The After-Life of Brian…

There’s an interestingly signed letter in the Guardian today

Nick Clegg has repeated the Yes campaign’s claim that only the Conservatives and BNP oppose AV. Here in Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist party, the Greens, and Ulster Unionist party all back a No vote. AV would be a tremendous step backward for Westminster. It’s not a fair election system and would rig the electoral system against smaller parties. AV is an obscure, expensive and unwanted system.

Tom Elliott Leader, UUP, Brian Wilson MLA Leader, Northern Ireland Green party, Peter Robinson MLA First minister of Northern Ireland

Good luck in the Bangor council election, Brian!  Just don’t tell Steven…

It may also be worth noting, as the BBC point out, that “In contrast to its counterparts in England, Wales and Scotland, the Green Party in Northern Ireland is opposed to AV, arguing that the system is inferior to STV and could bolster sectarian voting patterns.”

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Sometimes the uniqueness of the GP sets it apart from other parties in a very positive way. Sometimes however it just makes them look like eejits. Wilson’s membership should have been rescinded straight away when he went independent. As for the letter ….wtf happened there, did he actually sign it as leader?

    Of course it’s not exactly what they want but for the GP in NI to recommend voting against AV is completely mad (as it is for the UUP but we know they just can’t help pressing the self destruct button).

  • joeCanuck

    I’m afraid I just don’t understand the opposition to this. Yes, for the smaller parties it is inferior to STV, but the choice isn’t between those, it’s between AV and FPTP.

  • Henry94

    I’m not convinced boosting small parties is such a democratic objective. In Ireland we have seen small parties like the PDs having a disproportionate influence because they picked up fourth and fifth seats here and there and ended up holding the balance of power.

    The Greens were in a similar position and both parties suffered a serious backlash because their influence was resented.

    On the make Independents have also managed to extract goodies for their constituencies through their good fortune in holding the balance of power.

    I can see the unfairness of the British system but it usually gives better outcomes. The government gets swept out and a new government with a working majority and new ideas takes over.

    More proportionate is not necessarily more democratic if the will for change is frustrated by horse-trading. AV would not be as bad in terms of decisiveness but it would foster extremes who would have to be pandered to for transfers. UKIP, the BNP and the SWP would probably become more influential and gain at local level. Why would that be a good thing?

  • separatesix

    Jim Allister also says no to AV.

  • Henry94

    Sure but he says no to everything.

  • Greenflag


    ‘he says no to everything.’

    not so 😉

    He says Yes to No sharing power with SF .

  • Pete Baker


    The main focus of the post is the billing of Brian Wilson in the letter. There’s little to be gained at this point by arguing about AV.

    Tochais Síoraí

    “did he actually sign it as leader?”

    Doubtful. But it does raise the question of how he came to be billed as such.

  • Zig70

    wife voted yes because she doesn’t like the tories and that toff Cameron. I voted yes in the hope that it will reduce the number of tory mp’s. Really we both know it’s going to change very little except to excite political nerds.

  • USA

    “focus of the post”

  • prolefodder

    Wilson was never GP leader. Seems this letter went to press clearly without the Greens knowing about it. Agree with Tochais that Wilson should have been expelled from the Party. Can’t imagine any other party where a former elected rep and member not only decides to stand as an independent (and therefore stands against another party member- as is the case in the council elections in Bangor West), but then publicly supports the member of another party (his wife Anne standing for the soft unionist party aka Alliance) against the real Party leader – Agnew. Makes both Brian Wilson and the Greens look silly to say the least. Perhaps the Greens are simply too nice….but this should not deflect from their achievement in N Down last night.

  • Steven Agnew has come out of it rather well.
    He was remarkably restrained that the “Green Party” wishes Brian Wilson well and “supports him”.
    Whether this extends to the Green Party candidate challenging fora seat previously held by Brian Wilson in Bangor West…..seems unlikely.
    Wilson represented every negative cliché about the Green Party that the Party is not a real “Party” merely a collection of enviromentalists.
    Standing down as a Green MLA and standing for Council as Independent and not endorsing his Green Party leader…should have “helped” his own wife an Alliance candidate to the Assembly.
    But most neutrals would kinda think Steven Agnew has the last laugh.
    Unlike Wilson, Agnew represents positive images of Greens as a “real” Party.