Topic Archives: Government

Calm down, dears…

Wilful or otherwise, there’s been a degree of misrepresentation of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s apparently unscripted, and qualified, comments at the MacGill Summer School yesterday – you can read the official version of his speech here. As the initial reported quote demonstrated, his focus was not on preparing for the prospect of referendums on a united more…

Kenny tells EU to prepare for prospect of a Border Poll

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Just in from the Irish Independent; #BREAKING Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the Government and the EU must prepare seriously for the prospect of a border poll. More to follow — Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) July 18, 2016 Quotes from Enda; The discussion and negotiations that take place over the next period should take into account the more…

Appointment of James Brokenshire represents a serious upgrade to the NIO…

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There have been jokes on the internet about how his name is appropriate for a place like Northern Ireland. But, with no personal slight intended, James Brokenshire is a senior upgrade from Villiers and a reflection of the fact that North-South relations will take on a heightened importance in upcoming Brexit negotiations. May’s right-hand man more…

Reflections on Johnson and Davis

As we learn that we have a new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (but not, as I write, knowing who), I wanted to reflect on the two most controversial appointments to Theresa May’s cabinet. Either the appointment of Boris Johnson and David Davis as Foreign Secretary and Secretary of State for Brexit respectively is more…

An insider’s view of the latest problems with the Belfast Ambulance service

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With the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) in the news once again, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some insight into the ongoing internal problems within the service. This time the spotlight has been shone on staffing shortages after it was revealed that 25 shifts lay vacant last Saturday night, the equivalent of more…

Westminster will find it hard to counter the Brexit case for Scottish independence

The UK Treasury chief who was at the heart of Project Fear during the Scottish independence referendum of 2014 is singing a different tune after the Brexit referendum. In an extraordinary article in the Financial Times (£)  summarised here,  Sir Nicholas McPherson sweeps away most of economic and financial problems associated with independence.. With the UK more…

US Consulate: “We anticipate that a US trade and investment delegation will visit Northern Ireland in the first half of 2017”

The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, has, in effect, called ‘bullshit’ on Martin McGuinness‘ claim that a proposed US investment delegation to Northern Ireland has been postponed “directly as a result of the vote” in the UK-wide EU membership referendum. Unlike the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, echoed by his party colleague, Conor Murphy, more…

#Soapbox: The sorry tale of ‘Outcome-Based Performance Management’

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Dr. Toby Lowe is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Newcastle. Here he lays out in detail some of the flaws in a branded system ostensibly constructed to ensure delivery of government policy which the current NI Executive parties have agreed to implement at Stormont.  The Northern Ireland Executive has just published its Draft more…

Wales now experiencing a mild dose of ‘buyer’s regret’?

Fascinating results from the Welsh Political Barometer poll. I doubt it was the taunting by Northern Ireland fans… More likely a post ref reminder that large parts of the post-industrial economy in Wales is sustained by EU structural funds now hang by a wafer thin Tory (neo-Thatcherite?) thread. Or just plain old morning after blues. Here’s the headline figures: Remain: more…

PSNI in 2016: Some hard choices we now need to make?

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The Patten Report of 1999 famously led to the formation of the PSNI through a total of 175 recommendations covering a string of areas from human rights and oversight to – of course – the very name, size and composition of the organisation. With an Oversight Commissioner, Police Ombudsman, new District Policing Partnerships and a more…

French President Francois Hollande :”The negotiations will be conducted with the United Kingdom, not with a part of the United Kingdom”

With the UK Parliament sovereign, and Sinn Féin’s calls for a border poll dismissed as an unwelcome distraction, quite where the “very special place” Martin McGuinness thinks Northern Ireland is in isn’t entirely clear.  Nor whom he thinks he can press that “case” with in his attempt to ignore the UK-wide referendum result.  He should remember, however, that neither he more…

After Brexit: the options

As time went on, speculation reached fever pitch. The internet was full of crazy theories about developments that would overturn everything we knew, seemingly convincing timelines of events that would soon unfold, and ingenious analyses proving that things were either nowhere near as bad as they seemed, or much worse than anyone imagined. I am more…

Theresa Villiers: “ultimately it is parliament’s decision whether we repeal the 1972 European Communities Act or whether we don’t.”

Andy’s valiant attempt at providing clarity on the role of the devolved institutions in the UK’s withdrawal from the EU doesn’t appear to have worked for some of our local representatives. The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, couldn’t have been clearer. “In the weeks and months ahead we will be working with both the more…

If Article 50 is the starting gun, how does the UK get there?

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Well, helpfully for the Tories, Labour is having a meltdown over their own lame duck leader and so (barring an uncanny and uncharacteristic lucky turn in fortunes) may be discounted as providing any serious drag on defining how the Article 50 process for leaving the EU might process. There’s a deal of scepticism as to more…

BREXIT: A possible way forward

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This is something of a work in progress, for which I’m extremely grateful for thoughts. A fantasy PM would use Thursday’s result to get a programme for savage EU reform and a two-circle Europe, get a UK political mandate for that, then use it to checkmate both Juncker and Nicola.  Here’s how: First, we need to keep mind more…