The ‘case for’ & ‘case against’ Unionist unity…

11 05 2010

Unionism is now in a state of flux following the general election. So what does the future hold?

The debate has kicked off at Open Unionism where bloggers are considering:

The debate has also been picked up at Mark Devenport’s Blog,  as well as A Pint of Unionist Lite and Three Thousands Versts. Check it out.

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Reaction to the election…

9 05 2010

I did a short Q&A with BBC Online earlier – it’ll be a small part of a bigger article. I thought it might be useful to post up my full answers, then I’ll post up the BBC link when it gets uploaded. (I inflicted way more words on the BBC than was necessary.)

[Here’s the link to that piece.]

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UUP PEB? Meh… mleh. Tsk.

14 04 2010

Well, that’s one PEB which works better on radio.

When I heard the audio on GMU this morning, I thought it worked well – this wasn’t leadership-led, and the narrator was able to do the introductions, get round some of the candidates and mix it up a bit.

So I checked out the video version online this evening and the pictures don’t really add anything. The message is all audio. For example, Mike Nesbitt is filmed outside his constituency (in BIA?). And while not hugely important, I don’t think its wise to have a ‘Way out’ sign sitting almost directly above a candidate’s bonce. Strangford’s a rural constituency, how can you not have Mike getting some dirt under his fingernails at an agri-business? That would surely help to shed his urbane, surburban image and locate him directly in the constituency (Mike lives in East Belfast).

Lesley Macauley is filmed outside her constituency (somewhere round Dee Street in East Belfast). Harry Hamilton looks like he was filmed at Weaver’s Court in Belfast (though I might be wrong on this).

And is having Trevor Ringland on a rugby field in a Lions top not simply reinforcing a stereotypical (one-dimensional) impression many people may have of him? We already know about the rugby background – how does passing a ball with teenagers add another layer to what we know about this candidate? He will draw votes from the same well as Naomi Long – what dynamic device in this PEB helped position him for this?

Overall, it’s too Belfast centric. It needed more variety.

Why are candidate messages all straight pieces to camera? Why no walk and talk? Why no pan-NI landmarks to illustrate breadth and scope of vision / reach? Why no intercuts to images that support the statements (eg. Harry talked about the economy – erm… can we see what kinds of businesses you hope to particularly appeal to?)? No clever editing devices?

How did the visual narrative add to the spoken narrative? Put simply, it didn’t. Some good messages did came through, though Cameron’s excellent script overshadowed everyone else’s in my humble opinion.

No, not disastrous, but not memorable. A televised PEB is not just another platform to deliver the spoken word. Gotta say – bit disappointed really.

PS. Candidates of course cannot be filmed in their own constituency. My thanks to the nice UCUNF chap for pointing that out for me. Nevertheless, this needed shots from other constituencies IMHO. You could still do Mike at an agri-business, or Lesley in the City of Derry etc etc…

PPS. I looked over this post and perhaps I was overly critical of the UCUNF broadcast. It wasn’t terrible. My expectations for an excellent PEB were raised by how well this translated onto radio. Hence the disappointment.





Gerry Moriarty doesn’t read bobballs: official

26 01 2010

Gerry Moriarty in today’s Irish Times reports that Trevor Ringland is a UUP nominee for the UCUNF candidacy in East Belfast. Gerry clearly doesn’t read ol’ bobballs and that makes me sad.

Nevertheless it almost goes without saying that bobballs readers are a very, very, very select and influential elite…

PS. thanks for the socks mam!

PPS. Oh, and Ger didn’t mention that Tim Lemon was the second nominee from that EB selection meeting. While both go through on equal terms, Tim – a candidate in 2001 and a former director of elections for the UUP – did receive more support than Trevor on the evening. Worth mentioning.





Unionist moderates are total extremists… (and other random bollocks)

25 01 2010

Well, Brian Walker’s post on Slugger is annoying.

I remember hearing about Mick et al being really pleased to have secured his services. But the post he served up today is, well, piping-hot bollocks!

Writing should be provocative and challenging – but needlessly, lazily, stupidly, blindly offensive?

His line is that the UUP don’t want a fenian about the place and holds up the McCann and Davidson departures as examples of this. But, in my view, these departures had little enough to do with the UUP and more to do with NI Tories themselves and their relationships with London.

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But there’s no such thing as a principled resignation, right?

25 01 2010

So farewell then Peter McCann, Sheila Davidson and Deirdre Nelson. All three are reported to have withdrawn their candidacies. I see the Guardian* and Brian Walker @ Slugger are all over this.

So why did they resign? The Guardian reports a source close to the trio saying:

Peter and others resigned on a matter of principle, that principle being a wholly secular, inclusive pro-union politics untainted by sectarianism.

Okay, that’s the NI Tory perspective but I think it needs some additional context.

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Have the UUP bagged their man?

19 01 2010

The ‘UUP line up Nesbitt’ story is a really strange one.

More than a few people in the UUP are surprised about it. However, I hear though that it has been kicking in the constituency for at least the past few weeks and that some people were talking about Nesbitt prior to the recent selection meeting.

To some people in the party, there is a certain logic to Nesbitt going forward. As Aaron Tinney reports, the UUP think Strangford is winnable and they think they need a big name to carry it. And a UUP source has coyly told the BBC that a third nominee could be added to the list in Strangford.

But as hand of history points out, there’s a whiff of the Tim Collins’s about this. Lots of chat and rumour, but nothing very much happening. And that is the bothersome bit.

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