As some of you may know, I am in Australia at the moment, Brisbane to be precise. In the past I have been working in London, the Channel Islands, Dublin and the Caribbean too, all of which I have loved and enjoyed and has added to that rather cliched thing called ‘the rich tapestry of one’s life‘.
While away I have read and occasionally commented over at Slugger O’Toole, a site ran by one Mick Fealty which has a number of regular contributors, some irregular commentators too. These commentators are of varying quality though not usually of varying political disposition which is normally of a unionist-lite persuasion, or as good friends and great commentators Fitzjames Horse and Bangor Dub might call, ‘lestgetalongerist’. The site deals with ‘conversation, politics and stray insights‘, primarily with the North but also with Southern Ireland, UK and elsewhere.
Fealty is an interesting commentator himself, though can be incredibly tetchy when he wants to and also seems to live by the rule ‘do as I say, not as I do‘ as he has in place a card system for commentators when they step over a line to be decided by him and contributors. The card system is simple; yellow, red and then black, yet it’s implication has often been of a scatter-gun nature, hence some of the trouble it has been facing of late among many of its commentators.
I have to admit, I have given up commentating on the site after what can only be called the tawdry manner of debate concerning the UVF/UDA’s attacking of the Short Strand in 2011 and the chairing of it by Mick Fealty where the line of ‘sure, both sides are just as bad as each other‘ was wheeled out. This was essentially a ‘straw that broke the camel’s back‘ moment for me and I viewed it as part of a definite shift in the tone and pitch of the threads being started which where essentially above the line trolling from contributors. However, that said, the posts seem of late to be rather more interesting, not too many trolls are about and there appears to be some more balance.
Granted, this has all happened only recently after the site became a story in it’s own right over on Politics.ie and elsewhere, whether it has been the bright light FJH has been shining in the site’s eyes, noting it’s ties to Strategem, a think tank of sorts that has also funded the Alliance Party in the North (unionist lite/letsgetalongerist), who Gerry Lynch used to be a member of (now comments on SOT, funny that), or polls released by Lucid Talk in conjunction with the Belfast Telegraph (unionist lite/letsgetalongerist, you seeing a pattern develop here yet?) or Bangor Dub noting the rather
I used to enjoy posting on the site, it was rather interesting and one that encouraged debate and people of different opinions from different sides of the fence in the North to engage with one another in an environment where the ‘referee’ would be an honest one. That changed a while ago for the worse, hopefully it is going back to what it once was as that would be a site I would return to.