Bad news for the FFAF has tomorrow’s SBP/RedC poll: FG 30 (-3) FF 23 (-5) LAB 22 (+8) Green 6 (-2) SF 11 (+2) IND 8 Lisbon 70/30 Yes/No Mark McGregorBlogging at:

My Life as a NIPPLE 1: An Introduction

“So you’re a Nipple then?” I’d barely been sat at the desk in my first job in Edinburgh when this question was asked. I wondered what insinuation I was missing out on. Was there something about my appearance that indicated a certain sexual kink ? Quickly I checked my attire to ensure that my chest had not inexplicably become exposed. Obviously none of this took place quickly enough. Or the blank look of confusion gave it away. After all my … Read more

New Force and the danger of déjà vu

I must admit to welcoming the Ulster Conservative and Unionist – New Force. If it produced a new mould breaking era of non sectarian politics I would be delighted. However, I would suggest that there are worrying echoes of the past in this new set up. I am of course referring to Trimble’s UUP: I know the comparison is far from exact but there are dangers lurking. Trimble’s leadership of the UUP was a triumph. This was the man who … Read more

“The man with the electric brain”

Like Reason‘s Jesse Walker it’s been a while since I’ve read Philip José Farmer’s Riverworld Saga series, but his “To Your Scattered Bodies Go” was an early, and breathtaking, example of the possibilities of the sci-fi genre for a stunned 11-year-old living in rural Northern Ireland. The 91 year old author, who received a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America grand master prize and a World Fantasy lifetime achievement award in 2001, died earlier this week in his home … Read more

Six Nations – Round 3b

The post-mortem of last night’s Welsh defeat is underway. [France’s victory, surely? – Ed] Don’t call me Shirley. Today, Ireland will be hoping that England’s form, and their discipline, doesn’t suddenly improve at Croke Park and that Ireland’s unchanged side become the team they’ve threatened to be – Kick-off 5.30pm – G’s live-blogging it. First up though, Scotland will try to send Italy home with the wooden spoon – despite Brendan Cole’s prediction. Kick-off 3pm. Half-Time at Murrayfield. Scotland 16 … Read more

RIPA rip-off – the latest on the Surveillance State

Under FOI, the latest disclosures in the Guardian about the workings of the notorious Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). Sir Christopher Rose, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, was particularly critical of Defra. In a letter to Helen Ghosh, the department’s most senior official, he said that his findings from one inspection made “lamentable reading”. He found it impossible to discover which senior officials were in charge of making sure the surveillance powers were used lawfully and found the department had … Read more

New Force: old idea

Owen Paterson one of the leading members of the Ulster Conservative and Unionist – New Force; known hereafter on this thread as Fifth Force (to prove a large leap away from the Third Force, or possibly to sound like Fifth Column) has suggested that the Fifth force would like to negotiate with the other Stormont parties to reform the power sharing structures. He seems to feel the current arrangements are fine for the moment “But I don’t see this as … Read more

Tension in the air?

Over on Redemption’s Son it is reported that the NI Conservatives have ruled out campaigning using the word ‘Ulster’ attributed to their new electoral/ballot paper name: Ulster Conservative and Unionists – New Force. Redemption’s Son comments: “From my understanding, or at least what I have been led to believe, this is not the case. It was agreed to run as Ulster Conservatives and Unionists. There is a reason for this, and whether the editor believes so or not, he is … Read more

Fianna Fail Ard Fheis Live Blog

Fianna Fail Ard Fheis 09 The live coverage starts at 11 on RTE Live. There’s another live blog over at Tuppenceworth that we’ll be dipping into from time to time during the day. Taoiseach’s speech scheduled at 8.30. Blog is live for tweets from now. I’ll be dipping in and out from 11 onwards. If you are there and twittering, let us know and we can add your voice to the conversation!! Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He … Read more

Out and about

A few Slugger regulars are intending to go along to a public meeting with anarchist and former Black Panther Ashanti Aliston in an Culturlann on Tues at 7pm. Want to join us? Drop me a mail or just turn up. Former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member Ashanti Alston is to speak in the Culturlann next week as part of a speaking tour of Ireland. Ashanti known as the ‘anarchist panther’ was a member of the Black Panther Party … Read more

“Nice” IRA men chaperone actor

After the controversy surrounding the last film luvvie to tell us about the IRA, I suppose it should come as no surprise that another actor from the film “50 dead men walking,” Jim Sturgess has told us that some of the ex-IRA members he met “…were genuinely nice, passionate people.” He goes on to tell us “…it was a thrilling undercover ride, really. We would go into these pubs that we would never normally be allowed to hang out in, … Read more

What joy is in eyes that can’t see

A post on (sorry, I know that link is usless to most of you) highlighted the ANTIFA website showing the BNP are selling a CD including tracks that seem pretty Irish Republican in nature – now of course I haven’t bought the CD so maybe it is the older version of ‘The Foggy Dew’ they are selling but I only know one version of ‘Only Our rivers Run Free’ and it doesn’t seem like a BNP compliant tune. Mark … Read more

Limavady uniforms

Limavady Council famed for its “audit” of unionist symbols is back in the news as some of its employee have refused to wear a new uniform due to its bilingual (English / Irish) logo. Ulster Unionist councillor Edwin Stevenson said the council should abandon its policy of putting its logo in Irish on all council property whilst Francie Brolly has the following statement on the Sinn Fein website:“The placing of the Irish language on the logo of Limavady Council was … Read more

Fianna Fáil to join European Liberal, Democratic and Reform Party

For the first time Fianna Fáil are to join a pan-European party – the European Liberal, Democratic and Reform Party – and may affiliate to the ALDE Group within the European Parliament. The announcement proposal was made by Taoiseach Brian Cowen at the Official Opening of 72nd Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis. Full text here. “This is a time when parties who support Europe from all parts of the Union must work more closely together. They must make sure that the … Read more

Six Nations – Round 3

Tomorrow will see Ireland welcome England back to Croke Park whilst Scotland battle Italy in the likely wooden spoon contest. Tonight though, under the floodlights at Stade de France, Wales will try to keep their Grand Slam hopes on track against a French side that may be unsettled by their coach’s tinkering. Interestingly, as he did against Ireland, Chabal will start the game rather than play his more effective role [against weaker opposition] as a second half impact substitution. Assessments … Read more

“I would harbour that ambition..”

The Guardian reports that Reg Empey has stated that, as part of those new arrangements, he has a commitment from the Conservatives to designate Northern Ireland as an “enterprise zone” “What we have agreed is that all of Northern Ireland will be designated as an enterprise zone,” the UUP leader said. “It allows us to start to work on tax issues.” Asked if that would allow Northern Ireland to set a lower corporation tax, Empey said: “I would harbour that … Read more

Better phones, better insurance, bad banks

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] Nine years ago I wrote an article1 for the Irish Times recounting my travails, having moved from Dublin to Armagh to work for the Centre for Cross Border Studies, when I tried to open a cross-border bank account, buy a mobile phone which I could also use to ring Southern numbers, … Read more

Everyone happy then?

If you reckoned the new name for the conjoined UUP/Conservative Party was clearly conjured up by a committee, spare a thought for the [Local Government] Boundaries Commissioner. He has, reportedly, produced revised recommendations for names for 6 of the 11 new councils. It’s not quite what Gregory Campbell had in mind.. Adds There are also some boundary changes involved. Update Wrong Commission link fixed and here are the revised recommendations [pdf file]. Full revised recommendations here. There were six name … Read more