Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

More evidence that the Westminster village is waking up to the threat of Scottish independence

Thu 17 April 2014, 1:07pm

Tweet John McTernan is among the shrewdest of political strategists. As quoted by David McCann, he offers  “don’t panic” advice to fellow strategists. What’s missing here are reasons for Scots to vote No. The McTernan view isn’t cutting  it with leading commentators on the centre left and right. Martin Kettle in the Guardian The psychological impact in England, […] more »

A tale of two wars (well two divergent accounts of the same war)…

Thu 17 April 2014, 12:30pm

Tweet Two conflicting responses to the Secretary of State’s speech, first from Gerry Kelly… “Her comments on the past are deeply offensive to the hundreds of victims of state killings and loyalist collusion. Many of these killings were ordered from the very top of the British establishment during the Thatcher era. “Around 15,000 republicans were […] more »

Why the No side should be looking up in Scotland-by John McTernan #indyref

Wed 16 April 2014, 5:07pm

Tweet The most important three words in any campaign are not ‘Vote For Me’, but ‘Hold Your Nerve’. The independence campaign has reached what Sir Alex Ferguson used to call ‘squeaky-bum time’. The polls are closing – we are told. The No campaign needs to be positive – opine commentators. Scotland is so different, so […] more »

#Villiers, re-hashing Larkin and victim typologies

Wed 16 April 2014, 3:50pm

Tweet If nothing else, Theresa Villiers statement on power-sharing contains some odd language (see the first quote Mick has cited here).  The nuances in “…there are inherent weaknesses in a system in which it is very difficult to remove one’s rulers by voting and to choose a viable alternative…” actually jar with the mother-and-apple-pie follow-up […] more »

Trouble at NI21 mill…

Wed 16 April 2014, 9:25am

Tweet Having a good idea (NI21) is not the same as putting it into action… Trouble in Holywood and Clandeboye… Gerry Leddy, who had been involved with the party since its inception almost a year ago, said that he could not tell people to vote for its European candidate, Tina McKenzie, as he had “no […] more »

Villiers: What Stormont needs is the revitalising influence of an opposition…

Wed 16 April 2014, 7:30am

Tweet Another day in Northern Ireland, another Groundhog.. Theresa Villiers is make a speech today saying it is time to make progress on the past and on a future that could bring NI political life back to the cryogenically sealed democracy unit currently operating at Stormont.. “Political institutions the world over adapt and change. As […] more »

Jon Snow and Peter Hain appearing on 1 May, the opening day of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

Tue 15 April 2014, 10:39pm
CQAF 2014 programme sunflower

Tweet While there’s lots of great stuff going on in the 15th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival from 1-11 May, there are a couple of political events on the opening day that might interest some Slugger readers. Having heard Jon Snow speak before in Belfast, I can strongly recommend the opening event on Thursday 1 May […] more »

“it struck me that there was an air of inevitability about the whole thing…”

Tue 15 April 2014, 2:44pm

Tweet Alex Kane with some much needed perspective on the events at Elizabeth Windsor’s gaffe in, erm Windsor… …what we are now seeing in the changing nature of the relationship between the British/Irish governments and their collective political establishments is also inevitable. This is the story of two countries going out of their way to […] more »

‘Silver Liberties’, Sinn Féin and the Ciste

Tue 15 April 2014, 10:04am

Tweet One of the artistic injustices of the Troubles has been righted this week with very little fanfare indeed.   Down at the Ulster Museum, an artwork, entitled ‘Silver Liberties’, by Lancashire born artist, Conrad Atkinson, has been hung this week.  Back in 1978, it was the piece, created to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, […] more »

Could fracking actually be environmentally good for us after all?

Tue 15 April 2014, 9:43am

Tweet Could fracking be good for us? -Ben Webster in the Times yesterday (£) with an unexpected output from the IPCC… Shale gas can help the world to avoid dangerous climate change if it replaces coal in power stations, according to a United Nations report. Global emissions need to fall by at least 40 per […] more »

Come on BBC NI give us the bad news on our beaches…?

Tue 15 April 2014, 9:37am

Tweet So, here’s what the listeners to Radio 4 got this morning on the new Good Beach guide report, picking out Northern Ireland as a noteable weak point in the overall UK figures… .@mickfealty – @BBCr4today puts NI beach water quality stats in context wholly, sadly missing from @BBCNewsNI report pic.twitter.com/cW7nCFcSMR — Patrick Corrigan (@PatrickCorrigan) […] more »

Educational Underachievement-Part 1: Are Protestants getting left behind in education? The statistically based answer is an emphatic ‘No’

Mon 14 April 2014, 8:58pm

Tweet Since the publication of the third Peace Monitoring Report by Paul Nolan earlier this month, the issue of the educational performance of working class protestant boys has been centre stage. Yet the two inconvenient but still overarching statistics that should define the parameters of this discussion have largely been ignored: Firstly, that the actual […] more »

Cartoon – Mission accomplished

Mon 14 April 2014, 3:08pm
Martin McGuinness, caricature, Brian John Spencer

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“That’s the only way I can put,” he said “they sleep with the victims.”

Mon 14 April 2014, 12:43pm

Tweet I was struck by Michael D Higgins’ interview with the BBC’s Fergal Keane: He said he could not ask the families of victims to put the past behind them. Society could not afford to wipe out the memory of violence, he said. “I think that there is very significant work to do,” he said. […] more »

“Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”

Sun 13 April 2014, 5:21pm

Tweet [Once more into the breach then - Ed]  In yesterday’s Irish News, Patrick Murphy posited three theories to explain what he describes as “the latest dismantling of Irish political and cultural nationalism.”  That would be Martin McGuinness, et al, at Windsor Castle in white tie and tails, and the GAA deal with Sky.  From the […] more »

The route to better government is clear. Why don’t the parties take it?

Sun 13 April 2014, 12:46pm

Tweet Nuff history  – Ed.  Thanks to Alan and Chris Donnelly for presenting significant data on how Northern Ireland is faring. The third CRC Peace Monitoring Report by Dr Paul Nolan reads  authoritatively, quite depressingly and utterly unsurprisingly. At around the same time, some polls have been published which broadly reflect the results but with […] more »

What makes a good local Councillor?

Sun 13 April 2014, 12:40pm

Tweet Over the coming weeks hundreds of people will be seeking a job with an interview panel of thousands asking questions about their ability to deal with local problems, create jobs and run local services. But, this year will be a little bit different as local councils take on a lot more powers. Speaking about […] more »

Sinn Féin to the fore for the photo, to the rear of the movement

Sat 12 April 2014, 7:40pm

Tweet Sinn Féin, with the shamelessness we’ve become accustomed to from Establishment politicians, were to the fore in today’s ‘LáDearg’ parade in Belfast with several aspiring candidates behind a banner proclaiming the party’s support for an Irish Language Act in the north. Shameless because the several thousand protesters who paraded in colourful good form from […] more »

While Britain and Europe’s tectonic plates move, we argue about Orangemen and Ardoyne

Sat 12 April 2014, 3:37pm

Tweet [This is taken from Andy Pollak’s monthly blog www.2irelands2gether.com] What is the strategic issue causing senior people in the Irish Department of Foreign affairs to lose their sleep these nights? In the week that Michael D. Higgins paid the first ever, spectacularly successful state visit by an Irish President to Britain, it is the […] more »

Art of the Troubles at the Ulster Museum

Sat 12 April 2014, 3:12pm
Print

Tweet The Ulster Museum’s Art of the Troubles exhibition is now open and runs through the summer until 7 September. A variety of styles, “sides” and periods exhibited: sixty works from fifty artists. Reactions to atrocities, depictions of politics (a particularly grim triptych by Joseph McWilliams of Sammy Wilson, Ian Paisley Snr and Peter Robinson) […] more »

Lissadell, always romantic. But the jinx lingers

Sat 12 April 2014, 2:34pm

Tweet It is surely the quintessential Irish story of romance, divided family loyalties,  declining wealth and fierce litigation. Over Lissadell  it has extended  through the painful transition from   the Anglo-Irish  to the meritocratic blow-ins of today who so often try to ape the  style of the ould dacency.  And still struggle continues, with the successors every bit […] more »

After the Visit, the greater epiphany?

Sat 12 April 2014, 12:28am

Tweet What we saw in Windsor Castle this week was a delayed act of official reconciliation that should have taken place fifty years ago but was held up by the Troubles. It was in reality the unfinished business of closing a sequence of turmoil that began over a century ago, whose shadow is finally lifting […] more »

Michael D and the Queen are just “what you need on occasions like this…”

Fri 11 April 2014, 5:02pm

Tweet There’s a ton of good comment on Nuzhound re Michael D’s state visit to the United Kingdom [makes a change from the single transferable column much in evidence at home this week - Ed]. It’s hard to know what to leave out of John Spain’s column for IrishCentral, so here goes: The plain people […] more »

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