About I week ago I started to notice that I had not seen much of David Ford, the Alliance Leader over the past few weeks. He turned up again on Monday at Stormont. and indeed performed credibly in the zoo that was the Nolan Show on wednesday night.

But where was he until Monday? Well quite simply, like a lot of people on a longish break, he might have decided to take a well-earned holiday. Or simply as Minister for Justice, he might simply have thought that it would be inappropriate to be visible as Minister when his own Party was under disgusting attack from the knuckle-dragging loyalists in East Belfast. East Antrim and North Down. Visibility as the Policing Minister might well have made the situation worse.

Or he might simply have been standing aside to let Naomi Long, MP for East Belfast to make the running. She grew in stature during the worst of the attacks. And it will do her no harm when she takes on Stephen Farry for the Leadership of the Party. Or maybe Naomi has already effectively her placed Ford as Leader.

Naomi and Stewart Dickson have had a good Flegs Riots Campaign. But frankly Farry,Trevor Lunn and Kieran McCarthy have been invisible. And Anna Lo rarely shy when a TV camera is within a mile has also been keeping a low profile.

If a goodly part of the Flegs Fiasco has been about taking Naomi Long’s seat…then we can make no criticism of her because she is certainly fighting tooth and nail to keep it.

But if Naomi was the Alliance success story of 2010, surely  the success story of 2011 was Alliance taking two East Belfast seats in the Assembly Election. Chris Lyttle, actually co-opted to replace Naomi after her “promotion” has never impressed me. He still appears like a man who can’t believe his (good) luck. And Judith Cochrane…frankly I don’t even know what she sounds like. I don’t think I have ever seen her interviewed. She always strikes n me as a woman who can’t squire believe her (bad) luck.

It would be a mistake to think that Alliance and East Belfast is just about Naomi Long. It is also about defending two Assembly seats. Now of course it would be a mistake to think that being a MLA is all about being on the telly. a lot of good work is not done in public. But here’s a question? With all this happening in East Belfast…..have you actually seen Chris Lyttle or Judith Cochrane?

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29 Responses to MLA….MIA

  1. factual says:

    I think you’re being unduely hard on Chris Lyttle and Judith Cochrane. Both have made good contributions. Chris holds a degree from Harvard and as such is something of a rising star. While in the case of Judith I think she is regarded as having good values. A friend of my mother, who has lived for a couple of years north of the border (in Saintfield), told me that what they need up there is new faces in politics, and Alliance deserve credit (as do SF) for bringing forward new faces.

    • New Faces? David Ford 61….Anna Lo 62…Stewart Dickson 62…..Trevor Lunn 66…..Kieran McCarthy 70.
      Five of their eight MLAs are older than me.
      Stephen Farry…hardly a new face is 41.
      When Long won WestmInster, it necessarily brought in two new faces.
      again WHO regards Judith Cochrane as having good values? Your mums friend?
      I have amazing values but would be a lousy MLA.
      Holding a Harvard degree does not make you a good MLA.George Bush has a Harvard degree,Are you saying he would make a good MLA.
      I was in the Assembly once when Lyttle made a speech. I cringed with embarrassment and so did two Alliance colleagues sitting beside him.

      • factual says:

        I think you have confused “new” with “young”.

      • Are you saying that those five people over 60 are new faces? They have all been around for a very long time. Farry 41 has been a senior Alliance person for a long time.THe two young folk….new faces perhaps, maybe even young faces but their thinking on say same sex marriage is hardly revolutionary.

      • factual says:

        Stephen Farry is pretty well qualified – he holds a PhD.

      • So?
        Does that better qualify him that Gerry Adams.
        I thought you voted Sinn Fein.
        Or do you just vote 1 2 3 4 on the basis of Educational achievement.
        Did James Connolly have a PhD?

      • factual says:

        Gerry Adams is an excellent leader but was unable to attend university because he became involved in community leadership at a young age.

      • Yes Gerry Adams is a good leader….going to university is no guarantee of political ability and not going to university does not mean you are useless. It is totally irrelevant.
        Gerry Adamd never went to university.
        Mile Nesbitt went to Cambridge.

        But one thing you just got wrong. Gerry Adams is almost three years older than me. When the Troubles broke out he was TWENTY YEARS OLD.
        He left school at 16…..not to get involved in ahem …community leadership.He left school in 1966 to get involved as working as a barman and nothing wrong with that as my father was also a barman.

        But get your facts right. No harm in a bit of propaganda but re-writing Gerry’s history like he was a North Korean Leader is just silly.
        By the way I LIKE Gerry Adams.

      • factual says:

        Gerry Adams is now 64 and a quarter and has stated he will lead for another 3 years taking him to 67 or 68. At that point it will be interesting to see who takes over, I think Mary Lou would be a good choice.

      • So….to put it another way….you were wrong about the Troubles standing in the way of Gerry Adams getting to University.
        That had more to do with him leaving school long before his A levels.
        And he did not leave school to become a community leader.
        Please don’t tell us we celebrate Christmas to remind us of the miraculous birth of David Ford in a stable in Bethlehem.

      • factual says:

        People often take a year out before going to university so going to university is not always something people do at 18/19.

      • You are just digging a bigger hole. You should learn to stop digging.
        GerrY did O levels aged 16 in 1965 and got six.
        He left school and got a job as a barman….an entirely honourable job. My father was one.
        Entry to University is determined by A level grades and Gerry does not have any A levels at all. And made absolutely no attempt to get any between 1965 and 1969 when the Troubles broke out.
        These were not GAP years.
        And it’s myth making of the silliest kind to suggest that his education achievements suffered because of the Troubles.
        Gerry made that decision himself…in 1965.

      • factual says:

        A lot of people work for a while in a bar after leaving cert and before going to uni as a way of having fun and making some money.

      • For four years?
        Stop spamming and Stop spoofing.

  2. factual says:

    Also I think you’re being hard on David Ford. He is in a strong position, having built up his party over the last 10 years. Alliance was about to go to the wall at the time he took over, and it was under David Ford that Alliance grew, now to the position now where it gets twice as many votes and has a lot more influence. My mum’s friend – who has lived north of the border for a stint – stated that there is a growing demographic for the Alliance party and that she can expect it to grow further.

    • Your mums friend is wrong.

      • factual says:

        She pointed to: growing numbers going to integrated schools, growing numers not aligned to a religion, growing numbers of in-migrants, growing numbers of mixed marriages, growing numbers that have gone through university level education and have come back etc.etc. The third community she called it. If Alliance can tap into that growing demographic – and a study showed that alliance voters come from this group including the highest share of people with a degree – then they are on a growth path. Their vote has more than doubled since Ford took over. It is regarded as a good party in Dublin.

      • By whom in Dublin is it regarded as a good Party? Enda Kenny spoke at its Conference. But as I recall you are a Sinn Fein voter. Is Gerry Adams going to speak at Alliance Conference soon?
        Do you hold Enda in high esteem?

      • factual says:

        Sinn Féin I believe it is the most committed to equality. Alliance also however have good values.

      • And SDLP…whose John Hume was 76 yesterday are not committed to Equality?
        act your age…not your shoe size.

      • factual says:

        Gerry Adams has pointed out that we should view John Hume positively, but the SDLP not. He pointed out that the SDLP got policing wrong and SF got it right.

  3. bangordub says:

    I think you make a fair point but I take it you live south of the border? FJH and I are a little closer to the (Alliance) ground. I am afraid FJH is correct regarding the potential for Alliance growth. They are non existant outside a couple of pockets in the East and there does seem to be a distinct lack of new ability coming through

  4. Mrs Kalista works in E Belfast, in the community, and reports that Naomi is seriously highly regarded. In fact, she told me that when she was standing for the Westminster seat.

    Last night, the night one of the news broadcasts had a Vox pop from pub or club in E Belfast about the latest leaflet. Those interviewed were men in the fifties or thereabouts and were neither in favour of the leaflets or, as I recall, bothered about the flag.

    Btw, Stephen Donnan has a twit pic from the fifties showing an article about the union flag flying on designated days. He alsoosted this

    • Yes I saw on that on Facebook..
      BBC and Slugger have an agenda to promote the notion that people are not that bothered. And that only politicians are bothered.
      It’s part of the process to get their beloved Alliance off the hook.
      Expect a Lucid Talk/Belfast TelegraPh poll oN the subject.

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