Trevor Lunn declares support for Marriage Equality

Interesting development and another bit of evidence that the tide is turning in favour of marriage equality as Alliance MLA for Lagan Valley, Trevor Lunn announced at an Amnesty event on the issue that he would vote in favour of same sex marriage when it next comes up in the Assembly. Lunn abstained on the issue when it was before MLAs in April 2015.

In July 2015 a poll by IPSOS/Mori found that 79% of Alliance party voters supported same sex marriage and there has been a growing number of party activists unhappy at the level of criticism being directed towards the party at the fact that some of their MLAs are voting against party policy.

Either way with the departure of Judith Cochrane next year, it will likely mean that from the next election there will be no Alliance MLAs who oppose marriage equality.


, ,

  • Turgon

    To put this decision in that way Dr. McCann is a rather benign spin on Alliance’s decision.

    Rather Alliance has decided that all candidates for the Assembly election will be required to promise to vote in favour of homosexual marriage.

    Puts a rather different complexion on Mr. Lunn’s decision.

    Maybe the tide is turning but in this case it is turning in a somewhat illiberal fashion against freedom of conscience.

    A political party is now prescribing what its political representatives must do on an issue which was until recently regarded as a matter of conscience. No party in the House of Commons has ever 3 line whipped a conscience issue. That Alliance is effectively doing so for Stormont, before even the candidates are selected, is illiberal and undemocratic.

  • Granni Trixie

    Most people listening to TL explaining his position would not think that his change of heart is directed by expediency, rather that he was influenced by what he heard about the life experience of gay people who feel they are discriminated against. In particular he was also moved by doctors who talked to statistics showing the impact
    On mental health of having to manage stigma (suicide etc).

    I welcome clarity on what was voted through by the decision making body as Alliance party policy.

  • Turgon

    So you support the illiberal forcing of “liberal” social / morals ideas on people who stand for political office: describing it as “clarity”: Good. Considering your previously stated views on abortion I would suggest you be cautious about endorsing enforced “progressivism”.

    The again maybe once the “consensus” has decided it is after all “a woman’s right” etc. you will cheer that as well. After all there was a time when you felt that alongside homosexual marriage we needed civil partnerships for siblings who had for example farmed together for a life time. All forgotten now in your zeal for “liberalism”.

  • Dan

    He’ll vote for it because his job depends on it.

  • Clanky

    It is not illiberal and undemocratic, they are saying this is party policy, they are putting it out there before the elections so that the electorate know exactly where the party stand and can vote for them or against them if they choose to.

    Equality is not a matter of conscience it is a matter of rights and as a liberal party I would expect them to stand in favour of equal rights for all.

  • Turgon

    If equality is a matter of rights why is polygamy / polyandry a criminal offence? Why must civil partnerships be between sexually / romantically same sex partners and not opposite sex or non sexually / romantically linked partners? Why are adult consensual biologically related sexual relationships illegal?

    If Alliance should stand for equal rights for all they seem pretty poor at doing so. In this regard they seem to stand for extra rights for homosexuals as compared to others.

  • Clanky

    So would you expect parties not to have policies on polygamy? Would you condemn a party whop openly stood against same sex marriage or is it only wrong when you disagree with them?

  • Turgon

    I expect consistency. If you make a great song and dance about things like marriage equality then you should stand for equality. If on the other hand all you mean is homosexual marriage then call it what it is. This is not equality that is being sought: it is more rights for non biologically related same sex, sexually / romantically linked couples than for anyone else. That is not “equality”

  • Chingford Man

    The supposedly liberal Alliance Party makes it a requirement to vote in favour of gay marriage. I thought we had moved on from the Test Act.

    Then Trevor Lunn announces that, having not supported gay marriage in the past, he has now changed his mind.

    Fancy that.

  • Chingford Man

    Alternatively, perhaps he just wants to keep his job? Did Lunn not know all of the above already?

  • Granni Trixie

    Sometimes ambiguity is a useful approach in politics. SSM issue is an example of where clarity was called for given some alliance people regarded the policy as a ‘soft’ whip (whatever that means). Matters have moved so fast on SSM issue- i don’t think that it was even mentioned in Alliance Manifesto at last Assembly election. This time round it will take its place with the Party policies which candidates for 2016 elections sign up to. Seems pretty usual to me.

    As regards my views on abortion I think it highly unlikely that Alliance would ever achieve consensus on the issue of abortion on demand – there is no middle ground.
    I was not one of those who had to have heart searching before agreeing to SSM policy but abortion is a whole other matter. Over the years I have thought a lot about It as Someone whose values are coloured by having a child with a time limited condition (muscular dystrophy) . I cannot therefore believe that anything anyone would say would change my view that human life is precious. If my party had a policy to support abortion on demand I don’t think I could remain a member.

    All That said, although personally I am clear that abortion would be wrong for me, I could live with a change in the law to allow abortion for others in clearly defined, limited circumstances.
    Similarly, I am concerned about women going across the water for abortion though I’m don’t know how this situation is to be addressed.

    For the record also, I do not consider civil marriage for siblings appropriate in any circumstances. This is not just for cultural reasons but because any children from such a union might have an increased likelihood of disability due to genetics.
    Siblings and others who share a home as well as unmarried partners legally lose out ( inhetitance tax etc) which perhaps ought to be addressed too.

  • Turgon

    Utter rubbish. The risk of genetic abnormalities is not a reason to make sexual activity a criminal offence. That is eugenics. The risk from related individuals is actually not that high: certainly lower than 1 in 4.

    It is also gross hypocrisy. A couple who have had a child with say cystic fibrosis have a 25% of any subsequent child having the same condition: would you criminalise them having sex? Because that is your logic.

    It gets worse. If a person has Huntingdon’s chorea there is a 50% chance any child they have will get the disease. By your logic they should be banned from having sex.

    I am afraid either the logic of your liberalism is utterly flawed or else it is really rather sinister.

  • Clanky

    I assume you are talking about these “extra rights” in terms of civil partnerships? As you are well aware, civil partnerships were introduced as a compromise because there was so much hostility from certain sections of society to marriage equality, to now say that the continued existence of both should somehow mean that Alliance should not openly support same sex marriage is a very weak argument.

    Is your argument that parties should not have policies on things like same sex marriage or that it is only OK for some parties to have policies on these things?

    You talk about Alliance being undemocratic, but what is undemocratic about saying that this is party policy, those who stand as candidates must vote on party lines and allowing the electorate to decide on whether or not to vote for people based on that stated policy particularly when there is a large groundswell of public opinion behind that policy. Like I said, would you condemn other parties who openly stood against marriage equality (or whatever you want to call it) as being undemocratic?

    I believe it was Ricky Gervais who said “same sex marriage is not gay privilege, privilege would be not paying taxes, like churches” The quote may not be accurate and the original is not quite accurate either, but the message is the same, the religious right scream about why no-one allows them their religious freedoms and why all these nasty non-believers get special privileges while happily trying to deny people secular freedoms and enjoying / demanding every privilege that they can possibly cling to as a group.

  • Turgon

    My argument is that equality should be for all.

    In the past marriage between a man and a woman was heavily discriminated in favour of. It was not considered unequal to have such a situation.

    Now we have a different system whereby homosexuals are able to avail of marriage as well. I would rather that all people whatever their romantic / sexual linkage or lack of thereof, be able to have the same rights.

    Guernsey’s Union Civil looks the best option so far (promoted by Guernsey’s evangelical Christian pastor Chief Minister). The only point I would disagree on is that the Union Civil is solely between two people. It should be for all.

    Either you have the old system: man and woman marriage which has some logical basis in history etc. Or else you have equality. Then though you should have real equality not this made up partial equality. Orwell was right “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others”.

  • Granni Trixie

    I indicated that I support the law which does not allow siblings to marry. No where do I say that I thought it ought to be criminal to have children if one is a carrier of a defective gene. As one such person myself why would I? Infact i have campaigned for rights for disabled people.

    But then You are being perverse and I don’t see the point in teasing out complexities – you don’t seem to do nuance.

  • npbinni

    Mr Lunn confirms that most politicians do not live by principle. They turn to the most favourable wind. Hillary Clinton said marriage between a man and a women was ‘sacred’, until the idea became less popular. Is it any wonder politicians are (rightly) treated with cynicism.

  • Turgon

    I am not being remotely perverse. I am pointing out that you want “equality” for homosexuals announcing everyone should be equal yet you do not oppose the fact that polygamy / polyandry is a criminal offence. Even worse the very act of consensual sexual activity between adult consenting biologically related individuals is a criminal offence.

    If you believe in equality how can you accept siblings not only not being allowed to marry but being criminalised for sexual acts?

    You tried to justify your position by stating “any children from such a union might have an increased likelihood of disability due to genetics.”

    That is inaccurate and if you mean it you would have to do something about relationships with a much, much higher chance of producing childen with disabilities due to genetics (to use your own words).

    Either that or you are a simple hypocrite. Actually that seems much more likely since now all you can say about non sexually / romantically related siblings is “perhaps ought to be addressed too.” which is very different from your previous comments.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Here’s the problem Turgon. The equal marriage debate is between those who want to force their values on others, using the state to do so, and those who do not.

  • Chingford Man

    Oh how droll. You (and everyone else) get the point I am making: if one doesn’t sign up to gay marriage, one won’t represent Alliance in the Assembly. That is the mark of a closed-minded authoritarian party, with added lashings of sanctimony. It can’t have been easy for Judith Cochrane.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I’m glad that in the past other politicians have given up on principles, such as slavery, mixed-race marriage, the role of women etc.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Puts a rather different complexion on Mr. Lunn’s decision.

    All political parties, with no exception, require their members – and candidates – to uphold party policy. You know this full well – as a former member of a political party you would have expected the party to take action against members who exercised their conscience in a way that was contrary to party policy on, for example, Sinn Fein being in government.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I hope that your campaign to have polygamy reflected in law is eventually successful, Turgon. As yet, though, the campaign hasn’t built up much steam.

  • Turgon

    Actually it has already started. See here only weeks after the US supreme court legislated for homosexual marriage and decriminalisation albeit without multiple formal marriage was achieved two years ago in Utah which for historical reasons had made it illegal for polygamists to live together.

  • Clanky

    See it’s strange, because that wasn’t your argument to start with, I seem to remember your argument being that it was somehow undemocratic of Alliance to expect candidates to follow party policy.

    You still haven’t said whether or not you would consider a party which openly opposed same sex marriage to be undemocratic.

    “Either you have the old system: man and woman marriage which has some logical basis in history etc. Or else you have equality. Then though you should have real equality not this made up partial equality” Why? Why can it not be changed a little at a time, why if we don’t throw everything away can the only other alternative be to keep things exactly as they are?

    It seems that with that statement that you are trying to create a narrative whereby we accept your world view or we forget about society altogether. You don’t get to determine the options available in a democratic society, that would be illiberal and undemocratic.

  • Turgon

    Incest is a loaded term. It conjurers up inmates of child abuse. However, between freely consenting adults how do you justify it being illegal without recourse to claims which would have been applied to homosexual sex just a generation ago.

  • Turgon

    My argument is that on a conscience issue party representatives should be given a free vote. That is standard at Westminster and resulted in Tory’s opposing the death penalty, Liberals supporting it (incidentally I oppose it).

    It also resulted in members of all three main parties in the past Westminster parliament (clearly one of those is no longer a major party) on both sides of the homosexual marriage issue.

  • Turgon

    Ah Chingford Man you have missed it Judith Cochrane is standing down from the Assembly. Odd that seeing as Naomi Long has lost her Westminster seat: coincidence I am sure you will agree.

  • Chingford Man

    It’s not “moving with the times” to decree that not supporting a particular policy means you are (presumably) excluded from representing the party in the Assembly – unless it’s movement in the regressional sense.

    I’m just amazed Alliance people still have the gall to call themselves liberal.

    As for thumb screws, who knows?

    Is the socially conservative Seamus Close still active in the party?

  • Turgon

    Indeed and actually my position.

    I think genuinely people misunderstand where I am coming from on this.

    As a Christian I believe in marriage between one man and one woman.

    However, I believe that state and church should be separate. I do not really want to live in a theocracy and I believe the message of the Bible is for believers and should not be imposed on those outside the church.

    As such I think in terms of equality once one has decided to have marriage between others then equality should be for all.

    My ideal preference would be for the state to end all reference to marriage and have Civil Unions between any validly consenting adult and any other validly consenting adult or adults.

    In contrast marriage should be for the faith groups to marry those and only those whom they want.

    A good example is a Christian couple I know well. The man is from NI the woman not. They married in a civil service here at a registry office. They did not live together nor regard themselves as married until a short time later (a few weeks / couple of months from memory) they went to the bride’s home country to have a traditional marriage ceremony in her own country.

    That looks to me a pretty good pattern for a separation of church and state though i would change the name of the state marriage to civil partnership.

  • Clanky

    To be blunt Turgon, your argument seems to change depending on which question you don’t want to answer. On one hand you are arguing that Alliance are wrong to make support for same sex marriage a party policy on the other you seem to want to argue that unless you also allow polygamy and incest (yes I know it’s a loaded term, but so is conscience and you have flung that around quite freely) then the only alternative is to stick with the status quo despite the fact that NI would then be the only part of either the UK or the island of Ireland to have done so.

  • Chingford Man

    I did see that actually.

    On the subject of The Ginga Ninja, I heard a story that when she was an MP, she turned down an invitation to attend a service to commemorate the UDR on the grounds that she was a politician for the entire community and part of that community would not want her to attend? Is that true?

  • Chingford Man

    Fair enough. The person who mentioned the story to me must have been wrong.

  • Granni Trixie

    Not in the slightest.

  • npbinni

    ‘Lunn abstained on the issue when it was before MLAs in April 2015.’ and ‘there has been a growing number of party activists unhappy’ are sad reflections on an increasingly authoritarian tendency of Alliance and the ssm movement in general.

    Alliance members clearly have to be in line; lock, step and barrel, on the issue. Hence Mr Lunn’s ‘support’. Forcing its members into blind obedience on its new policy makes Alliance a very domineering group indeed: liberal fundamentalists sharpening their knives on their own before setting out to bring everyone else into line.

    In the meantime, not a word from Alliance – or any of Slugger’s bloggers for that matter – on the growing scandal of the barbarism of abortionists in the US selling baby parts for profit – even whole babies, according to today’s video release. Each video is progressively more grotesque.

    What a sick world we live in. The more liberal it becomes, the more horrendous the results.

  • Gaygael

    Heybturgon. Will you be calling for tuv, ukip and dup members to have conscience votes?

  • Gaygael

    So in July 2012, this issue first came to Belfast City Council. A Motion in favour of marriage led by Maryellen Campbell of SF which won support across the chamber. Only one alliance cllr voted in favour. Cathy Curran, who subsequently did not run for election in 2014. All other alliance cllrs abstained.

    Alliance got a hard time for this from people that expected the liberal party to be in favour of equality and rights based legislation and motions. The party responded and deputy leader Noami Long, led a 2 month consultation across the party and constituency groups.

    Here is Ford trumpeting this process of consultation and firmly couching it as an equality issue, and a freedom of and from religion issue, with safeguards and rights for faith groups built in.

    Then a motion came to the assembly in October 2012. A green and sf motion. A motion that neatly matched the Alliance policy.
    Dickson, Farry, Ford and Lo in favour.
    Lunn voted against party policy.
    Lyttle was absent.
    Cochrane and McCarthy did not vote.
    4 in favour. 1 against. Of 8.

    Then again in 2013, a motion by SF alone after the constitutional convention. This was the outcome before an Alliance amendment that explicitly referenced the religious freedom.
    Lo Yes
    Dickson, Ford and Lyttle abstain
    Farry not present
    McCarthy Lunn and Cochrane No
    1 in favour. 3 against. Of 8

    At Belfast Pride 2013 Alliance announced that all future candidates would be expected to follow policy.

    In 2014 another motion. With religious freedoms. Just before the council and euro elections. SF alone. Lo was the euro candidate and duly followed policy.
    Farry, Ford, Lo and Lyttle Yes
    Dickson and McCarthy Not present
    Cochrane and Lunn No
    4 in favour. 2 against. Of 8

    In 2015 a fourth motion. With religious freedoms. Just before Westminster. SF alone.
    Notably, at this time, Lunn was a Westminster candidate. None of the other assembly members stood for Westminster.
    Dickson, Ford, Farry, Lo and Lyttle Yes
    Cochrane, Lunn and McCarthy Abstain
    5 in favour. 0 against. Of 8

    Last night, Trevor bravely announced his change of heart. Congratulations to him.

    Today, Cochrane and McCarthy both said they would not be running next year and would hold to their own positions rather than adhere to party policy for what remains of their term.

    Make up your own mind about this.

  • Gaygael

    Will you support the religious freedom of my Quaker house to marry my boyfriend and I?
    Or my cousin and her girlfriend to get married in all souls church?
    Or my friend and his boyfriend to get married in a Unitarian church?

  • Robin Keogh

    Do you also feel that the liberal aganda which allowed women to vote, took the stigma out of mixed religious marraiges, ended slavery and fought against racism were also horrendoous results?

  • Robin Keogh

    absolute nonsense, a party can adopt a position which reflects its approach to the shifting dynamic of society. People can choose to hop on board and be an active member or head off somewhere else.

  • Robin Keogh

    It was once upon a time accepted that a man could rape his wife, kill a black person or indeed force another human to be his slave. You of course have a right to support whatever cruelty to another as much as you like but it shows your concern for the many and varied victims in society as nothing but crocodile tears.Your questioning of the rights of parties to enjoy their democratic mandate stands in stark focus to your outrage above at Alliance adopting a policy of equality to a section of their fellow citizens. You Turgon are a hypocrite of such epic proportions even Jim Allister might blush.

  • Robin Keogh

    Absolute drivel and an emabarrassment to human dignity. You seek to justify discrimination toward one group of people on the grounds that other groups unrelated to the issue are apparently discriminated against on the basis of your own particular desires. A sad, delinquent and utterly failled effort to dress up blatant prejudice.

  • Turgon

    If the Religious Society of Friends wish to marry you or anyone else that is entirely their own business. Even more so for the Non subscribing Presbyterian Church and the Unitarians.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Thanks for the breakdown, GayGael. AP always seems so risk averse its quiet conservatism occupies a position not too far from the DUP on the liberal/illiberal spectrum. Its lack of courage to nail its true colours to the mast seems due to its slavish devotion to being reflective of internal canvassing rather than having the boldness to take the lead.

  • npbinni

    Clearly the definition of liberal has changed. But it’s not just a matter of semantics.

    Wouldn’t you agree that the grisly Planned Parenthood child trafficking videos show pro-lifers, the real liberals, have a cause not unlike abolitionists against the slave trade?

    In reality little has changed in relation to political identification in the US. The Democrats were the racists who started the KKK and who wanted to maintain slavery. Republican opposed it. In a very real sense the conservatives are the true liberals.

    Pro-lifers are today’s abolitionists.

  • Gaygael

    Good to see you supporting freedom of religion.
    Now, can you put that message to your friends.

    And what about the conscinece vote for unionist parties.

  • Slater

    Alliance is a religious party with a liberal wing, or was. (NI21 was a liberal party without religion but imploded.)
    If Alliance becomes simply a liberal party it may falter in voting terms, especially when dissenters are seen to be pushed around so openly.
    When Cllr Laura MacNamee resigned from Belfast City Council last week the stage was set for the return to local government of the Ginga Ninja, for part of a year anyway, before Judith Cochrane’s seat is vacated at the Assembly.

  • peepoday

    If he wants to keep his salary he has to toe the line.Not a man of principle,like so many others at Stormont.Nothing liberal about a party that does not allow choice.

  • Turgon

    Religious organisations should have the right to marry or not marry people as they choose: it is a matter of conscience for them individually and collectively.

    Just as Muslims and all other religions should have the right to practice their religion and whatever marriage practices if they want provided all who enter into such are consenting adults.

    In terms of state recognition of marriage politicians should have the right to support or oppose marriage. They too should have freedom of conscience individually and collectively on such issues.

    Furthermore all people should have freedom to choose which causes etc. they support.

    That is why I support a conscience clause. It is an argument I have already made in more detail here.

  • Granni Trixie

    My understanding is that he has not been a member for some years so resigning isn’t an option.

  • Granni Trixie

    Members have to decide for themselves in the round if a particular party is for them in terms of representing their favoured position/policies.

    For instance over the years there have been policies or approaches decided after discussion at Party Council with which I did not agree…..but because overall I agree with the principles,values and policy of APNI I remained an activist. And as I believe in democratically made decision making and consensus processes if I had been a public representative I certainly would have been prepared to toe the party line. It’s no different than positions I have been in on charitable bodies – you have to make decisions made by the majority on the Board work even those which you may have voted against.

  • Mister_Joe

    Are people going to be forced to marry someone of the same gender?

  • Gaygael

    It’s that the consultation and subsequent ign trumpeting of it and it’s outcome by Ford suggested that MLAs would be expected to follow policy.

    They didn’t. Repeatedly and with no consequence. What other alliance robust policy consultations are delayed 4 years for implementation? And what other policies is it ok for MLAs to flout?

    I am delighted that Trevor has come on board. Now we have to work on the rest.

  • Gaygael

    So is that you supporting conscience votes for dup MLAs?

  • Turgon

    Self evidently. On these sorts of issues (e.g. homosexual marriage) the House of Commons has always had free votes (as they did when homosexual marriage was approved in England).

    It is a principle which should be extended to Stormont.

    The issue of whether the DUP should use a petition of concern is somewhat more complex and of greater relevance in terms of whether homosexual marriage is passed in NI.

    Hence, my suggestion that in exchange for allowing for homosexual marriage and not blocking it with a petition of concern (by the DUP) the quid pro quo would be a Conscience Clause and other parties not blocking it with a PoC.

    Some in the assembly want homosexual marriage: some want a Conscience Clause. A deal could be done to allow both.

  • notimetoshine

    I doubt he had much choice in the long term. Alliance as an obviously and loudly socially liberal party, couldn’t afford to have a split voice on same sex marriage or indeed to have major personalities against what is a pressing issue for much of the liberal electorate in NI (such as it is).

    I’d also be interested to know if the criticism against alliance regarding same sex marriage may have stung the party bosses considering they are no longer the only socially liberal party in NI. Not much of a difference between alliance and the greens and frankly they can’t afford to split what liberal votes can be found here.

  • Gaygael

    So your proposal is, we can get married, but people should be able to deny; venues to do it in, cater for our weddings, print invitations, hire cars, buy flowers, houses to live in afterwards, or solicitors to write our wills.
    And the conscinece clause you and others champion, only wants Christians to gain this exception and only againsts lgb people?
    Aye. Dead on. That’s not compromise. Thats exchanging rights, but not having a full complement.

  • paulgraham7567

    Yes, because 100 years ago we all followed (toed the line) the church and believed every word they said.

    And what a wonderful world it was. WW1, mass murder of young boys to serve monarchs who believed they had a God given right, sex abuse of kids by church and state, working class abused to serve the rich, people jailed or worse for having the audacity to think for themselves. The list goes on.

    The world has ALWAYS been an evil place. We have just reinvented the means, not the desire.

  • Granni Trixie

    The distinguishing feature of APNI,arguably its USP, is that it attracts cross community support. I am puzzled why you regarded it as “a religious party with a liberal wing” – that is not my perception even though liberal values are what I find attractive. or put another way,live and let live.
    The SSM debate has indeed served to bring out moral-religious views of activists in political parties and also shed light on the need to clarify party policy and expectations that representatives adhere to policy. No different to the way professionals in various fields have to act every day.

    I would also like to point out that SSm debates have enlivened politics in NI in a context where people increasingly don’t relate to politics.

  • Granni Trixie

    Point of information – Cathy Curran made her decision for genuinely personal reasons. She was under internal pressure to remain but in the end one had to respect her decision and on reflection would that more politicians did so should they find this role is not for them.

    She was and is highly regarded as a constituency worker for Anna Lo.

  • Granni Trixie

    I would add that I don’t think from the outside people appreciate the challenges in keeping such a diverse group together. Seems to me that discussions with members strengthens cohesion and wards off eventual policy splits. Helps explain the party longevity.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Is Naomi taking Judith’s place on the ballot paper?

  • Turgon

    I am sure there will be an open selection procedure during which anyone who wants to can apply and it will be the best person on the day of the selection meeting etc.

    In other news giant pigs are being used to transport people to the Med for holidays.

  • Gaygael

    I didn’t comment on her reasons for leaving, and I know she was highly regarded as a constituency worker and local councillor.
    I have heard other variations of why she didn’t stay on, but I was trying only to deal in facts with my main post.

    If I was to comment I would have a lot lot more to say on the whole matter and it would not be kind to the alliance party or its leadership.

  • Gaygael

    I would have thought with that score at Westminster last year they would run 3. And a number of reason for that. Long, Lyttle and maybe there is room for Judith if she moves on marriage.
    1) Long’s personal vote.
    2) Their solid score at assembly 2011, balancing 2 candidates within 150 votes of one another and both just shy of quota and placed 2nd and 3rd. Elected 3rd and 4th.
    3) The UUP didn’t run at Westminster. They scrapped in, in 2011 with 3723 at last count and Copeland may not be standing again, so they have a shout at that seat.
    4) There will be a full slate of unionists which should split the votes but transferring relatively well between each other. 4 DUP (another gamble) probably, UUP, PUP, UKIP, TUV, meaning the last seat will very much be up for grabs. This should also drive up unionist turnout. Most likely PUP and UUP, in at the end of the unionists.
    5) Growing Greens. This should bring out additional voters, who will transfer well to alliance if they all stay above the green.
    6) Reds and Rebels. There are probably 2,000 of these votes which should transfer relatively well to alliance.
    7) They have a formidable east belfast electoral machine. 2 above gives credence to this.

    It’s a gamble. But probably worth it.

  • Gaygael

    I would posit the greens and alliance are very different. Marriage is only one, but a very topical difference. The greens would never tolerate MLAs repeatedly voting against party policy on an equality issue. The party membership would be in uproar.
    Alliance have fudged this issue for years.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I checked the Alliance webpage and found no references to religion at all. I’ve never heard Alliance representatives invoke God or faith in a political context. Ever.

    The other allegations are interesting. I doubt that Long is interested in holding a council and an assembly seat simultaneously, and I don’t think that MacNamee’s resignation is anything to do with this (she had to leave her home due to threats following the flag protests). Cochrane may well step down ahead of time – but she cannot be forced to against her well. What’s the motivation ? Long doesn’t need profile (she’s already very popular and her re-election is a cert) or money (she’s got a payoff from Westminster and her husband has his own dental practice).

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Can you provide a few examples of Alliance’s quiet conservatism ?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    There is nothing “authoritarian” about a party expecting its representatives to vote for its policies.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Alliance seem to be getting plenty of lectures from non-liberals on what it means to actually be liberal.

    Being liberal does not mean that you allow illiberal people to ignore parts of your party policy.

  • Catcher in the Rye


    I think Cochrane said that she would not stand again. She hasn’t, so far, indicated an intention to stand down. The party cannot force her to do so.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    You must get that a lot. Do you generally repeat unfounded allegations without checking up to see whether they’re true or not ?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    The question should be – would a party whose members are something like 90% in favour of equal marriage have re-selected Judith to represent the party in East Belfast in 2016 – even without the party’s recent ruling on policy ?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Judith Cochrane has already said that she won’t be standing again.

    I think you’re right, they’ll try to run three candidates. It’ll be interesting who the third one is.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    The greens would never tolerate MLAs repeatedly voting against party policy on an equality issue.

    What would the Greens do in this situation ?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    May I be the first to congratulate you on your success.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    The problem is that almost nobody sees this as a conscience issue, Turgon. Only one party in the assembly does – the UUP.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Lunn is an independently wealthy individual (I think his career before politics was in the insurance business ?) who would benefit financially from a payoff and a pension if he chose to resign from the Assembly. He has no need to keep his salary.

    There are no liberal parties, or any other parties, that allow representatives to simply ignore party policies on major issues.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Naomi Long is a very popular politician. It is a dead cert that she will be selected for the assembly. This doesn’t require flying pigs.

  • Chingford Man

    Then maybe you and Alliance are not as liberal as you claim to be.

  • Chingford Man

    I was told the story in good faith by someone I know well and who is well placed to know such things. The story also has an inherent credibility, given that Alliance politicos often distance themselves from anything that they think is important to one side and not the other. That’s why I included the question mark. Besides, just because a story doesn’t make Nolan does not mean it didn’t happen.

  • mjh

    Completely agree with this analysis.

    The absence of Cochrane will make it more difficult for them to pull off. Their problem will be to stop Long running away with too many of their first preferences – and therefore transferring her likely high number of personal votes back to the parties they came from. To get that balance right they need three strong names on the ballot paper.

    That points to a September selection process so that they can get the third candidate up and running.

  • Gaygael

    Just let them away with it for 4 times, and chuck away any pretence that equality issues are important to them.

    I imagine the whip would be withdrawn. Note the greens in England and Wales expelled a member for being against equality policy.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Withdraw the whip would satisfy the angry rank and file, you reckon ?

    Expelling a member is one thing. Expelling an elected representative is another.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    You’re a UKIP supporter. Are you really well placed to say who is liberal and who isn’t ?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I was told the story in good faith by someone I know well and who is well placed to know such things.

    Sounds like your judgement is impeccable.

    The story also has an inherent credibility, given that Alliance politicos often distance themselves from anything that they think is important to one side and not the other.

    Yes, Alliance always go right down the middle and avoid taking a position. That’s why they’re getting death threats from loyalists.

  • Chingford Man

    Yes, I think I’m a real liberal and not a leftist authoritarian who tries to get people signed up to a contentious social policy before they can stand for election.

    Whoever thought that UKIP, or for that matter the UUP and DUP would be the more authentic liberals?

  • Gaygael

    Expelled a councillor. The basic tenants of green politics are a robust belief in equality and human rights. We see same sex marriage in that tradition.
    Unlike the ‘liberal’ party we take that seriously.

  • Gaygael

    Except it has t. Until now. Why wait four years for a party policy to be followed by elected representatives?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    In my opinion ? It’s a failing which has now been corrected.