Stormont Holds Its First Ever Opposition Day

Stormont Today will be worth a watch to see a little bit of history. The Assembly held its first ever opposition day which meant that for around four hours MLAs debated topics selected by the opposition namely rural bank closures, public confidence after the NAMA revelations and Impact on Women of Changes to the State Pension. Often critiqued for a lack of cooperation, the SDLP and UUP released a joint statement on the latter topic; The first Opposition Day saw a … Read more

McGuinness: success is just about losing well?

Martin McGuinness’ entry into the Presidential race has surely shook things up. However while some of the shriller media commentary has focused on the danger of him winning, it is past time to ask what would really constitute a victory for McGuinness and Sinn Féin. For this discussion we may need to abandon the ludicrous notion he was ever ‘in it to win it’. If you accept SF didn’t enter their star man into the contest to be beaten and … Read more

Last night’s leaders’ debate … and the draft programme for government (updated)

BBC leaders debate still from above

Opinion seems divided about the format and scheduling of last night’s leaders’ debate – available to view online. Personally, I liked the way that the format allowed the five party (northern) leaders to be put on the spot by members of the audience, tackling four areas each. It was at least as illuminating as the bickering bunfight that followed when the leaders got the chance to talk across and over each other. Update to bear in mind when reading the … Read more

Clinton Centre breaches EU funding criteria?

As a result of Pete’s blog on the Clinton Centre, it seems Slugger may have accidentally discovered an EU project that has previously breached its funding criteria: We have taken advice in relation to the funding conditions and as a result are not in a position to host activity by any political party [added emphasis] The centre has hosted at least two events for the SDLP. So were they wrong in their rejection of the SF event or admitting they’ve … Read more

Book-Token

It seems we will be saying goodbye to many political faces as the Assembly and needlessly delayed council elections approach. The latest to fall is the unelected MLA for East Derry, former lots of things, Cllr Billy Leonard. The declared reason from the 55yr old for leaving political life is the time required to write a book (he clearly doesn’t have the stamina of an older, prolific SF author) Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

Is it right they rule by rote?

I’m off on a wee rant below, apologies. While Eamonn’s reproduction of a UUP communication to members has transitory interest, it could open up a broader discussion on the internal democracy of our political parties; how they manage policy setting, media protocols and transparency. A party wracked with disagreement and conflicting messages for nearly two decades like the UUP is long overdue a leader to stamp internal discipline and defined direction for external eyes. The immediate threat of ‘you go … Read more

Face it. The ‘lines’ were lies.

I found Rusty’s blog on the execution of Joe O’Connor personally challenging and greatly appreciate it for that alone. While revisiting the events leading up to his death and reactions after in such detail was worthwhile of itself, the final paragraph lays down a much harder question to many of those that dissented from SF republicanism post ‘Agreement’. “The hatred engendered during that time still runs deep; to acknowledge that McIntyre and Gorman were right, and not just about the … Read more

Decency vs. necessity and that big river in Africa

With the discovery of what seem to be the remaims of Charlie Armstrong almost 30 years after his disappearance,  Gerry Adams has persisted with a claim the IRA had no involvement in his death. Well, there’s no evidence to suggest that the IRA was involved Of course Adams and the IRA have form for denying involvement in ‘disappearing’ people. Despite (very belatedly) admitting other killings and disposal of bodies, until recently they denied anything to do with Joe Lynskey’s disappearance … Read more

In solidarity?

Joe Higgins, Irish Socialist Party MEP, is sponsoring a march and rally in Dublin as part of a ‘Europe-wide week of solidarity and protest’ something he initiated within his European political group (nothing arranged north of the border that I can see). The poster advertising it states the rally has been endorsed by; Socialist Party, Workers Party, Socialist Workers Party, PBP, Right to Work, Workers Solidarity Movement, éirígí, Irish Socialist Network and Socialist Democracy. Sinn Féin are not noted as … Read more

Don’t speak too soon – Foster & McNarry

Ulick noted a link to the biggest laugh of the election. Bairbe de Brún rides out some misplaced Unionist triumphalism and hours later joined the crowd cheering Gildernew’s victory. Arlene may have punched the air, should have saved it for a wall. Link Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

TUV – a manifesto light on self promotion

Excluding the party group photograph in the TUV manifesto [pdf] the other photographs total seven TUV members (four images of Allister). This compares to nine images of SF members. A word count for the document gives the following: Jim Allister – 3 Paisley – 5 Martin McGuinness – 7 Robinson – 7 DUP – 23 Sinn Féin – 52 TUV – 56 Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com