Shhh….it wasn’t the shinners

Five days after the murder of Bobby Moffatt – claims of UVF involvement and mass intimidation of people in the Shankill area but Slugger’s expanded team has managed a grand total of one blog on the subject.

Pity it wasn’t a friend of someone related to a 2nd cousin of a sister of a guy that used to know Gerry Adams’, joiner’s sacked plumber’s, former school friend – that would have warranted many blogs.

, , , , , ,

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Does not sound very good and there seems to be a UDA versus UVF element to this as well, it will be interesting to see what type of presence the PSNI will have tomorrow and Friday for the funeral.

  • Michael

    Well you know, the cult of personality thing has it drawbacks, it results in folks like Pete blogging about what you had for breakfast.

    Tbh, I don’t know what I find more tiresome, Pete’s obsession with beardy, or your paranoid whinging.

    Maybe instead of complaining you should post a few articles yourself, or isn’t there a photoshop plugin for that?

  • redhugh78

    It doesn’t suit the agendas of slugger’s contributors or the wider media as a whole.
    Nothing to see here, move along.

  • jim

    same case when jo jo o/connor was shot in ballymurphy by the pira people were intimitated

  • RepublicanStones

    I think Pete’s in orbit lads, leave him alone.

  • Comrade Stalin


    I saw two blogs on this matter. The other one was about people rioting when police attempted to question a few people.

    It’s not as if you missed it, because you complained at the time that blogging about the event was pointless and not newsworthy. If you’re going to moan, bitch and whine all day could you at least be consistent ?

  • Mark McGregor


    It is some stretch to claim that entry was dealing with this topic. But bang away if you want to. We do links….

  • I suppose you could look at this another way (in the Oscar Wilde sense of being talked about – I am sure Gerry Adams would now be more concerned if he wasn’t talked about on slugger).
    Is this a reflection of the political redundancy of the PUP/UVF? In the same way that, for all the actions carried out by them, the UFF-UDA never morphed into a substantive political entity (prompting questions which a recent thread by Turgon could have, but didn’t, explore).
    This prompts the obvious question – are those who did support the UVF, UFF at their height just gone off the map, in terms of engagement with the political processes?

  • Mick Fealty

    Come on guys, try reading the story that’s been at the top of algorithm charts for most of the day:

    It mentions the Shankill UVF in big red letters, and it links the killing to the sub rosa politics of the Lord Mayor’s election this year.

    Just remember: you read it here first on Slugger.

  • Mick Fealty


    You also missed the story that’s been at the top of algorithm charts for most of the day:

    It mentions the Shankill UVF in big red letters, and it links the killing to the sub rosa politics of the Lord Mayor’s election this year. And it was posted yesterday, ie before the Press tumbled to it, and before the election actually took place.

    Unlike most of our 7-8k visitors, you have the rights to blog what’s fit to print. If you see a deficit, don’t MOPE, just fill it.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Mr McGregor is right.
    Which is why (despite our many disagreements) he is a valuable voice on Slugger.
    The Slugger Team seems to have an issue with Mr Adams which outweighs any sense of news value.
    Rather like the Daily Express team tries to find a link to Lady Diana Spencer in any news story and the Daily Mail tries to find a link to illegal migrants in any news story….it appears that the Slugger team find a Gerry Adams connexion to every news story. After a while the Daily Mail and Daily Express dont even seem to know theyre doing it.

    Ultimately the Lady Di and migrant stories become a cliché which ultimately makes the newspapers look slightly silly.
    Im sure all of us have watched the Sky News Press Preview at 11.30pm and noted the Reviewers glee at a typical Daily Mail or Daily Express headline.
    Likewise we are entitled to a little glee at a typical Slugger headline when the Slugger writers indulge their anti-adams passion.

  • Mick Fealty


  • Pete Baker

    Before this goes any further down the ‘fair gaming’ route, I’d point out that the one Slugger post Mark links to is by myself.

    And what else has happened since, that is relevant to say about this murder?

    Mark manages to link to “A text message seen by UTV…”

  • Mick Fealty


    As well as the post CS notes, which you berated Pete for, you also missed the story that’s been at the top of algorithm charts for most of the day:

    It mentions the Shankill UVF in big red letters, and it links the killing to the sub rosa politics of the Lord Mayor’s election this year. And it was posted yesterday, ie before the Press tumbled to it, and before the election actually took place.

    Unlike most of our 7-8k visitors, you have the rights to blog what’s fit to print. If you see a deficit, don’t MOPE, just fill it.

  • Mick Fealty

    I am having trouble publishing my rather trenchant note to this thread so I have sent it privately to Mark.

    Although it’s a very short piece, the story on the election of the DLM of Belfast City Council (Convery for Lord Mayor? Kyle as Deputy?) directly references Moffet’s murder. Not only that, but it questions whether the PUP at this time could muster the political capital to get the job (because of the proximity of said murder).

    It was a pretty cheap shot coming from someone who has the rare privilege on Slugger to actually blog the story himself. The reference to Adams is gratuitous, and has only succeeded in waking the usual single transferable rant from the usual suspects.

    I personally go to a lot of trouble to try to provide the right valence to each story as it presents itself. I readily admit that I don’t always get it right. But there is no unitary line on Slugger. And there are enough (I believe) people on the blogging team who see these things differently from me to provide another, contradictory angle.

    Now, FitzJamesHorse. You confessed earlier this evening to being a graduate in history. You referenced in that thread the importance that historians attach to sources and the quality of sources.

    Can you tell me when you last saw an unnewsworthy reference to Mr Adams on Slugger? And, whilst you are at that, why you are endorsing Mark’s mistaken view (apparently) that we have given the UVF a bye ball in this case, when the facts point in the contrariwise direction?

    Or are you just extemporising for the sake of it?

    PS, I am not attempting a Gradgrind here. It’s just that I have seen people get hooked on what they believe to be the context of a given story, when they should be taking much greater care over reading the actual text.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Was also about to raise the Lord Mayors thread Mick, which was as heated a debate as any we have had on SF members serving in high office, the major difference being DLM is little more than a token role, whereas SF now holds some of the highest offices in the land, therfore a higher standard can rightly be expected of them than of the PUP.

  • Mick Fealty

    Yes, but the principle is the same. I don’t hold with Turgon’s rather reductive line of who can and who cannot hold public office. The base line for that was struck in 1998, and was not much altered by 2006/7.

    One very important question (though not the only one) even in our fragile democracy that we have to continually interrogate is what is the current state of political currency, and how it is affected by ‘political murdering’ and other criminal adjuncts to ‘the process’. No more, no less.

  • Anonymous

    Should also note SF are 4 points up in the latest poll in the Republic. Meaningless like as they still bouncing about the 7% support they get but since the last one headlined with SF 4 points down I was somewhat surprised not to see the follow up here.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I am not sure that being a History graduate is actually the same as “History is my discipline” and Im not sure that its such a heinous thing as to require that I “confess” it. “Stating it” would be less perjorative but I digress.
    While attaching great worth to sources, Slugger would be deluding itself if it claimed History was its discipline.
    By definition all references to Gerry Adams on Slugger are “newsworthy” but as Slugger defines the newsworthiness of the stories.
    As the Daily Express and Daily Mail find any tenuous link to Diana or migrants newsworthy …..there appears to me (and on any issue its conceivable that Im wrong) Slugger is fixated with Adams reflecting the obsession of its “team”.
    Conceivably Mr McGregor just isnt a team player.
    Now no-one has claimed that a “bye ball” (your perjorative words again I suggest) has been given to the UVF.
    It has merely been suggested that the UVF breach of ceasefire, Dawn Purvis stance are bigger issues that have not vexed the Slugger team…..while clearly contributors to other threads (if you recall one of the first references to the Ballysillan police injuries suggesting its possible link to events in North Belfast……..was from…….me).
    alas Dawn Purvis has inherited the saintly Ervine mantle and is a fearless grassroots politician……..thats the narrative for PUP.
    On THIS issue Im quite prepared to endorse Mr McGregors mistaken view (apparently) . I am always prepared to endorse any view that I think has merit, regardless of whethr or not I “like” the source.
    What can I say….History is after all my discipline.

  • PaulieDaniels

    Yeah Just like the PIRA gunmen gave each other high fives and removed there balaclavas, in full view of the So-Called Intimidated people in the Murph that night Jo Jo got shot.

  • Mick Fealty

    Yep, banged to rights (but I will definately publish Red C’s excellent long term graph in the early am). It suggests last month’s poll was an outlier. Here’s our reference to the last one:

    Very little commentary. Mostly Pete’s handed it over to the boy at the centre of the polling operation.

  • I’m confused. Is a contributor to Slugger telling other contributors what they should be writing about?

    McGregor seems to revel in being the rebellious voice yet paradoxically seeks conformity from others?

  • Mick Fealty


    Okay, let me spell it out for you. We had the story about the UUP, Kyle and the political provenance of the Moffet murder out last night. BEFORE the election of the DLM.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Well in fairness…..not every story can be covered and Slugger itself has a few weeks ago posted a thread where the object of the exercise was to increase the numbers in the Slugger team……and also bring in representatives from groups not currently often seen on Slugger……women, business and “mainstream republicanism”.
    The rise in SF support in the republic might well be an issue that would motivate a mainstream republican to initiate a thread. Looking round the Slugger team, it does not appear…..for a variety of reasons to be an issue that would interest them all…… can be no great surprise that the individuals on the Slugger team enrich our experience by bringing their own “world view” into their threads.
    The SF opinion poll rating would be under the radar.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Mr Fealty,
    thank you for “spelling it out”

  • Mick Fealty

    Nevertheless, it will be on Slugger tomorrow. It is not, on reflection indicative of much other than a suggestion that last months poll was an outlier for SF. It also suggests weakening of FG over the last three. But I would put that down to mood, rather than anything politically significant.

    If you want me to blog a story you think I have missed, email me. I cannot guarantee I will blog it, but at the very least you can say I knew about it and then chose to ignore it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Il est tout compris… n’est pas?

  • referring to the original post Fealty

  • Mick Fealty

    Still trying to get to grips with this ‘nested comments’ malarky. But my last was intended for FJH, rather than your good self SE. Bonne nuit Monsieur!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Tuigim …cinnte

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Ah yes I assumed that a rise in SF support could be qualified and explained away . Alas I could not possibly be a poacher turned gamekeeper and join the wider freemasonry of journalism.
    I am merely the hurler on the ditch. although I did have my moments, I was never a good team player.

  • Alias

    How about a nice scrabble thread?

  • aquifer

    I think John ONeill called it right:

    “Is this a reflection of the political redundancy of the PUP/UVF?”

    Gangsters falling out about cash drugs women male egos & cars is barely news, and they don’t usually get to run government departments.

    Shootings have an impact on victims, but after the headline their futility can hang.

  • Mick Fealty

    Hmmmm… Ms Purvis has just resigned this morning…

  • Henry94

    Looks like the pressure from Slugger finally managed to bring down a party leader!

  • Mick Fealty


  • Aquifer – I was thinking of something else as well – once upon a time councillors like Joe Coggle could get elected (by councillors) to offices in Belfast like High Sheriff, Mayor or whatever while officially ‘Independent’ although representing the platform that became the PUP. And despite the tiresome debate on the other thread, they were perfectly acceptable (and electable by the DUP and UUP) back in their pre-ceasefire days. They now appear ‘politically redundant’ to mainstream unionism, for whatever reason (although Peter Robinson may beg to differ on that).
    Whatever the actual profile of the blogs began by the slugger team (Mark included), it’s their own watch – you guys are best debating that by a round robin e-mail amongst yourselves rather than in public. People can just go to a different site if they don’t like it – thats

  • don’t know what happened there.

    That should end …. – thats their own choice.

  • Jean Meslier

    “..Looks like the pressure from Slugger finally managed to bring down a party leader!..”

    I liked this amusing comment.

    However it’s important to point out that Slugger, like many other political blogs are merely avenues of comment for people (frustrated and otherwise) to ventilate in the absence of any ability to influence change in their society.

    Had Slugger or any other anti-SF political blogs efforts been effective in proportion to their endeavors, then Michelle would have finished 3rd-behind Rodders and Fergie. Connor would have been crucified beside the Phoenix in Crossmaglen Square – MMcG, Pat Doc – something similar, and the eternal spectre of the bearded one in WB would already becoming a distant memory as Wee Al Attywood completed his weekly cavalcade down the Falls.

    Sweet dreams indeed. But then, unfortunately, we have to wake up.

  • Mick Fealty

    Thanks for that ‘ringing endorsement’ Jean. My thoughts on the role of comment viz a viz yer actual politics have been in the public domain for quite some time.

    As you say (and I said more than three years ago), democratically elected politicians have a job to do which is quite separate from the ‘art’ of commentary.

    The truth is that *some* (and for those of you still hooked on ‘subtext’ and ‘agenda’ plotting, I am not singling out a given party) of our politicos have yet to adjust to the idea that their actions in government are and should be open to honest criticism.

    Plus ça change. We are, all of us, learning as we go along.

  • vanhelsing

    McGregors agenda is clear to everyone on Slugger – or at least it should be – hell he’d have a blog of ‘Unionists found in league with Lucifer’ if he could find a ‘reliable’ wink wink source for it:)

  • thankyou – it’s nice to feel a bit of power coursing through the veins now and again 😉

  • Henry94

    I think everyone’s agenda on Slugger is pretty clear to everyone else on Slugger.

  • Mick Fealty

    Indeed Henry. Indeed. Best to get on with the ‘civil row’ than try to stand outside or beyond it… 😉

  • vanhelsing

    I have no probs with that:)

  • Jean Meslier

    Thank you for the Clarification.

    Please accept my apologies if my post was taken in the first person singular- it wasn’t intended as such.
    However perhaps this “health warning” from three years ago could occassionally be “flashed up” as certain people lose the run of themselves, especially around election times.

  • fin

    no denying that slugger nosedived since Mick became a player instead of a facilitator (to paraphase Danny Morrison) the hourly blogs on what Gerry Adams had for lunch were tiresome and a lowpoint been Rustys single line blog “Gerry Adams – Bigger than Jesus”

    lessons seem to have been learnt, and some of the better quality posters have returned, I wonder if slugger attended one of its own workshops?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    thats possibly a little unfair. I am only a regular on Slugger since I guess mid January and while veterans talk about halcyon days of Slugger in its prime….thats something I just wouldnt know enough about to comment.
    My own observation was that …from what I saw some posters were remarkably “lazy” (and I can be too of course) …possibly after not being challenged enough.
    Certainly Slugger has done a lot of “internalising” recently and appears to be working frantically to improve.
    We should all wish it well.

  • johno

    Fin wrote,

    “no denying that slugger nosedived since Mick became a player instead of a facilitator (to paraphase Danny Morrison) the hourly blogs on what Gerry Adams had for lunch were tiresome and a lowpoint been Rustys single line blog “Gerry Adams – Bigger than Jesus”

    lessons seem to have been learnt, and some of the better quality posters have returned, I wonder if slugger attended one of its own workshops?”


    Spot on, my friend.

    Fealty seems to have been operating under some delusion that his site was actually moulding and shaping political opinion across the north. He was abetted in this sad enterprise by a right shower of geeks who, for months, indulged in all manner of lurid specualtion about Adams’ family issues. I think they hoped SF would suffer in the election.

    The 6th of May broke their little hearts.

    But, perhaps the saddest spectacle was Mick’s post-election breakfast event in the Europa. What was the point of that? Had it been planned to celebrate the emergence of the blogosphere as the ‘new media’ vehicle of the future – where politics will be played out and minds influenced? Hahaha.

    I’ve been teling Mick for months that blogs were ‘cool’ way back in 2002. Noone does them now – and noone reads the efforts of those that do.

    The 20 or so geeks who make up this site are utterly irrelevant to the future of the North. Wake up, nerds.

  • chewnicked

    ‘The 20 or so geeks who make up this site are utterly irrelevant to the future of the North. Wake up, nerds.’

    Ouch!! Nail hit firmly on the head, all the same!!!

  • joeCanuck

    ..noone (sic) reads the efforts of those that do.

    So, what are you doing here?

  • Mick Fealty

    Now instead of making stuff up boys, look at what I’ve actually said about (already linked in this very thread once already) blogs and politics

    Some stats (first time I have looked at the back end since we crossed over)… In the last month:

    Visitors have grown by 226.09% (Most of that growth relates to the election coverage)…

    – 187,754 Visits…

    – 60,196 Absolute Unique visits…

    – 629,149 Page views…

    – Biggest number of page views on a single story: 6,793 times (Gildernew thread at election time)…

    – 73.98% is returning trade…

    – Twitter is now by far the largest external referring site… Then and then Facebook… 3k Versts comes in just after the BBC… at 7th and 8th place respectively… Splintered, Guardian and come at 12th, 13th and 14th…

    No one can take anything for granted in this line of work… we have a decent audience (at the very least 98% lurkers)… I’ve been being told Slugger is sooo over for the last 4/5 years…

    Maybe they were right and what remains is just for those who still get some value out of it… If you don’t rate Slugger, then no one is forcing to you keep reading us, never mind obliging you to comment… (See the comments policy in the footer below…)

  • Mark McGregor


    I think you are fair to point out the traffic situtation but its a bit of spin to quote any of the stats impacted by the election when I like you see the report demonstrating the massive nose-dive that inevitably occured immediately the election finished,

    Quote the stats as of this week, they are the truly indicative ones – not as impressive but prety good too.

  • Mark McGregor

    Oh and you should note twitter is a strong referrer as you automatically tweet every post to that site so anyone with a twitter feed is now more likely to hit a new blog entry via the update – it is not indicative of mass twitter referrals.

  • Mick Fealty

    No, but it is indicative of the volume of inward traffic from that quarter, which is different from the links themselves.

    Automatic tweeting is pretty common pattern with all big blogs (and one of things we’ve recommended others to do in our Open Workshops in March). We’re only at the beginning of doing that.

    Those contributors who suggest that blogs are soooo 2002, well, 2007/8, are right in that respect if little other. 18 months ago, Twitter was nowhere and blogs were the thing you needed for inbound links and traffic: now everyone is trying to latch on to Twitter and Facebook as a reference engine.

    Oh, and spare me the ‘spin’ line after your valiant efforts at misdirection above… 😉 One month’s figures is how they come on the Google Analytics site (the email reports we all get are weekly)… I didn’t have time to think out whether it was spin or not… But bear in mind that the election was over before the end of the first week of those stats…

    So I may have exaggerated the effect of the election… but it was not by purpose…

  • Alias

    Slugger greatly increased my understanding of the oddballs up north, and it remains as essential reading for me – as it should be for anyone interested in gleaming a little political insight into NI beyond the MSN.

    That said, I don’t think that it can claim to influence political events in NI any more than the audience can influence a glove puppet show – it’s the hidden hands up the jacksies that remain in control. The British state sets the political agenda and the servile media simply finesses it, with the punters thinking it is their own free thinking, free will, and democracy that led them to vote for party X and Y and Plan A rather than state direction with folks choosing from the options the state presents and choosing en masse the preferred option, e.g. the audience thinks they are rebels to vote for Gerry when that is exactly what the state wants them to do.

  • Mick Fealty

    Actually Mark, I’ve just realised the percentage increase I’ve quoted is nonsense. We had to set the counter at zero about half way through the month before…

  • fin

    Mick, afraid I have to question your stats, according to Slugger is ranked 3188th in Ireland, the top countries for Slugger are in order


    60,000 unique visitors in a month would likely put you in the top 100 websites in the world!!

  • Mick Fealty

    Good man fin. You should question everything!! But you should also take a little more care when you do your ‘desk research’.

    My figures are from Google Analytics. It has the value of being independent, and working off a script on the site that measures actual traffic. It’s not relative, so it doesn’t provide a ranking like Alexa. For that reason Alexa is not a substantive challenge to the veracity of the Google figures.

    I’d be a little cautious about the Alexa rankings. It provides a ranking based on those who use the Alexa tool bar. Four or five years ago, it had Slugger in the top 100k sites globally. It impressed my neighbour at the time who owns a successful ecommerce site. But I suspect that that high ranking was helped somewhat by the fact I had it embedded in my browser.

    In fact the top country for our traffic, by a very long way is the UK. Ireland comes in a long way after that.

    As for your suggestion that Slugger’s bumming it and would be in the Global Top 100 if the figures I quote above were true, well if there least bit of truth to that, how on earth do you account for Iain Dale’s figure last month of 174,383 absolute unique visitors?

    I hate to be seen to talk down my own website, and I hope that people don’t take it like that. But, really, we ought to try and nail this nonsense once and for all.

  • Mick Fealty

    Feel free to respond guys…

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Im not sure if Im one of the guys who has been invited to respond….in general….or on the specifics of Internet traffic. I dont understand anything to do with internet traffic. Much too old to know anything other than how to turn this thing on or off. Anything more complicated is best left to nerds and children.
    On a general point perhaps..its becoming evident that a lot of threads are showing signs of a Peasants Revolt and an increasingly defensive and tetchy Slugger response. A lot of threads deviate into “Whats going on here” territory.
    Some joined up thinking is probably required.
    Slugger initiated threads with complicated graphs (to improve the quality of the comments) an appeal for a wider based Slugger team (women, business and mainstream republicanism being under represented) to improve quality gives the impression that the make-over is deeper than web design.
    I suggest that a single thread might be in order to tell us what Slugger is really up to. Clearing the air so to speak.
    Of course its your call as to WHAT may be transparent and what may be be witheld. Just as long as we are not under any illusion that its all transparent. We are conditioned to be cynical.

  • Mick Fealty

    I wasn’t thinking of you FJH, but happy to respond.

    We aren’t all conditioned to be cynical, but there is always a cynical element to any set of politics which shows itself often in Slugger’s threads. I may owe people a post of the kind you suggest but I wouldn’t presume it would definitively clear the air.

    To that extent ding-dongs are a natural part of the Slugger scene. I hope I am never knowingly discourteous, but sometimes it pays to go the direct route. Especially when some of the individuals concerned driving a double-decker bus the wrong way up a one way street.