Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub: A Battle for the Future of Gaza

Writing exclusively for Slugger O’Toole the Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Daniel Taub writes about his views about the recent conflict in Gaza and the prospects for the future. As I write this article, after a fortnight of quiet, hopes are high that the latest ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has brought two months of fighting to a close. We are now left to reflect on what has been achieved. For many international observers, the answer is very little. …

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Wilfred Mitchell: We need to expand Belfast City Airport

A RECENT snap poll conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses for Northern Ireland (FSB NI) has confirmed that the majority of local small businesses would like to see an increase in destination routes, as well as airline providers, from George Best Belfast City Airport, conveying evident support for expansion at the airport. Due to its relatively isolated position on the periphery of Europe, air connectivity is vital in connecting Northern Ireland to the rest the UK, Europe and beyond. …

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John McTernan: For Labour hope needs to beat fear

Next up in our 2015 general election series is former advisor John McTernan on what Labour needs to do to win next year.   There is no real secret to winning elections. Be united, have popular ideas and connect to the public. As Ronald Reagan used to say, ‘It’s not easy, but it is simple.’   Against the odds, Ed Miliband has achieved the first, and done it effortlessly. After a lengthy and divisive leadership campaign – which he won …

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Lord Ashcroft: The Tories need to show that it matters who wins.

As we approach the general election next May, Slugger will be hosting a series of articles looking at the chances of each of the main parties next year. Writing for us on the Conservatives is the former Deputy Chairman and pollster, Lord Ashcroft. Since I stepped down as the Conservatives’ Deputy Chairman in 2010 my role has been that of the pollster, not the strategist. I set out the lie of the land as objectively as I can; what the …

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Why does the arts still matter in this digital world…

From: Guy Barriscale, General Manager, Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival Mick asked me to write a piece on ‘Why the arts matter in this digital world?’ Nice easy one that, really simple: shouldn’t take more than a dozen words… So where to start? The Tate Gallery, London and the Turner collection. I took my kids there when they were younger; the wee fellah was only 5 or 6, but very much a child of the digital age. Him and …

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NI21 is here and here to stay, no matter what form it may take. Let no-one make any mistake about that.

Tommy Maguire who is a member of NI21 writes for Slugger about his belief that there is still a bright future for the party What I am going to write is my opinion alone, not NI21’s, and I certainly do not speak on behalf of any individual member other than myself. NI21 is not about the two leaders. Listen, does anyone join any political party because of who is leading them? Surely that in itself is a flawed logic, leadership …

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Democracy is fine, but ‘quis custodiet ipsos custodes’ in Northern Ireland?

reminded us some time ago, that the defining features of a functioning democracy extend beyond free and fair elections. The increasingly kleptocratic regime in Turkey is a perfect example of a democracy sliding away from the tenets of liberal democracy on the basis of a ruler’s belief that winning elections provides him with the unfettered right to rule. Egypt, Iran and Syria to varying degrees provide similar case studies. In his recent book How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters Daniel Hannan …

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Kennaway: Resolving the Parading Conflict

Brian Kennaway served on the Parades Commission from 2011-13-an essay similar to this has also been published in the Newsletter POLITICS Politics in Northern Ireland does not reflect any real understanding of what it means to be a political representative in a democratic society. When any politician is elected to represent a particular parliamentary constituency they are to represent the totality of that constituency, not a sectional interest within it and certainly not only those who may have voted for …

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Art of the Troubles: Culture and Conflict

Dr Stefanie Lehner (Queen’s University Belfast); Dr Laura McAtackney (University College Dublin); Dr Cillian McGrattan (University of Ulster) The importance of culture in Northern Irish political life was reinforced in the events surrounding Pastor McConnell over the past week. It is clear that within Northern Ireland, the effects of fear, judgment, prejudice, hate and intimidation make themselves felt in various forms throughout society. Cultural difference, then, shapes and informs the contours of political life – it works to valorise certain …

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Gordon Gillespie-Why Sunningdale was never going to work

As it is the 40th anniversary of the UWC Strike we asked Dr.Gordon Gillespie who completed his doctoral research on the strike to write up a piece on why he feels that Sunningdale was always doomed to failure. Forty years ago this month the first attempt to create a cross community executive in Northern Ireland ended in failure. The political strength of loyalist power station workers allied with paramilitary force on the streets and backed by broad unionist support forced …

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Derek Mooney-Fianna Fáil and the long road to recovery.

Continuing on our series of articles of elections in the South, former Fianna Fail advisor Derek Mooney writes about the current campaign, Fianna Fail’s recovery and what it has to do next. While there are worse jobs in the world: the worst job in politics is certainly leader of the opposition. If he didn’t already know this, it is certain that Fianna Fáil’s leader Micheal Martin will know this in just over a week. The 2014 European and Local Election …

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Donnchadh ó Laoghaire: Sinn Fein is now a serious player in every part of this island.

Continuing on with our series of reports from elections in the Irish Republic, Sinn Fein candidate for Ballincollig Carrigaline in Cork, Donnchadh ó Laoghaire, writes for Slugger about Sinn Fein’s performance… The first person I ever voted for was Henry Cremin in the 2007 General election. I didn’t really know him, though I might have met him once or twice. Mostly I knew him by reputation. Henry wasn’t a councillor at the time, but was known in my own neighbourhood in Togher, …

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Daithí McKay: Sinn Féin will not be deflected by ‘old guard’ within the police

Slugger is pleased to host a piece on the recent arrest of Gerry Adams from Sinn Fein’s Economy spokesman, Daithí McKay MLA Last week those who have opposed the Peace Process and Sinn Féin got what they always wanted – the arrest of Gerry Adams. It served a number of interests, those anti-Sinn Féin voices who have sought to undermine the Good Friday Agreement; the selfish and strategic interests of the NIO who want to distract public attention from the …

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Sinn Féin to make new councils work for you

In our latest installment of our series from the various political parties, Sinn Fein tell us why they deserve your vote in the upcoming elections On May 22nd we will elect people to 11 new super councils in what is the biggest shake-up in local government for over 40 years. Powers will be devolved to councils on planning, the environment, the development of local tourism and the regeneration of deprived communities. These changes will enable local representatives to allocate resources …

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Women candidates and Political Parties in the 2014 Republic of Ireland local elections by Claire McGing

Claire McGing currently lectures political geography at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. She has published research nationally and internationally on gender in Irish politics, north and south. She can be contacted at [email protected] Local elections are due to be held in the Republic of Ireland on Friday, May 23rd. Compared to the last contest in 2009 the electoral landscape is rather different: 774 town and borough council positions have been abolished and the number of county/city councillors has risen …

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“Foras na Gaeilge is centralising resources around a small number of Dublin-based organisations”

Janet Muller is CEO of Pobal an advocacy organisation that has spearheaded work on Irish language rights since the Good Friday Agreement. Hers is one of the Northern Ireland based organisations facing a restructuring will see all publicly funded Irish language groups headquartered in Dublin and away from Belfast. It is now 3 months since Foras na Gaeilge announced its decision to end core funding to all northern-based core funded Irish language groups and to transfer this funding to 6 …

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AN LÁ DEARG was an expression of both a growing sense of anger

This is the first of two related pieces we’re publishing today which relate to the funding and status of the Irish langauge in Northern Ireland. The first is on the Dearg le Fearg protest last weekend by campaigner Caoimhe Ní Chathail. In the aftermath of an ‘An Lá dearg’ a pertinent question has yet to be posed, ‘Why was it that thousands of people descended upon the Gaeltacht Quarter on Saturday the 12th of April to march through Belfast festooned in …

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Scotland Essay: Why the No side should be looking up in Scotland…

By John McTernan The most important three words in any campaign are not ‘Vote For Me’, but ‘Hold Your Nerve’. The independence campaign has reached what Sir Alex Ferguson used to call ‘squeaky-bum time’. The polls are closing – we are told. The No campaign needs to be positive – opine commentators. Scotland is so different, so progressive – pant assorted lefties breathlessly. Wrong, wrong and wrong. Now is the time for the campaign against separation to hold its nerve. …

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Victim-Centred Justice: Beyond the Rhetoric

By Luke Moffett and Kieran McEvoy INTRODUCTION There has been much said about victims in recent months in Northern Ireland, particularly in relation to the Haass negotiations on flags, parades, and dealing with the past. Perhaps the phrase most used is that any process to deal with the past in Northern Ireland has to be ‘victim-centred’. Although the view that the process should be ‘victim-centred’ is laudable, there has been little said as to what this will mean in practice. …

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Soapbox: A conflict of interest in CCEA’s dual role in education?

By Niall Boyd and Chris Colvin Intentionally or by accident of history, England’s secondary-level education examination system operates as a quasi-market. Ofqual, the government’s regulator, sets down a national curriculum. A host of competing examination boards then set tests that examine this curriculum in subtly different ways. While universities do not tend to differentiate between school-leavers with different boards’ examinations behind them, some boards are nevertheless perceived by teachers to be easier for certain subjects than others, or at least more appropriate for the type of student they teach. Schools choose …

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