Open thread for the holiday weekend (usual rules doubly apply)…

There’s been a few complaints that Slugger’s not been covering all the bases lately, so I’m opening one of our rare open threads… Please do keep it civil, but this is a chance to raise issues you want to talk about we’ve not been able or willing to reach…

  • Any comments on this week’s elections in England (and one in Wales)?

    They were mostly for county councils, for example:

  • Red Lion


    Irish Cup final weekend, Glentoran v Cliftonville is a sell out bar the reductions made by health and safety

    Beautiful memories of previous cup finals in town for 11.30am. and falling in and out of pubs from town along ‘Windsor Way’. The best ever was the Glen Little final.

    Obviously the Cock and Hens are underdogs but it has been great to witness the build up to the final here in the East and loads of Glens fans who haven’t been to a game in years getting the bug again . Also great to see a bit of excitement given the ongoing financial problems.

    I’ll prob make it into the Windsor rec club for a wee jar afore the game taking a slagging frae all those sour BLOOmen .

    And it looks like a nice sunny one. To all those going to the game of whatever support, have a good one (but hopefully not that good a one if you are a red not a cock 😉

  • JoeHas

    Davenewman, I occasionally struggle to articulate why I feel ‘Irish’ rather than ‘British’. The best I can come up with is that I feel that some aspects of GB society is ‘foreign’ to me, even though I’ve happily lived in England for 6 years. I don’t think that Great Britain is in any way bad, just different.

    My own liberal ideological views mean I often struggle to understand how English people (and it is mainly English people) support extreme politics – BNP, UKIP, some tories (and the very rare socialist). I just don’t understand how an average voter can align themselves with (what I see as) illogical, blustering and hateful politicians. The Council election results distance me further from any feelings of ‘Britishness’. I know that politics in the Republic of Ireland is also very conservative, but I see a greater desire to accommodate, to improve, to benefit poorer people in society among my Irish neighbours.

  • Ulidian

    Provisional recommendations for new DEAs have been published – any room for comment?

  • Morpheus

    “Northern Ireland’s first shared education campus for Catholic and Protestant schoolchildren has been granted planning approval.

    Up to six schools with 3,700 pupils are expected to be based at a former Army barracks in Omagh, Co Tyrone, Stormont’s power-sharing government revealed. The relic of the region’s 30-year conflict is to be transformed into a 126-acre development to educate the next generation together.”

    Is there a difference between co-religious education and integrated education?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I often struggle to understand how English people (and it is mainly English people) support extreme politics – BNP, UKIP, some tories (and the very rare socialist)

    That’s the thing. Generally, they don’t.

  • Ulidian


    I’ve seen them – I was wondering if anyone was going to comment on them!

  • Generally, I would like to see a much greater representation of science – with the exception of astronomy which is excellent – and sport on Slugger.

    You have tabs for Northern Ireland, Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. It therefore beggars belief that a news item which is of great common interest to all of the constituent parts of the British Isles should disappear under the radar. I am referring, of course, to Warren Gatland’s selection of the players for the Rugby Union Lions tour of Australia. There are a number of controversial strands to the selection. I refer to a couple of them here.

    Gatland has selected Sam Warburton as the Captain. Is he the right man for the job?

    I am not convinced. His record as Captain of Wales is not particularly good. He seems to be a much better player when he is not captain as we saw in the most recent six nations match between England and Wales. In the tour of Australia last year, his Wales team failed to beat Australia. His rival for captain, Chris Robshaw, who was a front runner until that match, did captain a side which beat New Zealand with a less experienced, less capable, team than Wales.

    I am sure others would like to contribute to that debate

  • Barry the Blender

    I’d like to see more proper coverage of GB politics. It’s shocking that Thursday’s election doesn’t even have a post, and a token ‘open thread’ will not allow adequate discussion.

  • CW

    While we’re on the open thread here, I’d like to see more posts on Slugger relating to literature, comedy and the arts. This is of course in no way connected with the fact that I’ve just got a book out at the moment, a comic memoir of growing up in Co. Tyrone in the 1980s, which I won’t mention on this thread.

  • Alias

    This might come in useful.

    Complaint Form for Disgruntled Shinners

    Dear Mick,

    I would like to masquerade as (Tick Box):

    [ ] (a) a long-time reader

    [ ] (b) an impartial observer

    [ ] (c) a lurker and occasional poster

    [ ] (d) a concerned parent

    The motivation for my complaint is (Tick Box):

    [ ] (a) I am sorry to see a good blog go bad

    [ ] (b) I am utterly shocked at the lack of appropriate editorial balance

    [ ] (c) I just want to help turn wrong to right wherever I can

    I wish to emphasise that (Tick Box):

    [ ] (a) I am writing as someone who has never voted for Shin Fein in his/her life

    [ ] (b) I may be forced to vote for Sinn Fein if you keep this up

    I think that Slugger needs to take the following corrective action (Tick Box):

    [ ] (a) Parity of Scurrilous Attacks: there should be more blogs drawing attention to stories that show the DUP in an unflattering light – preferably featuring clandestine sexual encounters with mountain goats

    [ ] (b) Pete Baker should be sacked immediately, and preferably sooner

    [ ] (c) Feature more stories about the intrinsic masculinity of beards

    [ ] (d) No more mentioning of Mr Canning and Mr McGuinness in the same blog

    [ ] (f) Tell the truth about how Sinn Fein have achieved Irish unity and a 32-county socialist utopia instead of pretending they haven’t

    [ ] (g) Campaign to have Gerry Adams nominated for a Nobel Prize for economics (this great human rights activist was shamefully overlooked for the Peace prize)

    [ ] (h) More blogs wondering if Mr Poot’s ears pick up SKY TV

    If Slugger fails to take corrective action I will be forced to (Tick Box):

    [ ] (a) Whinge about your blog on

    [ ] (b) Stop reading your blog

    [ ] (c) Give Sinn Fein my sympathy vote

    [ ] (d) Re-submit my complaint ad infinitum

  • Mark

    Is Warburton the right man to lead the British and Irish lions ?

    I’m not too sure myself . There’s no doubt about his ability however his temperament is suspect . His spear tackle in the WC semi against France cost his side a place in the final .That match and the memory of it for Warburton could either inspire him or hinder him , we’ll just have to wait and see . His is however Gatland’s man who Gatland obviously trusts and as there’s alot of experience in the squad , there are players who he can turn to should the pressure get too much .

    Down the years in all sports there have been players who prosper without the pressure of captaincy . One famous player would be Ian Botham who when captained England in an Ashes series seemed to crumble under the responsibility . As soon as the armband was taken from him , his form changed overnight and he led England to perhaps their most famous victory over the Aussies .

    With Gatland named as Head Coach for the lions ( just like any coach ) he was always going to the Welsh lads a chance .With regard to the selection , how Hartley got the nod over Rory Best is a mystery . With my green cap on , I can see Kearney , Howe , O Driscoll , Sexton , Healy , O Connell , O Brien and Ferris making the test team …….wishful thinking on my part ? What do you think Seymour ? .

  • Mark

    Cont …wishing Ferris a quick recovery to hopefully make the trip .

  • Mark

    One of the major news items this week was Brian Shivers being acquitted for the murders of the two soldiers at Massereene in 2009 . Considering his co accused Colin Duffy was also acquitted for the same charge ( and has been the subject of threads on this site ) , it seems odd that this story didn’t make it onto Slugger . Just an observation …

  • DC

    Accumulation of purple harmless heritage flags flown in east Belfast never got a mention either.

  • cynosure

    Fair play, Alias. That’s hilarious. Lol

  • Red Lion

    Well a beautiful day at Windsor Park

    Ah the glory of an underdog win.

    Cliftonville from half time on were outfought, outsung and outplayed, I was actually amazed at the Glens passing and keep ball at times.

    A match played in good spirit apart from Johnson stamping on Clarke near the end (former deserved punishment latter did not)

    The Lisburn Road was bouncing at about half five to the tunes of the green red and black

    Great to see Colin Nixon get his 794th (yes 794 the mind boggles) appearance for the Glens an East man thru and thru

    A highly spirited display

    I am away down the Westbourne in anticipation of a slurp of champagne frae tha Irish Cup

    Bless all the boyos in green red and black

  • keano10

    An alternative opinion on the above post

    1.Two Cliftonville players were hit by missiles from the Glentoran Fans.
    2.The number of UVF flags among Glens fans was a disgrace to Irish League Football.
    3. If I had a tenner for everytime the words “we are up to our necks in Fenian Blood” were sang today, then I would be extending the pending family holiday abroad for at least another two weeks.

    PS : Glentoran were the much better team and thoroughly deserved to win. Congratulations to Eddie Patterson and also to the true Glens fans who applauded Cliftonville players during the medal ceremony.

  • DC

    For clarification, were the UVF flags seen today the harmless heritage ones with carson and craig or the other ones.

  • keano10

    No DC, they were the paramilitary modern-day flags. To be fair to Cliftonville fans they were really restrained today. The true Glens fans were ok too. Just seemed that a few battalions of East Belfast Flag Protestors had decided to have a day trip to South Belfast. Charming chaps…

  • DC

    Personally, towards the end of the game, i thought cliftonville were bad losers tbh.

  • keano10

    DC – If you are referring to On The Pitch then you have a point. A couple of bad tackles. I was eluding to off the field matters though.

  • Comrade Stalin

    DC’s just enjoying his usual Saturday night pastime, throwing the bait out there and waiting for someone to bite.

  • DC

    FU Comrade! I was actually being serious.

    But, may I present the Jordan Accordion Band and its ‘World in Union’ sound that was put about tonight around the mighty Carrickfergus town, you might even spot me if you look close enough!

    Here it is – The World in Union:

    (And no thanks to the Alliance Party – you wee sell outs, decades worth of support in carrickfergus has curdled from pride to tarnished honour – away on out to f**k and into jordanstown ya wee sell out shites the whole lot of youse!)

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    @ Morpheus

    “Is there a difference between co-religious education and integrated education?”

    I’m not 100% sure but I think the co-religion education is more along the lines of having separate schools in the same campus or building.

    So, if the new school at Moy is anything to go by then it’s still the same old apartheid, everyone will be in their different school uniforms and taught apart.

    I welcome correction on the matter as I hope that I’m wrong:

    A perfect opportunity to finally have Protestants and Catholics sitting beside each other in class being wasted because our politicians are for some reason obsessed with keeping us separated.

    To copy FDM’s method, lets just change a few key nouns of the proposal:

    “A mainly BLACK school and a WHITE school are set to share the same building. The BLACK students will retain their old school uniforms as will the WHITE students.

    Should they wish to do so, there is the opportunity for the students to mix at meal times…”

    “A shared future. Separately!”

  • Rory Carr

    Picking up on CW’s cri de couer for more items ” relating to literature, comedy and the arts” I have just yesterday discovered on my SKY GO package that I can access a comedy/thriller series as Gaeilge from BBC2 NI called Scúp. The script is credited to prolific comedy thriller craftsman, Colin Bateman and the first episode at least bears all the familiar marks of his tradecraft with a splendid cast of unfamiliar players (unfamiliar to me anyway).

    The plot is based around the travails of an ailing Irish language newspaper (An Nuacht) and its staff and, so far, apart from a brief opening scene of an armed robbery at a greengrocer’s, all is spoken in fluent and fluid Irish. There are subtitles of course for those who only comprehend English (and Ulster-Scots).

    You can have a peek at the opening episode here:

    When then, we might well ask, are we have an Ulster version of Sex and the City or Desperate Housewives broadcast entirely in the hamely tongue? Dr. Billy McWilliams of the South Aist Ards Bible an’ Caterin’ College would, I imagine, be only too happy to assist with the script (and even may be persuaded to lend a hand in the wardrobe department).

  • FDM

    Glentoran fans were a disgrace at Windsor yesterday.

    UVF flags, Parachute regiment flags, RIR flags etc…

    “Billy Boys” banged out at every opportunity.

    The amount of objects hurled from the Glens stands at Reds players was a disgrace to them.

    In terms of the football we will just have to content ourselves with Champions league football and the financial benefits that a club already in the black will reap.

    Looking forward to looking down the league to find Glentoran next season.

    I could have concentrated on commenting on the game, but given the unsavoury behaviour of many of the Glens supporters well they don’t merit it.

  • DC

    Whinge whinge whinge.

    Bad losers – stamping on the player when the game was put to bed after two up.

    Will you admit that the Reds were bad losers or is that as likely to happen as an Alliance MLA turning up at a Carrick flag rally?

  • Morpheus

    How boring is the Alliance bashing? Can you not just thanks and move on?

  • DC

    How boring is the whinge whinge whinge 🙂

  • FDM

    Crying all the way to the bank DC.

    “Whats that coming over the hill, is it a taxman, is it a taxman?”

    Are you Rangers in disguise?

  • Morpheus

    As an Alliance voter what have I got to whinge about? I don’t think anyone who voted Alliance at the last election will be fooled by any of the party politics come the next election. The electorate will remember the strong, principled stance taken by The Alliance Party.

    Despite the disgusting, repugnant, cowardly tactics of the DUP/UUP with their notorious leaflet drop they stayed strong and took the right decision for the right reasons. Despite what the GFA says there was no chance of “EQUAL treatment for the identity, ethos and aspirations of both communities” at Belfast city Hall so SF/SDLP went for NEUTRALITY. The Alliance took the stance that because Belfast is still a capital city within the UK they put a motion forward to recognise that fact and bring Belfast City Hall into line with Stormont and the rest of the UK. What should have been a simple house-keeping exercise was blown out of all proportion by extremely poor leadership who took advantage of the fear of the people on the street.

    The Alliance could have taken the easy way out and abstained but then the SF/SDLP’s motion would have won so instead they fought their corner and made SF/SDLP change their position. What thanks did they get? Firebombs, attacks on their homes, bullets in the post, death threats..and for what? So the DUP/UUP can win seats/salaries/pensions for their cronies. They sent a beast onto the streets that they couldn’t control and then disavowed them, giving them no leadership whatsoever.

    So yeah, what do the Alliance have to whinge about? Why not just say thanks and jog on?

  • Drumlins Rock

    and there you have it,

    perfect evidence that Slugger is dead, I’m off guys farewell.

  • DC

    I was only messing with you about the whinge thing, i know you’re dead on really. Same way as i like to wind up comrade and his gang.

    Alliance did their best i guess but sometimes the best just isn’t good enough, i mean it has operated among not just unionist communities but loyalist communities and the people there would have appreciated a bit more return from Alliance than compromising in the face of a bigoted motion to remove the flag. I guess in hindsight the safe route for Alliance would have been for it to block the motion until such times as SDLP and SF proposed designated days, than Alliance compromising.

    It’s a hard one for them riding two horses, catering to younger voters, probably green-tinged in outlook, and having to bear in mind the older more unionist minded voter.

    I would just prefer if Alliance just came out and said we are a party *not for unionists or nationalists* but something else such as _______. That would help manage expectations.

    Alright Drumlins, see you later!

  • Morpheus

    You really are an enigma DC 🙂 You can go from confrontational to friendly in just 2 simple posts 🙂

    I think if the Alliance had more votes and more power across the board then we would start to see real change In Northern Ireland.

    I don’t think they have a green-tinge at all – David Ford was until recently a Presbyterian church elder and Naomi Long was born in the heart of East Belfast and is also Presbyterian.

    Regarding the flag then I don’t think what they did was the safe option. They took it by the balls and lead it, not cowered in a corner giving SF/SDLP free reign to make Belfast City Hall neutral.

    I genuinely think they are people who are trying to do the right thing for the right reasons.

  • DC

    I genuinely think they are people who are trying to do the right thing for the right reasons.

    I know, i know, but what it is to be right and the right reasons might seem ‘right’ to them, but there are a lot of competing opinions out there – and theirs is but one.

    Btw i always thought i came across as friendly.

  • DC

    and then there is the business of doing politics itself, take David Ford it’s the kind of bind you should only get yourself into if the issue is going to be progressed and the law changed.

    Pick your battles wisely i guess, it might be high minded and principled but arguably it could be perceived as not great politics. Although entertaining all the same.

  • Morpheus

    Friendly…with an edge. 🙂

    I agree, it is true they are carving their own path and the party will live or die depending on decisions they make while on that path but as long as they try to make the right decisions for the right reasons then they will do well as long as they aren’t run out of Dodge. I can’t think of another party who even try to do the same.

    the DUUP/UUP have soooo much work to do to stop their voters switching off. The Protestant watcha-ma-callit will not be a real contender in my opinion. This is who Willie Tazer drafted in…

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Part 3

  • wee buns

    Anyone else LOVING Michael D this week?!

    Front page and editorial of the Financial Times – saying what the forelock tugging suits in power are too cowardly to say about the EU – and then taking flak from the Irish press for daring to speak on behalf of the people! He has widespread public support – how disgracefully out of touch is the southern meeja.

    Scúp sounds good – but I failed to unlock the parental guidance feature so can’t peek.

  • Rory Carr

    Wee Buns,

    I had the same problem with Herself locking me out of certain channels but on this occasion I pleaded that it was me culture and, if she didn’t unlock the do-da’s, I could have her up before the Court of Human Rights. Or somethin’.

  • Rory Carr

    Of course you could always ask the children to unlock it. They’re bound to have figured it out by now.

  • FDM–match-report–Conference-play-final-County-promoted-Football-League-Welsh-fans-united-boo-national-anthem.html

    Interesting that Welsh have same opinion of GSTQ.

    Perhaps the Fleggy McFleg people, the DUP delegation that they sent to the IFA and Tinpot Jim Rogers should take note about trying to foist your foreign anthems onto the locals?

  • antamadan

    I had forgotten about the Irish cup final today, and honestly thought Red Lion was anticipating a victory for Aontroim over An Íar Mhí, so I got a laugh at a typical NI misunderstanging. Anyway for those interested, the All Ireland hurling championship has started and Antrim did get revenge from last year by beating West meath by 9 points.

  • Morpheus

    Will there be any discussion on Slugger concerning the recent Catalonia-style border poll which was held in the electoral districts of Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, and Upper Creggan, Co Louth on 25th May 2013?

    It seems to have had minimal press coverage.

    It would interesting to hear what kind of debate went on, who was involved, how important issues like housing, jobs, political representation were covered etc.