Slugger O’Toole: The Magnificent Seven?

Linked.In…..or whatever its called is handy enough. Sometimes its handy to type in a name and see what comes up.

Take the Slugger O’Toole team.

As far as I can gather this seems to be “the team”.

1 Mick Fealty.

2 Paul Evans. English and as I recall former advisor to a Labour MEP. He was previously a regular on Slugger and a bit snippy (at least with me) but I tend to bring out the worst in people.

3 Quintin Oliver . awww you guessed that one. Nuff said. Advisor on Norn Iron matters to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (based in York) since 2010. Top man in Stratagem.

4 Trevor Ringland. A leading man in Platform for Change (a lets get alongerist forum). Ex Rugby international. A very genuine person. Previously stood for UUP-Conservatives in East Belfast (East Belfast 2010) and now a member of the Conservative Party.

5 David Steven… with Mick Fealty and Trevor Ringland of The Future of Unionism…….a paper published by you guessed it……the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

6 Richard Delevan….seems to a former journalist now in PR and seemingly based in London.

7 Abigail Davis…..appears to be on the staff of ……..Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation based in York…..that chocolate money, innocent money, Quaker money.

Of course the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has no connexion to that Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust which is also based in York. The latter donated £97,000 to the Alliance Party since 2007.

IMPORTANT EDIT…..I would direct readers to the comment from Mick Fealty who takes issue with me on the accuracy of this post. As I stated “as far as I can gather this is the (Slugger) team”. My source being Mr Fealty’s LinkedIn profile. Turns out Mick Fealty does not update his profile. Actually my Facebook profile says that I am “single” but in fact I have been married since 1982. I just havent got round to updating the profile that I set up on Facebook in 1974.

I am however happy to point out that Mick Fealtys “Slugger Team 2002-present” includes an abigail Davis who was in fact inly involved in web design in Sluggers early days. She is NOT the Abigail Davis who works for the Rowntree Foundation. Glad we got that sorted out.

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49 Responses to Slugger O’Toole: The Magnificent Seven?

  1. That’s interesting, especially in light of everything Fick Mealty has been saying over on Pie that SOT and Strategem are not that much connected, he’s not influenced by them, they really only paid some money for the awards night in the Black Box, you being paranoid about their connection with SOT and the Alliance party.

    But, then again, he might come on here and start quoting lines from ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, or he could square the points above, who knows sure?

    • Who Knows?
      This info was from “Linked In” so presumably is/was correct. I think its fair to say that I had always assumed until last week that the Slugger “team” as in my original post would have more “posters” but these are mostly “background” people.
      But clearly there is no nationalist/republican involvement. It validates the notion that Slugger is “lets get alongerist/liberal unionist”.

      • Nothing to see there tbh FJH, though I always find it interesting what they post up nowadays, not because there posts are interesting (I’ve been pretty bored by them in the main), more because you could use some kind of ‘kremlinology’ on why or what they post and what is going on in the background.

        For instance, Dr Spaceman went pretty quiet when SOT became a story in itself and nowadays you would even think that Fick Mealty has had a quiet word in his ear telling him to dial down the rhetoric a bit as people see the site as partisan above the line trolling nonsense where ‘innocent chocolate money’ has been used to push some line for ‘civic unionism’ and letsgetalongerist nonsense.

        Ah well, it would seem that enough people (‘ahem’) have started their own sites to fill the gap that they have left…

      • Yes and No.
        Slugger is a (allegedly) weblog anda discussion board but those of us who have started up sites are bloggers……and I think its slightly different.
        There probably is room for a genuinely neutral discussion board…..and I dont think Slugger is genuinely neutral.
        Yet it would be impossible for anyone such as myself…..a SDLP member…..not to contribute to it as the more risible nonsense needs to be confronted.
        And of course it would not be in Sluggers interest (and image of providing a forum) if it barred voices like mine.
        They certainly have a dilemna.
        And theyve certainly been wounded by the thread and arguably other criticisms.
        In the only Digital Lunch I ever watched, Quintin Oliver could not understand criticism of “chocolate money….innocent money………Quaker money”.
        As I am one of the few people who has ever wondered about this, I assume it was a dig at no more than two or three people (possibly including myself).
        But that rather tepid outburst added to the off-on activities of Mick on and occasional excursions here have shown that they are a bit rattled.
        Definitely they have had some manners put on them.

      • I wouldn’t mind seeing a neutral board about, but I won’t hold my breath anytime soon.

        Not wishing to go over old ground, but is obvious to all that SOT is not even remotely neutral and is clearly towing a line that there benefactors and money men are wanting to hear.

        I appreciate you like to play a straight bat over there and keep people honest, but I really see no point to it a lot of the time, but then again, it’s not I who is posting and you do always make valid points.

        I know this may be somewhat controversial but I actually prefer the format over on Pie to SOT. Yes, there are a ton of crazies and trolls, but it is genuinely neutral in that anyone and everyone posts pieces and it seems to be a hostile house for absolutely everyone.

        As for QO, that is quite funny that he thinks people have a problem with the source of the money as opposed to what it is seemingly spent on, but of course, he already knows this and it is a nice diversionary tactic on his part.

      • I think this goes to the heart of it.
        Can a Discussion Board ever be neutral without paying the price of being shambolic and chaotic.
        Slugger has never really been able to deal with that.

  2. hoboroad says:

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  3. Reading your analysis and comments, I nearly feel hard done by that I’ve never been lobbied by or had anyone from Rowntree/Stratagem have a word in my ear over a post or even a topic for a post. Though since chocolate Buttons are a Cadburys brand, I suppose it’s a bit much to wish for a packet.

    • Im a Malteasers man myself Alan.
      So….now that youre here……can you tell us all about the Slugger team, the editors, the moderators…….in the interests of transparency of course 😉

  4. pippakin says:

    Interesting, not sure what your problem with the line up is, few of them write for Slugger on a regular basis. Paul Evans has not, as far as I can remember, been heard there for years same I think for Trevor Ringland Quentin Oliver pops up from time to time usually to ‘sell’ something he is involved in. David Steven, RIchard Delevan and Abigail Davis I have never heard of in relation to Slugger or anything else.

    If they’re admin people I hope they are unpaid Slugger admin as far as I can see is non existent or worse.

    • Pip,

      ‘not sure what your problem with the line up is’. Not wishing to be curt or aggressive (as he lights blue touch paper and runs for cover) but have you not read the above posts and previous threads?

      See for instance FJH’s point – ‘There probably is room for a genuinely neutral discussion board…..and I dont think Slugger is genuinely neutral.’

      I know you see it (SOT) as pro-SF (*shakes head and sighs into chest*) but judgeing by the output from some established posters and thread starters there is a very good argument that it is in fact a ‘liberal’ unionist or letsgetalongerist site.

  5. pippakin says:

    Oh I’m sure of what FJH has written but the lineup is one that on the whole is rarely seen blogging on Slugger. I find that puzzling perhaps FJH does too, or not.

    Or perhaps its that since I’m not interested in where funding comes from as long, as I’ve said previously, as editorial policy etc is not affected I can’t understand his problem with any Rowntree connection.

    If you were hoping for something more enlightening from me – Don’t.

    • FC…Pippakin
      Replying to you together as under a bit of pressure time wise.
      This info is from Mick Fealty’s linked In profile and may or may not be up to date. Other info on the profile is recent so I am presuming that it is.
      In any case Im looking on it as the Slugger “board room” (the owners). It may or may not be relevant that two are associated with the Rowntree Foundation (one as Norn Iron advisor) another seemingly asa member of staff. But it is a fact.
      Again it may or may not be relevant that Paul Evans, who always pushed the Labour in Norn Iron socialist line is involved. But he is.
      Same in respect of Trevor Ringland who is a key player in Platform for Change and now the Tories (previously UUP-Tory)
      Same in respect of David Steven….
      but there is no overtly nationalist/republican involvement in ownsership of this site (Im not sure it would claim to be nuetral or for that matter have an agenda).
      But is it fair to say that there is a group think here that is “liberal unionist/lets get alongerist”? I think that there is.
      Pippakins point that most of these folks dont post on Slugger is extremely relevant because the “editorial folks” are a different group…..Walker (unionist and BBC bore), Baker (all purpose bore)…but there is another group of Slugger favourites Ian Parsley (sometimes Alliance sometimes UUP-Tory) Nicholas Whyte (previously an Alliance advisor) and Gerry Lynch (previously a staff member at Alliance)…….Alliance being a party that has benefitted from another Rowntree body.
      And of course there are other “lets get alongerist” posters.
      It is of course relevant that “Turgon” (sadly missed at the moment) and Chris Donnelly post from outside this cosy lets getalongerism.
      But the targets of “lets get alongerism” are effectively SDLP and UUP. Their weakness is “lets get alongerist” opportunity.

      The Board Room is only one aspect. Editorial staff is a different matter.
      “Alan in Belfast” could probably say more but he probably wont go beyond the teaser in this thread.
      About 18 months ago, I met a young student who recognised me from Slugger. As I recall she said she did some moderation.
      I should have pressed this further. I daresay there is a rota for that kinda thing. How many? Who are there? Interns (employed by ????)? Volunteers?
      I have no idea.
      Getting information is a bit like pulling teeth (and thats a sore point cos had two teeth taken out on Tuesday)

    • Pip,

      Apologies for the delay with the reply but friends and guinness last night means I’m exhausted today.

      ‘Or perhaps its that since I’m not interested in where funding comes from as long, as I’ve said previously, as editorial policy etc is not affected I can’t understand his problem with any Rowntree connection.’

      I find your thinking somewhat worrying. The point is that the funding and the editorial policy could be perceived to be related. What assurances would you need that, despite it’s funding, it’s editorial policy has not been affected? Also, how do you know that it (editorial policy) is not affected? This would be the crux of what FJHis getting at (right FJH, or am I way off as I hate putting words in someone’s mouth?)

      ‘If you were hoping for something more enlightening from me – Don’t.’

      I’ve read your stuff before Pip, none of which has been enlightening tbf. It is enlightening in other ways though, but I’ll leave that for another time 🙂

      • Basically I dont have a problem with any Blog being partisan. After all this Blog is republican, nationalist,socialist in tone and pro SDLP in particular.
        But I dont delude myself into thinking its non-partisan or a blog of record.
        My background …among other things,,,,is History. Basic premise is who is saying this and why. The News Letter has a column on GAA results but it isnt nationalist.
        Slugger has posts written by nationalists but it is still in that “lets get alongerist” zone. No harm in that. As long as it admits it to the readership and itself.
        Whats in it all for Stratagem a PR company? Well either there is something in it for a PR Company or it is a most remarkable piece of altruism (actually they do pro-bono work).
        Simply put if my job description is “Agent for Change” then I would look for ways/methods/vehicles to effect Change in the direction that I want.
        But then I only describe myself as an “Agent for Change” as it is a hilarious job description.

        But consider this….there are 108 MLAs and they have all been elected. But Id hold that there is a group of people….business people, academics, journalists, media folk who are in their own way as powerful as many of those 108 elected people.
        Now I ask a RHETORICAL QUESTION and I dont want an answer (so just say “I get your drift FJH”)….who is the most influential unelected person in Norn Iron?

      • Simples, ME!!!

        No, I jest. Who knows, there is so little going on here in Norn Iron and so little money about that it’s much like watching 2 bald men fight over a comb.

      • LOL…but its a nice comb.

      • pippakin says:

        How is it possible to know if funding has directly affected Mr Fealtys editorial policy? To be sure Slugger does appear to be more letsgetalongarist but that could be down to other factors. Mark McGregor is missed there. He was a prolific and vociferous blogger who would frequently appear in the threads of other bloggers to defend his views. Neither John O’Neill or Chris Donnelly blog or comment as often as he did.

        Its all very well being suspicious but when it comes to editorial policy how, if you are not told, can you know. In addition editorial policy is not cast in stone it can change as the editor may change. The crucial thing about editorial policy is that it be the policy of the editor no one else. I have seen no evidence that that is not the case.

        I had not heard of you footballcliches until I found you here. No doubt you’re an expert. Your opinion of me is up to you.

      • Now be nice you two (God I sound like yer man!).
        Pippakin the issue is “transparency”.

      • Pip,

        ‘How is it possible to know if funding has directly affected Mr Fealtys editorial policy?’

        I’m thinking we’ll do something like the attached and we can then find out. I call being Dom Cobb, while you can be Saito if you want?

        There is no easy answer of course, and you know this. But, by looking at it’s output in general, who runs the show, who provides the funding, we can see something of a pattern emerge and ask questions comparing the reality with what is being said to be reality, we see what answers we get back, see if they stack up, ask some more. It’s not rocket science.

        ‘To be sure Slugger does appear to be more letsgetalongarist but that could be down to other factors.’ – such as?

        ‘Its all very well being suspicious but when it comes to editorial policy how, if you are not told, can you know.’ – I propose extraction, that aside, we could go along with the time tested formula of asking questions to see if what is said stacks up with what we see.

        ‘In addition editorial policy is not cast in stone it can change as the editor may change. The crucial thing about editorial policy is that it be the policy of the editor no one else. I have seen no evidence that that is not the case.’ – really? Money from Strategem, the folks FJH had listed with whom FM works with on S Consults, the vast majority of the posts on the site? You can take a horse to water, etc etc.

        ‘I had not heard of you footballcliches until I found you here. No doubt you’re an expert. Your opinion of me is up to you.’

        Expert on what precisely Pip? If it is being able to read and question things that are seemingly opaque or don’t stack up then like a lot of people I would say I am an expert, though please define ‘expert’ in this instance.

        I posted on SOT as Kevin Barry as that is, in fact, my name. I had set up my own site called football cliches and as I was somewhat awful re sites and aliases I just stuck with FC when posting on FJH’s and Bangor Dub’s sites.

        Focus Pip, this thread and the gripe FJH and others such as myself have with SOT is it isn’t transparent.

  6. pippakin says:

    Tbh FJH I find it confusing. Its a blog/discussion board and seems to have more staff be they boardroom , blogger or moderator than a medium sized company. If its so successful it suggests someone has sold the brand well. for eg. has a lot of moderators, needed because it is big, but as far as is known, and compared to Slugger, few owners.

    Strange, that’s all I’m saying.

    • “Owners” is probably the wrong word.
      But this team of seven is I assume different from the “writers”.
      A few weeks ago on Mick Fealty directed me to “Companies House” but I am too elderly, frail and arthritic to make that trip.

  7. pippakin says:

    Unless there is a Companies House in Belfast its a long trip to London. Its probably possible to do it all on the web but what would that prove? and to what end…

  8. pippakin says:

    One can always find purpose but sure you’re so frail and arthritic this little effort must have exhausted you. I feel your pain…

  9. Fitzy,

    I’ve only just seen this. Oh dear.

    Let me try to deal honestly with the make up of ‘alleged’ (great word that, you can say anything you like and cover yourself rather handily against the accusation that you are just making it all up) Slugger team.

    First it’s pretty clear that Fitzy has no

    OUR *Abigail* (as opposed to the one who works in Minimum Income Standards for JRF) did a lot of work on the original design for Slugger in January February 2003, when *David Steven* was a part of the authorial team that turned out our long view of Unionism pamphlet (funded by River Path via a grant from the RCT). She also designed the booklet that came out in May that year.

    She does not now, nor ever has worked for the James, Joseph or even Patrick Rowntree Trust, Foundation, or Whatever You’re Having Yourself (or whatever other name you are making up for it these days). That would be someone who, surprise, surprise, has the same name.

    The only other project since that she helped me on was the now defunct project and the blog of 2003 which was delivered through River Path, not Slugger.

    Neither has David, though he’s still a very good friend.

    *Trevor* was part of that team too. Oh, and there’s *Richard Delevan*, who once chaired a Slugger live panel at QUB in 2005.

    But why would you mention these folk and not Alan or Pete or Chris or John?

    *Quintin* has been a solid partner in the Slugger Awards and we’ve done a few pieces of work for him over the years. He’s not part of the team but he is someone who likes and appreciates the work we do.

    Bingo!! *Paul Evans* WAS part of the Slugger team. He probably didn’t like you because he was irritated with the kind of trolling nonsense this.

    And, yes. I am part of the Slugger team too. I do private work with some organisations and companies. But the blog has never done much more than wash its own face over the last ten years.

    I’m hoping that will change with projects like the Community Assets Transfer project and the one we have starting next week on Social innovation. More here:

    I’ve also been doing some work for a campaign call the National Conversation. My role there is as an online facilitator. And the idea is to create a sane space in which to talk about a difficult and hard to get to subject. Sound familiar?

    I’m hoping that we will be able to do more of these kinds of projects. Some of them I hope, will involve people I’ve already worked with (like Quintin and Stratagem), but much of is breaking new territory as large organisations release more resources to connect with new audiences online.

    Look, I would deny square their right to be sceptical about me, or anything I do in the public space. But what’s Fitzy’s doing here *is* making stuff up.

    I would love Slugger to be a thriving business which could recompense all its writers for the huge time and committment they give to making it a success in the public square. But simply it isn’t.

    Thank you, and good night!

    • Oh dear….I probably should have used a more reliable source than Mick Fealtys “Linked In ” profile and networking CV thing. It is still there today. This is what it says in relation to Mick Fealty and Slugger O’Toole.

      June 2002 to Present

      Team Members: Mick Fealty, David Steven, Abigail Davis, Trevor Ringland, Richard Delevan, Quintin Oliver, Paul Evans

      An multi award winning heterogeneous political space for dialogue and exploration development of politics in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and beyond.

      June 2002-Present. So what is Mr Fealty saying?…..he hasnt updated his profile? That those names (and funnily enough none are nationalist and republican) just come and go in and around Slugger?
      The facts state for themselves….Quintin Oliver is in everything but the crib including being Norn Iron Advisor to Rowntree Foundation, Trevor Ringland is a big noise in Platform for Change, David Steven has co authored a paper on modern unionism with Mick Fealty and Trevor Ringland (published by those lovable chocolate people), Paul Evans is a former Sluggerite with a daydream about Labour in Norn Iron and Richard Delevan is a PR man/journalist who (like me) is a household name in his own household.

      But enough there surely to point out that this “team” (as stated on LinkedIn) which apparently isnt a “team” (as stated on LinkedIn) is of the liberalunionist/letsgetalongerist/why oh why cant we have normal left right politics nature……for which we know and love Slugger O’Toole.

      Abigail’s Party? ….turns out that she did some website design in 2003. Happy enough to put in an EDIT that she is not the same Abigail Davis who “seemingly works for Rowntree”
      Why do I mention these folk rather than Alan (a stand up guy), Dr Sheldon Cooper, Mr O’Neill or Mr Donnelly? or for that matter Mr “I Worked at the BBC”. Well er that might be because I put far too much faith in Mr Fealty’s LinkedIn profile….which didnt after all list the Slugger Team 2002-present.
      Are you saying that YOU should have included them?
      You need to update that Mr Fealty. People could get misled.

  10. Sorry for the trucated line… I was going somewhere with that and then thought better of it… But I would ask, what criteria did you use to build this Slugger Dream Team (if I really could pull that lot into one team it would be fantastic)?

  11. pippakin says:

    My, my, when I started my little blog I simply used blogger templates etc and began to type…I wonder could Slugger tie their own boot laces without a grant, an editor and a facilitator. Of course there is no comparison, absolutely none. I’m quite pleased about that.

  12. pippakin says:

    Miaoow?? Simply stating a fact child simply stating a fact.

  13. Pip, here’s an archived snapshot of early Slugger… on Blogger, summer 2002, no funding, no comments, no facilitation… and an audience of 150 approx after two months of just grinding out ‘stuff’…

  14. pippakin says:

    And very interesting it is too! is that what is known in the trade as advertising?

    But, I do sincerely congratulate you on an excellent blog and discussion board. I had a brief, very brief, look at the new thing using cameras, mine is blocked with insulating tape there really is nothing like ‘old tech’ to feel secure.

    If I have a thought about the new toy its that everyone is way too close to the camera. As I said I’ve only looked at one and didn’t watch it all but the only people who appeared to have the right attitude and distance were two girls who took part both were in the same shot

    Good luck with it.

  15. pippakin says:

    Don’t know yet. If I don’t I may catch up with the later recording that’s what I did with the one I mentioned.

    FJH appears to be ‘old school’ but perhaps you might persuade him to join a discussion one that includes Quentin Oliver, that would be interesting.

  16. About as interesting as Saturday afternoon wrestling in the 1970s.

  17. pippakin says:

    I wouldn’t know I never watched wrestling. I’m surprised FJH hasn’t turned up yet, no doubt he is loading his ‘weapons’ for the encounter.

  18. pippakin says:

    My dad used to love the wrestling on Saturday afternoons. It didn’t matter how often we said it was a con he insisted on watching and then he’d laugh all the while! The only answer was to move out or have somewhere else to be while he was glued to the box watching Mick McManus?

  19. Oh, Pip. He’s avoiding his comment zone now. See the note above. Still doesn’t say how he assembled this fictional Slugger ‘dream team’.

    • I formed the fictional dream team from your LinkedIn profile Mr Fealty…..clearly an unreliable source.
      And surely I HAVE replied to this.
      May I just point out that as a happily retired person, I rarely go on Tintenet before lunch.

    • How?
      What can I say? I googled you.
      And there was the Slugger Team (Dream Team or Nightmare Team I cant possibly say).
      Presumably you wrote your own LinkedIn profile. Or was it Cordless Larry?

  20. Well, ya got me there. That *was* under Slugger Consults. And I’ve removed all of those names since none of them are ‘in the team’ so to speak.

    I have to say I’m not sure how they got piled in under that category. I think I entered them in answer to another question and the site’s been re-formated since.

    But, as outlined in first response above, they are all people I’ve worked with.

  21. Let me have the link, because I’ve only removed from Slugger Consults. If they were under Slugger, they should still be there..

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