Archive | July, 2009

Arms find in Magherafelt

I cannot find much about this apart from in the Mid Ulster Mail and the TUV’s comment on the issue but there appears to have been an arms find in Magherafelt last Friday. Jim Allister is claiming that these weapons appear to be linked to the IRA. The lack of mention of all this in more…

Old wine in a new bottle: more on the Supreme Court

Some other thoughts about the new UK Supreme Court which takes over from the Law Lords in October. It’s basically the same lot with the same powers, but now formally separate from the legislature, which is the case in most countries. The modernising Blair government made the historic change almost casually because they felt the more…

The Antikythera Mechanism

The Guardian’s James Randerson has a satisfyingly link-full update on the research into the Antikythera Mechanism – as previously noted here and also here. Apparently it’s older than previously thought. Possibly from around the time of Archimedes.. And here’s part 1 of a fascinating Nature video on the 2000-year-old “box of intricate gearwork”. Part 2 more…

DUP should take part in Belfast Pride parade…

Interesting blog post from Patrick over Belfast and Beyond, suggesting that the DUP should send a representative to the Pride event in Belfast… Not as off the wall as it may seem at first glance… if anything the fierce relations between the party and Northern Ireland’s gay community was underlined by the activism surrounding the more…

US Secretary of State doesn’t “see the need for someone fulltime”

Despite the suggestion in the Belfast Telegraph report, the statement by Assistant Secretary of State, J P Crowley, that “She is the Secretary of State, not a special envoy”, is not contradicted by the quotes from US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. From the Belfast Telegraph Mrs Clinton said that the progress made since the more…

What’s your preferred image?

Due sensitivity has been observed over the thorny problem of how to symbolise Northern Ireland in new UK projects. The controversial ID card has already been discussed exhaustively in Slugger, where you can just about make out the shamrock ( for Irish citizens, you see). For the new Supreme Court which is more territorial, they more…

A provisional line up of our top Irish blogs…

When we move to the new site, all manner of things will change, not least our capacity to change update and red out old or broken links in the blogroll… I’ve taken up some of the suggestions for the best Irish blogs from yesterday and put them onto a dynamic Netvibes page which we should more…

“However, even if it is passed by the Assembly..”

Some of our commenters, you know who you are, are getting exercised about this BBC report following yesterday’s Northern Ireland Executive’s discussion of draft legislation for a Department of Justice. There’s an iol report which notes the need for caution. The legislation is a key part of the long-delayed process to transfer policing and justice more…

“For me, this totally clinched the case that this was an impact”

Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory [JPL] has launched a new website, “a centralized resource for information on near-Earth objects” – Asteroid Watch. One of the topics there is the new Great Black Spot [of Jupiter] and senior research scientist at JPL, Glenn Orton, has the lowdown on observing Jupiter’s black eye after it was first spotted more…

What does £1,148,992 get you these days?

Beyond the eye-catching figure, from the official accounts for 2008 lodged with the Electoral Commission, that in Northern Ireland Sinn Féin topped the political parties total expenditure list at £1,148,992 – compared to the DUP’s roughly £440,000 across 4 accounts, the UUP’s £397,734, and the SDLP’s £290,169 – there are some interesting details. Sinn Féin’s more…

Does Whitehall think the Irish are stupid…

Interesting the BBC have the news that UK ID Cards (if they ever see the light of day) will offer Irish nationals in Northern Ireland a ‘personal’ rather than a ‘national’ ID card… One key difference as Pete points out below is that the national card at least has the utility of being a travel more…

The sound of a toothless tiger roaring at the banks…

JOHN Manley notes how our MLAs and ministers are keen to appear as though they are fighting our corner against the banks during the recession. The key word is ‘appear’, as the engagements between bankers and politicians are just for the optics, Manley argues. The semi-desperate and aspirational tone of this recent OFMDFM press release more…

What makes a blog politically important?

You can probably tell I am obsessing on a single subject, so apologies to those of you who will take this as a bit of a bore… Just picked up this nice story about a dismissal of a Tory blogger by a Tory Press officer as ‘not important’… who’s no doubt got him/herself into some more…

“She is the Secretary of State, not a special envoy”

Let’s see if this gets as wide an airing as Niall O’Dowd’s determined mis-briefings on the subject. Via Newshound, here’s the Irish Echo’s report of the official statement from the spokesman for the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is not going to be the special envoy to Northern more…

Which political blogs do you read these days?

Today I’ll mostly be working on my yearly review of the Irish blogosphere for Total Politics magazine… I’m going to focus primarily on the way the political classes have taken (or rather not taken) to engaging with net conversations… With a mind to contrasting progress in Northern Ireland with that of the Republic… In terms more…

Outrage in Ballymoney…

Last year we tried (and failed) to get to the Oul Lammas Fair in Ballycastle (Oh!)… This year we may not even bother trying… Why? The Ballymoney Times brings the shocking news that there will be No sandwiches and tea at Quay Hall this Lammas Fair… Bobballs has the shocking details of life in Ballymoney more…

What’s sauce for the goose…?

Sir Paul Stephenson backs down in row over Union Jack badges. Will commenters high mindedly ignore this too predictable thread or take up the cudgels? Just a test!