Archive | April, 2014

Breaking: Gerry Adams arrested at ‘meeting’ with the PSNI….

So, It seems Gerry Adams has been arrested. Arrested mind, not charged. It’s in the historic McConville case, for which there have already been a spate of arrests. Mr Adams took the precaution of letting people know he had agreed to be interviewed, but it seems that when he met the PSNI they decided to more…

Dealing with the past. Inquiries are over. The politicians must come clean. It’s time to stop paying lip service to victims.

You can’t say she’s not even handed . Theresa Villiers will not allow case reviews or inquiries into the Ballymurphy massacre and the la Mon atrocity. She says sorry to the victims but it’s not in the public interest. That’s it. It’s about time the penny dropped. After the de Silva review which exposed a long more…

Killing me softly

At the start it is only fair to state that I am opposed to the death penalty. I respect those with a different opinion but I am clear that I do not support capital punishment. No one directly connected to me has ever been murdered so maybe I am naive and could change my mind more…

Alliance Party Offices in East Belfast attacked again

At around 11pm the PSNI have confirmed that three devices where thrown at the Alliance party offices on the Newtownards Rd in East Belfast. When this happened last November I wrote a piece about the members of staff who work in that office and most of the same people are still there. Nearly 18 months after more…

Sanctifying dead Popes with miracles is a basic error

  In our island John XXIII stands for Vatican 2, a dramatic moment of liberalisation that was never wholly fulfilled.  John Paul II  is an altogether more ambiguous figure who softened through his charisma the image of authoritarian Catholicism while it beat a retreat he was unable to stem. You can easily see how they more…

[Positive] attitudes in the Republic towards immigration are plummetting

One of the markers of the rise of the extreme right across Europe has been a concomitant drop in positive attitudes towards immigration. And, according to a new study of 12 European countries from the University of Limerick, the Republic has seen the most dramatic change: Ireland, with Greece, experienced the largest decrease in positive more…

Mr Justice Treacy: “It is evident that ACC Kerr was labouring under a material misapprehension as to the proper scope of police powers…”

The Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, has reportedly said that the police will appeal the High Court decision allowing “an application for a judicial review of the PSNI’s policing of the flag protests in Belfast between 8 December 2012 and 14 February 2013.” From the reported ruling Mr Justice Treacy was less than impressed by Assistant Chief more…

Marriage equality cartoon, DUP, Brian John Spencer

Cartoon – Fighting the marriage equality tidal wave

  Earlier, David McCann laid out the conservative case for marriage equality. Fellow conservative Andrew Sullivan has written for a number of years on the question and recently called the current situation “The Marriage Equality End Game” and spoke of “The Tidal Wave For Marriage Equality“. Looks like we’ll have to wait a while longer. more…

“Most politics is necessary drudgery. Populists who damn the whole spectacle are the decadent ones…”

Nice opener from Janan Ganesh in tomorrow’s FT, “The UK Independence party does not represent the start of a revolt but the culmination of it.” It’s an intriguing piece which calls to attention, amongst other things the retraction of the political class into “self-loathing” and fear of its own shadow: The measure of a politician’s more…

Sinn Féin to make new councils work for you

In our latest installment of our series from the various political parties, Sinn Fein tell us why they deserve your vote in the upcoming elections On May 22nd we will elect people to 11 new super councils in what is the biggest shake-up in local government for over 40 years. Powers will be devolved to more…

Labour in meltdown mode

Who needs negative campaigning when you have the Labour party? While opinion polling seems to have been incessant in the south since the last election, the latest Millward Brown poll published by the Irish Independent over the weekend has brought more grim reading for Labour. But not only does the party now seem to be more…

The twin problems of socialised debt and the rise and rise of populism

Professor Tim Bale makes an argument quoted by Harry Wallop in the Telegraph on the rise and rise of UKIP (despite some pretty grim gaffes): …they are articulating a wider feeling that politics has become disconnected from ordinary people. The key to understanding them is their populism rather than their policies. Ukip’s appeal is that more…

the open source belfast logo

#OSBelfast sessions on Thursday 1 May: election surgery & brainstorm at noon; election observing at 1pm

Want to know about becoming an election observer? Have ideas about how the upcoming elections and results could be covered online in novel ways? Open Source Belfast runs annually in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and offers a performance space, music venue and workshop hub. For eleven days, every hour something new happens, between noon and 6pm more…

"Elected members and officials and participants in local government are probably amongst the most public spirited people you can get in Northern Ireland" —Derek McCallan (picture, Guild Hall, Derry by Gregg Clarke)

May could be the most meaningful local election in forty years

  Meet NILGA’s Derek McCallan, a rare political optimist in Northern Ireland who argues that the coming election in May offers extraordinary opportunities for change in local communities. He tells me that councillors are the most public spirited people you can get and that May could turn out to be the most meaningful local election more…

Negative Campaigning-Does it work?

You got to go negative Lee Atwater, Advisor to President George HW Bush Those words from Atwater came in the summer of 1988 when Bush trailed his Democratic opponent Governor, Mike Dukakis. The Bush campaign developed some famous negative ads in election history with the ‘revolving door prison’ ad being the most remembered. Closer to more…

Scotland Essays: The pro-Union cause has four months to unite, learn identity politics and make a new devolution pact now!

The difference between before and after the Scottish referendum is as fundamental and unknowable as the black hole between life and death. Yet the fate of the Union may depend on what people believe now about what may happen then, in that currently unknowable state.  With the polls narrowing near the point of cross over, London- based   politicians and commentators more…