Your lockdown political documentary/film recommendations

A few weeks ago I did this segment with William Crawley on Talkback but a few of you have been in touch with me to ask for a written copy.Here you go. The Killing Season-The Killing Season is a 2015 Australian television three-part documentary series which analyses the events of the Rudd–Gillard Government of 2007–2013, a turbulent period of Australian political history. You don’t need to have a great knowledge of Australian politics to watch this. Labour-The Wilderness Years which …

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The Conservatives are failing to make headway in the Brexit supporting North and Midlands

At the next general election, the Conservatives’ hopes of regaining the overall majority in the House of Commons will rest on winning a substantial number of seats from Labour in Brexit supporting areas in the North and Midlands of England. This is especially true given that they can expect to lose seats in Remain voting areas in London, the South East and Scotland. The map above compares the results of the 2016 EU referendum on a constituency basis (with seats …

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A new British centrist party would likely benefit the Tories, just like the last time

An unpopular Conservative government, a left-wing Labour leader with poor favourability ratings, and a breakaway faction of centrist Labour MPs joined by a Conservative defection a short while afterwards. The parallels between the formation of the Independent Group of MPs in February 2019, and that of the Social Democratic Party in 1981, are clearly apparent. Could a new centrist force make a breakthrough in a Westminster general election, as the alliance between the Liberals and the SDP famously failed to …

Read more…A new British centrist party would likely benefit the Tories, just like the last time

Things fall apart… but if a new centre is forming, it’s more like a rough beast at the moment

As Mrs May faces another defeat … on the Conservative side.. Hardline Brexit supporters are threatening to inflict yet another Commons defeat on Theresa May because they fear the government is effectively ruling out leaving the EU with no deal. Members of the Tory European Research Group are unhappy with the wording of a No 10 motion because it endorses parliament’s vote against any Brexit without a withdrawal agreement. The motion for debate on Thursday simply affirms “the approach to leaving the EU” backed …

Read more…Things fall apart… but if a new centre is forming, it’s more like a rough beast at the moment

The Meaningful Vote: Welcome to Political Bandersnatch

It’s hard to believe that Theresa May secured a draft Withdrawal Agreement from the European Union in November 2018. I feel as though I’ve aged 500 years since then. After weeks of parliamentary wrangling, countless amendments,a confidence vote and Sammy Wilson’s angry face on the television every night, the big day is here. I’ve written elsewhere about my thoughts on the Agreement. I would reluctantly vote for the Prime Minister’s deal. It is lukewarm tea, a soggy biscuit trapped at …

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Is it possible to be friends with someone who has opposing political views?

I have watched John McDonnell’s interview on Newsnight and the question of being friends with a member of the Conservative Party. Now it’s important to point out this exists across politics and not just here. Surveys in the United States have shown some people who are Republicans wouldn’t marry a Democrat and vice versa. In the age of politics becoming more polarised between differing factions it’s disheartening to see such tribalism. Why, I hear you ask? Because in the same …

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What would paddy Devlin make of a SDLP/Fianna Fail merger?

Over recent months we have seen continuous speculation and briefing by SDLP & Fianna Fail members who wish to promote the idea of a FF-SDLP merger. SDLP members have two key challenges to face should they seriously consider a merger with Fianna Fail, firstly how does Fianna Fail resonate with its labour values and secondary are Fianna Fail just too toxic due to their record of scandal. The SDLP has always had a labour bone in its body, the politics …

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The reality and rhetoric of where Fianna Fail stands in Irish politics

I read with some amusement Jack O’Connors contribution to the debate around Fianna Fail and the SDLP possibly developing a more formal arrangement. He argues; Noel Whelan is probably indulging in a bit of end of silly season kite-flying, but it is extremely damaging to the Labour Party. I mean no disrespect to the Fianna Fail Party, indeed I am on the record as saying that the decision not to go back into Government with them in 1994 was one …

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“Rainy Days Back In Fashion”: The Week In Irish Politics

Another week, another glimpse of ‘new politics’ at work in Dáil Éireann. The Green party’s Waste Reduction Bill, (co-sponsored by Labour as the Greens are short on number in the chamber), passed to committee stage late last night. It did so with the support of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats and a host of Independents. Its supporters argue that it’s by far the best way to reduce waste by putting the onus on companies to reduce packaging while …

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Like the Samurai, Labour faces the verdict of the machine guns

Labour Party in Northern Ireland

There’s a scene in the Tom Cruise epic, ‘The Last Samurai,’ where the main characters – noble samurai (as the film title suggests) – charge the battlefield against the Western-trained forces of the Japanese Emperor. One by one, these brave warriors are cut down by machine-gun fire. Their swords and bows and arrow useless against the latest military technology of the time. They know they face near certain death, but honour and belief drives them forward. This final battle signifies …

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Fianna Fail must not make the same mistake with Bertie, that Labour have with Blair

1st May 2017, marked the 20th anniversary of the election of Tony Blair as British Prime Minister. For the current Labour Leadership, a huge part of their existence is owed to a repudiation of the Blair years with its mix of missed opportunities and misadventures such as the War in Iraq. Fianna Fail and Ireland face another anniversary over the coming weeks as the 6th June marks the 20th anniversary of the 1997 General Election which brought Bertie Ahern to …

Read more…Fianna Fail must not make the same mistake with Bertie, that Labour have with Blair

Theresa May’s local victories are good for the Union cause but give no comfort to special status fans

  A note of caution is needed about  talk of a Tory landslide on 8 June. Although UKIP was obliterated in the GB local elections,  Labour might have done even worse. Michael Thrasher’s projections of the local results to the general election “ for a bit of fun” on Sky News   works out a majority of  48 seats, up a respectable 36 but well short of a landslide and barely worth  the trouble of calling a snap election. John Curtice, election …

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Fixed-Term Parliaments Act – on the chopping block ?

One or two eagle-eyed observers on social media noted a development in the House of Lords which has apparently escaped the notice of the media – a new bill which, if enacted, would abolish the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. It’s worth a quick recap on the background. Until 2011, the power to dissolve Parliament was by the Queen’s prerogative, exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister. It has always been significant as it is, in effect, the power to choose a strategically optimal time to hold …

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Two polls show good news for Fianna Fail

Two polls out tonight from RedC and the Sunday Times/Behaviour and Attitudes survey show good news for Fianna Fail NEW SBP/Red C Poll: FG 26 (-) FF 29 (+3) SF 13 (-2) Lab 6 (-) IA 5 (+1) Ind 7 (-4) AAA/PBP 5 (-) SD 4 (-) GP 4 (+2) Ren 1 (-) Other 1 (-) — Hugh O’Connell (@oconnellhugh) July 16, 2016 POLL STimes/B&A (Jul 1-11, ±3.3%) FF 30(+5 4wks) FG 25(-1) SF 14(-3) Lab 6(+1) AAAPBP 5(+1) Inds …

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NEC votes that Corbyn is automatically included on the ballot

Labour’s National Executive Committee has voted 18-14 tonight that the current leader, Jeremy Corbyn should be automatically included on the ballot for the forthcoming leadership contest. UPDATE: They’ve pulled up the drawbridge on taking any more opportunistic political migrants… Klaxon – existing new members may not even be allowed to become registered supporter paying £25. Unholy mess https://t.co/7U6ypxWvPl — Sam Coates Sky (@SamCoatesSky) July 12, 2016 Here the rulebook says members since Jan can't also now pay £25 to be …

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With a leadership challenge in the offing, @UKLabour calls for a general election…

Labour NI AGM table goodies

A few weeks ago, Eamonn McCann reassured the Assembly that the Brexit referendum would split the Tory party apart. He clearly believed (as did many of us) that we were on our way to a Remain vote. That certainly would have been messy for the Tories, and would not (as David Cameron hoped) necessarily have resolved the matter for a generation. But Brexit is likely to provide the Tories with some substantial closure on the matter. So instead it is the …

Read more…With a leadership challenge in the offing, @UKLabour calls for a general election…

A modern fable: Goldilocks and the three Labour leaders

Nobody expected Jeremy Corbyn to win the leadership contest in 2015, I’m not sure even he expected it. Actually, nobody expected Jeremy Corbyn to even be part of the leadership contest in 2015 – he was put on the ballot, as history now tells us, to widen the discussion, to broaden the range of candidates on offer. Well that worked out well. It may however have served a purpose in the long run. “Once upon a time, there was a Parliamentary …

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Hilary Benn has been sacked as Shadow Foreign Secretary

We had the Tories, now on to Labour as the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn sacks Hilary Benn from the Shadow Cabinet; Newspaper reports suggested Mr Benn had been encouraging shadow ministers to resign if Mr Corbyn ignored the result of the no confidence vote. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Mr Corbyn “worked himself to the ground” during the four-month campaign. Senior Labour sources have also told the BBC that a significant number of shadow cabinet resignations were likely if Jeremy …

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Joan Burton to resign as Labour Leader

From the Irish Times; Ms Burton is to meet her parliamentary party tomorrow and The Irish Times understands she will confirm her resignation. It is understood deputy leader Alan Kelly and former minister of state Sean Sherlock plan to contest the party leadership. Former minister for public expenditure Brendan Howlin will not challenge for the position. It is understood Mr Howlin was only willing to seek the role if there was no contest. Labour’s constitution requires a leadership contest if …

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