The potential impact of #brexit upon the Totality of Relationships

Recently, in a conversation with an old school friend, who is very much a nationalist and supports a united Ireland, told me that while he was voting for remain, if he were of a more cynical bent he’d be voting tactically for Leave, and speculated that there would be nationalists who would do so. I’ve noticed a lot of other people making similar comments, here on Slugger, on social media and in social circles. This led me to do something I … Read more

Where now for the Department of Justice ?

As I write, the Alliance Party’s council, the representative body which appoints and holds to account the party Executive (among other functions), is meeting to discuss the party’s decision not to field a candidate for the role of the Minister of Justice. I have to confess that, having written by my earlier article on this matter as the heat from the election was beginning to die down, I was reconciling myself to the possibility that the party would have some success … Read more

Why Alliance must pass on the Department of Justice

The election is over, the results are in, and the signal being sent by the electorate in Northern Ireland is clear and unambiguous. The DUP’s position as the dominant party within a socially and economically conservative administration has been comprehensively re-endorsed, alongside their coalition partner, Sinn Féin. There has, fundamentally, been no change at all in the balance of power in Northern Ireland. No reasonable person could deny that the DUP victory is a remarkable accomplishment on many levels, the work … Read more

Corporation Tax : a day late and a dollar short

Not for the first time, the vexed issue of the plan to reduce corporation tax in Northern Ireland is  in the news again in the midst of ongoing controversy about how much it will cost to implement the tax cut, and to what extent it will benefit the economy here. Corporation tax is a rare example of a headline economic policy that enjoys public support across the respective leaderships of both the DUP and Sinn Féin. While Sammy Wilson, particularly during his time as … Read more

Paying Teachers 33million Not To Teach – O’Dowd’s Teacher Scrappage Scheme

Recently the Minister of Education announced a proposal, which apparently has Executive approval, to spend £33m on a scheme to allow senior schoolteachers to retire five years early, allowing 500 newly trained teachers to take up posts. This is equivalent to £13,200 per teacher, per additional year of retirement. The Department indicates that 2,350 teachers qualify in principle, which means that there will be a process to decide who will be entitled. It also notes that 1,414 graduate teachers do … Read more