Region Archives: UK

“that’s the trojan horse of the entire republican strategy…”

From his reported comments, it would appear that Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, the Northern Ireland Education Minister, has, at best, a flawed “understanding” of his party president’s comments last night – and, hence, a flawed “understanding” of his party’s entire strategy.  From the UTV report Mr O’Dowd added that his understanding of Mr Adam’s ‘Trojan more…

Joseph Ruane on ‘Ireland’s Crises: North-South Intersections': From the Taming of the Celtic Tiger to the Rise of Sinn Fein in the Republic

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Professor Joseph Ruane, Visiting Professor of Sociology at University College Dublin and Professor Emeritus University College Cork, presented the 25th John Whyte Memorial Lecture last week at Queen’s on ‘Ireland’s Crises: North-South Intersections.’ Ruane’s wide-ranging talk focused primarily on crises in the Republic of Ireland. Ruane described the Republic as a ‘multiple interface periphery’ because more…

Despite the rise and rise of UKIP it remains a little confused on the matter of Northern Ireland

The more cynical political analyst might conclude there were two Monster raving loony parties standing in the Rochester and Strood byelection this week that resulted in the return to Westminster of Mark Reckless, UKIP’s second MP and a former Conservative. Standing on a ticket that was principally anti-immigration and anti-Europe – and Reckless got into more…

Gerry Adams: “There is a clear need for more innovative and forward-looking politics…”

By which, the passive-aggressive Sinn Féin president actually means, the SDLP must join Sinn Féin in a sectarian electoral pact in “the next Westminster and Assembly elections”, and the year after that, and the year after that… because… themmuns! To paraphrase, if Sinn Féin can get away with treating all future Northern Ireland elections as a glorified pissing contest more…

UKIP’s latest successes could yet damage it

Slowly the dust is beginning to settle on UKIP’s latest by-election victory. This one could be analysed as more or less important than the last one dependent on a number of factors. Rochester and Strood was a considerably less attractive target seat for UKIP than Clacton on Sea. It has much less of the older, more…

#SOSVigil: Women’s refuges facing closure because they come at the end of a long funding chain?

So the Taoiseach finally met with the Louise O’Keeffe yesterday. Yesterday was also the occasion of Women’s Aid #SOSVigil campaign protesting the cutting of funding to its network of women’s refuges. There were protests both outside 10 Downing Street and Leinster House at cuts in women’s refuges on both sides  of the Irish Sea. Far from more…

#SpotlightNI: Dodgy deals and private societies which turn out not to be what they seem…

Here’s a conversation involving Peter Weir of the DUP and Francie Molloy both trying to find ways to defend the otherwise indefensive on Spotlight last night… listen to ‘DUP's Peter Weir & SF's Francie Malloy react to Spotlight expenses investigation’ on audioBoom Now, I’m not a fan of expenses stories, but listening Peter Weir you more…

Sinn Féin MP: “I think this is part of an ongoing process by the BBC of insulting the Irish people…”

The DUP and Sinn Féin have united, again, to complain about the BBC’s use of subtitles during an interview with County Londonderry blacksmith, Barney Devlin, on its Sunday evening Countryfile programme.  Of the two parties, the DUP’s Peter Weir, MLA, was relatively restrained The DUP MLA, Peter Weir, told BBC 5Live that he also felt more…

Remembrance: Could we ‘hack’ a common purpose from our shared and bloody history?

‘Traditions’ which appear or claim to be old are often quite recent in origin and sometimes invented. Eric Hobsbawm In his introduction to a 1983 collection of essays Eric Hobsbawm notes not only that traditions are by definition ‘unchanging and invariant’, but that they are themselves created or invented as a response to rapid technological more…

We’re just managing poverty (and those who experience it) rather than tackling and overcoming it

This is my response to an article on Slugger O’Toole describing welfare reform as the “horror show“. The article itself was excellent, in the sense that it gave an entirely fair commentary of many of the opinions held on welfare reform (albeit limited to a particular, often unrepresentative sector). However, most of these are based more…

#OpenGovNI: Why a loose, distributed and eclectic network is vital… [updated with audio and video]

BCT launched Northern Ireland Open Government Network 2014

A key irony noted by Tim Hughes of Involve is that conversations about Open Government can very quickly become wonky and technical, and as a consequence begin to close out the ordinary citizen with techno jargon and insider speak. Wednesday’s launch of the Open Government Network Northern Ireland at Malone House in Belfast was moderately successful in broadening their more…

Open Government in Practice 2 – Open Policy Making

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Paul Braithwaite has been leading the Building Change Trust’s work exploring the issue of open government over the past year, focusing on the international Open Government Partnership initiative and its potential in Northern Ireland.  Last week the topic in focus was open budgets, this week it’s the turn of open policy making.   A new more…

The Taoiseach: “I will ask them the question that the Deputy will not answer.”

There was a clear attempt at political revisionism this week, as the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, TD, sought to, as Anthony McIntyre put it, “claw back lost ground” following an “unprecedented” Leaders’ questions in the Dáil on Wednesday 22 Oct – aided and abetted by interventions from the legal representative of four of those accused, and acquitted, more…

Federalism – Wherefore The Union?

I have long been of the view that a federal UK would be the eventual outworking of devolution.  Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has been calling for a constitutional convention for the last few years. Scottish Conservative Murdo Fraser outlined his thoughts on Slugger earlier this year. Why Murdo Fraser is right to promote UK more…

Lord Bew on the Prospects for Dealing with the Past

Yesterday’s House of Lords debate on the Haass-O’Sullivan Talks raised questions about the responsibility of the British and Irish governments, as well as the Northern Ireland parties, in moving forward on addressing the legacy of the past. Lord Bew’s remarks on the unlikeliness of ‘a shared process of recovery from the past’ were particularly sobering more…