Author Archive | Brian Walker

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…

Are the Dublin party leaders serious about raising Unity in the Brexit negotiations or are they playing Dail politics?

So Enda has taken the lead from Micheal who took his cue from Martin and inserted musing about a future border poll into his speech at Glenties.  For such a fateful topic  the whole sequence  has been deplorably improvised. The qualifications about lack of present evidence won’t stop the hare running now.  A border poll more…

In Brexit dialogues the DUP must be included. The Good Friday Agreement requires it.

Sadly, the Sunday Politics programmes have registered no closing of the gap between the DUP and Sinn Fein over “Brexit means Brexit.”  Inevitably there is a real danger that narrow politics and positioning will confuse already very difficult issues.  But at least they  are not the ones aggravating the disagreement at  the moment. They appear more…

A real Twelfth celebration. Three cautious cheers for Bombardier

And what about the effects of  Brexit?  The Irish Times takes forward the story reported by CBC Canada. Many thanks to Quebec, despite its secessionist tendencies.   The SWISS air flight on Friday also represents an important next stage of the C-Series journey that began for Northern Ireland at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK in 2008. Back more…

Westminster will find it hard to counter the Brexit case for Scottish independence

The UK Treasury chief who was at the heart of Project Fear during the Scottish independence referendum of 2014 is singing a different tune after the Brexit referendum. In an extraordinary article in the Financial Times (£)  summarised here,  Sir Nicholas McPherson sweeps away most of economic and financial problems associated with independence.. With the UK more…

Time for the Irish government to lay out their ideas on a “special status” for Northern Ireland

The chronic weaknesses of both governments hardly assists clear thinking over Brexit. On the other hand there seems to be a general willingness to minimise the damage e.g. over a hard border and trade. Whoever is the new British PM we cannot expect much departure from Theresa Villiers’s minimalist approach to coordination with the Republic. more…

Ireland is not abandoned. Britain does give a damn but in its own way

“The Brexiteers – (meaning the ascendant strain in the Conservative party -) don’t give a damn about Ireland” is a common reaction from Martin McGuinness to Fintan O’Toole. It’s quite an irony to hear Irish nationalists complain about nationalists of the English persuasion. But the cry is as much plaintive as enraged. After all that more…

The wee nations of these islands show the way in Europe

It was a big week in Europe in more ways than one. Wales is left as the standard bearer of the home nations in the Euros. Northern Ireland and the Republic get honourable mentions  in the reputation stakes not only on the field but on the terraces and the pubs.  The Somme commemorations recall Britain’s more…

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…