FLEXIBLE AND IMAGINATIVE – the qualities that might need to underpin any national borders across these islands post-Brexit, yet Dr Katy Hayward suggests that our difficulty in future-orientated thinking makes this an uphill struggle. Watch her talk at the John Hewitt International Summer School in Armagh.
Author Archive | Alan Meban (Alan in Belfast)
SEAMUS MALLON called for people to “be good ancestors as opposed to being good rememberers” in order to move forward. He was speaking on a political panel on the opening day of the John Hewitt International Summer School along with Naomi Long, Steven Agnew and Doug Beattie, chaired by Peter Osborne.
BORDERS are one of the recurring themes of this year’s John Hewitt International Summer School which runs between Monday 24 and Saturday 29 July in The Market Place Theatre in Armagh. Talks and panels about contemporary politics and culture as well as creative writing workshops.
ULTRAFAST BROADBAND? If the £150 money from Conservative/DUP deal is solely targeted at Ultrafast broadband, it is unlikely to benefit ordinary homes in rural areas which today still have poor broadband. (Update – apparently yes, using Fibre to the Remote Node technology in rural areas … if the price [subsidy] is right for customers.)
GOVERNMENT AND EVIDENCE – An interesting session run by the Alliance For Useful Evidence at UU Belfast last week which heard from NISRA’s Siobhan Carey and two former permanent secretaries Aideen McGinley and Will Haire about how (and to what extend) NI’s government departments make best use of evidence in their policymaking.
We should watch out for an intelligent approach in the DUP’s cunning game of political poker. There’s no reason their wish list can’t include some items that would be celebrated by Sinn Féin and help keep the Stormont political talks alive.
Underneath the lacklustre NI General Election campaign is there really a grassroots movement to maximise the number of DUP votes and counteract Sinn Féin’s impressive performance in March when just 1,168 first preference votes separated the top two parties.
COLIN BATEMAN’S screenplay for The Journey presents a highly fictionalised account that explores what the early conversations may have been like between Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness as they worked towards agreement at the St Andrews talks.
ALLIANCE CONFERENCE quietly celebrated the party’s election results. Party faithful gathered to hear Naomi Long’s first conference speech as leader. Her focus was on leadership and the need for a tolerant and liberal society that attracts young people back to invest in Northern Ireland.
PREVIEWING the non-partisan ‘Imagine! Belfast’ festival with its eclectic mix of talks, comedy, music, film, theatre, workshops, tours and exhibitions to encourage people to discuss and debate. 20-26 March.
TWO DAYS BEFORE POLLING was the zenith of NI21’s meltdown in May 2014. Today, Councillor Jolene Bunting quit the TUV and former DUP MLA David McIlveen offered his electoral support to the UUP candidate in North Antrim.
YANIS VAROUFAKIS – economist and former Greek Finance Minister speaking ahead of this evening’s sold out DiEM25 event in the Crescent Arts Centre – asked about the opportunities for Northern Ireland presented by Brexit, Theresa May’s options, his influence over Sinn Fein’s ‘reverse ferret’ on welfare reform and Northern Ireland’s splintered political left.
NI SCIENCE FESATIVAL combines, space, poetry, optics, theatre, stories, TV, cognitive computing, atomic food safety, astrophysics and quantum biology in a fun-packed programme for everyone.
If there was a winner of tonight’s debate it was Cliché. Though Lothario might be a close runner up. There were no knock out blows. Few punches caused any leader to wobble towards the ropes. Instead they parried them away with relative ease. While the lack of a studio audience eliminated oohs and ahs and more…
ENTITLED – Entitled to benefits? Dignity? Protection? A new play asks how much difference the welfare reform mitigations make on the ground? How fair are the processes? How do politicians square up their talk about equality and adoration of figures like Winifred Carney with the legacy of welfare reform in Northern Ireland? The MAC, SCORE, more…
Programme to address gender equality in the NI workplace launched today with Lean In Belfast in partnership with large IT employer Allstate. “To me, gender equality is simply common sense. Each of us has the right to celebrate our individuality, and go to work feeling confident that our individuality is not discriminated against.”
SEVEN DAYS before institutions collapse; 5 MLAs per constituency means a minimum of 18 MLAs not returning to the Assembly; 30 is still the magic PoC number; £85,000 still the estimated daily cost to the tax payer of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.
PRODUCING SAUSAGE MEAT – This is my favourite item from my mid-December stink looking through government papers that would be released on Friday 30 under the 20 Year Rule. The title could have been referring to a report on the state of the pork industry. The papers could have been an evaluation of how best more…
Hidden amongst the thousand or so government files released on Friday under the 20 Year Rule are some black and white photographs from the 1960s of the M1 motorway and its Sprucefield junction. Long before the days of early morning congestion at Junction 7! If you call into the Public Records Office and ask to more…
RELATIONSHIP COUNSELLING – Reading through two newly released files documenting “Political Developments in NI” from 1989 and 1990, you get a feel for the sheer number of documented conversations between senior SDLP figures and officials in the NIO about the tensions in the leadership around the talks process.