Tag Archives | devolution

Johann Lamont: a necessary defenestration

Poor Johann Lamont, the leader of Scottish Labour leader who was always out of her depth and no time more so than during the referendum campaign when the Tory leader Ruth Davidson clearly outshone her. The BBC headline writer’s verdict is cruel  but accurate: Johann Lamont resignation: A leader without influence The post referendum message more…

Sinn Fein Connolly House Masterplan – Tory cuts on steroids

Devolution in Northern Ireland is in the political equivalent of a hospital high dependency unit with a serious discussion about whether or not it is should head rapidly to intensive care. This deterioration in its health is as a result of the insistence by Sinn Fein to block the next steps of Welfare Reform. This more…

Has anything been happening while I’ve been away?

For the past few of months I’ve been buried in other projects, not least the Scottish referendum. So Northern Irish affairs are as inward looking and deadlocked as ever. Well I never! Paisley’s death passed off with little fuss amid the  customary respect the Irish reserve with fingers crossed  for the recently dead in contrast to more…

Scotland, “England” and the post colonial struggle for warmth and freedom between porcupines…

Melanie McDonagh writing in London based Evening Standard thinks Michael D “…isn’t so much a foreign dignitary; more like a friendlier version of Alex Salmond”. Aha, now it would be tempting to go with the ‘well if Scotland was independent…’ line, but it’s probably better to point out that as President Michael D is supposed more…

Are our versions of history sundering or reconciling us?

Martin Kettle in the Guardian pens a lament for the ignorance of the English about their own history. The outcome, he claims is a” loss of national self respect” and the threat of a disintegrating Union. For once, the term “English” is used deliberately. It’s a long time since AJP Taylor’s superb English History 1914 more…

Will the Scottish independence debate ripple south of the border and across the Irish Sea?

At last, it’s game on for the Independence Debate.  London based comment has decided that on balance David Cameron  had the best of Round One, or  the “Edinburgh Declaration, “  as  Alex Salmond  dubbed it with typical initiative-grabbing grandiosity. Salmond of course hasn’t conceded any such thing. Leaving the wording of The Question aside for later debate, some more…

Stop pretending over welfare cuts

In practice because of the funding straightjacket, welfare is not devolved to Holyrood, Cardiff Bay or Stormont.  So are the objections to the new universal credit in both Holyrood and Stormont any more than political grandstanding?  Differential welfare payments make little or no sense without extensive tax raising powers. And there is no sign of more…

Deal announced on Scottish referendum

The deal between the UK and Scottish governments on the referendum is done and will be sealed on Monday.  The Scotland Office and the SNP government seem to have jumped the gun on Downing St by announcing  agreement on a single “yes, no question,” but with votes for 16 year olds added, if the Scottish Parliament approves. more…

What was the Ulster Covenant about?

NPG 4969; 'The Secret of England's Greatness' (Queen Victoria presenting a Bible in the Audience Chamber at Windsor) by Thomas Jones Barker

What was the Ulster Covenant whose centenary is being commemorated on “Ulster Day” 29 September really about? 400,000 signed the Solemn League and Covenant and the Women’s Declaration in a vast demonstration of public opinion that still impresses today. The production of the largest Union Jack is history, 48’x25’was an example of PR sureness of more…

Big News. Innovation from the Executive

Good to see Northern Ireland featuring on the UK national news agenda with a report on the “Tesco tax.,” (Today programme 7.25, Sammy and retail consortium rep interview). Despite the national coverage, inexplicably I can’t find  news of  the 1st April vesting date for the business charge on the local BBC News website. Old news locally more…

Scottish referendum: ‘Devo more’ could be a unionist runner

  On the subject of greater powers for Holyrood, there’s something of a right wing split between the Telegraph newspapers and the darling of the Tory grass roots, blogger Tim Montgomerie of ConservativeHome. The Sunday Telegraph leader dealt with the subject with a knowledge of the subject that would disgrace an unpaid intern: To concede greater more…

It’s the English question now, stupid

The Scottish media were a PhD dissertation about chippiness all unto themselves,” reflected Mr Blair in his memoirs, the Times editorial (£) recalled. By those standards, it seems Dave’s nervous apologia for the Union in Edinburgh fitted the bill after all, presentation wise. Substance was more problematical. In the Times (£) the august Scots unionist more…