#UCIHourRecord Live

Join celebrity cycling fan Stephen Fry [loving the on screen metrics! – Ed], and others, watching paralympian Sarah Storey attempt the UCI Hour Record live on the UCI YouTube channel.   The current record stands at 46.065km, set by Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel of the Netherlands in October 2003 in Mexico City.  Storey is in London’s Olympic velodrome, at sea-level. Update Sadly not a UCI Hour Record for Sarah Storey.  Distance covered in the hour – 45.502km.  A consolation prize of a new British … Read more

Cartoon – Selective abstentionism

This cartoon was inspired by a piece over on eamonnmallie.com where Slugger’s David McCann writes that the State Visit means no end to Sinn Fein abstentionism. Though I’ve heard a few lone voices say otherwise. Hand-shaking, soup-taking and toasting were long abstained from. Thoughts? 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/

Beyond Transparency – could NI embrace open data?

Open Data initiatives in Northern Ireland have been – to date – relatively stumbling affairs that fall far behind London-led efforts. (The inability to use Translink timetable and bus stop geocode data to build an independent third-party NI travel app was particularly exasperating.) However, there has been some movement and the alignment of planets, keen civil servants who recognise the benefits and a new Minister of Finance & Personnel Simon Hamilton creates hope that the drawers to the electronic filing … Read more

Colin Broderick’s ‘That’s That’: Book Review

While the phrase popularized by Seamus Heaney ‘whatever you say, say nothing’ endures as a code for Northern Irish character toughened by the Troubles, Colin Broderick’s telling of his childhood reveals the language unspoken. He gives us a glimpse at those in the IRA who were never by necessity singled out by their supporters, but who carried themselves with an air of entitlement, entrusted as they were by the Catholic community with their protection and their idealism in a time … Read more

In the UK housing market it’s back to the 1970s

The ever widening gap in regional property values is spelt out in Mail Online is even more remorseless detail than the news section of its source, the upmarket estate agents Savils. Homes in the ten richest London boroughs are worth the combined total of houses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, it emerged yesterday. And in a dramatic illustration of the growing wealth gap between the South East and the rest of the UK, a survey has revealed that Elmbridge, a … Read more

Red Arrows Perform Olympic Flypasts Across UK

The RAF Red Arrows are performing formation flypasts across the UK to mark the start of the London 2012 Olympic games.  Starting in Edinburgh at 12.23pm, Belfast was the second stop at 1.01pm, followed by Cardiff at 4.21pm with the Olympic stadium in London scheduled for 8.12pm.  The BBC video from Belfast is not embeddable, but here is some eyewitness video from Belfast. And another one [Loving the red, white and blue smoke trails over City Hall – Ed]  Don’t tell Máirtín… Pete … Read more

Electronic counting

Electronic counting is being used at a number of counts at this week’s elections across Scotland, England and Wales. London Elects 2012 (the independent team that organises teh Mayor London and London Assembly elections) produced a detailed – ie, eight minutes long – overview of the electronic counting process. While awaiting confirmation of Boris’ margin of victory, I know some Slugger readers will be keen to increase their political trivia … particularly since MLAs, Electoral Commission and EONI staff are … Read more

The Ken and Boris show dominate’s London’s playground politics…

Well, in London the Ken and Boris show had it’s second outing with Ken grabbing the bulk of the news coverage for his emotional response to his own party launch… (the Guardian have even started their own poll to see if you were affected in the same way)… Well that’s one way to make a video go viral… It features a lot of ordinary people making Ken’s manifesto pledges for him… Hmmm… For an office that doesn’t have a lot … Read more

Thoughts on The New Routemaster and Green Transport

The new Routemaster buses by Wrightbus have finally begun to appear in London. These buses have been championed by Boris Johnston to replace the bendy buses brought in by Ken Livingstone when he was mayor. The buses seem to have proved reasonably popular with the public though a protest bus followed the first new Routemaster to complain about the rise in fares. Several London politicians also joined in the attacks (from the BBC): In an open letter to the mayor, … Read more

Maybe London should seek its independence along with Scotland?

Here’s a curve ball from the London Evening Standard’s Ian Birrell, who thinks the UK capital is getting unfairly kicked by the rest of England for getting some things right, not least understanding the value of immigration and cultural diversity that arises from it: Curiously, the most prosperous region outside the South is Scotland – which shares London’s social liberalism and greater acceptance of immigrants. For the differences between the capital and the rest of England are about far more … Read more

Lembit Opik hasn’t gone away you know (PS: Brian Paddick’s the Lib Dem candidate for London mayor)

While earlier this week ‘punk godfather’ Terri Hooley won the race to be elected as Lord Mayor of the Cathedral Quarter as part of Culture Night Belfast‘s celebrations, the competitors are only warming up on the starting line of the 2012 London Mayoral elections. This evening, London Lib Dem members voted to give former Metropolitan Police officer and 2008-candidate Brian Paddick a second chance, rather than hand the opportunity to ‘celebrity’ Lembit Opik. In an interview with London’s Evening Standard, … Read more

Ackroyd on London riots.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/peter-ackroyd-rioting-has-been-a-london-tradition-for-centuries-2341673.html Ackroyd always wonderful – if you ain’t read his books start with Hawksmoor – an astonishing first novel. Buy it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hawksmoor-Peter-Ackroyd/dp/0140171134 From his Indie interview: “Rioting has always been a London tradition. It has been since the early Middle Ages. There’s hardly a spate of years that goes by without violent rioting of one kind or another. They happen so frequently that they are almost part of London’s texture. The difference is that in the past the … Read more

The Fight to Keep an Irish Cultural Centre II

I’m grateful there’s been a great deal of interest, after my letter in yesterday’s Irish Times and post here, in what the Irish Cultural Centre is about and what makes it distinctive. I’d wondered if I might provide a bit more detail, for those kind enough to be curious. There’s a website devoted to Saving the Centre, explaining its fundraising efforts and the campaign to keep the doors open, and offering a bit more information for the curious.   (The Centre’s principal … Read more

The fight to keep an Irish Cultural Centre

I just thought I might share a letter which the Irish Times ran this morning.  (This seems a bit unhumble, because it’s by me, but I’ll ask all of your forgiveness.) Madam, – I was pleased to read of Culture Ireland’s “Year-long, €5 million, arts-driven charm offensive on the US” (LifeCulture, June 3rd). It is a shame for those emigrating to London that the home of Irish culture here might well be lost within nine months. Hammersmith’s Irish Cultural Centre does … Read more

Our slice of a new piece of London heritage

It seemed such a long shot, a new London double decker with a conductor and a platform you can fall off , seeming to defy the twin political correctnesses of efficiency and health and safety,  like the old days before mobile tin boxes and bendy buses took over.  Just a retro election gimmick from the nostalgia – fixated mind of mayor Boris Johnson. And even more way out, a green bus built in Ballymena. But now it has actually become reality. In … Read more

London Letter: Arts face tough year in 2011

It’s hard to make an economic case for the arts at a time when all departments face cuts and shortages. However, many believe that the survival and continued nurturing of the arts needs to be fought for, as thousands of people are employed in the sector in Northern Ireland and it is such a huge part of the social structure. In recent years, it has become more popular for people to attend the theatre (particularly affordable community theatre) and it … 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