Barcelona vs Madrid

The Spirit of Franco never really left the Spanish state. Sometimes it is hard to see from the outside world but in the run-up to the Catalan referendum the Spanish Government are clearly trampling over basic human rights in their efforts to prevent the referendum from even taking place. Yesterday some 100,000 pro-independence posters were seized by the State after raids in various printing shops. Today they came back for the printing equipment! In newsrooms armed police came with a warning to … Read more

“…if you want trouble again in the north play that game. It’s a dangerous game”

There’s been some focus on the comments at the weekend by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern warning about any attempt to “force” a border poll in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.  His remarks are placed in a wider context by the fuller quote in the Belfast Telegraph. Speaking on Newstalk radio, the former Irish prime minister said: “The idea of a border poll… was put there when when I was conceding Articles two and three of the constitution and we were giving … Read more

The political capital of asking for what you will not get…

Brexit has led to increasing demands for IndyRef2 and an NI border poll, and on principle, the British Government has not exactly been slow to rule them out.  Nicola Sturgeon is making the case that Brexit is changing the opinion of a large number of people in Scotland [A major change of circumstances? – Ed] and Sinn Fein have made a similar case. However, all of this is apparently for nothing, because James Brokenshire has to be persuaded that the … Read more

After Colombian Peace Accord rejected at the polls, whither Santos, and FARC?

As noted by Paul at some length here, Referendums are turning out to be something of a game of Russian Roulette for ruling political elites (and in the case of Colombia, political insurgents). Colombia has by the narrowest of margins voted to reject a peace deal ratified by the President and the leader of the FARC rebels just last week. The BBC were reporting on Saturday that Colombia has never rejected any motion put to them in a referendum (including one … Read more

Why Colombia faces a much stiffer Referendum test than Northern Ireland in 1998…

The Constitutional Court of Colombia has given President Santos four months to complete his four years of Havana Talks with the FARC and put the deal to the people in a referendum. Remind you of Senator George Mitchell in 1998, musing: ‘I’m fed up with these Stormont Castle Buildings, I’m having a child soon, I’m outta here by Easter, unless you guys get off the pot’? There are eight other uncanny similarities in the upcoming plebiscite across Colombia, with ours … Read more

So what happens now?

Well, the markets are currently having their say, but I would strongly advise that we look at them in a week and a half and see if they recover from the initial shock. Now for Andy’s predictions on what happens from here. Negotiating our way out The next step is Article 50 notice to leave the EU, which by the look of it requires an Act of Parliament, which may or may not happen before the summer recess in July. … Read more

UPDATED #EURef extention: In NI, it doesn’t exist..

And there’s another digital divide. After last night’s big TV event with Nigel Farage and David Cameron there’s been such a rush to get registered to vote in the 23rd June Referendum that the deadline has been extended until tomorrow night. According to the Telegraph… Of the total 525,000 who registered on Tuesday, 132,000 were aged under 25 and a further 170,000 were aged 25 to 34. There were 51,600 applications made by those aged over 55. How did they get that … Read more

Schrödinger’s Ireland – The current state of Unity, is it alive or dead?

“A United Ireland is Inevitable: Discuss” I went to a debate in Omagh on this topic, hosted by Sinn Féin’s Barry McElduff, with an open mind, willing to be challenged and frankly, looking for a way to understand the rationale behind the United Ireland cause. Most of what I know about partition, the Easter Rising and that era came from a trip to Kilmainham Jail a couple of years ago.  What I do know though is that this happened a long … Read more

The Greek Deal…A final act of subversion?

John O’Donovan, Radio Producer, presenter and lecturer in media says that Greece now needs an election before any deal can be agreed. After a victorious referendum result that saw the Greek people defeat an austerity deal by a clear mandate of 61%, Greece has now been bounced into what appears to be an even more swingeing bailout deal. The third bailout deal will keep Greece in the Eurozone, if it is passed in the Greek Parliament by Wednesday, but at … Read more

#SluggerReport: Greece votes No (but does anyone here know what that means?)

listen to ‘Greece Votes No, but what does that mean?’ on audioBoom Today, there was only one topic worth tackling. The result of yesterday’s Greek Referendum. Key reference today is Pete’s post from early 2011: “When it becomes serious, you have to lie.”? The #SluggerReport goes out on Periscope live 10am with a edited podcast appearing on Slugger’s audioBoo page later. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics … Read more

Greek Referendum: “a chunk of undecided voters to fight over.”

Via the Guardian’s Greece crisis blog.   Another wrinkle for the game theory academics in the Syriza-led Greek Government, and those agitating on their behalf, to contemplate ahead of the controversial, and confused, on/off/on 5 July referendum in Greece. GPO poll Yes 47.1% No 43.2% Undecided 6.3% (via @euro2day_gr) #Greferendum #Greece #politics — MacroPolis (@MacroPolis_gr) July 1, 2015 Pete Baker

“For those who can’t read Greekdebtspeak, well, you’re on your own”

With European leaders, including Syriza’s erstwhile ally the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, warning Greek voters that they will be, effectively, deciding whether or not they want to stay in the eurozone, the BBC takes a side-ways look at the wording of the controversial 5 July referendum the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras suddenly announced at the weekend.  From the BBC article Voters go to the polls for the Greek referendum. — Jamie Ross (@JamieRoss7) June 29, 2015 Here’s the … Read more

More Greek gamesmanship…

With the Greek Parliament, and Greece’s creditors in Europe and elsewhere, discussing the latest sudden manoeuvre by the game theory academics in the Syriza-led Greek Government, via the Guardian’s live-blog, here’s a reminder of Alexis Tspiras’ criticism of ex-PM George Papandreou’s, failed, attempt to hold a similar referendum in 2011. @graemewearden A transcript of @atsipras‘s scathing criticism of the 2011 proposed referendum, with compliments. — Finisterre67 (@Finisterre67) June 27, 2015 With the new manoeuvre almost certainly designed to short-circuit the … Read more

Losing the armour after decades of hurt

Paul Francis Quinn is a singer and in this heartfelt piece he describes exactly what the recent marriage referendum result meant for him and many others. In 1986, near the end of a long, balmy and sleepless summer, a heterosexual male friend and I took the DART from the suburbs of Bray. Into the city we went and once there he promptly deposited me in a dingy, beer stained bar called “The George”. A third of the size it is … Read more

Cartoon – The collapse of…

Disregarding the teaching of the Catholic Church, the Irish voted overwhelmingly in favour of equal marriage. Quite the collapse of power. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here:

Yes to Marriage Equality!

Gay people have long been subjected to the nonsensical presumption that they and the activities in which they engage are unnatural; as if the concept of opposite-sex marriage is somehow more natural than the concept of same-sex marriage. This happens to form one of the most popular moral attacks against homosexuality out there. Both types of marriage are non-static social constructs and, thus, both are inherently as natural or unnatural as each other (if one indeed wishes to invoke such a false and meaningless dichotomy as … Read more

The right side of truth – Saying No to Same Sex Marriage

James D. is well known to many people on Twitter as @jdtips . Apart from reading odds and giving many betting tips he is also an advocate of a No vote in the upcoming referendum on same sex marriage.  Having heard the case for the ‘Yes’ vote he now lays out his case for people to hear. I believe that a vast majority of people who support same-sex marriage are well intentioned and people of good will. They are upstanding … Read more

“Yes” campaign may need 70% Dublin turnout to carry referendum

I support Marriage Equality and I’d vote yes in the Referendum this week if I weren’t a disenfranchised Irish citizen simply because I live in the north of the island.  That’s a column for another day though… It’s a safe bet that both the “Yes” and “No” sides in this Friday’s Marriage Referendum will agree that voter turnout will be key to whether the proposal to amend the Constitution passes or fails. Having had a quick look on the Elections … Read more

“To interfere with the definition of marriage is not a simple or a trivial matter” – Archbishop Martin

Whilst some political parties are being pilloried in Northern Ireland, the chief super-naturalist head of the Catholic Church in Ireland [That’s North and South? – Ed], Archbishop Eamon Martin, has issued a statement [pdf file] of the church’s opposition to a proposed change to the Irish Constitution on same-sex marriage. From the RTÉ report [Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin] said: “Until now, Ireland has accepted that it is in the best interests of children and of society to promote … Read more

Against the deployment of the ‘homophobia’ word in the marriage equality debate…

So, An Taoiseach announced in his Prime Time interview last night that same sex marriage is “a question that will be put very clearly to the people. I expect it will be on 22 May.” That’s a reference to the fact that to get through any statute allowing same sex marriage that poor battered book of basic rules (aka the Irish Constitution) has to be amended by Referendum. Now if the polls are anything to go by, it should be a walk in the … Read more