Author Archive | Brian Walker

Theresa May’s aim of free trade with the EU outside the single market is the way to avoid a hard border. The Irish should start lobbying their EU partners now.

We will put our precious Union at the heart of what we do.. We will strengthen our relationship between the four nations of the UK..   I hope for the same spirit of unity, especially in Northern Ireland and that the parties will establish a new relationship as soon as possible..  The devolved administrations will more…

Solutions are negotiable, if there’s the political will

There’s something stereotypically Irish about a battle between two parties who are not competing for the same votes, were in one sense on the same side  – i.e. the same government – and will end up more or less where we are after the Assembly election. Incisive though it is, Mick’s analysis defers the subject more…

How will Ireland square the circle of close relations with Brexit Britain and continuing loyalty to the EU?

An Irish government official said to me a few weeks ago: “ we’re with the other guys now.” That arresting comment  meant that Ireland was making a necessary shift further away from Britain and towards the continuing relationship with the EU. A binary choice  is in prospect, goes the argument, depending on the Brexit outcomes. more…

An election would be an abuse of democracy. Knuckle down after the holiday and learn how to do modern politics.

Even with a fairer wind than we experienced since 1998 , it was always going to be difficult to reconcile  natural contention in politics with good cross community government. If all-party government worked well, the Assembly would have very little to do. If government failed, it would only amplify the differences. The select committees were more…

The Arlene factor: her abrasive personality is part of a tradition that has had its day

Anger is a factor often overlooked in politics.   Les Enragés were the militants who spoke up vituperatively  for the poor in the French Revolution. Jihad is the product of demented rage.  Dispossession  or the threat of it is often the  justification for anger.  Fear and insecurity are  close relatives.  Arrogance thinly concealing both is its more…

Cheer up for Christmas! Yesterday’s drama showed power sharing is working and is becoming more accountable.

Yesterday, the Assembly system did not make a bad situation worse.  Many will disagree but  I believe all emerged from it quite creditably.  While no doubt nervous of being outflanked on the nationalist side by the opposition SDLP,    Sinn Fein finally opted for Executive survival  despite the  trivial charge of kowtowing to the DUP. more…

Arlene Foster triumphant thanks to Sinn Fein. Imagine that!

Arlene won hands down, thanks to Sinn Fein with a little help from the Speaker. True she was always going to win the day as Sinn Fein declined to wield the knife by withdrawing from the Executive on foot of her refusal to step aside, but it was nice for her to be seen to more…

Brexit requires a special deal for Ireland say the Lords, and the Executive cannot stay aloof. That means you, Arlene

In the first of six reports on Brexit the House of Lords committee on the EU recommend  that the British and Irish governments should negotiate a new bilateral agreement to minimise the impact of Brexit on British-Irish and North-South relations. This will be welcomed as the  first serious attempt  by British legislators  to cut through the thicket more…

While the Supreme Court continues the agenda moves on. A hard Brexit looks more and more likely and the future of the Irish border is in the balance.

The Financial Times (£) says it all in the editorial quoted at some length below  – or most of it. If Theresa May had introduced a simple bill granting MPs a vote on Article 50, the November High Court case and the appeal to the Supreme Court would not have happened. What it doesn’t say more…