Saturday, September 16, 2006

I don't mean to be down on the DUP all the time but...

Home attacks self-inflicted - DUP

This news item reminded of a debate about the Good Friday Agreement between Jim Wells of the DUP and Alex Attwood of the SDLP which I attended a few years ago when I had just started at Queens.

At the time I took a decidely pro-agreement stance but didn't feel qualified to challange the DUP's position. The above article makes me think of the DUP's attitude since becoming the largest party at the 2003 Assembly elections. It seems unwilling to do anything to usher in an new era in Northern Ireland. I sincerely hope the views expressed in the article aren't representative of the DUP's position but it is these views which could hold back the peace process should the DUP remain the provinces's largest party.

It's possible that there is a policy split within the DUP considering these blatently sectarian comments were made after Gregory Campbell said that ex-prisoners could join the PSNI if they have "repented". Although he seems to be a lone voice on that one.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Hope for the Left?

Last week Channel 4 showed 3 episodes (why only 3 episodes?) from Morgan Spurlock's excellent series 30 Days and this got me thinking that "liberal" America has had a kind of Renaissance during the Bush presidency and it is the result of post-9/11 hysteria. People like Morgan Spurlock and Michael Moore have seen the need to speak out against what they see as being wrong with America but in different ways. Michael Moore is much more "in your face" whereas Morgan Spurlock is subtler, using the 30 Day technique to highlight Americans' predjudices and sometime insane practices

I think we see a lot of "liberal" America via TV and Film but the unfortunate thing is that it seems to be only media elite, people like Spurlock, Moore and George Clooney who seem to be prominant. Ordinary America still has the image, despite anti-war protests, of being very conservative and ignorant.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Dennis Donaldson, Decommissioning and the Peace Process

On the last edition of Hearts and Minds, Malachi O'Doherty asserted that the murder of Denis Donaldson was not the last straw for Sinn Fein and the IRA but the Northern Bank robbery was. This view reiterates the lack of trust Unionists show towards Republicanism and maybe rightly because no-one I have spoken to believes (and I don't even believe) that when the IRA decommissioned in September last year they decommissioned 100% of their weapons. If it turns out that the IRA was involved with the murder of Denis Donaldson, this will be fodder to the DUP in particular. They will say that this proves that full decommissioning did not occur and the episode will be used to push the peace process back a couple of squares.

My feeling about the situation is that
if decommissioning was the stumbling block to progress before the last suspension of the Assembly then it is a stumbling which no longer exists. While it is probably wise to assume that 100% decommissioning didn't occur, it's probably also a good idea to take last September's decommissioning as a benchmark to further the peace process. The same can be said in regard to the DUP's demand that the IRA now disband and IRA criminality cease. Both these things will be incredibly hard to verify. If the IRA was to announce to tomorrow that it was disbanding, of course people would be sceptical but would it not be sensible to accept such an announcement and push ahead for a settlement before November 24?

The same can be said about criminality. Let's assume that a lot of IRA members are involved for political reasons. If the IRA disbands there will be no reason for these people to be violent or do anything illegal but every organisaation of this type has members who are only in it for the money. It is these people who will be robbing banks and murdering people and just because it's been revealed that X was once a member of the IRA, could that not also be used as an excuse to push the peace process back a few squares?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Is this the way to The City of Dis?

Hat tip to Jo for this. Apparently, I'm a heretic and belong in the Sixth Circle of Hell:

Like a lot of internet tests, I've done this one before and usually come out in purgatory or as lustful (second circle). The more I do these tests, the more I think it depends on how you feel at the time. For example, today I'm feeling a bit crappy so I appear a wee bit more evil. If I were feeling good, maybe I'd be a bit more virtuous.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Love Ulster at it again

I don't really have the time nor the inclination to delve into what drives the Love Ulster mob (maybe not the right word to use after today's scenes but... meh) but from an outsider's point of view I have to ask why these people feel the need to profess their love for a province which we know they love (because they're unionists). However, I don't want to get down on Love Ulster - this is how they choose to show their "loyalty" so fair enough. (However, one wonders why they chose Dublin for the rally.)

Republican Sinn Fein, however, are a disgrace in my eyes. No one would expect them to agree with the march and having a cauntermarch - fair enough, but the fact that some RSF marchers (from what I here) instigated the violence won't endear that organisation to unionists, loyalists, the British government, the Irish government or even possibly to mainstream Republicanism.

Friday, February 24, 2006

James Blunt wins again!

This time, however, it was for worst album at the NME awards. I'm not sure if he was there to pick up the prestigious middle finger, but after the year he's had, does he care? I wouldn't.

Other winners included Kaiser Cheifs, Oasis, Kanye West and The Strokes. But the biggest winners were Arctic Monkeys who won Best New Band, Best Track and Best British Band.

The Return of Dual Monarchy?

Last night on Hearts and Minds Sinn Fein MLA John O'Dowd and the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson had a nice wee chat about the talks that broke down last week. Or rather the talks which didn't even begin last week. I don't remember much about the "debate" (Jeffrey blockage) but John O'Dowd mentioned "joint authority" which reminded me of early Sinn Fein.

Arthur Griffith's vision was of a dual monarchy based on the Austro-Hungarian model. "Joint authority," if that is Sinn Fein's policy, seems like a return to that model but obviously without the monarchy bit. Kind of an advanced advanced nationalism. I'll tell you when I figure out what that means.

The (dis)unity of Irish football

The Setanta Cup is an annual competition between four teams from Northern Ireland four teams from the Republic which was first played last year when Linfield won it with a 2-0 win over Shelbourne.

It's not the first attempt at an all-Ireland football tournament but I think it is a significant tournament because it's the first post-Troubles attempt to do this. It's also in the news because Linfield played Derry City on Monday for the first time in 34 years. This has led to speculation about an all-Ireland football league with Derry City (who currently play in the League of Ireand having left the IFA in 1972 because of safety fears) supporting the idea and the IFA opposing the idea.

Presumably it would make economic (and geographic) sense for Derry City to play against northern clubs but I agree with IFA president Jim Boyce's argument that UEFA and FIFA currently recognise two Football Associations on the island which gives more teams the opportunity to play in Europe. If there were just one league, half these would lose out. (Currently there are four places available in the north and four in the Republic.)

Jim Boyce does not oppose the idea of an amalgamated league stucture to the Setanta Cup but an all-Ireland football league, he feels, is unworkable.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Please put your hands together for your host ...

...Pathetiiiic Sod! Otherwise known as Chris Logan.

I don't know why I keep whinging about my lack of oomph but I have an oopmh defect. Seriously, I go on the computer in the morning and, more or less, I'm stuck there for the rest of the day. Of course, I'm not stuck, I have the free will not to sit in front of the computer all day but the repellent of my university work is far stronger. Or it could be the pull of the interent and the promise of gratuitous nudity. It's wrong (but only in that it prevents me acheiving anything), and I've promised myself less of it but it's as if the little voice in my head (the one that says "Do fuck all all day") is in charge.