The UUP’s election: the past is another country

In the almost a month since the elections a number of attempts (Alex Kane’s is usually the best) have been made to analyse the UUP’s fortunes. The clear message from most (less so from Alex) has been that the UUP did badly and is in decline: quite possibly terminal decline. A number of reasons have been proffered for this state of affairs, most of them relating to the perceived rightward move of the UUP (again I point out that the …

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Alliance: successes and dangers

The Alliance Party seem pretty pleased with their election. They received almost 51,000 votes, elected 8 MLAs and saw their share of the vote rise by 2.5% from 5.2 to 7.7%. (The council elections were broadly similar with them getting 7.4% and 44 councillors). They gained 1 MLA in East Belfast (from the PUP’s prodigal leader Dawn Purvis) which was the first time they have ever gained more than one seat in a single constituency in living memory. This success …

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Thoughts on the DUP’s victory

It may be more two weeks now since Peter Robinson’s triumph at the polls but although time may make people more blazé about it that does not change the nature of his victory. I have frequently argued that Peter Robinson was a master tactician but not a brilliant strategist. However, the tactics have now become so good, so long term and so apparently successful that they have effectively become a strategy. The whole thing looked so unbelievably different a year …

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Nick Clegg: little to show for selling a political soul

Below I looked at the AV referendum. Although that was the single largest mass slaughtering by the public of a Liberal Democrat Sacred Cow, the electorate seemed determined to cause the Liberal Democrats as much electoral pain as possible. They lost seats in English local elections; were practically annihilated as the governing party in any northern English towns; were humiliated in Scotland and pushed into fourth in Wales (clearly Lembit Opik got thrown out at the right time). This was …

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TUV the end or the end of the beginning?

TUV the end or the end of the beginning In a little over 72 hours we will know whether the TUV has been consigned to history like the UKUP and so many other unionist parties of the past or whether it can begin to form a proper opposition at Stormont. Jim Allister has set out his stall again arguing for a functioning opposition and moving towards voluntary coalition. The other candidates also feature on the TUV election broadcast. The other …

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West Belfast: Eaten bread soon forgotten #ae11 #belw11

In 2007 it was impossible for anyone that follows local elections to be anything but impressed with Sinn Féin’s vote management in West Belfast; 4.9 quotas returning 5 candidates when one of them (Gerry Adams TD) was exceptionally high profile seemed to be delivered effortlessly (those that have worked campaign trails know it will have been anything but). This time round SF are attempting the same feat with slightly different circumstance – Adams is gone so their vote management strategy …

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Belfast Telegraph interview Catriona Ruane

Catriona Ruane has an interview in the Belfast Telegraph. Unsurprisingly she is completely unrepentant about her time as Education Minister. She says she regards the abolition of the 11 plus as her “proudest achievement” and that she has achieved “about one of the most progressive and radical reforms of education since the Partition of Ireland”. On issue of academic selection she states: “Well, first of all, the old system has gone and one of my proudest achievements is ending the …

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