Slugger TV: Episode 3

Slugger TV Episode Three aired tonight on NVTV Our panelists this week were Irish News Security Correspondent, Allison Morris and Slugger Contributor, Jeffrey Peel. We discussed the Tory/DUP Deal and the future of Theresa May as Prime Minister.   David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

Tory-DUP deal reached

Very briefly… source for all information is the Guardian as that was the first place I could find with the detailed documents! The agreement The short version is that the DUP will vote with the Government on the Queen’s Speech, the budget, all finance and money bills, supply and appropriation legislation and Estimates. In return, the Government agreed: No change to pensions triple lock and Winter Fuel Payment 2% of GDP on armed forces as per NATO commitment Implementation of … Read more

Six reasons why the DUP must be considered on its merits rather than its faults…

One, Labour should approach any NI issue with some considerable caution and given the party leader’s record some humility too. It is not viable to defend John McDonnell’s kneecapping remarks one minute and then suggest the DUP is beyond the political Pale. Particularly if you have a credible ambition to run the UK. If, not then you can say what you bloody well like and ignore the following advice. Two, you have to ask yourself what forces have driven so … Read more

Our Friends in the North? The DUP and the Tories aren’t ideologically close

Following the shock result of Thursday’s General Election, the Prime Minister has announced her intention to form a government with the help with her “friends and allies in the DUP”. The DUP and the Conservatives are aligned in their commitment to Brexit and Northern Ireland’s place in the union, but they are far from ideological twins with regards to other issues. Much has been made of the incompatibilities between the DUP’s hard-line stance on same sex marriage and the Conservatives, … Read 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 will have some dramatic results in the wee small hours of Friday morning to make up for that. By the weekend the DUP should emerge … Read more

Does the Tory manifesto contain bits of hope for the DUP?

As the current polls are pointing to the Conservatives being returned to office with an enhanced majority and the DUP’s influence is likely to evaporate. However, reading the Conservative Manifesto I wondered whether some of this might be premature as I focused on the Northern Ireland section. Here is where I must put the health warning that proof will be in the eating. But I have highlighted some key passages from the manifesto. Let’s start off with Devolution as the … Read more

Theresa May’s local victories are good for the Union cause but give no comfort to special status fans

  A note of caution is needed about  talk of a Tory landslide on 8 June. Although UKIP was obliterated in the GB local elections,  Labour might have done even worse. Michael Thrasher’s projections of the local results to the general election “ for a bit of fun” on Sky News   works out a majority of  48 seats, up a respectable 36 but well short of a landslide and barely worth  the trouble of calling a snap election. John Curtice, election … Read more

Candidates running in #ae17 Part 2

In my first installment I focused on the parties running across Northern Ireland, here are some of the other parties running in a few constituencies. People Before Profit (6 candidates) West Belfast- Gerry Carroll, Michael Collins North Belfast- Fiona Ferguson Foyle-Eamonn McCann South Belfast- Pádraigín Mervyn South Antrim- Ivanka Antova Workers Party (4 candidates) North Belfast-Gemma Weir South Belfast- Lily Kerr West Belfast- Conor Campbell Mid Ulster-Hugh Scullion Traditional Unionist Voice (13 candidates) North Antrim-Jim Allister, Timothy Gaston Lagan Valley-Sammy … Read more

Fixed-Term Parliaments Act – on the chopping block ?

One or two eagle-eyed observers on social media noted a development in the House of Lords which has apparently escaped the notice of the media – a new bill which, if enacted, would abolish the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. It’s worth a quick recap on the background. Until 2011, the power to dissolve Parliament was by the Queen’s prerogative, exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister. It has always been significant as it is, in effect, the power to choose a strategically optimal time to hold … Read more

A modern fable: Goldilocks and the three Labour leaders

Nobody expected Jeremy Corbyn to win the leadership contest in 2015, I’m not sure even he expected it. Actually, nobody expected Jeremy Corbyn to even be part of the leadership contest in 2015 – he was put on the ballot, as history now tells us, to widen the discussion, to broaden the range of candidates on offer. Well that worked out well. It may however have served a purpose in the long run. “Once upon a time, there was a Parliamentary … Read more

“it all may prove as tough as anything Cameron has faced before”

Good piece from Danny Finklestein in the Times of London today, which gives you as good a view of what Cameron and Osborne have planned for the next two years: In 2015 the Tories got their timing right. In 2012 George Osborne may have been booed at the Paralympics and criticised for his taxation of Cornish pasties. But in 2015 he was re-elected. Informed by this experience, the Conservatives are deliberately making difficult decisions now. Yet the combination of this … Read more

Canada votes 2015

The Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper has taken the plunge today and called a long 78 day election campaign with a vote on October 19th. The latest polls show a real three way between the with NDP on 31%, Tories on 30%, Liberals on 29%. However this is a long campaign and it’s worth remember that during the 2006 campaign, the Liberals led going into it and lost the election. Also remember the NDP surge in 2011 that came on … Read more

Now Westminster is settled, here’s all the other unsettling business NI politicians need to get back to

It’s back to work on Monday for our local politicians. There’ll be no commission on the union (though David Cameron should now outright reject the idea), no extra £1 billion of cash, and no immediate possibility of bargaining for the 45 ideas in the DUP’s plan. Though over the next parliamentary term there are sure to be plenty of tight votes in which The Northern Ireland Plan can come out of Nigel Dodds’ back pocket and be used as bargaining … Read more

Look over there…a view of the UK election from Ireland

I have never made a secret of the fact that I am no expert on politics outside of Ireland.  I watch elections in other countries in a disinterested fashion.  The systems are strange and I find it gives you an insight into just how bizarre politics can look when you are not involved.  The UK election is probably the most interesting one in my lifetime.  Up until now all I have ever seen is a strange and undemocratic voting system … Read more

SNP surge dominates Scottish Labour

As the race for the Scottish leadership gets underway two new polls indicate that the SNP could take 20 plus from Labour at next years Westminster election basically imploding Miliband’s 35% strategy. (This is to basically win off the back of disaffected Lib Dems). The latest polls put the SNP in a commanding lead over Labour IPSOS/MORI SNP on 52% Labour on just 23%, the Scottish Conservatives on 10% Liberal Democrats and Scottish Greens both on 6%. YouGov SNP-43% Labour-27% … Read more

John McTernan: For Labour hope needs to beat fear

Next up in our 2015 general election series is former advisor John McTernan on what Labour needs to do to win next year.   There is no real secret to winning elections. Be united, have popular ideas and connect to the public. As Ronald Reagan used to say, ‘It’s not easy, but it is simple.’   Against the odds, Ed Miliband has achieved the first, and done it effortlessly. After a lengthy and divisive leadership campaign – which he won … Read more

Murdo Fraser: A Federal Future? #indyref

There is nothing new about the idea of federalism in Britain. Early last century a Cabinet sub-committee was tasked with drafting a Bill for a federal UK, in an attempt to deal with the Irish question. Federalism has long been a Liberal, then Liberal Democrat, objective. In recent months the idea has attracted more interest, as a possible way forward should Scotland vote No in September’s independence referendum. At its core, federalism is the belief that sovereignty is entrenched at … Read more

Lord Ashcroft: The Tories need to show that it matters who wins.

As we approach the general election next May, Slugger will be hosting a series of articles looking at the chances of each of the main parties next year. Writing for us on the Conservatives is the former Deputy Chairman and pollster, Lord Ashcroft. Since I stepped down as the Conservatives’ Deputy Chairman in 2010 my role has been that of the pollster, not the strategist. I set out the lie of the land as objectively as I can; what the … Read more

The Tory Press? It’s complicated…

The local elections in England provide a fascinating glimpse into the way that newspapers interact with electoral politics. Take a look at today’s the front pages; “The Savaging of Red Ed” says the Mail. “Surge by UKIP throws Labour into poll crisis” says the Telegraph. UKIP’s share of the vote actually fell this year. We can argue about how this is partly due to a feeble UKIP performance in London (London wasn’t polled last year) but even then, this is … Read more

Scotland Essays: The pro-Union cause has four months to unite, learn identity politics and make a new devolution pact now!

The difference between before and after the Scottish referendum is as fundamental and unknowable as the black hole between life and death. Yet the fate of the Union may depend on what people believe now about what may happen then, in that currently unknowable state.  With the polls narrowing near the point of cross over, London- based   politicians and commentators are at last stirring themselves, the Conservative commentator and ex-MP Matthew Parris in the Times (£) being the latest in assuming a torrid fall-out from … Read more