Gay cake row: best before 27th February

The infamous gay cake row now has a date for the court case. The legal case between the tax payer funded Quango, the Equality Commission, and Ashers Bakery is set for 26th and 27th February. The charity lobby group the Christian Institute is supporting Ashers and is to hold fundraising events in Belfast, Coleraine, Newry more…

General Election 2015 – the bookmaker’s perspective

Marginal Forecast

This week I attended the talk given by Peter Kellner, President of YouGov.  It was fascinating to hear one of the leading lights of the political polling community explain his thoughts and opinions on the coming election, where issues such as the rise of the SNP and UKIP has made this a uniquely difficult election more…

Vegetarianism Stalinism Part 3: Natalie Bennett and Thought Crimes

Mick noted the GB Green Party leader Natalie Bennett’s interview with Andrew Neil last week below. Much of the attention was focused on the Basic Income as Mick has noted. Also interesting was Ms. Bennett’s idea of replacing the Armed Forces with a Civil Defence Force whilst at the same time turning the British Defence more…

Slugger approach to political debates lauded in The Irish Times

Over the past few months Slugger’s attention has been looking towards the South. At the moment there are some really interesting policy debates going on in Dublin and there is (in my opinion) a radical shift in the political dynamic happening. It has always been my view that our unique approach can really add to more…

Bring me the head of John the Baptist! NI Opera’s Salome: a collision of religion and sex … in Belfast

Giselle Allen as Salome

Oliver Mears rejects the notion that opera has to seen as elitist, incomprehensible and alienating. NI Opera’s artistic director explained to me that the four-year old company choose “the most dramatic” works to perform to challenge people’s preconceptions and prejudices, and always sing in English. listen to ‘Oliver Mears from @NIOpera talking about #SalomeBelfast coming more…

An Insight into the Belfast Arts Scene at the 4 Corners Festival

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The 4 Corners Festival opened up some insights into the Belfast arts scene this morning at a prayer breakfast at Willowfield parish church in East Belfast. Five speakers and performers shared what’s happening in their corners of the city in an aim to inform, inspire and set the scene for the rest of the festival. more…

A deferred educational revolution prefered to evolution…

Ah, the forces of conservatism are everywhere! It has been revealed by the biggest show in the country that no fewer than eleven primary schools have received warnings for tutoring their pupils for the proliferant 11+ exams… Maggie Taggart in yesterday’s Newsline interviewed the head of one Primary school head who explained that the schools more…

4 Corners Festival Opens with Art Exhibition

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The annual 4 Corners Festival got under way tonight with the launch of an art exhibition, ‘20 Artists: Religion and Spirituality’ at the Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts in North Belfast. The exhibition is curated by Bronagh Lawson and features works dealing with contemporary spirituality. (Image: Bronagh Lawson with Jonathan Abernethy-Barkley, assistant minister at more…

The Flag Dispute – Anatomy of a Protest seminar – what, who, where, how and why? +audio +video

The Flag Dispute - Anatomy of a Protest report

The researchers from QUB’s Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice behind The Flag Dispute: Anatomy of a Protest report [PDF] held a seminar in Queen’s University this morning. [Gladys Ganiel blogged in detail about the report when it was published in December.] Two of the six researchers behind the report introduced more…

Change is coming and all parties in the South know it

All parties in the south are now in election mode. Selection conventions are beginning to take place across the state. There is a scramble particularly by independents to tap into the mood for change and to benefit from the disillusionment of the public with the establishment parties. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are grappling with more…

New York Times: 36 hours in Belfast

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The New York Times have created a rather snazzy travel video of Belfast. It makes Belfast look REALLY good. I would want to visit and I live in Belfast. I know we complain a lot, and God knows we have a lot to complain about. But sometimes it takes outsiders to show us what we have. The more…

Donaldson in review

It is a pity that coverage of the Donaldson review has focussed on his comments on the number of hospitals in Northern Ireland relative to its population.  It is true that he remarks on this, but his report is a lot broader than considering whether skills are being spread too thinly across too many hospitals more…

Why Sinn Fein need to show that it’s local decision makers who matter

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Abstentionism….If there is ever a topic that sets tongues wagging it’s the age old debate about whether Sinn Fein will ever take their seats at Westminster. This obsession is set more so amongst commentators who have for years predicted that Sinn Fein are close to giving up their abstentionist policy when it comes to Westminster. more…