Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


Commons [empty] threat to remove Royal Assent from Prince Charles?

Wed 26 March 2014, 12:06pm

Tweet I cannot think this is serious, except as a rhetorical warning across Prince Charles’s bows for not being good constitutional monarch in waiting… The role of the Queen and Prince of Wales in signing off new laws is “arcane and complex” and could be abolished, MPs have said. The Commons’ Political and Constitutional Reform […] more »

Is Villiers’ warning to OTRs the cue to launch a whole new search for fresh evidence?

Fri 7 March 2014, 6:08pm

Tweet Theresa Villiers has delivered her solemn warning  to recipients that their comfort letters are not get out of jail cards. They will not protect you from arrest or from prosecution and if the police can gather sufficient evidence, you will be subject to all the due processes of law, just like anybody else. The […] more »

SDLP leader’s register of interest lapse ‘due to an administrative error…’

Fri 31 January 2014, 5:09pm

Tweet So after some ribbing on Twitter for not covering this story (try Googling it guys?), John Manley reports this morning that Alasdair McDonnell is in a bit of bother again, this time over not reporting income from a rental property he bought in London in 2005 when he was first elected: The South Belfast […] more »

Ed Balls takes another mauling despite Osborne’s weak autumn statement

Fri 6 December 2013, 12:12pm

Tweet Not a great time for either Labour party on either side of the Irish Sea. Here’s an object lesson in which we learn that channeling anger over the dispatch box at a unpopular enemy with a weak economic portfolio, is not simply not enough… Matthew Engel in the FT… What the statement does do, […] more »

John Cole, a personal view

Fri 8 November 2013, 10:31pm

Tweet I was in Tesco this morning when I saw my friend the Guardian veteran Mike White talking on a  Sky screen with the sound turned down low. I read the captions. John Cole had died. I’d heard John was failing. I’d last met him a couple of years ago at a Lords reception for John Laird’s […] more »

Should we live within our means, tax a bit more and depend less on Mother England?

Mon 8 July 2013, 11:35am

Tweet Meanwhile just as the Assembly has broken up for the summer (apart from the recall to debate Housing- gate) the Northern Ireland Council of Voluntary Associations announces that the time is right for a debate on tax raising powers and has commissioned a report from PWC. That should keep them all busy for what’s […] more »

No parallels with Ireland as a pro-union strategy in Scotland begins to emerge at last

Thu 25 April 2013, 2:58pm

Tweet There were risks in sending a posh English boy like George Osborne to Scotland to warn that it might be no doddle for an independent Scotland  to continue using sterling as its currency. The move  might yet backfire among thrawn Scots if  the English try to put the frighteners on them. Like pointing out […] more »

The Thatcher debate in the Commons

Wed 10 April 2013, 6:06pm

Tweet The speeches from our MPs Nigel Dodds and Alastair Macdonnell  during the Thatcher  tributes  were bound to reflect the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Neither speech was terrible. Both avoided a rant. Alastair McDonnell had the tougher job. His doctor’s experience in the face of death probably helped.  But both of them followed the […] more »

The pro-Union wheels are starting to turn in Scotland. But they could still come off the bus

Wed 27 March 2013, 11:08am

Tweet Not before time, the wheels may be turning at last in the creaking pro-union machine  to craft an effective reply to the SNP’s delivery vehicle for Scottish independence.  The leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson has done a U-turn  (£) to explore the idea of more and greater taxation powers for Holyrood.  I wonder […] more »

What will become of the May 2015 UK Parliament if Scotland votes “Yes” on independence?

Sat 23 March 2013, 1:49pm

Tweet Every so often – but not very often – a major theme enters political  debate which nobody noticed much at first  but when attention is drawn to it, it becomes completely obvious.  This topic is one such I’m posting here on how a referendum vote in favour of Scottish independence in September 2014 could greatly complicate […] more »

Salmond prepares to let Westminster take the hit over post-Leveson press regulation

Wed 20 March 2013, 11:59am

Tweet It may surprise you to learn that a separate Scottish response to the Leveson report on press regulation is looking unlikely. Stage One  was a separate report by an “expert group” headed by  the former Scottish judge Lord McCluskey who recommended “draconian “ powers and a regulator appointed by the Scottish government. If the […] more »

Embarrassment over Stormont Executive’s shameful failiure to support UK wide free speech and libel reform

Wed 13 March 2013, 4:23pm

Tweet I’m obliged to Jeff Dudgeon for drawing attention to the latest failure by the Executive. It has come to light that the Stormont powers that be failed to agree on bringing Northern Ireland into line with the English Defamation Bill and so bring much needed reform to the libel laws – if the Bill isn’t […] more »

SDLP chooses Patsy McGlone to contest Mid Ulster…

Fri 25 January 2013, 3:23pm

Tweet This is worth noting since it’s a smart choice. And the SDLP have not been known for those in recent years. McGlone has a sound rural base of voters, and a decent local machine. You can almost certainly rule out a win against SF veteran Francie Molloy. In the last Assembly elections Sinn Fein’s […] more »

The BBC has no business making a silly unionist dig at Martin McGuinness

Thu 3 January 2013, 12:04pm

Tweet Just a bit of New Year harrumping. I see the Bel Tel  couldn’t resist joining the tease  that  Martin McGuinness  took on an “English aristocratic title” when he had to go through the traditional form of accepting an office of profit under the Crown in order to quit as an abstensionist MP. The BBC website […] more »

Happy New Year!

Mon 31 December 2012, 4:36pm
Happy NYE 2012

Tweet Wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year! Your captions are welcome. more »

After Finucane, “a new disaster waiting to happen, ” warns Justice lobby group. But why not a new inquest?

Mon 17 December 2012, 1:51pm

Tweet The de Silva report  presents a challenge to the legal establishment and others in Northern Ireland over how to proceed in the light of the UK government’s refusal to hold a public inquiry. Accountability concerns are not confined to history. They remain a live issue today since the devolution of policing and justice. One […] more »

Osborne’s Autumn Hidden Statement

Wed 5 December 2012, 12:32am

Tweet As this goes live the UK Chancellor will have just polished off his briefing to the Cameron cabinet on the Osborne austerity budget. But there are just some things that don’t need to be spelled out as Mr Sammy Wilson explained when speaking to the UTV here. Sammy said that the budget arithmetic under […] more »

Paisley jnr, Andrew Marr and a case of mistaken identity

Tue 16 October 2012, 9:50am
independent paisley marr snippet

Tweet Guido  flashed it,  so to speak. Then Quentin Letts, a graduate of TCD and therefore qualified to comment on all things Irish north and south picked it up in his sketch. Mr Paisley rose. Tall fella. He has his father’s shoulders and skull-shape and Northern Irish accent. As I say, the larynx does not […] more »

Corporation tax: put us out of our misery

Mon 15 October 2012, 2:18pm

Tweet The Financial Times (£) carries a blunt warning from Bombardier, Northern Ireland’s largest employer, that it will lose its ability to invest in the province unless the end of regional aid at the behest of the EU is offset by a cut in corporation tax. This gets down to the bottom line after years […] more »

Stop pretending over welfare cuts

Wed 10 October 2012, 9:27pm

Tweet In practice because of the funding straightjacket, welfare is not devolved to Holyrood, Cardiff Bay or Stormont.  So are the objections to the new universal credit in both Holyrood and Stormont any more than political grandstanding?  Differential welfare payments make little or no sense without extensive tax raising powers. And there is no sign […] more »

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