Unionism’s Year-End Review…

During a year in which a global pandemic has eclipsed all other matters in Northern Ireland, Unionism still managed to have an extremely troubled 365 days which has left it in a damaged and weakened position. As it is the time of year for year-end reviews, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how Unionism has performed in 2020. The major talking point is the Northern Ireland Protocol which has come about as a result of …

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The TUV vision for the NI Centenary…

As linked to in Sarah’s post, I thought Jim Allister’s proposals to mark the anniversary deserved a wider audience. From the document: Since the centenary marks not just the creation of Northern Ireland but the U.K. as presently constituted, this must be a national celebration; A visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and royal address to the Northern Ireland Assembly and large scale Garden Party; The flying of the national flag on all public buildings on each key date; …

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Interview: Jim Allister MLA talks about his Special Advisors bill…

Next Monday the Northern Ireland assembly order paper will contain a private members bill from one of the few non-government party MLAs in the chamber. That member is Jim Allister. His tenure in politics spans decades and he has been present over the course of many political changes including the function or dysfunction of local institutions, he issued a challenge to the Assembly members: “if people are serious about cleaning up this place then they should have nothing to fear …

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Post election analysis

The seats The ballots have been cast, the votes have been counted, the results are in and the spinning has begun. Despite thoughts before the election that both the DUP and Sinn Féin would consolidate their support and increase their seats, the DUP managed to lose 8 seats and Sinn Féin saw no change to their total. The failure of the two big parties to make gains did not, however, translate into victories for the UUP and SDLP, with both …

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Centre ground parties advance and the DUP consolidate the unionist vote at the 2019 local elections

The centre ground parties, and the Alliance Party in particular, have made significant gains at the May 2019 local elections. With all of the first preference votes now counted, the Alliance Party made the largest gain of the share of the first-preference vote, up by 4.9% from the 6.6% received in 2014 to 11.5% in this year’s poll. The Green Party more than doubled their share of the vote from 0.9% in 2014 to 2.1%, whilst People Before Profit received …

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#AE17 draws to a close; what’s your punt for count day?

Tonight we have Slugger’s Big Election Punt (in partnership with MW Advocate) where our panel will have to make some key predictions about the upcoming election. In that spirit we thought we would ask you about what you think will happen tomorrow in terms of the parties. For what it’s worth here is my punt (Some variation as a few seats such as South Belfast & Upper Bann are just too close to call). DUP; 30-31 Sinn Fein; 23-24 UUP; …

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Candidates running in #ae17 Part 2

In my first installment I focused on the parties running across Northern Ireland, here are some of the other parties running in a few constituencies. People Before Profit (6 candidates) West Belfast- Gerry Carroll, Michael Collins North Belfast- Fiona Ferguson Foyle-Eamonn McCann South Belfast- Pádraigín Mervyn South Antrim- Ivanka Antova Workers Party (4 candidates) North Belfast-Gemma Weir South Belfast- Lily Kerr West Belfast- Conor Campbell Mid Ulster-Hugh Scullion Traditional Unionist Voice (13 candidates) North Antrim-Jim Allister, Timothy Gaston Lagan Valley-Sammy …

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SDLP Motion to Exclude Foster reaches 30 signatures

An SDLP motion to exclude Arlene Foster as First Minister for a period of 6 months has now reached 30 signatures and will be debated on Monday. The motion is backed by the Ulster Unionist Party, Alliance Party, Green Party, People Before Profit and Traditional Unionist Voice. If all MLAs attend, that gives the motion 41 votes in favour, that is a majority over the 36 DUP MLAs.  The Speaker Robin Newton cannot vote and Bell is shaky at the moment. Some …

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TUV Conference lifts the DUP/Sinn Féin carpet to see what’s been swept underneath

The TUV’s election results in May were disappointing, but the party took great cheer from the EU Referendum result (and the recent US Presidential election result). Taking credit for long-time lobbying for the creation of an Opposition, Jim Allister encouraged the two opposition parties to make it sustainable and help lobby for a permanent change to voluntary rather than mandatory coalition.

Arlene’s triumph: time for others to reconsider their pitches and where that horse is

So the results are all in. The result: nothing has changed and a bit has changed. The fall in the nationalist / republican vote and levels of seats has been analysed and will bear further analysis. The changes or lack of them on the unionist side are, however, just as interesting. Ben Lowry and Sam McBride in the News Letter have their analyses and I would demur little from either of them. Arlene Foster and the DUP’s triumph is marked. …

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Slugger Verdict: Ranking the PEBs of #ae16

It is now an annual election tradition on Slugger that we get a panel together to rank the party election broadcasts of all the political parties. Our panel of broadcaster, Jim Fitzpatrick and MCE Public Relations Director, Chris Brown got together to rate each broadcast out of ten. And the winner is….. SDLP we thought was incredibly well put together, with great shots of the party leader and profiles of the candidates. There was also a consistent theme throughout and …

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Candidates from the parties in #ae16

A few people have gotten in touch with us to ask if it is possible to get a list of candidates running in this years Assembly election. In the spirit of being a public service, I thought I would compile a list of candidates running for each party in the Assembly. If I have missed anybody let me know and I will add them. NOTE- Constituencies left blank means that the party has just not nominated a candidate yet DUP …

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#Brexit Northern Ireland

The debate on EU membership in Northern Ireland has recently kicked off.  On Saturday Northern Ireland born Labour MP Kate Hoey laid out the Vote Leave & Labour Leave case from leaving the EU at the TUV conference at the Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick (UKIP`s Paul Nuttall addressed their conference in 2012 on the same issue). Irish Foreign Minister @CharlieFlanagan recently addressed Queens University Belfast on implications for Northern Ireland of Brexit.  Both Labours Kate Hoey MP & UKIP`s David McNarry …

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TUV lay out vision of “voluntary coalition and vibrant opposition as path to durable devolution” #TUV2015

DURABLE DEVOLUTION through voluntary coalition and vibrant opposition was the promise of the TUV’s leader Jim Allister at his party’s annual conference in Templepatrick. 300 delegates lapped up the sharp criticism of other parties and welcomed Henry Reilly to the fold. But is the party’s hard edge and tone of voice holding back their support at the ballot box?

Cllr Henry Reilly joins the TUV

Cllr Henry Reilly (formerly of UKIP) announced today that he was joining the TUV. Speaking about his decision to join Reilly said; In joining TUV I know I am doing the right thing, because this is the only unionist party still standing unapologetically for the traditional unionist principles in which I believe. It is also a party wholly committed to re-establishing the national sovereignty of the UK by taking the essential step of leaving the EU. Thus, it is my …

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DUP and Sinn Fein vote down Jim Allister’s SPAD bill

Jim Allister is back with a SPAD bill (not that one) this piece of legislation would have placed a cap on pay and the number of SPADs that can be employed. Northern Ireland currently spends over £2 million per year on SPADs which is double the cost of Scotland and three times that of Wales. A few months ago Jim Allister wrote for Slugger setting out his case for reform of the system. Alas it appears that business as usual …

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Allister on why we need further reform of SpAds at Stormont

The leader of the TUV, Jim Allister MLA is proposing a private members bills to reduce the number of SpAds at Stormont. Writing for Slugger, he sets out his case for reform of the current system After successfully piloted a Special Advisers Bill through the Assembly to remove convicts as SpAds, I have now drafted a further Bill to do three things – (i) reduce the number of SpAds, (ii) cut their salaries and (iii) ensure they are subject to …

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LGBT issues: Northern Ireland party views – UPDATED

(Updated to include responses from the Ulster Unionist Party and People Before Profit) Research conducted by Ruth McCarthy highlights some stark differences between the parties contesting this years Westminster elections in Northern Ireland on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. A series of questions were asked: 1a Does your party visibly support LGBTQ equality issues in your party manifesto, on your website and in election campaigning materials? If YES, please give examples. If NO, please state why. 1b Please give …

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TUV fail Ofcom’s ‘major party’ test for automatic PEBs; are PEBs actually useful or necessary?

Ofcom have ruled that there is not sufficient evidence to designate TUV as a ‘major party’ in Northern Ireland and hence Jim Allister’s party are not automatically eligible to two Party Election Broadcasts on UTV in the run up to May’s General Election. Back in January I blogged about the consultation which asked whether UKIP, Green Party and TUV should be rebadged as ‘major parties’. Today’s statement from Ofcom [in detail] comes to the common sense conclusion: After carefully accessing …

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Launching your election campaign with a bang.

Well we have just three months to go until Election Day. Candidates and parties will be launching their campaigns for the Westminster election and will be attempting to set the tone for the campaign to come. Yet, despite this being a golden opportunity for you to set out your stall amongst the party faithful many parties either don’t invest in these types of events or just do them badly. Being the public service that we are here on Slugger I …

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