The Irish language hasn’t gone away you know

I’m back at work though suffering with a cold, flu or ‘man-flu’.   I don’t like feeling congested at the best of times.  Being back at work at the start of a cold and wet January doesn’t brighten my mood. This is all put in perspective by Martin McGuinness who has serious health issues, it seems.   I wish him a speedy recovery.   Nara fada go raibh tú ar do shean léim!     In the light of his … Read more

On DUP Petitions of Concern (and one possible judicious use of Tippex)… [UPDATED WITH TIPPEXED MARRIAGE EQUALITY POC]

Much attention has been expended on the DUP use of Petition of Concerns (POC).  Unsurprising since they’ve had a good run of appearances recently, including: the blocking of a bill for Rates Relief for Sports Clubs; (almost) every amendment to a welfare reform bill in February; a same sex Marriage bill in April; and it is expected another will emerge on the same issue later today. After the April POC, a small number of party insiders furtively suggested to Slugger that the DUP have their MLAs “bulk sign” … Read more

Cartoon – The many uses of a clothes-peg

In a tumult of controversies (in-out resignations, ministerial pay, talks and welfare reform) Edwin Poots has pushed the hard politics to the rear and brought the vintage ad hominem politics out of the cabinet and to the foreground. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/

NI health minister: will someone think of the service?

The DUP seem to have had a bit of a problem with Health Ministers. Despite health and personal social services being the largest department by spending, it is actually unlikely that they wanted it. It is unlikely anyone wanted the ministry and it was the penultimate one chosen. At some level the DUP can be given credit that they did not take Higher Education and leave Alliance with the baby but the number of recesses etc. which were held during … Read more

Same sex marriage? No thanks we’re British

As of January 1st 2015 Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where same sex marriage remains illegal. A new law on gay marriage came into effect in Scotland in December 2014 and the first same sex weddings were held at 00:01 on Hogmanay. A total of 250 couples have converted their civil partnerships to marriage since the new law – the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill – came into effect on 16 December. Same-sex marriage … Read more

Cartoon – Degrade and destroy…

    Cartoon of Peter Robinson under fire. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Robinson: Will he stay or will he go?

Following yesterday’s ministerial reshuffle and the axing of Edwin Poots and Nelson McCausland, the DUP appears to be in crisis today following the former Health Minister’s appearance on the Stephen Nolan radio show. When questioned about Peter Robinson’s long term prospects as party leader Edwin Poots effectively announced the First Minister’s resignation by claiming that “Robinson stepping down is public knowledge.”   However within minutes the First Minister issued a rebuttal to local media and on Twitter denying that he … Read more

Cartoon – Hear Nesbitt roar!

  <div data-boourl=”https://audioboo.fm/boos/1928083-uup-leader-mike-nesbitt-says-poots-must-go-bbcnolan/embed?eid=AQAAAKBnA1OTax0A” ><a href=”https://audioboo.fm/boos/1928083-uup-leader-mike-nesbitt-says-poots-must-go-bbcnolan”>listen to ‘UUP leader Mike Nesbitt says &quot;Poots must go&quot; #BBCNolan’ on Audioboo</a></div><script type=”text/javascript”>(function() { var po = document.createElement(“script”); po.type = “text/javascript”; po.async = true; po.src = “https://d15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net/assets/embed.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();</script> Not like we haven’t heard it before.       Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Cartoon – ‘The admitted …’

Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Cartoon – #UkipWeather

Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Cartoon – The Triage Nurse

Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Cartoon – That other #Selfie

Meanwhile… Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/

McCann meets….Edwin Poots MLA

 The final instalment of my series of interviews is with the Health minister, Edwin Poots. I must admit this was the interview I was most nervous about doing but when you meet him in person he is actually a very affable person. What struck me was how relaxed he was for a person in his job and the applause he received during Peter Robinson’s speech shows his popularity among the party faithful. Apparently he is a reader of the blog-so … Read more

High Court decides to #GivePootstheBoot

The High Court in Belfast has again ruled against the  lifetime blood ban imposed on gay and bisexual men by the Department of Health, not least on the grounds that it was irrational. The High Court found that: The minister has decided that MSM (males who have sex with other males) behaviour creates such a high risk of infection to the donor that such donors must be permanently deferred with the result that such blood cannot enter the Northern Ireland … Read more

#givepootstheboot: Minister spends £100k opposing #LGBT blood donation and adoption

A few days ago it was revealed that Health Minister Edwin Poots is to fritter away more department money in his attempts to prevent the extension of adoption rights to gay and same-sex (and un-married) couples by taking the case to the Supreme Court. The Green Party leader, Steven Agnew, had Edwin Poots clarify legal costs for defending his (Poots’) stance on the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood. Poots gave that as £37,112 (net of VAT). When asked to provide … Read more

DUP illustrate unionist leadership as #RuthPatterson is in court

Yesterday Ruth Patterson attended court for her Facebook post and provided an interesting piece of optics for the television cameras. In a considered move, a variety of DUP ministers and other public representatives, including Edwin Poots, Sammy Wilson, Jonathan Bell and Guy Spence (to name a few), attended the court hearing or accompanied her to and from the court, clearly with an eye on the cameras. Other unionist glitterati in attendance included Willie Frazer and others taunting Patterson to get … Read more

Independent review into children’s congenital heart services

At the start of this month the Health and Social care Board released a report into paediatric congenital cardiac services in Belfast. The report was by a team of highly respected experts in the field chaired by Professor Sir Ian Kenny. The panel made a number of important conclusions: 3 ii: It is the surgical element of the service that provokes concern. iii: The panel has not identified any immediate safety concerns presented by the current arrangements v: However, the … Read more

Shotgungate: a visual comment

With the news that DUP Health Minister Edwin Poots sent a few shotgun rounds across the bow in order to warn off a few no good intruders doing the round I had to put this riveting imagery to cartoon. I further felt the shotgun imagery was readily applicable to the Poots blood donor controversy that went on a few months ago and I quickly put together a cartoon on that, as you can see below: Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, … Read more

Sheriff Poots “opened up from an upstairs bedroom” to scare away intruders – can you ever take the guns out of politics?

While the dissident non-conformist republican groups are amid a rebranding exercise, there was a reminder this morning that paramilitary groups aren’t the only ones with guns that are willing to use. DUP Health Minister and Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots has admitted to firing warning shots out of a bedroom window to ward off potential intruders one night in early June. The Belfast Telegraph reports: Police said they were investigating the incident which happened in the early hours of June … Read more