The latest PoliticalOD podcast is a week behind our initial schedule. Waiting a week was a good idea to see how the electoral contests would like up. Though of course there is a risk that until all nomination papers are submitted and the campaigns are fully on ‘go’ some of the comments may quickly fall out of date.
That said, the broad sweep here should stand up. Even if the opening comment on Upper Bann might quickly age, the proposition that this is likely a DUP hold would need a political earthquake to shake.
Neither the SDLP nor UUP have made decisions that reflect well on their respective leaderships, with strategies that are neither coherent or face up to the political realities. The most they should have done is set out a stall for a future Assembly election (whenever), avoid the dangers a First Past The Post election brings for smaller parties, and been brave enough to stick to their own Party interests. Brexit was so 2017, they should have been looking ahead, not backwards.
Many of the seats where Greens and SDLP and Sinn Fein are nobly standing down are little more than a gesture, a willingness to beat the DUP, and a hope to be more transfer friendly among each other when it comes to the Assembly.
The announcement by the Greens not to stand any candidates in Belfast would seem to be a calculation that few Unionists would transfer to them anyway – or that such votes are worth discounting in the future. It marks an unwelcome point where virtually the entire political landscape can be painted green or orange. Not quite what the Good Friday Agreement anticipated, and not entirely clear what that means for the future.
Whatever is happening locally, the likelihood of influence on the Brexit debate nationally is notional should Boris win, and irrelevant if Corbyn wins. Whatever happens the Commons timetable before the 31st January is tight, and we’ll either have an unscrutinised Withdrawal Bill rushed through Parliament, or at least a year of more Brexit dither although that might be the least of the country’s worries at that stage.
if a week is a long time in politics, the next five weeks may feel like a lifetime…
We’re learning that it is hard to update a podcast so check @thedissenter and @3000Versts for comments on stuff before our next podcast.
Luckily, along with @3000Versts, we didn’t try to predict how the Brexit story was going to work out in the days following our get together to record Episode 3 of our podcast on Wednesday.
We’ve both kept an eye on the de Souza case over the past couple of years and still don’t see why someone puts hubris before husband. The issue has been prolonged because the obvious remedy is refused, because someone has a point to make.
Meanwhile, hubris is an entire economy if we are to look at recent IMF reports and note stories that perhaps haven’t made the headlines over recent years. The ‘low tax’ Irish economy is essentially parasitical, sucking in spreadsheet entires that effectively deny tax takes in big economies such as France, Germany and the UK. More on that in previous article below, but global businesses with funds ‘resting in Irish accounts’ is not on such a scale that it can’t be ignored indefinitely – and isn’t.
As if the OECD plans on global tax taking a direct pop at the Irish economic model (and others such as Netherlands and Luxembourg) but the more puzzling threat is in what might just be the final aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU. No backstop, but also the UK (as a whole) no longer within the Customs Union, which means East West trade between the Republic and UK will be subject to all customs and regulatory checks lest there be a threat to the precious Single Market. Not sure that one has been thought through entirely, though we’ll have to wait for the detail….
The Irish economy as a model for Northern Ireland’s future?
Much of the chatter around the anti-Brexit voices in Northern Ireland, has been around the notion that Northern Ireland will benefit from the “all-Ireland” economy closely alined to the EU.
The all-Ireland economy is a nationalist fiction. It conflates the geography of the island or Ireland with some notion of an integrated economy. That doesn’t stand up to any exploration of facts.
Read more… »
Just before meeting @3000Versts to record our second podcast effort, the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party announced he was leaving his role in due course. We consider whether the UUP has any driving sense of purpose.
On lack of purpose we turned to the subject of the Rabble Alliance in Westminster, all powered up and nowhere to go?
We’re at the end of national Party Conference season and there has been one big issue, barely mentioned in the news reports or election pitches, though certainly prominent at the fringe of Conservative Party Conference.
Together with @3000Versts a new podcast has been created, PoliticalOD because the world needs another podcast (?) and there is always room for a Unionist voice – though we’ll range out of Northern Ireland with a wider and more worldly perspective from time to time. We’ll be local, thinking global.
What else would the first effort be about except “backstop or go”, and whether from the extensive preview of the story of David Cameron by David Cameron enables us to make a determination as to whether he is political ‘Hero or Villain’.
Still ‘experimental’. Think a word or two isn’t quite what was intended here and there – lesson one, no spellcheck. Plus we deliberately aimed at a ‘short’ podcast, 15-20 minutes; almost.
Have a listen. The podcast will also be tweeted out @3000Versts and @thedissenter. Let us know what you think, or join the conversation. Civil discourse only, or Mr Block will intervene.
Recent days has seen analysis of the recent Local Elections in Northern Ireland almost exclusively in outlined in terms of percentages. Statistical summaries. These focused on percentage shares of the vote, and the number of seats gained/lost by the parties.
The general view is that this was an election where the centre ‘broke through’. This was the ‘Other’ face of Northern Ireland politics.
Looking at the numbers and that isn’t quite the whole story. Read more… »
Enough of Brexit. Avoid thinking about the UK participating in European Elections towards the end of May – might or might not happen.
What do we know with certainty? Only thing we know for certain in UK politics at this moment is that there will be Local Elections, to be held on 2 May, for 270 local councils and six directly elected Mayors in England, and the 11 local councils in Northern Ireland.
It is highly likely national politics will dominate commentary on the local elections in England, particularly on the results and what they will be believed to mean (in the Brexit context, no doubt). Read more… »
“Let’s get some perspective on that 0.001% risk to the EU single market collapsing in chaos.”
A while back, in January, on the Clare Byrne show a guest who was ex Irish Military made a not often heard point on the Irish Border that so obsesses the EU and virtually every commentator on Brexit.
His point, that there are three types of border. Read more… »
The electorate seems ungrateful. Political leaders embracing the mainstream political presumptions of the later part of the 20th Century seem less sure of themselves beyond the set-piece photo-ops.
Trump has been a shock to the American system, but a shock that was some time in coming and not altogether impossible even if a little unexpected. Everyone could see it, few believed it. Brexit too, in the UK.
Read more… »
It was with a complete lack of irony that Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson MEP supported remaining because the EU brought peace to Europe. This was said at a panel event in Coleraine during the 2016 Referendum on EU membership. Seriously.
What did the murderous gang of thugs, the IRA, do for peace in Europe?
Sadly, one example among many.
And it could have been more.
Read more… »