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May 25, 2016, 11:52:35 am
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News: Election 2016 predictions are now open!.

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1  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Northern Ireland Assembly 2016 on: Today at 04:01:27 am
will UUP and SDLP jointly be the official opposition or is it just UUP because they're the bigger party?

By my reading of the Standing Orders, I would expect that they will collectively be the Official Opposition - though with recognised separate leaders of the opposition, per the legislation I cited a couple of posts above.

2  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Northern Ireland Assembly 2016 on: Today at 03:56:15 am
Presumably the UUP is trying to position itself to the right of DUP with refusing to join the coalition?

What's the SDLP's game though?

Fundamentally it's the same reason for both parties.
It's not about left-right politics.

Neither the UUP nor SDLP have been able to exercise any serious influence beyond their own Ministries - and even within their own Ministries have found themselves hindered in their potential actions by the larger coalition parties.

Going into opposiiton will allow both to present the electorate with an alternative to DUP-SF government; something they've been unable to do from within the Executive to date - without all that much loss in influence over the direction of government in NI, as that was really quite limited anyway.

3  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Northern Ireland Assembly 2016 on: Today at 03:49:48 am
I don't know whether there would be an "Official Opposition"; there technically isn't one in Scotland although the largest opposition party generally gets more questions at Question Time.  I'd imagine that both the UUP and the SDLP, and maybe also the Alliance, might be treated equally and get equal time in debates and the same number of questions in Question Time; although I'm pretty sure that no one really knows, the Assembly wasn't really designed to have an opposition and I'm pretty sure that they don't have any rules about there being one of significant size, like there is now.

There will be an official Opposition, per the Assembly and Executive Reform (Assembly Opposition) Act (Northern Ireland) 2016.

The Opposition can be formed by one or more qualifying parties in the Assembly. A qualifying party being one which has chosen not to hold a Ministerial office despite being entitled to do so under Assembly rules and has at least 8% of the members of the Assembly.
If one party chooses to form the Opposition then that party may nominate a Leader of the Non-Executive Party. Where the Opposition is formed by two or more qualifying parties - as will be the case now - then the nominating officer of the largest party must nominate a person to be the Leader of the Largest Non-Executive Party. The nominating office of the second largest party in this Opposition must nominate a person to be the Leader of the Second-Largest Non-Executive Party.

The Opposition is entitled to “enhanced speaking rights”; a minimum of 10 days per year set aside for Opposition business in the Assembly; the right to chair the Public Accounts Committee; representation on the Assembly’s Business Committee; and there's provision for something akin to Short Money for qualifying Opposition parties.
4  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Northern Ireland Assembly 2016 on: Today at 03:37:28 am
I'm hearing that UUP and SDLP won't sit with DUP because DUP backs the UK leaving the EU.


That's neither an official nor real reason for the decision. It's a non-factor.

It would also be politically misguided; the unionist community strongly supports Brexit (69% Leave, 18% Remain per the latest poll).
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Why doesn't Eurovision ever have "melodic indie post-punk scenecore" type music? on: May 17, 2016, 03:31:08 am
Btw, will they continue to take part as regulars now? I remember last year they said it was a one-time event for the 60th anniversary, but here they were this year again.

They'll require an invitation from the EBU and an invitation from the NTU.
The first is a near certainty, the second is probable - but may not be known for some time.
6  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Why doesn't Eurovision ever have "melodic indie post-punk scenecore" type music? on: May 16, 2016, 02:23:09 am
Australia were head and shoulders above the rest of the field (and would have won based on the previous voting system).
7  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Northern Ireland Assembly 2016 on: May 06, 2016, 09:24:27 am
PBP top the poll and take the 1st seat in Belfast West; their first ever seat in the Assembly.

Eamonn McCann could yet take a second seat for them in Foyle.
8  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Coalition forces fired on Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz on: April 30, 2016, 08:21:09 am
Quote from: The New York Times, 28 April 2016
In a heavily redacted report, which runs more than 3,000 pages, military investigators described a mission that went wrong from start to finish. Even after Doctors Without Borders informed American commanders that a gunship was attacking a hospital, the airstrike was not immediately called off because, it appears, the Americans could not confirm themselves that the hospital was actually free of Taliban.

Sixteen American military personnel, including a general officer, have been punished for their roles in the strike, said Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the new top officer of the military’s Central Command, who presented the results of the investigation during a Pentagon news conference.
The punishments for the attack will be “administrative actions” only, and none of those being disciplined will face criminal charges because the attack was determined to be unintentional

General Votel was clear on one point: The hospital was a protected facility that was at no time being used by active Taliban fighters, though some wounded insurgents had been treated there.

The failure to bring any criminal charges was “simply put, inexplicable,” said John Sifton, the Asia policy director of Human Rights Watch.


MSF Trauma Centre post-attack

Quote from: Médecins Sans Frontières, 29 April 2016
MSF acknowledges the U.S. military’s efforts to conduct an investigation into the incident.


However, MSF has said consistently that it cannot be satisfied solely with a military investigation into the Kunduz attack. MSF’s request for an independent and impartial investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission has so far gone unanswered.

“Today’s briefing amounts to an admission of an uncontrolled military operation in a densely populated urban area, during which U.S. forces failed to follow the basic laws of war,” said Meinie Nicolai, MSF President. “It is incomprehensible that, under the circumstances described by the U.S., the attack was not called off.”

The hospital was fully functioning at the time of the airstrikes. The U.S. investigation acknowledges that there were no armed combatants within — and no fire from — the hospital compound.

“The threshold that must be crossed for this deadly incident to amount to a grave breach of international humanitarian law is not whether it was intentional or not,” said Nicolai.

The administrative punishments announced by the U.S. today are out of proportion to the destruction of a protected medical facility, the deaths of 42 people, the wounding of dozens of others, and the total loss of vital medical services to hundreds of thousands of people. The lack of meaningful accountability sends a worrying signal to warring parties, and is unlikely to act as a deterrent against future violations of the rules of war.

At the same time, it has become clear that the victims and their families have neither the option to pursue legal action against the U.S. military, either in Afghanistan or in the US, nor to claim compensation for loss of life and livelihood.

9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: April 29, 2016, 02:55:07 am
Two notes of update here.

The counting for the Seanad elections is complete.

The 25th Seanad shall comprise:
Fianna Fáil14  (No change on 2011)
Fine Gael13(-5)
Sinn Féin  7(+4)
Labour  5(-4)
Green  1(+1)
Independents  9(+4)

11 Senators are appointable by the Taoiseach - whenever the Dáil gets around to approving one.

The result means that there will not be a governmental majority in the Seanad either - even with 11 appointments in the hands of the incoming Taoiseach.

It also means that observer will be particularly disappointed as Longford's favourite son, James Bannon, somehow failed to get enough support from his fellow politicians to get returned to Leinster House by the back door.


On the matter of putting an actual government in place - it seems that a deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will be agreed shortly.

The end result looks likely to be a Fine Gael-Independent government - that will rely on FF abstentions. The FG-FF agreement is expected to cover 3 budgets.

Some background on the FG-FF negotiations here: http://www.irishtimes.com/election-2016/forming-a-government-anatomy-of-a-deal-1.2627045

10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: latest Betfair odds on: April 26, 2016, 10:59:41 am
Not sure if this is what Mr. Morden uses, or if it may be helpful to him in reducing his calculation work, but https://primary.guide/ appears to generate the same data.
11  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Do you live in a bubble? on: April 25, 2016, 01:26:28 pm
12  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Best One-Hit Wonders? on: April 25, 2016, 01:06:26 pm
Take On Me certainly comes to mind.

I've always been partial to The Sun Always Shines on TV. (Though re-watching the video I hadn't recalled the Game of Thrones-esque wall of faces before.)
13  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Best One-Hit Wonders? on: April 25, 2016, 01:00:30 pm
Video Killed the Radio Star, The Buggles

There She Goes, The La's

I Love You Always Forever, Donna Lewis

(I'd Go The) Whole Wide World, Wreckless Eric

Brimful of Asha, Cornershop (Norman Cook Mix)

Perfect, Fairground Attraction

Steal My Sunshine, Len

74-75, The Connells

Your Town, White Town

Canon in D, Johann Pachelbel
14  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: "Oriental Republic of Uruguay" and other weird official state names on: April 21, 2016, 03:45:17 pm
United Provinces of the River Plate
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Contested GOP Convention is near-certain now. Who wins? on: April 06, 2016, 01:58:23 am
What a difference a day makes...
16  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Pre-Wisconsin Poll: Who will be the Republican nominee? on: April 04, 2016, 03:03:58 am
Judging by my last poll, it looks like Atlas guestimates that Trump will fall short of a delegate majority - just 14% think Trump will be elected on the 1st ballot.

Who then does Atlas currently think will be the Republican nominee?
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Project Trump's RNC Delegate Total on: April 02, 2016, 03:45:55 am
So you mean the number of delegates who actually vote for him on the first ballot, which would include both the pledged delegates he wins in the primaries, and the unpledged delegates who decide to back him on the first ballot?

18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Project Trump's RNC Delegate Total on: April 02, 2016, 03:42:10 am
As of today, what is your projection for Trump's delegate total?
19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish Parliament election - 2016 on: April 02, 2016, 02:50:12 am
So Kezia Dugdale just stated that she's in a relationship with a woman, which makes Labour the fourth major party in Scotland to currently have an LGBT leader (others being the Tories' Ruth Davidson, the Greens' Patrick Harvie and UKIP's David Coburn).

Major Party? How many elected representatives does UKIP have in Scotland?
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Who hates whom more? on: March 31, 2016, 09:55:46 am
What does Dubya's favourability rating now (or in 2015) prove?  What an odd thing to add.  His nation wide polling was at 20% at one time.

wait wait wait....are we asking who is more hated NOW?  That's a silly question, of course it would be Obama.  If the question is who hated who more during their Presidency (which is a much better question and one I think most of us thought we were answering) then the answer, at least to me, is lefties hating Dubya.

sportydude may clarify - but yes, I interpreted the question in the title, and as stated above the poll, to most plainly refer to things as they are now.

I don't contend that the data necessarily tells us much of anything - but I was just curious enough to look for some numbers.

21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Who hates whom more? on: March 31, 2016, 04:27:34 am
The last favourability for George W Bush I can find, that includes a brake down by Conservative-Moderate-Liberal support, is the CNN/ORC poll conducted 29-31 May 2015. That put liberals' favourability-unfavourability of Bush at 28-68.

The latest CNN/ORC poll on job approval of Obama was conducted from 17-20 March. That put conservatives' approval-disapproval of Obama at 23-76.
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: March 22, 2016, 06:00:41 am
so a couple of questions re: the upcoming Seanad elections.

Does Enda still get to appoint his 11 senators if there's no permanent Taoiseach is chosen by then?

No, I shouldn't think so.

Quote from: Bunreacht na hÉireann, Article 18.3
The nominated members of Seanad Éireann shall be nominated, with their prior consent, by the Taoiseach who is appointed next after the reassembly of Dáil Éireann following the dissolution thereof which occasions the nomination of the said members.


Enda Kenny having not yet been re-appointed would not appear to have the authority to make such appointments until the Dáil re-elects him as Taoiseach, if it chooses to do so.

The question hasn't arisen before.

This is the third time we've had an acting Taoiseach.

First was Haughey from 29 June to 12 July 1989.
Second was Reynolds from 14 Dec 1992 to 12 Jan 1993.

In 89, the Dáil took 4 sittings to elect a Taoiseach, and conducted essentially no other business during those sittings than to debate that matter.

In 92/93, the Dáil took 6 sittings to elect a Taoiseach, and did conduct some substantive legislative business during those sittings including a Finance Bill. The acting Government also made its nomination to the European Commission during that period.

In both cases the Seanad elections occurred after the Dáil had elected a Taoiseach - so the question didn't arise.

Today, the 32nd Dáil meets for the second time - but the nomination of a Taoiseach is not on the agenda.

Quote from: Dáil Éireann, Order of Business, 22 March
10.30 a.m.

Statements on European Council Meetings (to conclude after 1 hour 45 minutes if not previously concluded)

12.15 p.m.

Statements on the Council of Agriculture Ministers Meeting (to conclude after 2 hours if not previously concluded)
 (Department of Agriculture and the Marine)

2.15 p.m.

Statements on Housing and Homelessness (to conclude after 4 hours if not previously concluded)
 (Department of Environment, Community and Local Government)

6.15 p.m.

Dáil Adjourns (approx)


On a point of quite trivial interest, I notice on the proposed Private Members Business of the Order of Business, that the Independents4Change have put down a serious of motions with the support of Thomas Pringle (i-Donegal) and Catherine Connolly (i-Galway West). None of the other parties have, that I have seen, put down any motions which gained the support of any independents or non-party members.

It seems that our old friend, Senator Power is hoping that the graduates of Trinity College will return her to her lofty perch, any chance of success?

I've yet to really look at the Seanad nominations; hopefully will do in the coming week or two.
23  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ireland General Discussion on: March 21, 2016, 07:10:32 am
Quote from: The Irish Times
Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae remains in hospital after an incident in which he was attacked by a cow at his farm near Kilgarvan in Co Kerry on Sunday evening.

His brother Danny, who secured a Dáil seat in last month’s elections, said on Monday morning that Michael’s injuries are not serious.

“He hasn’t been released, but he is walking around. His head is fine,” Danny said.

Michael had been “tossed around by a cow” who was after calving in the farm shed.

Family members came to the rescue and following an assessment by a GP, he was taken to Cork University Hospital where tests were carried out.

He had been injured in a number of places.

24  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of St Patricks day on: March 18, 2016, 10:23:03 am
We ought to do the appropriate thing and close down all of our bars in its observance, as is the tradition in Ireland.

Is this supposed to be funny?

25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: March 04, 2016, 05:05:52 am
More notes on inter and intra-party discussions:

Quote from: Irish Independent
Mr Kenny is due to meet Shane Ross and John Halligan of the Independent Alliance this morning to discuss coalition options.
The meeting in Leinster House will be the first time the Taosieach has reached out to other groups since the General Election last weekend.


Ministerial sources insist Mr Kenny's future as leader remains in doubt, particularly if he secures fewer votes than Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in next week's ballot for Taoiseach.
Speculation remains rife on the prospect of Mr Kenny being succeeded by Health Minister Leo Varadkar or Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.


Quote from: Irish Examiner
Enda Kenny’s parliamentary party held a marathon six-hour meeting at Leinster House yesterday, where TDs thrashed out its future and its disastrous election campaign.

Mr Kenny told his new and returned TDs that he would open talks with other parties today in a bid to drum up support to form a government. He insisted that he would not enter into any arrangement with others that did not guarantee a “stable government”.


Carlow-Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan ... revealed that his supporters had told him at last week’s election count they would resign from Fine Gael if it went into power with Fianna Fáil.


Quote from: Irish Independent
Several [FG] TDs insisted that there can be no change in the water charge regime – some of them said they had “suffered enough” in the election and the views of the almost 60pc who had paid the charges must be taken into account.

Mr Kenny also told the meeting he will set up a parliamentary party committee which will be tasked with engaging with other political parties and Independents about forming a government.


Quote from: Irish Times
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has started a determined bid to wrest power from Fine Gael.

His initial target is to get more support than Enda Kenny in the vote for Taoiseach next Thursday.


Mr Martin has contacted the Independent Alliance’s Shane Ross to seek a meeting with the six TDs in the grouping and has also opened lines of communication with the Social Democrats and the Green Party.


At a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party yesterday, Mr Martin is understood to have told his TDs that there are no red-line issues for the party in negotiations with other parties and groups about the formation of government.

He said key negotiation positions were reforming the Dáil, tackling homelessness and dealing with the problems arising from Irish Water.


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