Archive | September, 2009

Stomont Standoff – episode eight hundred and whatever

It’s like a really bad soap opera, the type that goes on forever with apparently the same plot. You can not watch it for a year and tune in knowing nothing much will have changed. Martin McGuinness says he is trying and the DUP say they are committed to devolution. Yet SF went on a more…

Reform in Ireland Can Start with a Yes to Lisbon…

Last year Naoise Nunn was one of a small but hard working Libertas team which basically took on and bested the Yes campaign over the first Lisbon Treaty Referendum. This year he is voting yes. The common motivation between this year and last is that he wants to see substantial political reform, both in Ireland more…

“partitionist nonsense”

Apparently a group of Sinn Féin protesters, including Councillor Tomás Sharkey, took exception to the presence of out-going SDLP leader Mark Durkan, MP, MLA, at a boisterous press conference with Irish Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore, promoting a ‘Yes’ vote. From the Irish News report [subs] it would seem that Mark Durkan’s northernness was an more…

Vote early..

At Irish Election, Cian is collecting voting cards ahead of Lisbon II.

Time to give the civil service a bolder hand

At this distance in London, I’m getting mixed messages about the future of the Executive. On the one hand, I sit up and take notice when as seasoned a commentator as Ed Curran fears it may be sinking. On the other, when even Sammy Wilson declares the devolution of policing and justice to be a more…

lisbon essays

Lisbon Essay (25): As Iceland discovered the EU is the firebrigade…

Jason O’Mahoney lays out a scenario he believes the No side is studiously avoiding: what happens to Ireland’s national interest within Europe if there is a No vote and Lisbon is abandoned for a more centralised, bi or tri-lateral decision making processes in its stead. The Treaty itself is dry and technical because it is more…

1981 Hunger Strike: Continued Coverage

The Irish News followed up Monday’s coverage of the hunger strike controversy with a further special focus in Tuesday’s edition. It contained viewpoints from the SDLP and unionists, Ruairi O Bradaigh, Brendan Duddy, Willie Gallagher and Ed Moloney, and featured an article by former hunger striker Gerard Hodgins. It also looked at the question of more…

Bring Back the Border?

Hardly a day goes by south of the border without another exhortation to ‘Buy Irish’. And it isn’t just the indigenous retailers (Dunnes with ‘the difference is we’re Irish’, or Superquinn with ‘love the taste of Ireland’). Even the UK retailers are at it (e.g.: Tesco with its ‘buy me I’m Irish’, and similarly M&S). more…

suncover

Sun Exclusive: Sun changes its mind about the last 12 years…

Got this from the Sun last night just after midnight (ie, a couple of hours after Michael had already blogged it for us): TWELVE years ago, Britain was crying out for change from a divided, exhausted Government. Today we are there again. In 1997, “New” Labour, shorn of its destructive hard-Left doctrines and with an more…

Thoughts on Voluntary Coalition

I recently looked at what I feel is increasing confidence (with good reason) within unionism. I have also looked at the need for an increase in civility within unionism and previously on the unionist consensus for a way forward in Northern Ireland. The question is can we be civil enough to one another and can more…

Don’t hold your breath waiting for economic reform

So is there any prospect of the Executive actually taking action on the recommendations of Richard Barnett’s review of economic policy? You would think they ought to manage at least to create a single department of the Economy as this appears to involve only a realignment of responsibilities and not – horrors! -the disappearance of more…

Labour loses the Sun, Robinson to stand again

As the Sun backs the Conservatives on the back of Gordon Brown’s speech, Peter Robinson tells UTV he may stand again for Parliament. During the summer he commented: This is a necessary prelude to the ending of double jobbing. Several months ago I indicated that we would be phasing out dual mandates…….It is simply not more…

“and we have to have the community confidence”

As the BBC reports. Gordon Brown may have told the Labour Party Conference that “we want to see [the devolution of policing and justice to the people of Northern Ireland] happen in the next few months”, but as one of those who have to agree to that move reminded UTV’s Ken Reid [Corrected quote] The more…

“I think it’s very helpful to see it as a criminal enterprise”

Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness has been speaking at a Guardian sponsored event on the fringes of the Labour Party conference – at the Grand Hotel in Brighton. He also iterated a version of his party’s “civic” policing line – “For our part Sinn Féin has sought to develop a fully more…

lisbon essays

Lisbon Essay (23): Why Ireland can’t afford the Lisbon Treaty…

Niamh Uí Bhriain of Cóir sites her anti Lisbon argument in the material crisis of the Tiger economy. Nevertheless she notes that “the Lisbon Treaty is not about providing jobs or encouraging enterprise – it’s a treaty designed to centralise political power in the European Union”. She denies there are any short term economic consequences more…

lisbon essays

Lisbon Essay (22): Vote Yes to this unloved bastard son of the European Convention…

Another European view and another from the Yes perspective comes from Daniel Cohn-Bendit, renegade from 1968 and currently co-president of the European Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament… No one loves it, he says. Who could? It long, legalistic, and complicated. An ad man’s nightmare. But it is the shaken down product of more…

“This Report is a major contribution to the debate..”

RTÉ reports some of the recommendations, and some of the criticisms of Invest NI, in the Independent Review of Economic Policy (IREP), chaired by the University of Ulster Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard Barnett – full report here [pdf file]. In yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph David Gordon asked the question for the report to answer, “Are Invest NI more…