Looking forward to an early end to the Stormont deadlock. Christmas cheer, or only a Christmas truce?

How will the parties  “reflect”  on their stance towards Assembly restoration during the Christmas lull? Will it be peace on earth, good will to all or only a Christmas truce? The finger of fate is pointed at the DUP.  Will their resentment spill over into resistance? How dare the secretary of state break precedent and single them out for blame just because all the other parties seem to have supported a deal? Even that is the wrong conclusion because as …

Read more…Looking forward to an early end to the Stormont deadlock. Christmas cheer, or only a Christmas truce?

Slugger TV looks at #GE19

Slugger TV: Episode 33 from Northern Visions NvTv on Vimeo. This month, Chris Donnelly and Alan Meban look at the recent general election. Photo by mounsey is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

If one last heave after Xmas fails, the people should vote to dismantle the mutual DUP/ Sinn veto

The Newsletter editorial is full of alarm and self pity. Its  vehemence is slightly surprising as the paper has been no critical supporter of the DUP. It has been highlighting  their weaknesses throughout. So it  cannot  be greeted just  by schadenfreude.  It needs a considered answer.    For three years, no Conservative and Unionist (as they sometimes style themselves) minister or prime minister has uttered a word of criticism of Sinn Fein. Think about that. The crisis in the NHS …

Read more…If one last heave after Xmas fails, the people should vote to dismantle the mutual DUP/ Sinn veto

Where did it all go wrong for the DUP?

Last Thursday’s general election was certainly a shock to the system for the DUP, and Unionists in general, with not a single Unionist party gaining any seats. The DUP lost the formerly safe seat of North Belfast to Sinn Fein’s John Finucane and Emma Little-Pengelly lost South Belfast to the SDLP’s Claire Hanna. It’s not hard to paint a picture that Unionism had a terrible night, even if the Ulster Unionists benefitted from a modest boost of nearly ten thousand …

Read more…Where did it all go wrong for the DUP?

As Unionism across Northern Ireland licks its collective wounds, what next?

As Unionism across Northern Ireland licks its collective wounds after a devastating Westminster election, I wanted to focus on two crucial battlegrounds where political Unionism acted in an unacceptable manner, namely North Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone (FST). Both battles were on paper, good old-fashioned knockdown and drag-out fights involving a single Unionist candidate against the might of the old foe – Sinn Fein. Unionism approached both campaigns in a very different manner but the outcome was the same …

Read more…As Unionism across Northern Ireland licks its collective wounds, what next?

What could the surge of centre ground parties mean for a possible 2020 Assembly election?

The results of the 2019 general election have confirmed that the electoral map of Northern Ireland has been redrawn. The Alliance Party broke out of its traditional electoral stronghold in and around Belfast to make strong gains across Northern Ireland, polling 16.8% to come third in the popular vote behind the DUP (30.6%) and Sinn Féin (22.8%). With possible fresh Assembly elections coming in 2020, the rise of centre ground in Northern Ireland politics is likely to lead to potentially …

Read more…What could the surge of centre ground parties mean for a possible 2020 Assembly election?

Northern Ireland #GE2019 results roundup

With the results of the 2019 general election in, it is clear that the results of the local and European elections earlier this year were no fluke and the surge of the centre ground in Northern Ireland politics looks here to stay. The chart above shows how the parties performed in terms of vote share at this election, compared with all Northern Ireland elections over the course of the decade. The total unionist vote being at 43% is the “new …

Read more…Northern Ireland #GE2019 results roundup

This is no narrow nationalist victory. It is a demand to make power sharing work

DUP 8 seats (-2), 30.6% (-5.4%) SF 7 seats (nc), 22.8% (-6.6%) Alliance 1 seat (+1), 16.8% (+8.9%) SDLP 2 seats (+2), 14.9% (+3.2%) UUP 11.7% (+1.4%) Let’s say it clear.  This is a great result for Northern Ireland. It’s simplistic to call it a victory of nationalism over unionism. It shows that voters on both sides of the divide are capable of breaking out of the monolithic duopoly.  The DUP and SF have been punished for Stormont deadlock and …

Read more…This is no narrow nationalist victory. It is a demand to make power sharing work

With the best will in the world, you can’t know what you’re voting for today

Let’s begin at (your) home. After all the mystery and muttering about tactics after the election, do you know which main party the DUP would support in government? I don’t. But Nigel Dodds sounds as if he’s nuzzling up to the Tories again with or without an overall majority     There is no doubt that if we reach a tariff-free trade deal with the European Union, that will eliminate the need for most if not all customs checks..I sincerely hope …

Read more…With the best will in the world, you can’t know what you’re voting for today

On border checks the evidence from his own government mounts but Boris keeps brazening out the denial

It’s more than depressing when the prime minister keeps brazening out denials about checks between GB and NI. He actually contradicts himself between “ no checks” and  “the only checks” within a couple of sentences below. When asked on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday whether there would be checks, in light of the leaked Treasury document, Johnson replied: “No, absolutely not… The deal we’ve done with the EU is a brilliant deal and it allows us to do all …

Read more…On border checks the evidence from his own government mounts but Boris keeps brazening out the denial

Back to Stormont soon and Johnson’s deal could work, say DUP and Sinn Fein. Dreams coming true or fake news?

Is there an election on? DUP And Sinn Fein leaders are sounding optimistic notes to tempt waverers into the polling stations. Both party leaderships are also forecasting a return to Stormont any day now – without troubling us with the details of a deal.  Here we also have the astounding phenomenon of Nigel Dodds and Mary Lou McDonald both speaking in favour of Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement – a worse deal that Theresa May’s and which they were condemning only …

Read more…Back to Stormont soon and Johnson’s deal could work, say DUP and Sinn Fein. Dreams coming true or fake news?

What to look out for next week

Image result for northern ireland election count

It’s nearly all over as Northern Ireland faces its third general election in just four years. As we get ready to head back to the polls, I thought it would be useful to pull together some things for you to 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! The main exit …

Read more…What to look out for next week

The backtop is back in business after Johnson’s denial is nakedly exposed

It’s not actually  news that there will “be a border down the Irish Sea” if Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement is passed. But if the document Jeremy Corbyn has been waving this morning is an authentic Treasury paper, it shows that Johnson is lying or at best or in denial.   He will surely be pressed to explain himself in tonight’s BBC debate with Jeremy Corbyn.  Taken at face value it means Johnson will denounce his own withdrawal agreement as soon as …

Read more…The backtop is back in business after Johnson’s denial is nakedly exposed

Losing Belfast City – the Unionist retreat?

Losing the City of Belfast at the forthcoming election will do massive psychological damage to unionism. After the calamity of RHI, many in my family happily told of how they would not be exercising their vote at the Assembly election held after Martin McGuinness’ dramatic resignation in 2016 and especially in the second election called the next year. When the tally had come through in the 2017 election it was like a punch in the gut to some in the …

Read more…Losing Belfast City – the Unionist retreat?

For Northern Ireland and the Union, the choices after the election are all to play for

Peering into a crystal ball however cloudy is as irresistible for the curious voter as the compulsive gambler. Favourable predictions for the Conservatives range from an overall majority of over 100 to fewer MPs than May won in 2017 but still the largest party. Serious hopes of a Labour majority are round about nil. They are likely to need the support on some basis of minority parties, the SNP, the Lib Dems and who knows? – even the DUP. Johnson’s …

Read more…For Northern Ireland and the Union, the choices after the election are all to play for

The voters sense that the DUP and Sinn Fein are all at sea. What are they to make of it?

Pity the local voter, trying to discover a clear outcome in this election.  Anoraks may shiver with anticipation at the prospect of change in a couple of local seats but what are they claiming for turnout? Who could blame the people for staying away?  Voting for the Union or Remain or bringing a border poll closer doesn’t come close to guaranteeing any of these outcomes.  The secretary of state has floated the idea of deciding on an Assembly election in …

Read more…The voters sense that the DUP and Sinn Fein are all at sea. What are they to make of it?

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

Women, Northern Ireland and the 2019 General Election

Clare Rice is Research Assistant on the ‘Performing Identities: Post-Brexit Northern Ireland and the reshaping of 21st Century Governance’ project at Newcastle University, a PhD Candidate and TA at QUB, and an occasional commentator. Twitter: @Clare_Rice_ We are less than a week into the 2019 Westminster election campaign and already we have seen a concerning pattern begin to emerge. It isn’t unusual for sizeable numbers of MPs to decide to step down from elected politics (see this useful overview), but …

Read more…Women, Northern Ireland and the 2019 General Election

Slugger TV looks at the UUP and the DUP

Slugger TV: Episode 31 from Northern Visions NvTv on Vimeo. This month’s Slugger TV assesses the incoming UUP Leader and looks back at the recent DUP conference. David McCann was joined in the NVTV studio by former DUP SPAD Tim Cairns and the commentator Sarah Creighton. If you require subtitles please watch the YouTube version below and turn on the captions. David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter …

Read more…Slugger TV looks at the UUP and the DUP