Máirtín caught telling “porky pies” in his South Belfast #AE2017 campaign leaflet…

“Peace is not merely the absence of war but the presence of justice, of law, of order —in short, of government.” Attributed to Albert Einstein Thought I’d start this piece with a useful boss-quote, for a couple of small but intriguing items. First is the news that Sinn Fein’s former Finance Minister not only got his sums wrong on a claim in his election poster, but is going all Boris Johnson and pretending that there’s nothing wrong.  In huge lettering …

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#SluggerReport: Trump and grown up politics, and #AE17 in South Belfast and North Down

So yesterday’s #SluggerReport featured commentary on the Trump issue (and should Kenny and/or May protest, in the former’s case not go to the Whitehouse for March 17th).  Kevin Meagher on Labour Uncut nails it for me: We need to properly accept that Brexit means we are living in an age of realpolitik. Idealists who want to wag their fingers at Donald Trump are free to do so; but they should not pretend this is anything other than idle posturing. Britain is …

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#AE16 #South Belfast: Most competitive and probably the hardest to call…

Candidates: [SDLP] Claire Hanna, Fearghal McKinney; [DUP] Emma Little Pengelly, Christopher Stalford; [Alliance] Paula Bradshaw, Duncan Morrow; [] [Sinn Fein] Máirtín Ó Muilleoir; [UUP] Rodney McCune; [Greens] Clare Bailey; [UKIP] Bob Stoker; [TUV] John Andrew Hiddleston; [PUP] Ian Shanks; [Independent] Ruth Patterson; [NI Conservatives] Ben Manton; [Workers Party] Lily Kerr; [South Belfast Unionists] Billy Dickson [NIRC] Brigitte ‘Gitty’ Anton; [Cross-Community Labour Alternative] Sean Burns. NI’s third largest constituency South Belfast sprawls from M1 right out to Carryduff. 44.0% of its …

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Jimmy Spratt to leave the Assembly in September

They've united, so have we! Vote Spratt - DUP election poster featuring pictures of SF's Alex Maskey and SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell

Report from the Belfast Telegraph that the South Belfast DUP MLA, Jimmy Spratt will step down from the Assembly this September due to health reasons. This will mean that from September 4 out of 6 MLAs in the constituency will have been co-opted leaving just Michael McGimpsey and Anna Lo as the only reps who were elected in 2011. A few things could happen here. The DUP could do what Sinn Fein did with Mairtin Ó Muilleoir and Alex Maskey. …

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Claire Hanna joins Fearghal McKinney on Stormont benches on Monday (interview)

Claire Hanna and Fearghal McKinney were tonight selected as the SDLP’s two South Belfast candidates for the Belfast South constituency at May 2016’s NI Assembly election. Claire will also take over from Alasdair McDonnell up on the hill when she is co-opted into his seat on Monday morning. In the end, the selection of the two candidates was uncontested [Ed – so no opportunity for UUP mathematical gaffes?!] and party members in the Wellington Park Hotel room described the atmosphere …

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Cartoon – In the market…

More here… Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Battle for South Belfast: Tough old bull triumphs, the young ‘pretender’ falls

Saving my usual series of where the parties stand analysis for next week, for now I want to do a short series of head dumps on the election. First, that tough (and very dirty) battle for South Belfast. There was a number of factors in this seat that made it hard to predict. When the DUP selected Junior Minister Jonathan Bell I thought it was a good choice. I still do. His problem in getting ahead of Alasdair McDonnell was …

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Unionist Pact still possible

The saga of whether or not there will be a unionist pact continues with Mike Nesbitt suggesting that he may still be open to an agreement. He stated: “Without a deal, without an understanding there is a real prospect there could be no unionist representing the capital city of Northern Ireland in Westminster on the 8th May,” he said. “With a deal, who knows? Maybe three of the four could be unionist but they can’t all be DUP.” The seats …

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Can Sinn Féin win three seats in Belfast?

Last night’s announcement that Strangford MLA Jonathan Bell will be the DUP parliamentary candidate for South Belfast means that it is now looking likely that all of the “big five” parties in Northern Ireland will be running candidates in all constituencies in Belfast. Sinn Féin have been breathing down the necks of the DUP in North Belfast for some time. However, Sinn Féin’s selection of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, the Lord Mayor of Belfast from 2013-14, has led some to wonder …

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Will Anna Lo ‘return’ to politics to fight for South Belfast next year?

Brian asked the question of what the last elections added up to. Having done a lot of detailed analysis I’m still teasing that out. Two thing major things strike me about East and South Belfast though that seem to run counter to pre election expectations. One is the underperformance of Gavin Robinson, someone who was being talked of as the DUP candidate in the next Westminster election, the above expectations of the UUP neither of which necessarily help the sitting …

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Timeline of an Assembly vacancy, part two: the correspondence trail

Catching up on a few emails, I realised that I’d neglected to post the second part of a post started in early September about the timeline for co-opting a replacement MLA (Conall McDevitt) and the sequencing of the process between the Speaker, EONI and the political party (SDLP in this case). While relatively mundane it does illustrate the various stages and worth putting into the public name to remind us of the process the next time an MLA needs to …

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Fearghal McKinney 113 – 69 Claire Hanna (South Belfast)

Fearghal McKinney chairing a panel at the UUP conference

SDLP members in South Belfast voted this evening to select the replacement MLA for Conall McDevitt. He’ll become the MLA sometime tomorrow, once party leader and nominating officer Alasdair McDonnell informs the Chief Electoral Officer, and once the CEO confirms that Fearghal McKinney is happy to be returned as MLA for South Belfast. While the result isn’t in doubt, Martina Purdy who spent her evening at the Welly Park Hotel mentions that the voting statistic only had one source … …

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Timeline of an Assembly vacancy using South Belfast as an example (bottom line, SDLP need to give a name to EONI by Friday 13th)

The NI Assembly has had numerous vacancies and co-options over the years, but few have generated as much interest at the resignation of South Belfast MLA Conall McDevitt and the SDLP’s process of replacing him. So how does the process work? Who’s involved? And what is the timeline? Article 6B of The Northern Ireland Assembly (Elections) (Amendment) Order 2009 holds the relevant process. Section 6B (1) was triggered last week when the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Graham Shields received written …

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POTD – Spides love…..

Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast. My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North America and i had my first solo international exhibition in New Zealand. I have been the recipient of a number of grants from the …

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SDLP: Internal sectarianism on display?

As Stormont parties debate Dawn Purvis’ doomed motion on double-jobbing, supported by all from the start, that now faces defeat at the hands of a DUP cross-community initative – you’d think others that endorsed the legislational would make at least a superficial attempt to support the spirit of what they ‘agree’ with ? Not the SDLP. Tonight, South Belfast SDLP (I’m informed 150 odd of them – I don’t believe it) selected Conal McDevitt, unelected MLA, and Dr Alasdair McDonnell …

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South Belfast UUP dump another of their Westminster candidates…

UUP banner logo - slightly cropped

I cannot think of another political party that would spend the money and effort on a candidate in one election, only to dump them in the next. And Paula Bradshaw could be forgiven for wondering whether Reg Empey meant it when he promised the Ulster Unionist party would prioritise bringing women into the Assembly party. To be fair to Sir Reg he is no longer leader. And by all accounts he will shortly be giving up his ministerial post. But …

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