Author Archive | Brian Walker

Remain in Northern Ireland still looks on top. Will the DUP heave a sigh of relief if it wins?

The arguments continue right down to the wire. The referendum has cut across the unionist/nationalist divide and – (nothing unusual here) – has split unionism. What is rarer is the DUP’s failure to press home their traditional case with the traditional fervour, suggesting they have doubts about it themselves, as Stephen McCaffery argues in The Detail. Sammy more…

Brexit panic takes hold in Ireland

In just 250 words the Irish Times reports the scale of  Brexit panic in Ireland, north and south. Promising “a huge campaign all over the world”, an informed source said a strong campaign is needed in the US, China and India and elsewhere to drive home the message that Ireland is separate from the UK more…

It’s about democracy stupid. No, more like a terrible mistake

As the polls lengthen in favour of  Brexit, Vote Leave’s morale is on the up. The Brexit phenomenon is not reactionary, a delayed  reaction to the loss of Empire or narrow English nationalism but it marks a revival of British self confidence. This I rate as a discovery to be taken with a pinch of more…

Jonathan Powell blasts Brexit

On The View on the day the former PMs Major and Blair warned of the threat of Brexit to the Union and stability, Eamonn McCann erupted. It wasn’t “Blair,  that man steeped in the blood of Iraq that brought peace”, he thundered (I quote him freely) “but the people of Northern Ireland who don’t want more…

Kingsmill, Loughinisland, Stakeknife. New disclosure on collusion has begun that the State can’t control and must answer. The time has come for proper explanations

  Hints are constantly being dropped that the Executive are close to agreement about setting up the new institutions to deal with the past, basically as laid out in the Haass report two years ago.    After last week, it can’t come quick enough.  A draft Bill to set up new legacy bodies is ready and more…

Can we finally wind up the paramilitaries by consent? The panel report has been delivered

Mural depicting UVF uncertainty as to the direction of the peace process. Mount Vernon, North Belfast.

Striking a balance between recognising where local power lies and the aim of bringing paramilitarism to an end is the fiendishly tricky approach of the report to the two governments and the Executive of the three- person panel headed by John Alderdice. In the jargon the strategy is about Demilitarisation, Disbandment and Integration (DDR). The panel more…

DUP/SF solidarity facing a formal opposition marks a new Assembly era

Yesterday’s Assembly debate on the programme for government framework showed that a new era of some sort has begun. The new government v opposition format of debate worked well, better than it might have. Even more remarkably MLAs stuck closely to the fairly dry topic under discussion.. Nobody made allegations of DUP triumphalism or complained more…

Insist on Executive solidarity. It’s the new antidote to nationalist fears and DUP over confidence

I’ve exploited  my posting rights to reply to the thread started by Chris Donnelly  which includes comments by Mick and Pete Baker. . Pete wrote: “We are long past the point of the need, or desire, for a collective approach to the programme for government.” There’s every “need” for a collective approach, Pete; it’s the more…

What’s the matter with Hillary?

At last two pieces which go to the heart of why Donald Trump is rampant and Hillary Clinton is faltering. The plain fact is that people like their politicians to inspire or at least identify with their problem and fears.  Mrs Clinton is a poor speaker and comes across as an over-calculating policy wonk who more…

The time is overdue for the two governments to tell what they know about the Dublin-Monaghan and the Birmingham bombings

Consider the latest developments about two atrocities, the Dublin and Monaghan UVF bombs in May 1974 and the Birmingham IRA pub bombs of November the same year. What they have in common is knowledge of the identities of what we must call the alleged perpetrators. The deep frustration caused to individuals and states has not more…

More Brexitref alarms: could a Corbyn government deliver Irish unity?

When we’re taking about Brexit fears, Newton Emerson in the Irish Times has an outlier scenario that’s sounds plausible but is full of holes.   He imagines the possibility of an early UK election out of the post-referendum chaos regardless who wins, with the Conservatives in worse disarray than Labour. Jeremy Corbyn gets SNP support more…