Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Welcome back?

IN media circles there was much popping of corks, high fives across newsrooms and celebrations akin to the ending of a long war.

The reason for their success? The election of Mr Jim Allister to the Assembly! It does not matter to the media that Mr Allister’s party was not even close elsewhere in the Assembly elections. It does not matter that Mr Allister was not elected on a wave of popular dissent against the DUP.

What does matter is that they no longer feel awkward about inviting Mr Allister to speak about everything or anything he objected to when he held no democratic mandate.

That of course begs the question as to whether the exposure of Mr Allister in the media in the months leading up to the poll helped or hindered him in the poll. Would another party – let’s say the Green Party, the Worker’s Party or UKIP – have benefitted from similar pre-purdah exposure?

But, Mr Allister now stands as an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly. The media were already hanging on his every utterance as the election of the speaker and his deputies got underway.

As a piece of political theatre it was engrossing, but theatre it was. It added nothing to our understanding of the future path of the individuals, parties or the assembly itself. It did, perhaps, signal to other existing and future MLAs that shouting loudest and stirring an already cooked pot gets the most coverage if not the most progress.

1 comment:

thedissenter said...

Maybe they are just glad they have someone outside cosy consensus who will make theor job interesting, given that the game-changer sunk without trace.