Archive | July, 2006

Consultation for Permanent Victims Commissioner

I’ve covered the Interim Victims Commissioner a couple of times in the past, and there has been some discussion on various aspects of the role. The Victims Unit announced last week that the consultation process to establish a permanent post of Victims Commissioner was beginning and would last until September 15th. This was never going more…

Best of both worlds a.k.a. all the benefits, no political costs?

Thought for the day following a couple of conversations over the past few days. A number of potential benefits of all-island co-operation have been claimed e.g. mobile phone costs, electricity market. ASSUME all the claimed benefits are true and the practical difficulties can be overcome e.g. creating a common electricity market from a public monopoly more…

“In politics, as elsewhere, timing is all.”

As the News Leter says, “Secretary of State Peter Hain has taken the unusual step of penning an open letter to unionism” Unusual also in that it appears to be an open letter exclusive to the News Letter. I’ve emphasised some of the more interesting lines below, but there are a couple of other references more…

Orange in Scotland to offer ‘tolerance’ classes?

Today, page 10, The Times: The Orange Order is to hold religious tolerance classes for youngsters in the West of Scotland, in a bid to combat sectarianism. The Order, which has about 2,500 members in the region, will invite children to learn about Islam and Catholicism. Thanks to EE for the heads up!

The global ‘wonderbra’ effect…

One of the things that demonstrates how far behind Northern Ireland is in terms of what’s happening in the wider world. Even if you don’t like economics, I recommend heartily that you take some time out to watch this presentation from Hans Rosling, who notes how widespread preconceptions of how the world is split into more…

SDLP: strengths and weaknesses made public...

SDLP: strengths and weaknesses made public…

I had a heads up on this story last week, but by the time I looked it had been swamped by Daily Ireland’s notoriously unnavigable archiving system. But it’s a fascinating read and an excellent piece of journalism. It seems they’ve got a hold of a confidential consultant’s report suggesting to the SDLP that it more…

GAA President participates in Hunger Strike Commemorations

GAA President participates in Hunger Strike Commemorations

The Daily Ireland reports that recently elected GAA President, Nickey Brennan offically opened a new GAA field named in honour of the IRA INLA terrorist and hunger striker, Kevin Lynch. Has the new president, the GAA clubs and members breached Rule 7A? The article says that these events were organised by “Sinn Fein and Republican more…

Defining marriage

A human rights challenge for recognition of a Canadian gay marriage of a Yorkshire lesbian couple has been rejected in the High Court. The ruling defined marriage as “an age old institution” that was “a means to encourage monogomy and the procreation of children, to be nurtured in a family unit with both maternal and more…

If there were an election today

Electoral Calculus says present poll trends would leave the Labour Party 20 short of an overall majority. Boundary issues and concentration of support mean the Tories would still be behind Labour despite an almost 3.5% lead in the popular vote. The Lib Dems with 32 seats would hold the balance of power. Will these trends more…

The power of fiction

The power of fiction

The Bangladeshi community of Brick Lane held a protest against the proposed film adaption of the award-winning novel named after their community. They object to the stereotyping of their community and believe the film will reinforce this. Plans to film scenes of the film in Brick Lane have been dropped because of the local opposition. more…

Infrastructural boost

Infrastructural boost

Secretary of State Peter Hain has announced an increase in road infrastructure investment from £1bn to £1.4bn from now to 2015. The traditional complaint of the West being ignored is (partially?) addressed with an almost even split in the new investment. Investment in infrastructure is generally considered a key plank in economic development.

Adams: we will wait and see…

Mark Devenport interviews Gerry Adams, and kicks through some of the key issues facing the parties going into 24th November. On Paisley and the Executive, “…that’s the only thing he can veto, everything else he can’t veto”. . Interestingly he does concede that it is Sinn Fein’s job to try to pursuade Unionism of its more…

Governments spreading credibility too thinly?

Eilis O’Hanlon is sceptical of current government strategy. In particular: …the ongoing attempt to detach the activities of individual members of the IRA from the IRA itself. And because it is practically impossible to prove that individual operations were ever sanctioned directly by the Army Council, it is always feasible to cast each crime committed more…

Former Irish News editor direct descendant of Jesus?

It’s one of those things you dearly wish you had thought of first. American woman Kathleen McGowan has written a book about her ancestors, and has been signed by Simon and Schuster to complete a trilogy for a 7-figure sum. Oh, her ancestors were none other than Jesus and Mary Magdalene, hence the almighty international more…

UDA on the streets.. reluctantly.. allegedly..

Several media reports on the ongoing tension within the social workers UDA and specifically in North Belfast. The BBC refers to a “public show of strength” yesterday, while the Sunday Life provides some detail on what has been going on over the last few days, and I note another mention of Brian Madden, previously spotted more…

Islands of success in a collectivist sea

The centre-right think tank Reform has launched a report arguing the harm Labour’s greater public spending is having upon the poorer parts of the United Kingdom. This imbalance is feeding economic and demograhic changes that could become a self-perpetuating cycle of ever-growing dependency. However, it highlights how a number of cities (Leeds, Liverpoool, Manchester and more…

CRJ: a private deal, but is it legal?

It lseems that British Government plans to approve the running of CRJ under official auspices are running into deeper water. One Ulster Unionist insider told Slugger that the key question should not be whether CRJ should be funded or not, but whether its activities were actually legal. Former Taoiseach Garrett FitzGerald lays some heavy charges more…

La Haine…

HOW long before unionists adopt the language of Brian Feeney and refer to the Secretary of State as ‘proconsul’? The News Letter comes close with its description of Peter Hain as “ruling this part of the United Kingdom like a colonial-style British viceroy”, after the cost of his various jaunts to sporting events was revealed. more…