#SluggerTalks on the future potential of Northern Ireland

So today, we bring back the #digitallunch video format only this time we are calling it #SluggerTalks. Tomorrow’s will be the first in a series of two handers between myself and Shane Greer discussing some of the points raised in response to his post last week on what we might do to unlock Northern Ireland’s Tremendous Potential.

You can pick it up here shortly, over on YouTube or if you have evolved as far as Google Plus over there at this event page. In the meantime we are looking for more Questions from you. Shane’s in Washington, so it’ll be early for him so the sooner you get us some challenging questions the better.

If you want to join Shane and I for this or future #SluggerTalks inside the video Hangout, then ping me at editor@sluggerotoole.com.

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  • $33309652

    Have more marches. That should do it.
    Or sink it. Either or.

  • Mister_Joe

    “Tremendous potential”

    Is that some sort of sick joke?

  • mickfealty

    We’ll put you in the sceptics column then Joe? [No, it’s not!]

    I’m pulling together a flavour of the responses we’re getting elsewhere on the Google Plus events page: http://goo.gl/UYg1v2.

    Scepticism is fine, but it’s far more useful when it comes couched with a pointed question.

  • Mister_Joe

    Fair enough. So, How do we get the DUP away from supporting the lowest common denominator with regards to marching and wanting to lord it over themmuns and how do we get SF away from obsessing about a meaningless Border Poll?

  • Mister_Joe

    Unlocking “tremendous potential” is presumably a synonym for attracting inward investment. The first thing that inward investors will want is an assurance of stability. Any sign(s) of that in N.I.?

  • Mister_Joe

    Let me expand on that. When I graduated, almost everyone I knew told me to emigrate, even if only to England. I disagreed saying that I had a debt to repay, having received a tertiary education at no cost. I stuck it out, but after 12 years, could no longer stand the total dysfunctionality and emigrated. I did well subsequently and met quite a few of other people in the same boat, a considerable number of them being full time or part time entrepreneurs. I don’t believe any of them could be persuaded to return.

  • mickfealty

    Erm, this is what we mean by it: http://goo.gl/F5HM6E.

  • Niall Chapman

    I’ve only been away for a year and a half, been back a few times for christmas and weddings, always missing home a bit, until I go through Banbridge on the bus up from Dublin and see the Union Jacks hoisted on every lampost as if it were Jubilee week outside Buckingham Palace, this sight hits my homesickness like milk of magnesia hits indigestion, and I can’t wait to get back on the plane (after some potato bread and seeing the family and friends of course), in the city I live in there’s a huge expat community and I’ve a lot of friends living here from back home, both Nationalist and Unionist and I doubt any of us will be back any time soon, apart from a flying visit to stock up on the fry packs

  • $33309652

    No you are wrong and here are reasons.
    Since 20 years of ceasfire World Trade has more than doubled.
    What difference has this HUGE growth made to the wee 6? None.
    If the doubling of world trade passes you by, What’s it going to take.
    Second, the 26 Counties benefited hugely from a peace dividend, until it shot itself in the foot over property in 2001.
    Third After Sept 11th or 9/11 the USA spent Billions on “homeland Security”
    Before 9/11 Homeland security was a $500 million dollar industry.
    NOW it’s a multi billion $ in the USA alone.
    The wee 6 had experience over the troubles..What use has it made of this?
    Answer None.
    Add those two things together. They had a useful service and World trade more than doubled and accept the fact that nobody has made any use of these things.
    And this is the reality.
    If you thought about it, the fact that the 26 Counties got the “peace dividend” etc. and the union looks foolish.
    Perhaps that is why it is not discussed.
    And as for my argument in Homeland Security. While Ireland dealt with the economic aftershocks of 9/11 by ramping up easy crediit and a housing bubble >Israel went down the road of Homeland security. They now export their expertise to Brazil, the USA and many more besides and they export about $11 Billion of kit each year.
    What share does the Wee 6 have of this market?
    pfft.
    It’s a failure.

  • Niall Chapman

    So you want the norths economy to be based on building missiles or drones that kill innocent kids, women and journalists instead of ‘alleged’ terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan? …nice

  • terence patrick hewett

    A very informative first interview, especially concerning the lack of a north/south development strategy and an implied link to an overall new constitutional settlement.

    As far as I am aware the Catapult Network does not have a centre in Ireland or indeed Wales: why have not efforts been made to take advantage of this since both Ireland and Wales are strong in areas such as Medical. This network, which operates under the auspices of Innovate UK is based on the Delft Centre and the Fraunhofer Institute and help businesses cope with risk management; adopt, develop and exploit innovative products and technologies. I think Ireland is missing an opportunity here.

    https://www.catapult.org.uk/

  • $33309652

    Not what I “want” at all Niall.
    I am just making the argument on how the wee 6 has failed. I was not making a moral argument.
    Just laying out the facts.
    And IMO. the Wee 6 missed out on it’s one unique selling point which was Homeland security industry.
    This is a Multi Billion industry post 9/11.
    I am not saying that this is right or just.
    It is just how it is.
    Ofc, you can’t attack my other point about the doubling of World trade over the last 20 years and how the wee 6 missed THAT boat too!!!
    Well nevermind.

    Also, what do you think Shorts ..used to do?
    regarding missiles etc. etc.
    Homeland security covers a whole raft of things.

  • Niall Chapman

    I’m not a big fan of shorts either, apart from being an exporter of arms which is completely abhorrent, they weren’t much of an equal opportunities employer until a couple of decades ago, or at least on the shop floor I’ve heard it wasnt the most hospitable of places for nationalists or anyone who’s father hadnt worked there before or didnt come to work via Dee Street

  • Sir Rantsalot

    AS it ever was.
    There are many people in NI trying to get ahead and make the usual strides forward as anywhere else in the UK. But our problem is the irish nationalist and chuckie parties that are trying their best to destroy the potential of people in NI.We are fighting to get forward but the nat and rep people only want to destroy. Its really sad that these people exit these days.

  • Mucker

    I’ll pass the word on to my local Loyalist circles to put up more flags then.

  • Mucker

    Why would people want to be “hospitable” to those who want to deny them a right to their own homeland, despite having one 6x larger granted to them just down the road?

  • Mucker

    Aye, how dare they have freedom of expression in their own country!

  • Mucker

    Not as sick as a bitter Canadian wishing the destruction of another peoples’ prosperity and homeland from afar.

  • Niall Chapman

    By that logic all unionists should live on the island of Britain, which is completely idiotic, you’re exactly the type of person who is holding back progress in the North

  • Mister_Joe

    You do know that it’s illegal to shout “Fire” in a theatre when there isn’t any fire?

  • tmitch57

    Gunter,
    I haven’t seen much evidence that NI developed much security-related expertise compared with countries like Rhodesia, South Africa and Israel that dealt with insurgencies. The Rhodesians became very proficient at anti-mine technology and at jerry-rigging vehicles with anti-ambush kits. This was all passed on to South Africa when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. South Africa specialized in developing light vehicles with high cross-country mobility for bush warfare in Africa. The two biggest specialties in NI were probably in the fields of agent recruitment and handling on the one hand, which remains a proprietary body of knowledge with the British security forces, and the treatment of gunshots wounds. Neither of these are really high tech. Israel developed, with U.S. funding, anti-rocket missile defense and a number of systems for knocking down doors for hostage-rescue scenarios. Israel has been investing in defense research and development for decades. So has Britain, but most of the British investment wasn’t aimed at the type of things that would have been particularly useful for counter-insurgency warfare or counter-terrorism. Like the U.S. at the time of Vietnam, Britain was spending its defense pounds primarily on anti-armored warfare and its nuclear deterrent.

  • The question ref ‘potential’ is all wrong, and the result is a single focus on young people with potential who choose to go elsewhere. Better to ask what would it take to keep/attract talented people, young or old?

    The question should be ‘what makes a strong modern outward looking economy, and what does NI need to do to get there?’ In other words what might be the sort of economy that would not only keep young educated people, but also attract more talented educated people and dynamic businesses that generates the potential to grow that outward facing economy. It is certainly not subsidising back room service jobs in the same way as NI subsidised synthetic fibre production in the 1960s. You can’t buy investment that lasts. JTI pumped millions into Ballymena, but is still moving to another EU country (so regulatory environment is a bit of a distraction as a reason for moving btw).

    It is no wonder the South is growing given that USA and UK are the only two major western economies with decent growth, at present, representing the South’s key source of inward investment and export markets respectively. For Northern Ireland to look South for markets rather than East, West and the rest, is good talk but economic nonsense. The South is safe and easy and on doorstep, and serves to suggest that Ireland is somehow a natural economic entity (as well as a political one, underlying that notion). Meanwhile, rightly, the South is looking to the UK as principal market and the rest of the world for investment.

    To go from where we are to where we need to be is a challenge. Mostly playing catch-up with all the other places in the world seeking inward investment and growing new businesses. That gap is huge, and demands huge restructuring of almost every aspect of political/social/economic life that i doubt any politician would stand ups and tell us what is needed – hard enough to deal with simple welfare reform that was an essential component of the Swedish economic upturn for all those who think social justice etc.

    Fintan O’Toole’s description of Sinn Fein “Truthiness” http://www.irishtimes.com/debate/never-mind-the-evidence-feel-the-truthiness-of-what-gerry-adams-says-1.1978855#.VE-ojomV0tw.twitter was spot on earlier this week. In the same way, a ‘truthiness’ approach applies to ALL our local political parties and the NI economy. Running to mummy Westminister because of an almost dysfunctional neediness for attention and support is no the foundation of any change that will be meaningful to any young person in the near or long term. Nor will it even begin to address the change needed to lift NI towards a modern open economy.

  • $33309652

    Yeah yeah.
    And British Rail had to face the “wrong kind of snow”
    You are making excuses on behalf the failure of the 6 county artificial statelet..And you know what they say about making excuses.
    It rather sums up the whole 6 County situation quite well. Those that are good at making excuses aren’t good at making anything but excuses.
    The entire 6 County Statelet lacks the desire or will to do anything other that put it’s hand out. So much for the fabled work ethic.

  • terence patrick hewett

    You’re right and it cannot be said too often. You can’t buy investment that lasts. Companies like JTI and all the auto-industry have their own agendas; they chase national economies. You also make the point that it demands huge restructuring of almost every aspect of political/social/economic life. Historically the most successful cultures are those that dominate technology. As an un-ashamed federast I believe the only solution is a complete re-alignment of the Westminster political set-up putting innovation and technology right at the centre of strategy. I certainly hope that the SNP insurgency into Westinster and UKIP sniping break the whole monopoly apart.