Sinn Fein and criminality

The TUV’s stance on refusing Power sharing with Sinn Fein is one of their most distinctive policies. To refuse mandatory coalition with Sinn Fein was of course a policy once held by the UUP and, until as recently as 2007, by the DUP. The DUP now claim that Sinn Fein have changed and as such they, the DUP, are willing to share power with them. The TUV dispute this and I would submit that a single word can sum up … Read more

Sinn Féin’s hidden crisis? *updated*

In the comments on Pete’s entry covering Padraig McShane’s resignation from Sinn Féin I noted the following list (now substantially updated) of Councillors that have resigned recently (this list is confined to those that have left during the current council terms north and south – those that left in previous terms are excluded): Dessie Ward Padraig McShane Briege Meehan Domhnall O’Cobhthaigh Gerry McHugh Bernice Swift Barry Monteith Gerard Foley Michael Tallon Poilin Ui Cathain Killian Ford Christy Burke John Dwyer … Read more

Nats benefit from no seats at PM’s debate

One of the lesser delights of the TV election was last Monday’s comprehensive stuffing of Jeremy Paxman, not by some Westminster luminary but the unlikely figure of the Plaid Cymru’s economics guru the terrifyingly magisterial Eurfyl ap Gwilym, as noted by Alan Trench ( see his You Tube link). There is a serious point in this, beyond preparation (or not). Paxman clearly seems to think that the ‘normal’ or ‘fair’ way of allocating public spending should be that everyone gets … Read more

Slugger reader predictions – latest

We’ve had 49 replies to our Prediction Competition so far*. Averaging the results, we’re collectively predicting a turnout of 61.8%, and the votes cast divide up as follows (rounded up to one decimal place): SF: 25.6% DUP: 23.5% UCUNF: 17.9% SDLP: 16.2% Alliance: 5.2% TUV: 7.3% Others: 4.2% What does this tell us? It isn’t polling evidence, and there’s no weighting (bookies have the benefit of knowing a bit about strength of sentiment because it’s hard-earned cash backing predictions). But … Read more

ICC World Twenty20 2010

Ireland’s honourable performance in last year’s tournament may be a dim, and happy, memory but tonight they face this year’s Twenty20 Cricket World Cup host’s, the West Indies, under floodlights at Providence, Guyana – start time 1700 local (2100 GMT/2200 BST). As the BBC preview notes, the opening game will see New Zealand take on Sri Lanka (1800 BST). It’s a return to the scene of Ireland’s breakthrough in world cricket, the 2007 World Cup, and the Guardian has a good article on Ireland’s ambition and the investment … Read more

Poorly spun electoral yarn

I like a bit of spinning and manipulation during an election, it’s a dirty business and most parties are up for some deceit and/or dishonesty. Though Alliance are pushing their luck a bit with the claim ‘It’s Naomi or Robinson’ in their election cartoon – the claim is supported with the essentially correct statistic that only 52 votes separated them in 2007. Though it completely masks the fact that the total DUP vote of 11,155 dwarfed Alliance’s 5,583 and even the UUP were … Read more

Gerry Ryan dead

There isn’t much on the mainstream media websites yet, but Twitter is ablaze with rumours that RTÉ broadcaster Gerry Ryan has died. Gary McKeownhttp://www.garymckeown.info

Ulster backs the outsider Clegg…

Hmmm… According to the Belfast Telegraph, Northern Ireland wants the Lib Dems ahead of the Tories… way head of Labour… Mick FealtyMick 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

US economy grows, Greek Government agrees to deeper austerity, citizens riot

Bloomberg report that – The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter as households spent more freely, setting the stage for gains in employment that may help the recovery broaden and accelerate. and the Wall Street Journal note that Greece has agreed with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union to take additional austerity measures expected to yield “around €23 billion” ($30 billion) as a precondition for financial assistance, a Greek official familiar … Read more

Gordon Brown: “You can see the moment his political career leaves his body”

Jon Stewart on why the UK debates don’t matter after the first one… He absolutely hammers UK politics for its triviality… It’s over five minutes, but the end is worth waiting for… Mick FealtyMick 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

Another Sinn Féin councillor resigns from party

The BBC reports that Moyle District Councillor Padraig McShane has resigned from Sinn Féin. From the report In a statement on Friday, he said he was leaving Sinn Fein. But he remained tight lipped about the reason why. He said that his decision followed “certain allegations” which might be taken up by “certain hostile media elements”. “My adjudication on this matter leads me to believe that those hostile elements within the media would use any allegation to attack my party and … Read more

47.4% drop in postal/proxy votes issued

The BBC report notes the headline figure but, below the fold, the breakdown by constituency shows massive variations in the reduction in postal and proxy votes issued this year compared to 2005. As the Electoral Office Northern Ireland statement says [pdf file] Almost 1.17 million people will be able to vote at the general election the Electoral Office has announced. Figures published today by the Office also show that the number of people applying for a postal or proxy vote … Read more

What next for our North-South postal and train services?

[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] Here is some good news. The postal service between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland works well. A report in February by Consumer Focus Post, the consumer ‘quango’ which looks after the interests of users of the UK postal system, found that nearly four in five Northern Ireland individual users … Read more

The Debate is not the last word

What a pity that most MSM pundits have abandoned their role as independent commentators to back their man or make excuses for him. The commentariat is still transfixed by the positives of the debates. But the big negative of this format of 72 conditions cooked up by the parties  is the glaring absence of expert and lay cross examination  that’s lies at the heart of routine  Question Times.  Audience pressure  would have blown apart the leaders’ conspiracy of silence over cuts … Read more

Photograph of the Day – Templemore Avenue Health Clinic

Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast. My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North America and i had my first solo international exhibition in New Zealand. I have been the recipient of a number of grants from the … Read more

Northern Ireland parties give verdicts on PM debate

Most of them…  From the BBC report The DUP, the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists, the SDLP and Alliance gave a mixed reaction to the debate. TUV and the Green Party also gave their view. Sinn Fein declined to comment. Well, it was a debate about the economy… Pete Baker

Secrecy in schools – catholic dirty habits

The northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education, Post Primary Review has been making a mockery of consultation across the north for months. The ‘Catholic Education For All’ consultation on South, West Belfast and Lisburn is a clear demonstration. I challenge you to find either the consultation or response form on the website with any ease. If you do come across it you will find a document that suggests two models identical in all but one element; the building of a … Read more

LIVEBLOG: Final UK Leaders debate

We are having problems with the code tonight so the Liveblog will open in a new window. Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

Derry Essays 4: We are the greatest…

I have written many times about Derry’s importance as a European cultural capital [1], and every time I’ve met with relentless patronising from subjects of much-lesser cities whose only notable attribute is size. There’s a small snigger, accompanied by an oh-so-clever remark about “chips on his shoulder” as they slope back to their generic lattes, in generic cafés in Blandland. I’ve lived in, worked in, or visited every Irish city – and quite a few in Britain besides. And let … Read more

Election prediction comp: The West Belfast error?

We’re nearly up to fifty entries for the election prediction competition, and there is one common answer that is coming in that suggests to me that many entrants haven’t understood one of the questions. For this reason, if any of you want to go back in and have another go, we’ll de-duplicate when we’re doing the scoring and remove one older answer from the same e-mail address. You will have to answer all of the questions again though. You will … Read more