First homecoming parade

The first homecoming parade took place in Ballymena this evening. The RIR will be granted the freedom of Larne tomorrow and then the Belfast parade will take place on Sunday. I heard earlier today that of the 280 or so Armed Forces personnel parading on Sunday 23% (approximately 65) will be from the Republic of Ireland. Lee Reynolds

Gearbox column coming up on Monday…

I’m something of a blogging nomad these days, between Brassneck, Comment is Free and, too occasionally, Irish Election, it’s hard to figure which way’s up some days. But I’ve got another home coming up over at the Matt Wardman Wire, but in this case it will be a weekly online column called Gearbox, and which I’ll be sharing with Mark Pack of Lib Dem Voice and Head of Innovations at that party. The idea is to dig down underneath the … Read more

The wearing of the poppy

The following is an entirely personal set of musings about Poppy day and Remembrance etc. I know some people find some of my blogs at times too personal but I wanted to do this one: if you do not like it just move on to the next blog. It is poppy time again and I am back to wearing a poppy and yet feeling a bit uncomfortable about it. My discomfort exists at a number of levels:Firstly I do not … Read more

Hearts and Minds: “That’s not a Executive matter, it’s a political matter!”

One good rule of thumb in politics is never, never lose your rag with a television interviewer: unless, that is, you have the chutzpah (Paisley), or the brass neck (Adams) to get away with it. All our politicians have done it. So it’s probably no surprise that last night, Peter Robinson seemed to lose his temper several times under a combative flurry of questions from Noel Thompson on Hearts and Minds concerning the continuing deadlock over the devolution of policing … Read more

“assess the impact of recent changes in the financial and property markets..”

Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, is on a seven day Trade and Investment Mission to the USA to follow up on the investment conference in May.. And good luck with that, minister.. Meanwhile the Department of Finance is reported to have suspended the procurement stage of Workplace 2010 until early 2009 amid speculation that the two bidding companies may merge. They’ve been evaluating those bids since April this year. From the BBC report. A spokesman for the … Read more

Slugger’s Daily Blogburst…

Kicking off, Sarah shoots from the hip (mar is gnách léi) on the BBC: The BBC is a disgrace. Forcing Brand out because The Daily Mail and The Sun complained, ONE WEEK AFTER the original broadcast. I listened to it. It’s stupid and crude but funny in places. Just like Brand and Ross. Sachs’ agent only complained AFTER the Mail on Sunday told her about the call. – And if you missed ours, there’s the making of a decent conversation … Read more

Our authors’ inspiration in Greek tragedy – what it owes to the troubles’ background.

Making a complete break from Brand/Ross, why is it that our writers dwell so much and so successfully on the Greek classics? Thirty to forty years ago the poets took refuge in lyricism, in the personal and in the deep roots of pre-history. More recently writers have been delving into the fundamental themes of epic tragedy to find more public resonance and depth. They’re all different but their personal background is very relevant. Much of the original inspirations have Yeats … Read more

100 reasons to protest?

éirígi’s latest press release lists 100 court cases involving members of the UDR/RIR 1. John Gaw, Greenisland, County Antrim: Sentenced to 10 years in March 1977 for possession of arms and training UVF East Antrim members. Involved in 76-day UVF trial which ended with 27 men receiving a total of 700 years plus eight “Lifes” for UVF activity. 2. 3. 4. Ronald Gibson, Mark Mam and Kenneth Spence, Newtonabbey: Fined £50 each in February 1979 for breaking into and desecrating … Read more

Snyman destroys Ireland’s top order

Gerrie Snyam has amazing figures of 5-16 currently as he’s ripped through Ireland’s batting line up with the new ball. Namibia were all out for 250 earlier this morning – looks a long way off currently. Update It appears Ireland’s innings has been declared closed on 195-9, Cusack unbeaten on 95 – one assumes to enable Ireland’s attack to have 2 bites with the new ball. Reminds me of Atherton declaring with Hick in the 90s at Sydney… look what … Read more

MoD starts to buckle?

Accepting the tensions and controversy caused by their application to march through the streets of Belfast, the MoD have made a series of last minute alterations to their plans for Sunday. Regimental marches have been dropped from the parade along with the display of weapons and plans for a fighter and bomber fly-past. ADDS: Closing comments as FD got in first but leaving the blog as it has additional links. Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

Changes to parade and protest

The Army has announced a number of changes to the Belfast Homecoming parade – there will be no fly-past, no weapons carried and a special order been issued to those participating in the Belfast and other homecoming parades. UPDATE More links here. UPDATE 2 Changes to the protest plan. It will now leave from Dunville Park in west Belfast not a city centre venue and proceed along the Grosvenor road until it reaches Fisherwick Place (ie Jury’s hotel). This reduces … Read more

Andytown News checks wind, blows in opposite direction…

LAST week the Andytown News ran a leader strongly urging nationalists not to take part in a demonstration against the army’s homecoming parade. In case you’ve forgotten, the head was ‘It didn’t work for Paisley, and it isn’t going to work for us today’. But yesterday’s front page headline read: See you on Sunday. Last week, the ATN was all about defusing tension, today it’s about ratcheting things up. Over its six pages of coverage yesterday – seven articles, one … Read more

Sinn Fein Protest (Quelle surprise)

Sinn Fein’s position over the home coming parade has been analysed and discussed in withering, nay tedious, detail. In the absence of much else happening politically it has been the most interesting (and hence, the most over covered) event recently; apart of course from various BBC presenters and their behaviour. In the absence of much else to talk about and since I have not blogged for a while (due to a computer fatality) I thought I might add my tuppence … Read more

“A microcosm of the Northern Ireland problem..”

The Northern Ireland Social Development Minister, the SDLP’s Margaret Ritchie, recently published a draft Equality Impact Assessment for further consultation.. And, on Hearts and Minds, Julia Paul reported on the complicated political and social dynamic involved in the already lengthy consultation on development plans for the Crumlin Road Gaol/Girdwood Park area of North Belfast. Further complicated, it could be argued, by the involvement of the PPR Project. Also contributing to the report – the DUP, Sinn Féin, and Robin Wilson. … Read more

The BBC, Modernism and cultural philistinism…

Over at Brassneck I’ve argued that what stands out from the Brand/Ross affair is the vacuity of the gesture:; and by implication the vacuity of much of the protest. It’s partly a long term cultural problem of rampant Modernist philistinism, and partly political. So far as the latter is concerned, Paulie reckons the BBC’s critics are only too well aware of the underlying issues of ownership and power, whilst the Left is left (illiterately) scrabbling in the dark. Here’s Enemies … Read more

On the edges of republicanism

Two former SF Cllrs, Martin Connolly of Newry and Mourne Council and Barry Monteith of Dungannon District Council, have declared their support for the éirígí protest over the British military parade in Belfast. And bizarrely it seems three Republican SF cumann in East Tyrone have left that organisation after the party refused to accept local groups being named after IRA volunteers killed at Loughgall (no link of worth as yet for this). Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

Ireland’s day as late collapse leaves Namibia struggling

3 wickets in 2 overs in the last half hour of the day put the gloss on a fine performance in the field by Ireland as Namibia reached 241-9 at stumps on the first day of the ICC Intercontinental Cup Final. Peter Connell was the pick of the bowlers with a return of 4-51 while the main Namibian resistance came in a stand of 91 for the 6th wicket between Louis Burger and Bjorn Kotze.Namibia made a solid start after … Read more

Even Cardinals are breaking Godwin’s law these days…

His Grace Lord Cranmer picks a very Protestant argument with a very Catholic Cardinal: …writing an open letter to the Prime Minister, in which the policies of a democratically-elected government making law through the legitimate processes of a representative Parliament are compared to those of Nazi Germany, is not remotely acceptable. Walks away slowly shaking head…BTW, if you don’t get the title, check out the first story on today’s Blogburst… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written … Read more

If only NI society were like the Life &Times survey..

Following up on Andrew’s post yesterday, it has always frustrated me that the Life and Times survey has consistently produced more benign and consensual results than are translated into politics. If behaviour reflected the results, NI tensions would have eased much faster – just think of this week – and Sluggerees would all be competing for the Nobel Peace Prize. Is society still in the grip of an wholly unrepresentative minority, certainly much less than 30% hardliners on both sides? … Read more