Gerry Fitt is laid to rest

His funeral took place today at Westminster Cathedral in central London. In the Guardian’s report it only mentions the presence of prominent figures from the UUP (Trimble) and SDLP (Durkan and Hume) – are we to assume that no-one from SF or the DUP attended?Rivals unite in tribute to Lord Fitt Press Association Wednesday August 31, 2005 Figures from across Northern Ireland’s political divide gathered today to pay their respects to former Social Democratic and Labour party (SDLP) leader Lord … Read more

Clarke candidacy highlights Tory dilemma…

Leading on from where Gonzo left off. Clarke is 65, and this is his third bid for the leadership. Precedent suggests he’s not well matched to an aging party suspicious of his pro-European views (though he’s getting distance between himself and the Euro), and his anti war stance (only five other Tories followed him into the no lobby). But the serial failure of his previous rivals hardly recommends a hard man of the right either.The Times doubts he has the … Read more

a state of devastation

That’s how the Mayor of New Orleans described the scene as flood levels continue to rise, with 80% of the city already under water. The BBC also report that heavily armed police have been trying to impose a form of martial law to stem outbreaks of looting and that the stadium where 20,000 people were taking refuge is being evacuated. Fuller coverage can be found at, New Orleans newspaper, Times-Picayune website, as the media switches to the web. Also worth … Read more

“there’s a slogan to motivate the masses”

Courtesy of the excellent Newshound. The rumours of Newton’s demise have, clearly, been greatly exaggarated – Quite simple really. ‘Love Ulster’ is a terror campaign. Not the old kind of terror campaign, mind you but a new political kind aimed at terrifying people into thinking that all those cows are about to stampede north and chew up our passports. Read the rest here Pete Baker

Keeping Mediocrity At Bay

George Ivan Morrison is 60 today [biography here.. wikipedia page here]. And we should be very grateful for him.. and his music. There are some great sites detailing the career of The Man, the official web-site, and this comprehensive fan-site, which includes some of the less difficult interviews he’s given. As this BBC report notes, BBC Radio Ulster is marking his musical legacy with a Morrison track every hour, and some dedicated programmes including a two-hour celebration at 8pm, hosted … Read more

Blair backs banned Muslim scholar

Is Tony Blair finally trying to put some ‘clear blue water’ between himself and the White House given that Professor Tariq Ramadam (who has been banned in the US and France) has been appointed to a government taskforce? Also it sounds like the White House is getting increasingly peeved by the fact that Tony still hasn’t gone to pick up his Congressional Gold Medal (highest civilian honour) which he was awarded two years ago.Blair backs banned Muslim scholar Vikram Dodd … Read more

Oh brother, where art thou..?

A COLERAINE couple made medical history today by cryogenically freezing some stem cells from the umbilical tube of their second child in South Africa – genetic insurance policy. They did it in order to treat possible future illnesses or diseases the boy might suffer from. The idea isn’t new for ‘saviour siblings’ (as another NI couple illustrated very recently), but as Marie Foy reports: “What is groundbreaking is the concept of storing stem cells in a perfectly healthy baby in … Read more

What was lost in the rejection of Sunningdale

Vincent Browne, is clearly irked by a reference in a recent Daily Ireland article to Gerry Fitt as an ‘Uncle Tomas’ figure in Irish nationalism. In response he asks what benefits Nationalism accrued from Sinn Fein and the IRA’s rejection of the Sunningdale Agreement (subs needed): …there are a few elements to the Belfast Agreement that were not in the Sunningdale agreement – a more robust commitment to human rights and a commitment to devolve policing powers, but did they … Read more

What is eating people in Ballymena?

The ‘troubles’ in Ballymena continue with the targeting of a Catholic Primary school on the Cullybackey Road. The article is accompanied by condemnation from Nationalist politicians. It’s interesting to note that of all victims of these attacks, 75% were Catholic but, surprisingly perhaps, 25% were protestant. None of the reports we’ve seen so far seem to get to the heart of what has actually kicked these incidents off in the first place, nor what appear to have sustained them through … Read more

"there's a slogan to motivate the masses"

Courtesy of the excellent Newshound. The rumours of Newton’s demise have, clearly, been greatly exaggarated – Quite simple really. ‘Love Ulster’ is a terror campaign. Not the old kind of terror campaign, mind you but a new political kind aimed at terrifying people into thinking that all those cows are about to stampede north and chew up our passports. Read the rest here adminA slightly inhuman presence that bans bad comments and works late at night to remove the wrinkles … Read more

Sport Benefiting from Economic Boom

Article from Reuters yesterday on cricket in Ireland adminA slightly inhuman presence that bans bad comments and works late at night to remove the wrinkles in Slugger’s technical carpet. You will need to know about the comments policy to stay off the fightin’ side of me and there is a bit of background about me here. You can email me using this spam-proof link if you really need to, and Slugger is @sluggerotoole on Twitter. But above all, remember, Play … Read more

Oh brother, where art thou..?

A COLERAINE couple made medical history today by cryogenically freezing some stem cells from the umbilical tube of their second child in South Africa – genetic insurance policy. They did it in order to treat possible future illnesses or diseases the boy might suffer from. The idea isn’t new for ‘saviour siblings’ (as another NI couple illustrated very recently), but as Marie Foy reports: “What is groundbreaking is the concept of storing stem cells in a perfectly healthy baby in … Read more

Clarke candidacy highlights Tory dilemma…

Leading on from where Gonzo left off. Clarke is 65, and this is his third bid for the leadership. Precedent suggests he’s not well matched to an aging party suspicious of his pro-European views (though he’s getting distance between himself and the Euro), and his anti war stance (only five other Tories followed him into the no lobby). But the serial failure of his previous rivals hardly recommends a hard man of the right either. The Times doubts he has … Read more

Keeping Mediocrity At Bay

George Ivan Morrison is 60 today [biography here.. wikipedia page here]. And we should be very grateful for him.. and his music. There are some great sites detailing the career of The Man, the official web-site, and this comprehensive fan-site, which includes some of the less difficult interviews he’s given. As this BBC report notes, BBC Radio Ulster is marking his musical legacy with a Morrison track every hour, and some dedicated programmes including a two-hour celebration at 8pm, hosted … Read more

Gerry Fitt is laid to rest

His funeral took place today at Westminster Cathedral in central London. In the Guardian’s report it only mentions the presence of prominent figures from the UUP (Trimble) and SDLP (Durkan and Hume) – are we to assume that no-one from SF or the DUP attended? Rivals unite in tribute to Lord Fitt Press Association Wednesday August 31, 2005 Figures from across Northern Ireland’s political divide gathered today to pay their respects to former Social Democratic and Labour party (SDLP) leader … Read more

Diversity requires a common bottom line

Fascinating piece from Martin Wolf at the FT. Evidently he is not thinking of Northern Ireland, but there may be relevant lessons to be drawn from his argument. He praises British multiculturalism but warns that it has limits and that no political entity can hold with a certain number of key requisites to retain the loyality of its entire population: Human beings, said Aristotle, are political animals. For a political community to flourish there must at least be agreement on … Read more

Clarke's a Tory rogue..!

KEN Clarke is to make another bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Do you find him appealing? adminA slightly inhuman presence that bans bad comments and works late at night to remove the wrinkles in Slugger’s technical carpet. You will need to know about the comments policy to stay off the fightin’ side of me and there is a bit of background about me here. You can email me using this spam-proof link if you really need to, … Read more

Blair backs banned Muslim scholar

Is Tony Blair finally trying to put some ‘clear blue water’ between himself and the White House given that Professor Tariq Ramadam (who has been banned in the US and France) has been appointed to a government taskforce? Also it sounds like the White House is getting increasingly peeved by the fact that Tony still hasn’t gone to pick up his Congressional Gold Medal (highest civilian honour) which he was awarded two years ago. Blair backs banned Muslim scholar Vikram … Read more