Let`s keep Northern Ireland moving forward

Despite the goings on in East Belfast the election results have seen the DUP claw back voters. The 2009 Euro elections saw the DUP achieve 88,346 first preference votes (18.2%) whilst the election to Westminster has seen the percentage go up to 25% of the vote (168,216). Now this is still down 8.7% on the previous Westminster election but in overall terms considering the recent DUP `annus horribilis` I would think the DUP should be pretty happy with the result. … Read more

Don’t speak too soon – Foster & McNarry

Ulick noted a link to the biggest laugh of the election. Bairbe de Brún rides out some misplaced Unionist triumphalism and hours later joined the crowd cheering Gildernew’s victory. Arlene may have punched the air, should have saved it for a wall. Link Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

Winners and losers

A few weeks ago I tried to present some ways the parties could judge if the election was a success or not. DUP Retaining seats all their Westminster seats will be the main aim. Adding a seat in South Belfast, as a full gain or countering a single seat loss elsewhere, would also be an excellent result. The can’t expect a gain in vote in percentage or real terms from the last Westminster election as the TUV are now involved … Read more

Robinson defeated by Long in East Belfast

The DUP leader Peter Robinson has been defeated by the Alliance Party’s Naomi Long in East Belfast by 12,839 votes to 11,306. The TUV candidate, David Vance, secured 1,856 votes… BBC report here.  And where were you? Pete Baker

Brown makes the DUP an offer they can/cannot refuse

In a remarkable development Gordon Brown has moved to leave the door wide open to doing a deal with the DUP in the eventuality of his being close to being able to form a government. The DUP has revealed the contents of a letter approved by Mr Brown and received by the leader Peter Robinson on Tuesday stating that a Labour government would honour all financial commitments promised in the recent Justice package and even more significantly has guaranteed no … Read more

New “united” Spratt posters appear in South Belfast

They've united, so have we! Vote Spratt - DUP election poster featuring pictures of SF's Alex Maskey and SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell

They’ve united – so have we! The meaning and context of the word “united” is probably open to interpretation (and misinterpretation) in these Spratt/DUP posters spotted tonight around Donegall Pass, near the old School of Music building. The sharp-eyed may spot the election mark to the right of McDonnell’s image – so it’s an official DUP poster and not a piece of rogue campaigning.(Thanks to @kateyo for the tip off.) Update – Or did they have these printed just in … Read more

The prospects of voluntary coalition

Video: Peter Robinson on improving devolution Voluntary coalition seems to be a shibboleth connected with Jim Allister and TUV but in reality all three Unionist parties would prefer voluntary coalition with some form of qualified majority voting put in place to enable a more normal form of Assembly inline with Wales & Scotland which would include a formal opposition, compared to the mandatory coalition we currently operate where nearly all the parties are in government and will remain in government … Read more

UCUNF getting desperate as campaigning draws to close?

I have no idea what the UUP expected the media to do with the following innuendo laden press release issued by an Assembly Press Officer. I will note it but for obvious reasons commenting has been turned off: IMMEDIATE RELEASE Another confused outburst from Jeffrey Responding to another confused outburst from Jeffrey Donaldson concerning a mistaken story in the Financial Times an Ulster Unionist Party Spokesperson said: “Jeffrey appears to be thoroughly confused about a whole host of matters. The … Read more

TUV – a manifesto light on self promotion

Excluding the party group photograph in the TUV manifesto [pdf] the other photographs total seven TUV members (four images of Allister). This compares to nine images of SF members. A word count for the document gives the following: Jim Allister – 3 Paisley – 5 Martin McGuinness – 7 Robinson – 7 DUP – 23 Sinn Féin – 52 TUV – 56 Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

You’ve gotta fight for the right

As previously noted (SF and DUP seek to restrict right of Public Assembly) proposed legislation (not approved by Justice Minister) could seriously undermine the right to Public Assembly. This theme has been picked from two very different angles. The News Letter reports, Rev Brian McClung, minister of Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church has serious concerns on the impact to open air religious meetings: Freedom of peaceful assembly, which our forefathers fought and died for, instead of being a fundamental right will now become … Read more

DUP kettle calling Cameron’s fiscal pot black?

Here’s a nice piece of balance to the headlines in today’s News Letter and Belfast Telegraph… It’s the first paragraph of the economy section of the 2010 DUP manifesto [Emphasis added]: Growing the private sector is the key to economic success. It will be the private sector that will lead the UK into economic recovery.We need low interest rates and must reign back public spending and invest more wisely. Spending reductions must be pursued rather than seeking to increase taxes, … Read more

Robinson’s hope: the circular firing squad of liberal East Belfast

Splintered’s guides are shaping up to be the blog gem of this campaign, though he’s not got as far as East Belfast yet. The common wisdom is that Robinson is safe. His majority of just 6,ooo majority in 2005 (which is towards the lower end of the scale in Northern Ireland), would be comfortable in normal times. But, for the Robinson family, these are not normal times. Here’s how it worked out last time amongst the main contenders (the nationalist … Read more

Does the DUP want to pull out of the European Union?

Interesting piece from Jonathan Isaby yesterday at Conservative Home, which points out that the Better Off Out group, which favours British withdrawal from the European Union, had 15 MPs as members. Of which no fewer than 8 out of the DUPs nine MPs constituted more than half its parliamentary members. As Jonathan points out, that’s not exactly what it says in the party’s manifesto… In the section about international affairs, it merely states that: “too many powers have been ceded by … Read more

When the Chuckles had to stop (Part 1)…

The Watchman is a keen observer of Ulster politics for many years now and one who has written extensively on Unionist politics. Now, in two parts written especially for Slugger, he exams in detail the nature of the party that gave rise to Paisley, and now post Paisleyism.By the Watchman “Then the angel of the LORD went forth and smote in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred four score and five thousand and when they arose early in the … Read more

And he’s gone…

The answer to Fair Deal’s question this morning, is Jim Allister has gone… no indications that he’ll resign the seat… He’s a loss to the party, and by far the most senior (and most talented of their dissenters)… Interesting to see if any others follow his example. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, … Read more

Robinson’s plan:summary

In conversation with Frank Millar, Peter Robinson outlined the conditions for his party’s willing engagement with the peace process. He outlined what he believes to be fundamental flaws of the current Agreement. He returned to a theme his colleague Sammy Wilson outlined in more detail a few weeks back – the unaccountability of the institutions. He did not rule out working with Sinn Fein, but this would entail (amongst other things) finding a system that would allow all players to … Read more