Tag Archives | UK

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…

Time for other parties to break Executive ranks as Sinn Fein sacrifices northern interests for southern ambitions

Following on from Mick, let’s  begin by making the best possible case for Sinn Fein, the party which seems the most intransigent in the inter- party talks. The Conservatives’ strategy for the next five years to a produce budget surplus of £23 billion by 2019-20 is probably unsustainable, unless the rate of growth picks up more…

What Stormont must do to convince Cameron to up his offer

Are the political parties still hoping that David Cameron will turn into a White Knight and Save Ulster from Austerity?  What does Stormont have to do to persuade him to answer  their pleas to up his offer? Among the elements are: devising a proper three year  plan for the first time so as the world more…

Wuz Rory really robbed of glory?

Just like the politicians, outrage seems to be the default position  if we don’t get our way, this time over  sporting prizes,  judging from the Belfast Telegraph’s reaction to Rory McIroy, the bookie’s favourite,   pipped  by Lewis Hamilton for BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Angry Northern Ireland sports fans last night slammed the shock more…

Is the arrival of Cameron and Kenny more than part of a tired old ritual?

 The credibility and effectiveness of the devolved institutions is on the line, writes  David Cameron. Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy  warned if a deal isn’t done then the Northern Executive will “crash”. “The implications are that the Executive can’t continue to function. You go into a crash and you go back to an election and more…

RIP Fred Catherwood

All of forty years ago I sought  the views of Sir Fred Catherwood who has died aged 85, about Northern Ireland – I can’t remember what aspect exactly. I interviewed him in his  a large and rather bleak East Anglian house – a house rather like his religion I thought at the time ( rather unfairly). 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…

“that’s the trojan horse of the entire republican strategy…”

From his reported comments, it would appear that Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, the Northern Ireland Education Minister, has, at best, a flawed “understanding” of his party president’s comments last night – and, hence, a flawed “understanding” of his party’s entire strategy.  From the UTV report Mr O’Dowd added that his understanding of Mr Adam’s ‘Trojan more…

Gerry Adams: “There is a clear need for more innovative and forward-looking politics…”

By which, the passive-aggressive Sinn Féin president actually means, the SDLP must join Sinn Féin in a sectarian electoral pact in “the next Westminster and Assembly elections”, and the year after that, and the year after that… because… themmuns! To paraphrase, if Sinn Féin can get away with treating all future Northern Ireland elections as a glorified pissing contest more…

Devo Max with corporate tax cut ” disastrous” for NI

This powerful case against the SNP’s Devo Max plans including a 3% cut in corporation tax is made in the academic  website The Conversation by  Arthur Midwinter Associate Professor, Institute of Public Sector Accounting Research at University of Edinburgh  and a former adviser to the former Labour leader in the Scottish Parliament  Johann Lamont. It more…

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…