Now Westminster is settled, here’s all the other unsettling business NI politicians need to get back to

It’s back to work on Monday for our local politicians. There’ll be no commission on the union (though David Cameron should now outright reject the idea), no extra £1 billion of cash, and no immediate possibility of bargaining for the 45 ideas in the DUP’s plan. Though over the next parliamentary term there are sure to be plenty of tight votes in which The Northern Ireland Plan can come out of Nigel Dodds’ back pocket and be used as bargaining … Read more

Ed Miliband: I’m not sure [120 PMQs have] made much difference to the sum of human knowledge!

Amongst the questions about education, mental health support and apprenticeships at this morning’s Heenan-Anderson Commission session with Ed Miliband, the Labour leader kept back one question to answer to the end. Youth and political engagement … listen to ‘#heenananderson Clip of @Ed_Miliband questioning PMQs which don’t make “much difference to sum of human knowledge”’ on audioBoom If people think politics matters they’ll get engaged in it and vote for it. Now watching me and David Cameron shout at each other … Read more

7 NI political hot potatoes for early 2015

1. Expect Mitchel McLaughlin to be finally elected as Speaker of the NI Assembly. If the Welfare Reform Bill passes its Consideration Stage by the end of February (as the financial package requires), will the DUP withdraw their objection and allow Sinn Féin’s Mitchel McLaughlin to be elected as Speaker? They’ll surely not wait until the Bill receives Royal Assent? Mitchel’s elevation will create a vacancy for a Deputy Speaker. Who will the DUP nominate from within their ranks? Realistically … Read more

Ivan Lewis (shadow SoS) sets up Heenan-Anderson commission to address worklessness & intergenerational poverty

English MPs with an interest in Northern Ireland are coming along like buses today. Labour MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Ivan Lewis delivered a speech to the Labour party conference in Manchester this afternoon. He joked that the city was home “to three institutions in serious decline … the Tory party, the Lib Dems and Manchester United.” When people tell you politics can’t change anything, politicians don’t make a difference, give them a two word answer, … Read more