Archive | May, 2011

Smithwick Tribunal: “It is understood the tribunal chairman is concerned about the deadline”

According to the Irish Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, speaking to the BBC on Thursday – about the Irish Government setting the Smithwick Tribunal a ‘deadline’ of 30 November for its final report. [Irish Justice Minister Alan] Shatter said the November deadline was not set in stone. “We’ve been informed by the tribunal chairman that he believes the tribunal will more…

Some unionist attempts at Kremlinology

Unionists are often correctly accused of having little insight into the political thinking of nationalists and republicans: it is a Northern Ireland version of Kremlinology. Two unionist commentators have, however, made an attempt at analysing the current position of republicans in the News Letter. Alex Kane looks at the position of republicans within government: Michelle more…

The Queen’s Visit and Impact Assessment

‘The week that Anglophobia died’ was the headline on the Irish Times article by that splendid columnist Fintan O’Toole(1) at the end of the Queen’s hugely successful visit to Ireland. Citing Frank O’Connor’s poignant story of Irish volunteers in the war of independence executing captured British soldiers who a few days earlier they had been more…

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Euro crisis: “For all concerned, the stakes are rising rapidly”

The markets may be optimistic about reports of agreement between Greece and the EU, IMF and ECB inspectors but, as Arthur Beesley notes in the Irish Times, the cost will be “a humiliating erosion of sovereignty”. And, as he also notes in a separate report, the future remains uncertain for Greece. In view of Greece’s uncertain more…

Kiss the duck

POTD – Dansko Gida

Dansko Gida from Vorsland in the Kaash republic, engages with a local yoof in an attempt to get him to ‘Kiss the duck’ which an old Kaash tradition. Part of the Festival of Fools ‘Sunday Treats’ at Cotton Court every Sunday through the summer at 2pm and 4pm

Is FIFA about to enter a ‘black hole’ of Blatter’s own making?

Given FIFA sponsors are getting itchy over allegations of corruption amongst some of it’s highest placed officials, it’s worth asking whether this was something like the “black hole” Sepp Blatter had in mind when he argued the organisation had no alternative but to vote him back into office tomorrow: ” Nevertheless, it is worthwhile outlining more…

ODI: Ireland v Pakistan

After a disappointing performance in the first One-Day International against Pakistan on Saturday, Ireland’s cricketers won the toss and elected to bat today at Stormont.  And they’ve set Pakistan a solid target of 239 from their 50 overs.  As the cricinfo report says, A brilliant, belligerent century by Paul Stirling gave Ireland hope of levelling the two-match RSA more…

Queen’s fears raise stakes in the Scottish game

Manoeuvres over the future of Scotland grow ever more complicated. Who leaked the story to the Sunday Times that the Queen is worrIed about the breakup of her Kingdom? (I’m referring to Scotland of course). The Prime Minister’s weekly audience is supposed to as secret as the confessional and you can bet it wasn’t her that leaked. While more…

“The Stormont system appears unsustainable in the long term…”

I noted previously Patrick Murphy’s concern about “how the assembly’s unchanging nature will influence future public engagement with elections and with what passes for politics here.”  In yesterday’s Irish News he posed a challenge to the post-election SDLP. From the Irish News Often in Irish history, constitutional nationalism has reaped the electoral benefits of armed insurrection.  more…

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Euro crisis: “Politicians have become sheep, not leaders”

In today’s Irish Times Paul Gillespie returns to the topic of the political dynamics in play at European and national levels during this euro crisis.  From the Irish Times article Ireland is doubly unlucky. Not only is France prepared to play hardball, but there is also no good reason for it to calculate its interests more…

RIP Gil Scott-Heron

Woke up to hear the news of the premature death of Gil Scott Heron aged 62. He rose to fame during the early 70’s and is perhaps best remembered for his song “The Revolution will not be televised” A poet, writer, singer and author his influence cannot be underestimated. He fought drug and alcohol addiction more…

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POTD – Draw Down the Walls

For a number of years a group called Draw Down the Walls has worked across the peace lines to produce art work related to living in the shadow of the peace walls. There are now more walls than before the Good Friday Agreement. Funded by Belfast City Council the group, who work with the Golden more…

Good grief – Wales win a Soccer match..

2 – 0. Not a classic, and a crowd of 529 people, but from a Welsh viewpoint every minute that Aaron Ramsey plays as captain is good. Any positives for you?

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Our slice of a new piece of London heritage

It seemed such a long shot, a new London double decker with a conductor and a platform you can fall off , seeming to defy the twin political correctnesses of efficiency and health and safety,  like the old days before mobile tin boxes and bendy buses took over.  Just a retro election gimmick from the more…

paranal after sunset

“damn, what a sky…”

[Image credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky] Clear skies are everything in visible-light astronomy, and they don’t come much clearer that the skies above the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope [VLT] array on top of Cerro Paranal in Chile’s Atacama Desert.  As this amazing time-lapse video of the VLT in operation, by Stephane Guisard and Jose Francisco Salgado, more…

“resulted in it being promotional for the First and Deputy First Ministers and their respective political parties.”

As the News Letter reports, the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom has ruled that an OFMDFM radio advert – part of a £20,000 advertising campaign, in February 2010, promoting the Hillsborough Castle Agreement – was “political advertising” in breach of the Communications Act 2003.  The ruling upheld a complaint made about the advertisement by the leader of the TUV, Jim more…