“the thoughtfulness became glibness; the intelligence, duplicity.”

A late entry in the occasional TV review of the week competition comes via Will Crawley. Here’s AA Gill in today’s Sunday Times Stepping through the story of the cruci­fixion, Adams plainly saw the IRA and his activism cast in the figure of Christ — a freedom fighter sentenced by a cynical occupying power — when, in truth, he was far more obviously and damningly suited to the role of Caiaphas, the expedient political operator willing to sacrifice his own … Read more

The Conservatives’ moral panic isn’t working

Why is the Conservatives’ poll lead shrinking? One underlying reason not picked up clearly in the polls is that the worst fears projected by politicians and the popular media are not being experienced in people’s lives. However hard they try to duck it, opposition parties are fated to deepen gloom more than raise hopes. Take the core Tory theme of “fixing broken Britain.” In spite of all the fears of soaring crime, the magisteral Economist dispassionately walks through the statistical … Read more

‘educating the youths of the courageous exploits of the Volunteers’

After noting the small attendance at a vigil in Newry opposing those that bombed the city’s courthouse, I will also mention the largeish attendance at an Ógra Shinn Fein commemoration for IRA volunteers – Charles Breslin, Michael and David Devine. This commemoration was part of an ÓSF Republican Youth weekend: Sinn Fein Councillors Kieran McGuire, Ruairi McHugh and Brian McMahon, alongside ex IRA POW Paul McGarvey gave the youths an in-depth insight of how each volunteer on the West Tyrone … Read more

‘Micro vigil’

Newry Republican turns a cynical eye to the vigil called in opposition to the bombing of the city’s courthouse. This irrelevant micro-group had every right to peacefully protest on Friday night but it seems the call for people to come out in force was ignored. He notes a turnout of around 20, the BBC put numbers at 30 while UTV declared 100. Adds: as a comparative this protest in support of republican prisoners in Newry in December seems to have … Read more

“It is not the voices of contented old soldiers that the dissidents need to hear now.”

It’s a point he’s made before. And, for the comprehensively challenged, this time Malachi O’Doherty spells it out in the Belfast Telegraph. Mis-placed pride and the dirty tackling of dissenting voices will not discourage others from pursuing that “tragic history”. From the Belfast Telegraph article Imagine the impact Gerry Adams might have had on Channel Four if he had delivered the insights the producers no doubt expected of him when he talked about Jesus. He might have said he knows … Read more

Unity Won’t Solve Ireland’s Two Major Problems

[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] I believe that in the present circumstances of continued deep communal division in Northern Ireland and deep economic crisis in the Republic, Irish unity is not on the political agenda, nor does it make sense to put it on the agenda any time soon.  I have not heard advocates of rapid … Read more

“As the slogan says: Citius, altius, slidius, positive discriminatius.”

I’d been looking for an excuse to link to Dara O’Briain’s Guardian Sports Blog. And this is as good an excuse as any. This week he’s cheering the Irish bobsleigh team’s kicking Antipodean arse at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver after the Australians’ bid for inclusion threatened the Irish duo’s place in the competition. Over to you, Dara. This isn’t the big story of these Games – Shaun White, Lindsey Vonn and what may be an incredible men’s hockey final … Read more

….and Gerry the peacemaker

After Gerry the prophet it’s back to the more familiar ground of Gerry the peacemaker, this time in the Basque country, filing his latest Leargas blog in CiF . The impact of the peace process in Ireland is clearly evident in the language used. The resolution, Stand up for Euskal Herria, commits Abertzale Left to using “exclusively political and ­democratic means” to advance its objectives. It seeks to advance political change “in a complete absence of violence and without interference” … Read more

Gerry of Nazareth

While Malachi has documented the rise and fall of graffiti on the Royal’s wall the same pundit still provides a West Belfast review with some panache at Divis Tower: Gerry of Nazareth. What a wanker –eat your heart out Banksey. Addition: reader Paddy directs us to this more considered review Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

“OFMDFM is committed to transparency in all its dealings…”

Northern Ireland’s First and deputy First Ministers deployed an departmental “spokesperson” yesterday to defend their less than transparent approach to their “agreed [] programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration” – “The outstanding issues around Cohesion, Sharing and Integration have been resolved and the final draft of the document is being prepared.” And the same “spokesperson” had this to say on the report from the DUP/Sinn Féin “working group” on parading “The process on parading was laid out in the Hillsborough … Read more

Abandon hope

As Alliance continue selecting their candidates for the Westminster election (congratulations Gerry Lynch) it will be interesting to see where they decide to run. While most assume the campaigns are doomed to failure, they will still put people up as in previous years. Looking back on recent Westminster elections a pattern seems to emerge on where they select for these ultimately fruitless attempts. I’m not sure what that pattern means, if anything. The last time Alliance put up a candidate … Read more

P&J devolution: dates and confidence

The Hillsbourough agreement foresees the cross community vote on the devolution of policing and justice as occurring on the 9th of March with power to be devolved on 12th of April. Clearly this is colossally before Lord Morrow’s timetable of not in the life time of this assembly and indeed just as premature for Gregory Campbell’s six months or six years. Once when the DUP were busy telling everyone that they would not be rushed or bounced into devolving P&J … Read more

Platform for Change launch- what next?

Platform for Change’s website is a bit shaky at the moment – oversubscribed already perhaps? – but Conall tells us the launch went well. The Bel Tel gives it a fair wind. Its progenitor Robin Wilson has laid out the stall in an op ed piece. Elsewhere some time ago, Robin explained the ambitious aim of replacing entrenched sectarian politics with a vision of a voluntary coalition that shouldn’t excite basic insecurities. Time will tell whether this is the platform … Read more

Swingeing criticisms of MI5 restored in Guantanamo torture ruling

A major review of MI5’s accountability and trustworthiness looks inevitable after an historic move in the courts right at the end of the week. The missing paragraph 168 of the English Court of Appeal’s ruling in the Binyam Mohamed torture case has been restored in slightly amended form. Lord Neuberger’s stinging judgement is now spelt out in full, that MI5 has a “dubious record” on human rights and torture, and has “an interest in the suppression” of information about the … Read more

Six Nations Weekend 3

Fixtures for the weekend: Friday Wales 20-26 France Saturday England 16-20 Ireland Italy 16-12 Scotland Huge game for young Mr Sexton at Twickenham tomorrow. Tonight I’m expecting the normal boring kicking and forward dominated game at Cardiff…..(I hope – can’t put up with a game like Wales v Scotland) Anyway, here’s O’Driscoll on tomorrow’s centre battle. And the Times on Wales V France I’ll update the scores and prediction results over the weekend…….off to town to practice my French… Prediction … Read more

Labour sitting by the river whilst the spin machine goes into overdrive…

I think it probably signifies something significant that two confident old players like Iain and Guido are trying to spin an imminent call for the next British general election. Will Straw at Left Foot Forward has five reasons why we might still be heading for a May 6th election: 1. Announcing an election over the weekend would sabotage the passage of key pieces of Government legislation including Harriet Harman’s Equality Bill; the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill which includes provisions … Read more

Some Royal Society Stamps

The BBC hosts a neat, but unembeddable, audio slideshow on a new series of commemorative Royal Mail stamps marking The Royal Society’s 350th anniversary year. Ten eminent scientists are featured starting with the Honourable Robert Boyle – who was born at Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford, on 25 January 1627. Missing from the list is the Ingenious Mr Robert Hooke. Possibly because his only known portrait, held by the Royal Society, was allegedly, destroyed by his long-term rival Sir Isaac Newton … Read more

“Should we eschew any cause or proposal…”?

Interesting point raised by former South African Minister Kader Asmal in the Irish Times report on his inaugural lecture at Trinity College’s Centre for Post-Conflict Justice. “The question that must be answered is whether the most important political consideration is the need to maintain the unity of the power-sharing executive? Should we eschew any cause or proposal, even the proposal for a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland . . . that may lead to inter-communal differences in the executive?” … Read more

Some BBC cuts make sense but no need to overdo it

The niggardly Times view of impending BBC cuts is largely self -serving although they’ll deny it. The idea that selling off Radio 1 and closing BBC3 could produce cuts in the licence fee is absurd. Almost all content on BBC3 and 4 is repeated on the main channels and is then commercially versioned for channels like Dave. Cutting services hardly adds value for money, particularly those which the mass of younger licence fee payers enjoy and pay for. The BBC … Read more

Stormont role over human rights disputed

Do Stormont, Holyrood and Cardiff Bay have a say in a UK Bill of Rights? Read the politics and the answer must be yes. Read the law and you get tangled between strict constructionists like Austen Morgan a Derry born, London based lawyer and sometime Trimble adviser and the recent Justice report, claiming that the GFA requires formal approval for a UK Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. Morgan repeats Pete’s point that the Agreement did not “ provide” for a … Read more