European Super League proposal a stab in the back to the sport we hold so dear

It has been bubbling away in the background for months. But finally last night the hammer blow was dealt, a new European Super League was announced with 15 founding clubs. This league has guaranteed automatic qualification for all founding clubs. There will be mechanisms in place for a further five teams to qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season. Yes, you read that right, only 5 other teams across the whole of Europe. However, the European Super League …

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Stamping out sectarianism will take cultural revolution…

Youth training? Magee expansion? NHS reform? York street interchange? Phase 3 railway upgrade? New railway? Greenways? High standard public housing? Welfare reform? Nope, buy off people with grants and demeaning programmes through gatekeepers… https://t.co/iBo97wIbi6 — Jay Burbank (@jay_burbank) April 19, 2021 When I was in P7 there was a great debate around our table, are the colour of curbs “red, white and blue” or “blue, white and red?” We hadn’t the foggiest notion of the subtext much less because many …

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How the media can frame a story depending on what perspective they want to show…

One of the most powerful photos from the funeral of Prince Philip yesterday was the Queen sitting on her own. It was a good photo but was it a true reflection of what happened? as a similar photo a few minutes later shows the other family members near the Queen: Queen could take a 'step back' from royal duties after Philip's funeral, expert claimshttps://t.co/1oj1eR5D3H pic.twitter.com/s0znddLAwf — The Mirror (@DailyMirror) April 18, 2021 The headline for this photo could have been …

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The embers of sectarianism and violent protest never seem to burn out and are all too easily fanned.

“Young people in Northern Ireland are heir to an historical legacy of sectarian social division.” Acts of Union: Youth culture and sectarianism in Northern Ireland, Desmond Bell, 1990   “North Belfast is witnessing the creation of the next wave of paramilitary gunmen. Today they are aged eight, their stones bouncing harmlessly off the …..police Land Rovers…… But  unless things change ….many of these children…….. will know exactly how much sugar is needed in a petrol bomb.” Belfast streets spawn a …

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A new series of conversations on the future

Holywell Trust’s third series of Forward Together podcasts is launched today. As with the previous series, the focus is on how to make progress in Northern Ireland and heal our divided society. In these latest podcasts we consider some of the ideas that emerged from previous interviews – which were edited together into the book, ‘Lessons from the Troubles and the Unsettled Peace’. Unfortunately, recent events make these ideas even more relevant for urgent consideration. Suggestions discussed further in the …

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Unionism, which has too often relied upon fear of the future, needs a future positive strategy

Editor’s note: Slugger has had a upturn in readers for coverage that’s more reflective than the ‘look petrol bombs!’ material so popular elsewhere. We try to maintain a long term perspective in preference to thrills that sell copy/views. Here’s good piece from occasional Slugger contributor Trevor Ringland that missed the mainstream cut elsewhere.   The violent scenes that have played out on our streets over the past days have been affected by a considerable number of issues. There is the protection of criminal empires, …

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Soapbox: Could our future lie in a Celtonian confederation?

Dorcha Lee is a retired Irish Army Colonel, defence analyst, op ed writer and international election observer. He offers a thought experiment. What if Northern Ireland opted for Independence and moved towards a wider confederation? The official opening of the Celtonian Bridge over the North Channel, on the 12 July 2069,  captured the imagination of millions of Celtonians, and easily eclipsed the centenary  of the Moon Landing. The new double decker bridge carried the high speed rail link connecting Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, …

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Brexit and now Covid management shows Johnson’s government is blind to the threat of UK disintegration: a new insider report

Some years ago I found myself  as one of a small team  called to the Cabinet Office to be asked to do a study of the state of the devolution because Whitehall was too busy  to do it themselves. The official in charge was Philip Rycroft who in retirement has now let fly with both barrels. Little in this report by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at Cambridge is breaking news; but it updates an absence of pan -UK …

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Questions remain about the origin of Covid 19…

I try to avoid being duped by conspiracies theories. When I read about a cabal of paedophiles in the basement of a Washington pizzeria, I switch off. When Donald J Trump is too quick to say that Coivd19 was made in China, I know better. I always try to keep objectively to the facts convinced I can spot the lunatic fringe at their zany work from a mile off. But sometimes, somehow, a weird story cannot be easily dismissed. Things …

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The NI Protocol is shaky ground upon which to build a better future.

In addition to some unionists echoing the worst traits of ‘big house unionism ‘with patronising and condescending statements stressing working class credentials, parroted condemnations of recent protests and street violence, the main thrust, of a for once civil conversation between MLAs, highlighted leadership but lacking in any visible self-referencing. The special sitting of the Assembly did not seem to achieve much There was little emphasis on the fact that the first person that any erstwhile leader has to lead is …

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