Saturday, 21 December 2013

Hoboroad's Woman of The Year Is Dr Meghan O'Sullivan

Dr Meghan O'Sullivan is this years Hoboroad's Woman of the year. The international diplomat and Harvard professor is currently working hard in Belfast trying to help our politicians sort out flags the past and Orange Order marches. We wish her all the best.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Hoboroad's Man Of The Year Is Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin the Russian leader is this year's man s of the year. Love him or loathe him you cannot ignore him. He is a real leader of his people. And I expect we will be hearing a lot more from him in 2014.

SuperCouncils And Their DEAs

Antrim and Newtownabbey:
Airport
Antrim
Ballyclare
Dunsilly
Glengormley Urban
Macedon
Three Mile Water

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon:
Armagh
Banbridge
Craigavon
Cusher
Lagan River
Lurgan
Portadown

Belfast:
Balmoral
Black Mountain
Botanic
Castle
Collin
Court
Lisnasharragh
Oldpark
Ormiston
Titanic

Causeway Coast and Glens:
Ballymoney
Bann
Benbradagh
Causeway
Coleraine
Limavady
The Glens

Derry and Strabane:
Ballyarnett
Derg
Faughan
Foyleside
Sperrin
The Moor
Waterside

Fermanagh and Omagh:
Enniskillen
Erne East
Erne North
Erne West
Mid Tyrone
Omagh
West Tyrone

Lisburn and Castlereagh:
Castlereagh East
Castlereagh South
Downshire East
Downshire West
Killultagh
Lisburn North
Lisburn South

Mid and East Antrim:
Ballymena
Bannside
Braid
Carrick Castle
Coast Road
Knockagh
Larne Lough

Mid Ulster:
Carntogher
Clogher Valley
Cookstown
Dungannon
Magherafelt
Moyola
Torrent

Newry, Mourne and Down:
Crotlieve
Downpatrick
Newry
Rowallane
Slieve Croob
Slieve Gullion
The Mournes

North Down and Ards:
Ards Peninsula
Bangor Central
Bangor East and Donaghadee
Bangor West
Comber
Holywood and Clandeboye
Newtownards

Monday, 9 December 2013

And The Best Country In The World For Business Is .......

Ireland has for the first time been named as the “best country for business” in rankings carried out by top US financial magazine Forbes.

Ireland has moved up from sixth position in the influential rankings last year. The rankings are determined by grading 145 nations on 11 different factors: property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Intelligence Failure

Boris Johnson has appeared on Nick Ferraris radio show below is a Transcript:

LBC presenter Nick Ferrari: A man builds a house with four sides of rectangular construction. Each side having a southern exposure.  A big bear comes along. What colour is the bear?
Boris Johnson: The bear is probably brown, I haven’t got a clue what colour the bear is. Nor is it relevant to this discussion.
Ferrari: White actually, because the bear is on the South Pole. [The house is actually at the North Pole] Let’s try another one.
Boris Johnson: Listen mate…
Nick Ferrari: Take two apples from three apples, what do you have?
Boris Johnson: You have… you’ve got loads of apples mate, you have got one apple left
Nick Ferrari: You say you’ve got one apple? You haven’t you’ve got two apples. So you are now on zero for two.  Let’s do one more. I went to bed at eight o’clock last night…
Boris Johnson: I think the point that I made…
Nick Ferrari: You were the one that brought IQ into the conversation… I went to bed at eight o’clock in the evening and I wound up my clock to set the alarm to sound at nine o’clock in the morning. How many hours would I get before being woken by the alarm?
Boris Johnson: Well I slept like a log because I was looking forward to seeing you on LBC 97.3. We are waiting for some more sensible questions.
Nick Ferrari: You are declining are you?
Boris Johnson:  All I am telling you… No one has said that IQ is the only measure of ability but what I have been saying repeatedly is that our system is letting down people who do have ability and could do much better.
Answer: Mr Ferrari would only have got one hour's sleep, because a wind-up alarm clock would have gone off at nine o'clock at night.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Class War

THE independence referendum is "a class conflict" in which the rich are promoting a No vote to maintain their privileges, more than a 1,000 delegates to the left-wing Radical Independence Conference heard yesterday.

Closing the event at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow, Robin McAlpine, the director of the Jimmy Reid Foundation, said the key to securing independence was to convince the less well-off that a Yes vote would change their lives.
He said: "We do not win this unless we work, unless we knock the doors, unless we articulate. This is a class conflict, this election. Rich people are voting No. So we've got to get everybody that's not rich out, and that takes work. It's going to happen through knuckles rapping on doors and saying, 'Do you know what this means to you, and are you coming out?'"
Activist Cat Boyd also told delegates: "Independence is a class issue. Independence is not just about currencies or constitutional questions. It's about people."
Under the banner "Another Scotland is Possible", the conference called for independence to lead to greater public ownership of key utilities and the banking system, so that the needs of the people were put before "the interests of the super-rich".
In one of the highlights of the day, actor David Hayman received a standing ovation after reading a "Radical Independence Declaration" about vested interests talking down Scotland's prospects because they feared independence.
He said: "This despair has a name. Its name is No. It is a despair that believes poverty inevitable and the decline and destruction of public service necessary. It is a cry of people who believe that wealth should belong to whomever has the sharpest elbows and the meanest hearts. Our poverty, our decline. Their wealth, their No."
There was also cheering for an emotional speech by 16-year-old Saffron Dickson about a Britain that failed to inspire people and kept them in their place instead. "If Britain was doing its job, we wouldn't be having this conference," she said.
Edinburgh Green councillor Maggie Chapman said the British state's failings included "a crippling devotion to corporate power; an unbending commitment to an economic model that collapsed, not for the first time, in 2008; and a ceaseless drive to blame foreigners, the poor and the vulnerable for problems created by the rich."
Former Socialist MSP Colin Fox, a member of the Yes Scotland board, said independence offered people "a route around British rule".
He said: "It's the key that allows us to break free of the handcuffs of the British ruling class and their political prison. They're steadfastly opposed to independence because it shakes the very foundations of their power structure, influence and control."
The chair of the Yes Scotland campaign urged independence supporters to put reservations to one side and rally behind the Scottish Government's White Paper when it is published on Tuesday.
Dennis Canavan warned delegates not to dwell on their own disagreements with the SNP over currency, defence and the monarchy.
He said: "I'm not a spokesman for the Scottish Government. I'm not a member of the SNP.
"But I believe that all supporters of independence should give a very warm welcome to the publications of the White Paper.
"It's the only realistic road map on the table that we have towards independence.
"Now, we may not agree with every single detail in that plan. We may disagree with the Scottish Government on the head of state, whether we should have sterling as our currency, or whether we should be members of Nato, but do not be sidetracked. Keep your eye on the ball. Concentrate on winning the prize."
The discipline message was in sharp contrast to last year's conference, when Canavan and others flagged up policy differences with the SNP.
The comments were well received, although the conference later applauded lawyer Aamer Anwar when he attacked the wealth of the royal family and called for the abolition of the monarchy.
Irish republican Bernadette McAliskey also appeared at the conference. A former leader of the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland, McAliskey went on to become the youngest MP to take a seat in the House of Commons.
A witness to Bloody Sunday, she was later the victim of an assassination attempt by the Ulster Freedom Fighters.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Palace For Hire

JP Morgan, the US investment bank, is reported to have hired Buckingham Palace for a dinner, hosted by the Duke of York, and attended by the bank's clients and associates, along with Tony Blair and Kofi Annan.

A100 guests attended the event. It included performances from the English National Ballet and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Paul Flynn, a Labour MP, said the Royal family should hire out Buckingham Palace more often. “I think they could raise about £100 million a year by renting out rooms to tourists,” he said.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Leading Economist Says Reunification Is The Only Way To Improve Living Standards Across Ireland

Leading economist Michael Burke has said .

Mr Burke, a regular contributor to the ‘Guardian’ on economic matters, told the ‘Reuniting Ireland’ conference that unity makes financial sense.

“From a purely economic point of view I would say that if people want to improve their living standards they should get ready to support the reunification of the country,” he said.

Mr Burke also said unionists have been let down by partition. “In the run up to partition the unionists were told that if they stuck with the British empire they would be better off but what we can see conclusively is that they were sold a big fat lie,” he said.

The economist also said reunification would create the space for a new approach to how the economy is directed.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

World's Most Powerful People According To Forbes Magazine

1. Vladimir Putin, President, Russia (3 in 2012)
2. Barack Obama, President, United States (2)
3. Xi Jinping, General Secretary, Communist Party, China (9)
4. Pope Francis (5)
5. Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Germany (2)
6. Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (4)
7. Ben Bernanke, Chairman, US Federal Reserve (6)
8. Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia (7)
9. Mario Draghi, President, European Central Bank (8)
10. Michael Duke, CEO, Wal-Mart Stores (17)

New Panelbase Opinion Poll

SHOULD SCOTLAND BE AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY?

Yes 35%
No 43%
Undecided 20%

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

BT Sport fixtures

Crystal Palace v West Ham - Tuesday December 3, 8pm
Swansea v Newcastle - Wednesday December 4, 7.45pm
Manchester United v Newcastle - Saturday December 7, 12.45pm
Manchester City v Arsenal - Saturday December 14, 12.45pm
Liverpool v Cardiff - Saturday December 21, 12.45pm
West Ham v Arsenal - Boxing Day, 3pm
Manchester City v Liverpool - Boxing Day, 5.30pm
Southampton v Chelsea - New Year's Day, 3pm
Manchester United v Tottenham - New Year's Day, 5.30pm

Saturday, 28 September 2013

David Cameron Chickens Out Of TV Debate

David Cameron has rejected taking part in a live debate on Scottish Independence. Mr Cameron told Mr Salmond that he would not take part in a debate in a letter. The first minister said: "The government in which Mr Cameron serves as prime minister is central to the entire referendum debate from the perspective of the No campaign.

"I have noted the prime minister's apparent unwillingness to take part in another General Election debate and I'm sure people will draw their own conclusions from that.

"Indeed, I believe his refusal to debate Scotland's future with me can be summed up in one word - "feart".

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Top Ten Universities In The World

1. Massachusetts Institute Of Technology
2. Harvard University
3. Cambridge University
4. University College London
5. Imperial College London
6. Oxford University
7. Stanford University
8. Yale University
9. University Of Chicago
10. California Institute Of Technology and Princeton University

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Top Ten Most Competitive Countries According To World Economic Forum

1. Switzerland
2. Singapore
3. Finland
4. Germany
5. United States Of America
6. Sweden
7. Hong Kong
8. Holland
9. Japan
10. United Kingdom

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

50,000 Views

Recently this blog reached 50,000 views. I am not one to blow my own trumpet but this is important to me. When I first started this blog way back in midst of time I didn't expect such popularity. This blog would be nothing without it's readers. It is read in Countries right across the globe. So to all my readers a big thank you. Wherever you are.

Friday, 30 August 2013

The End Of Serfdom

Or the so called Special Relationship between the UK and the USA. It ended last night when the House of Commons told the Neo Conmen where to go over their planned war in Syria. No doubt there was plenty of gnashing of teeth from inside the corridors of power from Tel Aviv to Washington DC. David Cameron is exposed as a weak leader a foul mouthed loon of a man. Prime Minister’s come and go in British politics and the sooner this one disappears the better for everyone. Even Mr Gove the Education Secretary lost it in the House Of Commons and started ranting at his own MP’s . Please think of the children Mr Gove and the example you are setting for them. No more wars for the UK and a Tory government put in it’s place all in all a good night all round.

Monday, 26 August 2013

The Emperor Has No Clothes

So as speculation mounts that Peter Robinson won't be the First Minister and leader of the DUP for much longer. The 64,000 dollar question is who will replace him? A lot of people seem to think former finance minister Sammy Wilson is in with a shout. Sammy is a colourful politician and his personal life would make many a born again Christian blush. A particular incident involving Sammy was when his holiday snaps were plastered all over the Sunday World one weekend. The photos featured Sammy getting back to nature with a busty young woman. Still I am sure as many in the DUP are well known for there forgiving and understanding nature this should not be a problem.

So if Sammy is not going to be leader who is? Arlene Foster has a lot of fans but she is a defector from the UUP and is unlikely ever to be a MP unless she is parachuted into another constituency. Jeffrey Donaldson well his star has fallen in recent years by getting himself mixed up in the Westminister expenses scandal by expecting the taxpayer to fund his hotel movie watching.

What the DUP really need is a hardliner as leader somebody who has been in the party during good times and bad. Somebody who is above personal scandal either sexual or financial. May I suggest one man fits the bill perfectly. His name is Gregory Campbell.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Lord Maginnis Found Guilty Of Road Rage

Lord Ken Maginnis, a 75-year-old former Ulster Unionist Party MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone was found guilty at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court of grabbing 21-year-old Keith Kirk by the arm and threatening to punch him in the town last summer after becoming enraged at him for honking his car horn.

The peer, who admitted calling Mr Kirk a “yellow bellied bastard”, had denied the charge of common assault.

But District Judge John Meehan said he was satisfied the prosecution had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.

He fined Lord Maginnis 200 pounds and ordered him to pay a further 200 pounds in compensation to Mr Kirk.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Letter From America

August 2013

Dear Colleague

In normal circumstances I would provide you with a briefing at our regular weekly elected members meeting but in spite of it being a holiday month I thought it might be worthwhile if I were to bring everyone up to date with developments relating to the MLK site. I would appreciate it if each of you, in turn, would confidentially brief Councillors within your constituencies.

I am aware that there has been a considerable amount of dishonest campaigning about the Executive’s plans for the Maze site. It is always easy to trade in falsehoods about such matters in advance decisions being made. Given the character of the politicians involved, the intervening period was always going to be used for mischief and cheap, nasty and fraudulent party politics. But then we all know this routine. We had it when policing and justice was being devolved. The UUP and TUV trotted out every scare story they could dream up. They said Gerry Kelly was going to be the Justice Minister. They claimed Martin McGuinness would be appointing and sacking judges. They even alleged that the police and courts would become all-Ireland matters to be dealt with in the North South Ministerial Council. All lies. Has anyone heard them apologise or admit they lied to the public? No. They brazenly move on to the next scaremongering subject without a shred of embarrassment or shame.

Since this present deceitful Maze campaign began we have consistently and frequently stressed that we will not permit any shrine to be erected at the Maze and that no decision had been taken about the content and programme for any new Peace Centre or the use of the retained buildings, but that has not stopped our political opponents from inventing stories and seeking to frighten and raise concerns by agitating those who have suffered most from violent terrorism.

WELL! OUR OPPONENTS DAY IS OVER. I CAN NOW BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC ABOUT THE ONLY WAY FORWARD THAT I WILL ENDORSE FOR THE MAZE. AS YOU KNOW WE HAVE A VETO OVER THE CONTENT OF ANY PROPOSAL.

But first let me remind you of the history of the project. The proposal to develop the Maze site began during the period when the Ulster Unionist Party was the main Northern Ireland party. David Trimble, the UUP leader, appointed two members to the Maze Panel – one of them, David Campbell (the then UUP Party Chairman) was appointed as the Maze Panel Chairman.

This UUP-led Maze Panel recommended (and the UUP Leader publicly endorsed) a proposal that a range of the existing prison buildings, including the prison hospital, should be statutorily listed and retained. The Panel also recommended (and the UUP Leader publicly endorsed) a proposal to build a Peace and Conflict Resolution Centre and locate it within the retained prison buildings.

As a Victims Commissioner, the present UUP Leader was consulted about the use of the MLK site and offered no opposition to these proposals. In addition the proposals were then supported by the PUP and only one guess is needed to conclude why parties that initiated and supported the Maze project are now conveniently opposing it. No guess is needed to discover why the TUV oppose the Maze project – their default position is to oppose everything.

You already know I would not have chosen the Maze site as the location for the Peace Centre but that decision was taken before I became First Minister. In truth, even now, if it could be removed from the Maze plan and built elsewhere without scuttling the economic development of the rest of the site I would do it.

However, the UUP endorsed decision tied it into this site and that decision can only be rescinded if nationalists and republicans agreed to do so. We all know they will not.

So, by initiating and endorsing the project (even though they now pose as opponents of the scheme for unprincipled party political purposes) the UUP decision has had unalterable and lasting consequences. Once the proposal was endorsed by the UUP and its then leader it became locked into Northern Ireland government policy and as a binding decision it could only be changed by cross-party agreement.

The DUP has consistently opposed the listing and retention of the former prison buildings. Indeed, when my colleagues Jeffrey Donaldson and Edwin Poots formally objected to the retention of the buildings, they stated in a letter to the then Environment and Heritage Service in February 2004 that they were concerned about the impact that the listing of certain buildings at the Maze Prison would have upon the development potential of this site. Furthermore we strenuously objected to the concept of the proposed Peace Centre being located within the retained prison buildings. Unfortunately, as I have stated these buildings have the protection of listed status.

Therefore when I came to office as First Minister I inherited this UUP-led proposal to locate a Peace Centre at the Maze and a legally enforceable listing which required the retention of a range of prison buildings.

At this stage I had only two workable options – the first was to try to decontaminate and manage the UUP-led proposal in a way that would enable the extensive economic development to continue, the second was to block the development of the site and thus forego the potential of 5,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds of investment.

With the level of unemployment and poverty in the Province the latter option was unthinkable and indeed, when challenged, my Maze opponents refuse to say that they would have blocked the economic development of the site.

While the DUP legally cannot unilaterally remove the Peace Centre from the Maze plan our veto does empower us to stipulate the circumstances that must exist and the conditions that must be agreed before such a development can take place. Such requirements mean that the Peace Centre cannot be built until these requirements are met.

Since I became First Minister I have reached several significant agreements on the Maze with the deputy First Minister. We agreed that the Peace Centre should be a stand-alone building rather than being incorporated within the retained buildings as had been suggested in the UUP-led plan. We agreed to it being located away and across the road from the former prison buildings. We further determined that the character and content of the Peace Centre would have to be jointly agreed before construction and operation. We also resolved that any use of the retained buildings had to be jointly agreed.

An additional major step was taken when we agreed that a Maze Development Corporation be established and we passed over to it the land for development subject only to the limited areas where our approval is required. This has permitted the Corporation to start the economic development of the site and already the RUAS project is successfully underway.

On the basis of these agreements I confidently and publicly stated, and can now clearly demonstrate, that the plans for the Maze will not incorporate anything that could be interpreted as a terrorist shrine nor will they glorify terrorism. While such a prospect was always utterly ridiculous given our stand against terrorism and the composition of the MLK Development Corporation our political opponents were prepared to cruelly and falsely exploit the genuine fears of innocent victims by circulating entirely inaccurate and bogus claims about what would be happening on the site.

So what is the basis for further progress consistent with our “no shrine” commitment? There are two elements that have attracted controversy - the new Peace Centre and the Listed Buildings. The two are often mistakenly conflated and confused. So let me deal with them both.

The Listed Buildings

My approach to the Peace Centre and the Listed Buildings is in line with the DUP policy of creating shared space. The MLK site must be shared space – inviting and welcoming to all. The Maze site as a whole must be developed in a manner that gains widespread support throughout our divided community. We need a community consensus about dealing with matters relating to the past.

No matter what approach we take to the retained buildings, and no matter which section of the community a person may come from, everyone accepts that the listed prison buildings are seeping with highly controversial, divisive and painful history and their potential use is charged with emotion. If we cannot yet come to terms and reach agreement in a more general context on how to deal with the past it is improbable that, in advance of that wider agreement, we can reach a consensus on dealing with one of the most controversial aspects of the past.

There is no community consensus about the future use of the retained buildings. The use of these listed buildings cannot proceed ahead of such widespread community agreement. Without that community buy-in not only would the use of the Listed Buildings cause division but that division would quickly transfer to and tarnish the site as a whole. Nobody could believe that this would be a sensible way forward. So in the absence of widespread cross-community agreement on how the Listed Buildings might be used we are prohibiting any public use of these buildings.

The Peace Centre

By its name and nature a Peace Centre should not and must not be a controversial building. Far from glorifying terrorism a peace centre is about ending, preventing and exposing the deeply painful and divisive legacy of terrorism. A Peace Centre advocates the use of exclusively peaceful and democratic means to resolve disputes.

I believe the International status we could create would allow us to attract delegations from around the world to study conflict resolution and the ending of violent struggles across the globe.

The centre could also be the hub for the Shared Society programmes we have already announced and those others that will be launched in the future.

The present controversy relates (beyond the irreversible UUP decision to locate it at the Maze) to how the story of the Maze site or more broadly the history of Northern Ireland would be told by any exhibition or display or guided tour of the facility. The truth is that the Peace Centre need tell no such story.

Internationally the story of Northern Ireland is one of hope and inspiration. There are many hundreds of communities and regions across the globe at risk of conflict, experiencing conflict or emerging from conflict. Many of these regions look to the experience of Northern Ireland for help and support.

The Centre could maximise the opportunities that arise from this interest and bring new employment and investment to Northern Ireland through what is an export industry. This international industry is growing significantly and Northern Ireland is perfectly poised to maximise its unique place within this market.

None of this requires any exhibition, tour, display, museum, memorabilia, material or presentation of Maze or Northern Ireland historic content. The Peace Centre could have facilitated international exchange, education, research, teaching and learning, along with programmes relating to a shared future for Northern Ireland. It would not portray any version of our history nor would the Centre propagate any party political dogma. I am committed to the building of a Peace Centre but only on the basis that it is genuinely non-partisan shared space and it has widespread support throughout the community. Northern Ireland would be a laughing stock across the world if its Peace Centre was the cause and source of division.

And there the problem arises! Given the behaviour of Sinn Fein unionists just do not believe Sinn Fein is committed to creating and maintaining this kind of genuinely neutral shared space at the Maze. But the project will only work if there is endorsement from both sections of our community. Frankly, it is not for me to change this perception - I share it - Sinn Fein must convince unionists that they are serious and sincere.

If every Executive party was acting in good faith and wanting to move forward rather than constantly foraging into the past and seeking to airbrush foul elements of history whilst attempting to put a sanitising gloss on their heinous crimes, then things might be different.

But events of recent months and in particular the insensitive attitude displayed by Sinn Fein towards the innocent victims of IRA terrorism has seriously damaged community relations and set us all back in terms of promoting genuine reconciliation and building a shared future. This includes the Sinn Fein promoted decision to remove the Union Flag from Belfast City Hall on all but designated days; the Sinn Fein led decision to name a children’s play park in Newry after a dead IRA terrorist who was convicted of possession of a weapon used in the Kingsmill massacre; the admission by Sinn Fein that they have lobbied the Parole Commissioners to seek the release of dissident republican terrorist prisoners; Sinn Fein’s provocative and aggressive behaviour towards unionist culture and loyal order parades and latterly and most recently, the disgraceful decision by Sinn Fein to hold a coat-trailing parade in Castlederg to glorify IRA terrorism and deliberately cause further hurt and pain to the families of the 29 innocent victims murdered by PIRA in that area.

These actions expose a lack of maturity and commitment to genuine reconciliation. The contrasting and contradictory speeches by Declan Kearney and Gerry Kelly only serve to expose the fact that Sinn Fein is trapped by their own warped self-serving mantra. They talk of the need for ‘grown up politics’ but then seek at every opportunity to justify the vile and heinous crimes of the IRA and to rewrite the history of the troubles in a vain and pathetic attempt to portray the IRA’s actions as somehow justified. Do they not realise that their glorification and justification of IRA terrorism only serves to encourage those who today would take up arms in opposition to the peace process? They cannot face two ways at the one time. Sinn Fein must support genuine efforts to promote healing and reconciliation. There can be no halfway house on these matters if the hopes for peace of the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland are to be fully realised.

For the centre to be successful in promoting peace and reconciliation there must be a broad consensus about how it will operate. We have consulted widely and it is clear that the necessary wide-ranging consensus does not exist at present. It is my view that it would be wrong to proceed in the absence of a much broader consensus. Further consultation, discussion and negotiation will be required to enable progress on building peace, dealing with the legacy of the past and achieving a greater level of reconciliation. Clearly, the prospects for building a Peace Centre are inextricably linked to such progress.

The DUP is committed to participation in the Haass initiative and we hope that genuine steps can be taken to build a shared future. However, this will require a change of attitude by Sinn Fein, especially towards the innocent victims of IRA terrorism.

In the course of this briefing I have several times referred to the need to gain widespread agreement and a broad consensus. I should perhaps explain how I believe we should gauge such a level of support. While there is no precise formula that can be adopted it means more than the support of our own party. It must be a consensus within each and across both sections of our community and in my view that must include both victims who have been traumatised by the conflict, and security force personnel who have paid such a high price for their bravery.

If and when we ever reach the time when we need to arrive at a conclusion on this matter I believe we should consult widely and perhaps set up a representative working group to make recommendations.

In conclusion and in summary – We have established a fundamental principle that the Maze site must be developed as shared space. If people will not share a street or road it is self-evident that more work is needed to ensure equality in the way that the concept of shared space is taken forward.

Whatever decision others may take, as First Minister, I have set the limits of my position and that of my party I have provided some considerable detail about our intentions relating to the development. I wanted you to be up to date when the matter becomes public to answer any questions about our position.

Sincerely

Peter

Friday, 9 August 2013

A Slip Of The Tongue

David Cameron has done another U Turn this time over  fracking. He said: "What we are looking at is trying to have a very simple system where every time a well is dug, immediately £1m goes to the local community and not just to the local council but actually to local people so people can see a cash benefit in their local village, in their local town and even, potentially in their local pocket as well."

According to Downing Street this was a slip of the tongue by the British Prime Minister. The Shale Gas Industry is likely to offer £100,000 to each community it drills a well in.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Affront To Democracy

Angus MacNeil, MP for Na H-Eileanan An Iar, said: “Under the Westminster system, we now have the ludicrous situation that there are far more legislators who are appointed than elected - and people in Scotland elect only 4 per cent of the parliamentarians who hold powers over the economy, welfare, defence, our place in Europe, and many other crucial areas of policy.

“The UK parties nominating their own donors to the House of Lords is part and parcel of Westminster’s crony culture - and the Lords is now the second biggest chamber in the world after the Chinese National People’s Congress, which governs a country of 1.3 billion.

“The SNP’s long-standing position is that we believe those making laws should be elected by the people, and therefore we do not nominate members to the House of Lords.”

He added: “A Yes vote for independence means that people in Scotland can get rid of the expensive and unrepresentative Westminster tier - which means better and cheaper government.

“It really is an affront to democracy that, at a time of economic austerity and cuts, this lavish anachronism grows in numbers - despite promise after promise that it will be reformed. Only a Yes vote in 2014 will enable Scotland to be governed 100 per cent by parliamentarians elected 100 per cent by the people of Scotland.”

Thursday, 1 August 2013

DUP Councillor Supports Terrorist Attack

Mrs Patterson apparently made the remarks on Facebook.

It was in reply to a post from someone else foreseeing an imaginary attack on the parade in which several people including Sinn Féin figures are killed.

A response under Ruth Patterson's profile asked: "... Who cares how we would be judged, we would have done a great service to Northern Ireland and the world."

Asked by the BBC if she had written those words, Mrs Patterson said "That was on a private page. I can't comment on that at the moment."

Monday, 29 July 2013

Dennis Canavan Calls For Referendum On Monarchy

Dennis Canavan has said: “As to the possibility of another King George, it is important to remember that true democracy is based on the sovereignty of the people rather than the sovereignty of any monarch,” adding: “In an independent Scotland, the people of Scotland should therefore be given an early opportunity to decide whether they want to retain the monarchy or choose an elected head of state.”

Sunday, 28 July 2013

SOCA Scandal

The Serious Organized Crime Agency is involved in a serious scandal.Covering up the wrong doing of large Companies and Banks as well as wealthy individuals. These Companies hired private investigators in order to obtain private data on individuals. This went on for years. SOCA investigated this and compiled a list of 101 clients who hired private investigators. The head of the SOCA demanded that the list be “kept in a safe in a locked room, within a secure building and that the document should not be left unattended on a desk at any time”. If journalists can be arrested for this why not leading businessmen?

Friday, 26 July 2013

Transition Is Never A Easy Thing

The creation of 11 new Super Councils was never going to run smooth here. Councils right across the North are appointing what are known as Statutory Transition Committees.

Their job will be to oversee the reduction from 26 to just 11 Super Councils.

The Alliance Party is not happy about the appointment of two Unionist councillor’s by Castlereagh Council to a Transition Committee. They believe that they are entitled to at least one of the posts. On Lisburn Council they have appointed a SDLP councillor and a DUP Councillor which has upset SF who are threatening legal action.

A DUP spokesman said: “The guidance issued by the environment minister to councils in relation to the transition committees was guidance and not legally binding.

“Legal advice was sought in relation to these appointments by at least one of the councils in question which supported the view taken by members of the council.”

An Ulster Unionist spokesperson said: “Whilst the Alliance Party may disagree with the democratic decision of Lisburn and Castlereagh councils, this is the same party who acted tactlessly in their decision to remove the union flag from Belfast City Hall.

“After the last Assembly election the Ulster Unionist Party returned 16 Assembly Members and the SDLP 14. Both parties subsequently took up one place on the Executive. The Alliance Party, however, returned only eight Assembly members, yet shamelessly took two places on the Executive. Maybe they should take a look closer to home before coming out with such hypocritical statements.”

Oh The Things They Say

“Have people learned nothing about the way these things operate in Northern Ireland? If you deny someone the right to do something – very often the reaction is precisely the opposite of what you desired.” So says Jeffrey Donaldson the DUP MP and well known film buff about the flying of flags.

Live Long And Prosper

In England today their is a North/South divide when it comes to life expectancy. In East Dorset men can expect to live to 83, 9.2 years more than men in Blackpool, Lancashire, which had the lowest male life expectancy at 73.8 years.

East Dorset had a life expectancy for women of 86.4 years, 7.1 years more than the lowest, the 79.3 year life expectancy in Manchester.

It seems if you live in the South of England you will live longer than if you live in the North of England.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Putting Out The Writs?

Six days after the broadcast of a Spotlight Special programme about Nelson McCausland and the BBC have said they have not received any legal writs from the DUP. This is despite Peter Robinson threatening immediate legal action if the TV programme was broadcast. This is not the first time the DUP have threatened legal action against the BBC. A previous Spotlight programme about the leaders wife and her sexual relationship with a teenage businessman.And her financial involvement with two local property developers also brought threats of legal action that didn't eventually materialize. The days of the DUP hiding behind the law seem to be well and truly over.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Dubious Use Of Petition

So what are the DUP trying to hide? They have issued a petition of concern regarding Nelson McCausland and the Red Sky Affair up at Stormont. Which means they can veto any outcome of the debate up there on Monday. I don't think those who drew up these rules meant for them to be used to cover up alleged corruption and abuse of power.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Nelson Must Go

According to Robin Swann the UUP MLA Nelson McCausland the Social Development Minister should step aside now. This is following last night's BBC Spotlight Special TV programme. Jenny Palmer a DUP councillor in Lisburn and a member of the Housing Executive Board blew the whistle on Red Sky and the Housing Executive. Ms Palmer told the programme: "He (Mr Stephen Brimstone a Special Advisor to Nelson McCausland) said 'the party comes first, you do what you're told', otherwise there's no point in me being on the board, if I wasn't prepared to do what they asked me to do."

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

UDA Still Up To Their Necks In Crime

The UDA is still involved in racketeering and other criminal behaviour. A court yesterday sent down 4 men for a blackmail plot to extort thousands of pounds from a businessman.Richard Barry (40) of Cairndore Way, Newtownards was arrested by police while sitting in a Newtownards bar counting an envelope stuffed with cash. Richard Barry was sentenced to nine years.
Glen Benson (42) of Barnagh Park, Donaghadee, was given eight years, Andrew McBride (31) from Upper Movilla Street in Ards, seven years, and 42-year-old David Walsh from Kearney Gardens in Bangor, received five years in jail.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Robinson V Robinson

Compare and Contrast:

Iris Robinson launched a scathing attack on integrated education in 2007 saying it is "founded primarily on sectarianism".
Mrs Robinson also said the integrated lobby was discouraging support with the "high handed and arrogant stance perpetually adopted by its public proponents".
She added that it thrived off sectarianism and was part of a wider programme of social engineering driven by government.
Mrs Robinson's comments were made after government rejected a proposal for a new integrated post-primary school – Rowallane College.
She said the philosophy of the integrated lobby "consists of nothing else other than self-righteous, pompous claims of reconciliation, no more amazing than claiming they can fit 200 people into the back seat of a Mini".
"Far from transcending sectarianism with some stupendous alternative for the provision of education in Northern Ireland, the integrated lobby is an integral part of that sectarian system and feeds off it – without it, it would starve and die," she added.
"It is a philosophy founded primarily on sectarianism, as opposed to the delivery of education and is part of a wider programme of social engineering driven by the government and abetted by the holier than thou section of our population.
"I will, therefore, never act in such a fashion as to further jeopardise the delivery of education to the overwhelming majority of our children, simply to please the politically tainted demands of the tiny minority."

But Peter Robinson has said: "How anybody who is looking for shared education can be seen to be sectarian is beyond me and beyond everyone else."

Friday, 28 June 2013

Former UUP Peer Appears In Court

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass has appeared in court on an assault charge.

The former UUP peer, 75, of Park Lane, Dungannon, County Tyrone, is accused of assaulting a man on 7 June 2012, in what is understood to be a road-rage incident.

Representing himself at Dungannon Magistrates Court, Lord Maginnis said he wanted the justice minister to give evidence in the case.

He said the charge was based on "conspiracy and corruption".

A hearing has been set for 19 August. Lord Maginnis said he will have legal representation for the hearing.

Ken Maginnis is the former UUP MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone. He was MP from 1983-2001. He was also a UDR major and former member of the B Specials.

Well At Least Someone's Doing Well

The Queen of England has been handed an five per cent pay raise the day after £11.5bn of Government spending cuts were announced.

The Treasury will pay out a Sovereign Grant of £37.89m, up from £36.1m from the previous year.

While the Unemployed who have lost there jobs will have to wait a week until they can claim jobseekers allowance. And people who cannot speak English will have to learn the language in order to claim benefits.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

We Don't Need No Education

The Belfast Telegraph has been getting on it's high horse in recent days on the subject of integrated education. It's editor Ed Curran has sought to lecture parents who send their children to Catholic schools. The key question in education is are parents allowed to send their children to a school of their own choice? Or will they be forced to send them to a School the Government tells them. It wasn't so long ago the Belfast Telegraph was running a campaign to save local Grammar Schools. It seems to Mr Curran that middle class parents are entitled to send their offspring to a school of their own choice. Yet Catholic parents are not allowed to choice a Catholic School for their offspring. Most parents want what is best for their children. The only people who fully support integrated education are in the APNI. The DUP have been making friendly noises towards integrated education in recent times but many see this as dishonest. Others such as the dregs of humanity that used to make up the Workers Party give support to the integrated education movement

DUP Health Minister Loses Court Case

The Court of Appeal has rejected a move by Edwin Poots to stop Gay couples in the North adopting children. Edwin Poots had challenged an earlier High Court decision, which ruled the current adoption ban was unlawful. The Court of Appeal ruling has been welcomed by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and Gay rights groups.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Nutters

According to UUP leader Mike Nesbitt that’s what DUP MLA Jimmy Spratt called those who are opposed to the peace centre at Long Kesh. Mr Spratt made his alleged remark at a OFMDFM committee meeting today. Mr Nesbitt who has taken umbrage at the comment and gone running to his friends in the local media.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Truth Hurts

Doctor Alasdair McDonnell has called the DUP bigots in the House Of Commons. This is true as far as most people who don't vote DUP are concerned. When it comes to bigotry they leave most people cold.The SDLP leader has hit the nail on the head and should not be apologizing to anybody least of all a little guttersnipe like Jeffrey Donaldson. Well done to Doctor McDonnell for pointing out the facts when it comes to the DUP. Maybe if more people treated the DUP as the enemy instead of sucking up to them constantly Irish Nationalism would be in better shape in the North.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Celtic V Cliftonville

Glasgow Celtic have been drawn against Cliftonville in the Champions League. The North Belfast side will play at Celtic Park on the 16th/17th of July. The home leg will be played on the 23rd/24th of July. May the best team win.

Friday, 21 June 2013

William Hague's Sexuality Baffles The World

William Hague's sexuality still baffles the world. Many people ask me is he gay or not? I honestly don't know the messages are so mixed. Yes he is married but so was Oscar Wilde and he even had kids. And then there was that young guy he shared a hotel room with. Who he later employed as a advisor even though he wasn't qualified for the job. Some might say it is none of my business but I am not the one who is living a lie. It is all so confusing one thing that isn't confusing though is William Hague's recent intervention in the Scottish Independence debate. Even though it is none of his business and he doesn't even have a vote in the referendum.

Tory Taliban On The March

The Right Wing of the Tory Party is now in open revolt it has even published it's own version of the Queen's Speech. Setting out the 40 bills it would introduce to parliament these are:

1) Face Coverings (Prohibition) - Bill to prohibit the wearing of certain face coverings; and for connected purposes.

2) National Service - Bill to provide a system of national service for young persons; and for connected purposes.

3) European Communities Act 1972 (Repeal) - Bill to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and related legislation; and for connected purposes.

4) Young Offenders (Parental Responsibility) - Bill to make provision for the parents of young offenders to be legally responsible for their actions.

5) Foreign National Offenders (Exclusion from the United Kingdom) - Bill to make provision to exclude from the United Kingdom foreign nationals found guilty of a criminal offence committed in the United Kingdom.

6) Asylum Seekers (Return to Nearest Safe Country) - Bill to facilitate the transfer of asylum seekers to the safe country nearest their country of origin.

7) Prisoners (Completion of Custodial Sentences) - Bill to require prisoners to serve in prison the full custodial sentence handed down by the court.

8) Fishing Grounds and Territorial Waters (Repatriation) - Bill to make provision for the Government to designate certain fishing grounds and territorial waters as sovereign territory of the United Kingdom outside the control of the Common Fisheries Policy.

9) School Governing Bodies (Adverse Weather Conditions) - Bill to require school governing bodies and headteachers to make provision to keep schools open in adverse weather conditions.

10) Capital Punishment - Bill to allow for capital punishment for certain offences.

11) Government Departments (Amalgamation of Scotland Office, Wales Office and Northern Ireland Office) - Bill to make provision for the amalgamation of the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Offices.

12) Residential Roads (Adoption by Local Highways Authority) - Bill to require the handover of residential roads built by developers to local highways authorities within certain time periods; and for connected purposes.

13) Equality and Diversity (Reform) - Bill to prohibit the use of affirmative and positive action in recruitment and appointment processes; to amend the Equality Act 2010 to remove the special provision for political parties in relation to the selection of candidates; and for connected purposes.

14) Sentencing Escalator - Bill to provide that a criminal reconvicted for an offence on a second or further occasion receives a longer sentence than for the first such offence.

15) Leasehold Reform (Amendment) - Bill to amend the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 in relation to the permitted signatories of notices; and for connected purposes.

16) BBC Licence Fee (Civil Debt) - Bill to make provision to decriminalise the non-payment of the BBC licence fee.

17) Smoking (Private Members’ Clubs) - Bill to make provision to allow smoking in a separate ventilated room in a private members’ club if a majority of the members of the club so decide.

18) Margaret Thatcher Day - Bill to make provision that the annual Bank Holiday Monday in late August be known as Margaret Thatcher Day.

19) Department of Energy and Climate Change (Abolition) - Bill to make provision for the abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change and for its functions to be absorbed into the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

20) Married Couples (Tax Allowance) - Bill to make provision for a tax allowance for married couples.

21) Foreign Aid Ring-Fencing (Abolition) - Bill to make provision for foreign aid and development not to be linked to a specific percentage of Gross National Income, but to be set yearly, by Parliament, in relation to need.

22) Charitable Status for Religious Institutions - Bill to make provision for a presumption that religious institutions meet the public benefit test for charitable status.

23) Same Sex Marriage (Referendum) - Bill to make provision for a referendum on whether same sex marriage should be allowed.

24) Wind Farm Subsidies (Abolition) - Bill to make provision for the cessation of subsidies for the development of wind farms.

25) Withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights and Removal of Alleged Terrorists - Bill to make provision for an application to the Council of Europe to withdraw from the European Convention of Human Rights and to deport alleged terrorists subject to approval by the British courts.

26) Romanian and Bulgarian Accession (Labour Restriction) - Bill to make provision for restrictions on the residence in the UK of Bulgarian and Romanian nationals to continue.

27) BBC Privatisation - Bill to make provision for the privatisation of the British Broadcasting Corporation by providing shares in the Corporation to all licence fee payers.

28) Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Abolition) - Bill to make provision for the abolition of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and its responsibilities to be allocated to other Departments of State.

29) Prime Minister (Replacement) - Bill to make provision for the appointment of a Prime Minister in the event that a Prime Minister is temporarily or permanently incapacitated.

30) United Kingdom (Withdrawal from the European Union) - Bill to make provision for the Government to give notice under Article 50 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; and for connected purposes.

31) Asylum (Time Limit) - Bill to require that asylum claims in the United Kingdom be lodged within three months of the claimant’s arrival in the United Kingdom; and that persons who have already entered the United Kingdom and wish to make an asylum claim must do so within three months of the passing of this Act.

32) Benefit Entitlement (Restriction) - Bill to make provision to restrict the entitlement of non-UK Citizens from the European Union and the European Economic Area to taxpayer-funded benefits.

33) Illegal Immigrants (Criminal Sanctions) - Bill to make provision for criminal sanctions against those who have entered the UK illegally or who have remained in the UK without legal authority.

34) Sexual Impropriety in Employment - Bill to require that claims by employees alleging sexual impropriety be limited to cases where the alleged misconduct is contrary to the criminal law and has been reported to the police.

35) Collection of Nationality Data - Bill to require the collection and publication of information relating to the nationality of those in receipt of benefits and of those to whom national insurance numbers are issued. 36) Foreign Nationals (Access to Public Services) - Bill to restrict access by foreign nationals to United Kingdom public services for which no charge is made.

37) House of Lords (Maximum Membership) - Bill to provide for a maximum limit on the number of Peers entitled to vote in the House of Lords, and to provide for a moratorium on new appointments.

38) Control of Offshore Wind Turbines - Bill to restrict the height, number, location and subsidies of wind turbines situated offshore within 20 miles of the coast.

39) Employment Opportunities - Bill to introduce more freedom, flexibility and opportunity for those seeking employment in the public and private sectors; and for connected purposes.

40) EU Membership (Audit of Costs and Benefits) - Bill to require an independent audit of the benefits and costs of UK membership of the European Union.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

DUP Attack NI21 In Mid-Ulster

DUP MLA for Mid-Ulster Ian McCrea said "Having considered this statement from Basil, I think that he should concentrate on getting his own house in order instead of trying to make inroads in constituencies that are already stretched thin with unionist representation,” Mr McCrea said.

“Anyone I have spoken to regarding this new party have just laughed, but also expressed that they have no appetite for another split in the Mid Ulster vote and they especially don’t want a party that tweets in Irish for the sole purpose of vote winning.

Mr McCrea continued: “NI21 are positioning themselves to be a party that is different from the rest, but as far as I can see they are nothing but chameleons that change their message and morals to suit whatever area they are trying to win votes in.”

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Crazy Nigel's Back In Scotland

Nigel Farage is out and about in Scotland again. The UKIP leader seems to turn the Scottish people to violence everywhere he goes. This time it's Aberdeen that doesn't seem to like this jumped up Englishman.Better off together better off apart if you ask me.

A Little Integration

I have started a new opinion poll on my blog. This one is about housing integration in the Six Counties. As Barack Obama pointed out in his speech in Belfast recently we in the North really need to learn to live together. So I thought which Town or City here was most in need of this. I include Towns and Cities which have seen the very worst of the troubles like Belfast and Derry. And other Towns who seen very little of the violence like Newtownards and Bangor. Obviously you could not do this overnight this whole thing will take time and patience. You couldn't for example take the residents of Ballymurphy in West Belfast and swop them with the residents of the Kilcooley in Bangor that just wouldn't work. Yes a lot of thinking and planning will have to go into this little Social Engineering project but I am sure President Obama is on to something. After all the forced racial integration of the schools in Boston worked out so well in the end didn't it Mr Obama?

Monday, 17 June 2013

Poor Nigella

Did you see those photographs in the newspaper yesterday? Of Nigella Lawson with her husband's hands wrapped around her throat. Shame on Charles Saatchi for doing such a thing to Nigella or indeed any woman. Nigella is the daughter of Nigel Lawson a former Chancellor under Margaret Thatcher and the sister of Dominic Lawson a MI6 spy. Hopefully Nigella will now tell the police everything about what this odious little man has done to her. And it will be a lesson to other women that they do not have to suffer in silence any longer. Turn the little creep in Nigella don't let him get away with it.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

APNI Feel Threatened By NI21

So the Alliance Party feel threatened by new kids on the block  NI21. First out of the block is Ian Parsley who has been to more parties than Paris Hilton. All over Letsgetalongerists website Slugger O'Toole slagging off the New Party. But Basil and company won't take this lying down so we can expect him to unleash several of his 40 year old scorchers on the APNI. And others will no doubt get dragged into this political bun fight. The APNI and their numerous allies in the local media and blogosphere are determined to strangle Basils baby at birth. This blog wishes Basil all the best in recruiting APNI voters and maybe even NI Tories.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Alway's Look On The Bright Side Of Life

NILT survey:

Irish not British. 24%
More Irish than British. 14%
Equally Irish and British 17%
More British than Irish 16%
British not Irish. 23%
Other description (please specify). 6%

Hat Tip to BangorDub.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The BBC Defend Danny Baker

Danny Baker the BBC Radio 5 live  presenter made the following tweet only a few hours after the Boston Bombing:

Disgusting news from USA. Tragically, in 70s & 80s you couldnt drink in many Boston bars without putting money into a bucket for "the cause"

Really Danny many Boston bars? The IRA never raised more than 800,000 dollars a year in the USA. No more than 5 million dollars over 30 years of armed conflict. Considering it cost 15 to 20 million pounds a year to run the IRA that really wasn't very much money. Maybe Danny boy should leave politics to somebody who knows something about the subject stick to football Danny.

SDLP Turn Down Pay Rise

The SDLP MLA's at Stormont have turned down a £5,000 pay increase. They are the only party to do so. All the other parties excepted it bringing their MLA's salaries up to £48,000 a year.

The SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan has told the Nolan Show: "Actions speak louder than words and we have all refused to take it.

"In this undoubted time of austerity where you have people in work facing pay freezes, pay cuts and pay-offs and then people out of work, and with disabilities, facing cuts to their benefits, it's completely unjustifiable, in my opinion, for elected representatives to take a pay rise."

Mr Durkan said the independent panel that recommended the pay increase was "not only unaware of the public mood but also completely oblivious to the public need".

Monday, 10 June 2013

Southern Comfort

Barnet
Buckinghamshire
Cambridgeshire
Essex
Hampshire
Hertfordshire
Kent
Oxfordshire
Richmond upon Thames
Surrey

Above are the top ten local council areas for student admissions to Oxford or Cambridge University in England.So if you live in the South East of England your children are far more likely to go Oxford or Cambridge University. More students from Surrey gained admission to Oxford or Cambridge than in the whole of Wales and the North East of England combined. The British Elite should be called the Southern Elite of England. As todays Oxbridge students are tomorrow's Cabinet Ministers and High Court Judges and Business CEO's.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Another Unionist Party

Another Unionist Party was launched last night. Basil McCrea's new party NI21 has a lot of support already judging by how many people showed up. It starts off with two MLA's but no MP's or councillors. I would criticize the new parties new policies but according to their website they don't have any yet. Many people will say Unionism needs a new party that respectable unionists can vote for. The Alliance Party have the most to lose from this new development. The new party says it will form a opposition at Stormont to the Power Sharing Executive. Reg Empey of the UUP accused Basil of Salami slicing the Unionist vote. But Reg has a short memory. Reg alongside his pal David Trimble and Bill Craig starting slicing up the Unionist vote in the 1970's with the Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party. Of course the real problem Unionism is to many parties to little voters. Basil says he will fight the next European election. In which Unionist voters will be spoilt for choice. Between the UUP the DUP and the TUV not to mention UKIP and maybe the BNP as well as APNI and the PUP. Eight Unionist candidates for three seats. Nine Unionists of the DUP decide to run two candidates. Which can only be good news for SF and the SDLP.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

A Weekend In Watford

Those attending the Bilderberg Conference this weekend in Watford England:

Chairman: Henri de Castries, Chairman and CEO, AXA Group

Paul M. Achleitner, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG

Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the Board, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd

Marcus Agius, Former Chairman, Barclays plc

Helen Alexander, Chairman, UBM plc

Roger C. Altman, Executive Chairman, Evercore Partners

Matti Apunen, Director, Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA

Susan Athey, Professor of Economics, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, Columnist, Milliyet Newspaper

Ali Babacan, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Financial Affairs

Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

Francisco Pinto Balsemão, Chairman and CEO, IMPRESA

Nicolas Barré, Managing Editor, Les Echos

José Manuel Barroso, President, European Commission

Nicolas Baverez, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Olivier de Bavinchove, Commander, Eurocorps

John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford

Franco Bernabè, Chairman and CEO, Telecom Italia S.p.A.

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon.com

Carl Bildt, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs

Anders Borg, Swedish Minister for Finance

Jean François van Boxmeer, CEO, Heineken

Svein Richard Brandtzæg, President and CEO, Norsk Hydro ASA

Oscar Bronner, Publisher, Der Standard Medienwelt

Peter Carrington, Former Honorary Chairman, Bilderberg Meetings

Juan Luis Cebrián, Executive Chairman, Grupo PRISA

Edmund Clark, President and CEO, TD Bank Group

Kenneth Clarke, Cabinet Minister

Bjarne Corydon, Danish Minister of Finance

Sherard Cowper-Coles, Business Development Director, International, BAE Systems plc

Enrico Cucchiani, CEO, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA

Etienne Davignon, Belgian Minister of State; Former Chairman, Bilderberg Meetings

Ian Davis, Senior Partner Emeritus, McKinsey & Company

Robbert H. Dijkgraaf, Director and Leon Levy Professor, Institute for Advanced Study

Haluk Dinçer, President, Retail and Insurance Group, Sabancı Holding A.S.

Robert Dudley, Group Chief Executive, BP plc

Nicholas N. Eberstadt, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy, American Enterprise Institute

Espen Barth Eide, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Investor AB

Thomas Enders, CEO, EADS

J. Michael Evans, Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs & Co.

Ulrik Federspiel, Executive Vice President, Haldor Topsøe A/S

Martin S.Feldstein, Professor of Economics, Harvard University; President Emeritus, NBER

François Fillon, Former French Prime Minister

Mark C. Fishman, President, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

Douglas J. Flint, Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plc

Paul Gallagher, Senior Counsel

Timothy F Geithner, Former Secretary of the Treasury

Michael Gfoeller, US Political Consultant

Donald E. Graham, Chairman and CEO, The Washington Post Company

Ulrich Grillo, CEO, Grillo-Werke AG

Lilli Gruber, Journalist - Anchorwoman, La 7 TV

Luis de Guindos, Spanish Minister of Economy and Competitiveness

Stuart Gulliver, Group Chief Executive, HSBC Holdings plc

Felix Gutzwiller, Member of the Swiss Council of States

Victor Halberstadt, Professor of Economics, Leiden University; Former Honorary Secretary General of Bilderberg Meetings

Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Simon Henry, CFO, Royal Dutch Shell plc

Paul Hermelin, Chairman and CEO, Capgemini Group

Pablo Isla, Chairman and CEO, Inditex Group

Kenneth M. Jacobs, Chairman and CEO, Lazard

James A. Johnson, Chairman, Johnson Capital Partners

Thomas J. Jordan, Chairman of the Governing Board, Swiss National Bank

Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., Managing Director, Lazard Freres & Co. LLC

Robert D. Kaplan, Chief Geopolitical Analyst, Stratfor

Alex Karp, Founder and CEO, Palantir Technologies

John Kerr, Independent Member, House of Lords

Henry A. Kissinger, Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.

Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO, Alcoa

Klaas H.W. Knot, President, De Nederlandsche Bank

Mustafa V Koç,. Chairman, Koç Holding A.S.

Roland Koch, CEO, Bilfinger SE

Henry R. Kravis, Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

Marie-Josée Kravis, Senior Fellow and Vice Chair, Hudson Institute

André Kudelski, Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group

Ulysses Kyriacopoulos, Chairman, S&B Industrial Minerals S.A.

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

J. Kurt Lauk, Chairman of the Economic Council to the CDU, Berlin

Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School

Thomas Leysen, Chairman of the Board of Directors, KBC Group

Christian Lindner, Party Leader, Free Democratic Party (FDP NRW)

Stefan Löfven, Party Leader, Social Democratic Party (SAP)

Peter Löscher, President and CEO, Siemens AG

Peter Mandelson, Chairman, Global Counsel; Chairman, Lazard International

Jessica T. Mathews, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Frank McKenna, Chair, Brookfield Asset Management

John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, The Economist

Thierry de Montbrial, President, French Institute for International Relations

Mario Monti, Former Italian Prime Minister

Craig J. Mundie, Senior Advisor to the CEO, Microsoft Corporation

Alberto Nagel, CEO, Mediobanca

H.R.H. Princess Beatrix of The Netherlands

Andrew Y.Ng, Co-Founder, Coursera

Jorma Ollila, Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell, plc

David Omand, Visiting Professor, King's College London

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Soli Özel, Senior Lecturer, Kadir Has University; Columnist, Habertürk Newspaper

Alexis Papahelas, Executive Editor, Kathimerini Newspaper

Şafak Pavey, Turkish MP

Valérie Pécresse, French MP

Richard N. Perle, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

David H. Petraeus, General, U.S. Army (Retired)

Paulo Portas, Portugal Minister of State and Foreign Affairs

J. Robert S Prichard, Chair, Torys LLP

Viviane Reding, Vice President and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, European Commission

Heather M. Reisman, CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc.

Hélène Rey, Professor of Economics, London Business School

Simon Robertson, Partner, Robertson Robey Associates LLP; Deputy Chairman, HSBC Holdings

Gianfelice Rocca, Chairman,Techint Group

Jacek Rostowski, Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister

Robert E. Rubin, Co-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Secretary of the Treasury

Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime Minister

Andreas Schieder, Austrian State Secretary of Finance

Eric E. Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google Inc.

Rudolf Scholten, Member of the Board of Executive Directors, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG

António José Seguro, Secretary General, Portuguese Socialist Party

Jean-Dominique Senard, CEO, Michelin Group

Kristin Skogen Lund, Director General, Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University

Peter D. Sutherland, Chairman, Goldman Sachs International

Martin Taylor, Former Chairman, Syngenta AG

Tidjane Thiam, Group CEO, Prudential plc

Peter A. Thiel, President, Thiel Capital

Craig B. Thompson, President and CEO, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Jakob Haldor Topsøe, Partner, AMBROX Capital A/S

Jutta Urpilainen, Finnish Minister of Finance

Daniel L. Vasella, Honorary Chairman, Novartis AG

Peter R. Voser, CEO, Royal Dutch Shell plc

Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan Province, Canada

Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman, Investor AB

Kevin Warsh, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Galen G.Weston, Executive Chairman, Loblaw Companies Limited

Baroness Williams of Crosby, Member, House of Lords

Martin H. Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator, The Financial Times

James D. Wolfensohn, Chairman and CEO, Wolfensohn and Company

David Wright, Vice Chairman, Barclays plc

Robert B. Zoellick, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Monday, 3 June 2013

Opinion Poll Update

Mick Fealty 12 votes
Duncan Morrow 9 votes
Quentin Oliver 7 votes
Ian Parsley 7 votes
Dawn Purvis 3 votes
None of the Above 2 votes
Robin Wilson 1 vote
Andy Pollok 1 vote
Allan Leonard 1 vote
Gladys Ganiel O'Neill 1 vote
Rev Norman Hamilton 0 votes
Rick Wilford 0 votes

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Lord Laird Resigns Ulster Unionist Whip

In a statement, today the Ulster Unionist party leader Mike Nesbitt said: "Having reviewed the video footage on the Daily Telegraph website, and other media reporting of Lord Laird's engagement with alleged lobbyists, I telephoned his home this morning and as a result he has relinquished the Party Whip, pending the outcome of the review of his behaviour that he has already requested of the relevant authorities at Westminster.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Former British Army Officer Resigns Tory Whip

Former British Army Officer turned Tory MP Patrick Mercer has resigned the Tory Party Whip. Mr Mercer was being investigated by the BBC Panorama programme in relation to lobbying. Mr Mercer who rose to the rank of Colonel in the British Army was awarded an OBE for his service in the Six Counties.

In a statement, Mr Mercer said: “Panorama are planning to broadcast a programme alleging that I have broken Parliamentary rules.

“I am taking legal advice about these allegations – and I have referred myself to the Parliamentary commissioner for standards. In the meantime, to save my party embarrassment, I have resigned the Conservative Whip and have so informed Sir George Young.

Vote For Your Favourite LetsGetAlongerist

I have started a new opinion poll tonight. So please vote for your favourite LetsGetAlongerist you have plenty of candidates to choose from. They are all there. Thanks to the peerless Blogger FitzJamesHorse for giving me the idea. That and by the time opinion poll closes we should have the launch of a new Political Party in the North which embraces the same values of many of the candidates on the opinion poll. Remember it is just a bit of fun but no cheating and may the best man or woman win.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

More Than 500,000 People Need Help From Foodbanks In Order To Survive

According to a joint report by Oxfam and Church Poverty Action over 500,000 people need help from foodbanks in order to survive.

Mark Goldring, the chief executive of Oxfam, said: “The shocking reality is that hundreds of thousands of of people in the UK are turning to food aid. Cuts to social safety-nets have gone too far, leading to destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale. It is unacceptable this is happening in the seventh wealthiest nation on the planet.”
The Trussell Trust, the biggest organiser of food banks in the United Kingdom, said almost 350,000 people received at least three days’ emergency food last year, compared with about 130,000 in 2011-12. But because there is an array of organisations distributing food, the new report conservatively estimates that well over 500,000 people are now relying on the charity handouts.
Niall Cooper, the chief executive of Church Action on Poverty, said: “The safety net that was there to protect people is being eroded to such an extent that we are seeing a rise in hunger. Food banks are not designed to, and should not, replace the ‘normal’ safety net provided by the state in the form of welfare support.”

The Trussell Trust runs 350 food banks across the UK with help from 30,000 volunteers. It is also opening three new foodbanks every week. It helps out people referred to it by Social Services and doctors as well as school liaison officers and Jobcentre Plus staff.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Don't Worry Be Happy

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Better Life Index for 2013:

1. Australia

2. Sweden

3. Canada

4. Norway

5. Switzerland

6. United States Of America

7. Denmark

8. Netherlands

9. Iceland

10. United Kingdom

11. New Zealand

12. Finland

13. Austria

14. Luxembourg

15. Ireland

16. Belgium

17. Germany

18. France
 
19. Slovenia

20. Spain

21. Japan

22. Czech Republic

23. Italy

24. Israel

25. Poland

26. Slovak Republic

27. Korea

28. Portugal

29. Hungary

30. Greece

31. Estonia

32 Russia

33. Brazil

34. Chile

35. Mexico

36. Turkey

Nice Work If You Can Get It

The MP's who are making the most money outside Parliament are:

Gordon Brown (Lab) £1.37million
Stephen Phillips (Con) £740,000
Geoffrey Cox (Con) £417,000
Nicholas Soames (Con) £305,000
Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Con) £276,000
Alistair Darling (Lab) £263,000
John Redwood (Con) £238,000
Jack Straw (Lab) £183,000.

But are they neglecting the needs of their constituents?

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Battle For Liberal Unionist Votes

The battle for liberal Unionist votes will begin in earnest next month. Basil McCrea will launch his new party no doubt to much fanfare in the local media and blogosphere. So far the Alliance Party has had the so called middle ground all to itself. But the fight for hearts and minds will be bitter and nasty. Basil will have to offer something new something that distinguishes him from the Alliance Party. All the other three Unionist parties seem to be right wing both on Social and Economic issues and fighting for the same votes. In fact the UUP seems to think it can out DUP the DUP if recent public statements by it’s leadership is anything to go by. Is to much to expect that Basil will have a greater cross section of society here at the Party launch?

Sunday, 26 May 2013

BBC Question Time Fair And Balanced?

Thursday nights edition of the BBC’s Question Time came from Belfast. And according to the floor plan featured John O’Dowd of SF/IRA and Ian Paisley Junior of DUP Goodies. And they say the BBC doesn’t have a Pro Unionist bias. As far as I know John O’Dowd was never a member of the IRA. And to accuse him of being a member is a thundering disgrace. As for Ian Paisley Junior being a Goodie I assume that means a good guy not a member of the 1970′s comedy trio made up of Graham Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie. Well you can judge Ian Junior for yourself as he seems very fond of judging others especially gays.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Who Are These People?

According to the recent Census along with British and Irish there is a third identity here. People who live here and who call themselves Northern Irish. But what does that mean exactly? Northern Ireland is not a Independent Country. Do they have a shared history no they don’t they are mixture of Catholic and Protestant. The history of the North is a one party police state run by the Unionists for almost 50 years. Then the whole place erupted in violence in the 1960′s. British troops were sent in to protect the Catholics from Protestant mobs intent on burning every Catholic family out of Belfast. The undeclared Civil War went on for more than 30 years leaving thousands dead and even more injured. And then came the ceasefires followed by all party talks bringing about the Good Friday Agreement. Now we have a power sharing government up at Stormont with North/South bodies. If you are British you no doubt vote DUP or UUP or maybe even TUV. If you are Irish you can vote for Sinn Fein or the SDLP. But who do the Northern Irish vote for? Do they even vote at all? Are they happy to just sit in the middle or can they be pursuded to pick a side.

Corporation Tax Will Be Slashed In A Independent Scotland

Corporation Tax will be cut if Scotland becomes a independent country says Alex Salmond. It will be 3% less than in the UK. Giving Scotland a rate of 17%. Which would be lower than Luxembourg’s 21%, where the likes of Amazon and eBay base some of their business operations.

It would also put Scotland way below Germany at 29% and France at 33%.

However, the Corporation Tax rate would still be higher than it is in Ireland, where companies are charged at 12.5% This has helped it attract computer giants like Apple and Dell and Microsoft, allowing Irish export levels to soar to more than €130bn – compared with just £24bn in Scotland.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Scottish People More Likely To Back Independence If UK Leaves EU

The Scottish people would be more likely to back independence if they think there’s a danger of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union a new panelbase opinion poll showed yesterday.

The poll showed that 44 per cent are against breaking up the UK, with 36 per cent in favour.

But when asked how they’d vote if a UK withdrawal from the European Union looked likely, the results were tied at 44 per cent each.