Archive | July, 2016

Lurgan Volunteers with pic

Time cannot silence the Voices of the Somme

At the start of July I posted on Slugger O’Toole to introduce Somme Voices, a month-long series of daily tweets in remembrance of that dreadful World War One battle. I’m returning to Slugger to bring the Somme Voices project to a close with a final poem. The reason is that I’d like to quote this more…

With Brexit fever, lies,lies and damned polls

Lucid Talk have been conducting a curious self selecting exercise in the  Belfast Telegraph and finding that, as Lucid Talk’s Bill White explains, “The poll is currently running at 75% Yes to a border poll, and 70% Yes to a United Ireland, and I don’t need to tell you that common sense, and history, tells more…

The New BrexitSec

Trade & Brexit: Where next?

Among the changes in Prime Minister May’s post-referendum reshuffle David Davis has now been appointed new ‘Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union’ or BrexitSec as I’m growing used to calling him. He caused a bit of a stir last Monday when he appeared not to know that the Republic of Ireland was no more…

gloomy

CBI: Misery Merchants

The CBI is a business membership body that supposedly represents the interests of British (and Northern Irish) business. But you could be forgiven for missing this. During the entire EU Referendum campaign, the local branch of the CBI was unrelenting it its gloom-laden assessments of the outlook for the NI economy should the UK electorate choose more…

Immigration less of a problem, trade and customs more so, as Liam Fox rules out a customs Union with the EU. But Theresa and Enda think they see how to keep the border open

One of the leading authorities on EU affairs Charles Grant, the director of the centre for European Reform has issued  this warning: When it comes to economic ties, the 27 will be much tougher than many Britons expect. European leaders have an interest in ensuring that the EU maintains a close economic relationship with the more…

O’Leary’s Dalriada proposal keeps Northern Ireland and Scotland in the UK and the EU

The political scientist Professor Brendan O’Leary is one of the strongest supporters of power sharing in Northern Ireland and an deviser of political solutions to ethnic conflict throughout the world. On leave from Pennsylvania University and an old boy of St Macnissi’s Garron Tower, he has produced the Dalriada Document – inspired by the ancient more…

‘The omerta since 1998 has ended.’

The post-Brexit period has witnessed a number of pronouncements on all-Ireland matters which have provoked a range of responses, some more deserving of greater scrutiny than others. Whilst Sinn Fein representatives have been a consistent voice calling for an Irish unity referendum, before and after Brexit, references to the context within which such a border more…

Faint hopes only for a second Brexit referendum

Jeremy Corbyn’s challenger Owen Smith (once the smooth and effective special adviser to  Secretary of State Paul Murphy) has offered a second referendum or a general election to ratify any Brexit deal.  What, you hadn’t noticed? His offer has so far been buried in the controversy over the leadership challenge. Let’s see how it plays more…

Remain campaign a victim of it’s own left liberal conceits?

A couple of thoughtful pieces to throw into the melee post-referendum. First Tim Harford in today’s FT… Here are four tenets of the trendy centre-left of British politics: first, soaring inequality means that ordinary people haven’t shared in the benefits of economic growth; second, rich people and big companies don’t pay taxes; third, gross domestic more…

EU Ballot

Brexit will strengthen the Union

Brexit will strengthen the Union, not weaken it. The vast majority of Scottish & Ulster trade is far and away with the rest of the UK. Scottish trade with the EU is down 20% in the last year with the USA being Scotland’s single biggest export country. The Republic of Ireland accounts for only just more…

Calm down, dears…

Wilful or otherwise, there’s been a degree of misrepresentation of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s apparently unscripted, and qualified, comments at the MacGill Summer School yesterday – you can read the official version of his speech here. As the initial reported quote demonstrated, his focus was not on preparing for the prospect of referendums on a united more…