Legacy: Who are we moving on for?

Northern Ireland, it seems, has a problem with moving on. Decades (centuries) of strife and conflict. The pain, the trauma, all of it passed down from generation to generation. In the year of our lord 2021, we’re still angry about it all. Still hurt, still frustrated and in pain. Step forward the Prime Minister and his Secretary of State, Brandon Lewis.  They have seen the light and taken a bold, brave step to help us move forward. The government has …

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Well, well, well-#AE2022 and that Lucid Talk poll

It’s early days, minds could change later, but the Belfast Telegraph’s latest poll will send shivers down the DUP’s spine. According to Lucid Talk, support for the DUP has dropped to 16%, the same as Alliance. Sinn Fein sits at 25%. Doug Beattie will take comfort from the figure for the UUP, up two points to 14%. A Sinn Fein First Minister has been a possibility since the 2017 Assembly election. Based on these figures,  Sinn Fein will clinch the …

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Challenges mount for our daily newspapers

Recently the official, independently audited daily sales of the UK and Ireland’s daily newspapers was published for the period July-December 2020. Not unexpectedly they made very uncomfortable reading for editors and proprietors as overall the UK daily regional press sale had fallen by a record 19%. Obviously, the impact of Covid-19 had a major impact on this period, but publishers will take no comfort from that as once lost, it is rare for readers to return, no matter the circumstances. …

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Northern Ireland Centenary: This country

This is about the centenary of Northern Ireland. But first, a slight detour. In Lucy Caldwell’s, ‘Multitudes,’ one of her characters describes the heartache of watching her teenage school friend move from Northern Ireland to England. “They’ve had enough is what Susan’s mum says. She just can’t take it anymore. ‘This country,’ she says to my mum. ‘This country,’ my mum says back to her, and neither of them says anything else.” The scene has always stuck with me because …

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The new campaign against racism in Britain tells only half the story

Photograph: Anselm Ebulue / The Guardian Tré Ventour 24 • Northampton • Writer and race equality activist “I remember when Mark Duggan was killed by police. It was my generation’s Stephen Lawrence moment.” From the Guardian  Race and racism.  Just now we’re  going through a surge fomented in the US and probably aggravated  on this side of the Atlantic by the frustrations of lockdown and the habit of imitation.  Longer term the abiding chronic issues have not been helped by …

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How does our press emerge from lockdown? Part Four: Has the paywall dice got any spots?

I hadn’t planned even to write the third installment of this series but now, here is the fourth! Events of the past few weeks have been playing on my mind and I think it’s worth sharing. Recently, those of us who follow the Belfast Telegraph on social media will have noticed that it was actively promoting the fact that its “premium articles” would soon only be available to paying subscribers. Hugo wrote an article in anticipation of it happening a …

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Patronising the “liberal unionist”

I’ve often noticed a strange but predictable phenomenon, and last week I experienced it directly here on Slugger. It was on Jay’s thread about the merits or otherwise of the established unionist parties. When I bookended criticism of the two main unionist parties with similar criticism of the priorities of Sinn Fein, I had a number of responses deriding me as a poor representative of “liberal unionism” or as a member of the “liberal wing” of unionism. That got me …

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How does our press emerge from lockdown? Part three: Regional Sunday Newspapers

I hadn’t planned a third instalment of this series as frankly I have little to no interest in the local Sunday newspaper market these days. Certainly my days of buying five or six Sundays that would see me through to midweek are long gone and, apart from a quick browse of the football sections (usually when I’m in Costa or Nero for an afternoon coffee) there’s not a lot on the front pages of our local Sundays to entice me …

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Emma De Souza: a solution?

As we drift through another week in lockdown, it’s hard to believe that there’s anything else to discuss apart from Coronavirus. Thankfully, Northern Ireland’s unique brand of identity politics stops for no pandemic. Cast your mind back to last year and the case of Emma De Souza. I wrote about it here. Mrs De Souza’s case concerns Article 1(vi) of the British-Irish Agreement. That section states that the two governments recognise the right of: ‘…..the people of Northern Ireland to …

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How does our press emerge from lockdown? Part two: Regional Daily Newspapers

Last week wrote of our local weekly newspaper sector and of the need to save them. I also said that I thought a lot of them COULD be saved if the will is there. But what of our three dailies? There may be less scope there for a happy ending in a sector that across the British Isles has been in freefall for over a decade. Up until the end of the troubles, the picture here was a simple one. …

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What’s in the Coronavirus Bill?

This week the government intends to push its Coronavirus Bill through Parliament. In its “summary of impacts” document, the government states that the bill is “temporary, emergency legislation” which intends to “provide powers needed to respond to the current coronavirus epidemic.” MPs will be expected to grapple with the 300-page bill over the course of a few days. It will, for as long as it is in operation, fundamentally change our way of life. The legislation represents the biggest diminution …

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The Protestant churches are becoming more anti gay but hoping to conceal it by silence . It won’t work

Late intro . Gladys is an broadminded and sympathetic commentator on church affairs often concentrating on reconciliation and other pastoral efforts which she regularly  shares with Slugger. There are other sides to church affairs. Alf McCreary has contributed a column of church news for the Belfast Telegraph for many years which by and large has taken the orthodox view of the place of Christianity and the  churches  in Northern Ireland without entirely ducking  the many controversies within them. In the …

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Now and Then

TW: This article contains references to sexual and domestic violence. On the 24th October 2017, the UK Supreme Court considered Northern Ireland’s abortion laws. The case was taken by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. In its judgment on the 7th June 2018, the Court found that the Commission did not have standing to take the case but found, obiter, that Northern Ireland’s laws breached Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The High Court in Belfast made …

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“À la Bastille!”

One more time, then… with continued apologies to Pierre Ranger… [It’s a tradition, we know… – Ed]  Indeed!  And with Alaphilippe in yellow again!  Play La Marseillaise!   Pete Baker”As explained in detail to Sinn Féin and previously…”NI Executive Office acting unlawfully in delaying introduction of victims compensation schemeNI deputy First Minister “choosing to ignore the requirement to comply with the rule of law to express a political advantage”Set your Author Custom HTML Tab Content on your Profile page

Push: a warning for Belfast

There’s a scene in ‘Push’ where Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, visits the home of a woman in Chile. The house sits atop a leafy hill and has the marks of being well lived in for decades. The woman looks despondent as she shows Leilani about, pointing out the window. Behind her, you can hear the roar of building work. It’s so loud that the camera seems to shake. The source of the noise is …

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Children of the Ceasefire: Unity Amid Division

The first time I was referred to a ‘Child of the Peace’ was in Year 10 of secondary school. We were in form class with our teacher and it was  the lead up to Halloween. She was was reminding us to be vigilant of the boys in the neighbouring schools across the town who had developed a taste for throwing fireworks after school at the bus depot. After giving this announcement she muttered something along the lines of “This wouldn’t …

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Can Northern Ireland Change?

‘You have to have hope,’ my friend always tells me. Usually this is after I’ve been outlining the likely facts of my children’s future, on account of our great leaders trashing the planet and laughing all the way to the bank. ‘You can’t live like that though, you have to have hope,’ she says. I like Frankie Boyle‘s take on hope. If you see a leopard, hope is not a good evolutionary strategy. There’s no point in saying, ‘Is that …

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Emma DeSouza: None of us benefit from the Home Office’s position

In 2015, Emma DeSouza married her American husband, Jake, in a ceremony in Belfast. Later that year, the couple applied for an EEA residence card. Their application relied on the 2006 EEA Regulations and was grounded in Mrs DeSouza’s Irish citizenship. In September 2016, to the couple’s surprise, their application was declined. In giving its reasons for refusing Mr DeSouza’s residence card, the Home Office referred to Mrs DeSouza’s citizenship. She was born in Northern Ireland and, in the Home …

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“we need to remove legacy policing from contemporary policing…”

A timely reminder, should one be needed, from Newton Emerson in the Irish Times this week, that when Sinn Féin talk about ‘agreement’ on the “need to remove legacy policing from contemporary policing” what they mean is “No prosecutions, please.”  From Newton Emerson in the Irish Times It is all or nothing on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles. Either all sides must face the same prospect of prosecutions and convictions, or all sides must be given an amnesty …

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“Fair employment and equal opportunities legislation are built upon open and transparent practices, free from political interference…”

The, at best, ill-considered comments by Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald yesterday, on potential candidates from within the PSNI to succeed George Hamilton as Chief Constable, have prompted a sharp reminder from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland to the NI Policing Board of its responsibilities under equality legislation to recruit in a non-discriminatory way. The Equality Commission has expressed its concern about the recent comments made by the Sinn Féin President about the appointment of a new Chief …

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