Methinks thou does not protest enough…

Last Tuesday as the MP’s voted overwhelmingly to reject Theresa Mays’s Brexit deal, I voiced my support of the People’s Vote by attending the protests in Parliament Square which was happening as the votes were cast in Westminster. As well as the large vocal crowd that had gathered, I listened to a number of speakers voice their Brexit anger with speakers ranging from the usual Politicians and Celebrities but also frontline NHS staff and factory workers. Two students from Belfast … Read more

With the Conservative and Labour leaders now under internal pressure, MPs on both sides of the chamber move to take control

. The moment of Brexit decision has shifted yet again – closer and closer to default crash out of the EU on 29 March. Theresa May has confirmed that plan B is plan A – basically the deal that was so massively rejected a week ago. But the dynamics have changed. Next Monday she will move a neutral motion to the Withdrawal Bill taking note of her statement today. This will allow amendments to be moved with alternative  proposals for … Read more

How a “no deal” followed by a blame game might suit some players…

Wolfgang Munchau on how all parties to the backstop might conspire to let it drown… and then blame someone else: A no-deal Brexit is clearly not rational. But if you look at the incentives of each individual decision maker, you may find there are worse options than no deal for each one of them. For Mrs May, the very worst outcome would be to end up with no Brexit at all. For Mr Corbyn, a no-deal Brexit might be the … Read more

“The bomb in Derry should instead act as a reminder that there are those on our island who will never be in favour of the peace process”

The recent events in Derry have been disconcerting to watch. Trying to make sense of it isn’t easy but Allison Morris in today’s Irish News really strikes a chord. She says on the link between Brexit and this bombing; The bomb in Derry should instead act as a reminder that there are those on our island who will never be in favour of the peace process. Rather than look to the Brexit referendum as a reason for this, it would … Read more

“We need a collective response to Brexit across the entire Northern Ireland community and not a partisan one.”

As the news flows quicken and we get to what we hope will be the crunch point of Brexit in the Irish News Tom Kelly proffers sage advice on the role of civil society in Northern Ireland. He opens with Kweisi Mfume who played a key role in the Civil Rights Campaign in the US in the 1960s:  “Even if they are not reaching out to us, we are going to reach out to them anyway and involve them in a meaningful … Read more

“Northern Ireland must be treated as an integral part of the UK, until a border poll determines otherwise…”

Since the unionist voice is almost it’s worth reading this piece into the Slugger record, from Owen Polley in the Irish Times… If the withdrawal agreement’s version of the backstop comes into force, Northern Ireland will be prevented from leaving the single market and the customs union with the rest of the UK. In order to ship goods into the North, companies from Great Britain will have to complete a customs declaration because, by law, they will be operating from … Read more

Varadkar offers a way out of deadock – or a hedge against failure?

The UK national papers are united in hopelessness over May’s latest strategy, tempered only by disbelief.  Plan B is Plan A. Even the cheerleader for Brexit the Daily Telegraph is not impressed. The Europe editor slaps down the  chief political correspondent’s “ exclusive.” Theresa May is considering amending the Good Friday Agreement as part of a fresh attempt to unblock the Brexit logjam, The Daily Telegraph understands. Peter Foster But the mere suggestion that a British government wants to ‘amend’ the Good Friday Agreement should … Read more

Beyond Brexit Waterfront conference to focus on rights and the future

It’s getting hard to remember politics before Brexit, a word that did not even exist prior to 2012. It has come to dominate British and Irish politics, with our own local political stalemate firmly relegated to a secondary concern for political leaders into the forseeable future. Concerns about the backstop and a hard border have tended to dominate much of the discussions in an Irish context, overshadowing many of the other concerns that exist with regard to how Brexit can … Read more

The Front Runner – Gary Hart’s campaign implosion and the fall out on the women around him – has much changed in 30 years?

When should a politician’s private life impact their public campaign? In this film, while the replay of the 1987 editorial and political conversations around the investigations into Gary Hart’s personal life are interesting, and the mobile phone and early Apple Macintosh props are fun to revisit, it’s the invasion of privacy of young women involved with married politicians and the seeming continued absence of editorial protection that are perhaps most disturbing to watch thirty years later.

Backstop terms are in prospect in any final deal. Unionists cannot afford to stand apart

Unfashionable though it may be to ask: do the DUP have a point when they object so strongly to the backstop? Undoubtedly it confers special status on Northern Ireland but in a form nobody likes, even nationalists who called for it.  Mrs May’s deal a.k.a. the withdrawal agreement,  is presumed dead ; the backstop is only sleeping. The bitter controversy surrounding it dramatically expresses the fundamental  difference of outlook  between the legalistic approach of  people schooled from the beginning  in … Read more

No, Brexit Britain doesn’t want her Empire back…

Brexit is about a lot of things, but one thing I agree with John Lloyd it is not (for the vast majority at least) is lost Empire. The sheer narrowness of the vote even in England ought to give some our more enthusiastic purveyors of this line some pause for thought. During the week, John Lloyd, an unenthusiastic remain voter, laid out a more realistic view of the matter to Ivan Yates on Newstalk.. The interview came on foot of … Read more

From triggering to extending Article 50, there’s a scarcity of good news & options for the embattled May

Two and a half years on from the decision to Brexit, there is no greater clarity about what that actually means nor the form it will actually take. What has become clear in the interim is that Britain’s political class is hopelessly and haplessly divided, devoid of political leaders on either side of the benches with sufficient stature, cunning and guile to navigate a clear course ahead. On the BBC’s Inside Politics programme tonight, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern didn’t hold … Read more

In the Brexit chaos political maturity is becoming a scarce commodity…

It is hard to escape the impression that there’s been a creeping but potentially catastrophic loss of political maturity across the west. Every opportunity to act as a states(wo)man, it seems, is actively being refused because… Well, you can take your pick of excuses.  In the capital of the richest country in the world, federal civil servants now face the loss of a second monthly cheque, and are turning up on breadlines, or serving up to fellow workers. They continue to … Read more

Ian Paisley splashes charity’s cash, whilst tanaiste goes economy to New York…

Nice work if you can get it. Brendan Hughes of the Irish News has been doing a little digging… IAN Paisley billed a Belfast charity for almost £6,000 to fly first-class to a peace conference in New York. Others travelling to the event from Ireland and Britain, including tánaiste Simon Coveney, flew in economy – more than 10 times cheaper in price. Political opponents branded the DUP MP “truly shameless” for recouping the high-cost travel from a charity. Sam McBride … Read more

Brexiteers at bay after the first day of May talks widens internal party splits

As Paul Waugh aptly says in Huffpost.. The lectern moment’ really is wearing thin as a useful dramatic device for Theresa May. She’s stood on the steps of No.10 so many times now that she’s devalued the currency of its impact. And after this week’s shattering defeat of her Brexit plan, more than ever it seems like her Downing Street announcements are all words and no action. May rightly said the nation needs to ‘come together’, but showed little flexibility or humility needed to make … Read more

O’Neill “government is clearly still not listening to fears of the public who are aghast at the pantomime currently playing out in the Westminster parliament”

Sinn Fein Vice President, Michelle O’Neill held a phone conversation with the Secretary of State to discuss the impasse over the Withdrawal Agreement; “I had a frank discussion with the British Secretary of State and I told her that her government is clearly still not listening to fears of the public who are aghast at the pantomime currently playing out in the Westminster parliament. “With each passing day, our business community, our farmers, our community and voluntary sector are growing … Read more

Break-up of the parties or No Deal Brexit – the looming choice

As matters stand, we’re either heading for crash out No Deal or the main parties are heading for break-up. The Conservative and Labour leaders are dolally.  Theresa May is listening but not  to anybody who wants  a customs union or a second referendum.  Jeremy Corbyn will not only not meet her but has urged all Labour MPs not to meet her either.  But this request in a letter to his MPs came too late to stop former ministers Yvette Cooper and … Read more

Eastwood “Continuing to chase after the DUP, who hold a minority view in Northern Ireland is a mistake”

The SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood has criticised Theresa May for her lack of consultation with other parties in Northern Ireland. He said; With each passing day, the British Government show an ever increasing disregard for the people of Northern Ireland. The sheer lack of communication, and indeed recognition that Northern Ireland will be devastated by a Brexit set to be delivered by dysfunctional politics in London, speaks volumes. “Despite false utterings from the DUP about a border down the Irish … Read more