Archive | June, 2006

In other political news..

Spare a thought today for Peter Hain [Eh? – Ed] in his other job as Secretary of State for Wales following New Labour’s double by-election defeat in the Welsh constituency of Blaenau Gwent… although no-one seems to have sought his opinion on that yet, despite his early appearance in the campaign.. ANYway.. Elsewhere [that would more…

Wells too ‘green’ for DUP…

JIM Wells has stood down as the DUP’s environment spokesman. Seems he was a bit too ‘green’, taking a lead on an environmental protection agency, better controls over rural development and national parks that was out of step with the party. Jim is well known for his progressive views and dedicated work on the environment, more…

Peel, the Whigs, and the recovery of compassionate conservatism?

Sticking with the Young Unionists for a moment. One of the most underrated Northern Irish bloggers is Brian Crowe. In this piece he goes back to an interesting point in British history, the repeal of the Corn Laws and the rise of powerful notions political economy. He links it directly to a new-ish work, by more…

Make the Lords a Senate?

Make the Lords a Senate?

One of our team, Michael Shilliday, also a lead blogger at the Young Unionist blog. His most recent post is a consideration of radical reform of Westminster’s upper chamber, the House of Lords, which he argues should be made fully democratic and re-christened as the UK Senate.

Remembering men of Ulster and Ireland...

Remembering men of Ulster and Ireland…

In the past the commemoration of the Somme has been an all Unionist affair in Ireland. Bertie Ahern is determined to follow up the full on commemoration of the Rising with a rather more sobre recognition of the Irishmen who died in the same battle alongside the 36th (Ulster) Division, featured in this Irish stamp more…

Britain’s oldest veteran remembers the Somme…

With the commemoration of the first day of the Battle of the Somme coming up tomorrow, here is one of the most outstanding snippets of radio from the last few years. An interview with Britain’s oldest war veteran, Henry Allingham on the Today Programme two years ago. For a man of 108, he pulls no more…

Just how unionist are they?

Something that Andrew McCann said yesterday interested me. Failure to include the leaders of Provo terror in government will, in essence, mark a return of the AIA with some window-dressing North/Southery. Even I could live with that, so I’m sure the DUP and the pro-Union people will be able to in preference to Martin McGuinness more…

Defining Success – Sinn Fein Style

Cookstown Sinn Fein Councillor, Michael McIvor, has been boasting about the murderous capacity of the PIRA. Apparently the fact that the CIRA and RIRA have failed to match their death toll of soldiers and police officers means they are “Brit-loving”.

Media ban on revealing Scap’s whereabouts….

Not sure what’s behind this, but the High Court has slapped a ban on anyone publishing material that could lead to the whereabouts of Freddie Scappaticci, the man accused of being Stakeknife, a British informer at the heart of IRA operations. In the past the British government has refused to confirm or deny whether Scappaticci more…

Geese, ganders and Orange fest

Belfast City Council The Department of Social Development has just announced a major funding inititiave for Orange Fest. Miss Fitz noted just last week that Féile was facing a funding cut of £100,000, so I am sure that some awkward questions will be asked about the parity of funding. I am well aware that there more…

Football fan challenges IFA Sunday ban…

A BELFAST man who couldn’t hold a six-a-side football game on a Sunday under the auspices of the never-on-a-Sunday Irish Football Association is taking a case against the IFA. My prediction is that he will win – maybe even before FIFA tells IFA to get with the programme or get lost.

Another peace process about to start…

THE Spanish government is to start talks with Basque separatists ETA. Given the influence of Irish republicanism on the Basques, it will be interesting to see if they are going to echo the Northern Irish process. Looks like another long-haul operation regardless, and I hope the two sides can reach meaningful agreement faster than we’re more…

No Catholics need apply, says Blair…

THE Prime Minister has refused to act on Alex Salmond’s call for the British Government to repeal the Act of Settlement, which bars Catholics from becoming king or queen of England and prohibits members of the royal family who marry Catholics from taking the throne.

British/Irish omen…?

THERE were a few more hints about the possibility of British/Irish joint stewardship/authority yesterday. If you were cynical you’d almost think that there was a kind of ‘accidental’ symbolism about the British and Irish premiers being in Northern Ireland on the same day as the Irish head of state and a member of the British more…

Water Service vulnerable to collective action?

Interesting piece from Newton Emerson from the Irish News last week, in which he points out a potential loophole in legislation that could open the Water Service to a concerted action against a rise in Water Rates.By Newton Emerson It is my rare and genuine pleasure to put a reader’s mind at rest. Newry native more…

Water Service vulnerable to collective action?

Interesting piece from Newton Emerson in which he points out a potential loophole in legislation that could open the Water Service to a concerted action against a rise in Water Rates.By Newton Emerson It is my rare and genuine pleasure to put a reader’s mind at rest. Newry native ‘BL’ wrote to the Irish News more…

Fishing with Woods

I’m not completely sure I want to re-open the fish/poetry/Kilkeel debate, but I did receive an e-mail from Dave Woods, which might go part of the way to explaining where he and the project were coming from and hoping to go to. Dave also explains how the flow of language from the children came about, more…

Miss Fitz on Sunday Sequence

I find that listening to Radio Ulster is one those chores in life that has become inevitable. Mostly dull or banal, with spuriously contentious shows, there are very few highlights during the week. There are exceptions of course, although these too tend to be hit and miss. One show in particular has always stood head more…

Selling port assets to pay peace dividend?

Selling port assets to pay peace dividend?

Gary McDonald, the business editor for the Irish News reports on a plan to hand over the 1,950-acre Harbour Estate which stretches from Holywood to the Belfast Lough’s northern foreshore to the Strategic Investment Board in order to pay for the deal being demanded by Northern Ireland’s political parties as the price for a return more…

Faul sent Paisley message of support…

Interesting snippet from the press conference at Stormont today. Ian Paisley claimed to have had a message of support from Denis Faul, in pursuit of those bodies disappeared by the IRA: “One of the last things he did from his death bed was that he sent me a personal message that said Ian do not more…