Andrew Muir, Greens and the Brighton Bomb

This is an odd one, I really cannot say much more than that about this. Alliance Party Cllr in North Down, Andrew Muir has taken a shot at a Green Party candidate who (wait for it) is not standing in North Down or even Northern Ireland. Rather the candidate Richard Stanton is standing in Brighton at the May 2015 general election. (As a local election candidate)

UPDATE- Stanton was quoted as saying that the bomb was a “justifiable act of political warfare”

Now leaving aside the Alliance said nothing about John O’Farrell who made similar comments about the Brighton Bomb and the fact that they share power with Sinn Fein, Cllr Muir has thought it a normal thing to comment on the issue. Cllr Muir said this;

I am shocked that the Green Party would select a candidate who has made such offensive and hurtful comments. It perhaps shows the Green Party’s political inexperience and lack of thought for victims.

Many people will be asking our local Green Party representatives whether they support Mr Stanton being selected to stand for election by their Party. Given the thousands of people who were killed and seriously injured during the Troubles, I would seriously doubt whether those who voted for Green Party candidates in this year’s election would support his comments.

Stanton made these comments whilst I understand not even a member of the Green Party and the fact that on a variety of councils Alliance work with Sinn Fein it is a bit strange that this has been commented on. As soon as I read it, it reminded me a bit of the reaction of some parties to Anna Lo’s United Ireland comments.

Responding to this statement the Green Party leader, Steven Agnew said;

  Have I just missed the point entirely? Is this something that should be pointed out more often by local representatives like Andrew Muir?   Update full statement from the Greens Very fast pace of attacking the Greens to attacking each other

Andrew Muir has taken to Twitter to respond to Agnew’s statement


, ,

  • Bryan Magee

    This is bad writing from David McCann: he should quote whatever Stanton said.

    Otherwise we don’t know how to judge it.

    David McCann has not clarified what it is that is at issue here.

    I *guess* (reading between the lines) that he issued a statement in which he supported the IRA’s Brighton Bomb.

  • David McCann


    I thought I had put the quote in but it’s updated now with the quote. You’re quite right

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think this comment was a misjudgment (sorry Andrew!), made in the heat of the moment without due consideration (and which the press office should really have discouraged). Aren’t Alliance participating in an executive with ministers who would presumably have similar views to those expressed by the now-Green member ?

    Let’s leave the sniping about who is or is not a terrorist sympathizer to the likes of Jim Allister.

  • chrisjones2

    ie a true reflection of his views

  • boring

    Are Alliance this desperate to attack the Greens that they’ll go negative about a 30 year comment? Stanton was a Labour councillor at the time!

  • Nevin

    Stanton gets a mention in The Argus

  • Bryan Magee

    Now I know what Stanton said, I think it’s ok to hold him to account for it.

    That said it doesn’t work as an attack on GPNI.

  • Ian James Parsley

    I think you still have the level of the election wrong, however?

  • Ian James Parsley

    Hard to disagree with that.

  • Aidan

    Stanton is not even a general election candidate – he is standing as a council candidate in Brighton, where local elections are happening on the same day as the general election.

    Which makes this Alliance Party faux -outrage (motivated purely by the Greens starting to deprive Alliance of Assembly and Council seats in North Down ) seem even more pathetic.

  • Gopher

    Its fairly obvious Andrew Muir wants a slice of Assembly or Westminster cake and to do that in North Down you need to remove a certain degree of doubt about your orientation especially if one is seen as a militant social liberal. Andrew is simply coming out of the political closet with regards “terrorism” to the law abinding Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter voters of North Down. Dont be voting for those socially liberal Greens because some of them are leftie fundamentalists, vote for socially liberal me. It will be a shame if Lady Hermon does not stand again its refreshing to have at least one politician in Northern Ireland that is not a total embarassment to the profession. If she does not of course Alliance and stars in his eyes Andrew will want his cake and eat it too

  • Turgon

    I think that is a highly astute observation. Muir is clearly perceived as a social liberal and he is so much the social liberal that he might put off some of the potential Alliance vote which might get him elected to Westminster if Hermon stands down. As such attempting to paint the Greens as green in another sense looks like a good idea. It it a way of painting himself as another Naomi Long.

  • Gopher

    If she stands down you have DUP, UUP, Cons, UKIP, TUV, Greens, Alliance, SDLP and SF standing. So if you poll 8,000 votes you win. So Andrew will think its a piece of cake with the DUP vote split 3 ways and no candadate with any charisma. In fact anybody with a liberal unionst bent and a personality would fancy carrying the seat standing as an independent, so i would not rule a left field runner in there aswell. I sincerely hope this does not turn into a dirty election and Steven Agnew isn’t asked to buy plane tickets or do some fracking by Andrew

  • Comrade Stalin

    Before you get yourself worked up – the word at the moment is apparently that Sylvia has no intention of standing down (and any jostling of people appearing desperate to succeed her is only likely to reinforce her determination to remain).

    SF, the SDLP, the TUV and the Conservatives are not serious players in North Down. I would imagine that this seat would be part of any pact arrangement between the DUP and UUP, with the two parties agreeing to run a UUP candidate (or at least a nearly-UUP candidate).

    There is no need for this or any other election to get dirty and I’m sure, this evening’s anomaly aside, the parties will trade barbs on policy matters.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I don’t know what the Alliance setup is likely to be in North Down at the next Assembly election, but I would like to see Andrew as an Alliance MLA. If his record as Mayor in Holywood is anything to go by he would make a substantial contribution.

    There are at least two liberal seats in North Down. Last time, the second one was a wafer-thin fight between Agnew and the second Alliance candidate (who was the wife of the former Green Party leader and incumbent occupant of the seat) and which Agnew won, if memory serves, by a handful of votes. I imagine he will do better this time, having had time to consolidate his role as well as his party.

  • Gopher

    The TUV polled only 200 less votes than Alliance at the last Westminster election. Now I admit both only polled 1634 and 1876 votes respectively and to be fair on Alliance, Stephen Farry does not come across as Prince Rupert of the Rhine as far as charisma goes and 2010 was rather unique “Civil Servants of North Down for Sylvia”. Since 2010 the TUV’s star has been on the ascent largely due to Jim Allisters ability and his quality of though being roundly despised by everyone, respected by all. Jims problem is there is only Jim but there is that deep and growing loathing of the assembly to tap into in North Down. Off course this is all useless conjecture if Lady Hermon stands but there is that tiny matter of the Assembly election in 2016 as well. Steven Agnew only polling 107 more votes than the failed Alliance candidate in 2011. this evenings coincedence an “Anomaly”? I think not

  • ulidian

    There aren’t anywhere near enough votes to elect 3 “others” in North Down. If McCarthy packs it in, his seat is quite possibly lost too.

  • Gopher

    You were saying? Elementary my dear Mooney

  • Comrade Stalin

    Your grasp on reality is a little bit .. wanting.

    The TUV got one (count ’em) unknown candidate elected to the North Down and Ards council, and that was in Comber (which I don’t think lies within the North Down constituency, although I could be wrong). So I’m at a loss to understand where you see their star as being on the rise.

    You’re bringing up charisma as an issue, as if the assembly or the Northern Ireland contigent at Westminster consists of politicians who get elected on their charisma and charm. An odd thing to do.

    this evenings coincedence an “Anomaly”? I think not

    I can’t even parse this part

  • Gopher

    Nope, Muir will build his profile in the Westminster election and unless he wins he will be the second Alliance candidate in North Down. Lets face it he wont get the “Happy Clappy” vote so its photograph Steven Agnew next to SUV’s now.

  • Bryan Magee

    Andrew Muir actually is an unusual example of someone who defected to Alliance from SDLP so yes it seems he was on the left before moving to a Liberal position.

  • Dan

    Pointing out that certain politicians are vile despicable terrorist supporting filth should be supported at all times, not have such derided as ‘sniping’.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The SDLP aren’t on the left.

  • Gopher

    The TUV polled 75,000 votes in the Euros almost double Alliance, not that we were talking Euro elections but if that is not being on the rise I dont know what is. So what your saying is the Farry vote in 2010 reflected his lack of ability and not deficient charisma?

  • Gaygael

    Well this is disappointing from Muir. It seems like cynical electioneering. He is trying to garner votes. I fully expect people will see through this for what it pis.

  • Gopher

    Yup I have laugh at Muir’s lastest twitter comments. The Greens have 162 councillors on 56 councils in England yet poor Steven needed promting from Andrew to distance himself and his party from terrorism. How condescending. Is Steven is going to have wiki those 162 for dirt? Got to hand it to Andrew he attacks his targets like a Jacobin.

  • Gerry Lynch

    What this about is simple: there were 99 votes between Alliance’s 2nd candidate and Stevie Agnew for the last seat in North Down in the 2011 Assembly elections. Andrew Muir was being groomed for that seat even from before the last Assembly election. I think Agnew has bedded himself in very well since 2011 and Alliance
    didn’t have great results in the area last year – it’s the sort of place
    where there has been a bit of a fleg-dreg for them.

    It, of course, makes no sense as an attack: did Agnew even know this random Green Councillor from Brighton? My first response was, “Watchoo talkin’ about, Willis?!?!?”

    It’s a total non-story, though: ambitious candidate gets overexcited as elections approach and issues an attack statement against main rival that nobody else quite understands. Twitter makes it even easier to do this than it used to be.

  • Allen

    Andrew is using the very same tactics as the DUP used against his party prior to the BCC flag decision – he should be ashamed of himself.
    Still,it gave him his next 15 minutes of fame.

  • ..

  • tmitch57

    “Stephen Farry does not come across as Prince Rupert of the Rhine as far as charisma goes”

    Charisma is vastly overrated, particularly in NI. Hundreds if not thousands have died because of the charisma of a few individuals, one of whom died recently and many others who are still alive.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    they still think they are on the left

  • I would have thought he was as likely to alienate a portion of potential Alliance voters with such remarks both there and in places like East Belfast. Extremely ill considered.

  • Kemple End

    Comrade, I’ve to disagree with your second paragraph; with the strangle-hold on Assembly and Council level politics in North Down that the DUP have, I can’t see a pact agreement coming as you describe. Thinking of DUP representatives in the area they have some fairly big-hitters in the form of Easton, Weir; as well as councillors who pull a significant personal vote, attracting transfers from those who wouldn’t usually be keen on the DUP. Other than Cree, the UUP doesn’t have the same sort of presence, certainly in comparison to what it once had 10/15 years ago.

    Perhaps I’m splitting hairs, but I could certainly see it being more a case of a DUP candidate that the UUP are happy-enough with rather than the reverse.

  • Kemple End

    In wards within the North Down constituency, the TUV pulled in a total vote of about 1100 (a lot better than I recalled, if I’m honest) in May’s council elections. That said, they have a low profile in the area without a single well known face as far as I’m aware.

    The only thing they may have in their favour is the lack of independents and CPNI (whose candidates included one Mr. J. Bryson and his Pastor colleague) running, but in reality that’s only an extra few hundred votes at most – nothing worth writing home about.

  • Westprog

    Whether or not it was a wise thing to comment on the old opinions of this particular candidate, I see little equivalence between Anna Lo’s support for a possible political arrangement, and approval for blowing up a hotel and killing innocent people.

  • Andrews comments are silly .To suggest that the comments by one (out of many thousands) Green Party council candidate made 30 years ago when he was a candidate for another party reflects on the other present day Green party candidates is ridiculous.
    When I was leader/Green Party MLA I always condemned violence in any form despite occasional criticism by some party Executive members (2 now ex members) for taking such a stance. I have no doubt this remains party policy and it does not have to be repeated because of the comments of some council candidate somewhere in England

    However as other posters point out this dispute relates to the North Down election not wider political principles. As someone who has been involved in North Down elections for the past 40 years and has served as both Alliance and Green party councillor(+10 years as Independent) and Green Party MLA I am disappointed that political debate has dropped to this level.

    As far as the Westminster election is concerned having left the
    political arena my priority will be to keep out DUP and I will therefore probably support Sylvia Hermon although in policy terms I am closer to both Alliance and Greens.

    Some posters suggest that Alliance is a left of centre party .This was
    certainly the case when I was involved with John Cushnahan and although there are still some left leaning representatives the party has moved towards the right.For example when I proposed the council meet a delegation from the trade unions on the
    privatisation of the new Bangor leisure centre the Alliance under Andrews
    leadership opposed it.

    Some of those commenting on North Down elections may be interested in my analysis of the recent local government elections and how they relate to the next Assembly elections.

    It is interesting to compare the 2014 vote with that for the North Down Assembly (2011). This shows a reduction in DUP vote of 13.2%(44.2%-31.0), Alliance fell 3.4%(18.6%-15.2%) with the UUP vote increasing by 6.6% (10.4%-17.0%)

    On the basis of these figures it would seem that the DUP will have difficulty in retaining their third seat and both Alliance and UUP have one safe seat.The other two seats are wholly unpredictable.To some extent this would a suggest return to the Assembly pre-2011 situation.In 2011 DUP increased their share of the vote by 10.1%, Alliance had their best ever Assembly vote(+8.4%) while the UUP lost more than half of theirs (-13.3%).

    Full details will be published on my web site later today

  • Jon Hope


  • Aaron Aababab

    I always thought Muir was a progressive. He shouldn’t be draggig up this rubbish. We all need to move on from the past and forgive and forget