Slugger doesn’t do censorship but we do try to keep conversations civil…

It’s summer. And the silly season. There’s a shortage of real news, and our general attitude to that is generally not to get too hot and bothered about anything that does not deserve it… Occasionally, if the opportunity presents itself, we try cutting our teeth on a few new things…

To that end I’ve been spending more time with Google Plus prepping for the #DigitalLunch and a few projects I hope to have up and running for the Autumn. So my apologies if my presence here has been less than it should have been…

It seems, from the length of some our more popular threads that our thin summer diet is getting some of our regulars in the comment zone.. Two, the normally urbane gentile BangorDub has taken to his own blog to suggest that his Yellow Card was an attempt to censor him (oh and his contribution was taken off line)…

Another, apparently a unionist in the case, took his grievance to to gripe about Slugger and me personally (the thread does actually get a little more interesting after page three or four, though I have to confess some comments made me wince, others laugh some even both at once…

I’ll admit one long term fault in my management of the Slugger community, and that is absentee moderation… Sometimes things are just let slide almost always, believe it or not, because they’ve not been seen…

Every now and then, I’ll have a draconian lockdown, just to remind regulars (who, somewhere deep inside I feel should not need reminding) that there are rules to commenting here.

Those rules are not bound only by civil law (which are quite illiberal in regards to free speech), but those ‘governing’ good conversation. We try as much as possible to encourage good conversation by blogging good material. But occasionally, people who disagree with one another will see red.

Our moderators are not infallible. I will always happily hear appeals. But this site is for discussion and engaged debate, not just the swapping of witty one liners We don’t do proforma arguments of either the five minute or the full half hour either.

  • salgado

    It seems like one of the problems is that when yellow cards are issued, it can be unclear what for. Could there be some sort of way to send an automatic notification stating which rule was broken?

    Do many posts here get flagged as offensive? Surely this existing feature should solve any issue of moderator absence.

    A bit more transparency and consistency in the moderation may be required. I’m not even sure who exactly does moderate the posts here.

  • Mick Fealty

    HeinzG ticks more offensive boxes than anyone else… so much so that I barely hear from anyone else… if I do they are generally buried in a bunch of complaints against people whose politics he objects to…

    I think the fault is ours in this case… Offensive is a poor description of what it is intended to mark… it’s really rule breaking (I did suggest ‘manplaying?’ but was overruled in the design process) we’re after… Better to ping me an email to until I can get that fixed…

    Consistency would be good, but it is hard when you have to find time to police what should be the bleedin obvious… And – on a day to day, week to week basis – none of us get paid for this…

    As for revealing the id of the moderators, that will happen when we also force commenters to reveal their true identity… ie never if I can help it…

    The mods do their job voluntarily and generally they act on the side of the angels and without favour…

  • Mister_Joe


    salgado’s suggestion is worth considering. If I get a yellow, I get an email from WordPress noting which comment was responsible. A few words of explanation would be good. It would save you having to explain to me on the occasions when I ask you “why”.

  • Mick Fealty

    Absolutely not.

    The onus is on people to pay attention to the rules of engagement.

    Putting greater burden on people who are trying to keep the ball moving quickly and efficiently is the equivalent of making the referee fill out an impact statement every time he reaches for his yellow or red card.

    It would be – quite apart from anything else – a licence to create mischief and would turn Slugger even more into a self referential vortex than it already is…

    Not to mention the encouragement of trolls..

  • salgado

    Somehow that seems to fit with HeinzG’s posting style. I’m not entirely surprised it is abused in this way, but unless you start punishing unnecessary reports (which is a bad road to go down) I can’t see that changing.

    For the ID of the moderators – I wasn’t asking for names and addresses! I generally assumed it was more or less the core team of bloggers. I’m just unsure of how this works – for example if Alan in Belfast starts a thread, can he moderate his own thread even if he cannot moderate other threads?

    I don’t have any problem with the moderation myself, have never flagged anything as offensive and have never been carded. I’m just interested to compare how this place runs with fora elsewhere.

  • Mister_Joe

    If the commenting rules were expanded a bit (I could help) and given numbers, it could be one click – Breach of Rule X.

  • salgado

    Mick – you could have a template email with fixed replies for the various rules
    – off topic
    – personal attack etc.
    a full impact statement wouldn’t be required

    Yellow cards don’t seem quite so common that this would be that time consuming, and it may help commenters understand exactly where the line is.

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s an informal convention… people are not prevented from doing it… I moderate all threads… some will cross my desk with it… all do it reluctantly…

    It may irritate, but I am certainly not giving out names of who does what so that people can further work out strategies for taking down their favourite villans…

    But I generally deal with all appeals directly and I don’t mind finding against the moderator… I’ve only ever had to sack (erm, maybe two) for over zealousness…

    But I won’t that their good work put to public ridicule…

  • Mick Fealty

    Salago, that simply is NOT going to happen… As Mulley so aptly put it “Invisible people have invisible rights…”

  • Nice words, but no buttered parsnips.

    I’d be more convinced:

    1. Were the standards enforced across the site, rather than by the peculiar prejudices of the thread-posters;

    2. Were irony more generally recognised. And I loathe those acronyms.

    Still, good luck to all who sail in her.

  • While censorship or perceived censorship is an issue……a bigger issue might be transparency.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m going let this roll for a while and will try to come back in and pick up some points…

    But just remember that if you are calling for greater transparency think about how many people commenting actually use their own names?

  • salgado

    I still think the email idea would help, but thanks for the replies anyway.

    You lot do a tough job moderating this place, and it seems to mostly go quite smoothly.

  • salgado

    I’m still not sure I get where you’re coming from with transparency. If moderators were to use pseudonyms, or remain anonymous, that would be perfectly fine – a little more explanation of their actions is all I was suggesting.

  • tacapall

    Just take the yellows on the chin, like Mick says the moderators are doing the job voluntary. A lot of man playing goes on from certain posters when they find themselves unable to come up with anything positive or constructive to say, they even seem to work in teams commending themselves at every opportunity but otherwise its a great site and most topics are heated exchanges but civil.

  • Slightly red herring with the “names issue”.
    To be honest Id not much care about knowing the names of people who do moderating.
    About a year ago, I met someone who said they handed out yellow cards on Slugger but unfortunately I didnt press the issue in a “tell me more” way as to how anyone gets a voluntary job doing that.
    Indeed I assumed that as she was a student there mght be some “pin money” in it and I note only today that nobody gets paid……thats the veil lifted more than before.
    Everything I know about Slugger is picked up in bits and pieces.

    Its not necessarily about people …its about the site. how it works…how many are involved…the involvement direct or indirect of others.
    indeed a good clear the air position might be to publish a post doing exactly that.

  • Alias

    A lot of folks who complain about cards that appear on Pete Baker’s threads seem to have a grievance against that particular blogger, mainly because they don’t like his posts – specifically, how well-researched they are how well-argued his rebuttals usually are. They resent that they are unable to stomp their feet and play the man without risk of sanction, so they try to censor the sanction by complaining about it. Given the amount of facile and often vile abuse hurled at Pete Baker, he nonchalant about it and doesn’t issue 10% of the cards that he should be issuing. Kids in kindergarten…

  • Mick,
    Ok, Points above taken on board. My problem was, and is, that I didn’t understand why I was being penalised and that the person who posted the article appeared to me, to have a motive other than natural fair play.
    You have given me a fair explanation on my blog which I have no argument with. I still haven’t heard a word from the original author (Villain) of the piece.
    Just as a reminder, he appears to have yellow carded me because I asked him, politely, not to selectively quote me.
    That sounds slightly petulant to me?

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru


    While I haven’t got anything since, one of my first contributions ended in a red card. It was dished out (presumably) by Mark McGregor.

    It was following his post about the death of Bill Craig and how we shoot only leave tasteless/respectful comments considering the man had just died. When I took the time to post a link from Conall McDevitt’s blog about how Mark McGregor happily posted a link of some nutter dancing on Charlie Haughey’s grave, he took issue with that and gave me a red card.

    Now at that time I would have loved to have had

    a) an explanation of what rule I broke (there’s no hint of man playing when you show someone up as a complete hypocrite.. so all I can deduce was that it was his oozing bitterness that he got exposed)

    b) who exactly okayed the red card. Was it McGregor red-carding me on a whim, or did you also rubber stamp that action? Considering it was so quick, my hunch was for the former but now I’m not so sure.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru


  • Charlie Sheens PR guru


    Bit of proof-reading on my part would go down well

  • Billy Pilgrim

    I played in some dirty football matches in my day. Without exception, they were games that began peaceably but were catalysed either by blatantly biased, or just incompetent refereeing (or both) and descended into thuggery.

    In any code, the best referees are those who communicate best with the players. Take rugby: the ref never stops talking, explaining every decision, even warning players BEFORE they commit an infringement they look likely to make.

    It may well be true that Slugger hasn’t the time or resources for this. Fair enough. But the consequence of this shortage of time and resources is, at times, very poor refereeing. And poor refereeing causes tempers to fray.

    Which is not even to mention the elephant in the room: blatant bias.

    No-one here is demanding perfection, but fairness is a reasonable expectation.

    To be fair, most bloggers meet this expectation.

    But your line about not wishing to encourage trolls rings rather hollow, since the most notorious troll of all is your second-in-command.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    All that said, it’s important that I should add that Slugger has achieved something that few other blogs anywhere can claim: it has made a genuine and perceptible difference to the real world around it. For that, it deserves great respect and indeed thanks, even if that time has passed.

  • Billy,
    Great post, agree with every word

  • DC

    Billy, I take a different view (and i am not just saying this to wind people up) – I think Slugger has a very tight readership with in all honesty v minimal if not non-existent impact on the mainstream. Not to take anything away from the quality and content of the blogs and posts and commenters at all.

  • Alias

    “But your line about not wishing to encourage trolls rings rather hollow, since the most notorious troll of all is your second-in-command.” – Billy Pilgrim

    Which is where it’s really at, isn’t it?

    A section of nationalist posters on the blog don’t like posts that don’t present a green-tinted view of NI politics. When these posts are consistent and consistently good, they like them even less. In this context, a troll is simply someone who speaks the truth to those who don’t want to hear it and who does so without concern for the fragile psychological disposition of a small subsection of the audience.

    Instead of just saying that you dislike a blogger’s political focus and that is why you’re upset (which would declare factually that the problem is with you), you try to present your personal grievance as some sort of objective review of a website’s moderation policy and the performance of its moderators. This personal grievance is then further disguised as concern for the reputation of the website.

    The obvious conclusion being that unless your personal grievance is resolved in the manner you would like it to be resolved in (the censorship/removal of the offending blogger) then the reputation of the site will suffer (presumably because folks like Bangordub and you will act to smear that reputation with the outworking of your personal grievance).

    Why do some nationalists have a problem listening to messages that are not Shinner-approved? You’d almost think such intolerance was a classic symptom of brainwashing…

  • andnowwhat


    Your point would stand were it not for the fact that unionist posters such as Turgon rarely gets anything but respect, possibly because he gives respect. There was also a UUP guy who used to blog and I wouldn’t have dreamed of being anything less than respectful to him.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Everything Alias said @ 7:22 😉

    Here now,don’t be dragging my name into it while refusing to name others. Wee bit underhand there Mick ?

    If I find something offensive,I click the ‘flag as offensive….if I agree with something,I ‘judge it’.
    I thought that’s what those particular options were for ?

    ‘HeinzG ticks more offensive boxes than anyone else… so much so that I barely hear from anyone else… if I do they are generally buried in a bunch of complaints against people whose politics he objects to…’

    I’ll tell you what I object to most. Openly playing the man…..time,after time,after time…….for which I have been Yellow,and Red carded on numerous occasions,(unjustly of course),and seeing others playing on regardless.

    I care not one jot what religion/political affiliation/or tribe you subscribe to. When I encounter blatant hypocrisy,I feel it is my duty to expose it,for all to see.

    Here I sit…..I can do no other 😉

  • Mick Fealty


    I did take the blame for that one… Billy, guilty as charged… we could do with more hands, but I’ve never quite managed to get enough people to understand the difference between ad hominem, a joke, and politically unacceptable.

    Frankly nothing should ever be excluded on the basis of that last, some stuff should on the basis that one man’s joke is another man’s exclusion tactic, and the first is always a case of degree… the more people you pass it around to the more (I fear) it becomes inconsistent…

    I’ve never really got to grips with it… but in the end, the only way to avoid penalty is to BEHAVE civilly towards one another…

    GEDDIT? 🙂

  • Mick Fealty


    Don’t be so fricking lazy…

  • HeinzGuderian

    I geddit 🙂

  • Mister_Joe

    Complaints that PB, or anyone, is biased are plain silly. We’re ALL biased. Don’t complain; engage with reasoned arguments.

  • Mister_Joe

    I can’t find anything at Can anyone post a link?

  • sbelfastunionist

    Mick, one brief reflection I have on this post is that both you and Willie Hay should have our sympathy and respect. Some people don’t care about the rules, others will also find excuses about why they shouldn’t apply to them, often the same people who give it out can’t take it and sometimes these decisions aren’t black and white!

  • Mister_Joe

    And you had the nerve a few days ago to accuse myself and others of “man playing”. Wonders never cease.

  • andnowwhat


    The, “I’m not a racist but..” is the nub of our problems. I’m not a republican or I’m not a loyalist is that wee thing in the back of the minds of people who think they’re moderate until their button gets pushed.

    There are tons of examples, as I am sure we are all aware, but that’s not for now.

  • andnowwhat
  • Mister_Joe

    Ta, andnowwhat.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    ‘Complaints that PB, or anyone, is biased are plain silly. We’re ALL biased.’

    We do not all have the power to dish out yellow and red cards.

    It’s reasonable to expect fairness from those who do.

    It’s reasonable to expect that application of the rules will not be subject to bias.

    It’s reasonable to criticise when those applying the rules and dishing out sanctions demonstrate blatant bias in doing so.

    The reactions of Alias and others to this simple proposition are entirely unrelated to anything I’ve actually said.

  • andnowwhat

    Mae open rai khap Joe.

    On they call the OP “a flounce” 🙂

  • Ruarai

    Given the voluntary status of posters and moderators and the broad range of GB-IRL-and beyond opinions on Slugger, a lot of credit is due here. If fixes and improvements to the rules and norms are available – and some are – we should start with an appreciation of what we have here. Mick Fealty invests more time and effort in steering mature discussion than the entire payroll of businesses like The Guardian, for example.

    The exchanges are generally more civilized than the standard on much of the net. Many of Slugger’s posters at least try to converse rather than point score, or play to the gallery.

    There’s still far too much finger-in-the-eye stuff (the 12th/Ardoyne threads, most recently, were particularly depressing and untakable) but in many other blog sites that’s all there is. Critical and respectful exchanges are most likely to come through posters and commentators building norms – shunning trolls, rather than engaging them – not by creating more rules policed by unpaid volunteers.

    Slugger at its worst is a magnet for NI’s outliers, particularly the loudest among them. Slugger at its best offers a rare platform for and a valuable window into the range of opinion in a divided society; A reasonably safe place to have conversations that need having. I think the best of it overshadows the worst (and the worst is attributable to a minority of dedicated windbags convinced that their political opponents’ different opinions reflect moral failings, mental irregularities or limited intelligence – rather than plain old differences in opinion, differences that ought to trigger intrigue rather than howling.

    The least productive contributions to Slugger come from regrettably vocal “false consciousness” theorists. You know the type: ‘Nationalists aren’t really nationalists, save for around 7% of NI’, ‘Unionists aren’t really British, just a bit confused’, and on and yawn.

    That and lazy hyperbole – see the reference to “brainwashing” above from – who else? – Alias, for example.

    On moderation and cards, perhaps there is some room for tightening. It’s not clear to commentators that cards are not (always) issued by thread posters. (It’s not always clear to me, for example, why commentators on my own threads have been carded, or by who).

    Pursuing more transparency and consistency shouldn’t be dismissed because the standard of full transparency and consistency is impossible. Some steps towards tightening and a little more clarity/transparency is worth exploring.

    Overall though, the fastest route to improved exchanges is surely the simplest: increased self-checking prior to posting and in terms of tone, a little less judgment and a little more curiosity.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    As for the argument that criticisms of Pete Baker are based on the fact that he’s a unionist, I can only say:

    Who says Pete Baker is a unionist?

    Not that it matters a jot, of course, but if I’m being accused of criticising Pete because he’s a unionist, I can only say that maybe he is just that, but I’m by no means certain.

    I honestly couldn’t say for certain what he is, other than an astro nerd.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    (All love to the astro nerds!)

  • Alias

    Andnowwhat, you’ve obviously not familiar with Turgon’s threads. The level of abuse he received from nationalists on some of them was severe (and from the usual persistent offenders) – probably because Turgon couldn’t issue cards and therefore nationalists felt they could get away with it.

  • Mister_Joe

    I discussed that with Turgon. Yes, he did receive a lot of abuse from certain individuals who didn’t like what he said, despite his arguments being well reasoned. He could issue cards but choose not to.

  • Alias

    “He could issue cards but choose not to.”

    Which amounts to the same thing, Joe – absence of a deterence to the abuse from nationalists. At the risk of upsetting the delicate Ruarai, that led to ‘full-frontal’ abuse as opposed to the snide abuse meted-out to Mr Baker.

  • andnowwhat

    I guess you and Joe must be right Alias. I do filter out certain, predictable posters when I read threads, unless I’m up for a bit of low level edification

  • Ruarai


    I’m not sure you consciously erect strawmen but you have here. Your post here is a prime example of what a little more self-checking could prevent.

    Consider: No one is suggesting removing moderations and sanctions and relying only on norms. No one’s blog comments indicate that they’re suffering from “delusions”, let alone “brainwashed” or a member of a “cult”. (Take a look a that rhetoric and try taking it down a few notches.)

    It has been suggested, including by me on this very thread, that we shouldn’t approch the question of increasing the “civilized” levels of exchange on Slugger solely only by creating more bureaucracy in the form of placing more of the burden on volunteers to police trolls. Of course moderation will remain and can possibly be tightened. But cultivating norms has it’s place too.

    Starting with self-checking before firing around terms like “cult”, “brainwashing” and “delusion”. It’s not helpful.

    Nor is a myopic fixation on attacking just one section of the population again and again, as you do with northern Nationalists and others do with other groups including unionists or individual bloggers. That type of Eoghan Harris style obsession with one group only leads to people thinking, “here he goes again” – even when you’re right or onto something.

    I hope you don’t find that terribly rude on my part but there is simply no need for that type of hysterical terminology -especially on a freaking thread about making Slugger more civilized.

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    Mick your site your rules.

    Not on topic now but could you do an edit button??? Can you also do a page where you can show the brackets (“qoute”) thing for posting links as line of text???

  • Mick Fealty

    To think of the problem is ‘rudeness’ is to miscategorise matters here. Alias at his best, is blunt, clear and to the point. S/he’s also a tad obsessive. Especially when it comes to the matter of Irish Sovereignty and the EU.

    In fact my problem when s/he gets into that territory is not that I disagree with him/her (I do, and quite strongly), but that it is such a passion for him/her that his/her judgement becomes clouded and s/he’s apt to lose the normal tight control s/he has over the material argument..

    [Sorry to speak of you as though you were not here alias, I’m trying to illustrate a point]

    In fact though, alias has a far finer grasp of the importance of sovereignty than almost any other regular commenter on Slugger and it’s his/her contributions on this subject that make him/her so welcome here.

    The problem is not the viewpoint. It is the point when the commenter leaves the appointed rails of the site… Likewise, alias’s toughness on northern nationalist self conceptions are always welcome so long as they stay within the rules of engagement…

    It’s not my job to save people from tough minded criticism, it is mine to encourage people to respond in similar tough minded ways, to the arguments and false arguments of others…

    Footnote: I think sbelfastunionist puts head firmly to nail when he notes that moderation is about navigating grey areas… it is not always clear why someone gets red or yellowed (I’m not sure yet why andnowwhat was black spotted, but I am going to make sure I find out in the course of the day)…

    The onus is on commenters to self police and keep the right side of the arbitrary hammer… 🙂

  • “keep the right side of the arbitrary hammer”

    An impossible task, I would have thought 🙂

    Thank God, it’s a feather duster 🙂

  • Mick Fealty

    Indeed Nev. You just have to use your uncommon sense and try to make sure the tree you are pointing at is in the right forest…;-)

  • “try to make sure the tree you are pointing at is in the right forest”

    But that would be submitting to censorship 😉

  • Mister_Joe


    If you go to the bottom of the page, go to “Using the site” and you’ll find instructions on how to add a link.

  • Alias

    I shall refrain from addressing the posts where I have become the topic as my natural modesty forbids such indulgence. 😉

    Last comment on the actual topic: as Mick right points out, the onus has to be on the poster to regulate his own behaviour. But that only applies to those posters whose purpose is consistent with the ethos of the site (genuine exchange of views between posters) and excludes those indoctrinated with political propaganda, whose primary purpose is to disseminate it, e.g. the Shinner drones. When you observe, time and time again, abuse aimed at specific bloggers who would be seen not sympathetic to the Shinners when you know that the drones are buzzing and doing so to defend the hive. Time then to get the swapper out..

  • Mister_Joe


    (swatter?). Agree that persistent offenders should be penalized.
    To go back to Turgon, he told me that the reason he didn’t remove vile personal abuse was that he was sure that the comments would reflect badly on the poster and would be judged so by reasonable people.

  • Sadly, Alias @ 3:51 pm, both hives have their many drones. Pity we can’t have an ‘iggy” (as in ignore) button.

    What with “trees in the right forest” and “arbitrary hammers” and now hymenoptera, any chance we can call a truce on metaphors?

    Bottom line: yes, the ambiguities of “censorship” here are a bit of a pain — particularly when my one’s wit and wisdom is put to silence. Yet we all came back for more, sooner or later. Which itself is significant. presumably that means what is on offer here isn’t to be found elsewhere. Whereas the free and open exchange of insult, injury, abuse and gross misrepresentation (which is latent in expressions which include the term “shinner”) proliferates in other locations.

  • Alias

    Incidentally, Mick, what is different about your board compared to ‘normal’ boards where individuals post is that it is more prone to group dynamics. While it is individuals posting here, it is primarily individuals formed into groups that are posting.

    There are a large number of existing and competing groups (national, religious, social, political, etc) which the individuals slot into, and where the group dynamics are always latently waiting to act as a counter to the individual given the right trigger. That is an area where there is a conflict between interpersonal behaviour and intergroup behaviour, and where social identity theory comes into play.

    With self-categorization theory, by way of example and contrast, the abstractions of ‘I, We, and We Humans’ is seen in an aspect of the Quinn affair that you focused on but didn’t identify: the ‘I, We Cavanmen, and We Irishmen.’

    That is probably why group behaviour is more prevalent on your board than other boards, particularly when it comes to ‘ganging-up’ on the members of other groups and why there is ambivalence when the group can’t identify which group the individual belongs to but recognises him as a non-member of their own.

    Group dynamics will bring about a level of behaviour that you won’t be able to explain by simply looking at the individual or interpersonal level of posting.

  • DC

    Mick one of my comments has been removed – i thought you didn’t do censorship?

    I just gave my opinion on certain comments made over on Pie, didn’t think it was that bad a comment.

  • Alias

    To clarify:

    “That is probably why group behaviour is more prevalent on your board than other boards”

    Refers to this:

    “There is a large number of existing and competing groups (national, religious, social, political, etc)”

    Where one group threatens not just the values but the survival of another competing group then those dynamics are always going to be more intense that where they don’t. You see that manifest in the exchanges over zero-sum issues such as march/no march (social) support for violence/no support (political) and United Kingdom/united Ireland (national), etc. What other type of forum could possibly generate the interplay of those dynamics with that many (and plenty more) zero-sum issues? Where there is one meta-group it is impossible to occur (since there can be no threat to the group’s existence), but where there are two or more competing meta-groups, then it is impossible not to occur.

  • “It’s summer. And the silly season. There’s a shortage of real news”

    Maybe more a shortage of (competent) news sources/gatherers/controllers? Journalists were present on several occasions in the early operational days of the new Giants Causeway Visitor Centre but it took them about three weeks to report the layout/charging flaws. If the MP for the area, Ian Paisley jr, hadn’t spoken up the story might not have made it to the MSM. Unsurprisingly, the MSM decided to ‘sex-up’ the story by drawing attention to the MP’s recent criticism of the National Trust vis-a-vis the Bushmills Dunes golf-course project.

  • lamhdearg2

    have We no barge pole to hand.

    BBC News – Kate topless pictures: NUJ says threat to close Irish …

  • BluesJazz

    The big news today, though it’s ignored here, is Gove’s inroduction of the ‘eBAC’. Northern Ireland (and Wales) education have been left floundering in its wake. It will have profound consequences here, hence John O Dowd’s outburst :

    Universities will not recognise NI ‘qualifications’ and the separation between grammars and secondaries will be set in concrete.
    But, whatever, when’s the next ‘march’?

    That’s what parents (and FG Wilson workers) are really concerned about. At least at Stormont parish council.

    Let’s hope we find Gold in the Mournes and Oil in the Sperrins, otherwise, we’re Moldova.