Debating the Debates: NI will not be present

Peter Robinson will be writing to complain that whilst the DUP has more seats and votes than some of the other parties, it still not be included in the debates. Likewise, Sinn Fein has 5 MPs and the SDLP hold 3 MPs and will not be there.

Why?

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  • Ernekid

    Presumably UTV and BBC NI will be hosting a debate for the Norn Irish Parties. These debates will be English politicians, discussing English issues in front of an English audience.

    Why Robbo thinks that the Norn Irish parties would get a look in, so they can talk nonsense about stuff like Flegs is beyond me.

    Anyway how would the DUP be received if they were shown in England? Do they really want to show the rest of the UK that they are a bunch of backward homophobic bigots?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Will Lady Sylvia Herman be allowed on an NI debate or will she be forced to give way to Jim Allister and UKIP

  • Ernekid

    Will Sylvia run as an independent again or has she been brought back into the UUP? Does anyone know if she’s made up with Mike Nesbitt?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Looking for the next Andrew Hunter I take it.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Hermon is unlikely to rejoin the UUP.

  • Korhomme

    Mr Robinson’s argument is flawed. The DUP may well have more votes than some other parties, but it is in no way a UK-wide party. The Greens and UKIP can be expected to fight seats in all 3 UK regions, though perhaps not every constituency. The Tories and Labour are, by some margin, the parties with the greatest number of MPs; the LibDems are a party of government, even is none of these three contests a seat in N Ireland. As with the DUP, the SNP and Plaid are Scottish and Welsh parties, but not UK parties.

    The election is UK wide, so it is reasonable that parties that are represented across most of the UK take part. (Were it to be a debate in which only parties with candidates in all three UK regions were to take place, then we would have the utterly ludicrous spectacle of including only the Greens and UKIP.) If Mr Robinson wants a debate, surely it should be entirely local, and against parties here which also aren’t UK-wide. And likewise in Scotland and in Wales.

  • Tim Johnston

    All 3 UK regions? How so??

  • Deke Thornton

    How many seats outside Wales are Plaid Cymru standing in? If none, it completely invalidates your argument.

  • Deke Thornton

    And Plaid Cymru? UKIP are standing in NI. The Conservatives also plan to stand in some NI constituencies.

  • Korhomme

    I meant Scotland, N Ireland and England and Wales. Scotland and N Ireland have ‘devolved’ Assemblies; in contrast the Welsh Assembly is pretty limited in its powers, or if you prefer, emasculated, and in Wales most of the power still resides in Westminster. (For example, the plain packaging for cigarettes, currently to be debated at Westminster, will only apply to England and Wales; Scotland and N Ireland will have to make their own minds up.)

  • Practically_Family

    It’s really not often I say this, but he has a point.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Ah to hell with it why not just have the GBNI-ROI debate?

    Michael Martin vs. Mike Nesbitt vs. Patrick Harvie vs. Joan Burton vs. Nichola Sturgeon vs. Peter Robinson vs. Natalie Bennett vs. Lucinda Creighton vs. Enda Kenny vs. Stephen Agnew vs. Ed Miliband vs. Gerry Adams vs. Nigel Farage vs. Eamon Ryan vs. David Ford vs. Leanne Wood vs. Alasdair McDonnell vs. George Galloway vs. Jim Allister vs. Luke Ming Flannigan vs. David Cameron.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Robinson should be nowhere near these debates, he doesn’t have a mandate in Britain, he speaks for no one but himself, he cannot take criticism, when he is severely challenged he doesn’t let his opponents to speak, when he loses the argument he changes the question, and his outwardly dogmatic unionist biased viewpoints severely brings into question his ability to do his job, and represent his country with integrity and impartiality within a reasonable debate.

    Oh wait this is Peter Robinson, my bad … I was thinking of the BBC’s Nick Robinson.

  • Ernekid

    How about we take all of the above and stage the Hunger Games?

    Winner gets to be supreme leader of Britain and Ireland.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Let him debate in the UK elections, sure if Peter Robinson wants to play his Tartan Card, his Tudor Rose Card and his Daffodil card all at once who are we to stop him from embarrassing himself? 😉

    Heck let him into the Irish leadership debates too.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Too obvious, Money would be on District Green Party for that one, or maybe Ming. Given it is a Hunger Something Gerry would win even if he wasn’t victorious mind you.

  • Morpheus

    Royal (and Republican) Rumble?

  • Kevin Breslin

    What am I saying, the obvious winner would be Nick Clegg, he doesn’t even need camouflage.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    The suggestion seems to be that Robinson should be there technically…personally I’m not sure what business he has there at all, not one vote could be cast for him in the election….at best, a senior MP from the party could or should be there, but not Robinson.

    Aside from that technicality, NI. Shouldn’t be represented in the debates because of insular nature and inconsequential membership of the uk. What do we bring to the party? Wales isn’t devolved in the same way that Scotland and NI are so I think it’s right for their parties to be represented, Scotland is a big contributor to the energy debate, the defence debate, the economic debate, all industries in Scotland that affect the wider UK, what do we have? What can we expect Donaldson to contribute to a discussion on crossrail….border immigration….nuclear power… If the west Lothian issue is a serious discussion point between Scotland and England/UK, twist that dial up to 11 when it comes to our wee province.

  • Ernekid

    I’d put my money on Gerry winning he’s plenty of experience. Although I’d say David Ford would be a dark horse

  • Practically_Family

    Much the same can be said about NI’s continued “membership” of the Union.

    Yet constitutionally… Continue it does.

  • Pete

    It’s amusing to see people coming up with the most convoluted logic in these comments in order to justify the DUP’s exclusion.

    With the inclusion of Plaid Cymru, it is completely unjustifiable to exclude the DUP. PC only stand in Wales, the DUP only stands in Northern Ireland.

    The DUP has more seats than UKIP, SNP, PC, and the Greens. Under the current broadcaster proposals, they should undoubtedly be included.

  • Pete

    Your point is clearly complete nonsense, given that the SNP and Plaid Cymru are both taking part in the debates.

  • Pete

    But the SNP and Plaid Cymru have been invited to the debates. Therefore, Robinson’s argument is not flawed. If they have been invited, why not the DUP?

    Your point would only make sense if the SNP and PC hadn’t been invited.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    The SNP represent a region that has a large influence in the uk, with defence. (military bases, trident) energy, finance sector…
    Plaid Cyrmu isn’t in a fully devolved region in the same way we are and Scotland is, so I think it’s right that they represent, they also contribute in no small way to defence, power, export…
    What can the DUP contribute to the debate in behalf if Northern Ireland? The continued existence of the rathlin ferry?

  • Dan

    The NI parties have as much right to be included as SNP, Plaid or the Greens….or, on principle, Labour.
    I hope they threaten all sorts of injunctions and mayhem to ensure their place on the podium too………then force the TV companies to revise their plans yet again to exclude them all and get back to what the public wants to see…..Farage debating with Cameron and Miliband.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    I repeat… The SNP represent a region that has a large influence in the uk, with defence. (military bases, trident) energy, finance sector…
    Plaid Cyrmu isn’t in a fully devolved region in the same way we are and Scotland is, so I think it’s right that they represent, they also contribute in no small way to defence, power, export…
    What can the DUP contribute to the debate in behalf if Northern Ireland? The continued existence of the rathlin ferry?

  • Pete

    Those are some of the most tenuous reasons I’ve ever heard. You’re just making flimsy excuses as to why you don’t want the DUP there. I don’t see how the biggest Welsh party can contribute more than the biggest Northern Irish party.

    I would certainly never vote for the DUP, but they deserve to be there given that Plaid Cymru are there.

  • Dan

    Feeble reasons. If I was Sinn Fein or sdlp, I’d be looking to make mischief by demanding inclusion as well the DUP

  • Pete

    “These debates will be English politicians, discussing English issues in front of an English audience.”

    Sorry, are the SNP and Plaid Cymru English?

  • Ernekid

    Ok I’ll amend the original point from English to British. It still doesn’t mean that the DUP would have anything to contribute to a British debate.

  • Pete

    The DUP are a British party, like Plaid Cymru. If you are including Plaid Cymru (which I disagree with, but that’s a separate debate), then I cannot see any logic by which to exclude the DUP.

  • Ernekid

    I’d argue that they are a Northern Irish party not a British party as they don’t run a single candidate in Great Britain.

    I think it’s odd that the SNP and Plaid Cymru are included in the national debate. It’d make more sense for the SNP to debate Jim Murphy and the other Scottish party leaders on BBC Scotland and STV and for Plaid to debate on BBC Wales.

  • Pete

    I don’t think any of the DUP, SNP, or PC should be included in the national debate. But I do think that if you are having the SNP and PC there (which has been proposed), then you can’t exclude the DUP.

    Well, I said they are a British party, not a Great British party. British of course refers to the whole UK. (I’m genuinely not trying to make a petty point there, but I’m pretty sure the DUP would take issue with someone saying that they aren’t a British political party.)

  • Sharpie

    Shinners, Muslims and gays will be praying to Pastor McConnell that he gets a spot on that debate

  • Practically_Family

    You’re right. NI has no “influence” in the UK and little to talk about in national terms other than how much gets put into our begging bowl.

    And that’s exactly what the representative of NI’s largest party should be talking about nationally.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I could just see Sinn Féin now … give us a spot on this debate so we can abstain from it… if you don’t we’ll be forced to send someone around!

  • banana man

    most people in NI arent interested in what the DUP has to say so why would anyone in Britain care?

  • Neil

    Failing that, Robinson would do. 🙂

  • PaulT

    I thought that the Welsh Assembly could wholly enact its own laws since 2012, unlike the Scottish and Stormont Assemblies who need Westminster approval for their laws

  • PaulT

    I sooooooooooooo want the DUP to be included

    I disagree with everything Robinson stands for and I hope to die laughing at him on the telly as Voltaire would have siad

  • barnshee

    Please god do not let these buffoons embarrass NI any further

  • eireanne

    i suggest the issue is not what the DUP think and insist on but what the English/ Scottish and Welsh electorate think.

    Do they consider the DUP a British party or do they classify it as an Irish party like the UUP, SDLP and SF?

    Beyond saying they believe in the Union, what British values do the DUP display to interest people living on the island of Great Britain?

    creationism? No gay marriage? no gay cakes? no 1967 Abortion Act? Sending the Muslims to the shaps? they’ll all go down well in a BBC debate!

  • Pete

    Surely the point of the debates is to allow to parties to put their views forward to the electorate?

    The DUP have more MPs than the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens, and UKIP. I don’t think one can therefore say that they aren’t “British enough”. They have a mandate from a section of the British population.

    Do I agree with creationism etc etc etc? Of course not. But simply disagreeing with their views is not good reason for excluding them.

  • Brian Walker

    In one very real sense the NI parties do not fully belong to the British party system as memberships do not cross the Irish Sea in either direction.The local parties’ constituencies are wholly covered by the debates in Northern Ireland. The key point is that the DUP and Sinn Fein do not organise in GB and so do not compete for votes with the main parties, unlike the SNP and Plaid. English voters may also legitimately be influenced by the interactions of the current three main Westminster parties with them. The DUP’s terms for supporting a future government cannot be relied on as all parties will either refuse to speculate or talk tactically at the campaign stage.

  • Deke Thornton

    And Plaid Cymru are in the same boat. Wales being in a begging bowl as we are. So….we exclude PC but include the SNP?

  • eireanne

    it’s not a question of disagreeing with their views.
    Whether I do or don’t is of no importance.

    The DUP has 8 ? seats out of over 600
    It’s questionable whether the electorate in Great Britain considers them a British party.
    The DUP may insist they are – I may insist I am Einstein reincarnated – it remains to be seen how many people in GB would agree with either proposition.

    Furthermore the DUP are espousing points of view that are outdated for the majority of voters in GB who are interested in other, more pressing issues.

    Frankly I think their insistence on airtime is pitiable

  • Deke Thornton

    It’s a UK General Election. So all UK parties (that want to) get included or none. Otherwise a Judicial review will tell the broadcasters as such if it gets to that stage. Such a debate would be farcical, so just forget it. It will not change anything significantly anyway. There will be a hung parliament, but it’s unlikely Tory or Labour will risk going with a Scottish, Northern Irish or Welsh partner to form a government. Not that it matters much, a trainload of spending cuts are on the railway no matter what. At least it’s not raining.

  • Niall Noígíallach

    The real clue folks as to why the DUP or anyone else were not invited is contained within the very pages of Slugger itself. It’s before your very eyes. You just need to look a little harder. Take this thread for instance; a British party from NI, in the year the union remained safe (for the time being), the First Minister himself no less with a very valid and legitimate concern. 6 hours later and only 50 comments along with less than 300 views. Throw a thread up with the mere mention of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams or the Irish language and you’ll have a 200-300 commenter with several thousand views and a significant amount of unionist contribution. Why is this?

    If each of you had a spare £20 and had to put a bet on, theoretically speaking, and the bet was on the outcome of a poll at a DUP conference, and the question in the poll was “What issue concerns you most – a) Britain’s place in the EU or b) Sinn Fein”, what would you stick your money on? We all know the answer. Why is this?

    For every time the British Prime Minister David Cameron commends the change in law that allows those in same sex relationships to marry, saying that it’s in keeping with Britain’s “proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth”, see a Conscience Clause or two. Or God raining hurricanes upon the gays for their sins. High five me Maurice, quick!!!

    Cameron’s swift response to a Fox News nutter the other day after they had made wild allegations about the city of Birmingham can be set against oul Robbo’s “going to the shops” guff as an example of how out of touch the DUP and unionism in general is with Britain.

    Here’s a thought. When asked about possible Orange Order involvement in the Better Together campaign in Scotland, Better Together’s official line was “This organisation isn’t part of our campaign and never will be”. Why was this? Is the Orange Order out of touch with modern Britain? By extension, is the DUP and political unionism also out of touch? Perhaps that’s why they were not invited.

    Perhaps they are obsessed by and define themselves against Irish republicanism to such an extent that modern Britain has passed them by. Let’s put another “Gerry Adams ate my hamster” thread up and hear what our unionist friends have to say.

    The hilarious thing about it all is the nonsense that the local unionist media put out about the DUP being possible “King makers” after the election. Continuously overstating and over judging their importance, the local media salivate at the possibility of someone from here actually being relevent in Westminster. It’s like that video of the granny raving at a dance event – so awful that you can’t take your eyes off it. Half of you wants to reach out and slap some reality into them, the other half feels sorry for them. Remember the last westminster elections? The run up? Reg Empey was to be a minister sure. Aye. Post election and pre coalition Ian Og told the Conservatives that “beggars can’t be choosers” when weighing up possible coalition partners – like the DUP were in contention. The local media who by this stage had almost convinced the wee pravince that Cameron actually listened to Ian Og were at the point of orgasm. Then the drugs wore off and the come down began. Ah well. Best not mention any of that on any news broadcast, editorial, radio show or phone in again. Ever again.

    In the meantime, wrap yourself in your best union jack and come on over to the “Irish people in “wanting to speak Irish” shocker” thread. Unionists can debate there ironically

  • Pete

    So how would you justify the inclusion of Plaid Cymru but not the DUP?

    It can’t be due to seats, given that you question the relevance of the DUP’s 8 (which is fair, 8 isn’t very many), yet Plaid Cymru has even fewer.

  • Nevin

    “do not organise in GB”

    What has GB got to do with it, Brian? Westminster is the UK parliament, not the GB parliament. If the Labour Party chooses to act in a discriminatory manner, so be it. Its members sit on the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee so it has no real excuse for not contesting elections here.

  • Starviking

    The name of the country may be “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, implying that there are two units to the country. However, for quite a while that has not been the case. All the historically recognised Home Nations have embraced nationalism to some extent, and have parties which operate only on ‘home’ soil. They are:

    The SNP, Plaid Cymru, and all the Northern Irish parties.

    If the SNP and Plaid can get invited to debates on the strength of their votes – despite that fact that they are not all-UK parties, then there is no rationale for excluding the DUP.

  • Korhomme

    Mr Robinson appears to be justifying his position on the number of votes and MPs his party has—I had only the information in the tweet to go on.

    Including the SNP in the debates makes some sense, for if present trends continue, they are likely to have a much larger bloc of MPs than the DUP. PC is a much smaller party whose inclusion only makes sense from an entirely Westminster-centric, British rather than UK perspective.

  • Just what Cameron wants. Yet another regional buffoon coming on to dilute the whole debate with their own inward-looking regional issues. Less time for people to pick holes in Cameron’s lies.

    As someone else suggested earlier, the qualification for this debate should be that you are a party of a certain size, which stands in more than one country.

    Or better still, the debate should be between the incumbent government and the official opposition. Given that the incumbent government includes both Tories and Lib Dems, that would get us back to a good 3-way debate.

  • Pete

    You seem to have a large dislike for a large section of the northern ireland community. That can’t be healthy.

    I find the attitudes in your post very depressing. You should have less hate in your life – being a unionist does not make someone a bad person.

  • Practically_Family

    Yeah, because we’re playing Political Jeapordy! and the answer is “The reason NI parties can’t take part in the televised political debates”.

  • disqus_aVkAS2XE22

    It’s pretty simple, the relationship between Eng/Scot/Wales is much different than that of NI and Eng. Their bond, strengthened by their geographical position is historical, and to this day there is much more of a joined up approach in terms of how their respective governments work together. It’s well known that the DUP are something of a laughing stock in both Westminster and England as a whole, it is in neither the interest of the British public or the DUP themselves to appear on a national general election debate.

  • Dan

    What a load of tosh

  • Kevin Breslin

    The reason why it cannot contest elections here is because the size of the Labour Party of Northern Ireland doesn’t justify it.

    The Labour Party is not discriminating against Northern Irish people, people like Ruth Kelly came from Northern Ireland and became cabinet ministers.

    Oh well she was elected in England, that is true, but the vast majority of people who are successful from Northern Ireland have to move from here to be successful.

    When the whole of Ireland was in the Union it had only two Prime Ministers, one elected in England and the other undemocatically given the role through the Privy Council. Ireland had only two elected Cabinet ministers too, both within 10 years of the Union.
    Since the Industrial revolution the population of England has skyrocketed, while Ireland’s declined due to the famine, and then five sixths of the population of Ireland left the United Kingdom. Add to that that Irish Labour were the only “Labour” party other than the SDLP to have an MP in post partition Northern Ireland and Labour had been given a free role by the SDLP in East Belfast and they didn’t re-organize since.

    The SDLP have no veto over whether the Labour party of Northern Ireland to build their vote up in Council elections, in European elections, in Assembly elections and the Labour Party of Northern Ireland have not even put forward a candidate.

    The Northern Irish Conservatives are organised in Northern Ireland because they are organised, the problem I fear with regards to the Labour Party of Northern Ireland is that they are not organised.

    They need to be more of a grassroots party with networks rather than armchair backbenchers complaining about parochialism.

  • carl marks

    Let,s be honest, firstly what would the DUP contribute to any debate.
    As has been. previously mentioned all the DUP,S unique selling point’s ( gay marraige, gay blood, anti gay conscience clause, flegs,Twaddell ) will make them the comedy relief as the real politicians slug it out.
    Peter is literally ,the Turkey calling for Christmas.

  • Pete

    Interesting listening on Nolan today, when representatives from across the political spectrum agreed that it is illogical to include the SNP and Plaid Cymru but exclude the DUP.

    Both Jim Allister and Lembit Opik commented that it is simply logically unsound.

  • disqus_aVkAS2XE22

    Honestly, a party full of creationists who deny climate change and are religious fanaticals WILL NOT be good for the look of this region.
    Do you really think there is anyone in England who would want the DUP involved?
    Let’s get real, we are undoubtedly a place apart…..unionism on these shores and in England are 2 entirely different things. I would suggest you take off the red, white and blue tinted glasses and think about the good of the general election and the TV debate. It would be an utter cringe fest!! Imagine Robbo, with his past, and present trying to act credibly in front of millions of educated English folk…..it’s a scary thought.

  • Practically_Family

    There is some seriously contrived drivel being espoused here in an attempt to mask schadenfreude at either Peter’s humiliation or the frank refusal of the broadcasters to even pretend that they (or any of their audience) cares what the Paddies think.

  • Zeno

    SF now say they will challenge any attempt to exclude them from the debate…………. lol

  • Nicholas Whyte

    A lot of people seem to be mistaking the TV debate for a constitutionally mandated moment, when in fact it is a theatrical event intended to entertain and inform.

    On that basis, it’s eminently sensible that several different debates take place reflecting the different political theatres in the UK – an English/UK one featuring the main parties in England, which are also the only ones who can in theory win a majority of Westminster seats, a Welsh one which would include Plaid Cymru, a Scottish one which would include the SNP and a Northern Ireland debate including those parties which are seriously likely to win seats in Northern Ireland.

    We can (and will) debate exactly who gets included in those debates, but we shouldn’t confuse apples and, er, oranges. The DUP are not standing against Labour and the Lib Dems (and probably not against the Conservatives either). It’s pointless to expend broadcasting time on illuminating a choice that actually isn’t going to be made by anyone.

  • Nicholas Whyte

    At the same time, I share the frustration of those who are annoyed by the way a lot of the election forecasts are simply omitting the Northern Ireland factor – adding up seats in England, Scotland and Wales, and then being puzzled as to why the total doesn’t reach 650. Whether or not SF win North Belfast, or keep FST, will determine how many seats are needed for an overall majority. The SDLP will presumably continue to take the Labour whip, which brings a Miliband premiership that bit closer. And the DUP have made it very clear that they will listen to any reasonable offer; though in practice, if one party is 2 seats short of a majority, and the other is 40 behind, the role of 8-10 DUP members is better described as negotiable lobby fodder than king-maker.

  • Niall Noígíallach

    Thanks for your feedback Pete however I would have to respectfully disagree. I would kindly like to ask you Pete to point out specifically where there is evidence of “hate” as you put it, within my post.

    Obviously some of the issues I have pointed to may sit uneasy with you however they are real issues nonetheless. The first point I made is entirely valid – unionists are concerned more with local issues than those issues prevalent in Britain. Look around Slugger for the proof. Perhaps you would like to counter argue by offering an explanation as to why threads on Sinn Fein and the Irish language get more unionist input than a thread such as this?

    Me pointing out the stark difference in attitude between David Cameron’s attitude to the UK’s muslim citizens and Peter Robinson’s isn’t anything to do with hate or dislike; they are actual observations.

    I notice also that you find my post “depressing”. Interesting. The Conscience Clause and Maurice Mills’ comments aren’t depressing I assume; it’s the fact i highlight them that is?

    Perhaps if the DUP got on the same wavelength as their British peers then they would be invited to a debate some day, no?

  • OneNI

    DUP must be involved if Plaid and SNP are.
    However these are National TV debates and really should be open only to parties that are contesting seats in all four parts of the UK.
    The Conservatives, UKIP, the Greens eh.,,, that’s it

  • Biftergreenthumb
  • $136050377

    His argument is the DUP would make a show of themselves.
    How is your point relevant to that?

  • Robin Keogh

    Because PC compete directly with all the other parties in Britain for votes. NI parties dont.

  • $136050377

    Hardly possible

  • Robin Keogh

    Because PC compete directly with all GB parties within the same voting pool. NI parties dont, its simple really.

  • Robin Keogh

    Brilliant !

  • barnshee

    oh they can they can

  • Robin Keogh

    Yes there is a rationale and a very clear one. PC and SNP compete in Britain against The tories, liberals and labour etc within the same voting pool. So they should be able to debate and fight for those votes. The NI parties dont.

  • $136050377

    How? they’re already a laughing stock. I mean the fact that nobody wanted the Orange Order inside the Scottish No Vote has to be a new low..even for unionism.
    The Fact that her Maj the queen wants to go to Dublin in 2016.
    But only Nick Griffith turns up to Loyalist shin digs. ( 100th anniversary of the Covenant/ UVF gun running Putsch events).really should inform these “people” into how well they are liked /respected or not.
    They can’t sink any lower…only until the border is dissolved.

  • Dan

    Get up of your knees ffs.
    When you have the likes of Sturgeon, Bennett, Wood…or Miliband for that matter, involved, the NI politicians would have little to worry about.

  • kalista63

    This is so like a goth wanting to come to your house party.

  • Nevin

    “we shouldn’t confuse apples and, er, oranges”

    Nicholas, would you not concede that you’ve done so when you conflated English and UK issues? These are two very different themes and, in the light of the various constitutional, infrastructural and other aspects, are worthy of two separate debates.

  • Red Priest

    Because Northern Ireland parties do not, in the main, compete against LibDems, Lab or Con. SNP and Plaid do, so its inherently unfair on Greens and UKIp to leave them out as national parties because they are at least as popular as Lib Dems and have seats, and its unfair to leave out SNP and Plaid because in effect its a free ad for their direct opponants for votes to which they need right of reply.
    NI however, to all intents and purposes is hermetically sealed. There is no lib dem competing for south belfast votes – Alliance or SDLP or DUp or whatever literally cannot lose votes to those parties here, because they don’t run. The only compeition is each other, and that competition will be reflected in a seperate home grown debate.
    The only realistic alternative in GB, other than canning the whole thing, was to somehow block the ‘main debates’ being aired at all in Scotland and Wales, then hosting the main parties in scotland and wales for a separate debate or series of debates – a broadcasting and logisitical nightmare.

  • WindsorRocker

    Apparently Sturgeon would represent the SNP. She’s not an MP………. Now technically when these debates happen nobody will be an MP as Parliament will be dissolved…… Sturgeon isn’t running in GE2015 just like Robbo.

  • WindsorRocker

    The 2016 commemorations that you refer to are the foundation stone of what is now an established sovereign 26 country republic. 1916 has gained it’s legitimacy because a sovereign state chose make it part of it’s foundation creed. The Covenant was a regional campaign to preserve the status quo. To compare the celebrity status of attendees to both is ludicrous.

  • WindsorRocker

    The Conservatives run candidates here, the Labour Party have their sister party the SDLP and the Alliance have some sort of connection to the Lib Dems. The SDLP will take the Labour whip if elected IIRC. It’s not as simple as them and us now.

  • WindsorRocker

    Oh the irony if SF return 5 seats and the Tories scrape it with a majority of 4. Where will the anti austerity image down South be then?

  • Nevin

    Labour NI conveys a very different impression, Kevin: “Decades after the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association marched and campaigned for ‘one person one vote’ and ‘British rights for British citizens’ we were still in the situation where people living in the north were refused the right to join the Labour Party, the party which regularly formed their government at Westminster.

    In addition, the party refused to run Labour Party candidates in Northern Ireland constituencies. Labour Party politics was comprehensively suppressed.

    We won the right to party membership in 2003 and our CLP was set up in 2008. However, Labour Party electoral politics are still rigidly suppressed. There will be no Labour Party candidates in the series of forthcoming elections – local council, European, Westminster and Stormont Assembly.

    Despite Refounding Labour’s cry that there must be ‘no no-go areas for Labour’, Northern Ireland’s eighteen constituencies remain a ‘no-go area for Labour’. People living in Northern Ireland are denied the right to vote for a Labour Government.” .. source [pdf file]

    Rights issues were cynically exploited by various strands of socialism, including armchair and militant, in the hope of replacing the Stormont and Dáil administrations with a socialist all-island utopia – by force, if necessary. … source [includes link to Sean Garland speech.

  • $136050377

    Keep telling yourself that.
    BTW since when is the monarch and her siblings and Nick Griffith celebrities?
    Me thinks you are watching too much “reality TV”

  • Pete

    The DUP are competing against the Greens, Conservatives, and UKIP.

  • Pete

    That’s a nonsensical point. Plenty of respected politicians and analysts across the UK have said that the DUP have a very strong case for being included.

    Simply because you disagree with their political views (and I disagree with most of the DUP’s views) is not a valid reason to oppose their inclusion.