Through Dublin eyes

Elaine Byrne is dead right when she says that an “all- island approach needs a push from the politicians.” She proves her point when she talks eloquently about bridging the psychological gap between north and south. She encourages Martin McGuinnnes to tackle his own border and think about taking his seat at Westminster. ( not that there’s any chance of that; but the very fact that its being discussed is interesting). Now I know that I’m the only one to grasp all the nuances (apart from you of course), but does she get unionists quite right?

This is an immense period of uncertainty for a community whose morale is low

A browse in Slugger tell us there a big difference between the morale of the people and the politicians.

She adds:

The ethos of the new British government is at odds with the philosophy of Northern politics. The agreed Liberal Conservative programme for government has committed to a first draft of cutbacks which will ultimately cost Northern Ireland £128 million. Britain’s deficit crisis is not financially compatible with the North’s public sector, which accounts for up to two-thirds of the Northern economy.

That begs a whole lot of questions. Whatever they said in the election, would Labour in power be much different? I don’t think so. Even more to the point, would Fianna Fail? Aspirations notwithstanding , I think if I were on the Executive I’d rather entrust my public sector to the British than the Irish coalition just now. Sammy certainly thinks so, while warning of the bitter medicine to come and torn between “strong government” and the dream – illusion?- of yearning for more unionist leverage at Westminster. Cameron is allowing the devolved areas to postpone the first tranche of cuts for a year – although in my view they’d be unwise to take up the offer.

 Remember too, that Cameron’s Conservatives call themselves “the party of the Union.” Beyond Uncunf, Alex Kane who has treated us to another great rant, might take comfort in the fact that we have a year or two to work out what ” the party of the Union ” actually means.



Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London