Job Cuts and the Civil Service

I just don’t know. Bumper Graham and I appear often on the Nolan Show together and, well, we rarely hit it off. But, this morning, I actually got him to agree with me. Perhaps a voluntary redundancy scheme for civil servants mightn’t be such a good idea. Anyway, what’s your view? listen to ‘ Job more…

Do we have a media capable of ‘capturing the conscience of a king’?

The play’s the thing Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.  Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2 I’ve been waiting for something to emerge from MediaLens on the Oborne resignation. They tend take a rather puritanical view of what’s ailing the corporate media, nevertheless, this passage in particular is well worth sharing I think… The deeper more…

Presbyterian Church stops short of endorsing but supports principle of “conscience” bill, calls for reasonable accommodation & debate

PCI logo

Yesterday, Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor was part of a delegation that met Paul Givan and others in the DUP to discuss the “Conscience Clause” Private Members Bill. Tonight the Presbyterian Church’s Council for Church in Society (the body within the denomination authorised to deliberate and speak on matters of public policy) more…

The ‘control’ of women

A recent post here by Belfast Barman got me thinking about just why men have a ‘need’ to control women, to be the ‘master’. To try to understand, we need to go far back in time. The lineage of Homo Sapiens is now clearly differentiated from the Neanderthals, with whom we once co-existed. The control more…

O’Loan calls Stormont House Agreement ” an insult” as Labour promises a Pat Finucane inquiry

Amnesty International are not alone in finding the resources allocated in the Stormont house Agreement inadequate for dealing with the past. At a meeting of RightsWatch  in Westminster last night,  the first Police Ombudsman  Baroness Nuala O’Loan  was scathing, describing the allocation of £150 million over 5 years to deal with all the issues of more…

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Ireland v UAE

After a great team performance to overhaul the West Indies in their opening game, earlier this morning Ireland faced fellow associates United Arab Emirates in a confident mood. Winning the toss, Ireland put UAE into bat. That confidence took a knock when UAE set a total of 278 for 9 from their 50 overs, with Shaiman Anwar hitting 106 more…

NI Obesity Epidemic: Media Shock Tactics

This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week and it seems timely to reflect on issues around obesity, media coverage and eating disorders as well. Northern Ireland is, apparently, in the grips of an “obesity epidemic“. We have a ten year obesity strategy, courtesy of Edwin Poots. The Public Health Agency launched a campaign last year to more…

Perhaps I Should Have Been Aborted…

My Body My Rights

To begin with, I wrote this article some time ago when the abortion debate seemed to be at a peak, when the conversation seemed to be led by men and women seemed to be considered little when discussing legislation. This Thursday I am to attend an Amnesty International briefing on “My Body My Rights: Barriers more…

“…the platform on which Syriza won the recent general election has been significantly reconstructed.”

EU flag

What now for “the Syriza experiment“?  The Irish Times reports that the Eurogroup of finance ministers have deemed the Greek government’s list of proposed reforms to be “sufficiently comprehensive” for a four-month extension of the Greek bailout programme which was due to expire on Saturday. In an official statement released after today’s conference call between more…

Welfare (to work)?

I spent Sunday morning in a coffee shop in Bangor being interviewed by Ciaran Tracey of BBC NI Spotlight about the Stormont version of the coalition government’s welfare reforms. The interview will form part of tonight’s Spotlight investigation (BBC1 NI at 10:40pm). So what’s my angle? Well, simply put, it’s this. The welfare reforms, as more…

Gerry Adams ‘tweets’ and that “streak of sentimentality that marks the totalitarian mind”?

Awright, I’m not really sure to do with this, except to say this oddly narcissistic video from The Journal has gone somewhat viral… In lieu of any coherent response from me, here’s Henry McDonald with his take on the general phenomenon… …like every other move Adams has made both inside and outside the republican movement, more…

Christians on the Left Stormont launch

Some weeks ago, Barton Creeth talked to me about Christians on the Left, the (relatively) new name (since 2013) for the Christian Socialist Movement, which was founded in 1960, tied to the Labour party in GB, and whose current director is Dr Andrew Flannagan, originally from Portadown.  Its Northern Ireland grouping was due to have more…

Rod LIddle’s howler on the under punching of Irish Cricket…

So, perhaps we should spare a thought for poor Rod Liddle. It shows what can happen [Erm, not you Brian! – Ed] when a former BBC producer loses the benefit of his hard working programme researchers. Here’s Rod writing on the eve of Ireland’s victory over the West Indies last week… Go back another three more…

#Soapbox: Why Ashers was right, but the conscience clause was wrong…

From reader AJ Fence I am pro gay marriage and pro cake. I think the conscience clause is a horrid little idea that would declare open season on discrimination against LGBT people and even religious people themselves. However, I do believe Ashers bakery should have the right to refuse to bake the cake in question. The more…

Sinn Féin Cllr Anne Brolly: “I thought the British Army had all gone home.”

The six-foot sculpture of supposed Celtic sea-god, Manannán Mac Lir, that was ‘stolen’ from Binevenagh Mountain, near Limavady, in County Londonderry, has been found – some 300 metres from its original location… [Good initial search, Batman! – Ed]. The sculpture was apparently discovered by local ramblers, who “advised members of A company 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment more…

The Social Media Canvass

Well they are all out of the traps as we go into March. If like me you follow a lot of politicians and activists your Facebook and Twitter news feeds have been swamped with pictures of lots of happy people taking selfies, delivering leaflets and telling us how the great people of this place love more…

You can’t mistake ideology – the way MPs talk, the way that they walk

UK Ideology

With the unprecedented closeness and unpredictability of the next general election, there has been a lot of speculation about which parties may be able to do business together in the event of coalition negotiations, following another hung parliament. The SNP have ruled out the possibility of doing a deal with the Conservatives, but what other more…