“I give them instructions on a subconscious level.”

While our local players continue posturing preparations for the St Andrews showdown.. in another corner of the globe, a corner that is in fact a very strange state of mind, the less-glamorous sounding cottage 15 of City Chess is being prepared. However, with Kalmykia being Europe’s only Buddhist republic, as well as being under the spell of President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who happens to be President of FIDE, that’s likely to be a rather grand cottage. In keeping with the history, … Read more

Derry’s Duddy IBA’s World Middleweight Champ

All that sledgehammer training pays off as Derry-born pugilist John Duddy wins IBA World middleweight title in a unanimous points decision against Yori Boy Campas last night in NY’s Madison Square Gardens, despite being cut above both eyes in the second round. Pete Baker

The Chameleon conference?

The Conservative Party Conference is to have a new interactive format. It will include push button votes and a Dragon’s Den for policy proposals but where is the substance? It also seems the voters want ot hear some clear ideas from Cameron and the Conservatives. Meanwhile has Cameron been reading Mick’s tips on blogging or not? The “Introduction to webcameron” seems to be following the lead of cringe comedy with the cringe political broadcast. Lee Reynolds

“They will play with one team but it is up to them how they do it.”

As Gonzo noted back in July, Tony Blair had said he thought “it would be a good idea” to have a Great Britain [and NI – Ed] football team at the 2012 London Olympics, the difficulty would be getting the four football associations to agree. Today’s Guardian reports that at a meeting on Thursday two of the four did agree – the Scottish and Welsh FAs did not attend. A British women’s football team will compete in Beijing 2008, and … Read more

Blog tip #5: Keep it quick, light and consistent…

Keeping a blog is about being brief and to the point. When you write, keep in mind Italo Calvino’s unfinished six memos: ‘Lightness,” ”Quickness,” ”Exactitude,” ”Visibility,” ”Multiplicity” and the unwritten sixth, “Consistency”. All of these qualities are key to a good blog, but the last is essential. As the British Labour MP blog champion Tom Watson has said, it is his blog archives that keep him honest. Previously: It’s a social thing! Next: Never underestimate your audience… The first Irish … Read more

Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and News Letter lose Planning Service adverts

An interesting announcement today from the Planning Service, offically part of the brief held by David Cairns, MP [he wears some other hats too – Ed]. Apparently as a result of the review of advertising by the NIO, from 9 October Planning Service will no longer be paying to advertise in the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and News Letter.. and they’ve revealed the new list of newspaper titles where adverts will be placed including, given recent events in the local … Read more

Has Gerry started dying his hair?

Could it be that Gerry Adams has started dying his hair? It certainly appears to be a rinse at the very least. Or was it just the studio lighting? Adams makes his appearance 1 minute and five seconds into the clip. George

Weekend might not bring relief for Ahern

While Bertie’s gifts/personal loans might not be the subject of discussions in the D�il again until Tuesday, elsewhere they remain a topic of interest. Not least in the Irish Times, who today suggest that the revelation of the Manchester gift of �8,000, which Ahern claims was for his appearance in a personal capacity, came about because he believed the Irish Times had that information already. Also related, the Irish Times lawyers have told the Mahon Tribunal that they will not … Read more

Northern Ireland’s mystery politics…

But does anybody really care? Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

Time out until Tuesday…

It seems the news of Bertie’s resignation was pre-mature, though it also seems there has been a lot of backroom powerplay going on. On the scale of things, £8,000 is neither here nor there. Although it would seem an important principle has been breached, Ahern is squeaky clean compared to some of his more notorious forebears, who clearly believed he had disposited his duty by making disclosure to the Moriarty Tribunal.No one in cabinet is particularly keen to see him … Read more

A partnership for the future…

Martin Bright, one of the New Statesman’s best recruits in the last few years, has an interesting thought. After all the gloom of the last few months within Labour, there may be a new partnership in the offing that gives the Chancellor the opportunity to begin crawling back some of the plausibility he’s lost through the continual catfighting of his own and Tony Blair’s seemingly unindentured retainers. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the … Read more

Time for serious Unionist outreach…

Though there was some derision at the appointment of Martina Anderson as Sinn Fein’s ‘point woman’ on Unionism, there is, some argue, in comparative termsat least little concerted attempt to reciprocate. Johnny Andrews argues that the context for long term debate has changed. Even Sinn Fein, he argues, recognises that Northern Ireland is a much more meritocratic society. The Union he believe is safe. Therefore, it is time for Unionists to begin to seriously court the direct votes of Catholics. … Read more

a stationery challenge

I’ve just bought an exciting (for me) piece of machinery. Whilst mulling over my laminator, I considered what I would like to cover in this delightfully smooth plastic. Perhaps my memories of the Mournes or The Good Life re-runs. What then, would sluggerees, sluggerettes and sluggeroos like to capture and laminate of Ireland and why? Dave Wood

Ahern to resign, Oireachtas in chaos..?

If this is true, and we’ve no reason to think that David and the guys at Politics.ie are wrong, then it might explain Michael McDowell’s strange reversal on RTE this evening… Keep watching this space… Update from Politics.ie: 20.35 – It now seems unlikely that Ahern will resign tonight, preferring to hold out for the Dail to debate/discuss the matter on Tuesday (as Tom Kitt has allowed), however with the PDs in discussions tonight, will they be the ones made … Read more

Wheels within Labour’s nasty wheels…

This stuff is getting hard to follow, but Derek Draper’s picked up on a long term war of attrition by what he calls the ‘Bunker Blairites’ to freeze Gordon Brown out of the job of next PM… Looks like a Hobbesian nightmare coming up: “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”? Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking … Read more

Peter Hain backs integrated education

The Secretary of State received widespread applause from delegates when he told the Labour Party conference in Manchester today that “we want much more integrated education in Northern Ireland as well.” Gary KentGary Kent is a graduate of international relations. After spells in management in British Rail and the Co-Op he began work in parliament in 1987 where he was active for two decades on Anglo-Irish peace activity against terrorism and now as secretary of the all-party parliamentary group on … Read more

Hearts and Minds: great opportunity?

The Candy Stripes are playing in Paris tonight, so Hearts and Minds is on at Seven on BBC1: …it’s been a day of talks between the Secretary of State and the parties. No bullying says Peter Hain, but has he convinced them of the “great opportunity” offered by devolution? And back to the Polish theme. How are the tens of thousands of new migrants settling down, and are they ready to embrace politics, local style… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor … Read more

“Northern Ireland must work to a solution that will work”

It’s not entirely clear just how good-natured those exchanges noted earlier were between Ian Paisley and Peter Hain, with one report describing Hain as grim-faced, but other reports fill in some of the detail of what was said.. and the BBC’s Mark Devenport adds a tangential note on the breakfast’s sponsor – Belfast Chinese restaurateur, Man Lee House [mischeivous by Mr Devenport, that should be the “Foo Kin Noodle Bar” – Ed] Just to add, what most of the reports … Read more

North Southery moves into mission creep mode

The Ulster Unionist Party have come to the shocking realisation that ties between the north and south of this island continue to be strengthened despite the fact that there is no Assembly. “We are greatly concerned that North South Bodies have gone into mission creep. Internal and external issues were supposed to exist as mutually dependent entities. If the Assembly falls, the North South element should also fall. But regrettably this has not been the case,” says South Antrim MLA … Read more