In a Slugger O’ Toole post “Mr Ulster” (is he by any chance a former General Secretary of the Alliance Party who now has an office in the same building as “agent for change” Quintin Oliver?)….talks about an event hosted by Alliance Party MLA, Chris Lyttle to honour Martin Luther King?
Now obviously there is no connexion between Martin Luther King and the Alliance Party. Dr King preached against Gerrymandering. The Alliance Party preaches in favour of it.
But this is Norn Iron. A Decade of Centenaries and Half Centenaries. The Truth is a bit inconvenient.
Anyway Chris Lyttle was not hosting the event in his capacity as an Alliance MLA. He was speaking as a former intern with the Washington-Ireland programme….which scoops up promising young university students from Irish universities and sends them to intern on Capitol Hill.
Now if I was a young student…Id welcome the chance to party in the Beltway….ooops what I actually mean is work with influential Senators and Congressmen and learn about the American system and transfer my skills into a political career back home in Ireland.
There are success stories.
Leo Varadkar…Fine Gael Minister in Irish Government. (Boooo)
Sharon Haughey….last years SDLP Mayor of Armagh (hooray!!)
Chris Lyttle….Alliance MLA in East Belfast (Jesus wept!).
And others still to make their mark PUBLICLY. But learning politics in the offices of Irish-friendly American politicians might just produce a blandness where professional staffers have more in common with fellow interns than rank and file members of the same political party.
The rise and rise of the political staffer….professionals recruited and promoted by internships with lobbying companies. Are they actually pawns of lobbyists, seeking to have “their” people in the back corridors at Stormont?
We watch this on “The Thick of It” and say it couldnt happen here.
I fear that it does.I am not at ease witn the MetroTextual world of political insiders.
But the event hosted by Chris Lyttle also mentions “Politics Plus” Thats a new one on me. The website says that they promote pofessional politics but the website is curiously short on information on the personel involved.
Even more curiously the contact address is Room 105 in Stormont Buildings.
So who are they?
What is the secret of Room 105?