Monday, 10 July 2017

The Green Party's judicial review

Ciaran McClean of the Green Party is taking the United Kingdom government to court because of the agreement between the Conservative and Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party.  That agreement will bring £1.5 billion to Northern Ireland but the Green Party is clearly unhappy and Caroline Lucas MP, the leader of the Green Party in England and Wales was particularly virulent in her attacks on the DUP.

Ciaran was the Green Party candidate in West Tyrone in the Assembly election in March 2017, when he polled just 412 first-preference votes.  He also stood in the Westminster election in June 2017 and polled 427 votes, which was just 1% of the votes cast.

At the May 2016 Assembly election he received 458 first preference votes.

His first Westminster outing for the Green Party was in May 2015 when he managed to get 780 votes.

In December 2014, when he announced he would stand for the Green Party for Westminster in 2015, the Ulster Herald (18 December) reported that the Sixmilecross man had 'previously stood without success in Assembly and local government polls.'  So what was his political record before that?

Ciaran Mcclean was a candidate in West Tyrone for the 2010 general election but there are contradictory accounts of whether he stood as an independent or for the Green Party.
The BBC website (21 April 2010) stated: 'Independent candidate Ciaran McClean stood for the Democratic Left in the 1996 election for the Northern Ireland Forum in Upper Bann,  The Democratic Left merged with the Irish Labour Party in 1999.  Mr McClean is active in campaigns against the proliferation of quarries around the mid-Tyrone area.'

However the Belfast Telegraph (3 May 2010) reported: ''Well-known environmental and community activist Ciaran McClean will represent the Green Party, having previously fought elections as a socialist candidate.'

The BBC reference is to the fact that he had stood for the Democratic Left in 1996, in an election where he received just 36 votes!  The Democratic Left was formed in 1992 from the Workers Party after revelations about the ongoing role of the Official IRA but it had little success in Northern Ireland and dissolved in 1999.

That association with the Democratic Left is not altogether surprising since Ciaran is a son of Paddy Joe McClean, who stood for election for the Workers Party back in the 1980s. [Ulster Herald 21 May 2014]

The Green Party in an interesting party and one deserving of more study.  It certainly came as a surprise to many people when Queen's University lecturer Dr Peter Doran, a member of the Green Party for 20 years, jumped ship and joined Sinn Fein.  That led to questions about the murder of Edgar Graham and Doran refused to condemn the murder.  So if he couldn't condemn the murder when he was in Sinn Fein, did he ever condemn the murder of the Queen's lecturer?

Adam McGibbon is another prominent figure in the Green Party but one who has made the journey from Belfast across to England, where he was campaign manager for Caroline Lucas in the 2015 general election.  He was also campaign manager for Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley to become joint-leaders of the Green Party.

McGibbon is now a significant figure in the party and describes his politics as 'Red-Green', a combination of Green and Left-wing beliefs.

So back to Ciaran McClean and his judicial review of the Conservative-DUP arrangement.

Perhaps, just as the Conservative DUP arrangement brought a lot of media focus on the DUP, we may see a similar focus now on the Green Party and their views ... or maybe not!


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  2. Nelson - EONI are pretty authoritative and list Ciaran as an Independent in 2010.

    Adam McGibbon has Green politics - that's not a shock. Peter Doran joined SF. And Ciaran has a long track record of caring about environmental issues and switched party to the Greens many years ago. (Switching party quite common in NI politics if you look at the DUP leadership and some of its esteemed long time ministers and MPs!) I'm not sure what I've really learnt about the Greens from this focus? Connecting the dots, I'm left with a question mark ...

    1. Alan, thank you for pointing out the EONI source, something I should have checked. I will amend the post accordingly but there was uncertainty in the media at the time and I wonder how that arose.

      Peter Doran moved from the Green Party to Sinn Fein, as I stated in my post, and that in itself is interesting. As you rightly point out there are many examples of unionists moving from one unionist party to another but the policy differences between the main unionist parties are often small.

      As regards Alan McGibbon,his politics are Green but they are also Red as well, something he has stated himself.

      You ask what you have learned and the answer is probably nothing but then you are extremely well-informed about Ulster politics. That is not true for everyone and I have encountered many people who have little idea about the nature of the Green Party.

      My intention was not to provide an analysis of the Green Party, that may be something for another day.

  3. Having read this half-baked missive, I find myself wondering what on Earth it was for?

    I'd welcome a greater media focus on my party. For too long, they've been ignored in favour of juicier, more salacious fodder like UKIP.

    Unlike DUP, Greens have nothing to hide.


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