UTV Leader's Debate


Well, that is one whole hour I will not get back again.

I, stupidly, decided to watch the UTV Leader's debate with the leaders of the four biggest parties standing in the General Election.

My own feelings can be described with a few words. Just be warned, its not a serious insight to a blow by blow debate, just my idle musings.

Jim Dougal Chairman
Was he? Seriously, why not Mike Nesbitt? Oh, that's right he is standing. What about Fearghal McKinney? Oh he is standing too. What about May McFettridge? She would at least have livened up the debate.  One very good observer said he was the best simpsons lookalike of night was Jim Dougal aka Hans Moleman! (though without the thick specs).

Margaret Ritchie SDLP Leader
What would she have done if someone pinched her notes, or as one wag pointed out to me, she was reading texts sent to her from Conall McDevitt. Was not too bad, but her inexperience at this level (can i say that??) showed through. Room yet for her to grow into her role.But seriously, the shade of red of her outfit hurt my eyes.

Gerry Adams Sinn Fein Leader
Usual smugness from someone 'never in the IRA' or apparently never even asked! He had great craic having a go at Margaret because he can't get a clear run at Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Alex Maskey standing down in South Belfast was on the same level as DUP not standing in North Down - a pointless exercise. Confidence wise, he was the coolest - but then he maybe thought he was in Castlereagh.

Peter Robinson DUP Leader
He looked very tired and a bit miffed off because he knew the inevitable 'financial questions' were going to raise their heads.  Very tetchy and apparently he has a halo he likes to polish every so often. Maybe he got one free with every £350 pen purchased.  While Peter looked quite irritable throughout, he defended himself fairly well. 

Sir Reg Empey UUP Leader
Who advised him to wear that beige/brown suit! He had a fair wind (Yes, of course i would say that) and did not make any mistakes, but perhaps did not set the night on fire. He did painfully poke Peter in the ribs about land deals and expensive pens, but did not really land that killer blow.

The post debate analysis is a load of back slapping at how great the whole thing was. The mini leaders debate was actually the most animated and would have liked to have seen more.

One little question for the UTV.  Where on earth did you get these 'young first time voters' from? Their questions were more geriatric than the panel. The questions asked were sub-standard and either shows how little they actually care about our future, or they were fed the questions by UTV, or the level of education in politics subjects has taken a serious nose dive.

Overall, I am just glad my licence fee does not go to UTV.

What do you think?

Have a look at Keith in Belfast's blog and his quick interviews with the leaders after the debate

An frae al yins tha laike tha haimley tongue Doocter Billy McWilliams his a wile gud Ulster Scots run doon oo last nicht's bletherin' session betwixt Norlin Airlan layders ain the langviewer ait hes wabseet 1690 an all thon

4 Questions - answered by David Vance (TUV), East Belfast


David Vance TUV
Westminster candidate standing in the constituency of East Belfast

Answers the 4 questions.

Why are you standing for election?
To make a lasting difference to the quality of life for the people of East Belfast

What is important to you in life?
My family, my country.

What will you bring to the post of MP that others will not?
Full time representation of the people, entrepreneurial skills, high energy.

At the end of your term in office as MP what will you have achieved?
Employment up, regeneration of East Belfast in full swing, despair exchanged for hope.

All questions must be answered in 140 words or less.

What do you think of David's answers?

18 Constituencies, 4 questions, 1 result


I decided to have a wee experiment with all this social media hoodicky thingymabob and use only electronic contact and social media to ask the candidates for the Westminster elections to take place on 6 May 4 questions.  The answers will be posted up on this blog for all (two friends and my cat) to see.

If you can help spread the word, i would be grateful.  I don't have time to chase every single candidate, but i will do my best.  I have gone very Twitteresque by limiting the answer length any candidate can respnd with to 140 words.  They don't have to use all the words if they can succinctly sum it all up in less than 140 words.

Below is the email i have sent out to the parties i have on my books (Alliance, Greens, DUP, UUP, TUV, SDLP, and Sinn Fein)

Responses to the questions can either be put in as a comment to this post, or emailed to me at itewhitten -at- gmail.com (replace the -at- with @).  I will endeavor to give each response a blogpost to themselves with a picture (they can email me the picture they want me to use or I will try to find a nice one to put up.)

So that's 18 Constituencies, 4 questions, and, come 6 May, 1 result.


My name is Ivor Whitten and I run my own blog called Hand of History NI (www.handofhistoryni.blogspot.com).

I am trying out an experiment for this General Election, and I hope your candidates will be able to find enough time to be involved.

I am sending all the parties four questions for their candidates to answer. What answers I receive I will publish (untouched, apart form any typos) up on my blog for the world to see.

The questions are,

  • Why are you standing for election?
  • What is important to you in life?
  • What will you bring to the post of MP that others will not?
  • At the end of your term in office as MP what will you have achieved?

The length of answer should be no more than 140 words for each question.

I do hope you can help distribute this amongst your candidates for the Westminster Election.

Thank you for your time, and all the best for the campaign.
If anyone can help spread the word via Facebook and/or Twitter, that would be appreciated. 

MPs before their time!


Now we are in full swing for electioneering, and lots of our fresh faced and not so fresh faced candidiates are on the hunt for your votes.

A number of them are now 'hip, historical and happening' (to paraphrase the words of one DETI Minister) through the use of the interweb and all the gubbins that go with it all.

One being the use (or misuse) of Twitter.  I have come across three twitter accounts of outgoing Members of Parliament who are seeking re-election.

They are Conor Murphy, Minister for Regional Devlopment and outgoing MP for Newry and Armagh (the constituency where I was reared, as they are wont to say), Michelle Gildernew, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development and outgoing MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (did someone mention an independent Unionist Unity candidate?), and Nigel Dodds, one time Minister for Finance and Personnel and outgoing MP for North Belfast.

So what?

Well can you see what is wrong with these pictures (screen printed today 19 April 2010)

Guessed it yet?

A clue? look at the designation after their names.

That's right!  They are still using their designations as a Member of Parliament (MP), whilst electioneering during a period of time where there are technically no MPs.  This period is called dissolution.

Domain names and email addresses referring to you as an MP
2.12 No one can use the title MP during dissolution and you should not use a website or an email address during dissolution if it suggests you are currently an MP. Any website that contains a URL referring to you as an MP (e.g. johnpeekmp.co.uk) should be frozen. This means the website may remain online, but that no new content should be added except the disclaimer, contact details and/or a link to an alternative web site.
Which means the three amigos are in breach of Parliamentary procedures during dissolution.

During dissolution there are no MPs, and impersonating an MP may be an offence (have not dug down that deep yet, but it could be along the same lines as impersonating a doctor, and you can make up your own mind which is the most dangerous).

At least it makes a nice difference to the usual personation of others on polling day.

So many things to do, so little time...


I promise I will blog more......
Sorry for the lack of posting over the past few days.  I have had so many days worth of posts floating around in my wee head and no time at all to post them up.  Arrrrgh.

Hope to have a few posts up later today, alongside a little pet project I am pursuing regarding our local candidates for the General Election.  Details later.

I have been spending most of my time either out canvassing (my adventure tales later), with family (it takes up more time than I ever imagined, but would not swap it for the world) and doing other social media work (can you guess who for?)

Maybe at some stage I will get time to read.  Ho hum.


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