IF a picture is worth a thousand words, then surely the same can be said of a Venn diagram?
That was the thinking behind a politics project launched by The Detail six months ago.
It was a new Twitter account called: @StormontCircles
The idea was to use Venn diagrams to make points about politics, whether that be analysing events, busting-myths or challenging political policies.
By distilling complex issues into simple images, we wanted to make meaningful observations at a glance: political commentary for the digital age.
Here, we review some of the most popular Venns from the first six months of the project, from September 2014 to February 2015, with explanations of the context at the time of their publication.THE PEACE PROCESS
When @StormontCircles was launched, political debate around the Northern Ireland Assembly was dominated by rows over budgets and policies. But was the real logjam the inability of unionist and nationalist politicians to work together?
A deeper crisis existed in the peace process, fuelled by poor relations between parties at Stormont, poor oversight by the UK government, plus the Conservative Party’s courting of the DUP:
Debates over Stormont’s problems focused on financial matters, but was this ignoring a wider crisis? Had we lost focus?POLITICAL NEGOTIATIONS
When the British and Irish governments launched negotiations to prevent a collapse of the Assembly, public confidence in the talks was rock bottom:
As the political negotiations carried on into the Christmas period, hopes were not high:
But Prime Minister David Cameron and Taoiseach Enda Kenny promised some seasonal cheer:STORMONT GOES TO THE MOVIES:
Mr Cameron and Mr Kenny left the talks without a deal. It was also the day that the new Hobbit movie was released:
Public cynicism grew. And again, in the wider world, the talk was of movies and the promise of a new Star Wars film:
When a political deal was eventually announced, it emerged that rather than getting new money, Stormont had merely secured greater borrowing powers:SOCIAL ISSUES
Politics impacts on wider society and the plight of victims of the Troubles needed to be highlighted:
Racist and homophobic attacks hit the headlines. @StormontCircles produced a Venn diagram on homophobia following attacks on a gay man who was mourning the death of his husband:
On the reform of the welfare system, there were questions over a new Stormont safety net that promised to protect the most vulnerable from cuts:THE POLITICAL PARTIES
With the Sinn Féin President now based in Dublin, unionists complained that Gerry Adams was too often leaning in to influence events at Stormont:
The continuing battle between the DUP and Sinn Féin was overshadowing other important work:
But when tensions emerged inside the ranks of the DUP – after the party leader Peter Robinson was challenged by some of his senior colleagues – that Venn diagram had to be amended:
As the party conference season started, internal tensions emerged in the SDLP over its efforts to position itself as a critic of government policy, while also being a member of the government:
The Ulster Unionist Party declared it opposed the old ‘binary politics’ of `orange Vs green’, but then promptly called for an election pact with the DUP to win Westminster seats from nationalists:
And while the DUP declared its desire for a Northern Ireland for everyone, it complicated this message by opposing issues important to some sections of society, including Irish language legislation and marriage rights for same sex couples:
We’ll keep the Venns coming, as politics here continues to go round in circles.
Follow the Stormont Circles account today by going to Twitter @StormontCircles