Region Archives: Wales

The Election Debates and the Northern Ireland ‘Difference’

Nick Robinson: inclusion of NI politicians in the election debates a step too far?  Pic: Tom Page

Northern Ireland is politically different from the rest of the UK, according to the BBC’s Nick Robinson. That’s why, he argued this morning on the Today Programme, broadcasters are confused by the Prime Minister’s insistence that if the Scots/Welsh Nats are including in the proposed television election debates, Northern Irish parties should be included too. more…

Spreading the word in the Irish language requires a new beginning

I thought I’d tiptoe into the minefield of the “Irish Language Act”, an area where the massed ranks of persuadables risk getting wasted by the zealots, but here goes. Concubhar is right, there should be a mature discussion. I’m one of those who shrugged off Gregory Campbell’s leaden humour and hoped that most language supporters felt more…

Testament of Youth (QFT 16-29 January) – powerful on-screen adaptation of Vera Brittain’s extraordinary WW1 memoir

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Most war films focus on the lives of those who join up, concentrating on the action at the front. Yet many more people are left behind at home than enter the military. Testament Of Youth quite brilliantly captures the life of Vera Brittain (played by Alicia Vikander), an intelligent and boundary-pushing young woman who in more…

Is the TUV a major party? Consultations from Ofcom & BBC Trust open on which parties should be offered Election Broadcasts

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Ofcom has launched a consultation around this year’s list of “major parties” that will be offered at least two Party Election Broadcasts on non-BBC TV and radio channels (ITV, STV, UTV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Classic FM, Talksport and Absolute Radio) ahead of May’s General Election (and the English local government elections the same day). more…

Today London, perhaps it’s time for another naming of parts.

No further comment, but to quote Alex Massie in obvious frustration with an elite London commentariat that seems to understand less and less of how the wider country works… We’ve just had two years of intensive constitutional politics. Time enough, you’d think, for even London-based politicians and commentators to work out how British politics actually works. 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…

Gerry Anderson dies: “We have lost our jester…”

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I remember coming home in the summer of 1988 to work on a number of summer schemes in Belfast, Lisburn, Ballynahinch and Holywood with an English colleague who’d never been to Northern Ireland before. My one insistence of the day was that I had to listen to Gerry Anderson at 10.30. It was like shot more…

Martina Anderson MEP: “and if the British government lifts its ban on Executive access to the EIB…”

No update yet from Sinn Féin on the meeting they chose to trail a couple of days ago between three of their MEPs, led by the Derry Northern Ireland representative, Martina Anderson, and “the Vice-Chairman of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Jonathan Taylor”.  But let’s hope they were better briefed than the 15 July press release suggests, more…

Open Government Partnership: How to start the ball rolling…

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After Tuesday’s #DigitalLunch on Open Government Partnership and ahead of Friday’s event in Belfast, for those of you thinking of how you might roll up your sleeves and get involved in making government smarter and more open, here’s your Survival Guide to OGP in Six Memos: Paul Braithwaite sets the scene on where we are… Fred Logue  on what OGP is more…

Abortion turndown is a constitutional issue

The ruling in the English High Court against free abortions for Northern Ireland women in England comes as no surprise. Have campaigners legally examined the situation in Scotland? This now seems like a case for  the Supreme Court where the issue would be: Are devolution powers superior to  UK  equal citizens’  rights? An aspect of the judge’s comments intrigued me: He more…

John Barry: “We need legislators, not negotiators…”

I had an interesting chat today with John Barry. A fellow Dubliner but a far more interesting and indeed public character than that may suggest. John is a Green Party candidate in the forthcoming Council elections standing in the Abbey ward of the new North Down and Ards Council. He was co-opted onto the existing North more…