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Showing posts from October, 2011

All registered parties will contest State Duma election

Elections to Russia's State Duma will take place on December 4th.  Ria Novosti reports today that all of the registered parties will contest the poll and points out that this is the first time that has happened since 1993.  The Russian ministry of justice provides a list of the contenders.
It includes Pravoye Delo, or Right Cause, the free market friendly group, whose newly appointed leader, Mikhail Prokhorov, was recently ousted.  Other contenders Zyuganov's perennial challengers, the KPR (Russian communists), and another veteran's grouping, the LDPR, led by nationalist rabble-rouser Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
Pollsters were suggesting that United Russia, whose list will be topped by the outgoing President, Dmitry Medvedev, might struggle to retain the 2/3rds majority which it needs to change constitutional law.  Levada's latest suggestion is that voter apathy might help the party to maintain its dominance.

Oh minister, where art thou?

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Sinn Fein reps are quite the culture vultures this week, with the notable exception of culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin.   Máirtín Ó Muilleoir is curating an exhibition of ‘political art’ hosted at the Golden Thread Gallery. It includes an offering by Conrad Atkinson (above), which apparently caused controversy back in the 70s, when Protestant museum workers refused to hang the painting at the Ulster Museum.   As it happens, they may have acted on aesthetic rather than sectarian motivations, because, aside from its questionable 'political message', the artwork looks rather like it was painted by a disturbed four year old child.      However all art exhibitions are certainly not equal in Shinner land.  According to the Irish News our so called culture minister has declined an invitation to attend the Royal Ulster Academy’s 130th Annual Exhibition, which gets underway at the Ulster Museum today.  One of its exhibits is a rather striking portrait entitled “Remember Mary Travers”…

Guest Post: Leave our Alain alone

By itwassammymcnallywhatdoneit




As we know well in Northern Ireland, predicting someone’s views on a range of issues doesn't require a crystal ball, just a clue as to their background - their name, the school they attended or their address. Once you have sniffed out those details, you can identify their tribe and you can then have a fair stab at working out what they think.


Of course, tribalism is not just confined to Ulster and tribal loyalties are not always that straightforward. Take Monsieur Alain Rolland for example, born and raised in Ireland but with a French father. For many Welsh rugby fans such continental lineage was proof positive of his preference for the land of his father, Wales's opponents in the rugby world cup semi-final and of course explains his 'outrageous' decision to send off the Welsh captain Sam Warburton.


When England were knocked out of the world cup, by perhaps the bitterest of their many 'old enemies' France, Wales found themselves up a…

Difficult job for new Northern Ireland manager as Worthington era draws to an end.

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This blog and Nigel Worthington’s spell as manager of Northern Ireland are about the same age.My first post, way back in May 2007, dealt with the IFA’s search for a replacement for Lawrie Sanchez, who had just taken up an English Premier League job at Fulham.
It’s fair to say that after Worthington took charge, I was quickly a sceptic.As early as 7 June2007, I voiced disillusionment with his tendency to ‘talk down’ players and two months later I asked, for the first (but not for the last) time, ‘is Nigel worthy?’.
Now Worthington has announced his intention to leave the post after his current contract elapses on 31st December. We’ve come full circle and the IFA has to start the search for his successor.
Back in that opening blogpost I expressed the hope that Jim Magilton would end up in the Northern Ireland hot-seat.More than four years later and this time the West Belfast man is the bookmakers’ favourite to take over from Worthington.
If Magilton does get the job he will have a fo…