Archive | July, 2007

Big Bird enters Maze controversy...

Big Bird enters Maze controversy…

AFTER reading Pete’s post below about muppets in Northern Ireland, I emailed Big Bird to get his opinion on the big issues of the day. Since feathers make it hard to type, our yellow friend simply emailed this picture back to me when I asked for his position on where the new national stadium should more…

Two new muppets for Northern Ireland

As noted some time ago, Sesame Street Workshops, with $1 million from the American Ireland Fund are producing 26 shows to teach tolerance to children in Northern Ireland [toilet training for ursine mammals? – Ed]. The latest news on the project is that there are to be two new muppets added to the cast list more…

Leaving the China shop, quietly...

Leaving the China shop, quietly…

Just reading back around the circumstances under which British troops landed on the streets of Northern Ireland, what strikes you is the number of tragic incidents that had happened in the run up to their arrival. Lost Lives records that of the nineteen fatalities of that year, eight of them (almost a fifth of the more…

Cultural confusion in Benidorm…

THIS is quite bizarre, as well as offensive – what appears to be a bar in Benidorm that goes out of its way to make visiting loyalists welcome. Not for those easily put off by sectarianism, but certainly an odd (to say the least) clash of cultures. Is ‘Ali the Paki loyalist’ for real? Or more…

“We hope that it won’t be necessary..”

In the Belfast Telegraph Chris Thornton quotes Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch on the “definite irony” of the end of Operation Banner co-inciding with the extension of powers to the Army, with similar powers to the police, “to stop and question anyone about their movements – and hold them indefinitely until they answer.” more…

British troop levels return to peace time levels…

At long last the British troop numbers here will drop to the ‘peacetime’ levels they were at before being called onto the streets of Belfast in 1969. Already the battles are beginning over what it means. It clearly means different things to different people:The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson: Referring to the 763 members of the forces more…

The Falls Curfew….

It only lasted for a single weekend in July 1970, but it had a lasting (and catastrophic) effect on relations between the Falls Road and the British army. This five minutes of raw footage taken whilst journalists were shown around the eerily quiet streets of the Falls, is weirdly evocative of the chill that subsequently more…

“There is no worth in a half-truth process” – redux

As Fintan O’Toole recently argued “In the Irish experience, both nationalists and unionists have been all too adept at constructing versions of the past in which they feature only as victims, never as victimisers.” And, as noted in previous posts, for the Eames/Bradley committee to “take the bull by the horns” – which they should more…

Difference of opinion in Derry..

..as might have been suggested previously.. where representatives of those republican micro-organisations are being openly critical of Sinn Féin – in this case on the end of Operation Banner.

Ingmar Bergman 1918-2007

Having recently mentioned the “the northern Protestant miserablist” *ahem* I thought I’d note the news today of the death of legendary film-maker Ingmar Bergman and pull together some of the links out there – starting with the Ingmar Berman Foundation. Slate has a good compilation and the Guardian, natch, has a series of articles and more…

Your top twenty favourite UK politics blogs?

Iain Dale is trying to sift through what are perceived to be the UK’s Top 20 political blogs. He wants your help, and is prepared to pay for it (in a roundabout, competitionyish sort of way). If you submit your own personal top twenty, you will be in with a chance to win £100 worth more…

A military success

Andrew McCann celebrates the success of Operation Banner this morning. When looking about for some information, I came across this website, which looks interesting.

BBC: purveyors of ‘shrink wrap’ narrative?

After nearly forty years of deployment, the British Army is finally to reduced to the old garrison force of 5,000 troops in Northern Ireland. But reader Aidan reckons this BBC report is an attempt to shrink wrap a complex narrative, down to a single grabbable story. The passage he highlights is: “British troops were sent more…

And from last year’s news…

Missed this little gem from last year’s marching season, which features accusations that the SDLP had “drifted from a nationalist agenda”, simply because a survey showed that amongst Orangemen “5% were ‘likely’ to vote SDLP and that 13.5% said it was ‘possible’ they’d give the SDLP a second preference”. Ach, it was all so much more…

“the good guys in Carrickfergus..”

Thanks to commenter Dewi for this link to the Economist’s take on the unfolding saga of the ‘good’ and ‘not so good’ UDA.. or as David Ford put it recently, “the notion that there is somehow one baddie faction of the UDA and one goodie faction of the UDA seems to me to be absolute more…

Bernadette working for a shared future…

Bernadette Devlin McAliskey has had a chequered political career, ever since winning the Mid Ulster seat April 1969 as the youngest ever MP. Even then, her politics defied easy categorisation, going against traditional Republican abstentionism, she called herself and independent socialist, on occasions she lit up the Commons, not least with a physical attack on more…

A little problem with Brown’s Maginot Line?

Mark Devenport throws up a question that should be of interest both to Gordon Brown and to his Tory party opponents. If Britain is to have a new Border Guard force, where exactly is the border?Our north/south border is virtually non existent, as is the east west. This would leave Brown with something like an more…

Memories of Fred Daly…

Martyn Turner, the Irish Times cartoonist relates some fond memories of the only Irishman before Padraig Harrington to win the British Open in today’s Irishman’s Diary. Here’s a snippet: …even in his late sixties, he could work magic on the ball. I saw him bend a medium iron right to left around a tree and more…

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink

The famous Free Derry Corner gable wall has been painted pink in solidarity with the city’s Gay community ahead of the Gay Pride Festival. Jim Collins, spokesman for the Gasyard Feile in Derry, said, “The feile decided they wanted to do something for the gay community and we thought this was a good public, creative more…