Tag Archives | Westminster

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…

Government shambles revealed over details of OTR links to murder


After republican outrage over Gerry Adams’ interrogation, it’s high time to revive unionist fury over the OTR comfort letters with the revelation that 95 out of 228 beneficiaries were linked by the police to murder. From the tortuous accounts by the Chief Constable Matt Baggott and ACC Drew Harris before the NI Select Committee of more…

The Scottish independence debate goes colourful…


        The Herald on Sunday is the first Scottish newspaper to come out clearly in favour of independence. The front page designed by the artist Alasdair Gray makes quite a splash and the editorial arguments are balanced and reasonable. (The case for independence) seems to us to be a more exciting, imaginative and more…

Cartoon – Selective abstentionism

Sinn Fein, Abstentionism, Brian John Spencer

This cartoon was inspired by a piece over on eamonnmallie.com where Slugger’s David McCann writes that the State Visit means no end to Sinn Fein abstentionism. Though I’ve heard a few lone voices say otherwise. Hand-shaking, soup-taking and toasting were long abstained from. Thoughts?

Commons [empty] threat to remove Royal Assent from Prince Charles?


I cannot think this is serious, except as a rhetorical warning across Prince Charles’s bows for not being good constitutional monarch in waiting… The role of the Queen and Prince of Wales in signing off new laws is “arcane and complex” and could be abolished, MPs have said. The Commons’ Political and Constitutional Reform committee more…

John Cole, a personal view


I was in Tesco this morning when I saw my friend the Guardian veteran Mike White talking on a  Sky screen with the sound turned down low. I read the captions. John Cole had died. I’d heard John was failing. I’d last met him a couple of years ago at a Lords reception for John Laird’s extraordinary more…

The Thatcher debate in the Commons


The speeches from our MPs Nigel Dodds and Alastair Macdonnell  during the Thatcher  tributes  were bound to reflect the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Neither speech was terrible. Both avoided a rant. Alastair McDonnell had the tougher job. His doctor’s experience in the face of death probably helped.  But both of them followed the familiar more…