Tag Archives | UK

“Still, there are words for the sort of reception meted out, and the most polite are ‘low’ and ‘key’.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… or, rather, as far away from the ranch as you can reasonably get…  For the benefit of those concerned about accountability and the democratic process…  Liam Clarke has some points to make about Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, and the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness’ recent, more…

Irish ambassador’s latest move in the Republic’s role in the campaign to keep the UK in the EU

The FT (£,unfortunately) reports a strategically timed interview with the Irish ambassador to the UK , the Yeats-loving Dermot Mulhall. Remember when the Irish people reversed their “ wrong” answer in the first referendum on the Lisbon Treaty? It was the bold Dermot who fund the way through, apparently. Now he’s recommending that the UK follows more…

Abortion law is pawn in a Tory-SNP power game

The Herald reports that the Conservatives are thinking about devolving abortion law to Scotland where a strong Catholic lobby is opposed to the 1967 Act. What the point of doing it unless the aim is to repeal it? Not necessarily apparently. It’s really about the power game between Westminster and Holyrood, not about little matters more…

Ideological Purity: Electoral Irrelevance?

Jeremy Corbyn

This week, both Helen Lewis of The New Statesman, and Rafael Behr of the Guardian, have written very insightful pieces about the current debate raging within the Labour party about the ideological stance and policy positions of each of the candidates in the leadership contest, and the future direction of the party more generally. Essentially more…

“future banknote designs, starting with the new polymer £5 note, will explicitly represent all four nations of the UK.”

As mentioned in this BBC report focused on the first Bank of England polymer banknote – a £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill which will be issued in 2016. Banknotes will feature images from all four nations of the UK starting with the new £5 note entering circulation in 2016. [Timing, eh? – Ed]  Eh?  more…

After Greece – where now for Cameron’s negotiating?

David & Donld

Donald Tusk has improved his English lately, which may have something to do with his employing of an Ulster-born speech-writer. The former Prime Minister of Poland took-over from Herman “damp-rag” Van Rompuy as the President of the Council of the EU last year, this was the job once sought by Tony Blair, but no British more…

“Sinn Féin were not in court today. Councillor Kelly was, and he was acquitted of all charges.”

Entirely unrelated to Sinn Féin’s opposition to welfare reform… Last week a Deputy District Magistrate in Londonderry acquitted Sinn Féin Councillor Colin Kelly on charges of fraudulently claiming over £19,000 in Housing Benefit and Job Seekers Allowance between November 2010 and March 2014 – when he was a member of Derry City Council.  He is currently a councillor on more…

Casement Park Development: Further allegations at Assembly Committee Hearing

The BBC reports that GAA official, and independent Northern Ireland Policing Board member, Ryan Feeney, has threatened “immediate [legal] action” following further allegations by the chairman of the safety technical group, Sport NI’s Paul Scott, of pressure being exerted to drop concerns about safety at the controversial proposed £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast.  more…

“The exact location of the international boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland through Loughs Carlingford and Foyle remains an issue for determination…”

In January 2012 I suggested there might be some cause for optimism that the unresolved issue of the delimitation of the territorial water boundary between the UK and the Republic of Ireland could be, erm, resolved.  As the then Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, TD, said at the time. Recently the two Governments agreed to address more…

How to get Martin McGuinness off the hook

Despite the mockery that  greeted it, Arlene Foster’s “phantom budget” has, in the now familiar  phrase of financial crises, “kicked the can down the road,” even as Robinson and McGuinness have been ramping up the rhetoric in the game of chicken.   This has bought time. However, it’s now clear that quite a big road  block more…

On Charlie Kennedy

Charles Kennedy in Glasgow, 2009. (C) "Moniker42" on Wikimedia Commons under CC 3.0.

There’s lots of talk about Charlie Kennedy’s talents and his ‘flaws’, often a euphemistic way of talking about his alcoholism. Alistair Campbell has blogged movingly and directly about their shared illness. It was never exactly a secret. I remember canvassing a man in the 2004 European election campaign, a rather grand chap in a very more…

Panorama on collusion: Does Trevor Ringland support coverup?

Trevor Ringland’s criticism of Darragh MacIntyre’s Panorama on collusion for rewriting history with a political slant is misguided.  The documentary  gave examples of  a spectrum of collusion ranging from loose handling of informers to covering up agents who were multiple repeat killers, sometimes with the foreknowledge of their  handlers.  Much of the material is in the de Silva more…

Not all the zombies are politicians. This is also civil society’s failure

Not so long ago, Northern Ireland  politics were conducted in a seething cauldron. Today they’re in zombieland.  Nobody seems to know what sort of situation is facing  Northern Ireland in the  forthcoming days, weeks and months. Your starter for 10. Is it bailout, surrender or just staggering on?   At home, nobody can be bothered even to more…

In Prince Charles’ visit there is richer significance than a handshake with Gerry Adams

It was probably inevitable but the UK coverage of Prince Charles’ handshake with Gerry Adams  exaggerated its significance.  The heavy lifting for reconciliation was done by the royals when the Queen and Prince Philip shook hands with Martin McGuiness in the Lyric Theatre, opening the door to a filmed audience as DFM last year. Prince Philip’s more…