Don’t listen to him, he’s a bollix!

That, in paraphrase, was the first comment posted in response to something we blogged from Minister McDowell some months back. I’ve just removed and banned someone posting here for the first time, for a nasty personal attack on the Blanket, which had nothing to do with the subject in hand. Whilst Slugger is neither Republican or Unionist, it does seek to create a space where all can put their views forward and have the reasonable expectation that they will be … Read more

The plurality of blogs and how they dig into context…

Blogs: exposing the hidden contextsThe Irish Times have published my piece on blogging, written originally in response to Brian Boyd’s article on how blogs can give a biased and misleading view of the events they purport to give witness to. Also at my own site.Blogs: exposing the hidden contexts Blogging is dangerous, radical and going mainstream, writes Mick Fealty It has been argued that blogging is both partial and subjective and that its many often- conflicting truths should be handled … Read more

A young protestant genius with no talent for guff

Great piece on George Best by Eammon McCann in today’s Irish Times. He mentions two of his cohorts, Alec Higgins and Van Morrison who have also famously wore their celebrity uncomfortably. By Eammon McCann It was Van Morrison who put George Best into proper context, which was apt. “Too long in exile,” sang the Man on the title track of his hugely underrated 1993 album. “Just like George Best, baby…just like Alex Higgins.” Three of maybe half a dozen authentic … Read more

Yellow and Red cards…

For those not entirely aware, we have a yellow card/red card system. The poster known as Finn69 is the latest to be awarded a Yellow for persistent man playing. A following Red would mean a two week exclusion. We can go straight to Red if the offence is grave enough. I don’t want this site to have to close its open door policy, but there is a significant minority of people who are not prepared engage in debate, and lose … Read more

Glossary: Playing the ball not the man…

There are not many rules in Slugger’s rough guide to commenting etiquette. The most important is a golden coaching rule in Soccer: players must “play the ball and not the man”. In other words, people should be judged on what they say, not who they are! Or on how others view their motives. The aim is twofold: to encourage higher quality outputs from commenters and to retain a competitive edge to the dialogue. Played well it can greatly enhance the … Read more

Glossary: What is Whataboutery?

Familiar to anyone who’s followed public debate on Northern Ireland. Some define it as the often multiple blaming and finger pointing that goes on between communities in conflict. Political differences are marked by powerful emotional (often tribal) reactions as opposed to creative conflict over policy and issues. It’s beginning to be known well beyond the bounds of Northern Ireland. Nice illustrative piece from the archives by the late Jack Holland.Some years back the BBC quoted Cardinal Cahal Daly as having … Read more

US election: the net changed politics if not the president

Last Tuesday night the Grand Committee Room in Westminster played host to an impressive range of speakers, each reflecting on the role of the Internet in the recent US Presidential campaign. Slugger was there to cover it… Who uses the net for politics? Professor Stephen Coleman of the Oxford Internet Institute, drew from research he’d commissioned from YouGov. Days before the US poll, a sample of 3,500 Internet users, was asked to rank the importance of various sources using a … Read more

US election: the net changed politics if not the president

Last Tuesday night the Grand Committee Room in Westminster played host to an impressive range of speakers, each reflecting on the role of the Internet in the recent US Presidential campaign. Slugger was there to cover it! Who uses the net for politics? Professor Stephen Coleman of the Oxford Internet Institute, drew from research he’d commissioned from YouGov. Days before the US poll, a sample of 3,500 Internet users, was asked to rank the importance of various sources using a … Read more

Ouch!

Rumour has reached us that one of the assailants in a recent gun attack also managed to put himself into hospital by shooting himself in the ‘privates’ during the get away! For those less familiar with recent events in Belfast, there has been a low level conflict rising between rival Loyalist paramilitaries over the last few weeks. For background, see here. Anyone familiar with the plot line of Colin Bateman’s novel and subsequent film, ‘Divorcing Jack’, or Martin Lynch’s early … Read more

Economics.

James Kelly in the subscription only Irish News, is getting fed up with the seemingly endless series of constitutional crises, and suggests that NI Plc is being seriously neglected in all the furore. Meantime, out in the real world away from the political hothouse, voices are being heard protesting about the political stranglehold which is choking economic growth here. One such voice is that of Jim Berry, a specialist on planning and development at the University of Ulster. He is … Read more

De Klerk speaks at Glencree Summer School

I am just back from a weekend spent at the Glencree Summer School, where a variety of speakers gave presentations to a mixed audience from both sides of the Ulster community, the Republic and the UK. The keynote address was given by the ex-President of South Africa, FW de Klerk. Though it was clear from the discussion that followed his initial address that there were few direct parallels between the circumstances in the two situations, a number of interesting points … Read more

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This is the first post. The rest should follow. News on politics and gossip and things regarding Northern Ireland and it’s future. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty