. hence, Long did nothing different or challenging: she is a good constituency representative and she benefited from a protest vote against the incumbent and from a pretty useless UUP candidate.

    Dawn Purvis was simply moving her position in a desperate attempt to hold onto her assembly seat or position herself to get a nice quango job if she loses it. Also as Mark Devenport pointed out at the time had she not jumped ship from the UVF / PUP she would have been in danger of losing her Stormont allowances.

    I suppose in a way Ringland did challenge some peopel. He tried to bully the new UUP leader: failed dismally and ran off in a huff. Then he changed his position from supporting right wing politics and asking working class unionists to vote for a rightish party (the CUs) to supporting Purvis’s supposed left wing views (which are actually little more than support for gangsterism). I suppose that is a “challenge” to people. It looks more like a desperate attempt to hold on to any semblance of political relevance combined with a grossly inflated feeling of self importance. If he were a child it would be described as “challenging behaviour”

  • Magazine

    Second the McGuinness nomination. He followed up from 2009’s hospital visit to a shot PSNI officer in Derry by playing a lead role in the City of Culture bid – despite much discomfort from within his own party, never mind the wider opposition to the UK element of the title.