Region Archives: UK

Nationalisation is always a disaster: another truism in need of challenge?

Corbynmaina has gone a little quiet recently centrally due to repetition. Personally I am still unsure whether he will win or not. However, after having looked at some of the potentially questionable truisms regarding the unelectability of Labour in 1983 and the disaster which was the 1970s, I thought, to take our minds off the more…

“The real story is not the existence of some skeleton structure, but the sound of gunfire…”

It’s not the still-extant Provisional IRA structures that are the immediate cause for concern, although “stupid” questions could, and should, be asked about their ultimate purpose, it’s the involvement of those Provisional IRA ‘structures’ in the events leading up to, and including, the murder of Kevin McGuigan, and the continued denials [of that reality! – Ed] more…

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…

Tánaiste: “This is an insidious threat to Northern Ireland’s future as a healthy, stable democracy, and therefore a threat to the whole of this island.”

Brian’s weariness at another political crisis notwithstanding, it would be a mistake to dismiss reaction to recent events as a “kerfuffle”.  There are legitimate concerns, and two men have been murdered.  The Irish Justice Minister, Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald, has asked the Garda Commissioner for a “fresh assessment” of Provisional IRA activities to take into more…

Villiers: “My understanding is, very much in line with that of the chief constable, that a number of the organisational structures of the Provisional IRA still exist…”

Sinn Féin continue with their policy of denial [of reality… – Ed], although Gerry Kelly has come closest to acknowledging that reality according to this RTÉ report Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Kelly said based on the political evidence over the past ten years, the IRA has not been active and therefore does not exist in more…

The disaster of the 1970s: truisms in need of challenge?

As I noted previously in relation to the 1983 election campaign there is a tendency in political analysis to accept truisms which are historically inaccurate or at least highly incomplete. One of the recent manifestations of this tendency (also related to the current Labour leadership campaign) is that Corbyn is going to take the UK more…

“Members of PIRA carried out their own investigation” into the Davison killing…

In the Belfast Telegraph, Liam Clarke highlights a significant point from the police assessment of Provisional IRA involvement in the murder of Kevin McGuigan – a point that was not included in earlier reports of that police assessment.  From the Belfast Telegraph article Police have confirmed that senior IRA members conducted an inquiry into the more…

Burnham “We were offering little gimmicky policies designed to change a couple of days headlines”

I was on Radio Leicester on a semi regular slot I have with Jonathan Lampon to comment on his interview with Andy Burnham. Two things worth highlighting. Burnham is probably the only one who (albeit indirectly) identifies Labour’s most proximate difficulty which was the last failed campaign. He notes Labour didn’t have enough to say more…

PSNI Det Supt Geddes: “It is my assessment at this stage and my belief that people who are members of the Provisional IRA were involved in this murder, but we will not speculate on at what level.”

The police held a press conference today on the on-going investigation into the murder of former Provisional IRA member Kevin McGuigan Sr in the Short Strand area of Belfast last week – he had reportedly been “warned by the police that he was under threat from republicans” following the murder of former PIRA commander Gerard ‘Jock’ more…

Andy Burnham pitches to Labour leadership voters in NI: comprehensive not selective education, gay blood, & candidates

Andy Burnham square

This morning’s Belfast Telegraph publishes a statement from UK Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham. He’s the bookies’ favourite to come second, and clearly the candidate the local Constituency Labour Party members are most comfortable with. 610,000 ballot papers have been issued to party members, registered supporters and affiliate supporters. There are around 500 1,000 members more…

Labour leadership: Corbyn, his opponents and The Vision Thing

The Labour leadership contest has every appearance of a soap opera. I noted below that the historical precedents that Jeremy Corbyn would be unelectable as Prime Minister were strong but by no means overwhelming and were based on a post hoc deterministic analysis. One of the most fundamental problems for the non Corbyn candidates is more…

Conservatives to start governing Northern Ireland?

Change coming?

The United Kingdom is a parliamentary democracy. The most important decisions are taken by an elected government that may, or may not, have an electoral mandate from all regions and all constituencies of the United Kingdom. That’s why the Conservative government’s policies are applied in East Ham – a constituency where the Labour MP polled 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…

Reclaiming the Labour Party? Thoughts on the Corbyn Phenomenon

The entry of Jeremy Corbyn MP to the 2015 Labour leadership contest injected an unexpected bout of energy to an internal election within the Labour Party that would have otherwise been near-unnoticeable. Media attention to Mr Corbyn has intensified in the aftermath of recent surveys and poll findings that he could well be on the 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…

Thoughts on Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s un-electability

I have been trying to write something on the Labour leadership election for a while now but keep getting put off. Rather than look at the election itself it might be interesting to look at two of the supposed truisms with surround the election and specifically Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign: that Corbyn as Labour leader would more…