Its an ill wind that blows no good.
In 2010, Naomi Long was the beneficiary of a scandal within the DUP.
The goings on …both personal and professional…led the good folks in the Belmont Bowling Club to vote for Naomi Long in the 2010 Westminster Election.
And a year later, it helped Chris Lyttle and Judith Cochrane into the Assemblŷ.
Even within the Alliance Party there appears a deep disappointment at the performance of their two most youthful MLAs.
And of course the Flegs Dispute has at least an aspect of DUP revenge at Naomi winning the seat in 2010. And the DUP wants that seat back. Obviously I wish them well.
If Naomi saw the writing on the wall….literally …in December 2012, she will be heartened that the new scandal within DUP is centred on East Belfast.
There is…we are told…no smoking gun.
Alas, the Petition of Concern which the DUP used yesterday ensures that we wont have access to the library to check for the smoking gun. And with the passage of time, the gun could disappear anyway…along with a lot of forensics and people might have time to co-ordinate their recollections.
So Naomi and indeed every non-DUP person is inclined to stand at the door of the locked library and say that they smell sulphur.
It does not actually matter whether they can smell anything at all.
The really important thing is that non-DUP people SAY that they smell something.
In the absence of evidence, it is enough to create an impression.
Thus Saint Naomi the Good suggests that the real answer lies in the transparency of political donations. And points out…by the by…that the Alliance Party is the only local Party which publishes a list of donations.
Well…that SOUNDS good.
But if you visit the Alliance Party website (I DID and I feel unclean) the declarations are as dull as the Alliance Party itself.
Its basically a non declaration.
Alliance gets funding from (yawn) the Norn Iron Assembly.
And has some rent free accomodation. but dont get excited cos thats basically an Aliance company…directors include David Ford.
So no big deal.
Nothing to declare.
Well…this Alliance transparency begins in 2011.
which funnily enough is the year of the last Assembly Election.
Which funnily enough means that the £98,000 received from the Rowntree Reform Trust is not in the declaration.
Och, I’m happy to see a lazy own goal by the unDUP.(I’m a gooner) Looks like another 5 years of London life for Naomi I recall a TV vox pop with loitering unionist pensioners in Conswater during Irisgate. To a man, they said they were wanting a bloody nose for the unDUP.. The DUPpers see themselves as an elite with a great opportunity to line their pockets, even at the expense of their own lower ranks.
Come 2015, Alliance have quite a quarrel in their quiver to shoot at the unDUP from leaflets, flegs dispute and now corruption. The target has to be to end the unionist control of Stormont and I really don’t care where the votes go so long as the statelet becomes the Greater Belfast City Council or even better, Derry City Council.
If Naomi were to go on the attack over RedSky during an upcoming election, it could backfire badly. If it’s brought up, the DUP can argue that they were just concerned about trying to save an East Belfast-based company with a largely (if not entirely) Protestant workforce. Naomi could then come under fire for being against jobs for local people. It wouldn’t surprise me since the DUP line on the whole issue is still to scream sectarianism.
Naomi wont retain her seat by being timid.
Lyttle and Cochrane seemed to disappear at the height of the Flegs Dispute. I recognise that many Alliance members might say that they were working tirelessly out of public view but the perception is that Alliance itself was shell shocked and that Naomi ( the only man among them) retained her composure or was the first to recover it.
Anything can happen in East Belfast. Irisgate was a gift to Naomi. Flegs a gift to DUP.
Red Sky seems to have restored Naomis confidence.
But still two years to go.
Out of interst where has it been said that Alliance are disappointed by the performance of MLA’s Lyttle and Cochrane? They do seem like non-entities and a decently profiled NI21 candidate should take one of their east Bel seats
The Younger element in the Alliance Party are not impressed.
Consider the fact that of the eight MLAs…Ford, Dickson, McCarthy, Lo and Lunn are well into their sixties.
Farry is middle aged.
And Lyttle and Cochrane are by far the youngest.
There is a distinct split between the Assembly Party and the Party itself.
Take Equal Marriage.
Alliance has always been a coalition of secular and churchy types.
The younger secular element would not have expected much from the likes of Lunn and McCarthy but they might have expected more from Lyttle and Cochrane.
There is a safe Alliance seat in East Belfast who would get it.
If Long loses Westminster….and decides to stand in East Belfast, it would probably be Alliances best chance of holding two seats there.
That would mean that Cochrane who is based in Castlereagh might go for Strangford.
But if Lyttle & Cochrane stand in East Belfast , one will lose out.
“The goings on …both personal and professional…led the good folks in the Belmont Bowling Club to vote for Naomi Long in the 2010 Westminster Election.”
That pretty much sums it up! 😉
I have to say that I agree with you that the whole Alliance/Lib-Dem/Rowntree axis is a wee bit creepy. While they claim that it is “no big thing” they are not exactly open about it either. Its like Scientology and the alien overlords stuff. They don’t deny it but they don’t like talking about it either and will change the subject if ever quizzed on it. The Alliance Party are the Scientologists of Irish politics.
Ah I wish Id thought of that….”scientologists.”
I like that.
Funnily enough Out walking last night, I was trying out an insult comparing them to the Plymouth Brethren. There is something elitist and “saved” about them and the “letsgetalongerist community”
They remind me of Mr JXXXXXXX. He was the man from Standard Cheques.
He liked my family and our non drinking-pioneer religious ways.
We were just like him except we were all going to Hell.
And he wasnt.
Actually if you look up the Rowntree Reform Trust website and go to the search function for Alliance Party.
There will be two links.
The first is a donation for £30,000.
The second £68,000.
The reason for the donation is blatantly stated to win more Assembly seats.
Which is exactly what happened. All good things for Alliance flowed from that eighth seat.
Incidently whatever happened the proposal to decrease the number of Cabinet posts (January 2012) which was to take effect in May 2012. Never mentioned in my favourite letsgetalongerist messageboard. Youd think in the interests of consistency and co-ordinated less beaurocratic government, the letsgetalongerist position would be the reduction of Executive posts. Seemingly its different if its Alliance who might lose out.
Take a look at the Alliance website. And search “Donations” and a couple of statements early 2011 which call for transparency which leads to “publication” of their own donors after 2011. Autographed by Dan McGuinness, the Party Treasurer, theres really nothing to declare.
No “chocolate money”, no “innocent money” “no Quaker money” as Quintin Oliver (“Agent for Change”at Stratagem)memorably described it on a Slugger o’Toole lunctime conversation.
Quintin is Norn Advisor to the Rowntree Foundation, not to be confused with the Reform Trust.
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Naomi has …
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