Slugger’s BIG Election Hangover

Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton addressing Slugger crowd Last night we held our very first election hangover in the Hudson; we have guests from across the main political parties and journalism in attendance at the end we had over 100 people there. Our guest speakers, Finance Minister Simon Hamilton and NILGA Chief Executive Derek McCallan gave a brilliant overview of the election and the roles that our new councils will be taking on in a year’s time. All of this was … Read more

After the elections and the pastor, unionists will have to ditch bigotry to survive

“I would still trust them to go down to the shops for me  and give me the right change.” The horribly condescending bigotry of Peter Robinson’s puzzling intervention in the row of over his friend the pastor recalls the atavism of “to hell with the future and long live the past” that leaves unionism with few friends and precious little defence.  Witness the spreading clamour against him which his friends will claim is only an excuse to bash poor Peter. Certainly … Read more

Kyle Paisley, Pastor McConnell & Peter Robinson

Kyle Paisley has commented on the recent McConnell / Robinson Islam debate over on the Eamonn Mallie blog. While there are irreconcilable differences between the theology of Biblical Protestantism and the theology of traditional Islam, this is no reason for any man to go out of his way in order to insult another. One has to wonder what Kyle Paisley therefore thinks of Rev Ian Paisley protesting the Pope or Ian Paisley Jnr being ‘repulsed’ by gay people. All Free … Read more

Cartoon – Brits [values] OUT!

  Of all the ink and wind spilt over Pastorgate, surely Alex Kane has it best (The View, BBC, 29.5.14): “[Peter] Robinson is the leader of unionism in Northern Ireland. His primary job in that role alone is simply to promote the values of a multi-cultural, multi-national state. He makes people living here feel like they’re not quite part of the country and that’s very dangerous.” Brigid Brophy wrote in the Spectator in 1981: “The Northern Irish have indeed made … Read more

Villa and Discurso – Chilean political drama in The MAC (27 May-14 June)

Two great plays – Villa and Discurso – form part of a season of Chilean political drama at The MAC. Sitting last night in an amphitheatre constructed in the upstairs venue, for ninety minutes the wraparound audience listened in to a discussion between three Chilean women who had been singled out to decide on how to transform the former Villa Grimaldi secret torture centre. Villa begins with a vote and it quickly becomes apparent that there are no obvious answers … Read more

After an all-Ireland election, where might Sinn Féin go next?

If any party are glad that the recent elections are over, it is surely Sinn Féin. Being the only major party that contests elections in all 32 counties means it is uniquely challenged when simultaneous local, European and bye-elections are held at the same time. With such an island-wide volume of electoral data, sifting through the various results and assessing their implications presents similar challenges for its strategists. But a couple of themes are pretty clear. In Wexford, Sinn Féin ran 5 … Read more

After the election… The SDLP…

The late Maya Angelou’s once said “surviving is important, thriving is elegant.” With each year that passes the SDLP is living proof of the resonance of that acute observation. They do, very much against the odds and the broader dynamic within the voting classes, rather inelegantly survive. Just enough to keep hope, now that almost everything else has fled, alive. Despite the influx of some new blood in Fermanagh and Omagh, and the appointment of the first female nationalist Lord … Read more

After the election… The UKIP…

For all its detractors (and I don’t count myself as the greatest fan of its ‘Brixit’ policy) UKIP does something most mainstream parties in Britain are struggling with. They connect with the ordinary man (and I suspect it is mostly men, to be honest) in the street, and they speak in a language they understand. They may get dismissed as saloon bar politicians, but in England they know how to put on a show with a sense of drama that … Read more

Cartoon – “Forgive me for…” [part 2]

As surmised, we got it. Full acknowledgements to Ian Knox. Joint Exhibition of the work of Ian Knox and I, this evening (May 30 2014) at the Slugger Hangover Event at the Hudson Bar from 8pm! Full information here. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here:

Quick STOP THE PRESS! Religious prejudice rediscovered in Northern Ireland…

Not sure what others make of this latest culture war controversy, but I think Jim Sheridan captures my own confusion at the broad surprise in the media and the political classes… Quick STOP THE PRESS ….Northern Irish Politicians may be prejudiced against someone of a different religion! #AnnaLo #WhatsNew — Jim Sheridan (@Jim_Sheridan) May 29, 2014 Shared space anyone? Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider … Read more

After the election… Fianna Fail…

After Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail is the longest continuously operating party in the Republic. Their long ongoing argument with big rival Fine Gael is often characterised as a continuation of civil war politics. Yet such reasoning is largely academic. These historic if unresolved issues have barely featured in southern political life in thirty years. Class is probably a more significant factor, with Fianna Fail traditionally drawing more support from the lower end of Ireland’s social scale. Yet even that is … Read more

“Peter Robinson poses as a unionist….”

I get the feeling Trevor has been itching to say something like this for a while. Here’s the presser from the Northern Ireland Conservatives’ Trevor Ringland on the First Minister’s queasy defence of Pastor Jack McConnell’s remarks on Muslims: “The DUP can present a modern face when it needs to court moderate voters”, Trevor said. “But underneath the facade, with the old guard like Robinson, hate-mongering is never far away. In a free society Pastor McConnell had a right to … Read more

The next Chief Constable… is George Hamilton

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…  Having “unanimously” agreed to appoint Matt Baggott as PSNI Chief Constable in 2009 for his strong advocacy of “community-style policing”, the Northern Ireland Policing Board, or its party political members, might be said to be experiencing buyer’s regret. Alternatively, those same political parties have undermined the outgoing Chief Constable throughout his tenure by putting their own party political concerns ahead of the ‘greater good’ – by word, and by deed.  [“ahem* – Ed]. ANYhoo… with Matt Baggott announcing his … Read more

The power of Nolan – too much of a good thing?

It was interesting to see that there was as much comment on Nolan personally as about Pastor McConnell. I don’t see or hear Nolan that often but I thought he played a pretty straight bat on this one. I’m told he divides an already divided community, not on sectarian lines but between pro- and anti- Nolan. That’s quite a tribute. I bet opinion swings quite a bit just like a Nolan interview. With Nolan we’re on a rollercoaster. Whether you … Read more

Anna Lo to step down before the next Assembly elections

And she’s citing racism as a primary reason… The BBC has a reference to it, which tops a previous story text about Pastor Jack McConnell, and the ‘supporting’ remarks of Peter Robinson… [Helpfully joining up the dots just in case anyone missed it? – Ed] You might say that, I couldn’t possibly comment. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular … Read more

After the election… The Green Party…

One of the few consistent dynamics in the elections north and south was the success of the Green party. In the south the party’s Euro candidate, and former minister of environment Eamon Ryan, is probably kicking himself that he didn’t also run for a seat in Dublin city council. That a minister from the last very unpopular administration was so close to becoming an MEP is testimony to two things: one, the change in the general mood; and two the … Read more

After the election…. Irish Labour Party…

The poor performance of the Irish Labour Party is important for a number of reasons. It’s not as though it hasn’t happened before in the party’s history. Labour defenestration has been a regular feature of coalition governments over the last 30 years. And it always happens for roughly the same reasons: overpromising before the election, then substantially underselling its own agency within government afterwards. It happened to the Greens in the last administration.  That’s why the smaller government party is … Read more

Note to self on predicting elections: use the other finger next time…

I don’t normally scatter too many hostages to fortune, but in a fit of foolish madness I decided to furnish the world of Twitter with my great wisdom on how the parties would fare, before the election… The DUP will perform significantly better in #LE14 than #EP14. Competition from UKIP & TUV will hollow out their EuroSceptic credentials. — Mick Fealty (@mickfealty) May 22, 2014 So what did you get wrong, or right about what happened last weekend? Mick FealtyMick … Read more

After the election… The UUP..

UUP gavel

On Friday at the count, Mike Nesbitt was on a roll and so was his party. I was surprised at the news from East Belfast, particularly Ormiston one of two DEAs making up the most of the coming battleground between the sitting MEP Naomi Long and the DUP. The drama lingered to the very end, just into Sunday morning when the DUP’s Denny Vitty was edged out by the Green candidate Ross Brown. Having taken two seats further up the count, the … Read more