…a rabble-rouser willing to throw bombs to score points …

Like it or not, after an election campaign that has regularly touched on the bizarre, whatever happens in US politics is global news. Special, one-sided, relationships and diasporas aside, the internal political health of the United States of America tends to impact on all of us. Yesterdays mid-terms produced the expected victories for the Republicans and the Tea Party, although by slightly less than the margins being claimed on post-ballot talk radio last night. Grander aspirations by the Grand Old Party to a 70-80 seat majority in the House …

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Dublin web summits while Belfast stays in base camp

Lots of teeth gnashing over how to manage cuts to the budgetary provision allocated by London for running Northern Ireland. Regardless of their real value,  at least some proposals have been produced by Sinn Féin and the DUP. Meanwhile, the UUP and SDLP have yet to wake up to the fact that they are not actually in opposition, though, and are yet to grace the public domain with some constructive suggestions. While Brian has noted that a few modest balloons have went up for revenue raising, nothing can actually paper …

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Queen to receive apology during Dublin visit next year

Breathtaking stuff from Fine Gael’s Michael Ring yesterday during the Dail debate on the economy. Deputy Ring told the Dáil that when Queen Elizabeth II (of England) visits Ireland, possibly next year that she should be handed back control of the country. He also, helpfully, suggested that she receive an apology for the mess that has been made in the country during her absence. His exact words were: Now look at the mess we’re in, and look at the mess this country is in. Next year the queen is talking about coming …

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…a long-standing focus for Catholic discontent.

There is an element of Groundhog Day in the sudden outburst of debate on education and integration/segregation. Despite Brian’s claim that Catholic schools were fully funded in the 1970s (see point 10 in his list), that didn’t occur until November 1992 when it was announced that: In a historical deal agreed between the Catholic bishops and the Department [of Education], Catholic schools will now be entitled to 100 percent financial support for new buildings. Hitherto they had to meet 15 per cent of …

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Car crash TV – Ivan Yates style…

Former Fine Gael hotshot Ivan Yates had a bit of a car crash on Brendan O’Connor’s show on Saturday night. In brief – most people know him now as a bookie and a well-paid broadcaster on Newstalk where he is a vocal opponent of the current government (aren’t we all). He was a TD for 21 years and also Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries for a few years in the 1990s. In the course of the interview Yates repeated most of the general criticisms of …

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There is a Better Way? Is there?

This morning, Sinn Féin launched it’s proposals for, essentially, raising revenues rather than making cuts. While there will be the usual knee-jerk dismissal in many quarters, they have at least published their strategy (which can be read here). Some cuts are being suggested, including a 15% pay cut for Stormont salaries, an end to renumeration of committee chairs plus a pay freeze for higher paid civil servants. Implementing the RPA with the projected cost savings of 400m is also included, …

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Images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat…

Some odd resonances around the globe this week, from Peru to Palestine via Banna Strand. Today, Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa was named as the recipient of this year’s Nobel prize for literature. Vargas Llosa has travelled a pretty scenic route from supporting Fidel Castro, to an unsuccessful presidental campaign in 1990, a Cervantes Prize in 1995 and, latterly, a comfy chair among the Peruvian centre-right. In the announcement of the award, the committee cited his cartography of structures of power and …

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Blokes blog, birds don’t: the impoverished political potential of the internet?

Since he flagged up the votes for the Top 20 blogs (as reported by Iain Dale), I’d been figuring on looking at Mick’s point about the lack of nationalist blogs on the list since they are maybe 2 of the 20. I’m going to do that in the next week or two, but first I thought I’d flag up the equally glaring under-representation of the majority community on that list: the 51.25% of society that are female. Some have argued that blogging as a pursuit is predominantly male, …

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The 30th Dáil: the end of the affair?

As the lengthy Dáil summer gives way to a new session that is largely a preamble to the next budget on December 7th, there are ominous signs of unease from a government whose electors are gripped by a palpable fear and loathing of what havoc the electorate are going to wreak upon them when finally given the opportunity. The arithmetic of the current Dáil Éireann sees the government supported by 70 FF, 6 Greens and a ramshackle coalition of 8 ‘independents’ largely drawn from the wider FF gene …

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The lowest percentage of heterosexuals in the UK?

The Integrated Household Survey has revealed that Northern Ireland has the lowest percentage of heterosexuals (92.4%) of the regions covered by their report on sexual identity. Only London, on 92.3%, has less heterosexuals. Of course, if you are in the local media, you’ll report that the North has the ‘lowest percentage of gay people in the UK‘. Based on the survey, 0.9% of NI respondents identified themselves as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual (also the lowest percentage in the survey), 1.0% didn’t respond, …

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Graduate takes QUB to court over degree

A QUB graduate is challenging his degree classification in the High Court yesterday claiming that better supervision would have helped him achieve a 2.1 rather than the 2.2 he was awarded in June 2010. Legal challenges to the actual awards given (or not given) by universities are rare enough, never mind querying the final degree classification. What makes this one to watch is that, like all other universities, QUB already has pretty lengthy and detailed regulations which govern exams, awards and appeals. This …

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Historical Enquiry: “…this is not an out-of-control situation”

The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) categorically states that it isn’t part of any political or ‘truth and reconciliation’ process. That may be, but as the only ship on the water, it’s uncomfortable jetsam is washing up on our shores every now and again. Two of the latest stories emanating from HET will no doubt be dismissed on the basis of their relative merits on the whataboutery scale, or, as simply unwanted dredging up of the past. In the first case, undercover soldiers were watching a shopping …

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Show us the money (and its donors)…

Hugo Swire announced the NIO consultation on the exceptional confidentiality provision that only applies to donations to the northern political parties. The current arrangement has had it’s expiry date shoved out from 31st October 2010 to 1st March 2011 by the Control of Donations and Regulations of Loans Etc. (Extension of the Prescribed Period) (Northern Ireland) Order 2010. In brief, parties must provide financial information to the Electoral Commission – it just isn’t published. While the consultation only began on …

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One small region, slightly damaged, several careless owners…

Mary Dejevsky has written a piece for the Belfast Telegraph that will go down well in some quarters and not so well in others. She is suggesting that it is time that the British government off-load Northern Ireland by one of several routes: including independence, secession or to offer to sell it to the Republic of Ireland. Her objection handling is quite interesting, for what it ignores as much as what she deals with, like religion. There is no mention …

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