Gove, Cameron and the old four year Switcheroo…

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Here’s a classic case of where the polling mechanism breaks down. The question presumes there’s a meaningful difference in interest between Michael Gove and his boss, the British Prime Minister. I’m not convinced there is any such difference. I saw the Indy going to town on the salary loss, but to be frank, career progression more…

Intercept evidence could convict terrorists, says former SoS Murphy

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As a  curtain raiser to Lady Justice Heather Hallett’s  review of OTRs’  “ administrative scheme” due out tomorrow (Thursday), the mild-mannered former Labour secretary of state Paul Murphy has told the separate  inquiry into the affair by the Commons Northern Ireland Select Committee that more convictions might have been obtained if the rules of evidence more…

Why is Irish nationalism neutral on Scottish independence?

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Martin Mansergh is a splendid relic of an old Anglo-Irish tradition, a Tipperary landlord, one of a very rare breed of Fianna Fail intellectuals, an adviser on the North to successive Fianna Fail Taoisigh, a minster who never quite fulfilled his promise possibly due to his background, a historian and son of Nicholas, one of more…

Different Drums and the Spirit of the Samba

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During the World Cup I was watching one of the Brazil games. When they were still contenders, mind. And I was well content, for a potentially decent game and a cold beer are hard to beat. A bit like Teenage Kicks, as the Undertones might have put it. Anyway, the Samba spirit was in full more…

The Twelfth: ‘it ain’t all burger vans and bouncy castles’

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On Saturday I attended one of the flagship Twelfth demonstrations in Markethill, County Armagh, at the invitation of Orangeman and Ulster Unionist mayor of Craigavon, Colin McCusker. The day was arranged through a friend of mine who comes from a Catholic background in North Belfast. Our intention was no greater than to enjoy a day more…

“That is not a state of affairs they would expect to find in a competently run country.”

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Riffing on the row over Garth Brooks’ non-concerts in Croke Park that has consumed local media attention, in the Irish Times John McManus has some pertinent points to make about the long-running saga of who controls the former Quinn Group companies – and the accompanying campaign of attacks and intimidation. In recent weeks one consortium, Quinn Business Retention more…

#Bonfires 2014

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As has been blogged on here already, for good and bad, bonfires have been attracting a lot of attention over the last few years. This appears to be, in part, due to combination of the ubiquity of social media and cameras. While a number of high profile news stories are giving a significantly negative impression of bonfires more…

12th July: A cautionary tale of the social media rumour mill

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Chris wrote a brilliant piece earlier in the week about Britishness and the many bonfires around the province that had posters of Anna Lo and Sinn Fein representatives on them ready to be burned. This form of deplorable sectarianism is not just corrosive to those who legitimately want to celebrate the 12th July but all more…

“Gay cake” case may prompt top level legal rethink

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The life story of Andrew Muir, the mayor of North Down is part of Northern Ireland’s long journey towards civilisation – including the fact that as an openly gay person he made it to mayor at all. It was his Bangor reception that sparked the Great Cake Discrimination Case. Even so, the case may not more…

Who stands for Britishness in Northern Ireland?

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I am a long-time admirer of the British. The British codified many of the sports we all enjoy (and I love sports). Nearly everyone in Ireland supports one British-based football team or other, and a culture of fair play has always defined a British attitude to sports. The British provide us with the richest of more…

@CharlieFlanagan appointed the new Foreign Affairs Minister #reshuffle

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Enda Kenny reshuffled his cabinet today in the aftermath of disappointing local and European election results in May. While these events generally go un-noticed in Northern Ireland, the appointments made particularly in the Department of Foreign Affairs will have an impact on our daily lives. So, just who is replacing Eamon Gilmore? Drum roll please……..Charlie more…

Where the big arguments for devolution are heading

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This post most of which I mainly wrote for an academic blog gives anyone interested a heads up on a more sophisticated theatre of devolution – Scotland –  assuming it votes No in the referendum. A couple of points to start with. First, taxation is the big theme. How much of its own revenue should more…

11th Night Bonfires, Trickledown & 2 Corinthians 6:17

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As all strands of political unionism and loyalist paramilitarism assembled in an east Belfast Orange Hall to sign a new PUL covenant yesterday, it is worth reminding ourselves of the pertinent facts. The political leadership of unionism, from the DUP First Minister, Peter Robinson, to the UDA and UVF-aligned political representatives and the anti-Agreement TUV more…