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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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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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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Article 16: “the political equivalent of telling a delinquent pupil they can only get out of a locked classroom by setting it alight…”

Out with Slugger (we’ve had more than 30k readers this week since Monday) there’s been a general shortage of analysis of how we got to rioting 12 year olds across NI. One obvious exception being Newton, the hardest working ‘hack’: Inside Politics w/ @hlinehan "The obnoxiousness, the sneering at loyalist Leave voters… can only be making things worse. It seems more important to far too many people to cling to self-righteousness than to actually fix this" – @NewtonEmersonhttps://t.co/ARlc5mSZCZ — Audio …

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EU statesmanship needed in order to close the space available for local political mischief…

One of the things Pete Baker taught me early on in the life of Slugger was never to skip too far ahead of what you know you know. What we know about the riots is that they’re serious (the injury list of police officers tell us that), but small scale. That does not mean to say it cannot get worse, or that I think the rioters should be pandered to. I don’t seriously believe that these youths are seriously concerned …

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A moment to back our institutions, not abandon them to the dull familiar nihilism of the past. 

A professor of mine went to go hear Derrida speak once. The entire talk was about cows; everyone was flummoxed but listened carefully, and took notes about…cows. There was a short break, and when Derrida came back, he was like, “I’m told it is pronounced ‘chaos.’” -Phil Gentry, on Twitter For the last year, with perhaps the exception of the US election and its later ramifications, politics has mostly been evident from its general absence. Even Brexit has benefited from …

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When people feel their voice is ignored; that everyone is not equal before the law they must be heard and understood

We are told that many of our politicians are decent people who just want to do their best for their constituents. Why does this change in the political arena where there is little willingness to move beyond the fixed position? If what we see at Stormont is ‘doing their best’; spare us the worst. If it was a sports pitch, we have parties and individuals attempting to play private games of Gaelic football, hurling, rugby, football and hockey at the …

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No equality under the law until our politicians give the PSNI full support to do their jobs (whatever the political costs)…

Tom Kelly in his Irish News column highlights how the problem of policing in the accountability free zone that is NI… …when he goes the problems of policing in a divided society won’t go away. Future applicants for the post of chief constable may be few and far between when they witness the intrusive levels of political interference/influence an incumbent police chief faces. The ongoing issues about lack of accountability in government and the loss of faith in public institutions …

Read more…No equality under the law until our politicians give the PSNI full support to do their jobs (whatever the political costs)…

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