Alliance: Now (or never) is the time to move beyond sound bite success to real world delivery…

In earlier articles I’ve written that as someone still fundamentally pro-union. To recap, I’ve felt electorally disenfranchised for quite a long time by two unionist parties that have refused to reflect my general social outlook. Apart from a vote for David Ervine in East Belfast in 1997, I voted UUP. They lost me post-Trimble. So, I’m politically homeless. Like many on either side of the community. The Alliance Party should fill that void. But it doesn’t. Not because it is …

Read more…Alliance: Now (or never) is the time to move beyond sound bite success to real world delivery…

Alliance conference in party mood despite leader’s absence #APNI2020

Alliance delegates gathered again in the Stormont Hotel for their annual conference, marking the 50th anniversary of the party’s formation and celebrating a year of growing success at three successive elections (local, European and Westminster). The mood was upbeat, attendance was strong, yellow clothing was prevalent, and while there are no elections just around the corner to fire up the crowd, there was a sense of achievement and satisfaction at the party’s fortunes.

Three figures were notably absent including party leader Naomi Long who had been diagnosed with a severe respiratory infection and was on bed rest and fluids under doctor’s orders. Deputy leader Stephen Farry delivered the conference main speech which also held from PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne, former Secretary of State Julian Smith, and young councillors.

Northern Ireland looks set for the most unpredictable general election in its history

With the names of the candidates for this year’s general election finalized, Northern Ireland looks set to have an uncharacteristically unpredictable election, with seemingly competitive races in 10 of its 18 constituencies. The chart above shows the results of this week’s new LucidTalk poll, compared with the poll from August this year and previous election results. It suggests that support for Sinn Féin and the DUP has fallen back from levels at previous elections, and that Alliance have built on …

Read more…Northern Ireland looks set for the most unpredictable general election in its history

The Alliance Party surge could spell trouble for the DUP at Westminster

With a UK general election expected to be weeks away, local parties are bracing themselves for another round of elections, on what would be the eighth occasion that Northern Ireland has gone to the polls since 2015. Given that the Conservative government relies upon the DUP’s 10 MPs for their wafer-thin majority, the battle for Westminster in Northern Ireland is likely to receive more attention in Great Britain than historically has been the case. The big story of recent elections …

Read more…The Alliance Party surge could spell trouble for the DUP at Westminster

New way of consulting with civic society is part of the talks negotiations, discloses Naomi Long

Creating a new mechanism for consulting with civic society is part of the talks negotiations aimed at getting Stormont back, Alliance Party leader Naomi Long has disclosed.  Naomi is a newly elected MEP, former MP and has just resigned her role as an MLA.  She was interviewed in the latest Forward Together podcast. “We need to find a role for engaging with civil society,” suggests Naomi.  “I think there is a lot of good work that goes on in our …

Read more…New way of consulting with civic society is part of the talks negotiations, discloses Naomi Long

The Alliance Party’s gains in the local and European elections won’t necessarily lead to Assembly election success

As expected, Naomi Long won a seat in the European Parliament following the Alliance Party’s success at the local elections earlier in the month. However, it isn’t necessarily a given that the Alliance Party’s success at the local and European level will translate to success in any future Assembly election. This is because the areas that Alliance increased their vote in aren’t optimal from the point of view of maximizing their representation in the Assembly. Unlike the system in Israel, …

Read more…The Alliance Party’s gains in the local and European elections won’t necessarily lead to Assembly election success

The implications of Alliance’s successes for how our people are represented and governed can mean win:win all round

Good to see Newton following up the implications of Alliance’s electoral successes From the Irish Times Sinn Féin and the DUP both want to preserve the veto for their own purposes. How sustainable would that be if Alliance doubled its Assembly representation, given it has just doubled its council and European votes? In theory, none of this would break the rules. In practice, it would make designation – a foundation of devolution – look redundant and perverse. Alliance’s breakthrough could …

Read more…The implications of Alliance’s successes for how our people are represented and governed can mean win:win all round

Without getting carried away, we should dare to hope that the Alliance surge will spark a positive response from the DUP and Sinn Fein

Photo-PA After the European election – zombie or real life, who knows? – we’re in the even odder position of politics in Northern Ireland looking ever so slightly healthier than the politics of the UK as a whole. I compare NI with “UK” rather than “GB” because the Westminster scene presents the DUP with tough choices I’ll come to later. While I haven’t heard a cheep from the Stormont talks as they  (presumably)  prepare to  resume, the Alliance surge in …

Read more…Without getting carried away, we should dare to hope that the Alliance surge will spark a positive response from the DUP and Sinn Fein

#EP2019-Tell them again: Northern Ireland voted Remain

There are certainties in Northern Ireland. Everyone goes on holiday in July. A single crash on the Westlink will halt traffic across the country. An Ulster Fry is the best breakfast. The final truth: politics follows a script, the same story over and over again. We have our moments but we tell people that nothing ever really changes. May has been an extraordinary month for Northern Irish politics. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the past few …

Read more…#EP2019-Tell them again: Northern Ireland voted Remain

Long says she is the candidate who can gain transfers to win the third seat

The Alliance Party launched their European Manifesto today in Belfast with their candidate and party leader, Naomi Long leading the event. The Alliance Leader was keen to stress the recent surge in support for the party at the recent local government elections with a pitch about the “forward momentum” that her party was enjoying in comparison to her main rivals whom she argued where either stagnating or falling backwards. In her remarks she said; Brexit has not happened yet but …

Read more…Long says she is the candidate who can gain transfers to win the third seat

Seamus Close (1947-2019)

Growing up in Lisburn, with James Molyneaux’s victory a certainty in any General Election race, the interesting number to find was how well runner-up Alliance candidate Seamus Close polled this time. He was first elected to Lisburn Borough Council back in 1973, becoming the first non-unionist mayor in 1993 …

Centre parties have captured a significant number of seats from both nationalists and unionists at the local elections

With the counting now concluded in the 2019 Northern Ireland council elections, it is apparent that centrist parties have captured a significant number of seats from both nationalist and unionist parties. However, nationalist parties have captured enough seats from unionists to keep their total number of seats across the councils roughly the same, whilst the number of unionist councillors has dropped substantially. The number of seats won by each party/group in 2014 and 2019 is broken down in the table …

Read more…Centre parties have captured a significant number of seats from both nationalists and unionists at the local elections

Alliance Party gains point to a problem within unionism

Same old, same old. That was the prediction for Northern Ireland’s 2019 local elections. We’ve still gone one more day of results to come but it’s been anything but boring so far. From Aine Grogan’s stunning victory in Botanic to Paul McCusker’s vote tally in Oldpark, there have been some notable headlines in this election. Progressive unionist Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston lost her seat but People Before Profit’s Fiona Ferguson triumphed. The DUP went up and it elected its first openly gay …

Read more…Alliance Party gains point to a problem within unionism

Naomi Long to stand in the European Election

The Alliance Party Leader, Naomi Long will stand in the European Election. Speaking about her nomination she said; “I am passionate about the EU and the enormous benefits it has brought not only to us in Northern Ireland, but also right across these islands and more widely across Europe over many decades. Maintaining stability, co-operation and collaboration at that level is absolutely vital to our future,2 she said. “The chaos and uncertainty created by Brexit has impacted every aspect of …

Read more…Naomi Long to stand in the European Election

Slugger TV looks at Alliance, Brexit and the Independent Group

Slugger TV: Episode 23 from Northern Visions NvTv on Vimeo. Latest Slugger TV with Allison Morris and Sarah Creighton discussing the Independent Group, Brexit and the Alliance Party. David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

Alliance demands better from parties, politicians and the Secretary of State #apni19

READ AND LISTEN BACK to the main speeches at today’s Alliance Party Conference on the second anniversary of the last NI Assembly election and exactly two months before the next local government poll. Naomi Long pulled no punches in her criticism of Secretary of State’s “appalling dereliction of duty” to restore the Stormont institutions.

Pro-Remain Parties “We urge the EU to remain firm in that position and call on the British Government to reconsider the reckless path that they have adopted”

“With only eight weeks until the UK exits the EU, the four pro-Remain Assembly parties – SDLP, Sinn Féin, Alliance and Greens – are united in our support for the backstop negotiated by both the European Union and the British Government. “We continue to believe that there is no such thing as a good or sensible Brexit, and any opportunity to reconsider Brexit should be taken. “We believe that while the Withdrawal Agreement is imperfect, it will mitigate against a …

Read more…Pro-Remain Parties “We urge the EU to remain firm in that position and call on the British Government to reconsider the reckless path that they have adopted”

David Ford to stand down as an MLA

Former Alliance Party leader @DavidFordMLA is to step down from Stormont at the end of this week. Read more here: https://t.co/N1JUXn1hyO pic.twitter.com/OsBSxO330K — BBC News NI (@BBCNewsNI) June 25, 2018 David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

Joint Statement from Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and Green Party on Human Rights post Brexit

Joint Declaration on Human Rights and Equality 1. We are strongly committed to the promotion, protection and the vindication of the human rights of everyone. We believe these guarantees should apply to all who reside in NI. 2. We firmly believe in the centrality of equality to the shared society we are working together to create. 3. We share a profound concern that “Brexit” will result in further regression on equality and rights. 4. We welcome the guarantee in the …

Read more…Joint Statement from Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and Green Party on Human Rights post Brexit

Low key Alliance conference warns “fear and mistrust … limit us to living smaller lives” #AP2018

THE ALLIANCE PARTY CONFERENCE was a low key event compared with last year when the party was buoyant after good results in the 2017 NI Assembly election and members were still unaware of the surprise General Election that was just weeks away from being announced. Without an election campaign and without a functioning Assembly with plenary sessions and committee hearings to create stories, Alliance’s impact in political discussions is muted, and their ability to build political capital constrained. Challenges to improve the accountability of local councils are worthwhile, but don’t excite their support-base or keep the party in the headlines.