Author Archive | Brian Walker

Resorting to law for violating impartiality won’t end political deadlock but fresh Westminster legislation now just might

It always happens, doesn’t it, that when political deadlock becomes tighter, legalistic arguments become more obsessive. It’s a hoot to claim that the once great  hero of the GFA  and now  the great scapegoat for all that’s gone wrong anywhere, anytime Tony Blair, conned the poor innocent parties to the St Andrew’s Agreement over an more…

The Westminster deal has a confidence building effect which should allow the DUP and SF to confront their differences honestly – and soon, in the Assembly

The DUP deal at Westminster is reasonably secure. The prospects for a Stormont deal seem up in the air and due for postponement until the autumn. The best hope for today is that Sinn Fein may feel they’ve got just enough to continue the negotiations back in the Assembly pending the creation of an Executive more…

And there could be more dosh to come! But the government rejects demands from a chorus of women MPs to fund abortions for NI women

The payout could be higher as a result of studies of the impact of lower corporation tax and scrapping air passenger duty.  In its financial analysis the FT points out that Costs will be higher if the renewed commitment to allow Northern Ireland to set its own lower corporation tax rate and air passenger duty more…

First questions about the DUP deal with the Conservatives

Handing over the money is not contingent on restoring the Executive – at least in print. but it is clearly intended  to put pressure on Sinn Fein. If there is no Executive what happens with the new £1 billion and even the already promised £500 million? A budget has to be passed next month by more…

Do we want Westminster to impose uniform UK standards? On abortion and same sex marriage? How about an indemnity for soldiers?

 Social reform – on abortion and same sex marriage – is not only a bone of contention in the Stormont talks. It’s creating a clash with MPs across party at Westminster at a precarious time for the future of both legislatures. The Supreme Court’s rejection of the appeal against the decision of the Health Secretary more…

What does the British government think its proper role is?

Until last week, remarkably little attention had be paid to how this government  views  its obligations under “Constitutional Issues”  (v) of  the Good Friday  (Belfast) Agreement: (v) affirm that whatever choice is freely exercised by a majority of the people of Northern Ireland, the power of the sovereign government with jurisdiction there shall be exercised more…

The shape of a Stormont deal is emerging. Will promised public consultation seal the deal or become yet another stalling move?

So the parties are to respond to a paper issued by the two governments today. After four months of apparent lack of close engagement by the British government in particular , talks  took on a clearer shape and urgency since the Westminster general election. The paper has been seen by Barney Rowan and summarised in more…

UK Supreme Court rules narrowly against free abortions in England for Northern Ireland women. But in Scotland?

Support for abortion reform in Northern Ireland becomes all the more relevant after the decision of the Supreme Court last Wednesday narrowly to reject the appeal against  Jeremy Hunt the Health Secretary for England,  refusing to exercise his discretion to allow  women from Northern Ireland to have abortions free of charge on the NHS  in more…

New momentum expected in the Stormont talks as both premiers engage

So Theresa averted a crash after all. She may even have been taking part  in a piece of theatre typical of the old peace process days.  The intervention of not just one but both prime ministers in succession suggests more momentum will be injected into the Stormont talks, spurred ironically by the prospect  of a more…

“The DUP deal is in danger”

As many suspected… Sam McBride in the Newsletter reflects unease at the delay as well as DUP surface optimism that a deal is still on course.  Ken Reid of UTV tweets that a deal this week is unlikely. The delay can hardly be only out of respect for the still unknown number of victims of more…

Fears of a side deal with the DUP on the peace agenda are exaggerated. It requires cross community consent

So the DUP confidence and supply deal with the minority government will be delayed out of respect for the victims of the horrific North Kensington fire.  Mark Devenport has a credible analysis of the state of play. This leaves out saying anything definite about legacy matters that so spooked the political class over here when more…

Sure what harm could a Tory deal with the DUP do?

Just a late night list of problems with the Tory-DUP deal before we see it sometime later in the week. In summary it  disturbs the careful balance of the Good Friday agreement by its very existence. There’s the risk of huge danger to the wider unionist position if the DUP overbid. They would fare much more…

The DUP are in pole position to remove the threats both of a hard border and a border poll

Brexit ‘s revival of  the spectre of a hard border and the support  of Ireland’s partners for a united Ireland  with consent within the EU was the perfect formula for the complete polarisation that has duly happened at Westminster level. Nationalism is now without representation at Westminster for the first time since 1966. The SDLP’s more…

Sadiq Khan saves growing row over police resources from becoming a farce

The row over Theresa May’s police cuts is going Gothic since Trump entered the fray to criticise London Mayor Sadiq Khan and then typically to repeat  his attack even though May tactfully corrected him. The London Evening Standard (editor George Osborne, the former chancellor sacked by May) details the developing story. It turns out Corbyn more…