Archive | October, 2011

National identity will be central to Higgins’ Presidency…

Maurice Hayes reckons Michael D Higgins is the right man to start a more inclusive (and less prescriptive) debate on the nature of a post troubles Irish identity: It was different in the South, where these events became remote, seen through the soft focus of ‘The Wind that Shakes the Barley’ or the weekly ambush more…

EU flag

Euro crisis: “And all bets are off if Europe does not start to grow again…”

At the Guardian’s business blog, Graeme Wearden is live-blogging the European debt crisis, as the “OECD predicts some negative growth in eurozone in 2012… and calls for “bold” action from the G20, Italian bond yields hit 6.13%, Markets fall as bailout deal euphoria peters out, [and the] Euro crisis drags MF Global to the brink“. Meanwhile BBC Europe editor, more…

Steven Agnew at gpni11 conference

Green Party NI conference, the visit of Alex Attwood, and criticism of MLAs who can’t read or believe the speeches written for them

I encountered a confidence within the Green Party in NI at Saturday’s conference. Their conference attendance was a tad smaller than the Workers Party event on the other side of Belfast. While the party was relieved to have Steven Agnew elected in Brian Wilson’s vacated seat (running against Wilson’s wife who was standing for Alliance) more…

Thoughts on Robert Black’s conviction

Last week saw another of the murderers of the past brought to justice. In this case, however, there was absolutely no controversy. Robert Black was convicted of the 1981 kidnap and murder of Jennifer Cardy. Black had already been convicted of the murder of three other little girls and is suspected of a number more. more…

Terrorists: the good, the bad and the ignored

I blogged my views about Gusty Spence previously. However, Mr. Spence’s death also raises the issue of how ex-terrorists (or ex-combatants for those who prefer the term: exactly how the actions committed terrorists could be called combat is bizarre, but I digress) are viewed especially by the media. The way in which the media views more…

Table at Workers Party northern conference 2011

Look back at Workers Party NI conference (including audio)

John Lowry welcomed around 100 delegates and union representatives to the Grosvenor Hall in Belfast. The northern conference of the Workers Party isn’t a policy-setting body. Lowry said that the party is making preparations for the next local government and Assembly elections to ensure “there is a vibrant socialist alternative”. About two thirds of attendees more…

What the UK spends stuff on.

Apologies for the delay and thanks to Malcolm Redfellow for the tip. Here’s a great graphic from the Guardian on UK Government spending 10/11. Have a play to find out the easiest way to interpretate. (I bought the paper to get hard copy,,,) Anyway UK debt interest is £44 billion quid a year. For those of more…

Why Sinn Fein will rightly raise three cheers for the Dragon-slaying Kingmaker from Derry

In years to come, 2011 may well be remembered as the most significant year in post-Good Friday Agreement Irish politics. The bail-out which decimated the once dominant Fianna Fail party has not only transformed the party political composition of Leinster House, but it has also provided the opening for Sinn Fein to make their inevitable entrance into more…

Rev Norman Hamilton - Looking to the future copy

“two challenges and a serious suggestion” offered to Ulster GAA by Dr Norman Hamilton

It’s hard to predict where a Presbyterian minister will pop up next. The latest nationalist foray was conducted this afternoon by former moderator Dr Norman Hamilton who had accepted an invitation to address the Ulster GAA at their Club and Community Development Conference in Armagh City Hotel (the scene of last week’s UUP conference). Back more…

#Aras11: How was it for …Fine Gael?

Well if it’s stating the bleeding obvious to say ‘not good’, it’s worth going into some detail as to why it turned out so badly for them at a time when they are riding so high in the polls. The short, trite answer is everything and nothing. The candidate was the one favoured by the more…

#Aras11: How was it for …Sinn Fein?

Good news is they came in third. Bad news is they only took a third of the votes of the winner. No doubt they were squeezed by the last minute rush to pick/block a winner, and they might have been better advised not stake so much faith in pushing up their percentage vote during a more…

#Aras11: How was it for… Fianna Fail?

Well, not at all bad for team apparently without a dog in the race. When it became clear Sean Gallagher had been an enthusiastic member of Fianna Fail until recently, certain sections of the media went apoplectic. Cue the Morgan revelation, and the sudden loss of momentum. But along with second place in Dublin West, more…

#Aras11: How was it for …Labour?

Well, pretty magnificent. The old Dog for the hard road. Candidate selection was the critical factor. Michael D Higgins is one of the few professional politicians who can speak both engagingly and passionately about the Constitution. And the only one who managed to project himself in the role of President. By all accounts his farewell more…

Lab + SF = FF + FG + 18.4%: #aras11 warm down

Presidential elections don’t tend to tear the space-time fabric of Irish politics. But as mood shifts, Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese both managed to encapsulate subtle moves away from the manichean nonsense of patrician Catholic ‘civil war’ politics south of the border. The soon to be returned 9th President, Michael D,  will happily cite them as examples of why any judgement on him more…

Ireland (Republic of)’s new President: Michael D Higgins

Hard not to like. Former member of Fianna Fail. Made certain he was available for the post by retiring from the day job in advance. Capable of dropping great constitutional quote. An taon fior Gael amhain sa ras don #Aras11. And finally the beneficiary of a late, and apparently fictional, googly from the once and more…

The other Irish [by]election

The Irish Times reports the preliminary results tallies at the Dublin West byelection. Labour councillor Patrick Nulty is expected to win the Dublin West byelection following completion of tallies at the Citywest count centre in Saggart, Co Dublin. With a turnout of 49 per cent, Cllr Nulty is on 24.3 per cent (8,491 votes) after more…

Wow, indeed.

Via Tom Chivers at the Telegraph blog. [Video courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center] This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 29 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken October 18, 2011 from 07:09:06 to 07:27:42 GMT, on a pass from just more…

Billy Bragg IMG_2154

POTD – Billy Bragg and Occupy Belfast

Walking past the camp yesterday i heard what sounded like a familiar voice. When i looked to check it was indeed Billy Bragg who was in town to play a gig at the Empire last night. He had called down to offer support to the camping protestors. Safe to say that any donations of food more…