AV: “But it certainly gives voters at least the illusion of power…”

The Guardian’s Michael White is, rightly, sceptical of the arguments in favour of the proposed proportional representation on offer in the UK’s AV referendum.  From the Guardian Political blog I have to say right away (I suspect it’s obvious anyway) that my heart remains with the FPTP crowd for several reasons I still think compelling, not least my distaste for political quick fixes. If you want to believe that PR voting will make politicians work harder, be more honest and … Read more

Loyalist terrorist found guilty of sectarian murder

Sectarian murder victim Alfredo Fusco and his bride on their wedding day Another of the bereaved families from here finally got some degree of justice today. Loyalist terrorist Robert James Clarke was found guilty of the sectarian murder of 53-year-old Alfredo Fusco in his York Road café on 3 February 1973. From the BBC report: Mr Justice McLaughlin said there “was no innocent explanation” for the fact that fingerprints belonging to Clarke were found on the door which Alfredo Fusco … Read more

Rehn: “I expect this issue of pricing policy will be looked at from the overall European perspective…”

The European Union’s economic and monetary affairs commissioner, Olli Rehn, has been making somewhat encouraging noises  [for the new Irish government] ahead of a series of key European meetings for the incoming Taoiseach. From the Irish Times breaking news report “We look forward to continue supporting the Irish people and the next Irish government in the implementation of the EU- IMF program, which is key for Ireland’s economy and its revival,” Mr Rehn told reporters in Brussels. “We have the common … Read more

Of Prohibition, Paddy’s day, Leprechauns and the AOH

After watching the first 6 episodes of the excellent Boardwalk Empire (Sky Atlantic, Saturday 9pm) a few well established truisms are reassurignly reinforced. Firstly, just about everybody can do (and does) an Oirish accent but just about no one can do an Irish one. Secondly, given that the Irish do so love a drink, it was not very clever to impose Prohibition on a population so heavily represented by our goodselves. Thirdly, just as in fashion and style the Italians … Read more

DUP announce Assembly candidates, including a new face in East Belfast and two double-jobbers

cropped DUP logo

Political parties have been slowly announcing their council and Assembly candidates ahead of May’s elections. This morning, the DUP are announcing their full slate of Assembly candidates, which includes two MPs. There will be interest in the three man DUP line up for East Belfast. The party’s council candidates attracted attention a couple of weeks ago as Orangeman and Belfast County Grand Master Tom Haire displaced an irate David Rodway in the Victoria ward. The East Belfast Assembly candidates are: … Read more

#GE11 Profile: Sinn Fein achieves national currency…

It’s tempting to overwrite any profile of Sinn Fein’s spectacular move out of its stronghold areas. There were obvious highlights: Gerry Adams topped the poll in good style in Louth and likewise his two Donegal colleagues, Pearse Doherty and Padraig MacLochlainn. The party also performed particularly well in Dublin where there had been concerns about the defections of a number of councillors over the last few years. It’s out in the rest of the country where I think the party … Read more

The Irish Independents – but where are ours for #AE11?

One of the fascinating features of the Republic’s general election has been the prominence – and success – of a wide range of independents. Colourful characters aplenty will be in the new Dáil Éireann – from the nationally known business journalist Senator Shane Ross, to Luke Flanagan, ‘Ming the Merciless’, the marijuana-smoking mayor of Roscommon. Then there’s millionaire property developer / man of the people Mick Wallace, whose pink football shirts and posters and flowing white locks, brought some colour to … Read more

“Theirs is a vote for equality…”

One of the new TDs for Louth, and still Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead, Gerard Adams, has thanked all those who voted for his party. “I want to thank everyone who worked for Sinn Féin and all those citizens who voted for us. “Theirs is vote is a vote for equality, a real republic and a United Ireland in which citizens are cherished.” Which might come as news to those who thought they were voting to [unilaterally] … Read more

#GE11 Profile: Labour now the second largest party in the State…

And by some way. Dublin North West has two Labour seats and one that’s newly Sinn Fein. No Fianna Fail TD for the first time since the 1920s. There are a further two in Dublin South Central. And Ann Phelan took the first seat in Carlow Kilkenny (you can pick up my RTE Audio Boo interview with her here). And in Galway East, they’ll pick up a seat for the first time ever. The Gilmore for Taoiseach posters aside, this … Read more

Welsh language hits the big time…

It’s finally arrived – the Welsh language Email scam! As reported in the Western Mail: a message that will be familiar to many repeat recipients of messages from deposed African royals, a widow of a Kuwaiti ambassador for the Ivory Coast asks for help distributing a $2.5m trust fund for the needy if the willing party can just send through their bank details. DC John Cherry, e-Crime Wales business liaison officer, said that it was an “old-fashioned” scam that perhaps … Read more

“It’s going to be a very very strange Dáil…”

As WorldbyStorm says at the Cedar Lounge Revolution This is all that 2007 was meant to be [albeit without the apostate Green Party, and one wonders what will happen to them short, medium and long term now that they are effectively cut off from both local and national representation], but somehow was delayed four years. It’s going to be a very very strange Dáil, one where the opposition is broken into fractions, but big enough fractions at that. And as with … Read more

Old gits of the blogosphere unite

Over the last week we (here, here and here) have delivered the local printed media to a probably undeserved(?) and premature grave; unfortunately (for us self-important bloggers anyroads) it’s not the blogs which are going to be filling the info-gap in the years ahead if, as per usual, Europe falls in line behind the US example:

Read moreOld gits of the blogosphere unite

A UK Unionist and also confirmed devo-sceptic.
I believe the creation of devolved “governments” in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, along with the corresponding unsolved “English Question”, has weakened that Union.

The present-day Conservative Party would be the national party which would come closest to representing my political beliefs. I have previously belonged to the “Friends of the Conservatives” and the UUP but am no longer connected with either party.

Outside of my Unionism, I consider myself as an economic libertarian, social liberal and secularist- e’g. am pro-choice, anti-schools segregated on the grounds of (parents’) religious beliefs.

Very suspicious of NI’s Human Rights’ Oligarchy (in particular the NIHRC) and hope to be writing on this topic, as well as wider UK and European political issues.

#GE11 Profile: Fianna Fail no longer an undisputed “Republican Party”…

From a long term point of view, the big story of the election was what’s happened to Fianna Fail. Not so much a notice to quit as almost a notice to quit trading. Bertie’s seat bonus has gone (and may never return), and the core kicked them pretty hard and coming on the heel of too Local Government wipeouts, they have a nasty generational gap to bridge. Back in January, Liam Clarke rather ominously suggested that Fianna Fail may be … Read more

POTD – Busker

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

Fine Gael and Labour should strike out now for a new deal

With Fianna Fail now finally swept aide, will the two victorious parties dare  make the one move that would weld them together in an instant and all Ireland with them?  Only the most starry-eyed europhile would fail to give two cheers for the briefings emerging from Dublin that the about-to-be-born FG-Labour coalition really mean it.  They will seriously try to renegotiate the bailout. They may yet confound the ranks of critics in advance who balked at standing themselves, Browne, O’Toole … Read more

Looking ahead – Three Quotes to ponder.

It’s Saturday as I write this, listening to the RoI GE11 results come in, as well as the analysis we are already hearing predictions for the next election, will it be a revived FF, or FG going for a majority, Labour becoming the major party,or even SF making the it to the top table in some form.  In light of this speculation  may I be so bold to quote three statesmen, two Brit’s and a Yank to boot. Firstly, Sir … Read more

Irish General Election Exit Poll

For reference, rather than predictive qualities, RTÉ’s exit poll records the parties’ first preference vote in the 2011 Irish general election as follows (compared with 2007 result)  [Added Actual 2011 first preference result in bold] Fine Gael 36.1% (27.3%)  36.1% Labour 20.5% (10.1%)  19.4% Fianna Fáil 15.1% (41.6%)  17.4% Independent/Other 15.5% (9.4%)  15.2% Sinn Féin 10.1% (6.9%)  9.9% Greens 2.7% (4.7%)  1.8% Adds  From the Irish Times report The poll of 3,500 voters was carried out yesterday. The margin of error was 2.5 per … Read more

Count day open thread

Mick is on the road again and will be feeding in content when he can. In the meantime he has asked that I open the liveblog. It is only following a few twitter feeds so your comments don’t get buried. If you spot any hot twitter feed we should include let me know. Election 2011 Updated with some links: Independent live blog RTE page Irish Times live blog The Journal Wikipedia page linking to each constituency Politics.ie Mark McGregorBlogging at: … Read more

POTD – Here mate. Take my photae

How could i refuse? 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 … Read more