Phil Woolas: “This is the end, I’m out”

Former Labour Party MP, Phil Woolas, has lost his bid for a judicial review of an election court’s ruling that stripped him of his Commons seat and barred him from politics public office for 3 years.  The election court ruling was in relation to Woolas’ campaign team’s plot to “get the white vote angry” against his electoral rival, the Lib Dem candidate, Elwyn Watkins, in the 2010 General Election.  Woolas won the seat by just 103 votes. Now the Speaker, John Bercow, … Read more

Leadership recovered – now what?

My old friend Ed Curran has a long record of observing politics that is almost unrivalled among those still writing today (apart from arch patriarch Jimmy Kelly). Ed has been treating Bel Tel readers to reality checks about the nature of unionism and its leadership, a topic that greatly exercises Slugger comment. He is surely right to say that Peter Robinson has staged a quiet comeback as DUP leader and First Minister in the wake of his stunning defeat in … Read more

Bright young things of Ucunf are now unpersons

Although I know little about them personally, I feel sorry for the former Ucunf couple Ian Parsley and Paula Bradshaw. Ian is more widely known than his political record as an Alliance and now an NI  Conservative would suggest. Theirs seems to be the only successful bit of the partnership left. I noticed him as a minor star at last year’s Conservative party conference with Sir Reg. Paula as UU candidate in south Belfast was the victim of an Alliance surge … Read more

Fermanagh South Tyrone election reaches court

The ongoing row over Michelle Gildernew’s election as Fermanagh / South Tyrone MP is due to reach the courts today. Rodney Connor is claiming there were breaches of the statutory rules and is seeking a scrutiny of the votes, a recount and a determination that Ms Gildernew was not duly elected. The victorious Sinn Fein candidate insists, however, that she was properly returned last month by the people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone as their MP. Connor claims to have … Read more

General Election 2010 – Sinn Féin

With 25.5% of the vote SF beat the DUP by 3,700 to get the highest vote of all parties (helped, of course, by DUP absence in FST and North Down). That’s the first time ever in General Elections. (One of the things you wonder about late at night is what would have happened in 1921 with today’s demography?)

Read moreGeneral Election 2010 – Sinn Féin

General Election 2010 – UCUNF

Where to start?
The four stage progression I suppose, thus:
1) The bright new non-sectarian dawn.
2) Look at us we have Catholic candidates.
3) Sorry no we haven’t.
4) Oh and we’ll change our mind on standing in every seat…
Totally. Absolutely. Astonishing.
I always thought that the money was important but was it the only thing?
How did they do anyway?

Read moreGeneral Election 2010 – UCUNF

The power of incumbency

OK – post election depression done with – here’s some analysis.
Prior to the expenses scandal it was conventional to think that the combination of new technology and the £10k p.a. MP’s communication allowance would increase the power of incumbency. So let’s see if the incumbency effect exists. Here’s the percentage drop in Labour votes for every (pre election) Labour held seat in Wales in 2010 along with incumbency status:

Read moreThe power of incumbency

Towards a new politics, or just more groping around in the dark?

Looking ahead to the twin delights of the Stormont recess and the climax of the marching season, thoughts are turning to the prospects for ” a new politics. ”  Well c’mon, it’s a slogan they’ve heard somewhere recently – was it from Westminster? David Gordon has kicked off a series of articles in the Belfast Telegraph, asking fundamental questions about the shape and direction of local politics. And not before time. For far  too long the paper has lived off … Read more

FST challenge destined to fail?

The last time a Unionist attempted to have a court overturn an electoral declaration in Fermanagh South Tyrone was when James Cooper (UUP) failed in his challenge over the 2001 result where he was defeated by 53 votes. At the time Justice Carswell agreed there had been irregularities at a polling station in Garrison but rejected the appeal: That said, the issue which we as an election court have to decide is whether the election in the constituency of Fermanagh … Read more

After the election: Did the Internet make any substantial difference?

Mark Pack from the LibDem voice blog spoke at an RSA event last week which discussed the degree to which the Internet influenced the outcome of the election. In terms of its basic promise, ie to make politics less hierarchical, he notes just how quickly scale and structure form themselves around what are essentially egalitarian tools like Twitter.