On his excellent blog, Ian James Parsley worries about the life of the current Assembly being extended by an extra year to 2016. It is, he says, a breach of Democracy and its hard to argue with him because the current Assembly was voted in for a four year term in 2011.
Mr Parsley, who is described as a politican and businessman on wikipedia (no I dont know who wrote it) was the Alliance Party candidate…losing candidate in the 2009 European Elections. He also polled 343 votes in Holywood in the 2005 Council Elections….the only time that he has ever been elected to anything.
In late 2009, he fought North Down in the Westminster Election in the Tory-Unionist coalition, while his wife Paula Bradshaw fought South Belfast. Both lost. Both left their Party and first Ms Bradshaw joined Alliance….and then Parsley re-joined Alliance. He still seems to harbour some political ambition. Whether the Alliance Party holds the same ambition for him is of course debatable.
But if he has his eyes on an Assembly seat, surely the most likely seat is East Antrim…where Stewart Dickson is 62 years old. While Mr Parsley would certainly add to the entertainment value of the Assembly and it would sadden us all if he had to wait an extra year to take a seat, I think that focussing on the undemocratic nature of extending the life of the Assembly might not be the most undemocratic aspect of the Stormont regime.
For example Parsleys current political party….Alliance (as of 31st May 2013) took 51,000 votes and got eight MLAs elected in 2007. The SDLP took 94,000 votes (14 seats) and UUP 87,000 votes (16 seats). This means that the Alliance Party is the fifth largest party in Norn Iron, behind DUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP and UUP….but yet in terms of Executive seats, Alliance has TWO while SDLP and UUP have just one each. To everyone outside the Alliance Party (and their influential backers and apologists on Slugger O’ Toole..this looks a wee bit….undemocratic.