Does the Citizens Assembly proposal pass the Tony Benn test?

The Green Party Leader, Steven Agnew has raised  the issue of a  Citizens Assembly as a possible route towards breaking the current impasse that we fact at Stormont. If you want to read a positive case for this proposal I would direct you towards Jamie Pow’s article on Northern Slant. For me, I remain cynical about such a proposal. As Jon Tonge pointed out on Talkback yesterday there are myriad of problems with such a proposal in  divided society and …

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Tony Benn: Will and Testament – a reflective politician not afraid to say he made mistakes

What kind of politicians do we want? Those who can admit mistakes? Or those who believe to the end that their actions were justified and appropriate? What was missing in Ian Paisley’s interviews with Eamonn Mallie screened on BBC One NI earlier this year was any kind of self-reflection, any kind of realisation that he’d made mistakes and that Northern Ireland would have been better-served by different decisions and actions. I’ve made a million mistakes in my life – I’m …

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Tony Benn: Will and Testament (showing in QFT from 3-5 Oct)

This weekend, the Queen’s Film Theatre is screening Tony Benn: Will and Testament. The film is described as “an intimate and personal reflection on life, work, love and loss from one of the UK’s most influential and charismatic political figures”. It’s autobiographical with the “political firebrand, prolific diarist, writer, charismatic anti-war campaigner, husband and father [presenting] his own personal reflections on his childhood and youth, marriage and family, political career and retirement”. Retiring from the House of Commons aged 74 …

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