Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Profile for Comrade Stalin

General Secretary of the CPSU and proud Alliance Party supporter.

Latest comments from Comrade Stalin (see all)

Comrade Stalin has commented 4,749 times (106 in the last month).

  1. Comment on Villiers: What Stormont needs is the revitalising influence of an opposition…
    on 16 April 2014 at 8:51 am

    It sounds to me like we are heading back to a period of prolonged stalemate. The two large parties are acting like monopolists; unconcerned that their dominant position will be challenged, they act as they please.

    I don’t think tinkering with the system is going to change this. The electorate have to throw them out.

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  2. Comment on McGuinness trying to assure ordinary unionists that he recognises their Britishness?
    on 11 April 2014 at 12:23 am


    A lot of people here see it that way too.

    This is about electioneering and it is more about how badly it would have gone had SF boycotted the event. The Irish electorate want to see friendly relations with the UK and in order to be electable in Ireland you need to be playing to this gallery.

    But while this is the principal motivation I think for McGuinness it goes beyond this. As I’ve said before I don’t think Sinn Féin are bending over backwards to try to reach out to SF, but people like Marty know that they need to be seen to be doing something, and they’d see this as a chance to kill two birds with one stone.

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  3. Comment on Where does ‘Guns and Government’ leave victims of the Peace Process’s ‘self regulation’?
    on 9 April 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Catherine McCartney, her sisters and Robert’s fiancée are some of the bravest women anyone is ever likely to encounter. They took on and stood up to the IRA for what they did, spoke the plain truth, took incredible risks and paid a heavy price. Robert McCartney ultimately was a pawn in the process that led to permanent peace and IRA disarmament, but neither he nor his killers knew it at the time.

    I’m still working my way through Ed Moloney’s detailed, and quite heavy going, history of the IRA. It notes, during the stages of the process, that Adams and his faction used the IRA’s worst excesses against them. On several different occasions, unrestrained IRA murdering (for example civilians forced to drive car bombs to their targets with no time to escape before detonation) was supported by Adams and co, knowing that the public backlash would strengthen their hand in trying to get the IRA ceasefire instated, and then ultimately completely disarming the organization.

    Having watched the documentary I was struck by the demands coming from the IRA in the later stages of the Florida gun running exercise to increase the amount of guns coming in. The sloppiness of the “volunteer” sent to Florida to do this ultimately led to the whole thing being blown wide open. Did someone in the Adams faction order that the throughput be increased, knowing that this would increase the prospects of it being exposed ?

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  4. Comment on McGuinness WILL attend events during Pres Higgins state visit to GB
    on 7 April 2014 at 8:55 am

    Gopher – a person in public life cannot make statements to the press and then distance themselves from it by saying it is a purely personal opinion. And anyway, the idea that it was just a personal opinion is coming from you, not Robinson.


    regarding HMQ it’s interesting that having demanded that republicans show respect for the monarchy for years unionists are indifferent when they finally do it. I’m noticing that the goalposts have moved once again to demands that they use the term “Northern Ireland” in regular speech. Martin is of course playing his role in a choreography; the Queen has no opinion of herself and her speeches, and things that she says or does, will be vetted by senior government officials before anything happens. She is nothing more than a hereditary ceremonial civil servant – albeit a rather intelligent and insightful one, by all accounts.

    welfare – I do not personally understand the ins and outs of the welfare reform itself, I’m sorry to say. I’m reluctant to believe all the hype about it directly causing people’s deaths and hardship, though I do know of old friends who were long time Liberal Democrat members who terminated their membership over either this or other “reforms” made by the coalition so I’m sure there are aspects which are unpleasant. I believe all the NI MPs at Westminster voted against it at the last stage before it went to Royal Assent so, on face value, NI politicians are opposed to it and resisted it in the only place where this could be realistically accomplished.

    It is therefore not quite correct to say that the DUP or anyone else up at Stormont are pushing the welfare reform agenda. The problem is the existing informal arrangements between Stormont and Westminster that say that Stormont will automatically enact welfare changes in the UK in exchange for Westminster agreeing to underpin the costs of this over and above the block grant. The DUP are legitimately and correctly concerned that ending parity will lead to cuts in the block grant which are greater than the loss associated with enacting the reforms, which will in turn lead to wider fallout that we haven’t anticipated yet.

    I also think it is cowardice of any politician to demand public spending increases, or demand that proposed cuts be avoided, without explaining how this should be funded. SF are of course not proposing hikes to the regional rate, but are simply holding out their hand and asking for SF to cough up. And you know it’s all about elections because SF have merrily passed such legislative consent bills in the past.

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  5. Comment on FSB Euro Election Hustings #FSBNIHustings
    on 6 April 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Storming out of the debate just isn’t a good look.

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  6. Comment on McGuinness WILL attend events during Pres Higgins state visit to GB
    on 6 April 2014 at 6:27 pm

    “catholic unionists” in the UUP (and possibly the DUP ? who knows) must be facing a quandry at this stage.

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  7. Comment on McGuinness WILL attend events during Pres Higgins state visit to GB
    on 6 April 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Electoral stunt or not, Gopher, it remains the case that Robinson cannot provide leadership in the way that McGuinness can.

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  8. Comment on McGuinness WILL attend events during Pres Higgins state visit to GB
    on 6 April 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Peter was expressing a personal opinion,

    Peter is the First Minister of Northern Ireland and speaks to the press in that capacity. Stop making excuses.

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  9. Comment on McGuinness WILL attend events during Pres Higgins state visit to GB
    on 6 April 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Comrade it is an abuse of the Papacy to use it for electoral purposes.

    Load of ballicks.

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  10. Comment on McGuinness WILL attend events during Pres Higgins state visit to GB
    on 6 April 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Gopher, I don’t take SF’s claims of outreach very seriously. Either way it certainly was not the real reason for this – this is about SF making themselves acceptable to the RoI electorate.

    I repeat, once again, that I expect Peter Robinson to be able to lead from the front, and it is disappointing but not surprising that he cannot do so. British Prime Ministers have no problems meeting the Pope, so it strikes me as thoroughly un-British that the leader of our regional government cannot.

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