Blair hints at plan B…

The Telegraph reports the British PM’s broad hint that further failure to make progress in talks he may consider another tack. What that might be depends on who you talk with. Republicans believe it could be a move to joint authority with the Republic. Unionists believe it will be some form of medium to long term direct rule.

Returning to normal soon…

We’ll be returning to something like normal service from tomorrow. I’ve a fullish schedule of interviews in Belfast tomorrow running from 9am to 4pm, but I hope lodge myself in an internet cafe tomorrow late afternoon and make up for some lost time. Thanks for your patience over the past few weeks!

First scratchings in Northern Ireland

Wednesday and I’m already awake at, what? 6.30am? About 11pm last night I tried writing but got past the first stanza of a rhyming piece but found myself (oh – there I am!) drifting off first trust the bank of ways that you could go you step slow avenues or head for goals if you could choose – then tell or show the passions there – then trust your soul (first trust is the name of a bank in Ireland … Read more

Commons starts internet debate on hate crime

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee online consultation hate crime has begun at last! There are three strands to the discussion, which are roughtly: the law as it stands; incidence of hate crime; and possible responses to it. The focus on Northern Ireland will no doubt raise questions around the growing number of racist attacks, but also perhaps where religious conviction ends and incitement to violence ends. In effect they are using the internet to take evidence from ordinary people – … Read more

First scratchings in Northern Ireland

Wednesday and I’m already awake at, what? 6.30am? About 11pm last night I tried writing but got past the first stanza of a rhyming piece but found myself (oh – there I am!) drifting off first trust the bank of ways that you could go you step slow avenues or head for goals if you could choose – then tell or show the passions there – then trust your soul (first trust is the name of a bank in Ireland … Read more

Commons starts internet debate on hate crime

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee online consultation hate crime has begun at last! There are three strands to the discussion, which are roughtly: the law as it stands; incidence of hate crime; and possible responses to it. The focus on Northern Ireland will no doubt raise questions around the growing number of racist attacks, but also perhaps where religious conviction ends and incitement to violence ends. In effect they are using the internet to take evidence from ordinary people – … Read more

Commons starts internet debate on hate crime

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee online consultation hate crime has begun at last! There are three strands to the discussion, which are roughtly: the law as it stands; incidence of hate crime; and possible responses to it. The focus on Northern Ireland will no doubt raise questions around the growing number of racist attacks, but also perhaps where religious conviction ends and incitement to violence ends. In effect they are using the internet to take evidence from ordinary people – … Read more

Secret negotiations erroding trust?

Mick Hall looks at the often overactive rumour mill that is the Northern Irish political world and wonders whether the highly secretive negotiations is only adding to distrust within communities.

Where Irish politics is a mystery…

Sergio Kernan, with an interesting angle on one part of the Irish Diaspora which has lost touch with even the rudimentary elements of Irish politics and history – the Irish Argentines.

Religion, politics and history…

Though I haven’t read it yet, Ronan Bennett’s Booker shortlisted novel, Havoc in its third year has brought him some serious critical acclaim. Although the fiction is firmly centred in Puritan Northern England, at times he may have been drawing on his background in Northern Ireland. Reviewer Kathryn Hughes: In taverns, in church and in the streets, men watch other men for signs that they are following the wrong party line. A certain glance, a particular ribbon, a prayer mumbled … Read more

Exaggerated misery…

Alan Greer writes to the Guardian arguing that life in Belfast in the 1980’s was not so bad as it’s been painted in retrospect.

Test post

This is a new entry to test your Movable Type installation. We have installed Movable Type on your server and configured the paths for the initial weblog in the system per your request. Do not delete this weblog (“First Weblog”) unless you know what you are doing, because it is already configured for your server. You also do not want to delete the author that has been created for this weblog. Edit the user information to change the name, password, … Read more

test

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Britain not ready for blog reporters…

According to James Crabtree, the response of all the major British political parties to the idea of allowing bloggers in to their party conferences has been a resounding No! It stands in marked contrast to the US parties’s accreditation of a small group of bloggers for their national conventions.

Peace as a 'public good'…

Jim Maguire of the Western People makes an analogy between Sinn Fein’s position viz a viz the Peace Process and the response of the drinks industry in the Republic to speculation that regulation on the sales of alcohol may be taken out of their hands: “Just as public health considerations must take precedence over the commercial interests of the drinks industry so must constitutional consensus replace the private ambitions of the physical force advocates”.

Substituting trivia for politics…

This piece by yours truly in today’s Sunday Independent, is less of a review so much as a reading of some of the main themes of John Lloyd’s recent essay on how the media illserves democracy (registration needed) in an Irish context. IT’S hard to believe, but the presidency of the most powerful democracy on earth may swing on what two rival groups of Vietnam veterans say about some minor skirmishes in the Mekong Delta over 30 years ago. And … Read more

Slugger news…

We hope that we’ll have Slugger back early next week. Because of the way it crashed, we may have to start with only a limited amount of the site’s archives, and effectively begin anew. We will also have the very latest upgrade of the MT software. Though the site should look the same as before it should be faster and easier to reload. Night all!

Friday, September 03, 2004

Chief Constable Hugh Orde has called into question the ambiguity of the rulings of the Parades Commission that allows police to prevent marchers to follow certain routes, but not supporters and followers.

Negotiations: no further delays, please?

Both the UK Secretary of State and the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs are on message saying that we cannot afford further delay beyond the three weeks of negotiations this month. But there are no obvious signs of either of the two main parties turning the ten year process into product in such a short time.

JCB assault on pub…

In what has to be one of the most bizarre incidents of the last 35 years, the Thirty Two Degrees North pub on the Crumlin Road was attacked last night – by a JCB with burning rubble stoked in its bucket.