Is it OK to punch a Nazi (if your intention is to uphold the rule of law)?

Normally, I try to leave the mad house that is mainstream US politics alone. We’ve enough madness at home to want to go seeking it elsewhere.  This probably shouldn’t need saying, but clearly (judging by some of the general commentaries) it clearly does… The question that has been troubling me, however, is this: is it OK to punch a more…

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Michelle O’Neill proposes a resumption of talks

Michelle O’Neill has proposed the formal resumption of talks to begin on 28th August; “With limited engagement since the talks concluded on 4th July, I am keen to formally re-engage at the earliest opportunity in order to re-establish an Executive and power sharing institutions on a proper and sustainable footing. “Moreover, I do not believe more…

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2017/8 NI Party Conference dates

PARTY CONFERENCE SCHEDULE – a list of the 2017/18 party conferences and gatherings most relevant to followers of NI politics. It’ll be updated with information as and when the parties confirm and share their plans, and updated with links to Slugger’s conference coverage after each event.

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“the UK does not want to see border posts for any purpose…”

Quickly, here’s a resume of Theresa May’s piece in the Irish News today: On the citizenship rights guaranteed by the Belfast Agreement, our position is clear. Northern Ireland remains an integral part of the United Kingdom, but it is also the permanent birthright of the people of Northern Ireland to hold both British and Irish more…

Some bold solutions, several welcome “principles” on dealing with the Irish border. The British paper in full is a serious document

The British paper on the border is at last the meaty  document  long called for. It makes a several  bold and practical suggestions for a seamless border  but leaves much up in the air, laying down “ principles” for future negotiations. Many of these  go far beyond the Irish border issues to the heart of more…

Surgery

What role do consultants play in health service waiting lists?

Seanin Graham’s exclusive in the Irish News “Desperate Patients Pay for Eastern Europe Ops” highlights a persistent problem in our Health Service; lengthening waiting lists.  She focuses on the use by local patients of surgical services in other European states and identifies the lengths some will go to improve their situation.   She has identified the more…

Tackling Educational Underachievement: Poverty, Selection & Comparative Levels of Attainment for Poorest Boys

Last month, I wrote about the welcome improvement in the number of poorer Protestant boys (Free School Meal Entitled) who have secured 5 ‘good’ GCSEs when compared with the figures from previous years. This formed part of a broader article in which I outlined the need to recognize the existence of two underlining themes if more…

The 70th anniversary of the 1947 Education Act has lessons for the DUP

On a different tack the Bel Tel recently published a second article showing unionists in government in a more favourable light. This time it’s an article by Prof Graham  Walker of QUB  on the 70th anniversary of the the passage of the 1947 Education Act.  Would that today’s Stormont could agree on effective measures to more…

More than a hint of things to come on the Irish border

Once this period expires, the UK will look to agree either a “highly streamlined” border with the EU, or a new “partnership” with no customs border at all. This is the most optimistic reading of London’s proposal for “a temporary customs union.” introduced by David.  It gives a pretty broad clue of what they’ll propose more…

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UK Government publishes its Customs Union proposals

The UK Government has begun producing a serious of papers outlining its post-Brexit vision for relations between the UK and the European Union. The 14 page document outlines how the UK will seek a transitional period before attempting to set up a system that gives it basically the same access that it has now. There more…

“in just the same way that nationalists in Northern Ireland can’t permanently settle for their Irish/nationalist identity being simply recognised and accommodated in part of the United Kingdom…”

In yesterday’s News Letter, Alex Kane, in effect, calls ‘bullshit’ on Sinn Féin’s latest pronoucements on a new united Ireland…  and, perhaps, the political psychosis that underlies their thinking.  That’s without addressing the question of the authority to offer any such constitutional guarantees and/or the willingness, or ability, to deliver them.  [It’s ‘Blue Sky’ thinking! more…

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Scenario Four: Doing Less, More Efficiently: Overview.

Scenario Four presents a radical new modus operandi for the European Union. From this avenue, we would see the EU focus its time and resources on delivering more (and faster) in targeted policy areas, while doing less in areas which have traditionally proved to be difficult in forming consensus. In this scenario, the EU27 recognize more…

Surgery

People waiting less than a year in England for surgery compared to five years in Northern Ireland…

Great article by Seanín Graham in today’s Irish News about the ever expanding waiting list for medical operations in Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland patients are waiting on average five years for routine operations. This compares to less than a year in England. From the article: It emerged that one million patients are now waiting more…