Who will the UUs choose to run for South Belfast…

Slugger hears that Bob Stoker and Michael McGimpsey are the only candidates that will square off for the party’s South Belfast candidature for Westminster… That’s not a surprise, but given how McGimpsey bombed both in 2005 – losing a formerly safe UU seat to the SDLP’s Alisdair McDonnell conceding third place to a virtual unknown DUP candidate in the process – and then managed to chip even more off his total in 2007 it is a pretty poor back to … Read more

DUP representative pleads guilty on electoral fraud charges

The BBC report that former DUP mayor of Coleraine, Dessie Stewart, has pleaded guilty on 6 charges of electoral fraud relating to the last general and local elections in 2005 despite previously denying the charges. He is, currently, listed as an councillor on the Council website He admitted four counts of pretending to be someone else in order to cast postal votes, and two of fraudulently stopping free exercise of a proxy vote. Updated 10th Oct – He has now … Read more

Election 2005: the issues that never showed…

The Election Commission’s post election seminar took place at Queens just under a fortnight ago. It brought together a number of players from NI’s political and civil society to look at what might be learned from the experience of this year’s double election. I was asked to present a highly personal view of the main issues and outcomes of the campaign, which was followed by a fascinating series of presentations from each of the five main parties’ directors of elections.All … Read more

DUP win a mandate for ‘politics of opposition’

Chris Gilligan had a piece in Spiked Magazine a few weeks back which argued that the recent DUP success was based on long term strategy of opposition. Thus far they have enjoyed the fruits of that strategy, but he holds up the halt in Sinn Fein’s democratic advance as an example of how a prolonged political hiatus can damage a party which had previously been able to galvinise its own constituency’s sense of alienation. It was the peace process, not … Read more

As Bill Shankly would say – it’s more important than that…

Jude Collins in Daily Ireland uses Football analogies in his musings on the results of the recent elections – Who’ll be relegated next season?Interesting parallels between battling teams and managers and one point that hasn’t had a lot of attention. Similarly, the Sinn Fein vote in Derry increased dramatically two weeks ago – to a record high, in fact – and this while under media and political blitzkrieg from all quarters. Ambrose Uprichard

Why the Tories remain in a v big hole!

Excellent analysis from Ciaran O’Kelly on the election patterns in Britain. It confirms what I’d already suspected: ie that the Conservatives largely owe their improved seat total to an effective Lib Dem counterattack on Labour over the issue of Iraq. That doesn’t necessarily augur well for the Lib Dems next time out: they are in second place in many areas where they don’t have an historical presence. But what O’Kelly underlines is the work the Conservatives will have to do … Read more

The rise of ‘Green’ politics in Ireland

Connor McMorrow with an overview of the rising fortunes of the Green Party, written just before the party’s island-wide conference in Cork at the weekend. Party leader in the Dail Trevor Sargent ruled out the possibility of joining Fianna Fail in any future coalition. 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, the UK and … Read more

Post election Hearts and Minds…

Hearts and Minds worth watching for a number of things. One, watch the four cornered debate at the beginning. I may have heard something wrongly, but I’m fairly sure there’s a row at one point because one speaker (Dermot Nesbitt, I think) believes that one of his rivals got to make a point and he also wanted to make it. It’s possibly what made the next item a blessed relief. It features Lynda Gilbey and Eammon McCann on what keeps … Read more

After another failed siege of Derry?

Malachi O’Doherty considers the qualitative difference between the two main nationalist parties after the SDLP’s (to some of us) surprise fightback. He asks which of them will take the decisive initiative in the next round of political contests. If it is Sinn Fein, he argues, it will need to move away from its traditional revolutionary position and, in effect, become an new SDLP Lite.By Malachi O’Doherty Last week’s elections have corrected the trajectory of Sinn Fein. The party has failed … Read more

Didn’t vote? Tell us why?

The Not Apathetic website takes up cudgels on behalf of those who didn’t vote this time out. If you were one of the fanatically apathetic, then you can make your mark here. 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, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

Does the internet matter in politics?

I was just discussing this subject with a colleague, when Jane at Slugger Central sent me a link to this piece on the BBC website: Was this an internet election? For journalists, the answer is “no”. For web junkies, it’s “of course”. And for electors? Well, that may be the most interesting question. Party membership, for example, is plummeting, and party loyalty a much more fluid affair than it was a generation ago. Nowhere was this trend starker than in … Read more

UUP insiders planning a corporate leadership?

Eeek! It seems that some inside the UUP are planning a corporate leadership to take over from Trimble, according to Dan McGinn. Alex Kane is against such a plan: It comes as no surprise that senior members of the Ulster Unionist Party are considering the possibility of a ‘corporate leadership’ scheme to see the party through the next few months. And it comes as no surprise, because it is typical of the arrogance, the debilitating culture of ‘we know better … Read more

Is the secret ballot really secret?

There’s a fascinating conversation going on under the Allegations of malpractice thread, in which the question is being asked, is there any possiblity that the current system might allow anyone to trace who voted for which party. This memorandum on the UK Parliament website is well worth checking out. The Guardian says it is possible. Thanks to Harboy and Occasional Commenter for the links! This means that after the election documentary information is in existence which will disclose who voted … Read more

The role of competition in future developments

Vincent Browne with a fascinating analysis (subs needed) that’s as well read in full (at the moment we don’t have permission from author or paper to replicate more than we have). He extolls the virtue of renewed competition in Nationalism, though interestingly not Unionism.He points out that: “….the taking of 92 seats by the SDLP (up to that point), just 28 short of the Sinn Féin total at the same point, shows they will feature strongly in any new elections … Read more

Allegations of voting malpractice…

Spring has sprung and the first cuckoo has been heard. The Newsletter carries a report that Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly MLA has alleged that Sinn Féin were guilty of electoral malpractice, a charge that is lent some credence by comments reported from the electoral office and denied by a SF spokesman in Upper Bann. Illegal Vote Tricks Used By SF Says MLA Kelly Upper Bann SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly claims that, during voting on Thursday, Sinn Fein was illegally … Read more

SDLP hasn’t gone away you know…

I’d heard Tom Kelly was going to kick off this week’s column with an echo of Gerry Adams’ “thank you Mr Eastwood”, after collecting a tidy sum on several otherwise unfavoured SDLP horses. Instead he goes for a quick round up of the landscape as seen from the SDLP’s viewpoint. He blames the British, and in particular Tony Blair’s NI point man in No 10 Jonathan Powell for hanging Trimble out to dry.His analysis accords with that of the departing … Read more

Crime, but any punishment..?

MARK Durkan can afford to allow himself a little dig at the critics, after defying the pundits with the general election performance of the SDLP (I had them on two seats, so humble pie for me on that count). He also finds himself strengthened enough within his party to dismiss all notions of a merger with any party in the Irish Republic, particularly Fianna Fail.Curiously, Durkan says that he wants to get the North South Interparliamentary Forum and the North … Read more

Trimble has his say…

ON Spotlight earlier, former unionist leader and ex-MP David Trimble told the BBC that the Government had contributed to a shift in public opinion by failing to hold republican to account. Other problems were the “failure to get the Agreement properly implemented and, in particular, the failure of the republican movement to do their side of the bargain, and that was decommissioning and disbandment”.And why isn’t Spotlight on the BBC website?! Argh! Belfast Gonzohttp://sluggerotoole.com

Trimble will be well judged by history

Paul Bew said on radio yesterday that David Trimble had ridden his luck for longer than he could have expected but that it ran out decisively on Thursday last. Today Maurice Hayes argues that although Trimble is seen as today’s victim, history will judge him more kindly than some of his more successful contemporaries.He argues that Trimble was let down by two groups: One was the unionist middle and professional class who came out to vote for the Agreement in … Read more

Ford: Trimble’s act was truly historic

There’s probably not a great deal of love lost been the Alliance leader David Ford and David Trimble, but the latter was fulsome in his praise of the UUP leader’s achievements: After the moribund years of the 80s and early 90s, David Trimble had the vision and the political courage to lead his party, and a large section of this community, to reaching the Good Friday Agreement. That was truly historic. It is a tribute to Mr Trimble’s work that … Read more