Norn Iron’s Leading Political Couple?

It is now five years since Mrs Iris Robinson left Politics. She and husband Peter were both MPs and MLAs when she stepped down. The reason/s she left Politics need not concern us. They were for many years Norn Iron’s most prominent political couple.

Who can possibly replace them?

Mr Ian Parsley and his wife Ms Pauline Bradshaw. Alas only one of them (Parsley) has a wikipedia entry. But let me tell you about them.

Ian Parsley is an Englishman who became an Alliance councillor (2007) in Holywood DEA in North Down. In 2009, he was the Alliance Party candidate in the European Elections. Later the same year, he joined the Conservative Party.

In 2010, he was a political candidate again….this time for the North Down constituency (Westminster 2010) .for the strange hybrid that was the “Ulster Unionists and Conservatives New Force” (an attempt to re-integrate the two parties). The seat was won by Independent, Sylvia Hermon. Sadly Mr Parsley saw the vote share in the constituency drop by 30% (source the Ark Elections site). Later the same year, Mr Parsley left the Conservatives.

You might see a pattern here. Well….yes subsequently, he rejoined the Alliance Party. He is now a PR man.

Ms Bradshaw is relatively a model of consistency. She also stood for UUCNF in the Westminster Election in 2010. In South Belfast. Later in 2010, she left UUCNF and later joined…the Alliance Party. Ms Bradshaw took the safe Alliance seat in the Balmoral DEA (Belfast City Council) in May 2014.

Happily for those who follow her career, she will be standing in the 2015 Westminster Election in South Belfast. She wont win of course. It is all about the Assembly Election in 2016.

Mr Parsley, no doubt supports his wife. He is a regular contributor to the Slugger O’Toole website. In a comment talking about the Alasdair McDonnell MP for South Belfast, Mr Parsley omitted to note that his wife was standing against the same “oafish” McDonnell in May. I happily noted this on Slugger but Mick Fealty the Editor of Slugger O’Toole has said I am “playing the man”. In fairness to Mick, he said that Parsley was “playing the man”.

I dont suppose that a website like Slugger O’Toole has the same requirement to Fairness as a public service broadcaster like the BBC. But we are now in an Election Campaign and surely conflicts of interest (political and personal) should be pointed out. As always, the “playing the man” rule depends on the Referee. Can we see a pattern that Slugger O’Toole will be rather better disposed to Alliance Party than SDLP in the upcoming Elections.


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8 Responses to Norn Iron’s Leading Political Couple?

  1. Rowan Silverbeard says:

    I think it is probably fair to point out that Paula Bradshaw, after standing for UCUNF in South Belfast failed in 2010, sought to stand for UUP in South Belfast for the Assembly election in 2011 and was not selected, as they chose Mick McGimpsey and Mark Finlay as the two candidates to stand. After she was not selected by the UUP she changed to Alliance. The reason I mention this is to point out that the Alliance Party was not her first choice.

    • A UUP Reject?
      Didnt she have a “portfolio of skills” that she took from UUP to Alliance?
      My recollection is that some Alliance folks were not exactly thrilled with her defection.
      I saw her at the South Belfast count in Kings Hall in 2011…..whizzing round the tables like she was on roller skates.

    • Hi Rowan,

      In fairness, I must point out that Mr Parsley says he is a “Northern Irish” man. I have no idea what that even means.
      I might also point out that Mr Parsley accused me of “playing the man” on his own blog. He deleted my comment on his Blog.
      As I recall, three years ago, Mr Parsley wrote on his Blog about the importance of Loyalty in Politics.
      I posted a comment in which I pointed out his expertise having been loyal to more than one political party.
      Rather oddly Mr Parsley said this was “playing the man” and deleted my comment.

      • Rowan Silverbeard says:

        Sorry I did not mean to cause a stir or to create any tensions by mentioning that point about Paula Bradshaw.

      • I dont think you did.
        Although the comment was headed “Hi Rowan” and I deliberately left it in the comment, the actual text which I still have …only references my original post.
        I do NOT generally approve comments made by Alliance Party members.
        The reason is simple. This is a nationalist/republican/socialist blog and the comments are usually from people within that “understanding”.
        Obviously we have nuanced views withon that framework but the climate is always reasonable.
        I dont allow “Stoop” or “Shinner” rhetoric and hopefully to my long suffering American readers, this Blog gives a flavour of how the internal nationalist debate is progressing.

      • N


  2. frank7778 says:

    Aren’t Nigel and Diane Dodds or perhaps Naomi & Michael Long NI’s leading political couples?

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