Will there be a united Ireland in your lifetime?

Brexit has had a big impact on the united Ireland question. It definitely won’t be simple but more and more people are seeing a chance for a united Ireland in their lifetime. Of course Northern Ireland Unionists and Protestants who consider themselves British are hugely against the idea of a United Ireland. And there are lots of Catholics in Northern and the Republic of Ireland who have their own reservations, not least due to the financial cost of a union. But when you know that 56% of the Northern Irish voted to stay in the European Union, you can see why Brexit has affected them hard.

Demographics have shifted as well as the Brexit effect. A century ago when British negotiators carved Northern Ireland from the newly independent south it was 65% Protestant, 35% Catholic, which allowed for a strong unionist majority. Now, a century later it is 48% Protestant and 45% Catholic. When this trend continues, you will see a Catholic majority in 20 years time. How things have shifted since the Troubles 1968-1998.


1994 Rwanda Genocide

The BBC drama Black Earth Rising is designed to get people talking about the events and consequence of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The drama’s write Hugo Blick says, “It doesn’t rest at the genocide. It takes genocide as its ignition point for injustices that are still outstanding on both sides of this equation. This is not just about the Hutu and Tutsi; it’s also about the west.” If you missed the first episode you can do catch-up viewing on BBC iPlayer.

africa and rwanda

The star of Black Earth Rising Michaela Coel queried why young people don’t learn about the 1994 Rwanda Genocide; but that’s not the case at every school. For years we’ve recommended GCSE students watch Hotel Rwanda to understand a recent genocide which we’ve only had time to briefly explain in class. In 1994 an estimated 800,000 civilians, mostly from the Tutsi ethnic group, were killed over a period of three months in Rwanda.


It was the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide which was adopted by the United Nations after World War II which stipulated what genocide was. In Article 2 of the Convention it defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group:
(a) Killing its members;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Much has been reported at how countries like Rwanda have coped with remembering and reconciliation. It is never easy after a war or genocide for people from opposing sides to live together in harmony together. When the anniversary comes around again, some of the world continues to remember the crimes and horrors of the Rwanda Genocide.

McCain We are Family Advert 2017

The McCain advert from 2017 (other oven chips are available) had such a lovely sentiment about family. It popped up again on TV yesterday evening.

types of family

The advert was done by advertising agency Adam&Eve/DDB.  It celebrates families of all kinds: the grandmother that puts you to bed, the working mom, the divorced “weekend dads who pick you up and let you stay up late,” the “two daddies” and friends are really like your own blood. The voiceover is done by Ricky Tomlinson, was was in the popular ’90s family sitcom “The Royle Family”.

About a month after it was first screened the advert was cut down to 30 seconds and guess who got the chop? It was the gay dads. A McCain spokesman said: “Our campaign is all about celebrating the diversity of family life and not everybody’s a normal family. There’s only so much you can say in 30 seconds. We’re still promoting them, they’re in the posters and we’ve got them on social media.”

gay couple

The original idea for the advert arose from the insight that half of British people don’t think popular culture reflects the reality of modern families. Research showed that 84% of consumers were unable to recall seeing anything in popular culture that featured a family like their own in over the last six months. Do you see families like your own enough on TV and in film?

McCain didn’t stop with its Family advert, in 2018 they did an advert Here’s to Love.  Again it is voiced by Ricky Tomlinson and shows real couples going about their everyday lives at mealtimes.



Mum and Dad get a total of 8 Years in Prison for Forced Marriage on Leeds girl in Bangladesh

It was all the way back in 2016 that a mum and dad told their children they were travelling to a Bangladesh for a holiday to visit relatives. But they arrived in the village, the victim was told she was to be married to her cousin. When she said no she was assaulted and her father threatened to slit her throat and to “chop her up”. The girl told the court that she never said yes and managed to contact the British High Commission who with the help of Bangladeshi authorities safely got her back to the UK.

Back in May when the court case happened Michael Quinn from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “She showed courage in contacting the authorities for help, and provided valuable assistance with the investigation and prosecution of these offences. This successful prosecution sends a clear message that forced marriage is a very serious crime and those responsible will be prosecuted.”

Well now her parents have received a total of 8 years behind bars for their horrific actions, forcing their daughter to marry someone she did not want to. Karma Nirvana are a charity which you can get in touch with if you are concerned that you or a family member or friend is about to be forced into a marriage.

It’s a bit complicated, but legal court requirement is no longer needed for some forms of passive euthanasia


In Britain Active Euthanasia is illegal but some forms of Passive Euthanasia are allowed with different legal restrictions. Up until today if you were in a vegetative state your doctors and family even if they all agreed to withdraw food and water still needed to go to court to actually do so, and let you die. Well today the Supreme Court, which is England and Wales’ highest court decided that families will no longer need to go before the courts for approval to withdraw feeding tubes from loved ones in a permanent vegetative state.

Were the women’s waves half the size?

surf sexism

Look carefully at the cheques these two surf champions have just received as prize money. Notice anything?

The winners of the boys and girls 2018 Billabong Junior Series’ Ballito Pro event posed for this photograph which once posted on social media has created wide scale criticism. It has put gender equality back into the spotlight.

In defence of the organisers of the event, a spokesperson Will Hayden-Smith said that prize money was partly determined by the number of entrants. There were twice as many male surfers as female ones: 36 compared to 18. To keep the same money-per-surfer ratio for men and women, the prize money for the female winner had to be half as much as the men. Do you think this is a fair system? Does everything have to be fair?



Help the environment, stop consuming meat and dairy

It makes absolute sense. New research has shown that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world. This is hugely important because the loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.

When you also factor in that new analysis shows that while meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.


Other interesting discoveries from the latest research were:

  1. Freshwater fish farming, which provides two-thirds of such fish in Asia and 96% in Europe, was thought to be relatively environmentally friendly but has a large impact. “You get all these fish depositing excreta and unconsumed feed down to the bottom of the pond, where there is barely any oxygen, making it the perfect environment for methane production,” a potent greenhouse gas, the report’s author explained.
  2. Grass-fed beef, thought to be relatively low impact, was still responsible for much higher impacts than plant-based food. “Converting grass into [meat] is like converting coal to energy. It comes with an immense cost in emissions.”

You should maybe think twice before you order a steak with a glass of milk!