One fifth of all (1/3 of SF) MLAs sitting right now are unelected…

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CUSHY NUMBERS: In the Assembly you can resign with no subsequent test before the electorate. No tug of war in the courts (as in the Donegal SW by election of 2010) which at least holds the possibility of massive electoral change. Is it going to change any time soon? Do Turkey’s vote for Christmas?

The Tampon Tax and how to effect positive change


TAMPON TAX: Now, I am the last person to be jumping to the defence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. But I have found myself in the most uncomfortable position following Wednesday’s Spending Review.

‘This community deserves better…Our young people deserve better.’

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COMMUNITY CONTROL: The brutal attack on a voluntary community worker in Bangor can be viewed as a blatant attempt by loyalist paramilitaries to assert their power and authority over a working-class community which reacted adversely to paramilitary attempts to lay claim to the area over the past nine months.

Four KPMG Belfast partners arrested in tax investigation…

Interesting developments in Belfast this afternoon (H/T Doug)… Disputes between the big accountancy companies and and tax authorities are common enough. But the decision by HM Revenue and Customs to visit the Belfast offices of KPMG on Wednesday and arrest four senior partners there for questioning on suspected tax evasion is a most unusual development more…

After a financial crisis government majorities shrink, parliaments fragment…


POLL SCRAMBLE: According to the latest Ipsos/MRBI poll for the Irish Times the main political peloton behind Fine Gael currently consists of independents, Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail. At the moment Fianna Fail’s only compensation here seems to be that their positions reverse somewhat when there is a sign of an election.

So after scuppering UC plans Osborne shrinks the NI budget anyway…

CSR cuts over 5 years

It has to be a given that David Cameron knew that the special fund he allowed OFMdFM to accumulate from service budgets elsewhere would, by and large, not be needed. Inviting local parties to put their ladder up against the wrong wall. And yet, despite some euphoric headlines (from the Mirror that Labour forced a U-Turn, more…

#Soapbox: Isn’t it time for us to care for our invisible loved ones?

Health and socal care trust

AXING CARE: SDLP Belfast City Councillor Tim Attwood argues that It is our moral and political obligation to show that people with learning disability and mental health issues do matter with particular focus on a number of closures set to affect his own constituency in west Belfast.

Osborne takes aim at the Opposition Parties.

Short Money

AUTUMN STATEMENT: You have seen the news with commentators and business journalists pouring over Tax Credit changes and cuts to the Bloc Grant, but one cut that really caught my eye was this little gem buried in the Autumn Statement on Page 76 which is benignly titled “Reducing the Cost of Politics”

How many civic receptions does it take to make an NI controversy?

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HOUSE OF O’NEILLS: How many civic receptions does it take to make an NI controversy? An SDLP motion is to go before Belfast City Council next week proposing the two teams are honoured at a groundbreaking City Hall event. However, Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers questioned the motives behind the proposal

Stakeknife: PSNI seek resources to conduct an investigation into 53 murders…

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UNCOVERING STAKEKNIFE: A new investigation could cost up to £12.5m over a five year period. Interestingly the Chief Constable in interview on Newsline this evening suggested that whilst the investigation would be looking allegations against Stakeknife, it would be looking all the murders associated with the IRA’s internal security unit.