Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

UK

Bishop John McAreavey: “Political representatives must answer for their own position on abortion…”

Thu 17 April 2014, 4:49pm

Tweet As the BBC reports, Sinn Féin’s Paul Maskey, MP for west Belfast, has apologised to the Catholic Bishop of Dromore, John McAreavey, for the misrepresentation of his views on abortion in “a letter written by local party members and distributed in west Belfast”.  Here’s the quoted apology in the BBC report - not yet available on the Sinn […] more »

More evidence that the Westminster village is waking up to the threat of Scottish independence

Thu 17 April 2014, 1:07pm

Tweet John McTernan is among the shrewdest of political strategists. As quoted by David McCann, he offers  “don’t panic” advice to fellow strategists. What’s missing here are reasons for Scots to vote No. The McTernan view isn’t cutting  it with leading commentators on the centre left and right. Martin Kettle in the Guardian The psychological impact in England, […] more »

Why the No side should be looking up in Scotland-by John McTernan #indyref

Wed 16 April 2014, 5:07pm

Tweet The most important three words in any campaign are not ‘Vote For Me’, but ‘Hold Your Nerve’. The independence campaign has reached what Sir Alex Ferguson used to call ‘squeaky-bum time’. The polls are closing – we are told. The No campaign needs to be positive – opine commentators. Scotland is so different, so […] 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 »

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 pic.twitter.com/cW7nCFcSMR — Patrick Corrigan (@PatrickCorrigan) […] more »

“Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”

Sun 13 April 2014, 5:21pm

Tweet [Once more into the breach then - Ed]  In yesterday’s Irish News, Patrick Murphy posited three theories to explain what he describes as “the latest dismantling of Irish political and cultural nationalism.”  That would be Martin McGuinness, et al, at Windsor Castle in white tie and tails, and the GAA deal with Sky.  From the […] more »

Lissadell, always romantic. But the jinx lingers

Sat 12 April 2014, 2:34pm

Tweet It is surely the quintessential Irish story of romance, divided family loyalties,  declining wealth and fierce litigation. Over Lissadell  it has extended  through the painful transition from   the Anglo-Irish  to the meritocratic blow-ins of today who so often try to ape the  style of the ould dacency.  And still struggle continues, with the successors every bit […] more »

After the Visit, the greater epiphany?

Sat 12 April 2014, 12:28am

Tweet What we saw in Windsor Castle this week was a delayed act of official reconciliation that should have taken place fifty years ago but was held up by the Troubles. It was in reality the unfinished business of closing a sequence of turmoil that began over a century ago, whose shadow is finally lifting […] 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 »

Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition (except for opening stuff and jobs announcements)

Fri 11 April 2014, 8:20am

Tweet What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Lady MacBeth, Act V, Scene 1         Hard to disagree with an essential core of Newton Emerson’s criticism of Peter Robinson, ie that as a leader he’s more tactical than strategic. He is right too that […] more »

McGuinness trying to assure ordinary unionists that he recognises their Britishness?

Thu 10 April 2014, 11:16am

Tweet Can’t have been easy for Martin to that Royal Banquet. He’s never struck me as the Black Tie type. But clearly there was method in his constituional madness. One, not going would have been a step back from the last time. Doing it, as Tom Kelly points out allows them to project a statesman […] more »

Whatever you do, don’t mention the war dead…

Thu 10 April 2014, 11:05am

Tweet Not sure quite what Mary Warnock was thinking when she wrote this, but you have to chalk this up to a propaganda victory to Sinn Fein… Of course, we cannot overlook the horrors of the Orange marches, nor the continuing hatred between Catholics and Protestants. As the Irish President noted just a few days […] more »

Scotland, “England” and the post colonial struggle for warmth and freedom between porcupines…

Thu 10 April 2014, 8:32am

Tweet Melanie McDonagh writing in London based Evening Standard thinks Michael D “…isn’t so much a foreign dignitary; more like a friendlier version of Alex Salmond”. Aha, now it would be tempting to go with the ‘well if Scotland was independent…’ line, but it’s probably better to point out that as President Michael D is […] more »

Phil Mac Giolla Bhain showing what ‘socially present journalism’ looks like…

Wed 9 April 2014, 5:33pm

Tweet “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations       So a little vicarious glory via sometimes Slugger blogger Phil Mac Giolla Bhain who has made it to number 10 in the Press Gazette’s top social journalists (not bad […] more »

“a claim on behalf of Mr Green against Sinn Féin has been registered with the Fair Employment Tribunal…”

Tue 8 April 2014, 3:03pm

Tweet When Sinn Fein’s political director at Stormont, Leo Green, failed to appear at the party’s Ard Fheis in February, both Mr Green, whilst confirming that he was no longer their northern political director, and the party were keen to play down suggestions of a dispute.  As Liam Clarke noted at the time Green said he had renewed […] more »

McGuinness WILL attend events during Pres Higgins state visit to GB

Sat 5 April 2014, 6:18pm

Tweet Statement released by Sinn Fein tonight We also seek an agreed, united Ireland which accommodates those who define themselves as British. It is within this context that I can confirm that deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will accept an invitation to attend all events as part of the State visit. This decision by a […] more »

Hunger Strike: Margaret Thatcher’s Battle With the IRA (1980-1981)

Thu 3 April 2014, 6:48pm
Hunger Strike Hennessey thumb

Tweet Hunger Strike: Margaret Thatcher’s Battle With the IRA (1980-1981) Thomas Hennessy Irish Academic Press, 488pp, £19.99 A senior member of the royal family is blown up on his yacht together with his 14-year-old grandson, another teenager and an elderly lady. Hours later, 18 soldiers are killed by two roadside bombs in an ambush on […] more »

It takes the threat to Cameron’s survival to wake Westminster up to the threat of Scottish independence

Thu 3 April 2014, 9:51am

Tweet Signs are emerging that the Westminster village, which usually treats north of Hampstead Heath as terra incognita, is at last waking up to the  real threat of Scottish independence.  The contrast couldn’t be starker between the obsession of the English right wing with a phantom referendum over Europe and the real one in Scotland that […] more »

“there was a ‘culture’ in the Northern Ireland Office not to prosecute Republicans…”

Thu 3 April 2014, 7:31am

Tweet In appearing on the first day, Norman Baxter has set a fairly direct tone for the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the administrative scheme for OTRs (see also), by suggesting that it was the Northern Ireland Office which was indulging in politics over Republican suspects rather than the PSNI: He then claimed […] more »

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