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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What exactly would a genuine Stormont reform process look like?

20130410 GFA 15

Been meaning to share this from Jon Tonge in the Belfast Telegraph but the combination of shortage of time during mid term break and my hurry to get my Twitter valedictory finished meant I didn’t get around to it. Surely it is time to change the rules of the political institutions. Several parties say they are in favour. Alliance produced a treatise on reform for its election manifesto. But change never happens. As the lyrics of the UK number one …

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Why I’m leaving Twitter fifteen years after I first jumped into an unending stream of news and tat…

infinity, infinite, ecg

“You have to understand, most people are not ready to be unplugged…” -Morpheus, The Matrix I promised last week that I would explain why I’m leaving Twitter. Well, I’ve got my archives from them now so that I have a copy of everything I’ve shared with them over the years since 2007 and I’m ready to go. It’s not a case of personal frustration with the constant man playing. The mute and block functions that were invented do help you …

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Our legacy story is little more than “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

fire, pot, historical

The most strident opponent of the UK government’s legacy proposals is Sinn Féin, even though members of their wider movement who (highest crime/lowest conviction ratio) stand to benefit most. Go figure? As Hamlet’s mother Queen Gertrude famously drily noted, “the lady doth protest too much, methinks”. It’s all a little bit too careful, too shrewd and too forceful to be entirely convincing. The same party has been porting concessions out of successive British administrations for years which pretty much amount to …

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In the Planter debate madness, remember language has layers of meaning but it needs context if we are to breathe socially…

bonfire, camping, people

It can’t be emphasised enough how Slugger as a holder of convivial space (all praise to the moderators), in a world of abundant information and scant wisdom, has been a key to a lot of useful learning. I’ll write about why I’m leaving Twitter after 15 years later. I could argue the latest controversy (the use of the word “Planter” by US Congressman Richard Neil) might have happened anyway. But the fast tracking of rage over slights (like Campbell’s “gobble …

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Northern Irish population is growing and on average we’re getting older…

word cloud, census, population

Today is the first day of releases from last year’s census, and the first thing to say is that the growth pattern from 2011 remains broadly in line for 2021, which is an increase of about 100k… The second thing is that our baby boom remains in line with UK rather than Irish norms (which didn’t really have one)… You can see how the younger cohort is shrinking as a proportion of the wider population and the older cohort rises …

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How the ghosts of faith past haunt the future of Ireland’s new National Maternity Hospital

doctor, op, medicine

“There are two kinds of light – the glow that illuminates and the glare that obscures.” -James Thurber One thing that’s puzzled me in the last three weeks has been what’s at the base of the controversy in the south over the terms of the lease for the building of a new National Maternity Hospital (NMH). Strong and genuine emotions have surfaced in the Catholic Church’s decision to retain ownership of the land that reflect how church dominated southern life …

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SDLP will not renominate an Infrastructure Minister…

SDLP leader @columeastwood confirms his party won’t replace Nichola Mallon as infrastructure minister – he says they don’t have a mandate but urges DUP to nominate a deputy FM right away — Jayne McCormack (@BBCJayneMcC) May 9, 2022 So who will? 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

DUP will nominate Michelle O’Neill as First Minister, but only AFTER the Protocol is fixed

This was my take on the election on Sky News on Saturday morning in terms of what the results means for Northern Ireland. The DUP have since made it clear they will take up the dFM post (in contravention to most the highly speculative media reporting to the contrary, but not until the protocol is sorted out. In a second appearance at 6.30 this morning, I also noted that the DUP would be in the forefront of questioning Number Ten …

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Great Slugger Gathering of Turnout Numbers: Part Three (The Final Hour)…

continental bulldog, dog, animal

So we’re getting close to the end. Please share what you’ve got at 9pm, but this is as much about sharing general impressions, can you see any patterns emerging yet (we’ll have definite figures in an hour). From the 5pm figures you’ve shared with us turnout appears to be up, and probably moreso in middle class areas and Sinn Fein heartland. That may indicate where the Alliance surge is, and how large. Final thoughts are with the candidates for the …

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Great Slugger Gathering of Turnout Numbers: Part Two (5pm)…

teacup, cup of tea, peppermint tea

So now, I’m going to close the earlier thread so we can use this for 5pm figures. Some of the projections from the morning look very large in some places. But it’s hard to know if home workers are skewing that. You can also look up past figures here. I’ll throw any figures I get in when I’m packed properly and settled on the train. I’ll join you all later. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written …

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Great Slugger Gathering of Turnout Numbers: Part One (12 noon)…

color, desktop, paper

In addition to the Open Thread, I’d like to reserve three others for gathering and discussion of turnout figures from polling stations across Northern Ireland. These figures are posted at 12 noon, 5pm and 9pm. These will give us an idea about turnout which is one of the vital factors in giving us a clue (if not definitively) how different parties are doing. We know where the dominant SF/DUP boxes are. As we near the next publishing time we will …

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Whoever wears the FM ‘crown’ a rising middle may prize us off NI’s hamster wheel politics

hamster, syrian hamster, golden hamster

Brian O’Neill (I like to think of him as Slugger’s tabloid editor) has written a sharp and direct piece about how he thinks this has been a boring election campaign. He’s far from the only one. The sociologist, Alfred North Whitehead once wrote that “those societies which cannot combine reverence to their symbols with freedom of revision, must ultimately decay either from anarchy, or from the slow atrophy of a life stifled by useless shadows.” Useless shadows, indeed.  I cannot …

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#AE22 interview with Peadar Toibin leader of Aontú…

I caught up with Aontú leader Peadar Toibin in between debates in the Dail the other day. It was an opportunity to ask him about the party, its values and why people should vote for them. So I started with an obvious place, that name in Irish… He’s by far the most direct of any of the northern nationalist leaders on the matter of Constitutional change, and how he plans to go about it. Maybe that’s because they’ve not been …

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DUP to lose out as idiosyncratic North Down continues to sail its own course…

sailboat, sailing yacht, sailing ship

So today, I’m looking at my old home constituency of North Down. It’s an oddball place, which has begotten several oddball patterns in its results over the years. I’m just old enough to remember the election of Jim Kilfedder as MP there in 1970. Jim was born in Co Leitrim, but grew up in Fermanagh. In the 60s and 70s the Ulster Unionist party was the game in town. But in 1980 he set up his own political party, the …

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