Award winning Ulster Museum renovation short-listed for Art Fund Prize

No doubt assisted by our own modest support [*ahem* – Ed], the recently renovated Ulster Museum in Belfast, which re-opened in October 2009, has been shortlisted for UK’s largest single arts prize – the £100,000 Art Fund Prize.  From the BBC report. Dr Jim McGreevy of National Museums Northern Ireland, said the museum had attracted “fabulous support from many visitors and via the online vote”. “We are grateful for the enthusiasm of the Northern Ireland public in helping get us to the final … Read more

DUP/Sinn Fein’s 37 day plan for public protest..

Interesting that just as a coalition between the Lib Dems and Conservatives with civil liberties being one of the key issues takes power in Westminster the joint DUP/Sinn Fein committee report on what replaces the current parades commission, is being chewed over in public (the report was delivered during the election campaign period). Eamonn McCann: “Public meeting” is defined as “a meeting of 50 or more persons held in a public place to which the public or a section of … Read more

The ash is back

No-fly zones have been re-imposed over parts of the UK, including Northern Ireland, and some Irish airports are also affected.  The Met Office will be updated its observations of the volcanic ash cloud on a regular basis. Adds The Guardian has more. Including this footage of the culprit, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, erupting. Pete Baker

Cameron’s bold bids to keep ahead of coalition sceptics

Accidentally perhaps, the test paper for the success of the Lib Con coalition has just been set by the centre left commentator Will Hutton in the Observer. Why should a comment piece be so significant? Because Cameron has just announced the dramatic appointments of Hutton to head up a commission on public sector pay and maverick Labour MP Frank Field as poverty czar. This is triangulation with a vengeance and will cause much Conservative heartburn. Hutton’s test paper deals with another part … Read more

Euro crisis: “decision to create a single currency in Europe was an eminently political decision.”

At the Cedar Lounge, WorldbyStorm has a lengthy post detailing his increasing scepticism as a pro-EU[ropean] over the EU Commission’s proposals to “co-ordinate fiscal policy in advance”. But more importantly to me, however pro-EU I am, as noted above I have to admit that I am becoming more and more dubious about the very notion of an EU polity that transcends national divisions. It seems to me that the distinctions between nations within the EU is so great as to … Read more

Jim Fitzpatrick: “let’s call it local madness for ease”

In his weekly Politics Show dispatch, Jim Fitzpatrick picks up on the new Foreign Secretary William Hague’s comparison between the workings of the voluntary coalition at Westminster and the mandatory one at Stormont. Asked on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme if the arrangement at Downing Street would work something like the one in Stormont Castle with mutual vetoes, he was very keen to stress the differences. “I don’t think in practice that is how… this is rational people who will work … Read more

After the Election: The Hung Parliament Party

Perhaps it’s time for another prediction competition: How long before this embedded video shows the message ‘This video has been removed by the author’ when you click ‘play’? Catch it while you can… Paul EvansLiving in London but working all over Britain and Ireland. A left-leaning Labour Party member and blogger. I’m on twitter as @paul0evans1 and I blog mainly at the Local Democracy blog though I’m in lots of other places as well. I’m a massive fan of Google … Read more

After the election: The Conservatives’ big liberal gamble

So is it game and set and match to Mr Cameron? Although, judging by an exceptionally peppery editorial in the Spectator today, not everyone on the Tory benches is happy with arrangement. Still, it seems that the two Edwardian gentlemen agree in principle as early as Saturday night, over Pizza, that cohabitation would be a thoroughly fine thing. This was a classic vindication of the old saw, work for victory, but plan for disappointment. Many in his party will say, … Read more

Why the big fuss over fixed term parliaments?

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About a month before the election Radio 4 broadcast a fascinating programme narrated by the BBC’s Scottish political editor Brian Taylor. Over half an hour he explained how the Scottish Parliament differs from its Westminster counterpart. It’s fixed term. Every piece of legislation is a new act of coalition. While some parties will support each other to get one piece of legislation passed, they’ll not agree to cooperate over the next. The SNP dominate, but while they win some debates, … Read more

It’s Friday!

It’s 4.30pm and it’s probably nearly home time. Here are three websites that you might want to study while you wait for the little hand to sweep towards five: Is your IT manager as creatively destructive as the BOFH? [translation: Bastard Operator from Hell] NB: PFY = Pimply faced youth – BOFH’s underling. I’m always surprised at the large number of people who haven’t discovered The Daily Mash yet. Labour may not have a lot going for them at the … Read more

All in a day’s work for post room staff …

This news flash came through earlier today on London Borough of Westminster’s public alert feed via CommunitySafe. Please could Postal Room staff be made aware of the following : earlier on this afternoon a Parcel containing a doll and organic matter was handed into a Government building Post room. The person handing in the item was described as a Male, approx 60-70 years of age, with White hair and wearing a green coat. The item was declared suspicious and Police … Read more

After the election: Lib Dems have ‘influence’ rather than ‘power’…

Being a Lib Dem with government ministers (and everything) after all those years (nay, generations) in opposition, must be something akin to the feelings you have the very first time you ‘make love’. It’s something you’ve dreamed of for years, and you are undoubtedly happy it has finally happened. But… it wasn’t quite what you expected.  Theresa May is certainly no liberal’s dream of a Home Secretary. But… at the heel of the hunt they may simply be relieved that … Read more

After the elections: Labour must get its ‘soul’ right with C1s, C2s.

It may be that this was a good election to lose for Labour (which, I suspect, is some of what lay behind that old fashioned politics Janet was lauding the other day), though it may not feel like that for many of their voters/supporters at the moment. (BTW, the Telegraph were still live blogging up to last night) Why? Because the challenges being faced by the Tories and Lib Dem coalition are huge, particularly on the international front (it’s no coincidence … Read more

Quote of the week…

Sheer class from @ShaneHegarty on Twitter: That UK coalition deal in full: David Cameron to be PM; Nick Clegg to be his fag. 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

AV elections will be for fewer seats

The BBC website has a fascinating projection of what the NI election results might have been under the Alternative Vote for Westminster elections. The UK will vote on this system in a referendum some time next year. The exercise assumes voters would have behaved in roughly the same way of course. The vast majority of Northern Ireland’s 18 MPs would still have been elected. The exception is the DUP’s William McCrea in South Antrim, who would certainly have lost his seat … Read more

Lib Cons bring in provision for minority government…

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Interesting switch in the detail of the new legislation proposed by the Liberal Democrat/Conservative government. The fixed term can actually be thrown out before the five years are up. But not on a simple majority. You have to get 55% to get em out. So Gerry Fitt and Frank Maguire would not have been able to buck Jim Callaghan out in favour of what turned out to be the Thatcher era. David has the detail: The parties agree to the … Read more

Michael White: “You pay your money and take your choice.”

At the Guardian’s Election Blog, Michael White offers a mea culpa and provides a sensible assessment of where we’re at as the dust settles over Downing St.  From the G’s Election Blog As I wrote in a piece yesterday, history points to the larger party, especially the predatory Tory party, swallowing up the minnow on its back. That’s where the bookies odds must point: to the Lib Dems being divided, even wrecked, by the strains of coalition in hard times. … Read more

Anyone for a game of Fantasy Cabinet?

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You’ve got an hour or two – maybe even until Wednesday morning – to suggest in the comments below who you think will be appointed to the Cabinet. Remember you’ve MPs from two parties to choose from? Who will be Chancellor? Foreign Secretary? Northern Ireland Secretary? … Confirmed … Chancellor – George Osborne Foreign Secretary – William Hague Defence Secretary – Liam Fox Deputy PM – Nick Clegg (Lib Dem) Health Secretary – Andrew Lansley … Northern Ireland Secretary – … Read more

Brown resigns as PM, Cameron to be invited to form government

The BBC report says it all Gordon Brown has announced he is resigning as UK prime minister. Mr Brown is on his way to officially tender his resignation to the Queen, and recommend that Conservative leader David Cameron should succeed him. Adds As the Guardian’s live-blog notes, Brown’s resignation as leader of the Labour Party “will take effect immediately”. And Full resignation statement here Update David Cameron becomes the new UK prime minister. Cameron’s statement on arriving at Downing St. Real … Read more