Monday 13 March 2017

Nicola Sturgeon's Second Referendum

I may only have been in from work less than half an hour, but I already know that what I say is going to upset some of my good friends within the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Nicola Sturgeon is right to call for a second Scottish Referendum after the deal is known and before the UK pulls out. What follows is the reasons why?

Firstly the dynamic of what it means to be part of the UK has changed. Many of those, including myself, while part of the last No campaign said that one of the uncertainties for Scottish Independence was their future having to renegotiate with Europe. That is no longer part of the issue because Theresa May is taking the UK out of Europe while Scotland voted to remain.

That other lady of politics Theresa May today is talking about the tunnel vision of Nicola Sturgeon. But since the Brexit vote and her taking control has failed to acknowledge that the people of Scotland and indeed Northern Ireland whose interaction with Europe is different from a lot of England took a different view from the Brexit result.

Scotland is pro-Europe, but Theresa May is taking us away from Europe, yet somehow she talks of tunnel vision while all her talk of taking the UK out of every aspect of Europe and heading for a hard Brexit is just that.

I myself did say after the last Scottish referendum that Nicola Sturgeon should have stuck to her pledge that this was a once in a generation opportunity. I have however changed my mind, the seismic plates have shifted in UK politics. While I would have vote No last time, I personally would be voting yes next time (if the rumours of what Theresa May is heading for turn out to be true).

Saturday 4 March 2017

Trump Horcrux unearthed by Northern Ireland election #AE17

Let's face it yesterday was a disaster for unionism in Northern Ireland politics. The Assembly shrank from 108 members to 80 but the Unionist members shrank in number from 56 to 40! Yes that is right 18 seats were taken away and the unionists lost 16 of them, 10 by the DUP the other 6 for the UUP.

Now last night time after time DUP representatives came on and talked about the media being the reason they were doing badly. Some even blamed it directly on the BBC while being interviewed by the BBC. Arlene Foster at her count was even hidden away in a room and refused to speak to the BBC all day. This is the so-called "leader" of Northern Ireland skulking away in a room and blaming it on one of the major television news channels. It's all sounding rather Trump-like.

The BBC were the local news that investigated the RHI scandal, they were also the same station that investigated Arlene's predecessor Peter Robinson over property speculation and his wife's affair. Yet through all of that Robinson still spoke to the BBC. The DUP were also claiming that people were still responding to their message, that it was transfer policies of other unionists that were costing unionism and that is was a nationalist surge that was doing them out of seats.

Let's look at some of those claims.

Was it what the media said. A lot of the time the BBC has reported exactly what Arlene and her team have said. They have been in debates not just for the election but in other mediums through the last 10 months. Of course there are also times they are invited unto The Nolan Show or The View or other shows and refuse to turn up to put their case. When they do turn up they talk about being progressive yet their policies by many are viewed as anything put. When they are challenged on this they become all defensive.

While they say that they lost seats because of what Mike Nesbitt said about transferring his vote to the SDLP is it not just possible that they did'y gain as many of that 10% higher turnout as the other parties because of what Arlene and her colleague more that what anyone else said? Maybe that 10% that came out to vote this time for parties that were prepared to break from the sectarian trenches. Maybe they wanted to stand up against Brexit. Maybe they wanted to stand up for equality. Maybe ther did want to send a message about the Renewable Heating Initiative or maybe it was a combination of all of these.

But yeah there are 40 Unionists, 39 Nationalists and 11 Others in the new Assembly. The DUP have lost their ability to lodge a Petition of Concern with just their own MLAs signing it.

But with all of the excuses and actions coming from the Donald Trump book How to Win Elections and Govern, maybe the DUP have been turned into a Donald Trump horcrux. There are only six more to find but I think the following is probably another of them. But the DUP horcrux has not been destroyed just yet, but it has taken damage.