Sinn Féin’s horsey metaphor on pensions does Trojan work before quickly running out of steam…

sculpture, horse, steel ross

Miriam Lord is on fire today in the Irish Times. Anyone watching RTÉ yesterday (or indeed Virgin Media One) will have noticed a big flare up over the government’s pensions. He’s the short version of how that changed in less than a day. “The cat is out of the bag,” cried Mary Lou McDonald, enjoying a hey presto! moment in the Dáil. “Let us call it what it is: a Trojan horse.” So the cat is out of the bag and …

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What tomorrow’s census results will tell us (and just as importantly what they will not)…

animal, wool, goat

If 2001 and 2011 are anything to go by some things are better said before the Northern Ireland Census results are released rather than after, when the parties [Any one in particular? – Ed] have got their talking points memos into the local newsrooms. TPMs are produced mostly for narrow political purposes rather than for establishing useful facts through careful examination of data which a shrinking and impoverished local media are increasingly unable or unwilling to produce. In the past …

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At last, an honest and open account of whether (or not) Ireland can ever be one?

For all the obsessive public chatter about a prospective united Ireland, there are two questions that almost never get asked: why do we need one and how would anyone go about making it happen? Neither relate to the one that currently dominates: ie, what would it look like? It is a question that can be too easily parked (pending further progress) to be of much use to anyone serious in the here and now. In fact, it is one of …

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Looping around old tropes is a denial of service to youth who hanker for meaningful change

fire, pot, historical

Fionnuala O’Connor asks an interesting and usefully realist question in today’s Irish News: Is Michelle O’Neill expected to say IRA violence was unjustified? Fionnuala’s conclusion: history is not that simple. When you join modern Sinn Féin you conjoin with what was at the time an unpopular campaign of violence that to its many thousand victims was out of whack with any supposed provocation. It did, as Fionnuala says, no one any good. But for the purposes of the growth of Sinn …

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“Trimble was the academic who believed that once the intellectual case had been won consequences naturally followed…”

I’m officially away this week and next but I think this analysis piece from Lee Reynolds on Trimble’s legacy is worth sharing on the fly, in particular this part… “In the negotiations, his approach was shaped by Sunningdale. It was the Council of Ireland that had broken it with Unionist opinion. He knew what shouldn’t be in it and secured it. This focus on past problems perhaps distracted from future ones. It lacked much of what it needed. Poor or …

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“The dark shadow we seem to see in the distance is not really a mountain ahead…”

crocuses, close up, spring bloomers

I don’t have much to add in terms of what the life of David Trimble adds up to. The breadth of generous comment this week (including Brian’s) says more than anything I might write about the life of the man. His times, I do know a little better. In The Irish Times Eoghan Harris was quoted saying: “Everyone talks about the risks that John Hume took, but Hume didn’t run the same risks as Trimble did — with his own …

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Our struggle is not with ethnicity, it’s with a toxic culture that insists on dividing us…

old age, pensioners, elder

I’m not sure where nationalism would be these days without the stereotype of the Orange bigot. The bonfire story is now a staple of the commercially problematic silly season, when papers are hard to sell. As Mairia Cahill noted last Sunday, “on Wednesday the PSNI confirmed this year was ‘one of the safest and most peaceful July 12th events in recent memory’.” She goes on to write: You didn’t hear that on Newstalk. For too long south of the Border, the …

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What any new UK PM needs to do halt British economic decline…

decline, road sign, warning

Not commenting on a party leadership race that will likely take the rest of the summer to complete, but I want to highlight some questions the new Prime Minister will have to tackle (and any successor). It’s courtesy of Torsten Bell of the Resolution Foundation who identifies five key metrics that will have to be confronted in order to address the UK’s current economic decline: Lesson 1: Face up to the fact that Great Britain is in relative decline. Having …

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In praise of the UTV special on the 12th of July…

The great thing about not being on Twitter is that you can’t react or be emotionally affected by the crass actions of some eejit throwing a compost bin at an Orange parade in Belfast to see how they might react. Or at least not within the nanosecond timeframe of Twitter which “demands” that you take a deeply unserious act of thuggery seriously. In doing so, we reset our standards at the lowest possible level. Clay Shirky theorises these platforms provide …

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Beware the celebrity journalist Prime Minister selling “big, blaring dramatic stories” …

Waxwork of Boris Johnson on display at Madame Tussauds, Marylebone, London, England.

Six years ago, Nick Cohen penned the best analysis not of Brexit, but rather the public reaction of the ‘reformed’ journalists, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove who fronted its clinching arguments: …they gazed at the press with coffin-lid faces and wept over the prime minister they had destroyed. David Cameron was “brave and principled”, intoned Johnson. “A great prime minister”, muttered Gove. Like Goneril and Regan competing to offer false compliments to Lear, they covered the leader they had doomed …

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Boris Johnson to resign but how can he hope to limp on until Autumn with a half empty cabinet?

boris johnson, politician, prime minister

Turns out it was not just Brandon, Mr Johnson is going too, but not until the autumn…. It will bring to an end one of the shortest lived Prime Ministerships in British history (3 out of 8 from the last 20 years)… Your guess is as good anyone’s in the Conservative party as to who will follow him. After winning an 80 seat majority with an unlikely pro Brexit coalition, Johnson is now facing the exit. Phenomenally though, and it’s …

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Does Northern Ireland just have to be stuck awaiting the end of Boris Johnson?

airport, cafe, coffee

The answer to Brian’s question last night is, well, no. Not yet. As swiftly as two senior members of his administration resigned they were replaced with willing volunteers. The old rules of politics do not apply. Or they do not apply to populists like Boris Johnson, even it seems, when they are seen to be deeply unpopular. They view themselves as men (or women) of destiny who are not tractable to public opinion. However this morning starts with yet another …

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Can the UK turn its economic ship in the narrow Brexit canal its currently jammed in?

“It’s all but over for Boris Johnson” says Tom Kelly in his column this morning. He may be right, but I’m not so sure the actually being over is going to come so soon as many Tory insiders now wish it would. But if it presages a distinction between Britain and it’s political leadership, that’s a good thing for inter island relations. Brexit has seen a rise in anti British sentiment unknown since before the ceasefires. It’s coincidence with the …

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5.8% private sector growth in Northern Ireland in Q4 last year…

sapling, plant, growing

As a short addendum to yesterday’s post, I’m not sure these Q4 data uphold UK European Minster James Cleverly’s apparent claim that the growth spurt in the Northern Irish economy originates in the public sector… The only question I have is how would these positive figures be affected if the attempt to negotiate changes to the protocol on east west are abandoned? Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on …

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Micheál Martin: there’s only one way home, and that’s back to the negotiation table. 

One of the great liberations of taking yourself off Twitter and the baleful influence of its audience driving algorithms is not so much what it leaves you read and or watch, but the hyperbole it frees you from. I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that Brexit is failing in execution because its architects may have felt that in just getting the decision made all the rest would follow as a matter of course. A good outcome is hard to achieve …

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“Everything points to a new agreement that can be spun as addressing DUP concerns…”

Am I alone in thinking much of what gets said and is purportedly done regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol sits within the BS category rather than out and out lying? There’s a very perceptive letter in the Guardian this morning from John Morrison which pretty much covers a politics which is getting thinner and thinner by the day. He writes: Our outrage about the government’s Rwanda asylum policy is just playing into the hands of ministers, who want to be …

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Will the NI Protocol Bill trigger a first Tory Vote Strike?

Fascinating analysis on the manoeuvres inside the governing parties, and the first opportunity for the idea of a vote strike against the Northern Ireland Protocol bill due in next week…   Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

How do we save the Belfast Agreement if we ignore the continual mothballing of its key institutions?

cows, pasture, alm

Alex Kane this week put into the public domain a question I’ve been thinking about privately a lot since the most recent collapse of Stormont, and is one that has to be answered before there’s any real hope of progress. That is that we really need to take a long and serious look at the workings of the Belfast Agreement, and support what’s worked but to be really clear eyed about its ongoing failure to promote power sharing. Here’s his …

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Current chaotic state of UK government does not help NI’s real economic issues with the Protocol…

diploma, parchment, graduation

In a recent, otherwise well informed, discussion the idea came that the DUP is only using the protocol to prolong the time when it will have to accept being deputy First Minister. I had two problems with that. It assumes that the issues around the protocol are trivial (no party in Stormont thinks this), plus the idea that there’s any easy recovery from the current position for the party in any new election is naive to say the least. It …

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A minimal case in favour of a constitutional monarchy…

monarchy, monarch, britain

For the weekend that’s in it, here’s Phil Moorhouse with a mild defence of the British monarchy, and why he’d vote to retain it, even while not arguing strongly for it. See the second half where he contrasts the functionary nature of a constitutional monarch with the cagey politicking of even a weak President (like Ireland’s)… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and …

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