Topic Archives: Society and Culture

Taoiseach on Border Poll: “There are much more serious issues to deal with in the immediate terms and that is where our focus is.”

Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, was, rightly, quick to dismiss Sinn Féin’s attempted distraction predictably opportunistic call for a border poll following the EU referendum result.  Here’s what she told Radio Ulster listeners “The Good Friday Agreement sets out the conditions under which I am required to call for a border poll – more…

Boris Johnson as the next Winston Churchill: not necessarily a complement

Boris Johnson

The Brexit victory has brought forward its leading light in Boris Johnson. Many now expect him to become the next Tory leader with Cameron having announced his resignation. Against that it must be said that the Tory party does not always forgive the slayer of its previous leader: Michael Heseltine never became leader; though Thatcher more…

Northern Ireland votes narrowly for Remain, but what does it mean?

Well, what a night. The final Leave vote will be much narrower than the Yes Vote was in Scotland, and the result much more profound. Although getting out of a long-standing contract with the EU will be a little more complicated. Much of the rapid movement in the money markets have already been exaggerated because more…

Orange Order rates relief: £8.12m. (Twaddell policing costs: £24m, and counting… )

OO Rates

At the NI Assembly on Monday, Christopher Stalford received an answer to an assembly question directed at Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, the Finance Minister, as to the rates relief statistics for Orange Halls. The response tells us that since April 2006, the Orange institution has saved an estimated £8.12 million by being exempt from paying rates. During this time, more…

Euro 2016: Northern Ireland through to last 16

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Despite losing to world champions Germany earlier today, Northern Ireland’s footballers have secured a place in the last 16 of the UEFA European Championship 2016.  There they’ll face either France or Wales. A heroic performance by NI’s freelance keeper, Michael McGovern, kept the ball out of the net on all but one occasion and the more…

CRC Award for Civic Leadership for Fr Martin Magill and Rev Steve Stockman – Relationships as the Foundation for Reconciliation

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The Community Relations Council (CRC) this week presented its annual award for Civic Leadership to Fr Martin Magill of Sacred Heart in North Belfast and Rev Steve Stockman of Fitzroy Presbyterian in South Belfast. Magill and Stockman are outspoken advocates of Christian peacebuilding, regularly making the case in their writing and broadcasting that part of more…

And so #LOLCats strike back in the name of, Remain… #CatsAgainstBrexit

Benson prefers expert veterinary care just as he prefers expert economic forecasting #CatsAgainstBrexit pic.twitter.com/PwEyEPW5G9 — Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) June 20, 2016   Now he's been helped through the arguments, Slammers today declared himself one of the #CatsAgainstBrexit pic.twitter.com/ZwhMh7uYSD — Rich Nelmes (@nelmes) June 20, 2016 He's done his sums, and leaving just doesn't add up more…

#EURef and seeing sense on the matter of national sovereignty…

Is the EU a liability on the ballot papaer?

A Chartered Accountant by professional qualification, Robert Jenkins has over 30 years’ EU-related business experience. He has also been active in Conservative politics, and is the author of Tony Benn, A Political Biography. The UK’s EU Referendum is fundamentally about national sovereignty, but there is little understanding about the EU and how it affects this. more…

Unionism needs to play the Loyal Order card again

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An Orange Forum is needed to cement the Loyal Orders and the unionist parties together again. The Loyal Orders – the Orange, Black and Apprentice Boys – must begin formal negotiations, not just with nationalist residents groups, but also with the leaderships of the various unionist parties to discover precisely where they stand in relation more…

#EURef in grave danger of setting down its own “poisonous foundations”?

EUref 23 June calendar

I’m struck by this optimistic note from Ruth Dudley Edwards… Narrow-minded nationalism is being left behind. We have slowly evolved “a more civilised discourse” and we are much better people for it. She argues that Ireland has become a much more civilised place because it has committed itself (if not always in the slow, patient more…

Happy Christmas, intolerable Joyceans everywhere!

If you don’t know by now, it’s tradition!  And Brendan’s cryptic crossword in today’s Guardian nods in the general direction… Those of a sensitive disposition are duly warned, once again, that James Joyce enjoys the language in all its fecund nuttiness. Adds I should have also noted this brief history of the day that it’s in, also from the more…

#XSS16 – Participation, narratives, storytelling and the rocky road to ‘associative politics’

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Tomorrow I’ll be speaking at the Xchange Summer School on political participation. Now speaking as someone who has never been a serious member of any political party, I’m looking at it from an outsider’s pov. There are a bunch of conundrums facing politics. Participation in political parties is dropping across the board. In Northern Ireland more…

A love letter to William Crawley (et al.)

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A few months a list written by an American visitor to England, detailing everything he found charming and/ or mysterious about his trip, went viral online. This week, when I stumbled on it again, it had the unexpected effect of causing me to think back to how I have enjoyed 30 years of Atlantic 252, more…