Region Archives: Global

“vices and follies of the powerful are much less despised than the poverty and weakness of the innocent.”

This is soooo good, I’m just going to post a big chunk of it below. It’s Chris Dillow nailing a key problem with the UK media’s obsession with bringing celebrity to the big politics table… He cites an experiment (pdf) by James Andreoni and Justin Rao involving a constructed roleplay scenario involving a ‘dictator': There more…

On Open Government: “Everything good proceeds from enthusiasm…”

Kellden big machine smells

Brian Eno in interview. However cynical views of the increasingly visible shortcomings of our democratic systems, people remain passionate as ever about the ‘wetware’ of politics itself, even if the democratic institutions struggle to retain a respectful place in their public affections. And we are not just talking about Stormont. Steven McCaffrey’s profile of the launch more…

Remembrance: Could we ‘hack’ a common purpose from our shared and bloody history?

‘Traditions’ which appear or claim to be old are often quite recent in origin and sometimes invented. Eric Hobsbawm In his introduction to a 1983 collection of essays Eric Hobsbawm notes not only that traditions are by definition ‘unchanging and invariant’, but that they are themselves created or invented as a response to rapid technological more…

CNBC: Ireland we hardly knew ye!

I know we like to think that our wee island packs a punch beyond its size, but any illusion that we are a household name kind of comes crashing down with one interview on one of America’s most respected financial networks CNBC. If you have not been following this story, the Chief Executive of the more…

Open Government in Practice 2 – Open Policy Making

BCT logo square

Paul Braithwaite has been leading the Building Change Trust’s work exploring the issue of open government over the past year, focusing on the international Open Government Partnership initiative and its potential in Northern Ireland.  Last week the topic in focus was open budgets, this week it’s the turn of open policy making.   A new more…

The Suit (Lyric until 31 Oct) – enchanting theatre examining the effect of a violent society #belfest

BelFest Belfast Festival 2014 logo

Recent revelations and the steady stream of new people coming forward to access Victims & Survivors Services remind us that Northern Ireland is still coming to terms with the deeper consequences of how the Troubles affected society and in particular family life. The Suit is a play from Théâtre Des Bouffes Du Nord that looks more…

#SluggerTalks on the future potential of Northern Ireland

So today, we bring back the #digitallunch video format only this time we are calling it #SluggerTalks. Tomorrow’s will be the first in a series of two handers between myself and Shane Greer discussing some of the points raised in response to his post last week on what we might do to unlock Northern Ireland’s Tremendous more…

How do we unlock Northern Ireland’s tremendous potential?

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I still remember the spring of 2001. The palpable excitement I felt about something I’d dreamed of since my adolescence and, with sixth form drawing to a close, was finally in a position to realise: leaving Northern Ireland. I was one of the almost 18,000 who emigrated that year, a number that rose to just more…

Mental health on death row

Iranian soldiers watch a man being hanged in Shiraz, south of Tehran © AFP/Getty Images

This winter will mark 53 years since the last use of capital punishment in Northern Ireland. On 20 December 1961 Robert McGladdery became the last man to be hanged in Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol, for the murder of Pearl Gamble. The death penalty for murder was finally abolished in Northern Ireland on 25 July 1973. However, more…

America isn’t really interested in our domestic squabbles

Having spent last week in Washington, D.C. and New York, I spent the weekend catching up on the news from home that I’d missed and indeed mulling over the conversations about home I’d had. Secretary of State Theresa Villiers announced last week a new round of all-party talks designed to break the impasse on the more…

Hong Kong: the spirit of freedom

HK protest 30 Sept

As far as the eye can see, young pro-democracy protestors have taken to the streets of central Hong Kong to demand the right to elect freely the next chief executive of the territory. The students’ speeches, songs and placards celebrate the freedoms they want to enjoy. Beijing has announced restrictions for the 2017 election – which more…

Religion, Security and Global Uncertainties Report Published

The Open University’s ‘Religion, Security and Global Uncertainties’ Report has been published, and is available in full. OU’s Prof John Wolffe and Dr Gavin Moorhead are the principal authors of the report, which has been crafted through a series of interviews and roundtable discussions with academics, MPs, public policy officers, journalists, church minsters, school head more…

Attacking Islamic State vs protecting civilians in Syria?

A man holds a baby saved from under rubble, who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President © Reuters/Hosam Katan

With the start of US-led air strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria this week, and Parliament due to vote today on British military action in neighbouring Iraq, attention is once again focused on the conflict which has cost so many lives since 2011. When G8 leaders met in Fermanagh last year, they committed themselves to more…