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

Are we seeing further evidence of corrosion in the FF base?

With the outburst from Cllr and 2007 General election Noreen Ryan of FF in Limerick against the mighty local political totem that is Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea, are we seeing the strain of the negative national mood beginning to tell? Many of those commenting are missing the local context in the timing of all this as the FF local selection interviews were talking place in Limerick over the last week or so. It may simply be that the new … Read more

Time for Sinn Fein to work out what it stands for now the Armed Struggle is over…

I’m not sure what kind of subliminal message Mairtin is trying to send with his latest post (Pete Baker was right about Policing and Justice all along – ed?), if it’s an intimation of some serious reviewing of Sinn Fein’s forward strategy, so much the better for the party. Below the fold, Eoin O’Broin points out in no uncertain terms that even after the good showing in the Lisbon Referendum, the party is holed and listing in the polls… First … Read more

Northern Irish parties in the red…?

Here’s something to keep an eye out for on Wednesday. The Electoral Commission will give a report on the state of the finances of all the various political parties. How much detail that is likely to contain, is hard to tell. Particularly, as this consultation document points out there is no standardised means of comparing like with like between political parties. Although Slugger understands that all of Northern Ireland’s major parties are in the red after last year’s Assembly elections. … Read more

Sinn Fein and the Republic: aspirations but no support…

At the weekend Sinn Fein announced a renewal of its efforts to expand its base into the Republic. But it’s a much hard uphill struggle that it seems prepared to admit. As Ahern dropped a massive 7% his party’s rate in the last Irish Times poll, Fine Gael and Labour seem to be the beneficiaries. It seems to have lost the ear of the electorate in the south, with few obvious means to get it back into listening mode. More … Read more

Sinn Fein’s anti water tax campaign ends…

The news on water is probably not as bad as many had anticipated. There is to be no privatisation, although that much was trailed. And the bills are not as ruinous as they could have been. Although it is not popular with the won’t pay group, who say it is Water Charging through the back door. Which may explain why those Sinn Fein posters finally disappeared on 2nd October, two working days after the review land landed on Conor Murphy’s … Read more

An implausible road to the Presidency…

One of the ‘stickiest’ stories of the last few years has been Sinn Fein’s ‘grand plan’ to progress sufficiently in the next install Gerry Adams as President of Ireland in 2012. Not everyone bought the line (Malcolm has something to say on it too). But a lot of people have. Some of the speculation undoubtedly arises from the fact that Adams now finds himself without office beyond his function as party President. Today in the Irish Times, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin … Read more

In strategy it is important…

Miyamoto Musashi said, “In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.” in this regard. David Maxwell a journalist with City Beat radio has some interesting Stormont gossip . He’s heard (as have we) that Eddie McGrady is going to stand in South Down, instead of Margaret Ritchie. But it’s hard to argue with David’s view that whilst it makes the short term a certainty against … Read more

Is Northern Ireland ready for another election?

I thought that perhaps we had seen the end all our elections in 2007. But that may not be. Rumour is rife (Doughty Street)of Gordon Brown’s plans to cut and run (and some warnings to the contrary) for an early test at the polls: not least to try to finish off David Cameron before he has a chance to marshal his policy commissions into a coherent offering to the UK public. But is the shortened time quickening plans on the … Read more

Gerry Adams on Hard Talk…

On BBC ‘s Hard Talk programme, Stephen Sackur grills Gerry Adams on his party’s performance in the last year… Adams does reasonably well, though Sackur clearly gets under his skin once or twice. I’ve clipped some of the most memorable bits… He argues strongly that there had always been a pro settlement line of thinking inside the Republican movement. He refers to a speech he made at Bodenstown back in 1977 arguing that his party’s fight with the British was … Read more

Sinn Fein hopeful of first Senator…

It looks like the first part of the Labour/Sinn Fein voting pact turned up trumps for Labour’s Alex White on the Cultural and Educational Panel. We’ll see shortly whether Labour is as generous the other way round. According to An Phoblacht, “Sinn Féin has 54 city and county councillors and four TDs, giving it 58 votes in the Seanad election. Pearse Doherty is standing in the Agricultural panel where the quota is expected to be around 90 votes”. Few, it … Read more

Sinn Fein’s failure an intellectual embodiment of partition…

Anthony McIntrye, writing just after the Republic’s election, argues that partition was the key to Sinn Fein’s poor performance in last month’s election. Not least in the sheer unfamiliarity with the political economy of the south of the party leader: …he more resembled a luminary of the 1850s American Know Nothing Movement than a serious modern European political leader. His awareness of the issues in the Republic has improved little since attention was first drawn to this handicap by Paul … Read more

Can the Greens get over a muddled start…

So far the Greens have displayed all the confusion of a small group emerging into the deck of a ship after years in the dark, dank galley below. Yet far from shafting his junior partners in government Bertie Ahern has handed them two senior ministries, and Trevor Sargent a junior minister. That’s half the parliamentary party! Vincent Browne thinks that whilst Bertie will keep them soothed (and keep FF in power till 2017), if the leadership of the party switches … Read more

Ahern announces cabinet..

IrishElection.com’s twitter service should bring you up to date. John O’Donoghue is Ceann Comhairle, Bertie is back as taoiseach. Sinn Fein have just been knocked back on the speaking rights in the chamber. It’s doesn’t mean they can’t get to speak (outside points of order), but they can, only when government and opposition agree they can. You can follow the naming of the Ministers here.Update: Most stay the same: Brian Cowan now Tainiste, stays at Finance John Gormley – Environment, … Read more

Adams and the problem of detachment…

Nelson McCausland has accused Gerry Adams of being an absentee MLA (as opposed to an abstentionist MP). PA notes that besides having no ministerial responsibilities, he doesn’t sit on any Stormont committees. He certainly intends to be absent from Stormont today, when he will sit in the public gallery of Dail Eireann for the vote for the new taoiseach. Whatever the party had planned for the post general election, the party’s poor election performance has seen it all but buried … Read more

An opportunity to ‘Green’ the Republic’s foreign policy…

My own take on the Greens going into government over at Comment is Free is rather more upbeat. The Republic’s electorate did not vote en masse for a ‘Green revolution’, nevertheless, if the party were to box smart and leverage the Green issues that are dominating world affairs (or at least outside the bloody conflict zones of the Middle East and Africa), as well as a recognisable environmental gains within the country itself, it might just come out of this … Read more

Tasks facing the Greens in coalition…

There is some fascinating comment around the prospective deal between the Greens and Fianna Fail. Vincent Browne thinks a Green agenda will change nothing, because it is out of kilter with what people want: “It cannot be done particularly in coalition with a much larger party that is far more in tune with the will and mood of the electorate than you are”. In the Examiner, Steven King though looks at the party’s chances of success, by looking more widely … Read more

Some tweaks needed to electoral process…

The Electoral Commission has issued its report (PDF, full version here) on the March Assembly elections. Noel MacAdam highlights a number of headline issues, namely the redundancy of polling agents and the support for a change in legislation to prevent the kind of multiple candidacies we saw last time out. Some of it we reported back in March. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider … Read more

Sargent meets Bertie…

The Greens facing the last but one hurdle, the face to face meeting with the taoiseach… thence to Wednesday and the midweek national convention… Update: Adjourned for the night. Betfair prices have been spinning between FF/PDs and FF/PD/Greens all day. Now shifting back towards the latter 4/6, with almost another £2,000 added to the market today. You can find the briefest of contributions from yours truly (and paid) 52.55mins on Drivetime. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has … Read more

“It’s not like the Greens are a listed building or anything…”

Blogorrah has 6 reasons why the deal failed. Expad.ie’s take on Ciaran Cuffe’s devil talk. WorldbyStorm reckons it was 40 hours work well worth the effort from the Greens. Miriam Lord’s extended metaphor on Fianna Fail as property developers in yesterday’s the Irish Times is worth repeating. Fianna Fáil have learned a thing or two from their developer friends. For sure, build it and they will come. Better again, target a suitable property, demolish, rebuild and reap the profit. Nearly … Read more