Tired, bored or thorougly alienated by politics? Just hold your nose and vote
Have you succumbed to pre-election fatigue yet? I know I have. The symptoms are unmistakeable.
Have you succumbed to pre-election fatigue yet? I know I have. The symptoms are unmistakeable.
It’s not every day the Alliance Party leader makes a point of bolstering her DUP counterpart.
When MP Diane Abbott appeared on Sky TV at the weekend she looked immaculate. Make-up subtle and professional, the hair newly-styled with that glossy shine that only hairdressers ever seem able to achieve.
Sometimes, it's not the grand gestures or the 'big talk' that restores faith in the human race, but the very smallest things instead. Amid all the gloom of the season and the despair of the headlines of local and international tragedy, there are still stories subtle enough and...
Like many commentators, I’ve been humbled by recent failures as a political forecaster. I’d bragged about accurately predicting the result of the 2015 UK general election, but was brought down to size by getting both the Brexit referendum and the US Presidential election...
Jasmine works in a supermarket where she has the responsible job of checking that the items are always correctly priced. She is in her 30s and has been living with her boyfriend for a few years now and, to her great delight, in May of this year they'll be getting married.
We had a party recently in Preston to celebrate 50 years since the Burscoughs moved into the family homestead on Black Bull Lane. At one stage, 10 of us had lived there simultaneously — mum, dad, John, Louise, Chris, Jim, Me, Marie, Rachel and Lucy — but now it’s just dad (who’s suffering from Alzheimers) and whoever is staying there to look after him. We decided to make it a fancy dress party, and...
This week the subject of sex and gender raised its head again when the Church of England General Synod narrowly rejected a bishops' report affirming the Christian teaching that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and not between the same sex.
Did you hear about the mentally ill man found freezing, naked and covered in cuts, at the bottom of a 10-foot ditch? Absolutely hilarious story - or so the cops seemed to think. In a Facebook post, PSNI Bangor described the incident as an "unusual call that gave us a chuckle".
Just around the time of the signing of the Belfast Agreement and the Yes vote that endorsed it in the ensuing referendum, I remember seeing a sweet picture in the papers of a little baby girl, just born.
A lot of the current debate about an Irish Language Act is both futile and sterile.
Lots of little, and some not so little, decisions by our politicians will be coming to light over the weeks ahead.
Recently, down in Portugal, I had to have what those in the medical community would term "a procedure". It wasn't a terribly serious procedure. A small injury to my back which, as it turned out, subsequently required a number of wound dressings (€10 a time)...
It was one of those little memory splinters that cause a sharp and rather surprising flinch of pain, that - because of their very 'inconsequence' in terms of the great affairs of the world - make you gasp as you realise the fleetingness not just of life or fame but of...
The smart advice used to be: "Never apologise, never explain". Apologies and explanations may only remind the offended party of the offence taken, thus re-inflaming the wound, and so making things worse.
I’ve been wondering what gets into the SDLP’s Colum Eastwood. At a time when his party’s only hope is to seem sane, sensible and less sectarian than Sinn Fein, and with the potential to govern competently along with the UUP, he’s been having outbursts of grandiosity and...
This has been a week of announcements about the departures and arrivals of leading clergy. The Dean of Belfast the Very Reverend John Mann announced that he is leaving St Anne's Cathedral at Easter to take up the post of a group rector in England.
In last week’s column I revealed my obsession with TV crime dramas. So I thought that this week I’d share with you some of the evidence I’ve uncovered during my fingertip search of the TV schedules.
The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) has launched a campaign to urge people to vote only for anti-abortion candidates in the forthcoming election. The NHS, education, the economy - they're all important. But there are even more important issues at stake on...
The majority of people in Northern Ireland would prefer something other than the immediate return of the Executive, latest polling figures suggest.
With pregnancy becoming ever more like performance art these day, Beyonce has upped the ante on everybody else's Facebook baby scan pics by releasing a series of photographs to announce that she and Mr Beyonce are currently expecting twins.
It wasn’t just what she said; it was at least as much about the way she said it.
There is no doubt that, out there, in the wider world, there is a real change under way. It's not just that major votes in recent years have gone against predictions, or against what the media and pundits and polls insisted would be the outcome. The 2009 General Election, the...
It was bad news for Sinn Fein last week that no doubt well-meaning people nominated Martin McGuinness for the Tipperary International Peace Award. On Talkback, I was asked to comment on comparisons between him and Nelson Mandela: some nationalists see both as...
There's one set of liberals who should be pleased - even jubilant - about the ascent of President Donald Trump: those who uphold and champion the benefits of divorce. During the Republic's several divorce referenda, liberals advanced the claim that divorce could be good...
Not that I'm a couch-potato or anything, but I've noticed that in the first six weeks of the year there are often so many TV dramas appearing that you could stay up til midnight every night catching up on 'catch-up'. Fortunately with a little bit of jiggery-pokery with the red button on the remote control, the invaluable 'plus one' channels, iPlayer, More4 and Sky Plus it is possible to co-ordinate your...
There is something so touching about the story of a love that never dies... that neither time nor even the grave can destroy.
The arson attack on St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Belfast this week is a reminder that some people here have learned nothing from the past, and want to condemn us to an acrimonious future.
On Tuesday morning I turned on the Stephen Nolan Show and heard a woman saying the most hateful, appalling things about Muslims.
An ordinary looking bloke walking down the street in his pyjamas bumps into a very pretty blonde girl in a sharp suit and killer heels. She invites him in for a coffee...
Where Gerry Adams leads, Michelle O’Neill will follow, and what Gerry Adams says, she is sure to say it, too. Gerry Adams appointed her and she knows that only too well.
The public rate the DUP's Arlene Foster as the worst of any of the Northern Ireland political leaders while both the DUP and Sinn Fein are neck-and-neck in the polls, with the unionists tipped to come out of the election as the biggest party, but only just.
The great irony about the world of entertainment rising up in protest against Donald Trump is that the man himself is such entertainment. Without Trump, what would we have to talk about these days?
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same… Though it is rarely heard said in our world, where greatness is measured in medals and prizes, with victory, titles, fame and adulation, it is still patently true that greatness is how a...
At the beginning of Prime Minister’s Questions last week, Theresa May said this: “I am sure that the whole House will join me in sending our thoughts to the friends and family of the police officer who was shot in Belfast over the weekend.”
Renowned historian and former Irish senator Professor John A Murphy, has expressed concern we are moving into a new age of puritanism. This worries him, since he is old enough to remember the old puritanism when the word 'breast' could get a book banned and a Doris Day...
One of the most profound stories in literature is that of Pontius Pilate's question to Jesus "What is truth?" It is a question that continues to perplex us more than 2,000 years later, and one that has been brought into sharp focus by current major developments at home and abroad.
A recent study has suggested that pet dogs are losing touch with many of their basic natural instincts. In one test, for example, researchers at Oregon State University presented a 'puzzle box' containing food to a group of dogs and a group of wolves.
Holding Holocaust services in Northern Ireland may seem strange to some. After all, the Holocaust - the systematic destruction of European Jewry - occurred in far away places, with strange-sounding names (Auschwitz, Treblinka, Bergen-Belsen). The Nazis never came to...
The leaders of unionism and republicanism in Northern Ireland are now both women. But does their gender make a difference?
Of recent weeks, Gerry Adams seems to be spending a lot of time back in Northern Ireland and away from his constituency across the border. It’s a sign that there are problems and it’s also a sign that Adams is asserting his authority.
Driving through Belfast the other day, I spotted what at first glance I took to be a paramilitary mural, but which actually turned out to be an advertisement by an enterprising (legitimate) local firm promoting its wares.
Even while the political class, the media and the public were digesting the news of Martin McGuinness's retirement from politics, events occurred which reminded us all of the risks our fragile peace runs every time there is stalemate or, in this case, breakdown, at the top.
I’ve been thinking about Arlene Foster, and about what went wrong. We met first, I think, when I was covering an Orange parade in Fermanagh in the late 1990s in which she was participating as a member of the Rosslea Accordion Band.
Apparently, Irish people are the slowest in Europe to switch banks. Even though "banksters", as they're now called, are often seen as baddies, there's a loyalty to our own bank.
The most enduring legacy of the Troubles is the type of violence that was most prevalent and most lightly tolerated. Queen's academic Liam Kennedy, who has researched this more than anyone, has estimated that 10,000 people have been subjected to punishment shootings -...
Heroes Versus Villains. That was the theme of the New Year's Eve party I recently attended. It was styled as a way of saying "goodbye and good riddance to this terrible year", the supposedly death-dealing, demon-electing disaster that was 2016.
In recent weeks there has been a lot of talk by Gerry Adams and others about an Irish Language Act and it is one of their top political demands. But they rarely spell out what it really means and they never talk about the cost. Either they don’t know or they don’t want to admit it,...
It's Melania I feel sorry for. I'm not sure her heart's entirely in it. When she first began to command media attention, way back when her husband Donald initially signalled his intention to run for President, newspaper pictures showed a woman with a dazzling, but fixed,...
The only good thing about the forthcoming Assembly election is that, by the end of it, there will be 18 fewer public representatives in the House on the Hill to make a hames of our future. Less than a year after traipsing to the polling booth to elect the current Assembly we...
NI Assembly Election