The most fundamental rule of politics

Elections are won by the party (or coalition of parties) which can attract the most support and agree a common programme.  This applies whether you have a two-party state or a multi-party state. Sinn Fein have faced this in the Dail where they have been the equal-largest party, but Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael would rather set aside their historic differences and work together than form a coalition with Sinn Fein. In US politics, where the bell curve of left …

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Is it time to give up on power sharing as a bad job ?

A couple of weeks back I wrote about whether or not the time had come for Alliance to adopt a constitutional position (TL;DR – it hasn’t). As is typical of articles that touch on the constitutional issue, there were quite a few comments, most of which spectacularly avoided the point and tended to rehash boring talking points and clichés from the 1970s. But there were several fair remarks which merit further discussion, so I thought I’d start with the most …

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Alliance : time to get off the fence ? 

Some weeks ago I noted with interest the outcome of the University of Liverpool survey into the makeup of the Alliance Party membership base and their views on constitutional matters, finding that a larger number of members believe that Irish unity should occur in the future.  The title of this piece refers to an old cliché, which I’ve heard since 1994, that the party are a bunch of fence-sitters. More recently I’ve been hearing “constitutional change is coming and Alliance …

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#APNI24 looking for reform and growth at Westminster

Alliance gathered for their annual conference in the Stormont Hotel in East Belfast. 400 delegates heard their leaders pitch for reform of the institutions and the upcoming Westminster elections. I have attended every Alliance conference since 2014 and this is one of the most upbeat and energetic that I have witnessed. The party’s local election saw growth but unlike, Sinn Fein, it was a mixed bag with losses in some places and failure to break through in others. The Deputy …

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Slugger Podcast: Looking at the boundaries for #GE24

David McCann and Peter Donaghy look at how the proposed new constituency boundaries could impact the next election results in Northern Ireland David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

30 free hours of childcare sounds good, but doesn’t fully deliver

Kate Nicholl is the Alliance Party MLA for South Belfast  With many people’s childcare bills outstripping mortgage costs, parents and carers struggling with the strain of juggling careers and childcare, and providers struggling to keep their doors open, you don’t need to look far to see the impact of crippling childcare costs on our children, parents and carers, our economy, and wider society. The lack of affordable childcare in Northern Ireland was at the heart of my decision to run …

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Slugger TV looks at #LE23

Slugger TV 26th May 2023 from Northern Visions NvTv on Vimeo. Slugger TV looks at LE23 with Brendan Hughes and Sarah Creighton David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

#BBCRedlines looks at the unaligned parties for #le23

Last week on the Red Lines podcast, we looked at the Unaligned parties with Suzanne Breen, Enda McClafferty and the host, Mark Carruthers. You can listen to the full episode here.  David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

And the winner is………….Slugger reviews the PEBs of #LE23

We are back! The Slugger Party Election Broadcast Review has returned to give its assessment of the party election broadcasts of the 2023 local elections. A valuable public service to election nerds and people who have devoted hours and days of effort to create these three minute wonders. A bit like the Eurovision Song Contest, high scores aren’t any indication of likely success at the ballot box. It’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at the aesthetics and impact of one aspect …

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Patricia O’Lynn to step down as an MLA

Alliance MLA, Patricia O’Lynn is to step down as an MLA for North Antrim to take up a job with Queens University. O’Lynn is the only woman to be elected for the constituency of North Antrim and was one of the high profile gains for Alliance in 2022. Speaking about her decision she said: “It has been an honour to serve the people of North Antrim as their MLA and previously the people of Ballymena as a Councillor. My only …

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Slugger TV looks at the main parties after #AE22

Slugger TV is five years old! This month Anna Mercer from Stratagem and Chris Donnelly look at the state of the parties following the Assembly Election. David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

UTV Leaders Debate-Low key campaigns don’t drop their guards

The leaders of the five main parties gathered in South Belfast today for the UTV Leaders Debate, which is the first of two of these debates in the 2022 Assembly Election campaign. Marc Mallett as usual was the moderator and there were two new faces with Doug Beattie and Jeffrey Donaldson taking part for the first time. The experienced debaters returning from 2017 were Colum Eastwood, Naomi Long and Michelle O’Neill. The debate was divided into three main themes, Executive …

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And the winner is … ranking the PEBs: Slugger’s verdict on the party broadcasts of #AE22

It’s back! The Slugger review of the Party Election Broadcasts. Starting all the way back in 2014, we are returning to award the best party election broadcast of the 2022 Assembly campaign. This year we are assembling the same judges as in 2019 to help us decide who won the battle on TV. We have our own Alan Meban, the Belfast Telegraph Crime Correspondent, Allison Morris and Director of Brown O’Connor Communications, Chris Brown. How does it work? Each of …

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Slugger TV looks at the polls and strategy for #AE22

This month Slugger TV talks to two former party strategists about what the parties will be thinking about going into the next election. We have Brendan Mulgrew (For SDLP advisor and Partner in MW Advocate) and Lee Reynolds (Former Director of Policy for the DUP and SPAD). NVTV and local broadcasting lost a very special person last week. Marilyn Hyndman very sadly passed away. She was someone who edited, checked over and supported Slugger TV. We hope you enjoy this …

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Scores on the doors: 2022 Assembly Election lay of the land

We are 104 days away from the Assembly Election. Set for Thursday 5th May, we will be able to decide who we want to take Northern Ireland forward for the next few years. Where will the parties be targeting and defending? I have put together a list of where is under threat for each of the main parties and where could they make some gains. These things are moveable feasts and dynamics can change throughout the campaign. Sinn Fein-Currently holds …

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Doug Beattie welcomes any disillusioned members of the DUP who want to come over to the UUP…

With the DUP taking a lurch to the religious right, some of the more moderate DUP politicians are wondering is it time to jump ship. Doug Beattie is happy to welcome them one and all, with one proviso. Doug said: ‘ any new members would have to endorse the UUP’s vision and values.’ This could be a bit of a sticking point because even UUP politicians would have trouble explaining their parties vision and values. UUP leader Doug Beattie has …

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Well, well, well-#AE2022 and that Lucid Talk poll

It’s early days, minds could change later, but the Belfast Telegraph’s latest poll will send shivers down the DUP’s spine. According to Lucid Talk, support for the DUP has dropped to 16%, the same as Alliance. Sinn Fein sits at 25%. Doug Beattie will take comfort from the figure for the UUP, up two points to 14%. A Sinn Fein First Minister has been a possibility since the 2017 Assembly election. Based on these figures,  Sinn Fein will clinch the …

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Where can the Unionist parties gain seats at the next election?

The DUP has started messaging ahead of next years assembly election that the combined Unionist parties need just five seats to remove the protocol. Now this claim has been fact checked that they can only remove certain parts, rather than all of it. But I thought it would be interesting to look at where Unionism could potentially find those gains. To start with, this is a very tall order for the combined Unionist parties. If the results of elections from …

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AE22: Targets for the main parties next year

It is 15 months away, but lockdown boredom and messing around with numbers, he is the lay of the land going into the next Assembly Election. Alliance The happiest people looking at this are the Alliance Party, gains to be seen across Northern Ireland and on numbers, none of their 8 seats are under threat. Around 10 target seats are there for them, with varying degrees of effort required. The low hanging fruit are places like North Belfast and South …

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What could the surge of centre ground parties mean for a possible 2020 Assembly election?

The results of the 2019 general election have confirmed that the electoral map of Northern Ireland has been redrawn. The Alliance Party broke out of its traditional electoral stronghold in and around Belfast to make strong gains across Northern Ireland, polling 16.8% to come third in the popular vote behind the DUP (30.6%) and Sinn Féin (22.8%). With possible fresh Assembly elections coming in 2020, the rise of centre ground in Northern Ireland politics is likely to lead to potentially …

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