Scottish hustings … via NUS Scotland

Election anoraks in need of a regular fix of political argie-bargie may want to dip into last night’s NUS Scotland’s Big Election Debate last night with Anas Sarwar (Scottish Labour), Carole Ford (Scottish Lib Dems), Douglas Ross (Scottish Tories), Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) and Ross Greer (Scottish Greens). Compared with any similar encounter with NI politicians, it felt remarkably calm and devoid of simple point-scoring.

More ambitious emissions targets emerge as climate crisis worsens

It is being reported that Boris Johnson will announce more radical Climate Change commitments later this week that will “set the UK on course to cut carbon emissions by 78% by the year 2035.” US President Joe Biden along with his climate envoy John Kerry will on Thursday host a virtual summit of 40 world leaders to discuss the climate crisis and seek new commitments to help fulfil the 2015 Paris Agreement. The US are expected to announce their emissions …

Read more…More ambitious emissions targets emerge as climate crisis worsens

European Super League proposal a stab in the back to the sport we hold so dear

It has been bubbling away in the background for months. But finally last night the hammer blow was dealt, a new European Super League was announced with 15 founding clubs. This league has guaranteed automatic qualification for all founding clubs. There will be mechanisms in place for a further five teams to qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season. Yes, you read that right, only 5 other teams across the whole of Europe. However, the European Super League …

Read more…European Super League proposal a stab in the back to the sport we hold so dear

Stamping out sectarianism will take cultural revolution…

Youth training? Magee expansion? NHS reform? York street interchange? Phase 3 railway upgrade? New railway? Greenways? High standard public housing? Welfare reform? Nope, buy off people with grants and demeaning programmes through gatekeepers… https://t.co/iBo97wIbi6 — Jay Burbank (@jay_burbank) April 19, 2021 When I was in P7 there was a great debate around our table, are the colour of curbs “red, white and blue” or “blue, white and red?” We hadn’t the foggiest notion of the subtext much less because many …

Read more…Stamping out sectarianism will take cultural revolution…

How the media can frame a story depending on what perspective they want to show…

One of the most powerful photos from the funeral of Prince Philip yesterday was the Queen sitting on her own. It was a good photo but was it a true reflection of what happened? as a similar photo a few minutes later shows the other family members near the Queen: Queen could take a 'step back' from royal duties after Philip's funeral, expert claimshttps://t.co/1oj1eR5D3H pic.twitter.com/s0znddLAwf — The Mirror (@DailyMirror) April 18, 2021 The headline for this photo could have been …

Read more…How the media can frame a story depending on what perspective they want to show…

The embers of sectarianism and violent protest never seem to burn out and are all too easily fanned.

“Young people in Northern Ireland are heir to an historical legacy of sectarian social division.” Acts of Union: Youth culture and sectarianism in Northern Ireland, Desmond Bell, 1990   “North Belfast is witnessing the creation of the next wave of paramilitary gunmen. Today they are aged eight, their stones bouncing harmlessly off the …..police Land Rovers…… But  unless things change ….many of these children…….. will know exactly how much sugar is needed in a petrol bomb.” Belfast streets spawn a …

Read more…The embers of sectarianism and violent protest never seem to burn out and are all too easily fanned.

A new series of conversations on the future

Holywell Trust’s third series of Forward Together podcasts is launched today. As with the previous series, the focus is on how to make progress in Northern Ireland and heal our divided society. In these latest podcasts we consider some of the ideas that emerged from previous interviews – which were edited together into the book, ‘Lessons from the Troubles and the Unsettled Peace’. Unfortunately, recent events make these ideas even more relevant for urgent consideration. Suggestions discussed further in the …

Read more…A new series of conversations on the future

Unionism, which has too often relied upon fear of the future, needs a future positive strategy

Editor’s note: Slugger has had a upturn in readers for coverage that’s more reflective than the ‘look petrol bombs!’ material so popular elsewhere. We try to maintain a long term perspective in preference to thrills that sell copy/views. Here’s good piece from occasional Slugger contributor Trevor Ringland that missed the mainstream cut elsewhere.   The violent scenes that have played out on our streets over the past days have been affected by a considerable number of issues. There is the protection of criminal empires, …

Read more…Unionism, which has too often relied upon fear of the future, needs a future positive strategy

Soapbox: Could our future lie in a Celtonian confederation?

Dorcha Lee is a retired Irish Army Colonel, defence analyst, op ed writer and international election observer. He offers a thought experiment. What if Northern Ireland opted for Independence and moved towards a wider confederation? The official opening of the Celtonian Bridge over the North Channel, on the 12 July 2069,  captured the imagination of millions of Celtonians, and easily eclipsed the centenary  of the Moon Landing. The new double decker bridge carried the high speed rail link connecting Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, …

Read more…Soapbox: Could our future lie in a Celtonian confederation?

Brexit and now Covid management shows Johnson’s government is blind to the threat of UK disintegration: a new insider report

Some years ago I found myself  as one of a small team  called to the Cabinet Office to be asked to do a study of the state of the devolution because Whitehall was too busy  to do it themselves. The official in charge was Philip Rycroft who in retirement has now let fly with both barrels. Little in this report by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at Cambridge is breaking news; but it updates an absence of pan -UK …

Read more…Brexit and now Covid management shows Johnson’s government is blind to the threat of UK disintegration: a new insider report

Questions remain about the origin of Covid 19…

I try to avoid being duped by conspiracies theories. When I read about a cabal of paedophiles in the basement of a Washington pizzeria, I switch off. When Donald J Trump is too quick to say that Coivd19 was made in China, I know better. I always try to keep objectively to the facts convinced I can spot the lunatic fringe at their zany work from a mile off. But sometimes, somehow, a weird story cannot be easily dismissed. Things …

Read more…Questions remain about the origin of Covid 19…

The NI Protocol is shaky ground upon which to build a better future.

In addition to some unionists echoing the worst traits of ‘big house unionism ‘with patronising and condescending statements stressing working class credentials, parroted condemnations of recent protests and street violence, the main thrust, of a for once civil conversation between MLAs, highlighted leadership but lacking in any visible self-referencing. The special sitting of the Assembly did not seem to achieve much There was little emphasis on the fact that the first person that any erstwhile leader has to lead is …

Read more…The NI Protocol is shaky ground upon which to build a better future.

“Nationalism’s sectarian success is not surprising, but its triumphalism is a shock…”

Did you notice when Sammy Wilson called Robin Swann a poodle? The outrage was such that Arlene Foster had to distance herself from him. Then there was the meltdown when a Dublin cartoonist dared to depict Mary Lou McDonald as a witch. The latter was a rather clever rendering of Sinn Fein’s persistent strategy of deploying the Trumpian technique of bombarding the public with ever shifting provocations in order to achieve what psychologists call cognitive overload. But did you hear …

Read more…“Nationalism’s sectarian success is not surprising, but its triumphalism is a shock…”

Article 16: “the political equivalent of telling a delinquent pupil they can only get out of a locked classroom by setting it alight…”

Out with Slugger (we’ve had more than 30k readers this week since Monday) there’s been a general shortage of analysis of how we got to rioting 12 year olds across NI. One obvious exception being Newton, the hardest working ‘hack’: Inside Politics w/ @hlinehan "The obnoxiousness, the sneering at loyalist Leave voters… can only be making things worse. It seems more important to far too many people to cling to self-righteousness than to actually fix this" – @NewtonEmersonhttps://t.co/ARlc5mSZCZ — Audio …

Read more…Article 16: “the political equivalent of telling a delinquent pupil they can only get out of a locked classroom by setting it alight…”

EU statesmanship needed in order to close the space available for local political mischief…

One of the things Pete Baker taught me early on in the life of Slugger was never to skip too far ahead of what you know you know. What we know about the riots is that they’re serious (the injury list of police officers tell us that), but small scale. That does not mean to say it cannot get worse, or that I think the rioters should be pandered to. I don’t seriously believe that these youths are seriously concerned …

Read more…EU statesmanship needed in order to close the space available for local political mischief…

Unionism in a tailspin is bad for Unionism but it’s bad for everyone in Northern Ireland too…

For some time now I have been voicing grave concerns about the direction in which Unionism is travelling in and indeed the underlying problems that have hamstrung it, however, over the last week we have seen Unionism and Loyalism in a tailspin, and as both groupings begin to lose control, pockets of violence have broken out across Northern Ireland. The core issues that have stymied Unionism at present are as follows: – Leadership vacuum – Lacking a vision – Incompetence …

Read more…Unionism in a tailspin is bad for Unionism but it’s bad for everyone in Northern Ireland too…

For the sake of future generations, we simply cannot go on like this…

I remember back in 1984 being on holiday on a Greek island and wasting an evening drinking largely on my own while a friend who hailed from the loyalist part of the Donegall Road, spent hours trying to convince a friendly English couple that he was British not Irish. After around two hours of the best persuasive arguments he could muster, the woman said, ‘But you’re Irish!’ I learned a couple of lessons that evening, one was not to waste …

Read more…For the sake of future generations, we simply cannot go on like this…

A moment to back our institutions, not abandon them to the dull familiar nihilism of the past. 

A professor of mine went to go hear Derrida speak once. The entire talk was about cows; everyone was flummoxed but listened carefully, and took notes about…cows. There was a short break, and when Derrida came back, he was like, “I’m told it is pronounced ‘chaos.’” -Phil Gentry, on Twitter For the last year, with perhaps the exception of the US election and its later ramifications, politics has mostly been evident from its general absence. Even Brexit has benefited from …

Read more…A moment to back our institutions, not abandon them to the dull familiar nihilism of the past. 

The tone and economics of Northern Ireland’s political debate has to change.

Well here we are again. Not for the first time, Northern Ireland hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Rioting, damage and disorder are being broadcast across our TV screens again and the familiar sound of the police helicopter in the sky. It’s hard to try and rationalise why these instances of violence erupt. Moreover, the sense of helplessness as you struggle to figure out how to stop it. Often this place feels like the USA, violence erupts, we …

Read more…The tone and economics of Northern Ireland’s political debate has to change.