The UK Chancellor delivers a budget for the rich…

White shirt and gold watch

If you want to see Neoliberal ideology in action, look no further than today’s budget. It defies everything – common sense, economic orthodoxy, morality, and even traditional Conservative belief in sound public finances. It is economics 101 that to stimulate the economy, you need to give more money to poor people. Give an extra £20 a week to low-income people, and they will spend it in on groceries, clothes, fast food etc. In contrast, the rich already have everything they …

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Census results released…

Macro photography of water and sunflower oil in different variations

The long-anticipated Census results are now out. You can find them here. The top line figures are 45.7% catholic compared to 43.48% Protestant We will have more posts on the census once people have had a chance to analyse the results in more detail. Brian O'NeillI help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff.

Putin announces ‘partial mobilisation’ of Russia and threatens nuclear retaliation…

First the pandemic, then the cost-living crisis, and now we have nuclear annihilation to look forward to. From Reuters: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called up 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine and said Moscow would respond with the might of all its vast arsenal if the West pursued what he called its “nuclear blackmail” over the conflict there. It was Russia’s first such mobilisation since World War Two and signified a major escalation of the war, now in …

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Would you want a 4 day work week?

white and black quote board

Today was an odd day. I took the opportunity to visit a friend in Castlewellan. On the way down, most shops were closed. Ballynahinch and the other towns I drove through were very quiet. The general vibe was a bit like the days after Christmas when things are still closed. I liked it, it was a break from the usual hustle and bustle. Some people were watching the Queen’s funeral, whereas others were just chilling or getting out for a …

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Open Sunday – discuss what you like…

open sunday sign, signage, open

The idea for Open Sunday is to let you discuss what you like. News events we have missed, an interesting article you have read, recommendations for a good podcast, book or tv show. Or maybe you just want a good rant. Just two rules. Keep it civil and no man/woman playing. Brian O'NeillI help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff.

The poorest Irish have a standard of living almost 63% higher than the poorest in the UK…

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Interesting article about income inequality from John Burn-Murdoch over in the FT. From the article: Starting at the top of the ladder, Britons enjoy very high living standards by virtually any benchmark. Last year the top-earning 3 per cent of UK households each took home about £84,000 after tax, equivalent to $125,000 after adjusting for price differences between countries. This puts Britain’s highest earners narrowly behind the wealthiest Germans and Norwegians and comfortably among the global elite. So what happens …

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Some good news. Home heating oil and petrol prices are coming down…

person holding cup while reading book

Back at the start of August, home heating oil was £399 for 500 litres. It is always a dilemma to know when to buy oil, so I decided to wait and see if the price dropped any further. Instead, the opposite happened, and prices shot up to £545 for 500 litres, and I have been kicking myself ever since. But at last some good news, prices are coming down again. Here is the price per litre chart for the past …

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Themmuns Vs Ussuns census results out next Thursday. Give your predictions…

Where is the love sung by The Black Eye Peas recreated in a tunnel underpass.

The most eagerly awaited census results since the Census of Quirinius are out next Thursday. Exact time confirmed – latest Census results for NI will be announced at 9.30am on Thursday next week. 🕤 — Mark Simpson (@BBCMarkSimpson) September 15, 2022 Will the catholic population be up, down, left or right? Will a border poll be demanded on the back of it all? Or will the real story be the growth of the ‘no religion, above us only sky? Imagine …

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Nationalism’s position of confidence, not subservience…

We live in interesting times. Did you ever think you would see the day that Sinn Fein’s Alex Maskey would deliver a message of condolence to the new UK King? Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly – Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey – delivers message of condolence to King Charles III pic.twitter.com/7fA7xn0mGf — UTV Live News (@UTVNews) September 13, 2022 Even stranger was the friendly chit-chat between King Charles and Michelle O’Neill.  To top it off, poor Sir Jeffrey got roasted …

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Open Sunday – discuss what you like…

open sunday sign, signage, open

The idea for Open Sunday is to let you discuss what you like. News events we have missed, an interesting article you have read, recommendations for a good podcast, book or tv show. Or maybe you just want a good rant. Just two rules. Keep it civil and no man/woman playing. Brian O'NeillI help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff.

Queen Elizabeth II dies…

Whatever your views on Royalty, the passing of Queen Elizabeth II is a historical milestone. So long a presence in all our lives, her loss will be a huge blow to the Royal Family and the British people. Even the most ardent republican would acknowledge that she executed her duties flawlessly over 70 years. To be able to navigate a path through difficult waters for so long is a measure of the character of the women. I know the Royal …

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Welcome to Britain…

path, avenue, forest

Things are pretty bleak alright. And now even the poor old Queen is very sick. Brian O'NeillI help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff.

The new age of soporific UK leaders…

man leaning his face on his left hand

I just heard Prime Ministers’ Questions on the radio – sweet baby Jesus. Keir Starmer droning on in that odd nasal voice of his. Liz Truss comes across as some kind of cyborg with her boring droning monotone delivery, like a real-life Alexa. Some might say after the reign of the Clown Prince Boris Johnson, some boring leadership is needed but not sure it needs to be this boring. Listening to the two of them together was pure torture. I …

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This weeks new Proconsul is Chris Heaton-Harris…

Shailesh Vara was only in the job for 2 months, he had the shortest stay ever as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The new official cat herder is Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry. From the BelTel: Mr Heaton-Harris (54) is currently the Conservative Party’s chief whip of the House of Commons and previously served as Minister of State for Europe and North American under Ms Truss when she was Foreign Secretary. Born Christopher Heaton-Harris in Epsom, Surrey, the new …

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Liz Truss is the new UK Prime Minister…

Such an incredibly weak candidate getting the top job is the stuff of Hollywood, only I am not expecting a happy ending for any of us. Thoughts? Truss is the new PM: Truss: 81,326Sunak: 60,399 Turnout: 82% Sworn in on Wednesday. New cabinet soon after#ToryLeadershipContest pic.twitter.com/AB1I8pevB5 — Kay Burley (@KayBurley) September 5, 2022 Brian O'NeillI help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff.

Open Sunday – discuss what you like…

open sunday sign, signage, open

The idea for Open Sunday is to let you discuss what you like. News events we have missed, an interesting article you have read, recommendations for a good podcast, book or tv show. Or maybe you just want a good rant. Just two rules. Keep it civil and no man/woman playing. Brian O'NeillI help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff.

Covid. It hasn’t gone away you know…

virus, corona, pandemic

After nearly 3 years of dodging it, this week, I have succumbed to Covid. I woke up on Wednesday with a headache. I was able to function ok that morning, but when I met my wife for lunch, a wave of nausea hit me as soon as I bit into my first chip. That night I had aches and pains all over my body, especially in the lower back. Then there was the tiredness and alternating shivers and sweating. Luckily …

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The Assembly has been down for 40% of its history…

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parliament_Buildings_Stormont.jpg

The local think tank Pivotal has released a new report: Governing Northern Ireland Without An Executive. From the press release: No Executive means inadequate government for Northern Ireland Northern Ireland has caretaker ministers but no government. A new report from Pivotal, the independent think tank focused on Northern Ireland, examines what Stormont ministers have been able to do since the Executive collapsed in February – and asks if this has addressed the problems facing local people. In the absence of …

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Open Sunday – discuss what you like…

open sunday sign, signage, open

The idea for Open Sunday is to let you discuss what you like. News events we have missed, an interesting article you have read, recommendations for a good podcast, book or tv show. Or maybe you just want a good rant. Just two rules. Keep it civil and no man/woman playing. Brian O'NeillI help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff.

Open Sunday – discuss what you like…

open sunday sign, signage, open

The idea for Open Sunday is to let you discuss what you like. News events we have missed, an interesting article you have read, recommendations for a good podcast, book or tv show. Or maybe you just want a good rant. Just two rules. Keep it civil and no man/woman playing. Brian O'NeillI help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff.