Region Archives: UK

Corbyn, the man who can’t even find a properly busy train in the UK:

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CCTV photographs show Corbyn’s photograph sitting on the floor of a ‘ram-packed’ train actually was staged on a train full of unreserved seats – including the one he went back to sit in after.  Virgin’s press release: ‘Seats were available on the train in which Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn was filmed sitting on the floor, more…


Funny Olympic Facts

50 50 50

Whatever your views on the monarchy and Ireland, I think we can all be united by a brief pause of mathematical surprise that HM Queen Elizabeth’s 2016 personal medal tally is precisely 50 golds, 50 silvers, and 50 bronzes.


Robin Chichester Clarke was the last of the gentry that treated government as part of the family business.

Robin Chichester -Clarke, the last of the old unionist gentry to hold office in either Stormont or Westminster,  died a fortnight ago at home in Norfolk at the age of 88.  His elder brother Jimmy, later Lord Moyola, (familiarly known as  “Chi-Chi,” after a notably  infertile panda) was Northern Ireland’s penultimate  prime minister in the darkening more…


Why is Martin McGuinness making a stand on ” remain must remain” the obvious loser, whatever happens with Article 50?

Martin McGuinness appears to have reverted to Brexit fundamentalism in an article in the Irish Times. He  describes  a worst case scenario, “ the biggest constitutional crisis since partition…and insists  that “Remain must mean remain.” From our perspective, what is needed now is an island-wide approach to dealing with this crisis. That is why Sinn more…


Barbers, Car Dealers, Printers: The “Olympic” Small Businesses Around Ireland and the World, and How They’re Watching Rio

Olympic Barbers 1

DUBLIN.  When Farrell O’Boy launched his Olympic Cars in Maynooth, Co. Kildare, he thought he’d chosen ‘a strong name, and people would remember it’, says Danny McCabe, today its sales manager. Across the Irish Sea, Antonio Leto had emigrated from Sicily and worked as a barber when he set up his own shop, Olympic Barbers, more…


An answer to Rentoul. Referendums like terrorism can shape events, but not always in the ways expected

Alerted by Mick on the thoughts on referendums by the Independent’s political commentator John Rentoul, I took in his part 2 “Should Referendums be banned?” This is a rhetorical question which is really in  support of Rentoul’s  contention  that they make very little difference to the course of political  events. His pieces prompted my following more…


Well Mairtin it’s a start!

 From the Irish Times. EU structural and investment projects in Northern Ireland signed before the British chancellor of the exchequer’s autumn statement will be guaranteed after Brexit, the Treasury in London has said. The current level of agricultural backing, which underpins the farming industry, will also be matched by the British government until 2020. Europe’s more…


Finance Minister says NI left out of Brexit negotiations: UK Gov won’t underwrite current EU funding for NI


Talking at this morning’s Big Ideas: Festival of Economics at NICVA, Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir indicated that Northern Ireland was being left out of post-Brexit decision making in London. He also felt it was likely the British Government would not underwrite the “half of” current EU INTERREG and PEACE funding, adding that he expected more…


United approach to Brexit? Well done, Arlene and Martin.

Rather out of the blue, this joint letter from Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness   to the prime minister Theresa May changes the impression of a divided Executive heading for  a fresh stand-off and is to be warmly welcomed. It is artfully couched in calling for no weakening of cross border measures to deal with crime more…


David Cameron and the problem of setting real political choices


David Cameron’s referendums were regarded as reflections of ‘the will of the people’.  But is that true?  Here Peter Emerson of the de Borda Insitute questions that assumption then proposes a better methodology. 2011 Referendum on the Electoral System. Cameron’s first problem?   “Those damned Lib-Dems and the voting system!”  Hence the first ‘which’, to more…


Time cannot silence the Voices of the Somme

Lurgan Volunteers with pic

At the start of July I posted on Slugger O’Toole to introduce Somme Voices, a month-long series of daily tweets in remembrance of that dreadful World War One battle. I’m returning to Slugger to bring the Somme Voices project to a close with a final poem. The reason is that I’d like to quote this more…


Trade & Brexit: Where next?

The New BrexitSec

Among the changes in Prime Minister May’s post-referendum reshuffle David Davis has now been appointed new ‘Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union’ or BrexitSec as I’m growing used to calling him. He caused a bit of a stir last Monday when he appeared not to know that the Republic of Ireland was no more…


CBI: Misery Merchants


The CBI is a business membership body that supposedly represents the interests of British (and Northern Irish) business. But you could be forgiven for missing this. During the entire EU Referendum campaign, the local branch of the CBI was unrelenting it its gloom-laden assessments of the outlook for the NI economy should the UK electorate choose more…


Immigration less of a problem, trade and customs more so, as Liam Fox rules out a customs Union with the EU. But Theresa and Enda think they see how to keep the border open

One of the leading authorities on EU affairs Charles Grant, the director of the centre for European Reform has issued  this warning: When it comes to economic ties, the 27 will be much tougher than many Britons expect. European leaders have an interest in ensuring that the EU maintains a close economic relationship with the more…


O’Leary’s Dalriada proposal keeps Northern Ireland and Scotland in the UK and the EU

The political scientist Professor Brendan O’Leary is one of the strongest supporters of power sharing in Northern Ireland and an deviser of political solutions to ethnic conflict throughout the world. On leave from Pennsylvania University and an old boy of St Macnissi’s Garron Tower, he has produced the Dalriada Document – inspired by the ancient more…