Ireland’s Media War of 1914: the Bachelors Walk lessons

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Basil Fawlty was wrong: the message this year is Do Mention The War.  Just remember that there are two wars to mention: a century ago, the Great War broke out in Europe, but at the same time (to my mind) Ireland’s war of independence was temporarily postponed. Irish media outlets – then as now – were a crucial political thermometer, more…

US Congressional staffers receive a nine day ban from Wikipedia…

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Just across the street from the imposing US Congress building is home to 9000 staffers servicing federal democracy in the US. Some of them have been very naughty (or very funny, depending on your political opinion) indeed… Most members and staffers of the US House of Representatives won’t be able to edit pages on Wikipedia more…

Lord Ashcroft: The Tories need to show that it matters who wins.

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As we approach the general election next May, Slugger will be hosting a series of articles looking at the chances of each of the main parties next year. Writing for us on the Conservatives is the former Deputy Chairman and pollster, Lord Ashcroft. Since I stepped down as the Conservatives’ Deputy Chairman in 2010 my more…

Nelson McCausland misled Assembly over a meeting which had no apparent or measurable effect…

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Getting accused of ‘misleading the Assembly’ is problematic for any minister. So it is for Nelson McCausland in the majority report of his department’s oversight committee. The minority report (composed entirely of MLAs of his own party) takes his view that he had merely ‘inadvertently misinformed’ them. The committee chair, Sinn Fein’s Alex Maskey laid more…

EU statement on abstention from #UNHRC #Gaza vote

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Even with no immediate end in sight to the violent Israeli assault on Gaza, one dimension of the post-ceasefire landscape is already clear. Despite the global connectivity offered by social media and the public platitudes of political ‘leaders’ it is clear (and has been for a very long time) that the international diplomatic architecture is more…

Belfast’s Burning – VICE News reports from Lanark Way

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An outsider’s view of eleventh night bonfires from VICE News. Jake Hanrahan based himself at the Lanark Way bonfire, interviewing those building the dizzyingly high tower of pallets as well as those who came along to the structure burn. Near the end of the ten minute video report [8:50] one lad seems to surprise the more…

“We have a politics that treats people almost as infants to be sold policies rather than actively engaged…”

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Every year, the MacGill Summer School gives us under exercised political anoraks a moment to resolutely focus on Irish public affairs. Last night the subject was trust between the governors and the governed, a title none of the three speakers were particularly comfortable with. And it invoked some biting, cynical wit on Twitter… Don't miss more…

What Northern Ireland might learn from Rory McIlroy… (ie, sidestepping vanity, becoming the thing you want to be…)

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There’s an odd typo in one of the few press releases to make it through Sinn Fein’s unofficial (and largely unreported embargo on letting any substantial work past through its hands at OFMdFM). In only its second effort of the First and deputy First Minster talk about McIlroy’s “rich vain of form.” Maybe it’s because more…

Theresa in the Wonderland of the Hallett review

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The plainly rushed Hallett Review and the British government response to it raise as many questions as answers. They expose not a carefully planned discreet operation but a terribly improvised muddle in which the  left hand ( the  PSNI)  did not know the full de facto amnesty effect of what the right hand ( the more…

Ramadan in Belfast

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It’s a muggy Saturday evening in south Belfast and the summer sun, covered by dense cloud, is just setting. Out in front of Shaftesbury Leisure Centre, just off the lower Ormeau Road, children are running in circles around their parents squealing joyfully. Approaching the centre, women wearing pink, red and yellow hijabs push prams past more…

The downing of MH 17 shifts spotlight back to Ukraine

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The downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine has been one of the major events of last week. Most of the fingers of blame have been pointed at the pro-Russian separatists who have previously shot down Ukrainian military aircraft with sophisticated Russian surface to air missiles (though both sides have access to such weaponry). more…

Derrylin to host hunger strike commemoration

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The 2014 National Hunger Strike Commemoration has been announced to be in Derrylin Co. Fermanagh this year complete with buses to the event. Diane Woods the niece of local IRA murder victims Thomas and Emily Bullock told the Belfast Telegraph she felt sick at the prospect. From the Belfast Telegraph: A gang of up to more…

Israel’s Ambassador to Ireland big on rhetoric but not facts

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Earlier this week, Israel’s Ambassador to Ireland, Boaz Modai, penned a particularly audacious letter in the Irish Times. His narrative is almost entirely designed to misleading the public through the selective manipulation of information and half truths to obscure Israel’s crimes. Modai claims that “Hamas began its present rocket offensive against Israel on June 12th”, more…

Israel/Palestine and the Irish perspective

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The people of Ireland are hugely sympathetic to the people of Palestine! There you go my bid of understatement of the year is well and truly lodged. Like most people, I have watched incredible and horrific scenes of Palestinian people losing their homes, jobs and relatives as they face a pounding from one of the more…

Are we slowly waking up to the pressing need to deal with child sexual abuse?

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Something interesting is happening in the territory of child sexual abuse. The arrests over the last few days indicate a few rather disturbing patterns… Police forces across the country have arrested 660 suspected paedophiles including doctors, teachers and former police officers in the biggest operation for more than ten years targeting online child abusers. A more…