Tag Archives | Negotiations

On Welfare and the Budget, reality for Stormont is acceptable

Only the rashest observer would claim that s/he has a complete understanding of the complexities of welfare payments and reform and the  other details of the negotiations that are said to be reaching a climax. My feeling is that they are less about negotiations and more about accepting realities they can live with. On welfare more…

Outsourcing solutions may be the secret of dealing with more than the past

Well, perhaps amid the encircling gloom the political parties have seen some light at last. The details of the agreement on welfare reform are awaited but it looks as if any new money will come from Westminster mainly to deal with the past which is surely fair. Adds: United Executive request for a total of £2.1 billion over 10 more…

New powers for Scotland threaten constitutional crisis for the UK

David Cameron’s claim that the Smith report will create “a stronger Union “ rings hollow when  set against  his insistence that the case for  English votes on English laws is “ unanswerable,”  If it means that English MPs should have a veto on any measure they don’t like that a future  Labour government proposes, it will more…

For Scotland today, idealism like Ireland 1916, or be careful of what you wish for?

Guardian columnist Martin Kettle makes a bold comparison between the generational change in Ireland 1916 and the “energising “ impact of the Scottish independence referendum of 2014. He’s inspired by Roy Foster’s marvellous new book which I’m only just into: “Vivid Faces.” In his review Maurice Hayes quotes Holywood’s Bulmer Hobson who faced house  arrest more…

On Jonathan Powell – a vision is needed for talking to terrorists

I haven’t yet managed to read Jonathan Powell’s new book: Talking to Terrorists: How to End Armed Conflicts”,  but potted  versions like this one in Prospect magazine  delivers his thesis with his usual crispness. “In democracies we cannot kill all the terrorists, so we will have to talk to them at some stage! And just in more…

Personal memories of Sunningdale and the UWC strike – the lost opportunity for a generation

Although I couldn’t attend the conferences they’ve sparked off vivid memories. This was a time when not only Northern Ireland seemed ungovernable but Britain too. At the Sunningdale civil service college in Berkshire we in the media were stuck in the conference annex for days because of the difficulty of getting taxis during the three day week, then in full more…

Ian Paisley: a word in favour of a fading patriarch

Eamonn Mallie has always preferred the bludgeon to the rapier. In Episode One he confronted Ian Paisley with some the most unsavoury quotes of an agitator’s past.  Did you really mean it, Mr Paisley?  In episode two he faced him with other people’s hesitant mutterings of rejection. How did you feel Mr Paisley?  What did  he more…

Meghan O’Sullivan: “how do we make it possible for the others to deliver on the agreement? . . . I don’t know if there was enough of that in the room this time.”

Whilst the Northern Ireland media continue to obsess over digest the parting shot from Richard Haass on the political parties’ failure to agree to his proposals (version 7), the co-chair of those talks, Meghan O’Sullivan, appears to have been delegated the task of addressing the media south of the border.  [Partitionists! – Ed]  ANYhoo.. In more…

Arkiv: “in the real world pre-existing themes will skew the integrity of investigation, putting ideology before history”

In an early critique of the Haass proposals (version 7), Brian identified, as a potential problem, the “role [] envisaged for academics and experts especially historians”. A great role is envisaged for academics and experts especially historians, reporting to an Implementation and Reconciliation Group of political nominees .  However the academics are  naively treated as an on more…

“The parties were told not to bring in any phones or other communication devices, nor to leave with any copies of the draft.”

Richard Haass’ attempt to ensure confidentiality during the on-going talks between the five Northern Ireland Executive parties – on the past, parades, and flags – failed to survive first contact with Sinn Féin.  Today the Haass team presented their first, complete, draft proposals to the parties.  The BBC report notes his latest attempt at ensuring confidentiality. more…

Northern Ireland reflections on the “real” Mandela, man and myth

Hooray. There is still a role for newspapers. The Guardian proves it with their balancing coverage of the early obsequies for Nelson Mandela who it might be thought is one of their natural heroes.   Restoring a human dimension after the hours of adulation and longueurs of 24/7 TV news is Simon Jenkins’ column and the more…