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Week in politics…

Here’s some links from the week in politics:

  • Tony Blair has spoken of his admiration for Ian Paisley — and how his hardline Protestant granny “loved” the future First Minister at the peak of his firebrand days (The Belfast Telegraph).
  • Reviewing Tony Blair’s memoirs, Dermott Nesbitt says it’s up to history to decide if the former PM was sincere (Belfast Telegraph). He added: “Overall I am reminded of the quote, attributed to Anonymous: “To succeed in public life, you have to be sincere. Once you can fake that, you have got it made.” It will be up to the historians to decide whether Tony Blair was sincere or not.
  • Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has admitted that he sometimes “distorted” the truth to prevent the Northern Ireland peace process from collapsing (UTV). DUP East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said: “When negotiating with Tony Blair our emphasis always lay on actions not words. We never accepted words because we knew how easily they had been ditched in the past.”
  • The UUP race hots up after rivals clash over GAA and gays (Belfast Telegraph). Despite appeals that the race should not become personal, Mr McCrea bitterly criticised his opponent over remarks that he had not, and has no intention of, attending GAA matches or Gay Pride marches.
  • Many more people are now open about their sexuality, meaning a great many more have friends, relatives and colleagues who are gay, according to David Gordon (The Belfast Telegraph). He adds: ‘And they all have votes — a commodity the Ulster Unionist Party has been shedding for many years.’
  • Over at her new blog (From the Front Line), Paula Bradshaw writes: ‘Whoever wins later this month will have to display leadership. However, it is equally if not more important that the rest of the party displays the integrity to unify under that leadership and behave as a disciplined, modern political party.’
  • THE UUP–Tory alliance spent almost twice as much on its failed general election campaign as any rival party, it has emerged (The News Letter). The UCUNF alliance – which both candidates for the Ulster Unionist leadership have pledged to scrap – spent £126,500.
  • Have I missed something over here in London or am I the only one to be struck by the absence of the smack of firm leadership in the DUP? asks Brian Walker at Slugger O’Toole. Fair Deal challenges him.
  • DUP culture minister Nelson McCausland has blamed the “sectarian intolerance of some republicans” after it emerged that policing the riots in north Belfast over the Twelfth cost more than £1 million (The News Letter).
  • agendaNi asked a number of floor-crossers and independents (from a Unionist persuasion) whether they considered resigning their seat and to explain their duty to their constituents.
  • Northern Ireland needs to look beyond the Troubles and address its “crippling level of social breakdown”, according to an independent think tank *(BBC). The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) says high levels of unemployment, family breakdown, mental illness and addiction need to be tackled.
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