Slugger O’Toole appears to be some what interesting again

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 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.


8 responses to “Slugger O’Toole appears to be some what interesting again

  1. I see the recent poll by Lucid Talk for the English Tory Party involved telephone interviews with 12,000 people in an area covering Belfast, Lisburn, Mourne, Bangor/Holywood, Newtownards/Ballynahinch and Larne/Ballyclare. Yes all along the East coast people were surveyed. But if you live in Cookstown or Strabane or Armagh City or Derry you need not worry about getting a phone call from Gerry Lynch and his pals.

    • Hey Hobo, hope you’re well.

      I noticed that too which is somewhat surprising of Gerry and Lucid Talk 😉

      TBF, what do we expect from them? I think what annoys me more is some of the nonsense that is taken as gospel or spun over on the site. For instance, Robo’s ‘Kafflik Outreach’ is actually taken serious by Fealty et al as doing exactly what it says on the tin. I even noted Comrade Stalin’s lengthy post about him giving Robo a chance and feeling cheated in many ways when serious people (ANY Nat) would not have given Robo a chance until he had actually proven his bona fides, something he has not done to date outside the scope of some carefully crafted words that a few very ‘liberal’ unionists and letsgetalongerists saw as some kind of ‘new dawn’ where we would move to ‘normal’ politics and a post GFA settlement.

      Further, you have these nice speeches and then when they are shown to be rather hollow words (shock!!!), said commentators try to twist this as a mere bump rather than they themselves being shown up for being:

      i) incredibly foolish for falling for it;
      ii) premature in thinking that the likes of Robo and the DUP would actually want a Kafflik about the house;
      iii) biased against others (usually Nats) who note that what Robo thinks is ‘normal’ politics usually involves Nats having to give up their cultural aspirations, roll over and become homogenised into a unionist North.

      Their is no contrition on the part of contributors or some commentators, as that would show them up to be human after all and liable to be mistaken on some things and not a fount of knowledge.

      Now, I too must admit that I do not know the answers to everything. I have been known to misjudge people and I am fallible too. After the murder of Ronan Kerr I saw Robo and MMcG on the TV when I lived in the Caribbean, both denouncing the dissidents, neither trying to score political points over the other. I emailed Robo and congratualted him for being statesman-like etc. During the election campaign he replied thanking me for taking the time out to email him and wished me all the very best of luck. Now, he didn’t have to do this yet he did and TBF this is more than I had gotten from Margaret Richie when I had emailed the SDLP regarding her wearing of a poppy, as of yet absolutely nothing something I did not nor still do not appreciate (it’s called laziness in the extreme and another reason I think she is an awful pol).

      • FC Watching robbo in Monday’s debate it’s clear he was badly rattled by the implosion [after just days] of his carefully worded speech to the party, full of high sounding rhetoric outreach [while outrage is more his style], and was seriously ungracious in his ‘condemning ‘ the violence of protests, More ‘BUTs’ were spoken or implied by unionists at stormont in their disingenious comments on attacks and threats on Long. Robbo slowly realised during the week the whole leaflets stunt was backfiring and the DUP are facing a backlash from loyalists [and about time they copped on to the duplicity party. Naomi Long now has an excellent chance of holding the East Belfast seat after Robbo’s overreach. Couldn’t make up territory.

      • Hi Ard,

        It is very interesting seeing the fallout from a far. Whilst I sincerely hope all is well, in a sense the reactions are all to predictable too.

        FJH has noted that the APNI largely fly under the radar with regard to proper politics and now they are being forced to make decisions and stick by them.

        I also noted that this ‘Kafflik Outreach’ was nonsense and that many pundits over on SOT/Bullshit Mountain would be showed up and spin it in a certain manner. Well, low and behold, Gerry Lynch, formerly of APNI wants us to put on hold any discussion or action on cultural symbols as it is so very toxic.(largely in line with point (iii) in my response to HR above). This is all well and good seeing all of the violence we see at the moment, but I’m not going for it whatsoever.

        The truth is that the VAST majority of symbols on show at the moment are of a unionist flavour, so essentially he is asking Nats to want something less than parity of esteem with unionists, to simply suck it up. I think this is a wonderful vote getter for APNI amongst Nats (not really of course). I’m sorry, but Nats, especially the younger generation such as myself are unwilling to see a compromise on these and many other issues. I am very sorry to see the APNI facing orchestrated violence but this is no excuse for us ducking these issues of facing down sectarian and anti-social marching or for the Irish Language to be treated with contempt.

  2. Pingback: What connects the NI Census figures, the Union Flag and Peter Robinson’s ‘Catholic Outreach’? | footballcliches·

  3. Hi FC. I’ve only now got around to reading this blog, for a while I thought you might be the former BBC Talkback board regular, called Edinburgh Ranger, but i’ve revised that erroneous view.
    As to Ritchie’s failure to return your serve, it could be that by then she had become embarassed about the whole poppy episode rather than snubbing you. I found her rather stilted in style which seems to have been a widely shared view.

    • Hi Ard,

      I didn’t know that BBC Talkbalk had a board. I’ll not lie to you though, I have my time taken up looking at some regulars outside of my day to day stuff.

      Regarding Ritchie, I may give her that bye-ball, though tbf Robbo was still in the middle of the whole scandal surrounding his wife and still took the time to answer me, this is what made me really sit up and think that he was a leader and I contrasted this with Ritchie’s no show. She was rather stilted and awful as a leader, though I’ve been told that 1 on 1 she is very good.

  4. They had a sort of forum which they deigned to call a message board which pertained for 2 years after i joined it in 2008, but in November 2010 the suits at Ormeau ave decided the peace process in place meant they didn’t want us embarassing them by proving all was not tickety boo after all, so got rid of us. bon nuit.

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