Last survivor of Titanic dies

The end of another part of twentieth century history occurred today. Millvina Dean the last survivor of the sinking of the Titanic has died in Hampshire at the age of 97: she was 9 weeks old when the ship went down and her own father died in the disaster. Despite the passing of the last survivor of the liner, I suspect the iconic story of “our” ship (built in Belfast etc.) will continue. Incidentally the image may well not actually … Read more

“Hardly a ringing endorsement..”

During the Politics Show debacle debate the informed audience were asked to vote on a number of questions. The most interesting being how would they mark the Northern Ireland Executive’s economic perfomance. Out of a possible 10 the average rating was a generous 3.6. But given the time wasted on other matters only the SDLP’s Alban Maginness and the Alliance Party’s Ian Parsley were able to respond. So it goes. Pete Baker

Sweet Little Lies

CAPTION:Sinn Fein Election Cheer: ‘Tell me lies!’Sinn Féin election workers rally in front of their bus shouting their election cheer Drawing in a breath, this morning on Dublin radio, as reported by the Sunday Life, in a pre-election interview, Gerry Adams exhaled, relating a very detailed and sweet little story about his time in prison, when he and a 100 other prisoners would sing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life“ to each other in order to keep their … Read more

McDaid killing: Shadow of Robert Hamill murder looms ever larger with explosive new claims

The Sunday World’s front page today carries allegations that a serving PSNI officer goaded loyalists about the presence of Irish Tricolours in the nationalist Heights area of Coleraine ahead of the violent loyalist attack which killed one catholic man, Kevin McDaid, and has left another fighting for his life. The alleged text message read: THE TRICOLOURS ARE STILL UP IN THE TOWN- ARE YIS REAL MEN OR WHAT? The paper further alleges that PSNI officers stood chatting with loyalists in … Read more

“Do you need percentages?”

On the Politics Show European campaign special, the DUP candidate, Diane Dodds, managed to unite all three incumbents, the chairman of the meeting, Jim Fitzpatrick, and the audience.. and all with one letter from Defra.. Pete Baker

Election Campaign enters final lap

The election campaign grinds remorselessly onwards to the excited expectation of the political anoraks (and if you are reading this site you are a bit of an anorak: I as a blogger am a hopeless snorkel parka case) and the mild interest of real people. I thought at this point as we are about to enter the final week I would take a non impartial look at the current state of the campaigns. Turning first to my own lot. The … Read more

Irish Times polling figures

In the Irish Times Stephen Collins looks at the results of what seems to have been some fairly rigorous polling. [“The poll was conducted from Tuesday to Thursday of this week among a representative sample of 2,000 voters. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 500 people in each of the four Euro constituencies. The margin of error is 2 per cent.”] Overall party performances here. And Cian has more EU details at Irish Election. But of particular interest may be the … Read more

Éirígí, cad atá in ann dóibh?

Bhí mé thar a bheith sásta a cloisteáil gur shocraigh Éirígí ag Ard-Fhéis s’acu ar na mallaibh chun seasamh i dtoghcháin amach anseo. Níl mise i mo bhall d’Éirígí agus ní bheidh ach sílim gur rud maith é a leithead de dhream a bheith ann. Bhí mé ag caint le cuid mhaith baill de Shinn Féin ar an ábhar seo agus shíl siadsan go raibh sé maith go bhfuil na daoine seo ‘gníomhach’ agus go bhfuil cuma ar an scéal … Read more

New model journalism will exploit rather than resent the freedoms of the net…

One of the liveliest discussions at Picamp on Tuesday was the problem of how you maintain scrutiny of politics at a time of falling ad revenues are disincentivising commercial media organisations from strong political and current affairs reporting… Matt Cooper in the Irish Examiner (echoing Rupert Murdoch’s recent remarks) reckons that ‘end users’ will have to pay, if they want good quality news. Matt quotes Robert Thomson, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, who may be in the process … Read more

Some of those questions that just won’t go away

As has been noted earlier, the family of Coleraine murder victim, Kevin McDaid, have issued a statement critical of the PSNI’s handling of events in Coleraine in the period of time leading up to his murder. The PSNI’s response- issued by Assistant Chief Constable, Judith Gillespie (it seems ACC Finlay’s been benched, possibly following his ‘mavericks‘ faux pas?) is interesting for what it doesn’t say rather than its actual content. There is no attempt to deny direct contact with loyalist … Read more

SDLP PEB

Here it is: Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

Election leaflets review thread

I’ve received election leaflets from everyone but Jim Nicholson. Jim Allister alone sent through two distinct pieces for my consideration. Time for a thread on the leaflets (I’ll add a view of Nicholson’s once it drops through my letterbox) Agnew: small and glossy. It tells me it is both recycled and carbon neutral. Big photo of a young man on one side but with a strange wide, white outline. Other side is the policy stuff and there ain’t a lot. … Read more

Green New Deal – PEB

I received an email saying Slugger hasn’t linked the Green’s PEB, so here you go: Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

Oh come ye back… sure maybe I will

Typical Derry, never knowingly undersold. The story of “ the oldest independent department store in the world”, Austin’s of the Diamond, ( founded 1830) occupied an hour of BBC2 prime time last night. The series “Keep it in the family” deals with the eternal rhythms of tradition and new broom, generational change and continuity. This episode was set in the heart of Derry but with the incubus of the Troubles refreshingly on the margin.The Austin’s of my childhood was owned … Read more

“What would you do to help the savers In the Presbyterian Mutual Society?”

The issue of the illegally operating Presbyterian Mutual Society, and those Presbyterian investors, continues to grumble on despite the acceptance of the administrator’s deal. Will Crawley, guesting on Talkback this month, notes on his blog, “Serious questions are being asked by PMS members about the way this crisis has been handled by Church House officials”. Other supernaturalists – in the Catholic, Anglican and Methodist churches – have expressed their “hope that the Northern Ireland Executive and the UK Government will … Read more

“if that means dropping a couple of the attackers..”

The joint statement by the First and deputy First Ministers might be more convincing if the Northern Ireland Executive’s Shared Future strategy hadn’t disappeared down the back of the semi-detached polit-bureau’s sofa. Meanwhile in a statement issued through their solicitors, the McDaid family have criticised police “negotiations with a number of persons perceived to be from the Loyalist community” ahead of the murder of Kevin McDaid. As has already been stated, those negotiations involved representatives on both sides of the … Read more

“Politicians take note..”

BBC NI Hearts and Minds’ Julia Paul was at the recent PICamp event, and she provided a short report on online political innovations for last night’s programme. Paul adds some useful links here. Pete Baker

“it is with great sadness and no small degree of anger….”

Ahead of tonight’s loyalist Pride of the Bann flute band parade in Coleraine, the Belfast Telegraph is reporting that several of those appearing in court yesterday charged in connection with the murder of Kevin McDaid are band members, and one is a former member of the UDP (strange set of ‘mavericks.’) Worth noting again is the statement released by the band when it decided to curtail its route for tonight’s parade: It is with great sadness and no small degree … Read more

Wave hello to tidal energy…

ONLY three days left on iPlayer, but could Strangford Lough’s prototype turbine point the way towards some cheap energy for Northern Ireland? A lean, clean, energy machine? Regular, predictable power, and you could build ’em in Harland & Wolff. Hopefully, the project won’t sink the way project director Alexander (son of Max) Mosley did. Belfast Gonzohttp://sluggerotoole.com