Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Profile for Kevin Barry

My life's a rollercoaster ride and ages me horribly.

Latest comments from Kevin Barry (see all)

Kevin Barry has commented 198 times (0 in the last month).

  1. Comment on Many Catholics are questioning whether they necessarily have to be nationalist…
    on 23 February 2012 at 1:08 am

    ‘A nationalist. He would by definition regard national self-determination as an inalienable right and therefore not conditional on other factors.

    And we still do, HOWEVER, when a storm like this happens to come around we’re willing to wait a few years for it to clear. Simples.

    ‘Can we stop referring to certain people as nationalists when they are not? They are culturally Irish but not politically. In other words, The Catholic Unicorns.’

    Nope, guess again A. You’re dogmatic, Nationalists are pragmatic in general. It kind of reminds me of Brian Walker referring to Scottish Nationalism channeling ‘Braveheart’ and being emotional whilst he seems to be the one clutching at straws and getting all teary eyed.

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  2. Comment on Many Catholics are questioning whether they necessarily have to be nationalist…
    on 22 February 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Sorry, to continue…

    I was speaking to a friend who is a CNR. He plays for his local GAA team in Antrim, though being from Armagh, naturally he’s better than all he comes across. For some reason, we got onto politics, Northern politics at that, a topic we never discuss but I suppose it was because I have recently moved down South to work for the 1st time.

    Whilst he would love to live in a UI, he too was adamant that right now, no way would he vote for it. He too was adamant that he wasn’t closing the door on it, but in view of the banking trouble he was not for it. ‘Best they sort that sh** out before I consider it’, or something along those lines.

    The results of the NILT seem to be something of a brick in the face to both sides. For Nationalists, we hate them for showing up something we may not fully appreciate; pragmatism of our fellow Nationalist. Honestly, who in their right mind wants to vote into the Southern $hit storm right now? Not a lot of people.

    For Unionists, its a very different problem. It’s one of complacency. Sure, at the moment, a lot of CNRs want to stay in the Union, BUT, if you’re dealing with an ethno-religious group that’s this pragmatic, what makes you think that unlike yourselves who are dogmatic they will never change their mind? Like I said above, you need only lose once and the game is over.

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  3. Comment on Many Catholics are questioning whether they necessarily have to be nationalist…
    on 22 February 2012 at 11:45 pm

    I have heard a lot mentioned of the NILT figures and whilst I agree with a lot of people on here who believe them to be nonsensical at times (SDLP results being the obvious point), I try not to get too hung up about them.

    If we step back for a second from the simple point scoring that goes on, lets be pragmatic about these ‘results’ and what they say or don’t as the case may be.

    Nationalists, like most others, are pragmatic people. With austerity measures and a massive banking hangover, who in their right mind would want a UI AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME? This is not to say that CRNs never want one, but, like I said, pragmatism wins the day and we weigh up the here and now.

    The point I’m trying to make is this, I really don’t know the methodology behind the NILT, MF is adamant that it’s ‘robust’ whilst others have seemingly ripped it to shreds, but what I do know is that with a PUL majority AND economic trouble in the South, a UI is off the agenda.

    Unfortunately for PULs, whilst CNRs may be pragmatic and support staying in the union during one referendum when it is to their benefit, if circumstances where to change they will change there minds just as easily.

    PULs need only lose once and the game is over

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  4. Comment on Margaret Ritchie is to step down as SDLP’s leader
    on 8 September 2011 at 7:59 pm

    I really don’t see this making any kind of difference to there steady march towards further insignificance but let’s see what happens.

    Her time in charge was poor, she seemed to be devoted to the cause but just not up to the job, though granted, when I look at what they have on offer I can’t see where they will get a big push.

    To be honest, the only way they could make any kind of a dent in SF is if they really drop the ball split in a big way

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  5. Comment on Do Words Matter?: Book Review of Political Discourse and Conflict Resolution – Debating Peace in Northern Ireland
    on 1 September 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Very good Rory.

    Granted, the ‘necessary qualifications’ I have come up with are not merely confined to my 3 points seeing as I came up with them off the hoof so to speak.I really should have been somewhat more of a crank and worked on my list

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  6. Comment on Do Words Matter?: Book Review of Political Discourse and Conflict Resolution – Debating Peace in Northern Ireland
    on 1 September 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Sorry Chaps, hope I didn’t ruffle a few feathers with my piece ;)

    ‘perhaps Barry will tell us the Magic Number of Monthly Posts that changes someone from a Valuable Contributor (himself) to a Crank (me).’

    Nice try SOS but I won’t be drawn on such a silly little question. While the number of contributions made by someone helps in deciding who is clearly a crank as opposed to someone like myself (a few contributions on this site) or even an Ordinary Joe (zero) I think you know that this is but one of the measures.

    FJH, I actually enjoy your contributions the vast majority of the time, and I am a follower of your blog (have you guessed who I am yet?), I would liken blogging and the amount of involvement one gives to it to be something like going to the Ashburn’s night-club in Lurgan.

    There are those who go as often as they can and they truly love it. For the purposes of clarity, in the slugger world, that’s the cranks.

    Then there are those, like myself, who come here, roll my eyes up at huge swathes of the stuff that goes on, whether it is some 22 year old courting some 40 year old married woman (Ashburn) or Quincey’s contributions (slugger), but occasionally finds something or someone he likes and engages with it. I don’t come that often or get involved and I swear I won’t come back as it’s crap but I like car crashes and enjoy those cranks crashing and burning.

    Then there are those, the vast, vast majority who would never touch this place with a barge pole as it is full of cranks, otherwise known as over-zealous people, some of whom may be unbalanced in the fight for their chosen cause.

    [END OF COMPARISON]

    The problem the cranks will always face is that as they are, for the most part, unwilling to get involved in their chosen cause on a professional basis, and as such, it is very hard to take them serious. You don’t like it, tough.

    Looking forward to reading your next 164 contributions btw!

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  7. Comment on Do Words Matter?: Book Review of Political Discourse and Conflict Resolution – Debating Peace in Northern Ireland
    on 1 September 2011 at 12:50 pm

    ‘In the academic world, journalistic world……its about the credibility that can attach to “who/what” we are. The source.
    Thus the Professor of International Relations at Harvard might carry more weight than the “ordinary Joe” and thats the real irritation.
    You just cant tell..
    Nobody would care if the contributions of “Ordinary Joe….or er Ordinary Josephine” were nonsensical.’

    I love how you equate those who post on a blogging site such as this as an ‘Ordinary Joe or Ordinary Josephine’ FJH, for that is not the case whatsoever.

    The problem the likes of you, Turgon, Alias and a whole host of the regular contributors on this site shall always face is the very fact that you are neither; you are in fact (and I hope that no offense is taken), cranks, and for that very reason, you shall never be taken seriously by the outside world, but here in the little bubble of slugger, ironically, each of your opinions and contributions carry certain weight due to previous contributions just like in the real world.

    Sorry folks, but Ordinary Joes/Josephines do not, nor would not, give a site like this the time of day or post 164 seemingly well thought out and different comments in the month of August alone on various topic matters unless they had:

    i) Lots of free time;
    ii) A massive interest in the various subject matters; and
    iii) They liked the sound of their own voice and feel a need that no one else feels to share their opinions.

    I really do not wish to offend you all here, but Gladys and Andy Pollak should really cut to the chase and just say what is obvious:

    i) In their field of work, they actually do value the opinions of what we shall call ‘Ordinary Joes’, it’s good for their research;
    ii) An Ordinary Joe is someone who does not take an especially large interest in politics and does not feel the need to engage with the various different goings on in any great detail;
    iii) Those who do feel the need to get involved in politics in a serious way on the internet by using aliases in some cases but are not interested in it enough to look at it as an academic discipline or laugh at those who devote their life’s work to researching politics in its many forms are clearly cranks, who may provide a valuable insight at times but more often than not will not (in their opinion) provide an insight into a matter as they are too ideologically wedded to their beliefs and know it in far too much detail.

    Sorry for insulting many, and undoubtedly I may get the reply of ‘you post on this site too’ (a fair point), but my contributions are a whole lot more limited than most.

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  8. Comment on What do the GCSE Results tell us about employment propects?
    on 26 August 2011 at 12:54 am

    Thanks FJH,

    As one of the kids who stood outside the Pillars waiting to go to Violet Hill you described my early mornings for 7 years, however, what you seemingly overlooked is the fact that many whom I went to school with, whether fellow College lads, the Sacred Heart girls my brother chased after on the other bus or the Our Lady’s girls I chased after, quite a few of them decided to sack getting up at stupid o’clock to wait around, going to the bakery to get sausage rolls or caramel squares and sit on a bus and they decided to go to St Micks half a mile away whenever they hit the requisite age as it wouldnt be detrimental to their chances of getting into Uni, but alas, their chances of winning a McRory or Hogan cup final were immediately curtailed (likewise anyone who went to the Abbey in Newry where if they mentioned the phrase ‘Hogan Cup Final’ briought about an immediate detention).

    Some of the families in Lurgan have their cake and eat it; their kids go to a grammar school and endure early mornings (6.30 for us 3) for 3 years, then you get to go to St Micks, well prepared. We stayed on (we’re from Craigavon and don’t get along with the bourgeoisie in Lurgan in all seriousness) in Newry and did well whilst being from a single parent family in a working class estate (que violins). Unfortunately, the rest of the kids in the North don’t get the chances or being able to take advantage of our anomalies that we do in our catchment area but I’m sure if they did things would be a whole lot better.

    The 11+ is an unbelievably cruel way to decide someone’s future. While I agree that many disagree with it but will not see it gone as it provides their kids with opportunities, I always believe their’s a better way to do this, a 14+, their performance over a period of time, anything but this archaic nonsense.

    Parents will always send their kids to what they feel is better schooling, but go to Lurgan at 4pm and you will see stacks of kids walking around in their St Micks’ uniforms, and they are a credit to their parents. Also, those crowds in the mornings are now getting smaller (except for the die hards wanting glory for their sons with football)

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  9. Comment on What do the GCSE Results tell us about employment propects?
    on 25 August 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Joe,

    For a Bank, from my experience you would need some A-Levels and then sit some psychometric test and that is to get into a branch. Some of them have graduate schemes while others appear to have freezed any new hiring for obvious reasons.

    I have had the pleasure of sitting the 11+, as have my younger brother and sister. We all passed and went to grammar school in Newry, however, my sister who was top of her class in all subjects prior to sitting the exam had a bad couple of days and got a B and was very close to not getting accepted. Fortunately, the headmaster at our primary school phoned the headmistress of the grammar, noted my sister’s stellar grades and how this was a complete aberration and she was allowed in.

    My sister was very fortunate to say the least that she got in and she continued on her path of excellent academic success and is doing well for herself.

    Grammar schooling is one area where NI has excelled in and as FJH has alluded to above, if they are done away with its likely that private schools of some kind will replace. However, I would also have to agree with Neil on this matter to a certain extent, a child’s future should not be decided thanks to an exam taken when they are 11, that’s particularly cruel.

    While we require testing, I think that their has to be a better way to assess whether some children should go to grammar school or to more academic subjects. Furthermore, those less academically inclined require a lot more attention than is being given to them now so that they have requisite skills to work in the modern work place, rather than being tossed onto a waste pile as seems current policy.

    So, I would be happy to see the 11+ go by the way side, maybe becoming something like a 14+ as is the case in Lurgan I believe, and for further investment in on the job training and apprenticeships. We either pay for this now, or we will pay far more by way of social security, policing and health services in the future.

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