Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Government

Jon Snow and Peter Hain appearing on 1 May, the opening day of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

Tue 15 April 2014, 10:39pm
CQAF 2014 programme sunflower

Tweet While there’s lots of great stuff going on in the 15th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival from 1-11 May, there are a couple of political events on the opening day that might interest some Slugger readers. Having heard Jon Snow speak before in Belfast, I can strongly recommend the opening event on Thursday 1 May […] 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 »

“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 »

What makes a good local Councillor?

Sun 13 April 2014, 12:40pm

Tweet Over the coming weeks hundreds of people will be seeking a job with an interview panel of thousands asking questions about their ability to deal with local problems, create jobs and run local services. But, this year will be a little bit different as local councils take on a lot more powers. Speaking about […] more »

Art of the Troubles at the Ulster Museum

Sat 12 April 2014, 3:12pm
Print

Tweet The Ulster Museum’s Art of the Troubles exhibition is now open and runs through the summer until 7 September. A variety of styles, “sides” and periods exhibited: sixty works from fifty artists. Reactions to atrocities, depictions of politics (a particularly grim triptych by Joseph McWilliams of Sammy Wilson, Ian Paisley Snr and Peter Robinson) […] 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 »

Friday thread: Perhaps ‘War’ brings a properly social benefit after all?

Fri 11 April 2014, 3:54pm
Morris War

Tweet Today’s Friday thread is a talk delivered yesterday at the RSA in London by Ian Morris, author of a new book which posits the controversial idea that, over time, war is actually good for us, not necessarily as individuals but as societies. The presentation is fairly short but it was around this part I […] 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 »

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 »

John Barry: “We need legislators, not negotiators…”

Wed 9 April 2014, 7:24am

Tweet I had an interesting chat today with John Barry. A fellow Dubliner but a far more interesting and indeed public character than that may suggest. John is a Green Party candidate in the forthcoming Council elections standing in the Abbey ward of the new North Down and Ards Council. He was co-opted onto the existing […] 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 »

“…allowing organizations to attract support without having to demonstrate superior functionality”

Tue 8 April 2014, 8:46am

Tweet Lant Pritchard writing in Harvard’s Building State Capacity blog draws some useful lessons on how US democratic institutions were forced to prove themselves in a struggle with the independent interests of their people. He offers these insights into why the transfer of institutions in developing countries not only may not work, it might also […] more »

“Good heavens! You’re the culture minister..” Redux

Thu 3 April 2014, 3:49pm

Tweet Here’s the Culture Minister on the GAA’s new deal… If Sky is worldwide, beaming games worldwide, that’s a good thing, but I don’t want that to be at the detriment of local broadcasting. I also don’t want it to be at the detriment of the people who don’t have Sky or who don’t have […] more »

NI Peace Monitoring Report – continuing gaps in educational achievement, life expectancy & the cost of NI’s stuttering peace process

Thu 3 April 2014, 12:16pm
NI Peace Monitoring Report 2014 cover

Tweet The third annual Northern Ireland Peace Monitoring Report was released this morning. Part statistical almanac, part annual report card, it has been compiled for the last three years by Dr Paul Nolan. At times the report acts like a common man’s conscience, calling out where the naked emperors are hiding under the policy carpet […] 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 »

“the electoral prospects of individuals are not strictly a relevant factor when weighing the public interest in the disclosure of information…”

Wed 2 April 2014, 3:29pm

Tweet Another week, another ruling by the Information Commissioner that the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers acted against the public interest in refusing to disclose information in response to a FoI request.  The request, from the News Letter, was for disclosure of OFMDFM’s corporate risk register – a list of the issues “causing […] more »

Belfast City Council: “what happened on Saturday evening is a clear breach of our terms and conditions of hire.”

Tue 1 April 2014, 4:16pm

Tweet The News Letter has an updated comment from the spokeswoman for Belfast City Council about the (Provisional) IRA commemoration at Whiterock Leisure Centre on Saturday night.  From the News Letter report Belfast City Council says a republican event in one of its leisure centres was clearly in breach of terms and conditions, after critics […] more »

Local Government Bill back in the Assembly: will MLAs support a new voting method and social media use in meetings?

Tue 1 April 2014, 9:28am
NI Assembly logo

Tweet It may be April Fools Day, but MLAs are back in the Assembly debating 34 amendments (broken into four groups) to the Local Government Bill which reaches its Final Consideration Stage today. (115 amendments were considered over two days in the last round). The Local Government Bill is the main business in today’s plenary […] more »

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