Monday, September 26, 2011

A fresh re-start (sort of)

For those of you may be still reading...

Geoff McGimpsey has handed over the reins of Open Unionism to Henry Hill and myself. Henry will be taking the more prominent role whilst I'll be helping out with the Facebook and twitter feeds  and the odd (probably very odd!) occasional post.

In the words of Henry (and Geoff):
Open Unionism aims to encourage discussion on the future of Unionism in the United Kingdom. This site should be a constructive forum for contributors from all shades of opinion to air new ideas. There’s lots of good things happening among individuals, but this is an attempt to pull things together in a more concentrated and coherent fashion.

This site started out as a website focusing specifically on unionism in Northern Ireland: however, with devolution posing ever more critical challenges to the constitutional order and the SNP threatening to outflank ‘Ulster’ unionism completely, our remit has expanded to cover developments in unionist thinking from across the UK and further afield
We hope it turns out to be very much collaborative process where people feel comfortable about submitting their own ideas on Union-related topics and in our first week we have had five different authors writing on topics as diverse as a federal Britain, the reconciliation of Republicanism and Unionism, an English parliament and a Scottish pro-Union fightback.

Please read, comment and contribute!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Resignation is our biggest enem... not that bad a bloke really.

I've now written about all the more major issues that I'd wanted to write about and the daily stuff popping up is inspiring merely an overwhelming feeling of déjà vu- so this seems as good a time as any to bring matters to a close on here.

At this point, it would be very rude not to mention the folk who have helped me out with links and in other ways over the last three years- thanks one and all, it was much appreciated.

And that's it; oneill has just left the building, comments have been disabled and this blog is now officially toast!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

St George is on the move...

Or, at least, his day is, if the Church has its way:
St George's Day is April 23, next Saturday. But next Saturday is Holy Saturday, a day of suspense between Good Friday and the great feast of Easter. So the Church of England has moved the saint's day to Monday May 2, as has the Catholic Church in England. The trouble is that most people are taking no notice.

It has happened before. In 1943, April 23 was Good Friday, and, with the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury, St George's Day was transferred to May 3. But it didn't seem the same.
It's a difficult one. Most people, if they celebrate his day, do so in a secular fashion... but technically it is, obviously, a religious festival and technically the Church should then have first call on when it officially occurs.

Your Republic, you pay for it!

The Treasury should guarantee some financial support over the next 25 years even if Ireland is united, the SDLP said.
If the majority within Northern Ireland and the Republic were to vote for "Unity", then then they should take the financial consequences of that decision. The day after that vote our financial welfare would no longer be the concern, legally or morally of the British taxpayer...

Meanwhile, in probably completely unrelated news:
The Republic of Ireland's credit rating has been cut yet again in a sign of fading belief that it will repay idebt.

The credit rating agency Moody's has marked the country down two notches on the scale to a status just one notch from "junk".

Friday, April 15, 2011

For any Dubliners reading...

And I know that I do have at least a couple!

This will be open to the public:

The Future of the Seanad - North & South

Time19 April · 19:00 - 21:00

LocationGeorgian Suite, Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2

An evening of discussion on Irish politics, North South relations, the future of the Seanad and the need for dissent with Jeffrey Dudgeon (Unionist TCD Seanad candidate) and Eoin O Broin (Sinn Fein NUI Seanad candidate)

Jeffrey Dudgeon is a liberal unionist and the successful plaintiff at the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg whose judgment relating to the right to a private life led to the passing of the 1982 law decriminalising male homosexual behaviour in Northern Ireland. This was a European first. He is the author of Roger Casement: The Black Diaries - With a Study of his Background, Sexuality, and Irish Political Life. He is standing for the Seanad to be an alternative voice from Northern Ireland, reflecting our agreement to differ on the island. For more information go to

Eoin Ó Broin is a Sinn Fein activist and Ard Comhairle from Clondalkin, Dublin. A former Belfast City Councilor he currently works as a policy analyst for a housing charity. Eoin holds an MA in Irish Politics from Queens University Belfast for which he was awarded the John Whyte Memorial Prize. Eoin is also the author of Matxinada – Basque Nationalism and Radical Basque Youth Movements (2003) and Sinn Fein and the Politics of Left Republicanism (2009). A Better Ireland – Arguments for a new republic will be published later this year. For more information go to

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"English" signs not permitted for children's race?

Fortunately, it appears the culprit has been apprehended:
Children taking part in a run on a mist-covered Welsh mountain lost their way after a man removed safety signs and course markings because they were written in English.

The signs were apparently taken down because they were in English
Race organisers said the man was seen carrying one sign and removing another shortly before the youngsters, some as young as seven, set off.
Of course, until he's charged, then it remains still an "apparently taken down because they were in English"   but if it is indeed the case then let's hope Welsh language activists are prepared to condemn his wreckless actions:
“It is ridiculous. We had put the run on to raise money for the local primary school and we faced a situation where kids’ safety was put at risk.”

“Some of the kids were clearly in distress and were crying, so we gave them something to eat and drink. Fortunately they all got back safely.”

Mr Blake added: “I was told this fellow had gone and taken the signs away and took them to a dump.

''He was carrying one of the signs and undoing another. Apparently, he took them down because they were in English.

“We went to the police because what happened was dangerous."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"What is going to kick start this election?"

Fellow pedants will be as delighted as myself that the DUP have now updated this previously erroneous claim:
“My DUP has delivered free prescriptions for everyone in Northern Ireland, the most generous scheme in the UK”
It now reads in their "40 of our achievements in 4 years" document:
"We've introduced free prescriptions for everyone in Northern Ireland- they're not available in England"
The last part is undoubtedly true, although I think a Unionist party should always tread very cautiously when boasting of any socio-economic advantages we may enjoy over our fellow British citizens.

Regarding the whole document, the question is when the DUP talk of "we" are they referring to "we" as in Northern Ireland's all-encompassing "government", or we as in the "We" operating out of Dundela Towers?

It's not clear and perhaps in terms of influencing the election, it doesn't really matter anyway who gets the credit for whatever the Assembly is claimed to have achieved; the journalist Eamonn Mallie asked plaintively yesterday on Twitter:
"what is going to kick start this election?"
He joined in with the host of replying metaphorical yawns:
"J'en ai marre" (Roughly, "I'm right-o pissed-off already with this boring oul crap"
The DUP's biggest enemy this time is not other mainstream Unionists, Sinn Fein or even Jim Allister. It's voter apathy which may undermine the legitimacy of the devolved assembly and, by extension, its executive, which is more than likely going to be still controlled by the DUP-Sinn Fein Axis.

The last Assembly Election pulled out 63.5% of the electorate, last year's Westminsters' 58%.
Could the total vote drop below 55%, or even 50% this time?

And if it did, what would be the message being delivered on the "first full devolved government in Northern Ireland for over 40 years"?

Quote of the day

I can't see any way we're going to avoid an almighty collision with the ECHR on this.

David Davis:

"The Court seems to have forgotten that our Parliament is the ultimate authority.  It can tell Ministers to produce proposals if it likes. What it can't do is give them a timetable to do anything that Parliament won't approve.  And Parliament's made it clear that it won't accept any of the proposals for votes for prisoners that have been put up to date."

Seen Elsewhere 04/13/2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why politicians should really leave sport alone. Part2

This week's second most gratuitous grab of a sporting event for purely partisan reasons:
DUP politician, whose blushes I shall spare, jokingly messaged on Sunday "McDowell wins US Open last year. McIlroy leading the Masters this year. The DUP delivering for Ulster!"
Ah, no.
Today after young Mr McIlroy's disastrous final round he updated with "McIlroy crashes out at US Masters golf. The reason for this major setback is obvious - UUP/Tory cuts!"
What next?
Salmond claiming an affinity with the Barca midfield ("world-class,   sleek and capable of steam-rolling any opposition")?

Tom Elliott threatening to do a Shakhtar Donetsk ("with all our team playing in the same direction , correct planet alignment and a few bob in the ref's back-pocket...we can overcome the overwhelming odds and triumph")?