Soapbox: As a decent human being it is beholden upon Sammy Wilson to defy these views

Chris Eisenstadt is a US citizen who has been living in Northern Ireland. He is also a member of the Ulster Unionist Party. Here he considers the controversy over Sammy Wilson’s engagement captured by BBC reporter, Conor Spackman. Northern Ireland isn’t a racist place. Sure, it has issues with racism, and a few racists live here, but fundamentally it isn’t a place where racism is part of the fabric of society. It isn’t a place where causal, ignorant and lazy … Read more

Wilson: The Lords Yell ‘Up The Workers’

The recent Tax Credit vote in the House of Lords has caused some controversy. Writing for Slugger, the DUP MP, Sammy Wilson talks about the vote and how other parties in Northern Ireland have approached this issue. Following Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Leader you’d have expected the cries of ‘Up the Workers’ to be ringing through parliament from the Commons. Yet this week it was the lords, ladies, barons, earls and bishops in the upper chamber raised the workers … Read more

Sammy Wilson steps down from the Assembly

One of our most colourful MLAs has stepped down from the Assembly. Former Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson has resigned as an MLA for East Antrim in order to concentrate on Westminster. Speaking about his decision he said; Having served as Finance Minister for four years it is deeply disappointing that I leave the Assembly at a time of such uncertainty caused because of the economic illiteracy of both Sinn Fein and the SDLP. Their refusal to live up to the … Read more

The Key Players in Nama/Tughans Deal – who the DFP Committee want to hear from

The Department of Finance and Personnel Committee met today to schedule hearings to investigate the Project Eagle sale of Nama’s Loan Book in the north. The first of the hearings have been provisionally scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday the 15th and 16th of July The Assembly Research Team have been tasked with providing a draft of questions and timeline of events to the Committee. There was widespread support for early hearings across all the parties attending, given the level of … Read more

Stewart Dickson: Comprendre t-il?

A scant few days ago many in the world were united in saying “Je suis Charlie” to identify with the journalists at Charlie Hebdo. Many may regard Charlie Hebdo as frequently insulting, tasteless and at times unpleasant. However, the point was that freedom of speech to say (or write or draw) insulting, tasteless and unpleasant views is a vital tenant of democracy. Unfortunately Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson seems not to have understood the principle. He has now complained to the … Read more

Sammy Wilson … Reason 254 why local politicians need Atlantic Philanthropies’ money & initiatives like PoliticsPlus

A little over an hour ago and about half way through a response to the rhetorical question “What has new or social media ever done for the peace process?” I suggested to the Critical Approaches to the Northern Ireland Peace Process symposium in Liverpool’s Edge Hill University that it has made it harder for politicians to recover their balance when they slip on banana skins. You can follow conference updates on the #CritAppEH hashtag. And then I spotted a Facebook … Read more

Brimstone evasive in face of DSD questions re Red Sky and Palmer

UPDATED – Now with video DUP SPAD Stephen Brimstone had a stock answer (“I’m not prepared to answer questions in relation to internal party matters) for most questions put to him by the DSD Committee Hearing today in light of allegations made in BBCNI’s Spotlight programme into Red Sky, Nelson Mc Causland and Cllr Jenny Palmer.             Ably put on the hook by the TUV’s Jim Allister, Brimstone looked more than evasive as he paused … Read more

Noisy DUP conference focuses on election and a one-sided understanding of respect and tolerance #dup14

The DUP were in election mode at their annual conference this year. Gone was any outreach to soft unionist voters. Faced with a first-past-the-post election in May 2015, the DUP reverted to core values for core voters. Attendance in the main hall of La Mon Hotel for Peter Robinson’s address was a little down on the previous couple of years: the seats were all taken but there were fewer people standing at the back. New members I’d noticed a few … Read more

Cartoon – The judge and fury

Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here:

The Nasty Face Of Nationalism

A PERSONAL VIEW by Derec Thompson Derec Thompson is a self-employed web designer originally from Belfast who now lives in Cambuslang just outside Glasgow. He was recently involved as a campaigner for a Yes outcome in the Scottish independence referendum and has consequently joined the Scottish National Party. Follow Derec on Twitter   I’ve just emerged from the first political campaign I’ve ever been involved in. The Scottish independence referendum campaign has possibly been the longest in living memory. As … Read more

Corporation Tax powers finally set to be devolved?

The Belfast Telegraph has a number of articles about the devolution of control over Corporation Tax: with a timeline here. From the Belfast Telegraph: Finance Minister Simon Hamilton said: “I am optimistic that we will get a positive answer from the Prime Minister. “I think that the Government wants to do this and we have made a very robust case to them.” A senior Tory source concurred with this assessment. However, the cost of cutting the tax is likely to … Read more

Silk Commission, Sammy Wilson and the DUP’s impromptu dismissal of tax varying powers…

Newton Emerson today usefully points at Wales and the recent work of the Silk Commission on the devolution of further powers to raise and lower taxes. It’s worth looking more closely at Wales. For a country that only just squeaked devolution (there was about 7k votes majority in favour in a voting electorate of just over a million), the levels of trust in the Senedd seem remarkably high: 62% of the respondents would like to see increased powers for the … Read more

DUP illustrate unionist leadership as #RuthPatterson is in court

Yesterday Ruth Patterson attended court for her Facebook post and provided an interesting piece of optics for the television cameras. In a considered move, a variety of DUP ministers and other public representatives, including Edwin Poots, Sammy Wilson, Jonathan Bell and Guy Spence (to name a few), attended the court hearing or accompanied her to and from the court, clearly with an eye on the cameras. Other unionist glitterati in attendance included Willie Frazer and others taunting Patterson to get … Read more

Is Peter Robinson’s leadership goose cooked?

In his annual self-imposed Florida exile, Peter Robinson must be increasingly frustrated as he reads newspaper articles and blog posts on his iPad, and listens to radio clips discussing the expected end of his political career up on the hill. So far he’s shown self-control and avoided stabbing at his Twitter app to respond. It’s been a long summer for the First Minister at home in Northern Ireland, with two recalls of the Assembly, trouble flaring up in North and … Read more

Sinn Fein decides to bin Mr Wilson’s dodgy estimates (and one of its key pro #borderpoll arguments)…

Just in passing… Absentee Westminster MP Conor Murphy on the unreliability of Sammy Wilson’s estimates: “Mr Wilson insists that the methodology used to produce his figures is identical to those used for Scotland and that they are international standards for the compiling of statistics and have to be adhered to and are subject to a degree of rigour and international scrutiny. He fails to add that when Scotland launched a robust challenge to this methodology it was admitted by British … Read more

G8 Summit: “Of course, the event did not come for free…”

As the BBC reports, the Northern Ireland Finance Minister, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, has revised, upwards, his estimate of the cost of the recent G8 Summit in Fermanagh.  Here’s the relevant extract from Hansard There has been much focus on the cost of the G8 event.  The most important thing is that we successfully delivered a safe and secure event, and, for that, I give my sincere thanks to the PSNI. Of course, the event did not come for free, and, … Read more

#G8: Taxation should remain focused on capital and employees not where sales are generated…

Sammy Wilson’s negative comments re the Republic’s tax regime at the weekend, just before the G8 convened, was clearly jumping on board mumbling from the US Congress, and Westminster PAC… …the British government does have some leverage on the Irish Government there, because they have a £7.5 billion loan, that is a lot of leverage. They should be saying to the government in the Republic, you cannot steal tax revenue from us in this way and that is in fact … Read more

“Already, two Sinn Fein special advisers have been submitted to vetting procedures put in place by Sammy Wilson, the finance minister, as a condition for paying them.”

In the Belfast Telegraph, Liam Clarke adds some interesting background detail on Jim Allister’s Bill legislating for the vetting of ministerial special advisers.  As he points out, vetting began following the resignation of Sinn Féin’s Mary McArdle – who had been jailed for her part in the 1984 murder of Mary Travers.  From the Belfast Telegraph article When Sinn Fein eventually replaced Ms McArdle with Mr Kearney, a journalist, Mr Wilson refused to pay him until he was vetted under special … Read more