Belfast Telegraph

Bloggers and the Easter risings...

By Geoff McGimpsey

It’s Easter. And Northern Ireland’s bloggers are thinking about Jesus’ rising, the Easter Rising and the rising blood pressure of First Minister Peter Robinson.

First off Will Crawley at Will and Testament considers the example of Jesus, and the moral dilemma of challenging power and speaking out for others. There’s no such thing as an innocent bystander, he says. The blog of Presbyterian Moderator Rt Rev Stafford Carson focuses though on the little things. ‘While there are many parts of the world we cannot affect, there is one part of the world which we can do something about, and that is the person we each call “myself”,’ he says.

For the atheist view at Easter, there’s Jeff Peel’s Diary – a blog ‘dedicated to god-free politics’. He chooses to focus on Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams who this week apologised for saying it was difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar. Jeff supplies some blue skies thinking and reckons the Anglican Church should now dispense with God, ‘then it would be much freer to make comments about ethical (or unethical) behaviour without risking schisms in the Christian Church’. Well, that might be one solution.

Easter is a big date in the calendar for Irish nationalism. From the Balcony notes that the US city of Lawrence has passed a Unite Ireland resolution, and O’Conall Street looks back at the Good Friday Agreement. The latter notes: ‘This Easter republican leaders will beat their breasts and attack the Brits. It all rings hollow when power is in fact in Irish hands and those holding it are failing so abysmally on the job. Real patriotism is about jobs, safety and social justice. That’s the promise of Good Friday which people want to see fulfilled.’

And so to Peter Robinson who this week gave an impassioned interview on the BBC. The Beeb alleges that the Robinsons bought a piece of land next to their home from a developer for £5 and that this enabled them to sell part of their garden for £460,000. It’s already a got its own ‘Gate’ monicker, thanks to Slugger O’Toole’s Mick Fealty who dubbed this the ’Garden Gate’ affair. While the DUP’s website refers to the BBC story as part of an ‘ongoing smear campaign’, Chekov at Three Thousands Versts says ‘the public has every right to know whether its representatives are involved in a series of dubious deals with property developers’.

Mephedrone was the big MSM story of the week nationally and locally. But on the blogs, Keith Belfast thinks there’s lots of light but little heat being created by the mephedrone debate. He looked back at a recent Stormont Health Committee debate where he felt health officials had provided a ‘cack-handed and seriously under prepared’ brief. Keith adds: ‘I’m not defending mephedrone, far from it. If it’s responsible for everything that has been claimed, it should be banned outright. But these claims need backed up with facts’. If debate is to be ruled by hysteria, fear and emotion, I despair, he says.

On to cultural matters and April is set to be a month of major festivities in Belfast. First up there’s the two-week long ‘Belfast Film Festival’, then there’s the ‘Titanic Made in Belfast’ festival, the ‘Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival’, the ‘Belfast Children’s Festival’, and the ‘Festival of Fools’.

Alan in Belfast has the definitive run down on the film festival. Some of the films coming up do look pretty unique. The one that catches my eye is the ‘The Living Room of the Nation’. According to Alan this is: ‘Seventy five minutes of observing different Finnish living rooms’.

On average, a bloke might expect to live for about 600,000 hours (70 years). I propose to spend around two of my allotted hours going to observe different Finnish living rooms. What on earth can that be like?

Oh, and happy birthday wishes are in order again this week. So many happy returns Burke’s Corner ! You are three. Bless...

Geoff McGimpsey blogs on Northern Ireland politics and current affairs at

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