Yesterday there were five council by-elections in which both Tories and Labour stood. The overall swing to Conservatives was estimated at 3.8%. Hardly definitive judgement on Corbyn’s leadership, but at a time when the Tories are running a horse and cart through the benefit system hardly grounds for optimism either.
EXPENSIVE INJUSTICE: The whole cat’s cradle of allegation and murder is getting more expensive by the day, The DDPs’ decision to reopen the entire Scappaticci file won’t make it any cheaper. See today’s Times (£) for the latest. Stand by for the inevitable public row.
In todays News Letter, Sam McBride has a report on the mounting pressure for Peter Robinson to step down as DUP leader and First Minister. McBride reports the concern within the party about how the DUP would do in an Assembly election led by Robinson; There is concern within the party at how it would fare if an election was called, with one senior figure telling the News Letter that the DUP has been “haemorrhaging” support over recent weeks. In … Read more
TALL TALES: Enda’s #armygate saga has had pundits of all hues falling over themselves to explain, or even excuse, how and why An Taoiseach went to a recent EPP gathering in Madrid and told a story about the Irish Defences Forces being on standby to protect ATMs back in 2012.
While the Northern Ireland peace process is considered an outstanding success internationally, those who observe its politics day by day know that it hasn’t all been ‘happily ever after.’ Yes, we’re all grateful that violence has by and large ceased. But the implementation of the 1998 peace agreement has been fraught and 17 years on, many citizens have grown apathetic about politics. A new book by David Mitchell, assistant professor at the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin at … Read more
From John Manley in today’s Irish News; Just over two weeks out from the crucial leadership vote, the one-time Newry and Armagh MP said he believed the Foyle MLA could unite the SDLP and end the “stagnation and negativity” that he believes has beset the party in recent years. Mr Eastwood (32) launched his bid to unseat SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell last month. In the wake of May’s general election a host of party grandees and current representatives called for … Read more
We are less than a week away from the BIG Politics Pub Quiz which is being hosted in partnership with Queen’s Universty’s School of Politics and International Relations and Amnesty International. Held in the Black Box and kicking off at 8pm with some of the best political minds in the business, Claire Hanna, David Ford, Emma Pengelly, Mike Nesbitt and Vernon Coaker as our quiz masters. Half of all the proceeds raised by the quiz will be donated to Amnesty’s … Read more
Dealing with past in Northern Ireland was never going to be an easy complete deal made before last Christmas. Although nearly a year has passed since the Stormont House Agreement, the actual hard negotiations of the legal intricacies are only now being hammered out. While the draft legislation itself is very technical and abstruse, it is apparent that finding the truth about the past in Northern Ireland is not going to be straightforward. Mark Thompson has been sounding the warning … Read more
Kris Nixon (Belfast Barman)Kris tweets ferociously as @belfastbarman and runs an associated site, www.belfastbarman.com where he occasionally opines his views. He lived abroad for a while and as such, feels he will never really ‘get’ this place. Formerly a barman, he regularly broke the cardinal rules of, “No politics or religion in the pub,” as such, he turned to writing. Previously a stand up comedian and an animal crematorium assistant, now works in marketing and is a recently joined member … Read more
As part of a new weekly series I will be looking at the lessons we should learn in politics from now until the election. Lesson one is – Never get carried away. Politics is a game of hype. You tell everyone you are absolutely brilliant and that the other fella is the devil incarnate. Due to the adversarial nature of politics there is often little room for being fair. This is all well and good but you must be careful … Read more
The recent Tax Credit vote in the House of Lords has caused some controversy. Writing for Slugger, the DUP MP, Sammy Wilson talks about the vote and how other parties in Northern Ireland have approached this issue. Following Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Leader you’d have expected the cries of ‘Up the Workers’ to be ringing through parliament from the Commons. Yet this week it was the lords, ladies, barons, earls and bishops in the upper chamber raised the workers … Read more
Lovely Annette is gone. She worked for me 23 years and over that time not once did I have cause to admonish her. To my shame she had a few occasions on which to admonish me. She became the unofficial staff spokesperson willing to raise issues yet keen to seek compromise and almost always did. In 2010 fearful of staff job losses due to adverse trading conditions she got a commitment that there would be no salary reductions or lay-offs. … Read more
Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness doesn’t appear to have had much to say today about the behind-closed-doors talks at Stormont – apart from telling the BBC’s Chris Page The timeframe for a deal in Stormont’s inter-party talks is “days, not weeks”, the deputy first minister has said. Martin McGuinness said he believed a deal was “achievable” and that the talks process was “intensifying”. Still, it’s good to see Sinn Féin on the same page as the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at … Read more
The idea that data should be ferried from place to place as quickly as possible, regardless of what it is, is how most people assume the internet works. That’s the essence of net neutrality. Yesterday the EU voted through a report on the `European single market for electronic communications`. Most headlines centred on the proposed scrapping of mobile roaming charges including the press release from the DUP. However the future of how the internet works in Europe was also in … Read more
A battle has broken out between the DUP, UUP and Sinn Fein over the votes in the House of Lords concerning changes to the Tax Credits system that the Conservative government plan to bring in. First up was the DUP; Whilst DUP Peers voted against the #taxcredits cuts, 7 Northern Ireland Lords were leaping to the Tory tune. pic.twitter.com/qXx5HufYNl — DUP (@duponline) October 27, 2015 Then Sinn Fein had a pop (though this did back fire slightly on social media … Read more
Saudi Arabia is to resume the flogging of Raif Badawi, the blogger whose first 50 lashes caused an international outcry, his wife has been told. Ensaf Haidar, who is now living in exile in Canada with the couple’s children, said the same “informed source” who tipped her off to the flogging of her husband in January had now told her the punishment was about to resume. Mrs Haidar, in a statement on the Raif Badawi Foundation website, said: I was informed … Read more
Some blog posts you read can totally change your perspetive on an issue and make you see things from a totally different angle and this is from Jon Worth is one of them and I wanted to bring it to your attention. “Eurozone crosses Rubicon as Portugal’s anti-euro Left banned from power” screamed Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in The Daily Telegraph on Friday last week. The Telegraph even followed up with a piece about why Portugal’s situation was a threat to everyone … Read more