Letter to the Union (on Northern Ireland’s Snap Election, March 2017)

Dearest Union,

In a few hours, counting will start for the Northern Irish Assembly elections. This was a snap election, following a collapse in government which itself was precipitared by one of the largest financial scandals in the history of the British state – the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI) affair.

This is not the first time devolution in Northern Ireland has collapsed, and it may very well not be the last. Nevertheless, the power-sharing arrangement that has roughly endured since the Good Friday Agreement seems more precarious than ever, and there is talk in serious quarters of an imminent return to Direct Rule from London.

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Letter to a Remainer, Post-Brexit

Prologue

Dear Readers,

I started this blog with what I imagined at the time was a cute, relatively novel idea: political discussion that addresses its readers and intended audience directly, in the format of letters (exciting note: I’m hoping soon to add illustrations/cartoons to each piece, but that’s still in the works).

In any case, the following is the first of what I hope may become a regular feature: someone has written a letter to me, personally, so that I may reply in turn. Albeit, the approximately two and a half thousand word document has come to me in the form of a machine gun flurry of furious, sporadic comments underneath various Lexit related Facebook and HWL posts, but I know a letter when I see one. For travel reasons, I wasn’t able to reply to all of these at once. However, I promised my interlocutor a response, and I am a man of my word.

So without further ado, here is my reply to famed Bremainer, comrade Conor McGinley. Continue reading

Letter to the Seven Leaders and Audience, concerning the Debate

Credit: Legoland Discovery Centre, Manchester.

Dear Party Leaders, and all who watched last night’s debate,

Last night constituted a quirky moment in UK election history. It was the first televised election debate featuring more than just the two-to-three party orthodoxy. From left to right (in terms of podiums), we had Natalie Bennett of the Greens, Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats, Nigel Farage of Ukip, Ed Miliband of Labour, Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru, Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP, and Prime Minister Incumbent, David Cameron of the Conservatives. All were gathered in Salford, Manchester, for a quiet and dignified discussion on everything from the NHS to unemployment, from foreigners with HIV to communism, and finally to Ed Miliband’s attempts to hypnotise us through the TV cameras. What follows is my quick assessment of the performance.

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Letter to Ferguson: the Enduring Racism of Neoliberal America

Dear Ferguson,
The news hit many of us in the gut. Not only would Darren Wilson (the policeman who shot and killed an innocent 18 year old by the name of Michael Brown) deftly avoid facing even the shadow of a whisper of a slap on the wrist, neither would Daniel Pantaleo (who was filmed choking the 43 year old Eric Garner to death in New York) face anything that could be decently called reprimand.
Though much of what I’ve already written has been contended ad nauseam by the American right, (snarling the most petty, and at many times difficult to listen to objections), the fact is that not only were Brown and Garner innocent (certainly sufficiently enough to avoid a death penalty), but that the lawful killing of innocent black males has become a well-known characteristic of the US justice system. The view from Europe was unanimous, but unsurprised horror. Continue reading

Letter to Catalonia

Dear Catalonia,

The year 2014 will have been the year, I imagine, in which many people (with the exception of readers of George Orwell) first heard of a place called Catalonia, or indeed of the Catalan people and language that reside there. It will also have been the year in which many of us learnt that the word ‘referenda’ is the plural of ‘referendum’. It’s been a year of referenda, from the early psuedo-plebiscite in Crimea to the abortive (for now) showdown in Scotland. Now we’re left with Catalonia, or Catalunya, as goes the endonym.

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