5 May 2014


Belfast’s Vital Statistics


Belfast’s Vital Statistics

17 Jan 2014

One of the greatest Irish sporting performances ever!

28 Dec 2013

24 Jul 2013

Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through The Grapevine (A capella) (by gramophoneferreira)

Marvin Gaye vocal track-great

25 Oct 2012

Open letter from Greg Lemond to Pat McQuaid

Greg Lemond writes:

'Can anyone help me out? I know this sounds kind of lame but I am not well versed in social marketing. I would like to send a message to everyone that really loves cycling. I do not use twitter and do not have an organized way of getting some of my own “rage” out. I want to tell the world of cycling to please join me in telling Pat McQuaid to resign. I have never seen such an abuse of power in cycl

ing’s history- resign Pat if you love cycling. Resign even if you hate the sport.
Pat McQuaid, you know dam well what has been going on in cycling, and if you want to deny it, then even more reasons why those who love cycling need to demand that you resign.
I have a file with what I believe is well documented proof that will exonerate Paul.
Pat in my opinion you and Hein are the corrupt part of the sport. I do not want to include everyone at the UCI because I believe that there are many, maybe most that work at the UCI that are dedicated to cycling, they do it out of the love of the sport, but you and your buddy Hein have destroyed the sport.
Pat, I thought you loved cycling? At one time you did and if you did love cycling please dig deep inside and remember that part of your life- allow cycling to grow and flourish- please! It is time to walk away. Walk away if you love cycling.
As a reminder I just want to point out that you recently you accused me of being the cause of USADA’s investigation against Lance Armstrong. Why would you be inclined to go straight to me as the “cause”? Why shoot the messenger every time?
Every time you do this I get more and more entrenched. I was in your country over the last two weeks and I asked someone that knows you if you were someone that could be rehabilitated. His answer was very quick and it was not good for you. No was the answer, no, no , no!
The problem for sport is not drugs but corruption. You are the epitome of the word corruption.
You can read all about Webster’s definition of corruption. If you want I can re-post my attorney’s response to your letter where you threaten to sue me for calling the UCI corrupt. FYI I want to officially reiterate to you and Hien that in my opinion the two of your represent the essence of corruption.
I would encourage anyone that loves cycling to donate and support Paul in his fight against the Pat and Hein and the UCI. Skip lunch and donate the amount that you would have spent towards that Sunday buffet towards changing the sport of cycling.
I donated money for Paul’s defense, and I am willing to donate a lot more, but I would like to use it to lobby for dramatic change in cycling. The sport does not need Pat McQuaid or Hein Verbruggen- if this sport is going to change it is now. Not next year, not down the road, now! Now or never!
People that really care about cycling have the power to change cycling- change it now by voicing your thought and donating money towards Paul Kimmage’s defense, ( Paul, I want to encourage you to not spend the money that has been donated to your defense fund on defending yourself in Switzerland. In my case, a USA citizen, I could care less if I lost the UCI’s bogus lawsuit. Use the money to lobby for real change).
If people really want to clean the sport of cycling up all you have to do is put your money where your mouth is.
Don’t buy a USA Cycling license. Give up racing for a year, just long enough to put the UCI and USA cycling out of business. We can then start from scratch and let the real lovers in cycling direct where and how the sport of cycling will go.
Please make a difference.

5 Nov 2011

Pic I took and edited in Barcelona a couple of years ago

Pic I took and edited in Barcelona a couple of years ago

8 Sep 2011

Cyclists prayer…

Our Merckx,

Who art in Belgium,

The Cannibal be thy name,

The Alpe D’Huez come

Thy will be done,

In the peloton and among the poursuivants.

Give us this day our EMX-7

and forgive us our sticky bidons,

as we forgive those who draft behind us,

And lead us not into the bonk,

But deliver us up the Galibier,

For thine is the Giro, the Vuelta and the Tour,

For ever and ever,


10 May 2011

Hacker: Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers:
  • The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country;
  • The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country;
  • The Times is read by the people who actually do run the country;
  • The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country;
  • The Financial Times is read by people who own the country;
  • The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country;
  • And The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.
Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?
Bernard: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.

From Yes Prime Minister, Series 2, Ep 4

4 May 2011

Yes but….

Apologies for adding to the mountain of analysis and opinion that the AV referendum has generated, but tonight, on the eve of the election I am going to lay out my (admittedly idealistic) reasons why I am going to vote “Yes” , albeit grudgingly.

My initial feeling is that if Tories oppose a motion then I will support it but this had no bearing this time on my choice. Neither do I want to give into the temptation to either get back at Clegg or Cameron, depending on my decision- short term acts of revenge can be self destructive in the long term, so the brief thrill of making my mark and leaving the polling booth having carried out an act of retribution has to be compared to the long term consequences. So my decision has not been based on simply showing my disgust at the policies of either the LibDems or the Tories- there is always plenty of opportunity to do that in other, more meaningful ways- self sabotage solves nothing. Despite the fact that most funding for No comes from Tory donors - http://bit.ly/lYdMbF - I tried to stay non-partisan.

The tactics of both the Yes and No campaigns left a lot to be desired but I did feel that the No was more condesending and patronising- basically either “AV is to complicated for you to understand so don’t worry your wee head about it” or even worse if you vote Yes you will kill babies:


While the Yes campaign hardly covered itself in glory with its coffee and beer ads with really hammy young actors, they were not a nasty as No. However again I did not want to be taken in by marketing and PR (public relations not proportional representation!) - I rage against these in other posts so the posters, leaflets and ads did not really contribute to my decision.

Of course it was tempting to vote “No” because AV is a poor relation of proper PR, and to vote for its implementation would mean we would never see a fairer more representative method of electing representatives, or so the more progressive voices seem to be saying. However this leads me on nicely to why I will be voting “Yes” with a heavy heart. One of the supposed weaknesses of AV is its tendency to create more coalition governments - although I do not necessarily agree that coalitions are all weak anyway. My argument runs thus:

1. We are only likely to have the opportunity to introduce fairer voting when we have a coalition government in power as the price of forming an alliance, as has happened- if the Tories had won clearly we would not be having this discussion- no one-party government is going to change the voting system that elected it.

2. The best way to ensure we have a good chance of another coalition in the future will be AV.

3. A stronger coalition may have more scope to push for full PR.

4. So in order to play the long game to bring about proper change we will have to swallow our pride and then build up a massive pressure campaign, so when the next general election comes around, those entering government will have to listen to the voices of those who elected them. While this may be idealistic, it is better than saying “No” now in the hope that the next government will bring in a better system- that is not going to happen to an administration that comes to power under FPTP.

I could go on about tackling other misinformation and misconceptions but when all is said and done these are my reasons why I will be voting Yes- the fact I will get to kick the Tories by doing so is just a nice side effect!

15 Apr 2011

The council you deserve…

Election time again, and here in the north of Ireland we have the delights of not only electing Assembly Members but also deciding who is going to be responsible for ensuring our bins are emptied.

I have had the pleasure (!) of getting to know quite a few councillors over the past few years and, the odd intelligent one apart, I have to say the usual tribal sectarian head-counting has hoisted people to positions of power, who, elsewhere in the world, would simply be left to rock back and forth in a rocking chair spewing forth randomly generated Daily Mail and Sun headlines, safely out of harm’s way. But the fear that “themmuns will get in” if you don’t vote for your usual suspect even though they have been next to useless still means that manifestos can be boiled down to one basic quote- “We know this has no impact on the services your council will be delivering but if you don’t vote for me, the taigs/ huns will get in and you don’t want that, do you?”.

At the risk of sounding like Private Eye’s “Rotten Boroughs” feature I do feel it is time we strove to get more capable people into council- and I don’t mean the usual mix of businessmen, farmers and landlords. Again, I need to emphasise- some councillors do provide a decent service, but it is the eejits who can depend on votes without too much effort who still hold the reins of power. Am I being too hard on these dedicated workers for the community? Here are a few tales based on my personal experience and testimony of trusted colleagues- then decide if democracy NI style is working at council level:

Case study #1- I was the development worker for a youth project a number of years ago. We were getting it tight finding funding, so organised a meeting with a local councillor to see what could be done. Previously the project had developed a very successful road safety programme (that was then stolen wholesale by a statutory body but that is another story). The project engaged many young people who had no other outlet and was well respected, so we called into see this councillor to help fight our case. However he spent the whole meeting giving out because the project had brought the police in to talk about speeding and show how speed cameras work- a personal safety not political issue. This councillor, who was so concerned about opportunities for young people and their safety, talked non-stop about what a bad thing that was that young people should be exposed to the police- much better they drive like idiots and end up on the car roof! Basically he was prepared to see a popular and useful project like ours go to the wall- simply because we cared about the safety of our young people.

Case Study #2 - A councillor from a unionist party who sat on a Community Relations committee raised a right royal ruckus when her papers for the next meeting were sent to her with a green paper clip- I shit you not!

Case Study #3- The council were organising an (obviously rate payer funded) networking trip to Poland. Initially they were to get a direct flight which was also cheaper . The big problem for one unionist councillor was that it left from-gasp!- Dublin! No right thinking bigot could be seen going to the Free State to get a flight. The end result- the councillors and staff had to get a more expensive flight from Belfast and change in London- losing half a day each way- so the trip cost more for less time spent promoting the local area.

Case Study #4- I don’t know who is worse in this situation- the councillor or the newspaper who printed his comments without thinking. Due to an increase on accidents on a particular stretch of road he blamed migrant workers and foreign lorry drivers since, and I quote, “They are so used to driving on the other side of the road their instinct is to swerve into the paths of other vehicles rather than away”- so there you go- I always thought most of us would instinctively swerve away from danger no matter what direction it came from- I’m obviously wrong!

So there you have it- just some of the lovely individuals who will be trying their hardest (ie printing leaflets in either red, white and blue or green, white and orange and sending them out) to ensure you vote for them- after all we have to keep themmuns out!