It’s not about remembering the fallen, but BEING SEEN to remember the fallen.

Poppy time. That wonderful time of the year when the more-patriotic-than-thou enter the annual dick-measuring contest of who remembers those servicemen and women who have given their lives in the military. So far this year we’ve seen arguments over whether or not football teams can wear a poppy, I’ve seen a literal muppet with a poppy on TV and a supermarket selling pizzas with pepper and pepperoni in the shape of a poppy. In what way is this an act of remembrance. How you remember anything is up to you; it’s personal, its a reflection – it’s how you feel and what you think. I am always choked up on the 11th of November, it really truly gets to me. I don’t often wear a poppy, I haven’t been to a remembrance day commemoration event in well over a decade… but I remember. I honour in my way, I reflect and consider what was given by those who gave all they had. How you pay respect is up to you. But now, it’s not enough. It’s the same with every issue these days. It’s not enough to believe that Cancer should be eradicated… if you aren’t posting a twibbon on your social feeds, people may just assume that you’re pro cancer. Ten years ago if you weren’t wearing a white ‘Make Poverty History’ wristband, people would just assume you wanted there to be more poverty in the future. When the Paris attacks happened, everyone rushed to post something about it – obviously they did care, but it’s also en vogue to be seen to care about it. When I was younger...

United Airlines presents a real and complex test of the Executive and David Gordon

The story of United Airlines receiving £9 million of money from the Northern Ireland Executive is widely spread, including here from myself on Slugger O’Toole, and the follow up here from David McCann. Here’s my thoughts. The Executive is screwed on both sides of the argument. That they gave what is effectively a bailout to United Airlines, a publicly traded company, for a route which is already profit-making. The airline wanted to move the aircraft to other routes which were more profitable. Which is of course fair enough. However they rushed the decision to give this money over, with no assembly or committee oversight, against the advice of civil servants involved. They saw this as essential. And so stumped up our cash. Now however the EU has blocked it as illegal/forbidden state aid. The Executive might have known that if they had bothered to check and not rush the decision. The problem now lies at newly-appointed ‘spin doctor’ David Gordon’s door. The Executive has and is being criticised by many in the public for giving the money over in the first place. The Executive is being criticised for losing the route, for leaving NI without a route to the USA. The Executive has been overruled by the EU, an organisation which half of the Executive campaigned for us to remain within, Sinn Feín. The DUP of course want us out of the EU. The argument that Northern Ireland has been left without a route to the USA is diminished by half of the Executive believing that NI (or the 6 counties) is part of Ireland. In which case Belfast...

The Judges who said No to a Prime Minister, to save Democracy.

For those who don’t understand, here’s an idiot-proof explanation of why Parliament has to, and SHOULD have to, approve the application of Article 50 to leave the European Union. And no, this isn’t, “trying to undo the will of the people.” There was a referendum, that wasn’t legally binding. Neither side of the political argument was fighting for it to be legally binding, nor indeed could it have been legally binding in practice, why? Because laws are made by parliament, not by people putting an X in one box or another. If you want laws made solely based on such measures, please do us all a favour, send a letter to your nearest electoral office and instruct them to remove you from the electoral register. So laws and policy aren’t made by ticking an X in a box, they’re made by those people we elect to govern, in council, parliament and elsewhere. (And indeed by those we don’t elect, such as the House of Lords and the monarch.) We elect and entrust our elected officials in parliament to create and curate our laws – they do so at our behest and we have the power of hiring and firing. The will of the people of the UK as a whole (although not all of its constituent countries) voted to remove the UK from the EU; the will of the people of the UK as a whole elected our MPs. The institution and its predecessors have been doing so for seven hundred years. If you believe Theresa May should have the unchecked, unratified and unmanaged power to, with the use of...