The UUP’s election: the past is another country

In the almost a month since the elections a number of attempts (Alex Kane’s is usually the best) have been made to analyse the UUP’s fortunes. The clear message from most (less so from Alex) has been that the UUP did badly and is in decline: quite possibly terminal decline. A number of reasons have been proffered for this state of affairs, most of them relating to the perceived rightward move of the UUP (again I point out that the …

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Slugger predicts: Executive Ministers

We didn’t do that well in predicting the Ministries each party would choose – three people got 50% of them in order, our best two got 60% right with some in the wrong order. The Slugger hivemind scored much worse! So who do the best of Slugger predict as Ministers? Sammy Wilson Arlene Foster Simon Hamilton John O’Dowd Danny Kennedy Michelle Gildernew Patsy McGlone Edwin Poots Martina Anderson Stephen Farry I think most notable of the not picked – Caitroina …

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Local democracy, a Big Idea for the new Assembly

What chance now for more normal politics after the smash victories of the DUP and Sinn Fein? The pessimistic answer is that with an even firmer grip on their electorates, deadlock in government will tighten further, as a natural consequence of a system that insulates each party from the wider interests of the community as a whole. That may be so. And yet there are reasons for hope. Their rhetorical unity in the face of the dissident republican threat was impressive. There is every …

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EXCLUSIVE: Slugger hivemind wrong-footed by dHondt

The Executive caught almost everyone on the hop by live tweeting the d’Hondt ministerial lottery. It has brought our predictions competition to an early close but we hold off on announcing a winner until it is all official on Monday. I’ll pull out some of the main things predicted, the most obvious one being that very few Slugger readers were close to calling it right. 1st pick DUP – 99% of people correctly predicted Finance 2nd pick SF – 99% …

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Tom Elliott can he lead?

Tom Elliot became a surprising story of the election with his outburst in Omagh and he is destined to be at the centre of things throughout the coming days. With his party achieving 16 seats and Alliance 8 as things stand the UUP will lose a ministry. That is unless he can tempt party reject David McClarty back into the fold. Though as Mark Devenport notes the Alliance party could then try to cook up a counter deal with Steven …

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Poverty programme should dominate the next Assembly

It’s great to see pressure mounting on what are misleadingly called ”  the bread and butter issues” – misleading, because of a growing shortage of ” bread and butter.”  The Social Justice Network is one of too few cross community  and interfaith bodies who  regularly lobby  the Assembly parties for their causes – on practical  stuff like their Heat and Eat campaign last Christmas, as well as policy. The chair of the network is the Head of the School of Law at …

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Everyone loves a mandate…maybe even a couple?

In response to Mark McGregors [limited] piece about double jobbing/dual mandates I thought I’d expand it a little and look at a comparative piece on the Alliance Party – candidates who are running for both Local Council and NI Assembly. At the end of this post there are also some percentage figures on MPs who are also running for the Assembly by Party. Choice of party for the first study was simply down to time limitations – I would love …

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Real change or mirage in NI political behaviour?

The Belfast Telegraph’s True Colours survey has attempted break out for local politics by leaving out  yourchoices of national identity and party to vote for. This either omits what’s most important in politics or shows the irrelevance of party campaigns, according to taste. The exercise is frustrating because try as I might I can’t find any published data. Quite probably the fault is mine and someone will dig it out. Although flying blind, the first thing to say is that the …

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DUP confusion on First Minister post?

Until recently the DUP has played down the danger of Martin McGuinness becoming First Minister. They had suggested that this election was not about such things but about the economy, jobs etc. and have recently listed their “40 achievements in 4 years.” Last year Ian Paisley seemed less than worried by the prospect of Martin McGuinness as First Minister. Now, however, Peter Robinson has announced that who gets the First Ministership is a matter of vital importance and that the …

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“Martin McGuinness’s “veto” throws down challenge to “voluntary” coalition

One of the most predictable pre-election statements of the season, vouchsafed to Liam Clarke. However sound according to the system, Martin McGuinness’ “veto” seems rather less than absolute in practice, should the UUP and the SDLP refuse to take up Executive seats after the election  – and boycott D’Hondt. It would surely provoke a crisis in the Assembly. But to what end? Could it really force a ” voluntary coalition?”  Is this really what voters want? Above all, how keenly will …

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