Author Archive | Daithi McKay

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SDLP’s ‘unprecedented’ conversations begin

The Belfast Telegraph today reports on the first of what will presumably be a number of “unprecedented” conversations within the SDLP. The SDLP’s Mid Ulster constituency council will discuss a possible merger with Fianna Fáil at a meeting in Maghera. Local Councillor Martin Kearney said “These are normal discussions which happen after every election, “We’ve more…

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The End of (Westminster) Nationalism

The Tory Chief Whip was in Belfast this weekend to meet the DUP leadership. It is believed that they were discussing all options for co-operation at Westminster, from coalition to confidence and supply . The outcome is the outline of a Confidence and Supply arrangement. “Who are the DUP?” is being googled on laptops across more…

A Tory landslide may prove bitter-sweet for Unionists

On the eve of what has been a disastrous Westminster election campaign for the Tories it seems that the Conservatives are set to be returned as the main political party in Britain once again. The election here in the north has been somewhat dull, certainly in comparison to the Assembly poll in March  so hopefully we more…

Brexit tremors

The sportswear manufacturer O’Neills has told Radio Foyle this morning that planned investment at its Strabane site has been put on hold until it gets Brexit clarity. It comes the week after the local Derry and Strabane district council passed a motion calling for the North to be granted Special Status. Meanwhile in Lisburn Coca Cola more…

A century since Markievicz MP – are we much further on?

In the lead-up to the Assembly election I looked at the potential gender representation of the cohort returning to the Hill. A record 27 out of 90 Assembly members (30%) were returned. From looking at the 18 constituencies there are 12 seats that will be not be filled by female candidates. This is due, in more…

Where is her cunning?

In the last few months Arlene Foster has developed a habit of surprising us when we least expect it. And now that ‘blonde-gate’, or whatever you want to call ‘that’ interview on the greens of Hillsborough, is fading from the corporate media memory its worth a little further analysis. In response the DUP deployed the more…

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The inevitable conclusion to the abstention debate.

In 2015 there were numerous news stories and debates about the possibility of Sinn Féin ending its abstentionist policy partly fuelled by a belief that the election might produce a hung parliament. This time around the airing of those arguments have lessened significantly. The polls predict a Tory majority. However the SDLP believe its still more…

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Elections becoming a big business for Facebook

Social media is increasingly becoming more important in the fighting of elections. Political parties can post videos or short picture messages with slogans and then, for a price, insert that on the newsfeed of groups according to location, age, gender, etc. If candidates hit the right nerve with the public they can crowd source enough more…

‘The Fearghal McKinney effect’

There obviously won’t be any pact between the SDLP and Sinn Féin anytime soon and the latest comments from Michelle O’Neill and Colum Eastwood reaffirm their party positions. Eastwood is keeping one eye to the unionist voters in Foyle and especially South Down that will be considering voting strategically for his party to keep Sinn more…

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Tory momentum won’t sweep away call for IndyRef2

The results are in and the Local Government outcomes in Scotland, Wales and (much of) England are no great surprise. Beyond Hadrian’s Wall Labour lost their majority on Glasgow City Council after nearly 40 years dominance. Well over 100 Scottish council seats turned Conservative blue, the majority of which were previously rose-red. There are two more…

Presidential voting rights by 2025?

With the recent stepping up of debate about a Border Poll and the constitutional future of the north it is interesting (though I suspect coincidental) timing to see the Taoiseach Enda Kenny announce that a referendum will be held on the right of Irish citizens abroad and in the north to vote in future Presidential elections. The more…

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Could next week see a break through in women in the Assembly?

So will next week’s poll see the breaking of more glass ceilings for female representation in the Assembly?  Time will tell. But as we political nerds have fun tallying the possible final outcomes for political parties we should also look at potential gender outcomes. Foyle (0/1) Surprisingly Derry has only one female candidate placed to more…

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The rise or fall of People Before Profit

The 2017 Assembly Election has not come at a good time for People before Profit. After making their Assembly breakthrough last year the party was looking forward to using the 5 years until 2021 as an opportunity to build a party infrastructure and establish a media profile which it was doing reasonably well at until the more…

AE16 chart of party candidates elected unsuccessful

Election an opportunity to break more glass ceilings

Just eight months ago we were celebrating the fact that the number of female legislators had increased by 50%. 30 women were elected compared to 20 in the 2011 elections. 28% of the 108 member legislature compared to 19% in the previous mandate. The Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin welcomed the change : “While we still have more…

D-Day brought forward? Inquiry or Investigation? Will it matter?

After the First Minister gave an initial curt ‘No’ to Sinn Féin’s draft paper for an Independent investigation she has now given a more detailed and lukewarm response to the proposals: “However, with the exception of the issue of stepping aside, we believe that the proposals provided to us by Sinn Fein on Thursday and more…

Claire Sugden

An opportunity for Claire Sugden

In yet another excellent piece for the Newsletter  Sam McBride highlights the fact that Claire Sugden, it appears, has the ability to call a public inquiry on RHI under the Inquiries Act 2005. Up until this point the East Derry MLA has managed to avoid much of the media focus that has engulfed other Executive more…

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What would the Assembly look like if weighted majority voting had been introduced?

What would the Assembly look like if weighted majority voting had been introduced? With the present RHI scandal throwing up another problem with the system there have been some calls for a ‘public conversation’ on future reform. In the (original) Assembly & Executive Reform (Assembly Opposition) Bill John McCallister  brought forward cross-community support and the more…