Lee Reynolds steps up to Belfast City Council

DUP strategist Lee Reynolds answering questions at Slugger Big Election breakfast - photo by Mr Ulster

Back in May at Slugger’s Big Heid Coont Breakfast, DUP strategist Lee Reynolds explained to the assembled crowd how the party’s vote management had worked successfully at the Assembly and local government elections, before admitting that from the tallies he reckoned it had failed him on his attempt to get a seat on Belfast City Council. (Lee was the second candidate to be excluded in Castle district, with first preference votes just shy of half of the electoral quota.) But … Read more

One last hustings (#bele11) in case you can’t sleep …

It’s the storm before the calm. It feels a bit like Slugger’s clearing out the draft folder of posts before they become irrelevant post-count when the focus switches away from the campaign and turns to the results and the consequences of the electorates’ pencil scribblings. In case Tuesday’s late night leaders’ debate whet your appetite for midnight political listening, here’s one last election treat. It’s a recording of last night’s East Belfast election hustings, held in Knock Presbyterian Church. I … Read more

Catching up with Steven Agnew (Green Party) #ae11 #lg11 #ndo11

The Green Party has six Assembly and twenty two council candidates standing for election on May 5. I spoke to Steven Agnew a few weeks ago in the party’s constituency office (and headquarters) in Bangor to ask about Green Party policies and priorities for the Assembly and local government, local sourcing, and their stance against reducing the number of local councils and their hopes for election results. Steven Agnew once echoed Kermit the Frog when he said “it’s not easy … Read more

Catching up with Jim Gorman and Paul Little, IRSP council candidates in Belfast #lg11 #belw #beln

IRSP logo

On Thursday afternoon I spoke to IRSP’s two candidates standing for Belfast City Council: Jim Gorman (Lower Falls) and Paul Little (Oldpark). The party has another three candidates standing in Derry and Strabane. The first part of the interview looked at their candidacy in next week’s local elections; the second part looked at the IRSP more generally, its link with the INLA, God, apologies, policing and their view on current dissident activity. I asked about where the IRSP as a … Read more

Progressive Unionist Party launch manifesto with titanic pledges

Front cover of PUP Manifesto 2011

The Progressive Unionist Party launched its manifesto this morning. The party is now led by Brian Ervine who is standing for the Assembly in East Belfast while another eight candidates are running for seats on councils in Antrim, Belfast, Castlereagh, Derry, Larne and Newtownabbey. (I posted an interview with Brian Ervine back in March.) Speaking at the launch, Brian Ervine had an upbeat message. The PUP has emerged stronger and more resilient as a consequence of the crisis of 2010. … Read more

Catching up with Paddy Meehan (Socialist Party)

The Socialist Party are standing on a Fight the Cuts agenda. With local government and Assembly candidates in Belfast and Enniskillen they’re in competition with a whole clatter of small left wing parties. Paddy Meehan is their South Belfast candidate for the Assembly, and is also standing in Laganbank for a seat on Belfast City Council. I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago and asked what the Socialist Party was offering voters. We want to give the opportunity … Read more

SDLP launch manifesto … flags, symbols, and upping the ante on unification

It was the SDLP’s turn on Wednesday to launch their manifesto. … make no mistake, the SDLP, an Irish Nationalist Party, desperately wants a better Northern Ireland. We want to see a North which is attractive to business: a North that takes care of its sick and gives dignity and respect to its older citizens. A North which is safe and a great place to work and to raise a family. It was back to their campaign’s central message of … Read more

Alliance Party launch huge manifesto

David Ford 2011 campaign launch speech wordle - wordle.net

The Alliance Party manifesto should come with a health warning. Dropping it on your toe could cause serious injury. On Monday, the DUP’s director of elections Simon Hamilton described his party’s spiral bound book of promises as “probably one of the most detailed and most comprehensive manifestos that any party will do in this election or indeed any party in any election in Northern Ireland’s history will have put forward”. A short-lived claim, as the very next day the Alliance … Read more

Green Party manifesto launch – Economy for People and Planet

Natty pale green ties were out in force as the Green Party launched their manifesto this morning. Steven Agnew opened by saying: Resources are stretched and we have to prioritise spending on areas that meet a number of policy objectives. There is no sense in squandering money on projects that may be good economically but environmentally damaging. Equally we should not be pushing environmental policies that are not good for people. The Green Party benchmarks all its policies on whether … Read more

DUP and Sinn Féin manifesto launches

Sinn Fein Gerry Adams shadow at 2011 manifesto launch

Two contrasting manifesto launches this morning. With light flooding in through the Waterfront windows, the DUP launched their ring-bound (landscape) manifesto. The DUP filmed the launch and have uploaded it to Youtube. Peter Robinson declared: We delivered on well over 90% of the commitments in our 2007 Assembly manifesto. Interviewed at the end of March, Peter Robinson explained that while “the average citizen will not read the manifesto but it is a guide for the party itself. It’s the party … Read more

Catching up with éirígí’s John McCusker – starting “a community fight back”

eirigi badge

éirígí won’t be everyone’s cup of tea on Slugger – but then name one political party that is. And in the spirit of exploring the smaller parties standing in the Assembly and local government elections, éirígí replied to the email that a number of other parties received but ignored. I spoke to John McCusker at length a week or so ago. He’s éirígí’s West Belfast chairman and standing as the party’s candidate in Lower Falls for Belfast City Council in … Read more

TUV launch campaign and manifesto seeking to be a catalyst for change in the Assembly

TUV launch

On Monday morning, the TUV held their campaign launch for May’s Assembly and local government elections. They’re running 12 candidates across 11 (of the 18) constituencies, and 41 council candidates across 19 (out of the 26) councils. In the press conference, Jim Allister apologised to voters in constituencies in which they were not able to offer a TUV candidate. He explained that as a party with no public funding (ie, no Assembly, Westminster or European elected representatives), they had to … Read more

SDLP campaign launch: uniting people and building prosperity … and a tweet-up

Having postponed from earlier in the week, Margaret Ritchie this morning corralled the SDLP’s Assembly candidates together with many of the younger council candidates in Belfast’s Hilton Hotel to launch their election campaigns. Each party expends a lot of effort and expense organising these launch events … all for twenty or so reporters (and the occasional blogger) to turn up and provide a few minutes or inches of coverage. That aside, the SDLP’s leader called it a “marvellous opportunity”. The … Read more

Alliance: all (about leading) change

Alliance leading change banner

Alliance launched their election campaign this morning but gave away little about the specific contents of their upcoming manifesto. The paper copy of David Ford’s speech this morning was titled: “Ford launches Alliance campaign saying the party is leading change”. Certainly it seemed like the party leader was embarking on a record breaking attempt to overuse the word change. If his short speech was passed through Wordle, the word “change” would overshadow all other content. [Ed – by popular demand, … Read more