The two races to succeed Arlene Foster…

We’ve heard the names. Barely an hour had passed from news breaking about a letter aimed at removing Arlene Foster from her leadership of the DUP, of Unionism and of the Northern Ireland Executive, and already names of willing replacements were circulating. But there’s something unusual about this process that hasn’t been commented on to the extent I’d expected. The names you’ll have heard are being put forward for DUP Leader, but have any been advanced for the position of …

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‪#‎AE16‬ ‪#‎SluggerReport:‬ Unionist dilemmas around Martin McGuinness as First Minister?

On the #SluggerReport this morning I ask three questions about unionist fears over Martin McGuinness becoming First Minister: Firstly, who is it that’s fearful? It’s not primarily those on the extreme edge of Unionism/Loyalism to whom the DUP are making this regular pitch since, these days at least, they are likely to be unmoved by such a pitch (given the DUP already work with Sinn Fein on day by day basis). Secondly, what is it that they are fearful of? …

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“the relentlessly negative portrayal of our economy by some economists & media commentators”

Still image grab from Peter Robinson talking before DUP's 2011 Assembly Election launch

At last night’s NI Assembly Business Trust event, Peter Robinson took aim at Occupy Belfast protesters before moving on to the media: At times like this, when society is struggling to break the grip of the worst recession for two generations, there is far more to be gained by contributing intelligent opinion to informed thinking than by occupying major buildings in our towns and cities in artless protest. For it is only when we all pull together as a team …

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Phony war over First Minister title begins…

There’s an awful lot of flurrying over Martin McGuinness’ (deputy with a small ‘d’ First Minister) apparent offer to ‘consider’ sharing the office of First Minister, should he come through in first place in May’s poll. It should be noted it that is possible for Sinn Fein to achieve that, if they pick up every target they have, but it is unlikely… Anyway, here’s his interview for UTV: And here’s the companion dismissal from Arlene Foster… As Mark Devenport points …

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Unionism 2010: Does it really matter who gets to be ‘titular head’?

I have a piece coming out in the News Letter’s series on Unionism 2021, although I am not sure when. All contributors have five questions to answer, the final one asking whether Martin McGuinness would be acceptable as a First Minister. Perhaps surprisingly Paisley senior accepts the prospect with some equinimity, but not without a little dig at his successor, “Sinn Fein didn’t become the majority party on my watch.” Without giving too much away, my own take is that …

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