Topic Archives: Economy

Truth or Consequences: the potential impact of un-devolving welfare

All Benefits

One of the more idiosyncratic aspects of life in Northern Ireland is that the sort of constitutional crisis that would leave most countries in a spate of ear-to-the-radio, markets-tumbling panic, barely passes as newsworthy. The threat of dissolution of the Assembly and the end of the power-sharing Executive is regarded with the same complete lack more…

What’s that got to do with the price of fish? The growing gap between inflation and the perception of inflation

Various Inflation Measures v2

Last week’s news that the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate of UK inflation has dipped below zero for the first time since official records began in 1996, and for the first time since 1960 based on equivalent historical estimates, caused a range of reactions amongst commentators and politicians. The Chancellor, George Osborne, was keen to more…

Cross Currents in British & Irish Working Class Life: a day of talks, debate, performance & song #workingclasslife

Cross Currents in British and Irish Working Class Life

A research group at the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at QUB has spent a year organising public-academic engagements posing and interrogating new research questions relating to working class history, politics, culture, literature and music. They’ve been asking … How has working-class life been created in Northern Ireland’s imagined and material worlds? Have more…

The voice at the parlour door and the looming NI cuts

My dad tells the story of a TV or radio drama broadcast decades ago while he was living in Dublin.  The protagonist’s wife gave him some of the food – special “party bread” – she had prepared for a gathering of some friends, on condition that he kept out of the way and didn’t embarrass more…

Why Unionism and Nationalism are Feckless

bagpipes-215549_1280

The SNP is on the crest of a wave. But it really has nowhere to go and, ultimately, will wane. Here’s why. The SNP is essentially a single issue pressure group pretending to be a real political party. In this respect it’s like Sinn Fein, the DUP/UUP, Plaid Cymru. Now, I hear you say, the more…

Eat Your Children: chasing the lost unicorn of Irish citizen protest #bff15

Eat Your Children

“We’re not Ireland, we will resist” (Greek austerity protest chant) Has Ireland lost its protest mojo? Flatmates Treasa O’Brien and Mary Jane O’Leary bailed out of Ireland to study in London and Barcelona. Partly motivated by the Greek chant and surprised by the contrast behind high profile citizen action in countries like Spain and the more…

NI Tourism Minister: “I recently had discussions with the chief executive of Tourism Ireland and expressed my disappointment about how the promotion of the Wild Atlantic Way stops at the border.”

Irelands Ancient East Map

Without wishing to undermine historian Hiram Morgan’s call for Irish Government action to preserve the cultural heritage in the seas off the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s worth noting the stated objective of that tourism initiative… The overall aim of the project is to develop a route that will achieve greater visibility for the west coast of more…

NI Conservatives Try Viral

DUPSinnFein

The local version of the Conservative Party, the NI Conservatives (formerly the Conservatives in NI), have come up with an “infographic” that presents Martin and Peter as Laurel and Hardy. The two hapless leaders, the image suggests, have caused the population of Northern Ireland to be £864 per head worse off than people in the rest more…

Defence Spending: an orphan subject at the election – with a mad uncle

Defence after a few days in the spotlight a couple of weeks ago has settled back to being one of the Cinderella subjects in the General Election campaign. It is maybe fairer to call it an orphan rather than a Cinderella subject: orphan because very few serious politicians pay it anything more than lip service more…

Kit Harington on Belfast: “It’s wonderful for two or three days…”

As I said of similar comments by HBO’s Michael Lombardo last year, With so much of some Northern Ireland Executive ministers‘ time and effort [and other people’s money! – Ed] focused on exploiting the international success of HBO’s Game of Thrones to promote Northern Ireland overseas, it’s perhaps unfortunate, but refreshing, that HBO’s director of programming, Michael Lombardo, more…

Iceland: “but people ask why can’t I pay my mortgage? Why is my salary not going up?”

Whilst everyone else is focused on the tribulations of Greece, I would heartily recommend that if you don’t read anything else today, read this Reykjavik Letter (€) from Peter Geoghegan in today’s Irish Times: visions of Iceland as a Nordic Nirvana – burnt bondholders, jailed bankers, a crowd-sourced constitution – often clash with reality here. The Icelandic more…

So, what place a possible Brexit in Northern Ireland’s elections?

UK Book Launch

There was a time when Europe had a popular political champion in Northern Ireland. John Hume made a successful pitch for one of Northern Ireland’s three European seats in the first directly elected European Parliament, based as much on his personal commitment to developing NI PLC as to any sectarian pitch to nationalist voters. Since then more…

DLA, mental health, and the legacy of the Troubles

NI DLA & Troubles Deaths

The debate surrounding welfare reform in Northern Ireland has gradually seen opinion divide into one of two camps; those who decry any reform of the system as “ruthless Tory cuts”, and those on the other hand who see the swelling ranks of those claiming DLA as evidence that the feckless and workshy are gaining a more…