Another week, another defection

Readers will probably be aware that  the DUP have gained another defection from the UUP. Deputy Mayor, Harry Dunlop, has defected saying that the party no longer represented the Unionist values he believed in. Last month Castlereagh Deputy Mayor, David Drysdale, also left the party arguing he has difficulty with UUP policy. Since being elected as the Leader of the UUP back in September Tom Elliott has presided over the resignation of three of their Conservative and Unionist Westminster candidates; Harry Hamilton, Paula … Read more

Where next for the Ulster Unionist Party?

To date no one has highlighted the significance of the resignation of David McClarty, Deputy Speaker of the N.I. Assembly and a senior member of the UUP. What impact will he have on the party in East Londonderry? Is he one of many disgruntled members?

Northern Ireland and the aftermath of the May poll

There has been much talk about how things will pan out after this upcoming General election with many predicting cuts and tax increases which are likely to be deeply unpopular. Many people out their are thinking: ‘I’m gonna be screwed no matter who I vote for.” How the leading party manages how they make the hard decisions and how effect they are come the next General election reflect how popular a party is and if they don’t get it right … Read more

South Belfast Orange and Black call for agreement

Saw this over on Devenport Diaries. In a nut shell the Leaders of the Orange Order and the Black Preceptory in South Belfast have called on Sir Reg Empey to apply the Fermanagh South Tyrone model to South Belfast. Mark says: “The loyal orders went so far as to say that “we feel so strongly about this issue that we will direct our members and friends not to support any party that indicates they are not prepared to stand aside … Read more

United Unionist Force?

Sunday Times carry a story today about talk surrounding a possible merger between the UUP and DUP in order to fight next year’s Assembly election. Fears forcing this possible merger rest within the Ulster Unionists’ who are worried that they may not return any MP’s and therefore make them irrelevant come the Assembly election in 2011. * No link but tried to upload scanned copy of article Surely this would be a positive thing for Unionism? It’s just a pity … Read more

Political Satire

Political satire has long been part and parcel of the world of politics. During the Trimble years the DUP launched a series of cartoons depicting Trimble in various compromising positions. The UUP attempted during the European election to satirise the DUP with ‘Pants on fire’. The DUP have now launched this video: with TUV Leader Allister in costume. If you don’t get angry you will laugh, after all it’s only a bit of fun. AndrewLong time political hack

TUV man up in court

As reported in the Newsletter today (not up online yet) the man widely believed to be the TUV candidate in the forthcoming Lurgan byelection is up in court today charged with multiple driving offences including failing to wear a seat belt, no insurance, failing to produce insurance, having no driving licence and failing to produce a driving licence. The 64 year old man, David Calvert was proposed as the TUV replacement for former TUV councillor Mark Russell. Mr Calvert was … Read more

The guessing game

As we expect a Westminster election next Spring most of the Parties are keeping their selections under their hats. The SDLP in Lagan Valley have yet to choose but the name Brian Heading again is jumping around. Heading is a councillor in Lisburn and has been since 2004 through co-option but was elected in 2005. It is expected that most sitting MP’s will stand again. However questions surround sitting MP’s Eddie McGrady (South Down) (but I have heard whispers that … Read more

North Antrim an area of great tension

In the last six weeks or more areas of North Antrim have become serious hot-spots in Northern Ireland. Last night Rasharkin Orange Hall was attacked again with petrol bombs and left with scribbles of ‘CIRA’ and ‘Remember 81’ all over it. Sinn Fein’s Daithí McKay has been a regular contributor on the issue. I have fears that Sinn Fein are contributing to the tensions in the area. Whilst they have condemned attacks on Protestant homes they are failing to lead … Read more

Labour Veteran MacKinlay resigns – the end of the Parliamentary age

I wanted to add a post on here about the resignation of Labour MP Andrew MacKinlay. Tonight he told his constituency party that he intends to step down at the next election. Iain Dale broke the story on his blog. Andrew stood successfully for Parliament in 1992. He was elected to serve Thurrock, just outside London. He has resigned because he feels that Parliament has lost its individuality. Individual members are not Parliamentarians anymore; they are party hacks who do … Read more

Beacon for hope?

“What most struck me, as a nationalist from west Belfast, was that I was not in the slightest bit apprehensive.” Allison Morris, a journalist with the Irish News spend the 11th night touring bonfires in the loyalist heartlands of north Belfast. Her colour piece is here but I have copied and pasted the article below as subscriptions will probably be need soon. A well done to Allison who not only braved the elements but crossed over to the other side … Read more

Allister bares all on Nolan

Didn’t hear it myself yet but apparently Jim Allister bared it all on yesterday’s Nolan Show. He admitted to working on some legal cases whilst an MEP, employing his wife, son and daughter, renting his office from his family and being able to claim for food costs (which he said he couldn’t claim for, unlike MP’s, on last weeks Friday show). Now lets see Jim Nicholson bare all for the public. ADDS: I distinctly remember on the Nolan Show of … Read more

Speaker Michael Martin a scapegoat?

News that Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin (BBC) is set to step down as Speaker ‘soon’ raises tales of him being used as a scapegoat. Surely its not just his responsibility? UPDATE: He resigns stepping down on June 21st as speaker. He is to step down as an MP also – this will be an interesting by-election for Gordon Brown (if he is still leader by the time it happens!). In the running see here. AndrewLong time … Read more

Nicholson to publish expenses in next European Parliament

Over on the Newsletter Live Chat today Jim Nicholson is being grilled by the NI public. The issue of expenses has come up and he stated that he would publish his expenses in the next European Parliament. “No doubt the questions of expenses come from what is happening at Westminster. The European system is far from perfect but bears no resemblence to the Westminster system. i was appointed by the president of the parliament to the working party to reform … Read more

UDA backing Conservatives Jim Nicholson?

Carried as their lead story, the Sunday World the report that UDA Boss, John Bunting, has been helping out in the Ulster Conservatives and Unionist Euro election campaign. The North Belfast Brigadier was reported to have been seen putting up posters of Jim Nicholson. Nicholson refused to comment directly, referring the papers editor Jim McDowell to the UUP Press office where a spokesperson said that it cannot be “interpreted as the UDA backing the UUP or the UUP backing the … Read more

Record number apply to PSNI

BBC reporting a slightly old story that the PSNI has had a record number of applicants despite the murder of Policeman Stephen Carroll in Craigavon. Almost 10,000 people applied, 37% of them Catholics, are competing for just 440 jobs. AndrewLong time political hack

Now lets see the colour of the MEP’s money

Now that the MP’s expenses are all coming out in the open, how about seeing some transparency with regards to Europe? MEP’s receive a generous salary and expense allowance also. Google ‘meps expenses’ and you will find several links to articles written about MEP’s expense claims. From what I can make out an MEP earns roughly £60-70,000 per annum. In addition to this they can claim up to €203,000 (£180,000) as well as £40,800 general expenditure allowance for office costs … Read more

Lets talk about money

Talk about expenses and public funds. The NIO is looking for four Equality Commissioners for Northern Ireland. NI swimming in quango land with appointees to this that and the other department and/or agency. AndrewLong time political hack

Its democracy and a route to normalisation … surely?

Over on O’Conall Street, Conall argues that the DUP proposals are a return to ‘majority rule’. Obviously I disagree … its simply a return to democratic, accountable and efficient Government which is surely something we’re all working towards? Common sense surely particularly when we face budget savings? AndrewLong time political hack