Region Archives: UK

Politics for the Next Generation? Pupils’ Visions for Belfast’s Future at the 4 Corners Festival

4cornersstudents

Are our young people apolitical or de-politicized? What do young people in Belfast think about the city and its future? These were among the questions raised when ninety sixth form pupils from 25 schools across Belfast gathered Friday at Ulster University to discuss the city’s future and to present their ideas to a ‘panel of listeners.’ more…

Brexit, pursued by a bear

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The deal on offer from Brussels to Cameron this week was given a further dramatic feel by EU Council President Donald Tusk’s use of Shakespearean verse; “To be, or not to be together, that is the question which must be answered not only by the British people in a referendum” His use of the lines from Hamlet more…

Money and (Better) Public Services?

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I was on the Nolan Show this morning, performing my usual role as defender of the idea of small state/low tax economy. The discussion was to have focused on whether it might be a good idea for us to collectively pay more tax to fund ‘better public services’. You can listen to the debate by more…

High Court awards Elliot £48,750 damages [plus costs] for Flanagan libel

Whilst waiting for the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle to ratify his re-selection as a candidate in Fermanagh/South Tyrone, at the second time of trying, notorious tweeter Phil Flanagan, MLA, has discovered the cost of his “grossly defamatory” libel against former UUP leader, Tom Elliot, then MLA, now MP for FST.  As the BBC reports The High more…

Phil Flanangan re-selected in re-run convention, Michelle Gildernew not so much…

SF candidates 2016 Fernmanagh/SouthTyrone

David noted the result of the re-run Sinn Féin selection convention for Fermanagh/South Tyrone. But, interestingly, given the allegation of unaccounted-for additional votes for Michelle Gildernew in the first selection convention [see comment zone] which promoted her above Phil Flanagan at the time, that re-run has seen notorious tweeter Phil Flanagan re-selected by the party, along with fellow sitting more…

Terry Wogan made ordinary life special

If there was another Irish broadcaster who forced me to sit in the car park  and make me late for work it was Gay Byrne. Gay had a similar subversive streak and a light touch with a sting in the tail. But he did not  travel so well across the Irish Sea, nor did he more…

Second Chance at Re-Selection for Sinn Féin’s Phil Flanagan – Updated

Sinn Féin’s other notorious tweeter, Phil Flanagan, MLA, may be facing a sizeable bill for libelling the UUP’s Tom Elliot, but the party’s central office has given him a second chance at continuing his political career. He was deselected by his party constituency organisation on 13 December last year, but earlier this month the party’s Ard Chomhairle more…

What will be the followup to new police move on the Birmingham bombings?

(Kieran) Conway, who is a now a solicitor in Dublin specialising in criminal defence,, voluntarily spoke to detectives in connection with his memoir of life inside the IRA “South Side Provisional”. In the book, Conway revealed certain details about the Birmingham pub bombings to which the IRA has never officially admitted. No one has ever more…

The biggest losers in failing to come clean on the past is the reputation and authority of the state and its servants.

You don’t have to be a transitional justice zealot or a Provie fellow traveller to recognise that the heat is on the British government, the police and security authorities over dealing with the past. You can be a judge like Lord Justice Weir blasting the police and indirectly the government for  the inordinate delays in more…

My Ireland, the Union, and the Ervine test

Ireland map

NATIONALIST DEAD END: I recently had a robust exchange with a gentleman who had become quite impressed by the Scottish Nationalist Party. He argued that the onus was on unionism to now tender a counter attack. I was, I must confess, quite annoyed at this proposed challenge. My gut instinct was that holding the incumbent more…

Limerick tops global property price affordability index for the second year in a row

Global Property Prices

The latest release of Demographia’s annual survey of house price affordability has created headlines for highlighting how chronically unaffordable property is in Hong Kong. Median property prices in the territory were a staggering 19 times median household incomes in the third quarter of 2015, a new record in the twelve years that the survey has more…

“Perhaps it’s best to simply regard Gerry’s book as the political equivalent of an ageing hardman action star taking a role in The Expendables…”

The Guardian’s Marina Hyde on the “exciting publishing news”, the terms may be used advisedly, of the forth-coming publication of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ Little Book of Calm Little Book of Tweets.  From the Guardian article Enormous congratulations to Gerry Adams, who is formally elevated to irony’s army council. The Sinn Féin president is more…

Referendum & devolution: 3 different pictures

Will they toe the line together?

The elections this May are almost certain to see the return of familiar faces of both nationalism and unionism. Of course I’m referring to the elections to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, whose electorates will go to the polls on 5 May and then again most likely later in the year for the more…

Welcome to the Ulsterisation of Scottish politics…

scotland

On Hogmanay night, in the dying hours of 2014, I published on my blog the following article entitled ‘The Ulsterisation of Scottish Politics’. As the SNP tsunami approached I could see the politics of this wee country altering. It was to be drawn across constitutional lines in a similar fashion to another wee country to more…