Author Archive | Brian Walker

The collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly can be averted

The Ulster Unionists appear to have succumbed to the revulsion many unionists feel at the very idea of sharing power with the spawn of the IRA that most of them have suppressed every day since 1998. The danger now is that they will set off a chain reaction and take the DUP with them. The  more…

Yes Alasdair, the SDLP oppose republican criminality but is anybody listening?

Signs of life in the SDLP are an interesting sidebar in the great IRA structures  kerfuffle. Alasdair McDonnell has taken up the challenge to contradict the Guardian’s Henry  McDonald’s charge below in yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph, which is basically that the SDLP has played mini-me to Sinn Fein for far too long. The SDLP may have stopped more…

Threatening the existence of the Assembly is a victory for terrorism

Oh God, not another fundamental breakpoint founded on the highest principles, whether they’re about welfare or the IRA! Come on, get real. This kerfuffle over “IRA structures” will pass. For all their simulated outrage over the IRA or welfare, no politician – none of the leaders anyway – want to close Stormont down.  Electoral politics more…

I’m really looking forward to the Labour leadership contest of 2017

As an old inhabitant of the Westminster bubble, I give my prophetic testimony.  Having been bombarded by emails from different sections of the Labour party and paid to qualify for a vote, I’m now waiting for my ballot papers in the leadership election. For the first time in my life, I’ve declared a party allegiance. more…

Happy days were here again for Beckett in Femanagh

Great to see that the  unapologetically highbrow Beckett Festival which has just ended in Fermanagh for this year, has survived the funding famine. This is quite a feat for the celebrations of such a unsentimental and enigmatic author, whose work is so at odds with the normal run of Irish summer fare. Perhaps this is more…

Anti- austerity arguments are not limited to Sinn Fein, but a proper debate about the real impact of cuts is needed.

Anxiety and anger over budget plans including welfare cuts continue on both sides of the water. Amid the attacks on George Osborne for “ Tory austerity” in his  plans to cut public  spending  by a further £20 billion or 40% for unprotected  areas, a rough comparison of public spending as a share of GDP  suggests more…

Can we ever lay 1916 to rest?

Official Ireland’s well known discomfort over how to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising  has just been exposed over the prefiguring event, the funeral the previous year of the physical force Fenian, O’Donovan Rossa.  With the failure to consign this heritage to the past in advance,  it seems  possible that there will be a more…

In dealing with the past, both the state and its legal critics should stop playing games

 “The UK is still in breach of international law for failing properly to investigate unresolved killings, especially and most controversially where state agents might have been involved”. So  states Brian Gormally the director fo the legal lobby group the Committee on the Administration of Justice, quoting the UN Committee on human Rights, No doubt Nuala O’Loan more…

Ted Heath is the latest and most senior Tory to be named in paedophilia claims. But how do you prove a negative?

Growing up in the 1960s with a precocious interest in politics, the main UK party leaders Harold Wilson and Ted Heath were among my role models. The new term  “meritocrat” might have been invented for them . Both of them came from modest backgrounds and made it to the top.  Politically I admired Heath’s decisiveness compared to Wilson’s more…

Irish ambassador’s latest move in the Republic’s role in the campaign to keep the UK in the EU

The FT (£,unfortunately) reports a strategically timed interview with the Irish ambassador to the UK , the Yeats-loving Dermot Mulhall. Remember when the Irish people reversed their “ wrong” answer in the first referendum on the Lisbon Treaty? It was the bold Dermot who fund the way through, apparently. Now he’s recommending that the UK follows more…

Reality checks of north-south comparisons should be welcomed

This piece by Aaron McKenna , businessman and columnist in the Journal.ie is not holy writ but it does make some interesting north-south comparisons. The UK government spends 24% more per head in Northern Ireland than it does in England, some £10,876 for every person in the province. If we got Northern Ireland tomorrow, that more…

Raking up “London”again is dead against modern Derry’s practical interests

Sinn Fein recently produced a round- up of Uncomfortable Conversations intended by promote reconciliation. With that in mind, is dropping the “London” prefix from the official name of the traditional city within the boundaries of the newly expanded local government district, really one we need to have again? Particularly as it’s doomed to failure. In a more…