Clegg Out – The writing was on the wall … back in 2011!

Photo taken in Short Strand, 12 July 2011. Alan Meban (Alan in Belfast)Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about cinema and theatre over at Alan in Belfast. A freelancer who writes about and reports from civic, academic and political events, reviews cultural performances, chairs discussions, and live-tweets, streams and records lectures and conferences. He delivers social media training, coaching and consultancy, produces podcasts, is a member of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland, FactCheckNI board member, and is a member …

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The Strange Afterlife of Liberal England

What does he know that we don’t? Throughout this election campaign, even in both the bruising television events that he shared with other party leaders, Lib Dem chief and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has seemed as buoyant and lively as he was during the “Cleggmania” of five years ago. If, as the polls suggest, his political career is doomed (and the only thing on which the pundits are agreed in this election is that the Lib Dems will be …

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Jim Wells: Has he damaged the DUP? UPDATED

Any hopes that the DUP had that last night’s ill-judged comments by Health Minister Jim Wells would be quickly forgotten appear to be fast receding. If anything the ‘apology’ by Mr. Wells betrays ignorance on the part of the Health Minister more than anything else. Sadly the PSNI have now confirmed that they are now investigating comments made by Mr. Wells’  –  perhaps the new laws suggested by the Ulster Fry would be more appropriate. UPDATE: Tonight (Sunday April 26th, 2015) …

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#LeadersDebate: Blame it on the boogie

UPDATED A depressingly accurate piece on politics in Northern Ireland from Chris Buckler has been played repeatedly on the BBC news channel during the course of today. It comes on a day when seven party leaders in Great Britain fought it out in a televised debate /gameshow tonight . Despite protestations the DUP were NOT included in the debate. Peter Robinson tweeted his outrage last month: Perhaps after viewing the BBC piece we should be grateful for small mercies. The otherwise depressing report …

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2013 elections: the alienation of Freelander man

The local election results in England and Wales (mainly rural England in actual fact) are now in. They are somewhere between a protest vote with little relevance to the next Westminster elections and a complete sea change in British politics. As ever the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. It does, however, illustrate an interesting disconnect between the main parties and significant portions of the electorate. The first thing to remember is that these elections are not national elections. …

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Budget 2013: A missed opportunity

George Osborne for the first time appeared nervous. No Chancellor in recent memory, apart from perhaps Gordon Brown, in the early years of New Labour appeared so cocksure. For three years Osborne has had to dress up bad news as good news. He cherry picked the statistics that suited him best, of course all Chancellors do this but this was something that Osborne attacked his predecessors for. Yes, the Coalition came into tough times economically but they are now three …

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The Coalition’s woes: mid term blues or the times they are a changing?

The backlash to the Labour gains in the council elections seems to be continuing. Some such as William Hague have tired to write the election results off as a typical mid term result (and to be fair although good for Labour they were not a Tory melt down) but others are more concerned. The results have fed into the narrative of the omnishambles and the fear appears to be amongst Tory MPs that a vicious circle of increasing disaster, increasing …

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Lib Dems firmly locked into an executive they have no control of…

I see Mike Smithson’s taking advantage of the Tories’ two per cent poll lead over Labour to call into question the future of Ed Milliband. However, that question has always been there. He’s simply not rated as a political operator, even by own his party’s footsoldiers at Westminster. If anything the mystery has been his substantive lead over the government. Even now, it’s not that he’s dropped points, more that Cameron’s disaffected Eurosceptics are coming back to after his ‘veto’ …

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Salmond says “the…Lib Dem(s)….cannot act as the Tories’ front men in Scotland and at the same time present themselves as Home Rulers – they have to choose.”

From the BBC Nick Clegg attacks the SNP’s delay on calling an independence referendum Clearly I am opposed to Alex Salmond’s ambition, which seems to be his sole ambition in Scottish government, to yank Scotland out of the United Kingdom. I think it is not good for Scotland. I believe passionately in a strong Scotland, with more powers, but in a strong United Kingdom. I think the more that the details are looked at and the less that Alex Salmond …

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Nick Clegg: little to show for selling a political soul

Below I looked at the AV referendum. Although that was the single largest mass slaughtering by the public of a Liberal Democrat Sacred Cow, the electorate seemed determined to cause the Liberal Democrats as much electoral pain as possible. They lost seats in English local elections; were practically annihilated as the governing party in any northern English towns; were humiliated in Scotland and pushed into fourth in Wales (clearly Lembit Opik got thrown out at the right time). This was …

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Of Royal Weddings and Social Mobility

The excitement of the Royal wedding did not last even as long as the long Bank Holiday, displaced as it has been by Mr. Bin Laden’s death. There was little in the way of politics to the wedding: omitting Tony Blair and Gordon Brown from the guest list hardly counted as a constitutional crisis. As social commentary some suggested that the fact that Catherine Middleton is from a non aristocratic background somehow marked a welcome departure for the Royal Family. …

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On the Cameron and Clegg revolution…

You get the impression listening to Stormont politicians that Westminster is doing nothing but finding ways to make their lives more difficult… If you read nothing else in the FT this week, try this profile of the new coalition at Westminster. [paywall]  This quote from David Laws gives a decent impression of how it is for the cohabitees at least: “The economic liberalism of the Conservative party and the social liberalism of the Liberal Democrats have been convincingly combined. And the …

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Michael White: “You pay your money and take your choice.”

At the Guardian’s Election Blog, Michael White offers a mea culpa and provides a sensible assessment of where we’re at as the dust settles over Downing St.  From the G’s Election Blog As I wrote in a piece yesterday, history points to the larger party, especially the predatory Tory party, swallowing up the minnow on its back. That’s where the bookies odds must point: to the Lib Dems being divided, even wrecked, by the strains of coalition in hard times. …

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The leaders’ debates: a very British kind of revolution

“They were downloading not debating” was Simon Hoggart’s snap verdict tonight. The snap polls average out at about 30% all round. Clegg holding, not running away with it. Cameron showing recovery.  Brown halts slide but still coming last. My mind wandered to a lateral thought of our time, prompted by the unexpected question: Will you still welcome the Pope to Britain? Even in these cynical times how many have dreamt that so many elites would have made such a tremendous …

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Tory press bullying can only boost Clegg

Embarrassed at having failed to predict the Clegg surge, the Tory press are monstering him before tonight’s debate. Has nobody told them that when in a hole stop digging? This is setting up Clegg nicely for the second half of the campaign. Most attention is focused on the Lib Dem leader, some on Cameron, precious little on Brown. This is probably just as well from Labour’s point of view. The comment on the MSM bullies is mostly negative, not least from …

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