SIR RICHARD NEEDHAM reflects on the city of Belfast which he says “is hobbling along a long way behind” comparable cities like Bristol. “Belfast is in real danger of being left behind.” Direct Rule isn’t the solution. Brexit is an utter disaster. By playing party politics, NI politicians are not helping Belfast grow.
What’s the background to the new framework of actions, outcomes and indicators that will sit behind the Programme for Government? What’s all this talk about wellbeing? Dr Peter Doran from QUB School of Law was involved in the Carnegie Roundtable that helped introduce the concepts to NI’s public sector over the past few years.
Alain de Botton spent seven days living in a Heathrow hotel and working from a desk in the newly opened Terminal 5 in order to write a short book A Week at the Airport . He cast his voyeuristic glances in all directions, commentating on the sense of passion and the moment of separation of lovers, sitting on the closed runway in the middle of the night, as well as discovering that the terminal’s largest bookshop didn’t stock any of … Read more
Here’s a sound copy of an interview I did with Seamus Martin of Tipp FM yesterday morning talking about the rioting situation… If you are looking for a shortcut through the whole thing, topics include: The lack of leadership from mainstream politics A combination of poverty, political powerlessness and a dire local legacy from the troubles The poisonous politics of sectarian demography “After all the Good Friday Agreement was a long time ago now…“ “The funny thing about northern politics … Read more
It’s all looking a bit fraught. We need a recovery plan. The words of the Chief Constable Matt Baggott describing the fortunes of his football club rather than the PSNI’s response to the flags crisis. Though the words must echo what went through the PSNI senior officers’ minds when the flags crisis didn’t abate before Christmas. Monday’s post covered PSNI transformation, regulation and vocation. Remember that blogs aren’t newspapers, so not every post has to try to make a news … Read more
We usually hear public figures speaking in sound bites. At most ten minute interviews about some topic of the day. We rarely get to listen in as they explain what motivates them to do their job and reflect on their rationale or approach. The PSNI Chief Constable has been given advice on what he should do and how he should do it from before he arrived in Northern Ireland and it will no doubt continue until long after he has … Read more
I’ve interviewed a fair few politicians in my time, but never Gerry Adams. I asked for him a couple of times, but then took the hint that he wasn’t keen and stopped asking. His was the last of the southern leader’s interviews with Fran McNulty on This Week at 1pm today. He’s a tough cookie, mostly because if he doesn’t want to answer your question he just won’t. On policy, he talked about the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ being about “if … Read more
Tom Elliott, who resigned as Ulster Unionist leader last night, says he quit because of growing tensions within the party. He also says there has been an “uneasy atmosphere” in the Ulster Unionist Party in recent days and claimed that some of his colleagues have been making life difficult for him by briefing journalists “lies”. In an exclusive interview with The Impartial Reporter, Mr. Elliott says he has “no regrets” about his time in charge, adding: “I would have liked … Read more
This is just a clip from a fantastic long interview of the late Nuala O’Faolain by Anthony Clare… It was recorded just two years after the first divorce referendum… Here’s a short except from the rough recording above: NO’F: It’s not, I don’t think, a morally admirable country… AC: In what way? NO’F: Well I don’t think standards of citizen are extremely high. That is as mildly as you can put it. AC: Give me an example? NO’F: Well I … Read more
éirígí won’t be everyone’s cup of tea on Slugger – but then name one political party that is. And in the spirit of exploring the smaller parties standing in the Assembly and local government elections, éirígí replied to the email that a number of other parties received but ignored. I spoke to John McCusker at length a week or so ago. He’s éirígí’s West Belfast chairman and standing as the party’s candidate in Lower Falls for Belfast City Council in … Read more
As I mentioned in the first post in this series, I’m not a member of the UUP, nor any other political party. So I’ve no vote next week when the members gather to elect their new leader. (They’re meeting to vote at the Waterfront Hall. Postal voting was too expensive to organise … and voting online like many of us do for union ballots and shareholder AGMs wasn’t put in place.) In deciding to interview the two candidates I deliberately … Read more
Aspiring Prime Minister David Cameron has rubbished a Belfast Telegraph election poll, alleging it was carried out by a lobbying company linked to the Democratic Unionist Party. In a rousing speech to members of Ulster Unionist and Conservative parties David Cameron gallantly boasted of how he braved the elements of nature like young Lochinvar to reach La Mon Hotel for today’s political rally. La Mon Hotel was bombed by the IRA 31 years ago. The Conservative party leader raised the temperature declaring: … Read more