A grim milestone reached as NI Covid 19 related deaths hit 2000…

It means the total number of deaths has doubled since December. This is quite an increase in such a short time period. Was it Christmas that did the damage or is it just these illnesses tend to be worse at this time of year? Like everything it is probably a mix of a lot of factors. The total number of positive cases in NI is now 109,147. I am curious what the multiplier is with C19. For example, for every …

Read more…A grim milestone reached as NI Covid 19 related deaths hit 2000…

The easy way to make pancakes…

Judging by the pile of instant pancake mix in the supermarket yesterday it seems a lot of people don’t know how to make even the most basic dishes. Pancakes have literally three ingredients – flour, milk and eggs. I know some people may not be confident cooking so here is a dead easy pancake recipe that is ultra simple. Get a normal mug, fill it with plain flour, put the flour in a bowl, fill the mug again with milk, …

Read more…The easy way to make pancakes…

We are where we are, not where we would like to be…

Many of the comments on my post yesterday were along the lines of ‘if we never had partition then X’ or ‘if we had a United Ireland then Y’. These are all valid viewpoints but they reminded me of the apocryphal story of the man who stops a local farmer and asks for directions. When he tells the farmer where he wants to go the farmer replies: ‘If I were going there I would not start from here’. In life, …

Read more…We are where we are, not where we would like to be…

Whether as part of the UK or a United Ireland, we all need Northern Ireland to work…

There is a standard view amongst many republicans that Northern Ireland is a failed state. With every new scandal or government failure, they take a perverse delight in pointing out the flaws as if to say ‘see we told you it does not work!’. They believe that the more Northern Ireland is unworkable and ungovernable, the closer we get to a United Ireland. The problem with this strategy is that it’s a bit like the cartoon where the Wile E …

Read more…Whether as part of the UK or a United Ireland, we all need Northern Ireland to work…

PSNI blunder into PR disaster of their own making…

You really do wonder what the police were thinking yesterday when they blundered their way into a private commemoration of the 29th anniversary of 1992 Sean Graham bookmakers atrocity. As well as disturbing the event they decided to go even further and arrest one of the victims. Such gross insensitivity you could not make up. Coming just days after the police stood idle and watched dozens of UVF men parading in East Belfast, the police have opened themselves up to …

Read more…PSNI blunder into PR disaster of their own making…

New poll has SF largest party on 24%, DUP 19%, Alliance 18% & TUV on 10%…

A new poll by Lucid Talk for the Belfast Telegraph is showing that the DUP are getting hammering over the Irish Sea Border, with hardline supporters switching allegiance to the TUV: DUP support plunges as hardline unionists flock to Jim Allister amidst Irish Sea border fears. In @LucidTalk poll for @beltel, SF largest party on 24%; DUP on 20-yr low of 19%; Alliance challenging to be 2nd largest party on 18%; & TUV on 10% record high.https://t.co/3AdzLysJrx — Suzanne Breen …

Read more…New poll has SF largest party on 24%, DUP 19%, Alliance 18% & TUV on 10%…

Goodbye January 2021, the month that felt like a year…

So here we are, the last day of January. I bet you are like me and glad to see the back of it. January can be a tough month generally, but throw in a lockdown and you have a recipe for a really grim time. The first lockdown will go down in history a fabled time of everlasting sunshine, but this one will be remembered for harsher conditions. There were some beautiful sunny days at the start of the month, …

Read more…Goodbye January 2021, the month that felt like a year…

Some important changes to our comments policy…

Slugger is one of the very few places where you can have civilised chats about contentious topics. It is essential to give people a voice; to share their opinions without being shouted down. We have noticed an increase in toxicity in the comments of late. I know with the pandemic tempers are frayed. But there is no excuse for some of the behaviour: it is just bad manners. There’s an agreement that in these stressful times we all need to …

Read more…Some important changes to our comments policy…

Boris Johnson, you would (almost) feel sorry for him…

No matter how bad your day is going, it is likely to be better than that of our glorious leader, Boris Johnson. You can imagine him waking up every day with a groan, and wondering what disaster will befall him today. “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” as Billy Shakespeare put it. With UK Covid-19 deaths reaching the grim milestone of 100,000, Boris was forced to make an apology of sorts: The U.K. has become the first country …

Read more…Boris Johnson, you would (almost) feel sorry for him…

Why does the government not give the public more useful advice on protecting themselves from Covid-19?

Open up any newspaper and you get full-page ads telling you to stay at home, practice social distancing and wash your hands. Such is the volume of these ads I suspect they are using it as a subsidy to the newspaper industry whose ad revenue has been hit hard by Covid-19. It is useful to have simple messages repeated frequently, but after nearly a year of the same messaging is there anyone who does not know these rules by now? …

Read more…Why does the government not give the public more useful advice on protecting themselves from Covid-19?

Brexit: it’s time to stop gloating and start making some money…

For political junkies, Brexit is the gift that keeps on giving. Every day we get a new story of how Brexit will destroy the union and cripple various sectors of the economy. For those of us who voted against it, it is hard not to have a smug I told you so attitude. But watching the excellent Ted Lasso last night one of the characters made the observation that every disadvantage is an advantage. More specifically England’s disadvantage can be …

Read more…Brexit: it’s time to stop gloating and start making some money…

Belfast 4 Corners Festival starts next Sunday. All events free to watch online…

Northern Ireland’s first-ever inter-Church arts festival will proceed despite Covid-19 by going on-line. The Belfast 4 Corners Festival, now in its ninth year, co-founded by its Joint Chairs, Presbyterian minister, Rev Steve Stockman and Catholic priest, Fr Martin Magill, will live stream 30 events from January 31 to February 7. The festival announced its lineup on its website 4cornersfestival.com The festival said they had to abandon plans to invite a limited number of members of the public to attend some …

Read more…Belfast 4 Corners Festival starts next Sunday. All events free to watch online…

Free event: Reflection on Seamus Mallon – A Shared Home Place at 7pm this Tuesday…

Today is the first anniversary of the passing of Séamus Mallon, former Deputy Leader of the SDLP, former Deputy First Minister in the NI Assembly, former MP and Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Tim Attwood, Hume Foundation Secretary said: “Seamus Mallon was a tough, tenacious titan of the Peace Process. As the Irish Times said in 1999: ‘Seamus Mallon has always been there, even in the darkest of dark days, never losing faith in the primacy of politics even …

Read more…Free event: Reflection on Seamus Mallon – A Shared Home Place at 7pm this Tuesday…

George Osborne: Northern Ireland is already heading for the exit door…

Former Chancellor, and now editor of The Evening Standard, George Osborne, has been writing about the potential break up of the Union. Not any more. By unleashing English nationalism, Brexit has made the future of the UK the central political issue of the coming decade. Northern Ireland is already heading for the exit door. By remaining in the EU single market, it is for all economic intents and purposes now slowly becoming part of a united Ireland. Its prosperity now …

Read more…George Osborne: Northern Ireland is already heading for the exit door…

Ian Paisley – “What did we do to members on those benches over there to be screwed over by this protocol?”

The right honourable member for North Antrim seems a little upset with how the Conservative Government is handling the Northern Ireland Protocol. Some might be inclined to say you reap what you sow, but I could not possibly comment. "What did we do to members on those benches over there to be screwed over by this protocol?" DUP MP Ian Paisley says the Northern Ireland Protocol has "ruined trade" between NI and GB – as he criticises Boris Johnson for …

Read more…Ian Paisley – “What did we do to members on those benches over there to be screwed over by this protocol?”

Mary McAleese and Peter Robinson should lead a commission on reunification proposals…

Mary McAleese was on this week’s Sunday with Miriam show on RTE Radio 1. It was a reminder of what a class act she is, very sharp and well informed. Mary McAleese would have made a great Taoiseach or First Minister. If got me thinking about how we should make use of the considerable talents of our leaders who are no longer in office, but still have a lot to contribute to society. With the passing of Seamus Mallon and …

Read more…Mary McAleese and Peter Robinson should lead a commission on reunification proposals…

The Covid-19 Christmas hangover begins…

How was your Christmas? Let me guess, quiet? While some of us were enjoying Black Narcissus and working our way through the Celebrations tub, Covid-19 was on an epic bender. A snapshot of how the #coronavirus rate has dramatically increased in Northern Ireland over the past few months. On 3rd of Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec & Jan. Mid Ulster's rate has increased from 9.3 per 100,000 to almost 900 per 100,000 pic.twitter.com/O1P7u49G96 — Darran Marshall (@DarranMarshall) January 3, 2021 As …

Read more…The Covid-19 Christmas hangover begins…

With a bit of investment and creativity, we can dramatically improve our outdoor attractions for the benefit of locals and tourists alike…

One of my ways of staying sane throughout this pandemic is going out for a daily walk. It is free, it keeps you fit and it good for your mental health. What’s not to like? A lot of people have the same idea and all our outdoor facilities are full of people enjoying the great outdoors. We are very lucky here in Northern Ireland that we have many beautiful places to visit right on our doorstep. Over the past few …

Read more…With a bit of investment and creativity, we can dramatically improve our outdoor attractions for the benefit of locals and tourists alike…

Make 2021 your most average year yet!

Happy New Year! In contrast to my ambivalence about Christmas, I quite like New Year. Not the parties and trying to remember the words of Auld Lang Syne, but the sense of a fresh start, a new beginning. 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year as our American friends would say, and I imagine most of us are glad to see the back of it. This is the time of year when newspaper supplements advise us how to get …

Read more…Make 2021 your most average year yet!

Welcome to the most wonderful day of the year (Terms & conditions apply).

Happy Christmas! or Bah Humbug! Depending on your view, Christmas is either an annual orgy of excessive consumption or a time to rejoice in the Birth of Shane McGowan our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. When it comes to Christmas I find myself ambivalent about it, bordering on full-blown hostility. According to our Twitter poll, Christmas does divide opinion: Do you like Christmas? — Slugger O'Toole (@SluggerOToole) December 18, 2020 On the negative side, excessive shopping horrifies me. The amount …

Read more…Welcome to the most wonderful day of the year (Terms & conditions apply).