Jon Tonge is a Professor of Politics at the University of Liverpool. He is the author of The Democratic Unionist Party: From Protest to Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press. We are so used to seeing Northern Ireland politics as a zero-sum game that it’s hard to acknowledge a political deal which might benefit everyone. That might partially explain why the endorsement of Friday’s Phase 1 Brexit agreement. Amid the ambiguity and verbiage what was tentatively and sensibly proposed was a … Read more
The religious zeal and fervour normally on show at the November DUP conference was missing from much of today’s proceedings. The banter, jeering and spontaneous bursting into song was muted, actively discouraged (or forbidden). The flags, normally already laid out on seats when the delegates arrive, were only distributed after lunch. It seem that with supposed power in Westminster comes responsibility.
This morning the Federation of Small Businesses in Northern Ireland hosted the first debate amongst all of the European candidates (Jim Allister didn’t turn up and Basil McCrea was representing NI21.) The event was attended by around 80 people at the top floor of the Europa Hotel. The debate kicked off with each candidate setting out their pitch about what they can/are bringing to the European Union. There did seem to be a general consensus that Northern Ireland was not … Read more
Much about the DUP conference felt very familiar. The traditional route cross country to La Mon Hotel. The full to overflowing car park. The roar of applause from party members who adore their leader. The lack of mobile coverage … and the hotel wifi that that promised much but seemed to quickly run out of DHCP addresses and left the conference isolated in its Castlereagh bubble like an episode of Under the Dome (albeit without the guns). Lunchtime was staggered … Read more
And for balance’s sake, this evening the DUP nominated their sitting MEP, Diane Dodds. Here’s the FM’s pitch: Diane hasn’t been one of those MEPs who lives in Strasbourg and Brussels but forgets about their constituents. She has been a tireless advocate for citizens all across the Province, publishing three Funding Directories, highlighting funding opportunities for businesses and communities. These were supplemented with dozens of funding workshops and public meetings across every District Council. The Party Officers have decided to … Read more
The DUP are very proud of MEP Diane Dodds becoming a member of the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents. The body while sounding very important is essentially a business committee come speakers’ office and is mainly concerned with timetabling parliamentary business. What the DUP did not point out is; Dodds is not a full member of this body. Indeed she has only been appointed on a 6 month term and has no voting rights. All other members are there as … Read more