Tag Archives | UK

Time to call Sinn Fein’s bluff over welfare

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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

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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…”

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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

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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…”

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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…”

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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…”

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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.

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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

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[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

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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

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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…”

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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

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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

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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…

“Now meetings seem almost routine and we have dispensed with the fig leaf…”

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Like boiling a frog…  After the party’s opposition to her first truly historic official visit to Ireland, this week, on the third occasion of the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Fein’s forgetful Martin McGuinness, being presented to the UK Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II, the earlier pretence has finally been dropped.  As Liam Clarke notes more…

Gerry Adams: “this can be too easily twisted into a view that since everyone was to blame, nobody was to blame…”

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The Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, TD, has been blaming others, again, for the failure to agree a comprehensive package on, among other issues, dealing with the past – in particular, a failure to agree on the holistic approach that could be said to characterise the mechanisms contained in the Haass proposals.  But he had some interesting more…

HBO’s Michael Lombardo: “Belfast is not the most cosmopolitan of cities to spend half of the year.”

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With so much of some Northern Ireland Executive ministers‘ time and effort [and other people's money! - Ed] focused on exploiting the international success of HBO’s Game of Thrones to promote Northern Ireland overseas, it’s perhaps unfortunate, but refreshing, that HBO’s director of programming, Michael Lombardo, has given an honest answer to a straight question – as more…

The British goverment must set a better example before the case for an amnesty is properly heard

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Adrian Guelke a  South African a  Queen’s academic and a leading authority on post-conflict resolution joins the growing list of reputable figures calling for an amnesty. He criticises the two governments for lack of involvement (although the unfortunate  Eamon Gilmore can’t be faulted for trying almost right up  to the moment of his resignation as Labour more…

Irish and English election results so different, so much the same

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Similar trends and outcomes are apparent when the British and Irish elections results are compared. They are of course part of a common European picture. But the immediate effect on the coalition governments  at Westminster and in Leinster House differs. The Irish coalition is rocking. The Irish Times is even speculating that pressure from Labour may more…

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

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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…