In praise of… Jim Allister

“..there is always soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon…” Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932) The controversy over Jim Allister’s SpAd Bill has thrown a different light upon a settlement that has brought us all certain indisputable benefits. Ironically, the post GFA institutions have had one of their first real fillips from the only resolutely …

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TUV’s Allister on Executive: “dismal failure, woeful squander and hopeless disconnect”

TUV party logo

The TUV met in Cookstown for their conference today. As well as speeches by the party chairman, party president and party leader, there were 15 minute contributions from outsiders on the subject of economy & business, economy & agriculture, culture parading, health abortion and sport boxing. Jim Allister’s full speech wasn’t available in advance, only some short extracts. Based on past performance, he’s likely to divert from his script and extemporise anyway. I’m sure there’ll be a report on Sunday …

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Local Political Reaction to EU Crisis Summit Outcome

How have our local political parties reacted to the outcome of the EU crisis summit? Well, neither the Green Party nor the Alliance Party appear to have noticed… The “Conservative and Unionist” MEP, Jim Nicholson, has, unsurprisingly, “welcomed the use of the British veto over a new EU-wide treaty by Prime Minister David Cameron”. “David Cameron was correct in effectively vetoing a new treaty and keeping the United Kingdom out of this new economic accord agreed at the EU emergency summit, …

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Hostage taking in NI prisons

Since his election earlier this year Jim Allister has become something of a bête noire for justice minister David Ford. It was Allister who first exposed the possibility of changing the symbols of the prison service and dropping the term “Her Majesty’s Prison” resulting in Peter Robinson’s slap down for Ford. Allister also highlighted the discovery of a large amount of cash being brought to Maghaberry. His latest questions to Ford have produced the revelation that in the past four …

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The TUV why it will not just go away

The TUV stubbornly refuses to die. Despite their poor showing in the Westminster election they refused to go away and despite only getting Jim Allister elected to the assembly they are still there. The single biggest reason for their continued survival is of course Jim Allister himself. His opponents hoped he would be an irrelevant lone voice in the wilderness. He has indeed proved to be pretty much a lone voice of opposition. Alliance followed its leader David Ford to …

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TUV Conference – from “a thorn in their flesh” to “a great big cactus inside their shirts”

TUV party logo

The TUV held there annual party conference in Cookstown today. I wasn’t there, but offer some snippets from the speeches (or highlights of speeches) emailed through from the TUV press office. There was practically no online activity around the conference – and the non-attendance of former candidate David Vance probably dampened the volume of tweeting. Party President William Ross opened the conference by addressing the party’s continued existence: I am sure that some are surprised to see us still alive, …

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Question master Jim Allister? And should David McClarty be more like him?

The TUV’s sole MLA Jim Allister has been getting a reputation for running a one-man opposition/scrutiny function up at Stormont. Martina Purdy summed up well the exchange in the Assembly chamber on 13 September between TUV leader Jim Allister, Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure Carál Ní Chuilín, and Assembly Speaker William Hay: When Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin told the chamber, whimsically, that she and Mr Allister were “firm friends,” he accused her of misleading the house. Mr Allister …

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Another cross community event at a GAA club

I noted the event at Pomeroy GAA club to remember IRA terrorist Seamus Woods previously and Quincey has an analysis of the GAA below. The DUP Chair of the Assembly’s Culture, Arts & Leisure Committee Michelle McIlveen has now entered the debate. From the DUP website: It is simply not credible for the GAA to preside over rules which claim to prohibit sectarianism or involvement in party politics yet allow events like this to take place within property governed by …

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The TUV’s disappointing victory

Two years ago Jim Allister scored one of the most stunningly successful defeats of recent Northern Ireland political history: he may have been defeated but his success and share of the vote sent shock waves through Northern Ireland politics. Today the same Jim Allister scored a fairly pyrrhic victory being elected on the final count in North Antrim. The TUV’s share of the vote was approximately what had been predicted (and what a number of us personally suspected – without …

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TUV the end or the end of the beginning?

TUV the end or the end of the beginning In a little over 72 hours we will know whether the TUV has been consigned to history like the UKUP and so many other unionist parties of the past or whether it can begin to form a proper opposition at Stormont. Jim Allister has set out his stall again arguing for a functioning opposition and moving towards voluntary coalition. The other candidates also feature on the TUV election broadcast. The other …

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DUP confusion on First Minister post?

Until recently the DUP has played down the danger of Martin McGuinness becoming First Minister. They had suggested that this election was not about such things but about the economy, jobs etc. and have recently listed their “40 achievements in 4 years.” Last year Ian Paisley seemed less than worried by the prospect of Martin McGuinness as First Minister. Now, however, Peter Robinson has announced that who gets the First Ministership is a matter of vital importance and that the …

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TUV launch campaign and manifesto seeking to be a catalyst for change in the Assembly

TUV launch

On Monday morning, the TUV held their campaign launch for May’s Assembly and local government elections. They’re running 12 candidates across 11 (of the 18) constituencies, and 41 council candidates across 19 (out of the 26) councils. In the press conference, Jim Allister apologised to voters in constituencies in which they were not able to offer a TUV candidate. He explained that as a party with no public funding (ie, no Assembly, Westminster or European elected representatives), they had to …

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Calls increase for new investigation into Joanne Mathers’ murder

The call by Lowry Mathers for further investigation of his wife’s murder (which I covered on Wednesday) may or may not achieve justice for them and their son. Whilst the precedents for success are not good, his comments, after 30 years of dignified silence, seem to have struck something of a chord. It is worth noting that this story came back into the public consciousness due to the work of Londonderry Sentinel journalist Eamon Sweeney whose comments are here. The …

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TUV conference – the bits you may not read in Monday’s papers

TUV party logo

Over in Cookstown the TUV clan were meeting for their annual party conference. For those of us not there, I’ve extracted some of the pithy portions below from Jim Allister’s leader’s speech, but for those unwilling to read on, the statutory Wordle summarises what he said. We may not have had the year we would have liked, or that your hard work and that of all our candidates deserved, but TUV is here and here to stay, because the cause …

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TUV Conference preview – evolving yet bringing guns back into politics

TUV party logo

The TUV went remarkably quiet after the May 2010 Westminster elections. However, this weekend, party members will be converging in the Royal Hotel in Cookstown for their party conference. Outside the party, it wasn’t terribly well advertised. While I received a belated invitation last week, I’m not free to attend. Not sure if anyone from Slugger will be along? Printing out their conference programme used up more red and blue ink that I’d bargained for. There’s still the old-fashioned use …

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General Election 2010 – the TUV

Right, moving on to the TUV. 2010 represented the first General election to be fought by Traditional Unionist Voice. How did they do?
A total of 26,300 votes over the 10 seats fought split:

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TUV candidate’s website faces closure over ‘hate speech’

David Vance, defeated TUV candidate in East Belfast, faces having his long running blog, A Tangled Web, closed by his host over numerous instances of ‘hate speech’ in violation of Terms of Service. To Mr. David Vance, We have received several complaints regarding hate speech on your website. Per our terms, “Content with the sole purpose of causing harm or inciting hate, or content that could be reasonably considered as slanderous or libelous.” is not permitted. ADDS ATW complies and …

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After the election: A Unionist game that is shaken rather than stirred…

In a special article for Slugger O’Toole, David Gordon examines the General Election fall-out for unionism – with a couple of quotes from his newly-updated book, The Fall of the House of Paisley. Released over Easter, it has a new final chapter entitled The Fall of the House of Robinson? Cometh the hour, here comes Arlene? If Peter Robinson goes as DUP leader, the smart money seems to be on Nigel Dodds as party leader, with Arlene Foster as First …

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Winners and losers

A few weeks ago I tried to present some ways the parties could judge if the election was a success or not. DUP Retaining seats all their Westminster seats will be the main aim. Adding a seat in South Belfast, as a full gain or countering a single seat loss elsewhere, would also be an excellent result. The can’t expect a gain in vote in percentage or real terms from the last Westminster election as the TUV are now involved …

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The prospects of voluntary coalition

Video: Peter Robinson on improving devolution Voluntary coalition seems to be a shibboleth connected with Jim Allister and TUV but in reality all three Unionist parties would prefer voluntary coalition with some form of qualified majority voting put in place to enable a more normal form of Assembly inline with Wales & Scotland which would include a formal opposition, compared to the mandatory coalition we currently operate where nearly all the parties are in government and will remain in government …

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