Tag Archives | Westminster

More Brexitref alarms: could a Corbyn government deliver Irish unity?

When we’re taking about Brexit fears, Newton Emerson in the Irish Times has an outlier scenario that’s sounds plausible but is full of holes.   He imagines the possibility of an early UK election out of the post-referendum chaos regardless who wins, with the Conservatives in worse disarray than Labour. Jeremy Corbyn gets SNP support more…


Ted Heath is the latest and most senior Tory to be named in paedophilia claims. But how do you prove a negative?

Growing up in the 1960s with a precocious interest in politics, the main UK party leaders Harold Wilson and Ted Heath were among my role models. The new term  “meritocrat” might have been invented for them . Both of them came from modest backgrounds and made it to the top.  Politically I admired Heath’s decisiveness compared to Wilson’s 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…


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…


Who Should I Vote For App’s – Accurate?

GE 2015

I’ve noticed in this General Election more than any other that there is an abundance of tools online to help the electorate align themselves with a party that matches closer to their values than another. Does it work though? Take a look at where I ended up across different guides. And don’t judge me…   more…


Carál Ní Chuilín: “Electoral commission vetoed using last election figures…” – Update

David may not want to go there, although ‘idealistic’ wasn’t the first word that sprang to mind.  [Was it another word beginning with ‘i’? – Ed]  You might very well think that…  ANYhoo… Gerry Kelly’s Sinn Féin colleague in north Belfast, and the Northern Ireland Culture Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, MLA, should, perhaps, have other more…


James Molyneaux, master of Ulster Unionist immobility remembered

Of the newspaper  obits of Jim Molyneaux so far Chris Ryder’s ( ex Sunday Times) captures him best. He became leader  of the Ulster Unionist party first at Westminster then overall, largely  because  he was the senior man at Westminster and Stormont flickered into half-life for only a few short months during his time. A more…


Why Sinn Fein need to show that it’s local decision makers who matter

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 16.10.15

Abstentionism….If there is ever a topic that sets tongues wagging it’s the age old debate about whether Sinn Fein will ever take their seats at Westminster. This obsession is set more so amongst commentators who have for years predicted that Sinn Fein are close to giving up their abstentionist policy when it comes to Westminster. more…


A spirit of genuine power sharing is needed to make more powers work for the Scottish Parliament

Power sharing of the genuine sort  is clearly needed to make work the complexity contained in the 44 draft clauses of legislation to grant sweeping new powers to the Scottish Parliament. But not for a while yet, if ever. David Cameron’s visit to Edinburgh to present the Command Paper was marked by political jostling much more complicated more…


Cold and stormy at ‘Cnoc an Anfa’

I was up in Stormont yesterday – Cnoc an Anfa is the Irish for Stormont – and it certainly lived up to its name.  It was bitterly cold, so cold I could feel my fingers begin to detach themselves from my body as I clutched my ‘Acht Gaeilge’ placard at the bottom of the steps more…


Alex Salmond plans to return to Westminster


If the good people of East Sussex think I’m as big a danger to the Westminster Parliament as Guy Fawkes, then they’re right. Alex Salmond Scotland’s former First Minister, Alex Salmond is attempting to make a return to the Westminster Parliament in May 2015. Salmond who has always enjoyed the House of Commons, will likely 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…


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…


After an all-Ireland election, where might Sinn Féin go next?

If any party are glad that the recent elections are over, it is surely Sinn Féin. Being the only major party that contests elections in all 32 counties means it is uniquely challenged when simultaneous local, European and bye-elections are held at the same time. With such an island-wide volume of electoral data, sifting through more…


Abortion turndown is a constitutional issue

The ruling in the English High Court against free abortions for Northern Ireland women in England comes as no surprise. Have campaigners legally examined the situation in Scotland? This now seems like a case for  the Supreme Court where the issue would be: Are devolution powers superior to  UK  equal citizens’  rights? An aspect of the judge’s comments intrigued me: He more…