Slugger’s blogburst…

Alright, it’s been a while. But here we go, kicking off with Mark Devenport who notes that the Eames Bradley do in the Europa was no ordinary presser… in fact according to Brian it was no presser at all… No questions, and no answers… And in the midst of the chaos, humorous irony:

At one point it looked like the presentations might be halted, but eventually the speakers pressed on. Bizarrely, nationalists in the audience were demanding that the police step in to arrest or take out the protesting unionists. “Where’s Hugh Orde?” they cried, then with typical Belfast humour someone added “no wonder he didn’t get the job”. The Chief Constable was sitting in the audience.

– Hugh Green wanders through the main reactions of the day and concludes:

…if people are after some sort of meaningful settlement with true reconciliation, there has to be some symbolic recognition of the fact that there are groups of people in and around Northern Ireland -whether their children or brothers and sisters were terrorists or not- who have suffered immensely because they happened to live there, and that the responsibility for alleviating their suffering -which need not be confused with responsibility for their suffering in the first place- should be shared by everyone.

Johnny Guitar, writing on Sunday, is a little more blunt:

The best way to “deal with the legacy of the past” (as the CGP claims it is doing) is to stop dwelling on it and move on. I don’t mean this to sound cold. I am not for one moment suggesting that the past be swept under the carpet or simply forgotten about, not that there would ever be any chance of that happening. We live in a society addicted to graveside orations and the commemoration of past battles so no one need worry about a sudden bout of mass amnesia hitting the province. However, the endless stream of costly committees and inquiries dealing with controversial elements of our past are achieving nothing other than keeping old wounds open.

Chekov is irked at Nick Winterton’s recent remarks on the undesirability of the UUP/Tory pact: His riposte:

His remarks remain just as invalid as the entire ‘unity’ argument’s substance. Depriving unionists of the choice to vote for a candidate which best represents them does not strengthen the Union one iota. A 300 odd strong bloc of unionists in the UK parliament strengthens it substantially.

– And fingers are pointing back at Gordon Brown (again). This time it is the moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland who blames him for the financial shambles that is the Presbyterian Mutual Society

_ David Vance wants to know what the point of having an Executive is if it cannot make any controversial decisions….

– Meanwhile, P O’Neill asks a similar question about the south. What on earth is the Dail for, if the real business of power is being conducted between the Government, the Employers and the Unions?

Jason puts it like this:

We have over 1000 elected officials in Ireland, of whom less than 45 have any personal daily ability to make a decision that effects people’s lives in a meaningful way. Strangely, that’s how we like it. Take local government. Every party’s councillors complain about the county managers being able to overrule councillors. Yet nearly every party has been in government, and none of them have changed it. Why? Because deep down they feel that if the people of Leitrim or Dublin Fingal were actually let run the county with the quality of councillors they elect, they’d thrash the gaff.

– Gerard thinks he can see one tiny element of a green shooted recovery, consumer confidence returns (hopefully before it is too late)…

– Michael reckons that some Ireland’s leading economists have got their pro and anti cyclical knickers in a twist

…just as John Fitzgerald dismissed economic stimulus out of hand, McHale concurs. Because the downturn resulted in a fiscal crisis. This is a strange logic – the reason why you should engage in economic stimulus is the very reason why you can’t. We are, it seems, condemned to repeat the mistakes of past Fianna Fail Governments: just as they pursued pro-cyclical policies in the boom (fuelling demand through tax cuts at a time of rising demand) so now we must pursue pro-cyclical policies in the bust (deflationary fiscal measures while the economy is deflating).

Philip Lane points up another in the same Irish Times series that argues that the government should go procyclical in the recession (presumably because he feels they have no choice), but promise to begin saving for a rainy day when the good times return…

– David Steven wants to know why should he listen to a single thing the IMF predicts about the future:

The IMF itself is forced to admit that “the uncertainty surrounding the outlook is unusually large.” Doesn’t that translate as “our models weren’t built for these crazy conditions, but we’ll run them anyway and PR them heavily to the 1000 or so media outlets that’ll reprint our speculation as fact”?

– Bock’s assembled his mini pick of good blog reads

– Damien, Fianna Fail’s most talented and prolific politician blogger is leaving… Politics that is; not blogging…

– Then finally on the Scottish budget crisis, Jeff thinks the Greens did it for the publicity (ya gotta flex your muscles where and when you can when there is only two of you)…

– Malc enjoys himself thoroughly with a live blog of today’s FMQs (they have them every week you know?)…

– Ideas of Civilisation has a nicely discursive treatment of the political issues surrounding the failed budget:

In terms of the SNP it’s yet another example (following Glenrothes) that the air of invincibility which seemed to characterize the SNP’s early period in office has now gone. The silver lining may yet be that the nationalists can try and portray opposition parties that voted against as irresponsible.

– Shuggy’s as beautifully irascible as ever:

The thing that got me was John Swinney speaking in Parliament going on about how minority government presented challenges but it meant the other parties had an obligation to ‘look beyond party politics’ – which is to say, vote through the budget. They’re in opposition you daft bastard – they’re not obliged to do anything of the sort.

– And in a real dog bite man finding, it seems the English (inasfar as they ever think about them) do not hate the Scots

‘Shurely shome mishtake’, says the SNP…

Mick 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