#CargoOfBricks: Strategic response needed from Stormont for “education leavers”

The Reset In partnership with the Ulster Bank

One of the key reasons for having #TheReset project in a space like Slugger is to look behind the headlines and try to assay the effects of the Covid emergency, not just in health, but in other key areas of life. As we prepare for a second wave, the effects on those leaving education are acute. So this week I spoke to Professor of Education Tony Gallagher, to get his take on what that means in practice… Powered by RedCircle …

Read more…#CargoOfBricks: Strategic response needed from Stormont for “education leavers”

First Minister and deputy First Minister silent on their inability to appoint a civil service head…

Excellent piece from Mark Devenport, asking where’s our next head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service… Should we be surprised that the advert to recruit a successor to a man in charge of 23,000 civil servants didn’t appear until about six weeks before he was due to leave? To be honest, given the executive and the assembly’s track record on filling posts, the answer is probably no. During the Stormont stand-off, the terms of the assembly’s spending and standards watchdogs …

Read more…First Minister and deputy First Minister silent on their inability to appoint a civil service head…

Welcome back Fortnight Magazine, we’ve missed you…

Welcome back Fortnight Magazine. The paper was founded in 1970 by Tom Hadden, and became a haven of sanity during the very years when large chunks of working-class Belfast were imploding in sectarian violence and immense social (and later economic) distress. I first started getting copies out of the old Gardiners newsagents and bookshop in Botanic Avenue in the late seventies when it was a vibrant confluence for thought from all sides, no least the McNee column which was, I …

Read more…Welcome back Fortnight Magazine, we’ve missed you…

Irish government’s Covid 19 framework represents an important shift of pace…

It’s interesting how the framing of the Covid crisis is beginning to subtly change. There seems to be a realisation that this is going to be long war, not a short campaign. The news of two new Covid deaths in Northern Ireland is carried by most major titles… Both victims were aged between 60-79. One of the deaths took place in the Newry, Mourne and Down council area, and the other was in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon. A further …

Read more…Irish government’s Covid 19 framework represents an important shift of pace…

Van the Man, or how expressive individualism is pulling us away from our obligations to each other

So Van Morrison has brought out some new tunes which include “criticism” of the government’s Covid policy. I’m as much a fan as the next Ulsterman, but it seemed a good moment to reflect on the way expressive individualism is pulling us away from our obligations to each other. Even Henry Ford understood the immense value that lies in others, “if there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of …

Read more…Van the Man, or how expressive individualism is pulling us away from our obligations to each other

Mallon’s decision on the interconnector ought to be the thin edge of a positive #Reset wedge

Interesting development earlier this week as Nichola Mallon approved the new North-South interconnector from Tyrone to Meath, not least because of the cacophony of noise arising not just from rivals but even from within her own party. The BBC reports… The approval is for the building of a single circuit 400kV electricity line consisting of 102 towers over 34.1kms in length from Moy in County Tyrone to Crossreagh in County Armagh. The first application was lodged on 15th December 2009. …

Read more…Mallon’s decision on the interconnector ought to be the thin edge of a positive #Reset wedge

#TheReset: What does Jürgen Klopp have to do with democratic renewal? #CargoOfBricks #Podcast

Do we need a re-set in political culture? We often tie ourselves in knots thinking that Northern Ireland is an exception to the rest of the world, but this week’s guest on #CargoOfBricks Richard Wilson’s experience is much broader and he thinks politicians are falling far short of current needs. Powered by RedCircle In it we cover… How our Victorian ideas of how representative democracy actually works are being quickly outrun by a connected electorate which is losing its patience …

Read more…#TheReset: What does Jürgen Klopp have to do with democratic renewal? #CargoOfBricks #Podcast

Michelle O’Neill asks to be let back into the big politics of Northern Ireland again…

Michelle O’Neill’s admission of her party’s wholesale transgression against Covid rules is interesting not for the usual Connelly House strangulation of the English language (to avoid anyone interpreting it as an actual apology), but how it shows a party stranded on the outside asking to come in again. That’s healthy in a number of ways. One, the penny seems to have dropped with the old guard who still plainly call all the big shots in Northern Ireland at least, that …

Read more…Michelle O’Neill asks to be let back into the big politics of Northern Ireland again…

It could be years before we know exactly how Johnson’s ‘sabre rattling’ turns out…

So Brian reckons that the British government’s threat to defy international law may turn out to be nothing more than a ploy. It’s certainly got people on both sides of the water excited, with remain parties in NI saying NO, and former Taoiseach Varadkar dismissing it as sabre-rattling. The actual Taoiseach only noted that “that negotiations are intensifying and stories like this will be part of that negotiation process”. Well, quite. In fact not only have we (at time of …

Read more…It could be years before we know exactly how Johnson’s ‘sabre rattling’ turns out…

#TheReset: Sheer fluidity of technological change means our cultural industries should be more central than ever

It’s hard to think of a working sector in society that delivers quite so much social, cultural, and economic benefits to society at large but where the living for those talented individuals who often devote their lives to it is quite so precarious than in the Arts and Cultural industries. In today’s Cargo of Bricks, I speak to Ali FitzGibbon and discover how the long slow and steady bottom-up development of Northern Ireland’s cultural industries over the last thirty years …

Read more…#TheReset: Sheer fluidity of technological change means our cultural industries should be more central than ever

Nichola Mallon: Tough infrastructure decisions in the short term, will need a strong long term vision

Our Reset project continues in parallel with normal politics. To track real politics you need to be across the detail that’s frustratingly hard to get to hand. Today, Tom Kelly has spotted a worrying detail and a sign that the ruling duopoly haven’t learned from past mistakes… Last week Nichola Mallon, Minister for Infrastructure, vented some of her frustrations by tweeting live to Good Morning Ulster “Very frustrating to once again learn of the Executive’s Agenda via GMU!” This was …

Read more…Nichola Mallon: Tough infrastructure decisions in the short term, will need a strong long term vision

If we are serious about better economic outcomes, Ministers and political parties have to take on the NIMBYs…

Newton Emerson has a nice piece in the Irish Times in which he demonstrates the tight hold NIMBY lobbies have on either side of the border, even on parties who’s main policy plank are in favour as something as seemingly important as the all island electricity market… He starts with the question: Would Electric Ireland be putting prices in the Republic up by 3.4 per cent if the new cross-Border interconnector was in place? The answer, he says, is that… …

Read more…If we are serious about better economic outcomes, Ministers and political parties have to take on the NIMBYs…

The Reset: Profound change on the island is likely to be slow and multigenerational, but it has to start now…

The Reset In partnership with the Ulster Bank

I’m grateful to Brian Feeney in the Irish News for drawing my attention to a bravura performance in the Feile by my old friend David McWilliams. In my defence it happened on my birthday and so I was enjoying the fresh air on the edge of Brecon Beacons National Park. So I missed it. There’s some tough challenging lines in there for northern unionism (and northern nationalism besides), some of which I agree with, some of which I don’t and …

Read more…The Reset: Profound change on the island is likely to be slow and multigenerational, but it has to start now…

#TheReset: Time to wake up to Covid’s economic challenges and get beyond our long sleepy capture by the Status Quo…

And after a brief break after the first series of the Cargo Of Bricks, we start the second series in partnership with Ulster Bank with a brief introduction from Richard Ramsey to the Reset Project, an overview of where Northern Ireland finds itself regarding Covid and how to get involved in #TheReset. Powered by RedCircle In it he covers… How politicians need to take heart from their ability to work under the pressure of the crisis and change things that …

Read more…#TheReset: Time to wake up to Covid’s economic challenges and get beyond our long sleepy capture by the Status Quo…

DARVO: Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.

Interesting take on what Martina Anderson’s tweet (now duly apologised for and we understand, Martina duly balled out by her immediate superiors, whoever they may be) meant, Fionola Meredith, adding this useful little piece of context… Here’s an abbreviated quote from her BelTel column… Martina Anderson may not know it, but this week the Sinn Fein MLA and former IRA bomber produced a textbook example of what psychologists call DARVO. The acronym stands for Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender. …

Read more…DARVO: Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.

UPDATED: Martina Anderson writes off the lives of the majority of NI victims as somehow complicit in “Britain’s dirty war”…

I had the pleasure to be asked on to the Frank Mitchell Show on U105 this morning to comment on Martina Anderson’s extraordinary tweet (now conveniently deleted) in which she accused the beneficiaries of the new victim’s pension to be “mainly those who fought Britain’s dirty war”. The best I can say about this is that, probably, if you were ordered to England to help conduct a bombing campaign by your military superior you might possibly think that the victims …

Read more…UPDATED: Martina Anderson writes off the lives of the majority of NI victims as somehow complicit in “Britain’s dirty war”…

Why we cannot leave ‘the past’ to those who have no interest in historical complexity.

A few years ago Irish born Observer tech writer and Cambridge Professor John Naughton observed of the digital era is how to avoid what Michael Mann calls “the sociology of the last five minutes”. This ‘new’ technology John says “reduces our collective attention span to that of newts”. This capture of the collective imagination has obvious consequences for how politics (think Trump and Jamie Barlett’s politics-as-gameshow analysis) is conducted and subsequently how we view ourselves as social or collective beings.  …

Read more…Why we cannot leave ‘the past’ to those who have no interest in historical complexity.

Resignation can be a matter of pride, honour and self-respect, and an important form of public restitution (but SF doesn’t do them)…

I’ve only been vaguely following the huge and consuming outrage which followed the revelation that the former Minister for Agriculture, the Mayo Fianna Fáíl TD Dara Calleary had broken Covid rules. My attitude to the breach at the time was clear. You can’t be a member of the government in a crisis and then flaunt the very rules you are trying to get others to follow in order to keep the vulnerable safe. Opposition reps like the Irish Labour leader …

Read more…Resignation can be a matter of pride, honour and self-respect, and an important form of public restitution (but SF doesn’t do them)…

South loses second Agriculture minister over attendance at event which breached Covid rules

Whoops, someone hasn’t been paying attention to his own government’s rules… Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary and Seanad Leas-Cathaoirleach Jerry Buttimer have both resigned from their positions after they attended an event in Clifden, Co Galway, on Wednesday where 81 people were present. Ouch. [Isn’t that the second Ag Minister since June? – Ed] Wednesday until Friday morning? That’s accountable democracy for you. What does unaccountability look like? Well, they weren’t the only big political figures there on Wednesday. RTÉ …

Read more…South loses second Agriculture minister over attendance at event which breached Covid rules

“You cannot use the local profits from eroding democracy to pay for your rise in global diplomacy.”

Fascinating piece from Sinead O’Sullivan in the Irish Times a few days ago. In 1959, Rostrevor man TK Whittaker wrote a paper that set the Republic’s course of the next 60 years years. All of what came after, the ups and the downs, derived from that paper. In short, it determined that the state would look outward economically and in almost every other way. In fact, this had been the case since the shock of the Irish famine just over …

Read more…“You cannot use the local profits from eroding democracy to pay for your rise in global diplomacy.”