Author Archive | Pete Baker

“Time for bed” said Zebulon

Politics and Culture says the strapline, so here goes… Le Manège Enchanté, that’s “The Magic Roundabout” to you and me, is set for a revival. First broadcast in France in 1964, and twice turned down by the BBC as “charming but too ‘weird’”, the show went on to become first a cult success, then an more…

Abortion Law Must be Clarified

After a long battle through the courts, today “in Belfast three senior judges ordered the Department of Health to draw up guidelines on when abortions can be carried out under existing law.” The time and the cost of this legal argument, between the Family Planning Association and the Department of Health, to simply produce guidelines more…

‘Cult of Gerry is counterproductive’

By popular demand, here is Newton Emerson’s recent Irish News article on why he believes “A shy retiring Gerry [Adams would be] good for Irish unity”. (courtesy of Newshound)

The new whistleblowers?

The Guardian Online has been running an excellent series of articles on the increasingly varied nature of blogs. Today it’s anonymous job-related blogs – Spilling the beans. Jim McClellan talks to some anonymous bloggers and highlights the inherent restrictions of anonymity as well as the dangers of believing everything you read, or write, online.

A Right to Dignity

Tying in with our ongoing debate on the Charter of Rights, two cases currently in the media evidence the absence in that debate of one right that some would describe as the most fundamental of all Human Rights – the right to die with dignity.While the parents of a 11-month old child, who “is fed more…

Bono’s booked, who’s available?

OK, so it’s stretching the remit (again) but I couldn’t resist this one. The Labour Party had Bono (that’s a tenuous link, Ed.) for their party conference, so the Conseratives looked high and low for someone to guarantee the same level of coverage – and found… Rick Wakeman! (aka The Caped Crusader) The Guardian extracts more…

First of all

It was quickly buried under an avalanche of often contradictory spin, but, on Friday, Ireland’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, made the Irish Government’s primary objective for the ongoing negotiations crystal-clear in his first full-length radio interview on Northern Ireland – “We have to keep as a keynote the issue of decommissioning, paramilitarism, more…

Where are those keys?

The Alliance Party seem to have spotted a gap in the ongoing public negotiations which the two main Unionist parties have neglected to nail down – the devolution of responsibility for Policing and Justice. According to their Justice spokesman, Stephen Farry, “A target date of two years should be established as part of any deal more…

Seven more years

Mary McAleese has been returned unopposed as Irish President for a second term. While some are still smarting from the lack of support for a challenger, the stampede by local politicians to congratulate the Belfast born lawyer seems to be led by David Ervine!?Update Irish Eagle has an interesting take on the lack of opposition. more…

Blair pace-maker

Yes that’s ‘pace-maker’, not ‘peace-maker’ – or at least “a device to steady an irregular heartbeat” – which actually seems to mean a 90 minute “non-surgical procedure under local anaesthetic”. However, if that doesn’t work… According to the BBC report, last year’s health scare has recurred in the last two months… mmm.. now what’s been more…

Busy Glenn?

Glenn Reynolds, of the US political blog Instapundit.com, is now moonlighting as a columnist at Guardian Unlimited – seemingly for the duration of the US Presidential campaign. How does he find time to be a law professor as well?

NUJ concern on anniverary of journalist’s murder

Tuesday, 28th September, was the third anniversary of the murder of Martin O’Hagan, the Sunday World journalist and father of three who was shot yards from his Lurgan home by gunmen in a passing car. The Guardian Media section has a report on the NUJ’s concern at the failure of the authorities to bring those more…

Where’s that bandwagon?

Call me cynical if you like, but Sinn Féin’s latest move is perhaps the most distasteful example of using someone else’s grief for self-publicity that I’ve seen for some time.At a fundemental level what’s at work here, in my opinion, is this – Gerry Adams continues to see himself as being of the same political more…

Payment will be due

Seán Flynn, in The Irish Times, picks up on the Value for Money Report on Grouped Schools project (full report) from the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, published 28th september 2004, focusing on the real cost of Grouped Schools Pilot Partnership Project (summary) for the Department of Education and Science. Rather than the more…

All-Ireland Proposals All Can Welcome?

Moves are being considered to enable the implementation of an All-Ireland Free Travel scheme for pensioners and other groups. The BBC quotes Irish Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Coughlan, “The use of this type of smart card [to be introduced next year] may hold the key to resolving many of the administrative difficulties more…

The ‘Old’ on the ‘New’

The New York Times magazine has an interesting article on political blogging and the bloggers who blog, Fear and Laptops on the Campaign Trail (free reg. required), focussing on bloggers’ coverage of the US presidential campaigns. With more than a hint of the patronising tone of the “ancient media” that blogging is, for some, a more…

Pulling the (phone) plug

Ireland is to become the first country in the world to block direct-dialled calls to entire countries. The decision, by Commission for Communication Regulation ComReg, is an attempt to stop an internet-based fraud that relies on modem-jacking. But, while the BBC report focuses on the need to counter the fraud, the blocking of entire nations’ more…

Cognito ergo blog

It isn’t just the old media that’s falling for (or being battered by) the charms of the blog – academia is too. Jim McClellan in the Guardian Online section looks at some successful academic blogs, and academic bloggers, who believe blogging can be beneficial to the “developing and sharing ideas, both with academic peers and more…

Remarkable Progress despite lack of Political Support

“Overall accountability and governance structures have shown themselves to be effective, with the PSNI and other bodies driving improvements forward despite the lack of full community support.” – That’s the view of the Police Oversight Commissioner, Al Hutchinson. He went on to say that “The lack of support is really the key barrier to deep more…

Booker Prize 2004

The shortlist for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2004 has been announced. Included in the shortlist of 6 is The Master by acclaimed Irish author Colm Tóibín – whose literary output includes the previously shortlisted The Blackwater LightshipAs well as Colm Tóibín, the shortlist includes David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Achmat Dangor’s Bitter Fruit, Sarah more…