Allen Greenspan and a Yellow Submarine walk into this bar …..

A yellow submarine was found at the 2000 foot level on top of the Ben Lomond section of the San Andreas Fault in the Santa Cruz Mountains just west of me. No one knew what the submarine was seeking at that altitude:-T Six thousand miles due east is another submarine (or two or three) of great interest to those of us who live on the faultline. While the Bushies have been concentrating on North Korea’s fledgling nuclear industry, the Peoples … Read more

More promises..

UKUP multi-candidate Bob McCartney has pledged to represent each and every constituency for which he is elected.. assuming he is elected that is. Previously the Electoral Office had issued a statement on candidates elected in more than one constituency [pdf file] which, referring to the Northern Ireland Assembly (Elections) Order 2001, assumed that a vacancy would be created in such circumstances.. Bob begs to differ – “By-elections will not take place unless he resigns, which he does not intend to … Read more

Promises, promises..

A quick point to note on the Sinn Féin manifesto, launched today. The PA report has some interesting detail on the pledges it contains – more below the fold Sinn Fein also pledged in its 50-page manifesto to: :: Achieve fully democratically accountable civic policing, secure the transfer of policing and justice powers from Westminster to Stormont by May 2008, develop a balanced and comprehensive strategy to acknowledge and address the suffering of victims and survivors, force the British government … Read more

Not too late for Ireland to take a lead in planning and design

The Irish Republic has the fastest growing population in Europe, rising at a rate of 2.5% per annum. It is estimated that the figure will reach 5 million before 2020, especially with between 70,000 to 100,000 immigrants arriving every year. This burgeoning population growth has led to an unrelenting boom in housing output with almost half of all dwellings in Ireland now having been planned and delivered by the private sector since 1990. Unfortunately a lack of planning has led … Read more

EEAG warns Irish economy “vulnerable to a global downturn.”

UTV picks up on the particular risks facing the Irish economy from a global economic downturn, as detailed by the European Economic Advisory Group which is holding a series of press conferences across Europe to launch their 2007 Report on the European Economy, press release here – the full report can be downloaded here. The report includes a chapter which focusses on the risks to the economies of Ireland and Italy [pdf file].. one an example of expansionary shock, the … Read more

DUP continues its campaign for the Irish who are culturally British

Gregory Campbell of the DUP continues to campaign for what he believes are the large numbers of southerners living in Northern Ireland who are just itching to take up naturalised British citizenship. This even though just 270 out of an estimated population of 40,000 took up the option last year. Campbell blames red tape for the low uptake and believes huge numbers would be prepared to hold a British passport. “There are thousands who want this and would be entitled … Read more

“Necessary provision will be ringfenced and is provided for in the unallocated reserve in the plan.”

The Irish government Finance Minister Brian Cowen has announced that his government is proposing five specific cross-border funds, covering: “education, skills and innovation; energy research including renewable and sustainable energy; regional development; tourism development; poverty, social inclusion and community infrastructure.” Although it’s not all new money, and despite the suggestion in the lead paragraph from the linked report, it probably isn’t actually dependent on a restored assembly. Notably there is already a fund for energy research including renewable and sustainable … Read more

Assembly could block water charges.. but bill will remain to be paid.

As Mick noted previously Water Tax is one of the main issues of this election and with all parties in opposition, to one degree or another, the reported intervention today by the Department of Regional Development is worth noting. [aren’t they supposed to be in purdah? – Ed] A spokeswoman for the Department said: “Should a restored Assembly wish to either amend or repeal the provisions of the Order (water charges law) they could do so, as they could any … Read more

Timeline 1994: Benn on ‘the Irish question’

Here’s a fascinating insight into the way the British left viewed the Northern Irish question back at the beginning of the IRA ceasefire, when only John Hume was prepared to admit talking to Sinn Fein in public. Interesting set of questions though. And it features a classic Benn device of turning into the questioner of his own interviewer.

Unification postponed by a year..?

Here’s one for our erstwhile commenter lib2016 (who has had his fair share of stick for his chosen moniker). Mark Devenport has worked out that Sinn Fein’s plea for a peace dividend over the next ten years takes us up to 2017… A bit of short term slippage in the timetable, or are the pennies just slowly dropping out of the party’s back pocket?

Durkan calls for Border Poll…

Mark Durkan has called for an early poll on unification, and presumably the opportunity to campaign vigorously for a united Ireland. Given the DUP are pushing the degree of confidence within the Unionist community as a drop in those who think a united island is inevitable, they may well be pushing at a closed door. 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 … Read more

On Slugger Radio tonight…

This evening we begin the programme slightly earlier than usual at 7.30. We kick off with an interview with Mitchel McLaughlin on his way to a public meeting in Crumlin tonight. Then we hope to hear from Ciaran Mussen, the guitar playing Green with the big money backing (at Eastwoods that is), before turning the back end of the programme over to our two resident number crunchers, Sammy Morse and Gordon Lucy. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He … Read more

Sammy Morse on, South Antrim…

Sammy does a panoramic analysis of this heterogeneous, largely suburban constituency, which last time out gave rise to a three way game of electoral musical chairs for the last two places of the ballot. On that occasion Sinn Fein was the loser. This time however, he reckons the scramble for seats could include a difficult rearguard battle for the UUP in defending its second seat against a surging DUP. Last time, both the Ulster Unionists and DUP had two clear … Read more

Wot, no Sinn Fein blog?

Not sure what is happening with the Sinn Fein election blog. We picked it up on a few days ago, and duly added it to the election panel. However, since then we’ve discovered there is only one category and, it would seem, just one blog entry: a constituency report from Derry. Hmmm… The UUP blog seemed to have a similarly slow start, but is now picking up a head of steam. Clearly time is precious, particularly when with the lack … Read more

Live by the sword…

NONE of the online news reports of the inquest into the unlawful killing in Iraq of a former paratrooper who lived in Belfast seem to have mentioned his past. Working as a security consultant for Kroll Inc in Baghdad after leaving the army, Dolman, originally from Nottingham, was killed by a suicide bomber in 2004. However, two years ago, a BBC programme accused Dolman of firing the shots in Iraq which lead to the murders of six Red Caps. The … Read more

Lord Falls on, collusion…

Not sure how to introduce this next item. For those of you who are regular subscribers to Fortnight, Lord Falls will need no introduction. For the rest, read on…Lord Falls – – Diary of a slightly revolutionary constitutionalist Nuala, a chara dhil, I’m just dropping you a wee note to thank you for the great services to truth and justice that you have done to my people. At last it is becoming clear what the real nature of conflict on … Read more

“Deal will come sooner than people think”

While Alex Kane acknowledges that this election campaign has to be one of the dullest on record, he also notes that in the dull detail of the campaign he sees the space emerging in which a one time fundamentalist political project is preparing to move on. By Alex Kane Is it just me, or is this a really dull election campaign so far? And I don’t just mean dull in the sense that a David Ford speech is dull; I … Read more

Alliance propose Schengen based ‘hot pursuit…

When David Ford told Radio Slugger (3/4 of the way through) he was not part of the moderate middle, but rather the ‘radical centre’, he may well have had this manifesto commitment’s in mind. Alliance would like to see the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Gardai able to pursue suspects on the other side of the Irish border. Such an instrument could be based on the European Union`s Schengen Agreement and would be an important tool in the … Read more

Non payment of water bill meeting tonight…

Water Tax is a big issue in this election, although since they are all against it (albeit for different reasons) it remains to be seen whether it will determine the final destination of any votes at all is another matter. Anyway, the ICTU is organising a meeting in Grosvenor House, Glengall Street (an historic address to conjure with) in an effort to organise a non payment of bills campaign, for when the bills arrive on April Fools Day: The Trade … Read more

Good use of flickr…

From SDLP Campaign. I should point out that the flickr group does not just contain stuff from the political parties, but they are in the mix. The SDLP get some fictitious Slugger prize or other for this wee gem, pointing out the massive up sizing of MI5 (and concomittant downsizing of Special Branch) in Holywood. 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 … Read more