Labour’s Prospects

With negotiations completed, a programme for government drafted, and ministries agreed, Fine Gael and Labour have formed a new coalition government in the south. Boasting a combined seat tally of 113, the new administration has a commanding majority. A couple of weeks ago, Labour party delegates attending an extraordinary conference at UCD voted on whether to go into government with Fine Gael, with the result coming in at around 95 percent in favour. However, the Irish Times reported that more …

Read more…

Chubby Cherub, Hungry Customer

If there’s one thing I can’t stick, it’s bad customer service. Case in point: I recently bought one of those Groupon vouchers for a takeaway pizza at the ‘Chubby Cherub’ pizzeria in the city centre. However, after having battled through the snow yesterday to get down there to swap my voucher for a pizza, they informed me that they weren’t taking them in December. If it had have been clear at the outset that this was going to be the …

Read more…

Post-Election Activity

Belfast-based television station NVTV have published online their programme about the Stratagem Slugger O’Toole post-election Breakfast on 7th May. Also, over on the Stratagem website, we’ve announced the winner of the Election Predictor Contest 2010. No one managed to guess all 18 constituencies correctly, but 17 entrants got 17 of them right, with East Belfast proving the obstacle to success in each case. Gary McKeownwww.garymckeown.info

Stratagem Election Predictor 2010 Results

The results of the Stratagem Election Predictor have now been published here. It turns out that, contrary to what we thought would have been the case, no one managed to guess all 18 constituencies correctly, despite well over 300 people entering. 17 people managed to get 17 seats right, and a good number guessed 16, 15 and 14 correctly. Take a look and see how you did. Gary McKeownwww.garymckeown.info

Gerry Ryan dead

There isn’t much on the mainstream media websites yet, but Twitter is ablaze with rumours that RTÉ broadcaster Gerry Ryan has died. Gary McKeownwww.garymckeown.info

Election Predictor

As mentioned on Slugger on Saturday, Stratagem are running a General Election Predictor over at www.stratagem-ni.com/election (personal interest declared, given that I commissioned it). When the results are announced, the magic of computers will sort the predictions out into those who guessed all 18 constituencies correctly, those who got 17 right, and so on. Out of those that get the most right, we’ll be picking a winner at random who’ll get an original Ian Knox cartoon. There’s also some analysis …

Read more…

Gun pulled at snowball fight

A somewhat disgruntled policeman in Washington DC responded to his car being pelted with snowballs by drawing a gun. A video of the incident yesterday was posted to YouTube, and now the officer is being investigated by his employers. Gary McKeownwww.garymckeown.info

Online campaign to bankrupt BNP

Over on my own blog, Northern Notes, I posted a piece the other day focusing on an online campaign to bankrupt the British National Party. The long and short of it is that the BNP appears to use another name for certain projects- British Heritage- to which people can send correspondence via a freepost address (British Heritage FREEPOST). According to Royal Mail, for recipients “Freepost NAME replies cost 42p per item, with no handling fee.” In other words, every time …

Read more…

Killing Music in the Name of Profit?

I’m told that the final of television ‘talent’ show The X Factor will be hitting our screens tomorrow evening. According to my diary I’m already scheduled to watch paint dry in that timeslot- it’ll be more riveting. However, in response to the yearly banalfest which leads to an X Factor single reaching the Number 1 spot on the Christmas charts, courtesy of some gormless warbler enlisted to line the pockets of Simon Cowell, a group has sprung up on Facebook …

Read more…

NVTV Blogtalk NI Episode 6

On the latest edition of NVTV‘s Blogtalk NI, Belfast Media Group boss Máirtín Ó Muilleoir joins Mick Fealty and me. Máirtín commented on how the mainstream media cover Troubles-related stories, Mick spoke about Northern Ireland being treated differently by Ofcom from other parts of the UK in terms of media funding and direction and I talked about the SDLP leadership race. Blogtalk (episode 6) from Northern Visions/NvTv on Vimeo. Gary McKeownwww.garymckeown.info

Carmel Hanna to retire from Assembly

News came through yesterday afternoon that the SDLP’s South Belfast MLA Carmel Hanna is to retire from the Assembly. Originally from Warrenpoint, Carmel was elected a councillor for the Balmoral Ward on Belfast City Council in 1997 (a position she recently resigned from) and became an MLA the following year. She was later appointed Employment and Learning Minister at Stormont before suspension. Outgoing SDLP Leader Mark Durkan paid tribute to Carmel, saying: “Carmel Hanna has served her constituents of South …

Read more…

A return to benevolent paternalism?

It increasingly seems that the next UK General Election will be won and lost in the centre ground. While Labour stumbles from mishap to misfortune on a seemingly daily basis, David Cameron’s Tories appear more New Labour than, well, New Labour. This isn’t only in terms of presentational skills, but also in projected ethos. It could of course be argued that the Conservatives of today are returning to the space once occupied by their predecessors in the form of Robert …

Read more…

New media wars heat up

Social networking giant Facebook has thrown down the gauntlet to comparative newcomer Twitter by launching a Twittereque stripped-back version of its own service- Facebook Lite. The new Facebook offering is currently only available in certain areas (including here, within the past few minutes it would seem), but it marks the biggest of recent moves by Facebook to gain back some of the ground lost to Twitter in recent months. One the key features of Facebook Lite is the introduction of …

Read more…

Lisbon Treaty: Claim and counter-claim

While politicians and campaigners trade blows on air, a group calling itself ‘Generation YES’ has launched a ‘Fight the Lies’ section on its pro-Lisbon website. Generation YES bills itself as “a movement of young people from all over Ireland who are committed to promoting the benefits of EU membership. We will further this core aim through events and campaigns which show that membership of the EU is one of Ireland’s greatest strengths, and offers our generation huge opportunities.” They claim …

Read more…

Mourning à la Twitter

There has already been several posts on Slugger about the passing of Ted Kennedy, but an interesting advent to the spectacle has been the creation of the ‘Kennedy Family’ Twitter account (@kennedynews). The account went live yesterday, with a tweet reading: “This is the official account of the Kennedy family and staff. Will be used for info about memorial and funeral activities. #tedkennedy” Since then, there have been 40 further posts and the account has garnered 5,220 followers at the …

Read more…

Twitter: Great stuff or pointless fluff?

In the latest edition of PR Week, Ian Monk launches a broadside at microblogging service Twitter saying: “Having followed various twittering dialogues, I have come to the conclusion that many, if not most, are inherently fake, either in sentiment or authorship. That is, the ones that aren’t too banal to interest any individual or organisation possessed of half a brain cell…Twitter has hitched a ride on the digital revolution, largely to publicise its own overweening ego.” I’m not sure the …

Read more…