Horseman RIP…

I was very sad to learn yesterday of the death last Monday of Horseman, the blogger behind the brilliantly named Ulster’s Doomed blog… He was tenacious, intelligent, probing and utterly committed to bringing about the end of Northern Ireland by peaceful and largely intellectual means.

I never knew him personally, even though he was a very long time reader (and not always a fan!) of Slugger O’Toole. For his commitment, energy and, above all passion, he will be much missed, even by those with whom he so profoundly disagreed.

I can think of no better tribute than to link to his last post (Swedenise Us), which indicates the intelligent instincts of the man, when he suggested how we might judge the best in politicians:

In Sweden 43.8% of people have a ‘rather favourable’ opinion of their politicians, compared with an EU average of 12.4%. And only 18.4% of Swedes have a ‘rather unfavourable’ opinion, against the EU average of 55.4%.

Swedes are not foolish people, and are no more likely to be fooled by their politicians than anyone else, so what these results show is that Swedish politicians are simply better than any others. If their voters have a positive opinion of them it must be because they are more honest, more diligent, more representative and more efficient than any others.

And, of course, good politicians lead to good politics and good governance – and these lead, almost inevitably, to a more responsive state in which the needs of the people are served better than elsewhere. No wonder Sweden is close to the top of the list in almost every international comparison, whether it is looking at freedom, affluence, education, development or happiness.

Of course like many of the things we jibbed each other over it’s a case of ‘chicken and egg’ Horse, chicken and egg. But on this one at least, we finally got to broadly agree with one another…

Our thoughts are with his partner and family…

Mick 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