Brian Walker’s been keeping an eye on some subtle changes at Westminster. Not least the greater attendence of Ian Paisley, who is now styling his interventions on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland, Walker suggests is now consciously enlarged from the previous normative definition of protestant Northern Ireland.
Noteworthy amongst everything else was Peter Hain’s advocacy for greater powers for the Welsh Assembly (subject to approval by referendum:
Peter Hain’s claim that he can handle double-jobbing has been put to an early test. Trying to settle squabbles in the (Welsh) Assembly by giving it greater powers is, indeed, a bold move. Last week in the Commons, he also learned that trying to forge closer north-south links – in this case with a vague and under-funded Welsh transport plan – can be a thankless task. The truth is north and south Walians traditionally don’t care for each other much. All very instructive when it comes to dealing with Northern Ireland, perhaps.