Clement Cuthbertson and non-inclusivity

Some unionist politicians worry me. Individually they are often pleasant people, good company even. But when a matter comes up which might be faintly linked with the constitutional question, they tend get shirty. Some of them, like my good friend Nelson McCausland, very shirty. This shirtiness could be either because the politician being shirty believes […]

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The shrinking British politician

There was a time when British football managers ruled the footballing  waves. Brian Clough, Bill Shankley, Alf Ramsey: it was hard to think of more gifted managers. But look through managers of Premier League clubs today and what do you find? Mourinho, Guardiola, Klopp: European coaching talent has totally eclipsed anything Britain can produce.Ditto for […]

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Leo Varadkar: he’s different, isn’t he?

Let’s start with a silly statement, shall we? There’s never been a Taoiseach like Leo Varadkar. No, I’m not suggesting that former Taoisigh have been secretly gay or of Indian parentage. I simply mean that since no two human beings are the same, so no two Taoisigh are the same, and when people go on […]

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Micheal Martin: a moral man

There’s something boyish about Micheal Martin. Press photographs of him tend to show a bright-eyed figure smiling a little shyly – a daycent man, you might say, having looked at the photograph for a minute or two. A man with the welfare of others at heart. In many ways like his fellow-Corkman and former FF […]

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Harry West, Arlene Foster and Robbie Burns

Seamus Mallon is famous for his wry comment that the Good Friday Agreement was “Sunningdale for slow learners.” I’ve always assumed he was aiming his jibe at Sinn Féin, his political opponents. But in the light of recently-released documents, he may have had unionism in mind. These documents should have been released a long time […]

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The dismaying case of Tony Taylor

If you drive around the north of Ireland you’re sure to come across one of the signs: three words that test our notion of democracy. They are ‘FREE TONY TAYLOR’. Tony Taylor is in prison because the former Secretary of State Theresa Villiers thinks it’s a good idea that he should be. “His early release […]

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Saturday pics of the week

Pics 1-3 are by John Patton    Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3   ” Pic 1 : Loch Ruskie Mooring Loch Ruskie is a small loch near to Aberfoyle in the Trossachs. It is stocked with rainbow trout by a fishing club. Wild, brown trout are also caught occasionally but returned to the water […]

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The RHI: the scandal that no one likes to mention

Why have the media (and political parties) gone quiet on the RHI scandal? If you google it you’ll find most links are to articles written months ago. The Renewable Heating Scheme was without doubt a major factor in the collapse of the Executive. It involved a bewildering amount of money going down the Swannee – […]

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The Rev Mervyn Gibson, a man seated on a cleft stick

The year 1912 has always been a difficult one for unionist politicians. On the one hand the Ulster Covenant has entered the sacred temple of unionism, with hundreds of thousands signing it and swearing to resist the rest of Britain which voted for them to be part of a united Ireland. A noble and courageous act […]

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I think I’m in love with an iPhone

I have always loved gadgets. It’s clearly a sign that I’m emotionally immature, lacking in feeling for humankind, happier interacting with a lump of metal or plastic than with a human being. That’s probably why I have a blogsite: I talk to my screen rather than having to eyeball men and women. (And yes, Virginia, […]

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