Tag Archives | UK

Corporation tax powers huge test for Stormont

The word is out that the government will grant  Stormont control over corporation tax when the Chancellor makes his Autumn Statement on 3 December.  Peter Robinson is  talking with the confidence of a done deal.  David Cameron gave a broad hint this morning as he was  grilled by  all the select committees chairs in the 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…

Could the UK quitting the EU undermine the Good Friday Agreement?

In  an Irish Times  piece subtitled  “If the UK leaves the EU, the North’s status will change, perhaps disastrously” veteran commentator  Dennis Kennedy  gets  bogged down in in his own “fantasy.” He’s right in one respect, that any bid by a Conservative- led  government  to quit the EU  by referendum would undoubtedly shake a union 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…

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…

Time to call Sinn Fein’s bluff over welfare

John Simpson, an economist who deserves to be trusted, dismissed the Great Welfare  Crisis as essentially bogus months  ago – yet his analysis seems to have failed to pass into political  debate and comment from the Business pages.   It might help if  critics of Sinn Fein’s grandstanding spoke on the basis  of an agreed analysis. OFFICIAL Treasury more…

The “what ifs? ” of our past play a part in dealing with it today

The row over former taioseach John Bruton’s regret that the Easter Rising ever happened goes on. Will historian Diarmaid Ferriter have the very last word? In his latest sally in the Irish Times, Ferriter attacks the exaggerated use of the counterfactual, the “what if” school of history. His argument to  Bruton is basically simple –look, more…

Labour Party: “Making no progress on welfare has financial implications. It is not a cost-free choice…”

As Mick mentioned, the repeated attempts to blame the fallout from the Northern Ireland Executive’s deadlock on Welfare Reform on “the right wing Tory/DUP austerity agenda“, or “the British Tory Government“, or, more frequently, “a cabinet of Tory millionaires“,  have been dealt a blow by clarification of the Labour Party’s position by the Shadow NI Secretary of more…

Right then, let’s think hard about a border poll

The political conditions for the Scottish referendum were simple compared to anything likely to apply in Ireland.  With the dominance of the proportionality principle in the institutions, the weight of the GFA is against it and a new political chapter would have to be turned before it is conceivable. It would become a potential result of a more…

Alex Salmond: “For me as a leader my time is nearly over…”

Following defeat in the Scottish Independence referendum, Scotland’s First Minister, and SNP leader, Alex Salmond has announced he will stand down as First Minister in November when a new SNP leader will be chosen.  More at the Guardian’s Scotland Independence live- blog Adds Here is the official resignation statement, via the SNP, from Alex Salmond I am more…

“to protect the Policing Board’s integrity…”

In the absence of any further explanation from Sinn Féin for Caitríona Ruane’s dramatic flouncing off the NI Policing Board selection panel to recruit a new PSNI Deputy Chief Constable on Monday, her party colleague on the Board, Gerry Kelly, MLA, has attempted to defend her actions. “If the process is wrong and particularly if the belief [is] more…

Sinn Féin: “In light of the need for absolute transparency in all public appointments and to protect the Policing Board’s integrity…”

Earlier today the Sinn Féin MLA, and member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, Caitríona Ruane, suddenly announced that she was unilaterally withdrawing from the panel to recruit a new PSNI Deputy Chief Constable – claiming that she “[believed] that the process may have been compromised”.  Here’s the statement from Sinn Féin Sinn Féin MLA and Policing Board member Caitríona Ruane more…

The #indyref essential count guide.

The last major debate happened between Alex Salmond and Alastair Darling last night and commentators where flying with debates about who won (yes, some poor buggars thought Darling did win). Yet, very few people seem to know just what exactly the process for the count will be and providing the public service that we do more…

“Run like a huckster’s shop” – Redux

[No change since June 2009, then? - Ed]  Have there been any consequences…?  A BBC report that the DUP and Sinn Féin have, belatedly, agreed the outcome of the semi-detached polit-bureau Northern Ireland Executive’s June budget monitoring round was met with understandable criticism from the other NI Executive parties. Justice Minister David Ford, who leads the Alliance Party, described more…

Murdo Fraser: A Federal Future? #indyref

There is nothing new about the idea of federalism in Britain. Early last century a Cabinet sub-committee was tasked with drafting a Bill for a federal UK, in an attempt to deal with the Irish question. Federalism has long been a Liberal, then Liberal Democrat, objective. In recent months the idea has attracted more interest, more…

Theresa in the Wonderland of the Hallett review

The plainly rushed Hallett Review and the British government response to it raise as many questions as answers. They expose not a carefully planned discreet operation but a terribly improvised muddle in which the  left hand ( the  PSNI)  did not know the full de facto amnesty effect of what the right hand ( the 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…

Where the big arguments for devolution are heading

This post most of which I mainly wrote for an academic blog gives anyone interested a heads up on a more sophisticated theatre of devolution – Scotland –  assuming it votes No in the referendum. A couple of points to start with. First, taxation is the big theme. How much of its own revenue should more…

Police win flag protest appeal

As the BBC reports, the Appeals Court has overturned a High Court ruling in April that the PSNI misdirected themselves in relation to policing the flag protests in Belfast – which “led to the situation in which the police facilitated illegal and sometimes violent parades with the effect of undermining the 1998 Act, in breach more…