Topic Archives: Government

#SluggerSoapbox: The impact of Stormont’s cuts on young people

Cuts being made at Executive level have not been thought through to community level – and the consequences could be significantly worse than Ministers anticipate argues Paul Smyth, Chief Executive of the youth focused charity Public Achievement. According to DETI, the unemployment figure in Northern Ireland (August to October 2014) was 6.3%. However the youth more…

Time for other parties to break Executive ranks as Sinn Fein sacrifices northern interests for southern ambitions

Following on from Mick, let’s  begin by making the best possible case for Sinn Fein, the party which seems the most intransigent in the inter- party talks. The Conservatives’ strategy for the next five years to a produce budget surplus of £23 billion by 2019-20 is probably unsustainable, unless the rate of growth picks up more…

What Stormont must do to convince Cameron to up his offer

Are the political parties still hoping that David Cameron will turn into a White Knight and Save Ulster from Austerity?  What does Stormont have to do to persuade him to answer  their pleas to up his offer? Among the elements are: devising a proper three year  plan for the first time so as the world more…

There Is No Alternative! (to Casement Park development plan) – Redux

Belfast High Court has ruled that the decision to grant planning permission for the controversial £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast was “fundamentally flawed”.  However, Mr Justice Horner did not quash the decision, and will take further submissions from lawyers for the Department of the Environment, the GAA and the residents group who mounted the more…

“Can Scottish Labour, under Murphy, learn to think big?”

So Jim Murphy, a machine politician from his very earliest days in the NUS, takes over the helm at Scottish Labour. He has an unenviable task ahead of him. The Yes campaign may have won the #IndyRef battle but the unionist parties now show every sign of terminal weakness in their war for the future of the Union. more…

Cameron and Kenny go home

From the BBC, David Cameron and Enda Kenny go home after talks failed to reach a deal. There was an offer on the table of spending powers that would amount to £1 billion over five years. However, the reaction from Sinn Fein was not very encouraging for Cameron as the Education Minister, John O’Dowd labelled more…

Ireland you’re exceptional, we should act like it.

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Ireland is an exceptional country, well so I think anyway. I know this is the easiest plug that any person can give a home town crowd “there’s nowhere like …..” and you get your applause. The concept of exceptionalism is more commonly identified with the United States, were the notion of this being a special more…

Prof Noel Sharkey on Autonomous Robots: “we don’t want to sleepwalk into further technological disasters” #NIHRF

Prof Noel Sharkey

Northern Ireland-born Prof Noel Sharkey from University of Sheffield’s Centre for Robotics addressed a crowd of forty who had managed to battle through the disrupted Belfast traffic to St Mary’s University College this evening. (Older readers may remember him from BBC Two’s Robot Wars!) As part of the NI Human Rights Festival, he delivered a more…

Paper trail: from Northern Ireland’s hooded men to CIA’s global torture

Letter from Home Secretary Merlyn Rees to Prime Minister Jim Callaghan in 1977, when the UK was (successfully)arguing in Strasbourg that the techniques used were not torture

In August 1971 the UK authorities arrested and interned hundreds of men in Northern Ireland. Fourteen of them were selected for “special treatment” – torture in a specially-built interrogation centre at a British Army camp. The men were subjected to the soon-to-be infamous “five techniques” of hooding, stress positions, white noise, sleep deprivation and deprivation more…

Peter Robinson’s remarkable agility in returning to his strategic progressive vision for unionism

In case you missed it, I’ve clipped a particularly good analytical duo from Newton Emerson and Dearbhail McDonald from yesterday’s Sunday Politics… Mc Donald makes the point that devolving corporation tax without building opportunity at home is a bit of a wasted effort… Emerson follows through by making the point that we don’t have a more…

Is Stormont’s committee system delivering sufficient punch?

All and any organizations will in the end be run by those who stay awake in committee. – Worstall’s Law You don’t often hear people accusing elected officials of working ‘too hard’. Normally, the opposite is alleged, that they are lazy jobsworths that only show up when compelled by whips or to vote on their own more…

Alex Salmond plans to return to Westminster

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If the good people of East Sussex think I’m as big a danger to the Westminster Parliament as Guy Fawkes, then they’re right. Alex Salmond Scotland’s former First Minister, Alex Salmond is attempting to make a return to the Westminster Parliament in May 2015. Salmond who has always enjoyed the House of Commons, will likely more…