TV review: 20,000 cars sold per year..but was House of Cars a deal or a gamble for Hursts?

After the very first episode of House of Cars – a BBC NI documentary looking at life for the sales force at Charles Hurst Group Boucher Road – over on Twitter Newton Emerson quickly drew a comparison between one sales manager and the Fast Show’s comedy salesman Swiss Toni. And therein lies the problem: on the show the salespeople talk about sales and the managers demand even more sales (or else) while Twitter and Facebook users find reasons to mock …

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Why I Left My Job and My Favourite Place in the World

Emma Canavan is a former journalist with BBC Northern Ireland and is currently travelling around the world this is her story from her blog and we wanted to share her story with you. When I was younger, through my teens and university life, I had high expectations of what life has to offer. I wanted to be a journalist and a presenter. I wanted to travel the world, see amazing places, meet amazing people and, somehow, help make the world …

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Should the Scottish Parliament and the Assemblies in Cardiff and Belfast control ” their” BBC?

The three wee Celts in the precariously devolved  UK have got together – convened wouldn’t you know it – by the Scots, to agitate for a bigger slice of the BBC licence fee during the coming round of the BBC Charter review. Northern Ireland’s culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin  declares: “The BBC must continue to embrace and further develop its commitment to its public obligations and the occasion of the charter renewal must be seen as an opportunity to deliver …

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By 2026 when the next BBC Charter runs out, how do you think the BBC should have changed?

Every five ten years the BBC’s Charter is renewed (though the licence fee can end up being renegotiated more frequently!) and the government of the day along with the broadcaster take the opportunity to examine what direction the BBC is currently heading and decide whether to change the course or trim the sails. One approach is to decide on the purpose and scope of the BBC and then set an appropriate licence fee (or determine an alternative revenue raising method) …

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Gavin Robinson: “I don’t think we can leave it for another year … to make sure we manage all of the bonfires in a much better way” … but what can be done?

Six fire engines and 35 fire crew sprayed cold water on houses and trees facing the East Belfast Chobham Street bonfire to keep them safe from the savage heat and flames on the Eleventh night. Speaking to the BBC today, local MP Gavin Robinson said: Elected representatives, community representatives, statutory agencies, the police and those of influence with the community – they were all ignored and I think that’s greatly regrettable. … I don’t think we can leave it for …

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Election Notebook (Nick Robinson) – a humble & honest recollection of #ge2015 – and a reminder that NI politics don’t matter at a UK national level

Nick Robinson’s premise was to document the twelve month run up to the May 2015’s General Election. Between the Scottish independence referendum, UKIP’s rise and wobbles, and early polling that couldn’t predict the next government at Westminster, it was sure to be volatile period on which to report. The diary format of Election Notebook: The Inside Story Of The Battle Over Britain’s Future And My Personal Battle To Report It reveals that the BBC’s political editor inhabits an ever-revolving hamster …

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Panorama on collusion: Does Trevor Ringland support coverup?

Trevor Ringland’s criticism of Darragh MacIntyre’s Panorama on collusion for rewriting history with a political slant is misguided.  The documentary  gave examples of  a spectrum of collusion ranging from loose handling of informers to covering up agents who were multiple repeat killers, sometimes with the foreknowledge of their  handlers.  Much of the material is in the de Silva report, the published Stevens reports and elsewhere in the public domain. As he hinted in the programme, Denis Bradley was given brief privileged access to …

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Panorama’s exposure of greater collusion was a fine effort but it will make no difference

The BBC  are to be commended for visiting “ boring old Northern Ireland “ in a Panorama  special on the legacy issues of collusion, Britain’s Secret Deals, reported by Darragh McIntyre. To those who follow the detail there was little that was entirely new, although there was graphic fresh evidence and it was high time it was presented to the wider audience.  The bizarre detail that the rifle used in the murderous attack on Sean Graham’s bookies ended up in …

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Clarkson: Yorkshire hotels, dales and lightening conductors

The saga of Jeremy Clarkson’s “fracas” in a Yorkshire hotel seems to be dying down temporarily no doubt to rise again after the BBC makes its decision. It is important not to prejudge what did or did not happen and wait for an investigation result. That said I am always somewhat dubious about any organisation’s internal disciplinary proceedings as all too often the outcome is decided long before any evidence is even gathered and is only partially related to the …

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Mairia Cahill honoured with James Larkin award

UPDATED – WITH VIDEO Mairia Cahill was last night presented with the ‘Larkin Thirst for Justice Award’ at the Labour Party’s National Conference in Killarney. The award, named after the trade union leader and founder member of the Labour Party James Larkin, is awarded to a person who, in their personal and/or professional life has made an outstanding contribution in the area of human rights and justice. Speaking at the INEC in Killarney minutes before Joan Burton’s keynote address Ms. …

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BBC Statement after meeting with the DUP over proposed televised debates…

The DUP requested a meeting with the Director-General of the BBC to raise its concerns about not being included in the leaders’ TV debates to be broadcast across the UK and about wider coverage ahead of the General Election. The DUP has also raised its concerns with the BBC Trust and, separately, instructed lawyers to prepare to take legal action against the BBC. The BBC, alongside ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News, has announced plans to host a series of …

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Theft of Binevenagh Sea god

The removal of the statue of a celtic sea god Manannán Mac Lir has been covered by a number of the news outlets. The large heavy statue was placed at a view point on Binevenagh Mountain about a year ago. According to John Sutton its sculptor it would have been difficult to remove and required angle grinders and and several hours. It has now been taken and replaced with a cross bearing the words: “You shall have no other gods …

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North Belfast Parading – could the DUP/UUP find a positive way out of their current rabbit hole?

As always in Northern Ireland, a row of dominoes have found themselves in a row and are now wobbling. 1. Getting a wide range of people to agree to be appointed to make a credible panel on North Belfast parading and related protests was always going to be an uphill struggle for the Secretary of State. Given the announcement in October with no names, and not a single name – not even a chair – being publicly mooted since them …

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Wuz Rory really robbed of glory?

Just like the politicians, outrage seems to be the default position  if we don’t get our way, this time over  sporting prizes,  judging from the Belfast Telegraph’s reaction to Rory McIroy, the bookie’s favourite,   pipped  by Lewis Hamilton for BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Angry Northern Ireland sports fans last night slammed the shock result which saw World Number One golfer Rory McIlroy sensationally beaten by Formula One racer Lewis Hamilton to the title of the BBC Sports Personality …

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Cartoon – Spencer on Tuesday

Last week Spotlight looked into Stormont expenses and the use public money to rent offices. Spotlight revealed that Sinn Féin paid office rent to three different cultural societies whose identity is unknown. The next *extended* instalment is tonight. The Firemen have last week’s here. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Sinn Féin MP: “I think this is part of an ongoing process by the BBC of insulting the Irish people…”

The DUP and Sinn Féin have united, again, to complain about the BBC’s use of subtitles during an interview with County Londonderry blacksmith, Barney Devlin, on its Sunday evening Countryfile programme.  Of the two parties, the DUP’s Peter Weir, MLA, was relatively restrained The DUP MLA, Peter Weir, told BBC 5Live that he also felt it was wrong. “I felt that what Barney had to say was relatively distinct and that the use of subtitles was both unnecessary and somewhat …

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Purdy to leave the BBC

Just in from the BBC; Political Correspondent Martina Purdy is leaving Ormeau Ave for a new vocation in the church. Speaking about her decision she said “I’ve been a journalist now for almost 25 years, 15 of them at the BBC,” Martina said. “It has been an immensely rewarding profession. “I am especially grateful to the BBC for the opportunities I’ve been given.” She added: “The BBC has always been very supportive of my work. “I want to wish all …

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Shelling UN schools and media soundbites in #Gaza

Last night yet another UN school was hit by Israeli shells, reportedly adding a further 16 dead to the ever growing number of fatalities in Gaza. That death toll has now more or less doubled since the Irish and UK governments abstained from the UN vote on Gaza last week. In the absurd media war that is taking place, varying weights of credibility are being attached to IDF spokespersons on individual incidents like this, as well as the wider context of …

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#GazaUnderAttack and the myth of proportionality

Spare a thought for the 1.8m people who live in the Gaza strip and are currently being subjected to air strikes by the Israeli Defence Forces (e.g. see Haaretz for regular updates). If you want an idea of what conditions in Gaza are like, you can get a grasp of population density if you can imagine moving all the population of the six counties into an area from the tip of the Strangford peninsula up to about Bangor. Now think of the impact of …

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The power of Nolan – too much of a good thing?

It was interesting to see that there was as much comment on Nolan personally as about Pastor McConnell. I don’t see or hear Nolan that often but I thought he played a pretty straight bat on this one. I’m told he divides an already divided community, not on sectarian lines but between pro- and anti- Nolan. That’s quite a tribute. I bet opinion swings quite a bit just like a Nolan interview. With Nolan we’re on a rollercoaster. Whether you …

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