Archive | March, 2015

Rabbit Beer

Easter is Easter. Christianity ruins it for everyone

Everyone has their thing, their “if I was Prime Minister I would…”, mine is Easter Licensing. Except it’s more than that, it’s institutionalising one faith over that of another, enshrining the rights of the few to be of more importance than the rights of the rest. Yes, I have worked in the hospitality industry for more…

2015-03-31 10.20.13

Belfast the most congested city in the UK? (and 14th in the world)

Belfast congestion tends to disappear into insignificance when you are crawling for 10 miles along the M77 in Scotland at 8 o’clock on a Tuesday morning – it gives a whole new perspective on the hill section of the M2, and certainly on Victoria Street in the City Centre. Today’s Belfast Telegraph carries the results more…

UK Book Launch

So, what place a possible Brexit in Northern Ireland’s elections?

There was a time when Europe had a popular political champion in Northern Ireland. John Hume made a successful pitch for one of Northern Ireland’s three European seats in the first directly elected European Parliament, based as much on his personal commitment to developing NI PLC as to any sectarian pitch to nationalist voters. Since then more…

NI DLA & Troubles Deaths

DLA, mental health, and the legacy of the Troubles

The debate surrounding welfare reform in Northern Ireland has gradually seen opinion divide into one of two camps; those who decry any reform of the system as “ruthless Tory cuts”, and those on the other hand who see the swelling ranks of those claiming DLA as evidence that the feckless and workshy are gaining a more…

Plunging into a Dark Age of Neoliberalism

The choking effect of neoliberalism on the aspirations of people in Ireland, Europe and globally to live better lives, to end poverty, to achieve equality, to progress, is becoming ever more clear. There is an audible growth of discontent. Neither human well-being nor progress are being advanced by neoliberalism and its assumption that individual freedom more…

labour anti-immigrant mug

Traitorous Ed Miliband mugs Labour with xenophobic sell-out

Are you a traditional Labour –  international solidarity – sort? Ask yourself what’s better for the medium-to-long term health of the UK’s Labour party and the country at large. Is it a pathetic administration lead by anti-Blair rebound boyfriend Ed Miliband? Or a farcical but mercifully brief post-Cameron Tory fiasco led by Boris Johnson? Meanwhile, the more…

Meningitis B vaccine and the cost of life

The BBC reports today (here) that agreement has been reached between the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt (the one-time ‘Hulture’ Secretary, as James Naughtie nearly described him) and the suppliers of the Meningitis B vaccine. No exact date has been set for the introduction of the vaccine, though it will be added to the schedule of more…

Leanne Wood - Plaid Cymru leader - Radio 4 profile

Who is Leanne Wood?

When I posted the link to Radio 4’s Profile of Nigel Dodds last weekend, Nevin commented: I do know of Nigel Dodds but not of Leanne Wood : ) And as if by magic, the Plaid Cymru leader (whose party has a mere 3 MPs in the House of Commons) was the subject of this more…

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Irish Churches Peace Project Conference featuring Terry Waite – Questions and Reflections

The Irish Churches Peace Project (ICPP) held a major conference to mark the closing stages of its programme, 26-27 March at the Hilton in Templepatrick. The conference featured as keynote speakers former hostage Terry Waite, Rev Emmanuel Murangira of Rwanda, and Rev Dr Johnston McMaster of the Junction’s Ethical and Shared Remembering Project. Waite, reflecting more…

Basil McCrea addressing Slugger tweetup

Basil’s call to arms issued to a small room of cats (who may be reluctant to be herded) #tweetupni

At Thursday night’s Slugger O’Toole Tweet Up in the Hudson Bar, Basil McCrea took the opportunity to deliver a more elaborate speech than the informal remarks I’d expected. (Earlier in the evening Máirtín Ó Muilleoir also stopped by for some casual craic.) The NI21 leader has been unusually quiet for a protracted period, though answered more…

What the ‘Battle for Number 10’ Tells Us

Last night’s ‘Battle for Number 10’ TV event wasn’t a debate. Channel 4 and Sky News were at pains to tell us that in advance. It was a Q&A apparently – with some of the Qs delivered by Jeremy Paxman (in typical curmudgeon fashion) and others under-arm bowled by members of the public. Oh and more…