Slugger O'Toole

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leftofcentre has commented 37 times (0 in the last month).

  1. Comment on #UUP2013 Legacy proposals for mental health hub, education and the economy along with attacks on DUP and SF
    on 21 October 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Alan you deserve some kind of medal for sitting through all these party conferences. You have the patience of a saint.

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  2. Comment on EU drops Maze funding
    on 4 October 2013 at 2:51 pm

    There is already peace centres at:
    -Queens
    -UU Jordanstown
    -Irish School of Ecumenics Belfast
    -UU Magee
    -Corrymeela

    There was simply no demand for yet another peace centre.

    As for a visitor attraction the Crumlin road gaol is fantastic, easily assessable to tourists and a beautiful building. The Crumlin road Gaol has just as much republican mythology as the maze (Tom Williams etc). The idea that tourist would trek out to a field outside Lisburn to look at a few 70′s portacabins is farcical.

    The Crumlin courthouse has been left to fall apart, this is a real disgrace. Money should have been sent on it to help regenerate that area.

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  3. Comment on Conall McDevitt steps down from his MLA post…
    on 4 September 2013 at 6:53 pm

    @keano10
    Not a white knight, more like last man standing.

    Big Al has been a disaster, his public profile is practically zero. It is like his handlers are deliberately keeping him in a box, I can’t see him lasting past this years conference.

    Who else is there? At least if they go into opposition it will liven things up a bit.

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  4. Comment on Conall McDevitt steps down from his MLA post…
    on 4 September 2013 at 6:34 pm

    It does seem to be such a stupid thing to resign over. I can’t help but think he is just feed up with politics and has thrown the head up. He can walk back into a job in PR that gives him more cash and a lot less hassle. Could you blame him?

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  5. Comment on Conall McDevitt steps down from his MLA post…
    on 4 September 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I never could warm to CMD; he always came across as a bit smug but what a tedious thing to resign over.

    It seems the path is now clear for Alex Attwood to launch a leadership challenge at the next SDLP conference. He may not be the most dynamic chap but there is no arguing that gets things done.

    He will pull the SDLP out of government and into opposition and maybe the local political scene will wake up a bit from its moribund state.

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  6. Comment on Jobs and Freedom for Northern Ireland
    on 30 August 2013 at 11:47 am

    MLK was a fantastic leader and it is right that we celebrate his legacy. BUT I really hate it when yanks come over and lecture us. Yes I know we have to be nice to them because we need their jobs but how about some facts from our friends over at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People:

    Incarceration Trends in America

    From 1980 to 2008, the number of people incarcerated in America quadrupled-from roughly 500,000 to 2.3 million people

    Today, the US is 5% of the World population and has 25% of world prisoners.

    Combining the number of people in prison and jail with those under parole or probation supervision, 1 in every 31 adults, or 3.2 percent of the population is under some form of correctional control

    Racial Disparities in Incarceration

    African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population
    African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites

    Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population

    According to Unlocking America, if African American and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates of whites, today’s prison and jail populations would decline by approximately 50%

    One in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime

    1 in 100 African American women are in prison

    Nationwide, African-Americans represent 26% of juvenile arrests, 44% of youth who are detained, 46% of the youth who are judicially waived to criminal court, and 58% of the youth admitted to state prisons (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice).

    Drug Sentencing Disparities

    About 14 million Whites and 2.6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug

    5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites

    African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.

    African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). (Sentencing Project)

    MLK must be spinning in his grave about how politicians use his good name and still treat his people like crap. Replace peace walls with gated communities, replace segregated schools with private white colleges. As for flags don’t get me started, as anyone who has ever been to the US the stars and strips is plastered everywhere, they are the most nationalist people going.

    I like Americans, they are generally a friendly lot, I even married one. But their tendency to lecture the rest of the world is extremely irritating, as the good book says “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?’

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  7. Comment on Beacons and the hornet’s nest of bonfires
    on 11 July 2013 at 4:45 pm

    The burning of the virgin Mary statue happened last year as well. I guess we can now class it as a tradition and maybe arrange some funding to pay for more statues for other bonfires? Here is a nice image of the impromptu altar:

    http://www.demotix.com/news/1328288/loyalists-put-final-touches-bonfire-structure-belfast#media-1328260

    Trying to explain the health risks of burning tyres to people who live on fags and WKD and for whom the existence of vegetables is but a bad rumour is a waste of time.

    Because you all accuse me of being a snob, I am from a working class background but it is clear today that the old class distinctions are gone. Now it is basically those who work and those who don’t.

    If you have no job, no stake in society, why would you care what you damage? There is no consequence to your actions, someone else will clean up your mess.

    I just look on in pity at these bonfires. It is sad this is the highlight of their year. Next week they can go back to their life of idleness and pill popping and leave the rest of us to pick up the tab. I equally pity the protesters who deliberately get out of their beds on a bank holiday to go and stand by a road to get offended, the whole situation is nuts.

    The real issue is there are large parts of our society both catholic and protestant that are basically adrift. They are basically unemployable, many can’t read or write and their work ethic is non existent. It is a complete waste of human potential, but there appears to be no solution in sight.

    I have been to the field several times. It is basically a giant loyalist teen drinking session. In some ways I don’t begrudge them their day out, the rest of the year they are trapped in their ghettos. It is the only time of the year any of them are likely to set foot on the Malone Road.

    I don’t mean to come across as hostile, I write these words more in pity that we have abandoned a large section of society to a life of feckless idleness. If I were in there shoes I would be whacking the pills into me too.

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  8. Comment on In the UK housing market it’s back to the 1970s
    on 3 February 2013 at 4:16 am

    Re ulick
    Well the story is from the uk daily mail, and I assume the data they are using only covers uk regions.

    Also I think it’s fair enough to compare a market with the same currency, same lenders etc

    I imagine the story in the south is similar. The Dublin area is probably worth more than the rest of the country combined.

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  9. Comment on Where is the [working class] Protestant Community today? (panel discussion)
    on 19 October 2012 at 7:32 pm

    The topic of the debate was more accurately ‘Where is working class Protestant Community today’

    From this blog post title it might not have been clear that the discussion was focusing on the working class.

    I could be cruel and ask what do you call working class people that do not work, but that’s a whole new discussion…

    Once you break through all the complaining about parades etc it comes down to the simple fact that the devil makes work for idle hands, what these people primarily need is jobs. This is the same need as other underprivileged areas across NI, both catholic and protestant.

    In today’s society if you do not have qualifications or skills you are a bit screwed when it comes to getting a job.

    To me there is two obvious things the government could do:
    All these graduate teachers that can’t get jobs, the government could launch a massive public literacy campaign. That in the 21st century people leave school barely literate is shocking. Give the young teachers a basic salary so they get the experience and joey learns to read.

    Secondly why can they not have some form of public works for unemployed teenagers? Is there not buildings that need painted? parks tidied? etc. I know paternalism is out of fashion these days but a lot of kids are growing in in families were no one ever worked and they have zero work ethic.

    Spend the cash in the early years to give these kids a hand up, this will work out cheaper than the cost of jailing them down the line.

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  10. Comment on Where is the [working class] Protestant Community today? (panel discussion)
    on 19 October 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I was at the event and enjoyed it. What I found interesting was that all the speakers where quite thoughtful and articulate. I would not agree with their politics but they put their points of view across well.

    If you give people time and space to have a reasoned discussion it can be very constructive. I am coming round to the view that the adversarial nature of political debate that for example the BBC normally does can do more harm that good.

    What the BBC claims as ‘balance’ by getting opposing view points just ends up as staged arguments.

    John Kyle is a very nice man indeed, at the next election he really should go independent as I think being under the PUP banner does him no favours at all.

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