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.

What to look out for tonight

It’s nearly all over as one of the quietest campaigns comes to an end but turnout is reported to be doing well in many places across Northern Ireland at 5pm. What should you look out for; For the UK wide picture as soon as it hits 10pm the main networks BBC, ITV and SKY News will publish the results of their exit poll, be cautious about other polls out there! Some folks got other polls mixed up in 2015 and … Read more

#AE17 draws to a close; what’s your punt for count day?

Tonight we have Slugger’s Big Election Punt (in partnership with MW Advocate) where our panel will have to make some key predictions about the upcoming election. In that spirit we thought we would ask you about what you think will happen tomorrow in terms of the parties. For what it’s worth here is my punt (Some variation as a few seats such as South Belfast & Upper Bann are just too close to call). DUP; 30-31 Sinn Fein; 23-24 UUP; … Read more

Interview with David Ford: “don’t bother summoning the men in grey suits, just tell me”

TELL ME when it’s time to go says Alliance leader David Ford. In this interview with Slugger he talks about Alliance’s electoral appeal, new parties in NI, switching to use council areas for Assembly constituencies, taking Executive meetings out on the road, the balance of funding between prison and community/probation services, joined up working across the Executive, Alliance’s approach to the Justice Ministry after May’s election, public and political support for refugees and asylum seekers in NI, and his thoughts on the Irish election and the impact of the EU referendum on the Assembly campaign.

David Ford: we are more committed to transforming Northern Ireland than you, Mr Robinson #ap2015

This year’s Alliance Party conference was focussed on party members and supporters rather than reaching out to the public at large. Delegates were reminded about the core party values and principles. There were no visiting clerics or representatives of loyalist band forums. No one from the Syriza Greek government. Instead, Alliance heard from friends in the victims, integrated education, science, arts and environment sectors. While Peter Robinson was criticised for making DUP victory in East Belfast his number one priority, … Read more

Rebooting Stormont … however Alliance walking away from Justice would trigger a faster restart?

Reacting to the most recent political shenanigans and particularly the DUP and UUP walkout from all-party talks [Ed – seemingly with a two page press release agreed and up their sleeves] David Ford says “Stormont needs a reboot”. For too long now public services and the entire community have been held back as a result of the almost complete failure of leadership over crucial issues and the breakdown of functioning relationships between the two main political parties. It is clear … Read more

McCann meets…David Ford MLA #AP2014

In my second interview from the Alliance party conference, I was able to chat to the party leader, Justice Minister, David Ford. In the interview we chatted about the conference, his predictions for the future growth of the party and the On the Runs issue. I asked him about the comments made by Anna Lo in the Irish News; If any leading member of the party had said that I have a long term vision that Northern Ireland remains within … Read more

Alliance Party urges society to step forward … while it deals with past week’s comments by Anna Lo #AP2014

Today’s Alliance Party conference came just days after Anna Lo’s perfectly valid – though politically thoughtless – comments about her personal views on Irish unification were reported as part of her interview with John Manley in the Irish News. It was hard to avoid the annual party member get-together being seen through an Anna Lo lens. It was the topic of conversation amongst delegates. I talked to no one who was upset by Anna’s aspiration. No matter whether accused of … Read more

Everything is not awesome for Alliance as they go to conference and prepare for May’s elections; though @keithbelfast puts up a spirited defence …

Alliance’s party conference takes place in La Mon Hotel on Saturday. Expect to hear speeches from their Euro candidate Anna Lo, the Minister for Employment & Learning Stephen Farry (whose department failed to go away you know), as well as deputy leader and East Belfast MP Naomi Long. With the party conference so close to the May elections – though still outside the broadcasting “closed season” – expect to hear from budding council candidates wanting to make their mark on … Read more

“nobody has the right to use lamp posts & telegraph poles like a dog marking out territory” #apc13

Compared with last year, numbers were up at the Alliance party conference. Lots of new faces, including the Parades Commission stand at which staff and commissioners were doing a bit of outreach. [Will the DUP take their money at their conference?] Missing were any flag protests. The PSNI and hotel security were ready – perhaps even expectant – but there were no marches up the Gransha Road to La Mon hotel. Now that Alliance have two Executive ministers and are … Read more

Alliance Party Conference preview #apc13

The Alliance Party returns to La Mon Hotel on Saturday for its annual conference. Back at the beginning of December, Alliance’s role in the Belfast City Hall flag decision – and the subsequent intimidation of elected representatives and damage to property – perversely looked like overall it might boost the party’s support. However as the protests dragged on over Christmas and into January and February, Alliance are less and less associated with the story; instead unionist fora, unionist unity and … Read more

Animated Alliance #apni12

Still from Alliance Party's April 2012 Party Political Broadcast - Naomi Long avatar

Alliance party political and party election broadcasts have a style all of their own. The yellow brand and the Naomi Long avatar are perfect for animation. This week’s party political broadcast being shown on BBC and UTV in the run up to their conference on Saturday continues the theme. Alan Meban (Alan in Belfast)Alan Meban. Normally to be found blogging over at Alan in Belfast where you’ll find an irregular set of postings, weaving an intricate pattern around a diverse … Read more

Alliance Party conference preview #apni12

Alliance leading change banner

The Alliance Party conference on Saturday finishes the 2011/12 season of party conferences. [Sinn Fein’s Ard Fheis (which was postponed from last spring to the autumn) will take place at the end of May in Killarney.] This year Alliance’s venue switches from the mobile not-spot of the Dunadry Hotel to the DUP-favourite mobile not-spot of La Mon Hotel. Moving on from the party’s recent strapline of “Leading Change”, the 2012 conference theme is ‘Delivering Change” and the morning agenda includes … Read more

Addie Morrow RIP

A real gentleman with a hearty laugh and a giant in the Alliance party, Addie Morrow served as Alliance’s Deputy Leader, was a Castlereagh councillor between 1973 and 1989, and was also elected in 1982 to represent East Belfast in the Assembly. Addie had a strong vision for peace-building and reconciliation, lived out both through his politics and his long time involvement in the Corrymeela Community. Living up in the East Belfast hills, he was a church elder in his … Read more

Oliver Napier RIP

Members of the Slugger team who could do the blog title justice seem to be away from the office. In the meantime I hope the following links are a suitable opening for your comments on the passing of Sir Oliver Napier. David Ford pays tribute to party founder BBC obit and some video. Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

Alliance Party launch huge manifesto

David Ford 2011 campaign launch speech wordle - wordle.net

The Alliance Party manifesto should come with a health warning. Dropping it on your toe could cause serious injury. On Monday, the DUP’s director of elections Simon Hamilton described his party’s spiral bound book of promises as “probably one of the most detailed and most comprehensive manifestos that any party will do in this election or indeed any party in any election in Northern Ireland’s history will have put forward”. A short-lived claim, as the very next day the Alliance … Read more

Alliance PEB preview

Alliance have avoided producing a traditional Political Election Broadcast and instead created something novel and modern. No voxpops. No politicians walking towards the camera struggling to remember their lines. No perfect families sitting in showhouse sets. It would be interesting to see the viewing figures for PEBs. Do people stick with them, or do they reach for the remote and channel-surf as they might do during the normal interstitials? It’s a shame that given the effort and thought that went … Read more

Alliance: all (about leading) change

Alliance leading change banner

Alliance launched their election campaign this morning but gave away little about the specific contents of their upcoming manifesto. The paper copy of David Ford’s speech this morning was titled: “Ford launches Alliance campaign saying the party is leading change”. Certainly it seemed like the party leader was embarking on a record breaking attempt to overuse the word change. If his short speech was passed through Wordle, the word “change” would overshadow all other content. [Ed – by popular demand, … Read more

Is it right they rule by rote?

I’m off on a wee rant below, apologies. While Eamonn’s reproduction of a UUP communication to members has transitory interest, it could open up a broader discussion on the internal democracy of our political parties; how they manage policy setting, media protocols and transparency. A party wracked with disagreement and conflicting messages for nearly two decades like the UUP is long overdue a leader to stamp internal discipline and defined direction for external eyes. The immediate threat of ‘you go … Read more