Slugger’s comment thread rebuild – redux

You may recall that – a few weeks ago – I posted an idea on how we can add value to Slugger’s comments thread. It met with a mixed reaction, and while some of you liked the idea and saw possibilities in it, there were also some extremely perceptive objections. As a result, we have ruled the idea out of bounds. We are keen, however, to try and give Slugger more of a community dimension for a number of reasons, … Read more

A solid statement that North-South cooperation is here to stay

Armagh is now on the Irish diplomatic circuit.  Next month the highly regarded Southern Joint Secretary of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC), Tom Hanney, leaves to become Irish ambassador to Belgium. His successor, Anne Barrington, is finishing her days as ambassador to Tanzania. The man who will fill in over the summer, the current Southern Deputy Joint Secretary, Bill Nolan, used to be ambassador in Zambia and Lesotho. His predecessor, Niall Honohan, is now ambassador to Saudi Arabia. A … Read more

Friday thread: Improving Slugger’s comments

One of Slugger’s virtues is its comments thread. Unlike a lot of blogs, Mick applies a certain standard and trolls, threats, sockpuppetry and flamebaiting are generally discouraged. This isn’t done perfectly or consistently because it’s a big job to do and involves hours of unfunded work. We do the best we can under the circumstances – and at least half the job is done when people find themselves occasionally clipped. For the most part, commenters are better-behaved on Slugger than … Read more

From the Scotland Bill to Scottish independence…

The inclusion of the Scotland Act amongst the UK Government’s 22 Bills has pushed Scotland’s place in Britain back up the discussion list in many quarters. Personally I am surprised that the Conservatives have moved so quickly on the issue when it potentially poses such a risk for the continuation of the union, particularly given that David Cameron claims to have the Union Jack stamped onto his insides like a stick of rock. For me, the implementation of the Calman … Read more

Gordon Brown’s gaffe ‘detoxifies’ Tory immigration policies…

Interesting times. Danny Finkelstein said on Newsnight last night that Brown’s clumsiness comes already discounted with the price, and therefore this won’t have much of an effect. I beg to differ Danny. It will have an effect almost precisely because in comparison with the larger affairs of state, it is relatively trivial. It will matter, because it shifts more of those crucial folk with light preferences in politics (ie, the ones who still ‘don’t know’ when they lift the pencil … Read more

Election 2010: Smarter GB electorate playing with the political classes?

Alex Kane reckons that the Tories will still make it across the line in this election. My own view is that the forces at work are more complex than at any time in my memory (and I can go back to about 1970), not least because of the complex tools available via the net (take a bow Electoral Calculus). I suspect the humble two party swingometer is functionally dead from here on in. Regardless of the outcome of this election. … Read more

Sunday polls: Conservatives nose ahead in a volatile race

Still not brilliant news in Sunday’s polls for the Tories, but I would rather be in their shoes than Labour’s today: no momentum and the campaign (substance vs, erm, ‘the damned Tories’) is slowly disintegrating. Things are still holding up pretty well for the Lib Dems. And after last week’s wobble (as Clegg came into the frame) Cameron’s ratings seem to be heading north again. If I were a Labour hack, one thing (amongst many) to worry about is not the polls … Read more

Are Tory bloggers an asset to their party?

Hindsight is a great thing isn’t it? Surely we all saw that the Tories weren’t on a winner going into an election with the promise of nasty medicine? I mean, I wondered if it would hurt them, but at the time, it was a consideration that got crowded out by others. But it hasn’t worked, has it? The bookies should be paying out already to Tory punters, given the state of the economy and Brown’s lack of charisma. So why … Read more

Any CU wins will be despite the Tory deal…

Much ink has been spilt over the current misfortunes of David Cameron and the conservatives… Over on CIF, I argue their apparent demise (still two weeks to go yet!) is bad for Scottish nationalist hopes to take seats from Labour and any gains in Northern Ireland for the CUs (or UCU-NF’s, or UCs, or whatever) will come in spite of Cameron’s difficulties, only because the difficulties of others in the race prove greater. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. … Read more

About that Daily Mail interview…

This article appeared in the Daily Mail last week… It’s an interview with Peter Hain, as you may never have seen him before… with one Petronella Wyatt… (I’d be scared in the unlikely event she asked me for an interview)… Much to the delight of one blogging supporter of one his rivals for the Deputy Prime Minister’s job, he accepted the invitation… Particularly with the Vice Roy comment, you have to wonder if she is a closet Brian Feeney fan…By … Read more