Author Archive | Brian Walker

Great Britain vs Ireland - do we care?

Great Britain vs Ireland – do we care?

Sutherland loses out to DeGale in semi-final Who’s side were you on early this morning? Did you care? Do you despise fighting sectarian battles through the innocent medium of the boxing ring and the athletics track? I care passionately for about ten minutes, welcome Ireland’s scrap of salvaged pride and dash to the Olympics table more…

Belgian blues

A reminder that frontiers at the heart of Europe can be changed, even after 178 years. “Belgium is “a country on the edge of the abyss” “Is there anything more holding Belgium together than “the king, the football team and certain beers” Georgia at one end, Belgium perhaps at the other. Who’s next?

Looking forward to the first atheist Prime Minister

Here’s a heart-warmer for some fellow Sluggerities, though from the Guardian again, I’m afraid. Secular philosopher AC Grayling has a lot of fun, speculating on the impact of declared atheist David Miliband as Prime Minister. quotes: “Atheist leaders will not be tempted to think they are the messenger of any good news from above, or more…

Terrorist stereotypes demolished – by MI5

From an official report leaked to the Guardian, it’s good to see that MI5 have caught up with established thinking that knocks the stereotypes of terrorism. Extracts: “…in the past radical clerics featured …but their influence has moved into the background.” “Suicide bombing is not just a religious phenomenon. It is employed by many secular more…

RIR parades in a new Northern Ireland

I’m using my privileges to start a new thread on the subject of RIR parades rather than come in at comment 47. page 2. Earlier in wrote in comment: “It is extremely difficult for the nationalist tradition to separate out what I might call peacetime Britishness from unionist triumphalism, just as many unionists find it more…

RIR  parades take off?

RIR parades take off?

A confidential email sent by the DUP to me and several thousand others appeals to the majority on Belfast City Council to host a homecoming parade for the Royal Irish regiment after a service in St Anne’s Cathedral. “Councillor Robin Newton the DUP group leader, said that on Friday morning the Strategic Policy and Resources more…

Understanding terrorists

I see Lord Alderdice, the former Assembly Speaker Alliance leader and psychiatrist is turning over his familiar theme of the links between fundamentalism and terrorism in Trinity College today. As fas as I can see, opinion divides, not so much on the straight links but on how we look at it. Do we objectivise it more…

UK poorer under Labour – Tory attacks mount

Note the bold outflanking move by boyish shadow chancellor George Osborne in the Guardian today. parking his tank on Gordon Brown’s lawn in advance of the beleaguered Prime Minister’s fightback expected from next week. Quote “We have discovered that state attempts to guarantee fairness through monopoly provision by monolithic public services turns out to be more…

One of the greatest challenges is to end racism..

One of the greatest challenges is to end racism..

Despite the fact that team Slugger aren’t always the Pope’s greatest fan, the pontiff should surely be praised for what was in papal language, a forthright denunciation of the racism now emerging from the government of Silvio Berlusconi. In spite of denials from the Italian political and media boss’s camp, media coverage confirms that he more…

Scottish Labour deeper in election mire

First you see him “McLeish tipped for Glenrothes by-election” Then you don’t McLeish out of by-election race. Fancy resurrecting one former Labour leader who resigned over expenses, just after defenestrating the last one. What bait for Salmond. It just shows the depth of Labour’s despair.

Slow speed Ireland beats a little faster for Paddy

Slow speed Ireland beats a little faster for Paddy

ADDS Kenneth Egan makes it to the light heavyweight quarter finals. Michael, glad to include this to dispel a little more gloom but I’m not equipped for a running commentary – unless one of us as Team GB or Ireland or hell whatever, strikes more precious metal. OLYMPICS UPDATE. Just to dispel a little of more…

Obama-McCain – the pastor was in the saddle

So the pastors are still in the saddle. Are reports of the eclipse of the religious right in this Presidential campaign premature? The prequel to the Obama-McCain main bout has just been held in a “Megachurch forum” in Saddleback Church California, moderated by the pastor no less, Rick Warren. The BBC’s Justin Webb appears to more…

Standing up for quality in the media revolution

The speed of change in media consumption amazes me almost as much as how some things remain the same. Guardian media identifies a “new generation” of affluent American “netnewsers” who are transforming media habits ( with a little help from marketing depts perhaps). “The biennial Pew Research Center report on changing news audiences describes 13% more…

Jelly plague

Jelly plague

A pretty sight for Slugger, don’t you think? I’d just got used to seeing “Glenarm salmon” proudly displayed at the chic London chain of fish shops Fishworks, when the monsters struck. The Independent reports: “The growing threat from swarms of jellyfish around Britain’s coast is to be investigated for the first time by British and more…

Credit crunch: don’t knock the public sector

Brace yourself for some necessary staring into the entrails of economic forecasting for “these islands,” the smaller island in particular. “Shoot the doves” is the FT’s message to those who hanker after a relatively quick return to faster growth; inflation is the deadly enemy, with the latest reports forecasting the UK teetering on the brink more…

Gay spooks

Gay spooks

The only open gay in the village no longer. Nothing expresses the turn-round in public acceptance of gays better than the news that MI5 – including presumably its Holywood Co Down branch – is asking for Stonewall’s help in recruiting gays, in order ” better to represent all sections of society”.From the austere Financial Times, more…

It's that man again

It’s that man again

I can’t resist linking to one of the best interviews with Michael O’Leary I’ve read. With the normally voluble and equally opinionated ex-Telegraph edtior Dominic Lawson, for once almost shut down by his interviewee. O’Leary’s latest riff is that he might be interested in taking over one of the South East airports BAA is likely more…

Taking Liberties in GB, but don’t leave out Ireland

Rather creeping on me unawares has been “Taking Liberties,” an independent exhibition run by the British Library of how British freedoms were won. The title expresses neatly the ambiguity of the subject – how the State could be oppressive and how citizens progressively gained the essential corpus of freedom we associate with a modern democracy. more…