Lisbon Essays (14): Women of Ireland, what will it be?

Gerard O’Neill speculates on whether or not women will decide the Lisbon vote. They were the largest single group (numerically) to swing the last vote to a No. He observes that neither side have particularly targeted the female voter. This is largely correct, if the evidence my camera-phone in Dublin last week is anything to go by, (although Coir’s new Heart poster campaign seems almost entirely directed at women). Left to their own devices, Gerard reckons women may just swing … Read more

LIsbon Essay (13): Ireland cannot commit to anything beyond “the Chinese veto”…

Ben Tonra argues that the concerns around sovereignty and military interventionism (LE4) betray a timidity in Ireland’s sense of its own sovereign power, rather than an assertion of it. He argues that Ireland rather than retiring into the corner, should use the opportunity being opened by Lisbon and press forward and into spaces where its troops can proactively do some good, rather than “howling, free and unfettered, from the shores of the Atlantic”. Here’s a question – why would anyone … Read more

Lisbon Essay (12): Three decades of building Irish independence inside the EU…

Today Conall is the first of our Yes essayists to tackle the question of what has happened to Irish sovereignty through its thirty six year membership of what began as the European Economic Community, then became the European Community, and is now known as the European Union. He notes that in 1973, Ireland went in in lock-step with – and on terms largely negotiated by – the UK, but that in the time that has elapsed since the Republic has … Read more

Lisbon Essay (10): Ireland’s opportunity to kill Lisbon in the water..

Nigel Farage of UKIP has spent a lot of the last week trying to make up for something of deficit in credible speakers on the No side of the Argument. The UKIP leader here argues that the Irish people wider responsibilities than just their own futures. With less than 1% of the European Union’s population Ireland is only country that’s allowed a free vote on whether Lisbon goes ahead or not, and offers substantial evidence that a second No vote … Read more

Lisbon Essay (9): They have not secured a single change to the text of the Lisbon Treaty

Eoin O’Broin lays out the core of Sinn Fein’s objections to the Lisbon Treaty. In line with the party’s position just after last year’s vote, their objection is primarily that nothing of any substance has changed in the meantime. The guarantees and the solemn declaration in favour of workers rights do not change in slightest the text of the document. He also points out that the self amending clause in the treaty undermines the Crotty (et al) judgements and means … Read more

Lisbon Essay (8): The deadening paradoxes of the Lisbon debate…

Last one of the week is from our own Brian Walker who lays out an interesting historical perspective on the matter that too often dares not speak its own name on the Yes side of this debate. The vexed issue of Irish sovereignty. It’s a far from trivial concern, as Joe Higgins laid out in Lisbon Essay 4, but Walker notes “…supremacy, like sovereignty, does not carry through into all levels of everything”. Instead he predicts the problem the European … Read more

Lisbon Essay (7): Slowness, endless negotiations and bureaucracy are the EU’s strength…

It seems sometimes that the integrity of Ireland’s ancient struggle with its neighbour has left it in a semi detached mode in its relations with (and historical memory of) the wider interests (and the conflicts therein) of the rest of Europe. Rónán O’Brien writes of his conviction that the European Union has done much to mediate the effects of raw nationalism and brought peace to much of a continent that was previously continuously shaped by ethnic and nationalist warring… He … Read more

Lisbon Essay (1): The treaty would isolate Ireland – a ‘No’ vote would free her

My post yesterday on the poor quality of the debate around Lisbon brought positive feedback from some unexpected quarters… It also brought in a short blog essay contribution from the young editor of the Eurosceptic European Journal, Jim McConalogue. It marks the first a series of guest essays on the broad subject of Lisbon that will run each morning here on Slugger from the No, Yes, and no fixed opinion camps right up until polling day on Friday 2nd October. … Read more

Why has the British MSM forsaken their vital ‘crap detectors’?

Mark asks why does a ginger group like the Taxpayers Alliance get so much coverage in the UK press. I’m tempted to offer the trite response that it’s simply because the Brits are too thick to tell the difference between sound social science and yet another dodgy dossier. But that would not only be a grave disservice to the intelligence of the great British public, but to the wily coruscation of the Taxpayer’s Alliance: not least because they are smaller, … Read more

Still bloggin’ after all these years..?

Before the time for thanks moves on, thanks to Shane Hegarty in the Irish Times for mentioning Slugger as one of Ireland’s must read blogs… He calls us “The granddaddy of Northern Ireland’s politics and culture blogs…” Now I mind the time (as my Uncle Seamus might say) when there was no such partition in the blogoshere… You got your Irish bloggers where you could find them… In my recollection the earliest blog I remember was Sean McCann who started … Read more

“This was the biggest irritant between us and the Northern Ireland Office..”

Just a quick point about The Observer’s extracts from Henry McDonald’s recently published book Gunsmoke and Mirrors – How Sinn Féin dressed up defeat as victory. Mary Alice Clancy’s study of the Bush administration’s Northern Ireland policy between 2001 and 2006 may have been under-reported, but it wasn’t un-reported – as John Ware would confirm [And Paul Bew – Ed]. But it has never been just about those “dreary steeples”. From The Observer article Clancy said that those she spoke … Read more

US politics outpaced by media/blogs combo?

A couple of months ago, I took part in a Spectator even that asked: Is our politics big enough for the net? (write-up here) It looks like we’re getting an early answer from the US. Last week the Republican party pulled a fast one on the US press and got a reaction it may not have been not expecting. Mickey Kaus posits three models in how the media has gone about the business of reporting politics. Local politicians, take serious … Read more

“One wonders whether Powell fully understands how revelatory his account really is…”

Mitchell Reiss comes to Jonathan Powell’s magnum opus on the peace process under the Blair regimine a little later than some others, but given he was a key player in the Bush administration for latter years of the process, he is, as one might expect, a good deal more critical that some the earlier entrants in the debate. Although there are echoes of Mandelson’s: “the Process is the bare minimum of the policy you need…” He doesn’t pull many punches. … Read more

“But one hopes for the sake of the people of Northern Ireland..”

Out-going Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s declaration to the US Congress yesterday, live-blogged by Shane, that “Ireland is at peace” [in our time? – Ed] could be viewed as a declaration of the end of US political involvement here.. Maybe.. Mary Alice Clancy emailed a link to a March 2008 article by her Phd thesis examiner, Brendan Simms, of the Centre of International Studies at the University of Cambridge and co-President of the Henry Jackson Society, which sketches out the international dimension, … Read more

Glossary: Fair Game

This is a systematised breach of Play the ball, not the man rule. It happens only sporadically on Slugger, but its intention is to uses the anonymity of the commenting zone to attempt to damage the reputation of some known public figure: politician; journalist; key witness; or even individual bloggers. The strategy was first outlined by L Ron Hubbard in 1965 as Fair Game Law. Hubbard’s target was in his own terms, ‘suppressive people’: Suppressive Acts are clearly those covert … Read more

“Knowledge is power”

He might not be a young-Earther, but he’s not at all happy with the modern age. Pope Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical – “‘SPE SALVI facti sumus’ – in hope we were saved” – earns him a front page report in today’s Irish Times. The report identifies the key theme in the encyclical, which ploughs a familiar furrow, “Man cannot be redeemed by science”. Benedict points the finger of blame for, among other things, the French Revolution, Marxism and the Russian … Read more

To blog or not to blog…?

There is a short piece in today’s Sunday Life which quotes a Belfast City councillor accusing Slugger of “fanning the flames of sectarian hatred”. The thread that caught the councillor’s eye concerned the continuing attacks on Orange Halls across Northern Ireland. Update: It seems I rather hastely ran to ‘print’ without checking whether or not the article was published. It was not. My apologies to all for the confusing arising In that thread, an individual commenter left remarks which could … Read more

On the importance of melancholy [in political journalism]…

“Cheeky” Piers Morgan’s acerbic interviewing style misses only one of the qualities recommended by Ken Tynan (and lauded in the leader page of the Guardian on Monday). It was light, certainly. Stinging yes. Insolent, without a doubt. But the part he left out of his interrogation of that paper’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, was melancholy. I have to admit that when I first read Tynan’s recipe for good review writing (in Monday’s leader, as it happens), it was that word which … Read more

Blog tip #3: Make sure you’ve got something to say..

Despite all the hype around blogging, not everyone should blog. If you are a politician or a member of a large organisation, make sure there is something you want to tell us first. Cut and pasting press releases won’t do. We have official websites not to go for that. Think of blogging as an opportunity to express those thoughts, explanations, or kites you’ve always wanted to fly, but could never get a journalist to listen. Just remember, you don’t need … Read more

Blog tip #2: Rough but functional…

Although broadcast methods are still the biggest focus for any political party, they are steadily losing ground to online audiences along with their advertising revenues…. Glossy presentation works on TV because it is a one way medium. It general fails badly on the net where send and receive is the most effective. Even top-most bloggers in the US and the UK eschew the glossy look, even when they can afford it. In the blogosphere, even mistakes can be a virtue … Read more