Over the past month or so, I've been posting on Slugger O'Toole a series of "Catching up with ..." interviews with representatives from smaller political parties who are standing in this week's Assembly and/or local government elections.
The links below will take you to the individual posts which contain transcripts for those who like to read, and clips of video for anyone who prefers to watch and listen. While the candidates featured are standing in particular council areas or Assembly constituencies, bear in mind for many, their parties have candidates standing elsewhere too.
- Workers Party, John Lowry (standing in West Belfast)
- Green Party, Steven Agnew (North Down)
- Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), Jim Gorman (West Belfast) and Paul Little (North Belfast)
- Independent, Stephen Stewart (East Belfast)
- Socialist Party, Paddy Meehan (South Belfast)
- éirígí, John McCusker (West Belfast)
- PUP, Brian Ervine (East Belfast)
- Independent, Dawn Purvis (East Belfast)
The idea was to explore different political perspectives which tend to be less frequently voiced in the local media, pointing out that the big parties aren't the only ones with something to say. With voter apathy reportedly on the increase again, maybe bored voters will find something of interest in the hotch potch of groups.
It's been a fascinating process - and many thanks to all the candidates who participated. I'd like to say that if there had been more time, I'd have talked to more people. Certainly there are other fascinating candidates out there - in particular some of the independents - but frankly energy didn't permit!
Incidentally, the most viewed video from the series is one of the clips with éirígí ... though even that is eclipsed by Granny Turismo scooting around the Cathedral Quarter on their oversized shopping trolleys!
For anyone in East Belfast, by virtue of posting a photo of one of Roy Hobson's posters and asking why it was so hard to find out anything about this independent candidate for Victoria Ward, Roy replied and gave an overview of his policies in the comments underneath the post. IT also turns out that there are issues with the imprint (election agent and publisher details) on his posters that he had to overcome with sticky labels on the reverse.
Lastly, as well as the Assembly and local government elections on Thursday, there's also the matter of the referendum on voting reform. I caught up with Eddie Izzard who was in Belfast (briefly) on Sunday evening to support the Yes2AV campaign.