Saville achieves scientific measure of British Governments attitude to truth – £199,999,976.05.

In the advent of Saville there is a cacophony of wailing and gnashing of teeth from unionist political representatives  about the costs associated with the Inquiry. Let me be clear, the cost of Saville means little to me. If it removes the stain of the British establishment’s Widgery-brand whitewash then it was worth it. However if bean counting over state murder is your bag the estimated £200m was completely avoidable. When the British Govt. decided to establish an enquiry all …

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Has the SDLP kissed and made up?

Conall McDevitt is reporting on his facebook: “I have just been given responsibility for developing SDLP policy on a shared, safe society. Do get in touch if you would like to contribute.” Having been granted dominion over one of his leaders core theme’s does this mean earlier reports of her preference for him as the influential Enterprise Committee Chair will not come to pass? Has Alban Maginness been granted a stay of execution or is anyone else lined up? I expect we’ll …

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SDLP Leadership race – Where’s the smart money?

Not that slugger would encourage anything as iniquitous as gambling but for anyone looking a slice of the action on the SDLP leadership race www.paddypower.com are currently offering odds. Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie is priced at 6/4 with the bookies offering much less value on South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell placing him as odds on favourite at 1/2. When the betting opened the odds were shifting around a bit reflecting a close race, but they seemed to have settled …

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SDLP Leadership: A tale of two articles…. and approaches.

The Irish News has raised its interest in the SDLP leadership race with the McDonnell and Ritchie camps each putting their respective spin on the contest. Ritchie’s backers seem to be happy with the response of MLAs to her campaign, with their dossier claiming at least 9 out of the current 16 along with MP Eddie McGrady. Meanwhile McDonnell has appears to have reverted to type and has concentrated his efforts on the grassroots of the party. According to the …

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SDLP Leadership – Is Maginness’ declaration for McDonnell an indicator of ‘Big Mo’?

Amongst the media feeding frenzy over the Robinson affair it seems the SDLP leadership race saw a significant development slip under the radar this week. According to McDonnell’s campaign site www.imwithalasdair.com North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness declared his support for the McDonnell campaign at the South Belfast MP’s manifesto launch. Many party members were surprised at Maginness’ respectable performance in the Euro elections and it is fair to say his reputation and influence have grown significantly as a result. On …

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Irish News: McGlone – ‘McDonnell gaining support for leader

In today’s Irish News (p25) recently SDLP Deputy Leader (elect) Patsy McGlone said he had seen an upswing in support during his consultation of party faithful for South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell. McGlone may not pride himself on exhaustive John Quincy Adams impressions on the floor of the Assembly but there is no doubt that like McDonnell when it comes to reading the nuances of party members he is quite adept. Whether or not any recent shift is as a …

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SDLP takes centre stage in Panto season with P&J nomination

Both the BBC & UTV are reporting on a decision by the SDLP to nominate Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie as their nomination to the Policing and Justice Ministry. Criticism of Mark Durkan often centres around his over-intellectualised style and lack of common touch but rarely is he accused of committing glaring strategic blunders. The SDLP were on firm ground attacking Sinn Féin on their stitch-up with the DUP and the appointment of an Alliance Minister for P&J. SF were …

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SF will/will not take part in education initiatives sponsored by newspapers – delete as appropriate?

I’m sure by now John O’Dowd is used to digging the Education Minister out of a hole, but I wonder if he would’ve expected her to land him in one? On Monday’s Nolan show (circa 30mins in) he was very clear that SF doesn’t like, support or take part in campaigns sponsored by newspapers. He dismissed the talks emerging out of the Belfast Telegraph’s ‘Sit Down – Sort it Out’ campaign on the grounds that they are ‘driven by a …

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SDLP McDonnell – ‘Opinion growing that SDLP should pull out of Executive’.

In policy terms observers might have noticed the first glimpse of clear blue water between the two candidates in the SDLP leadership on Inside Politics in an interview with South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell. McDonnell said there was a growing body of opinion amongst party supporters arguing the SDLP should not accept being denied the Justice Ministry and instead should pull out of the executive. Under Durkan’s leadership the party continually avoided any discussion over their participation in the executive, …

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Ritchie – A leader of courage. A driver of change?

As an observer eagerly awaiting the radical vision that would see the SDLP restored to health I couldn’t help leaving Margaret Ritchie’s launch / re-launch this morning in the Stormont Hotel feeling slightly deflated. A ‘leader of courage’ one can not disagree with…. a ‘driver of change’ seems to be more open for debate. Margaret has clearly set out her stall on three themes. Being smarter on the economy, Build a shared future, Plan for a United Ireland. No-one can …

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