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Profile for Mick Fealty

Mick is the founding editor of Slugger. He has also written on politics for the Daily Telegraph, and is a regular contributor for the Guardian's trend setting Comment is Free site. He has written several papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. He also works as a digital path finder for larger media organisations like the Daily Telegraph, RTE and Ulster Television and delivers strategy and coaching services to high level executives. See for more detail...

Latest posts from Mick Fealty (see all)

Mick Fealty has posted 9,381 times (54 in the last month).

A tale of two wars (well two divergent accounts of the same war)…

Thu 17 April 2014, 12:30pm

Tweet Two conflicting responses to the Secretary of State’s speech, first from Gerry Kelly… “Her comments on the past are deeply offensive to the hundreds of victims of state killings and loyalist collusion. Many of these killings were ordered from the very top of the British establishment during the Thatcher era. “Around 15,000 republicans were […] more »

Trouble at NI21 mill…

Wed 16 April 2014, 9:25am

Tweet Having a good idea (NI21) is not the same as putting it into action… Trouble in Holywood and Clandeboye… Gerry Leddy, who had been involved with the party since its inception almost a year ago, said that he could not tell people to vote for its European candidate, Tina McKenzie, as he had “no […] more »

Villiers: What Stormont needs is the revitalising influence of an opposition…

Wed 16 April 2014, 7:30am

Tweet Another day in Northern Ireland, another Groundhog.. Theresa Villiers is make a speech today saying it is time to make progress on the past and on a future that could bring NI political life back to the cryogenically sealed democracy unit currently operating at Stormont.. “Political institutions the world over adapt and change. As […] more »

“it struck me that there was an air of inevitability about the whole thing…”

Tue 15 April 2014, 2:44pm

Tweet Alex Kane with some much needed perspective on the events at Elizabeth Windsor’s gaffe in, erm Windsor… …what we are now seeing in the changing nature of the relationship between the British/Irish governments and their collective political establishments is also inevitable. This is the story of two countries going out of their way to […] more »

Could fracking actually be environmentally good for us after all?

Tue 15 April 2014, 9:43am

Tweet Could fracking be good for us? -Ben Webster in the Times yesterday (£) with an unexpected output from the IPCC… Shale gas can help the world to avoid dangerous climate change if it replaces coal in power stations, according to a United Nations report. Global emissions need to fall by at least 40 per […] more »

Come on BBC NI give us the bad news on our beaches…?

Tue 15 April 2014, 9:37am

Tweet So, here’s what the listeners to Radio 4 got this morning on the new Good Beach guide report, picking out Northern Ireland as a noteable weak point in the overall UK figures… .@mickfealty – @BBCr4today puts NI beach water quality stats in context wholly, sadly missing from @BBCNewsNI report — Patrick Corrigan (@PatrickCorrigan) […] more »

“That’s the only way I can put,” he said “they sleep with the victims.”

Mon 14 April 2014, 12:43pm

Tweet I was struck by Michael D Higgins’ interview with the BBC’s Fergal Keane: He said he could not ask the families of victims to put the past behind them. Society could not afford to wipe out the memory of violence, he said. “I think that there is very significant work to do,” he said. […] more »

Michael D and the Queen are just “what you need on occasions like this…”

Fri 11 April 2014, 5:02pm

Tweet There’s a ton of good comment on Nuzhound re Michael D’s state visit to the United Kingdom [makes a change from the single transferable column much in evidence at home this week - Ed]. It’s hard to know what to leave out of John Spain’s column for IrishCentral, so here goes: The plain people […] more »

Friday thread: Perhaps ‘War’ brings a properly social benefit after all?

Fri 11 April 2014, 3:54pm
Morris War

Tweet Today’s Friday thread is a talk delivered yesterday at the RSA in London by Ian Morris, author of a new book which posits the controversial idea that, over time, war is actually good for us, not necessarily as individuals but as societies. The presentation is fairly short but it was around this part I […] more »

“Merely reflecting this majority view is the easiest form of leadership….”

Fri 11 April 2014, 1:34pm

Tweet So for those of you itching for a blog which takes Peter Robinson to task for poor leadership, here’s Warren Little with a usefully proportionate analysis of a missed opportunity: So here we have a golden, gilt-edged, how-could-it-possibly-go-wrong opportunity for the unionist leadership to step beyond the traditional tribal boundary. God knows they don’t […] more »

Latest comments from Mick Fealty (see all)

Mick Fealty has commented 12,682 times (196 in the last month).

  1. Comment on Bishop John McAreavey: “Political representatives must answer for their own position on abortion…”
    on 17 April 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Can we not gloss over just how bizarre a claim it must have been in the first place? I’d put that firmly in the humongous ‘cock up’ rather than dark ‘conspiracy’ folder, though stranger things have happened at sea I guess…

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  2. Comment on More evidence that the Westminster village is waking up to the threat of Scottish independence
    on 17 April 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Yes I have. I’m a keen follower/fan of Blair Jenkins. That could prove crucial if turnout is an issue, but it doesn’t speak to waiverers.

    I’m currently in the look out for someone from Yes to respond to McTernan…

    Go to comment

  3. Comment on More evidence that the Westminster village is waking up to the threat of Scottish independence
    on 17 April 2014 at 4:22 pm


    I think there’s several things responsible for the lassitude of Westminster:

    One is (and I don’t mean this in any pre modern atavistic sense) they’re mostly English. If they dont care enough it’s because their constituency comes first.

    Two is they probably don’t see it as their job to advocate for Scotland’s future, which is more properly a job for passionate Scots. That by definition is a job for Labour rather than the Government.

    Three I think the watchword is don’t throw any more bodies overboard. I also think McTiernan’s piece gives the lie to that. We’ve seen political parties here in NI become nigh on extinct because they stopped talking, and more importantly stopped taking a coherent position on issues that matter to their own voters.

    Finally, perhaps we’ve all been looking for the wrong thing from the no side. The union is a contract not a state of mind. That was one of my takeaways from our research into the future of Unionism in NI. Coming from a Nationalist background, I expected to discover emotional attachments, most of which turned out to be surprisingly material.

    McTiernan focuses on that to great effect in my view. As for the polls, there’s no discernible trend that suggests we are headed for anything like a yes (though I will merrily eat my hat if that is the final result). And there’s a lot if time still for this lukewarm campaign to run.

    Essay series anyone?

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  4. Comment on Educational Underachievement-Part 1: Are Protestants getting left behind in education? The statistically based answer is an emphatic ‘No’
    on 17 April 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I love the way most of our conversations about Northern Ireland various educational failings appear to assume we’re still in some sort of direct rule vacuum.

    Remind me again which minister is failing to reflect and act upon these findings? As Pete ‘helpfully’ points out, even the highest level of achievement is failing the minister’s own targets.

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  5. Comment on Trouble at NI21 mill…
    on 17 April 2014 at 10:01 am

    Don’t disagree with those who say this is a storm in a political teacup, and a very small one at that. I generally fight shy of commenting too much on NI21 for the exact reason there’s so little to go on.

    But the story caught my eye in part because it shows some of the teething and capacity problems which any new party will inevitably face.

    There is a general reluctance for established talent to become involved with new projects like this precisely because the infrastructure required to sustain a broad political interest requires sound administration, intelligencers, and fixers as well as political talent.

    Very little of this infrastructure is visible to the public eye, but it’s crucial. The high numbers of TDs elected as independents highlights another problem with the STV PR system. All Irish politics is local in a way that wider British politics is not.

    Party infrastructures can be a costly burden if you don’t have a proven brand and brand loyalty. TUV is highly localised built around Allister’s power base with ongoing attempts to break out.

    People are quick to sneer at the Alliance party and yet it remains one of only three political parties which have advanced electorally since november 2003.

    The meagre two seat rise is a result of the fact that post troubles the party had hardened into a stronghold in greater Belfast which it finds difficult to break out of.

    NI21 are much smaller than that. John McCallister is hardly seen outside his constituency where he’s likely to be in a three way fight for first preferences against Jim Wells and UKIP’s Henry Reilly who polled well in his base last time and has a EP election to build on his party’s Eurosceptic populism.

    The other problem they have is that this looks like a fight involving new entrants into politics – an inevitable strength/weakness for all new parties – it’s messy and not likely to do the party a lot of good.

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  6. Comment on “it struck me that there was an air of inevitability about the whole thing…”
    on 17 April 2014 at 12:50 am


    I’ve been away on holiday duty for the last couple of days so I’ve not had time to follow up on these matters… It’s too late for me to launch into a big long explanation…

    On the one’s as bad as the other thing, that’s not a fair reflexion of how I see matters. It’s clearly a ‘collusion’ thing, not a ‘on the one hand but on the other’ thing.

    The SAA feeds something controlling in both parties (though the reasons and the mechanisms for that are very different, they have constructively made the OFMdFM something it wasn’t under the Belfast Agreement.

    There are similarities in the way their private obsessions shape some of their policy decisions. Throwing the SDLP’s Girdwood housing plan on the fire for a sports facility and a Maze project it didn’t get was odd politics.

    The DUP also learned a tough lesson that you cannot be in government and on protest lines against for instance the police at one and the same time.

    The real difference is not as P68 suggests that the DUP had to dragged kicking and screaming into the SAA: the party had trailed their willingness to constructively deal in a document released just after the Nov 2003 Assembly election.

    But that SF has abandoned tools and stopped work at Stormont whilst calling for the sacking of Ministers like Ed Poots who actually get on with their jobs. Not that that seems to have come to many people’s notice yet, not even their opponents in the SDLP.

    Or when it has, they implicitly understand that their continued presence in the Executive is an official expression of political fealty to the party line that (doesn’t) emanate from Stormont castle…

    Go to comment

  7. Comment on Why the No side should be looking up in Scotland-by John McTernan #indyref
    on 17 April 2014 at 12:23 am

    Another comedy clatter to the ankles there Neil..?

    It’s more usual for them to appear below the story, but I’d promised David editor powers, so I am hoping in future all guests he brings us will have their own byline…

    In the meantime, since you’ve taken the trouble to comment, why not actually deal with the points raised? (BTW, 56 tweets and counting, is an unusually high count for us)…

    Go to comment

  8. Comment on Why the No side should be looking up in Scotland-by John McTernan #indyref
    on 16 April 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Well, he hasn’t completely missed the wall, if that’s what you mean Charles… The IPSOS Mori poll for STV has not substantially shifted in 18 months… And it’s in the region of that 60-40 split…

    I’d not picked up that detail about the undecideds, but I think the STV suggests the DEs are trending (very slightly) Yes…

    And of course he’s dead right about No campaigns being about No. In Ireland the government campaign generally tends to be about getting Yeses, whilst oppositions often (though by no means always) tend to coast and then enjoy the damage the defeat inflicts on the opponent, which is often less than they hope for even if they are not on the same side…

    Even where as in Nice and Lisbon they lose, those losses are generally over obtuse matters that the government of the day has ensured went to the wire still being obtuse…

    We also know that a successful Yes campaign has to assume a strong lead to negate a negative swing back towards NO… there has been no such lead in this referendum campaign, which leads me to believe the YES campaign won’t succeed…

    So I would like to ask John what the political ramifications (if any) he thinks might flow from a success for the No camp, and, perhaps much less likely, for the Yes?

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  9. Comment on “Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”
    on 16 April 2014 at 12:14 pm


    Spot on. We as individuals will naturally tend towards divers views, but it’s the lack of action by which we can judge their seriousness such ‘fantastic’ diversity.

    Go to comment

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