Author Archive | Brian Walker

Shock horror EXCLUSIVE! MI5 had Jeremy Corbyn under surveillance into the 1990s, for “links to the IRA”

Billed as  “Exclusive, MI5”, the Daily Telegraph  splashes with a predictable twist on an ancient theme, that Jeremy Corbyn had been under surveillance for having “ links” to the IRA. This is the flip side of the super-patriotic  coin that supports army veterans in their campaign, backed by Theresa May, against prosecutions for illegal actions more…

It’s easier to get rid of a hard border

Vincent Boland has written a major piece for the FT magazine (£) entitled “Dividing Line: Brexit and the threat to the Irish Border“. The article is all more absorbing for being written for the casually interested globalised audience that is the FT’s typical readership. Boland doesn’t deal in economic statistics or confusing politics but on more…

Conservative manifesto very warm on the Union, cool and correct to the Republic, no mention of special status in ” a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement”

TORY LAUNCH: Here I concentrate on those matters of specific interest to Northern Ireland. Remember that while manifestos tend to be mainly broad brush, they convey a sense of direction. The rhetoric of this one is modern British Unionist, as would be expected with the Union under threat but it avoids Rule Britannia jingoism.

Brendan Duddy deserved a Nobel Peace Prize too

Coming soon after  so much painful reappraisal that accompanied the death and burial of Martin McGuinness, a tribute from Peter Taylor to a man who was unambiguously a peacemaker, as reported in the Irish Times.   Broadcaster Peter Taylor – who revealed Mr Duddy’s role as an intermediary between the IRA and the British government more…

Brendan Duddy RIP. A peace maker in real time

It is remarkable, in an age of sophisticated  back channels and espionage  replete with digital  and satellite communications, how a modest domestic background figured so  significantly in the moves which eventually led to the ceasefires – and all the more effectively for it. The problem was how to establish  trust when contacts had to be more…

Tony Blair assures EU that May is sincere about a frictionless border; sees need for small amendment to the GFA

Am I on my own in becoming weary of  yet another of the great and  good  speaking in general terms about the future of the Border?  Tony Blair, addressing a European People’s Party gathering in Co Wicklow  was at pains to  declare his confidence in Theresa May’s sincerity over wanting a “ frictionless “border, even more…

The soft Theresa is no more forthcoming than the hard Theresa

So there is a hard Theresa and a soft Theresa. The hard Theresa has been subject to some searching assessment today. First, Janan Ganesh in the FT (£), on her claim that Brussels bureaucrats were interfering in the British general election by leaking a derogatory account of her dinner with EU Commission president Junker.  To more…

For Brexit, British and Irish citizens’ rights are not yet guaranteed. Interchangeable rights for all should be the aim

The issue of reciprocal citizenship rights after Brexit is turning out to be more complicated than at first thought. It extends well beyond confirming the status quo to embrace work and pension rights for new immigrants from the EU as well as the 3 million existing residents.  Even when an EU citizen’s rights in the more…

The fault lies in ourselves, not just the politicians

Slagging off politicians is so often the default of Slugger comment, sometimes  down to  the level of that useful word “trolling,”   which  for me recalls the fate of the troll in “ The three billy goats gruff,” when the troll richly  deserves to  get crushed to bits. It ought to occur to people by now more…

“Brexit has become a central question in the identity conversation and that is dangerous”

In a commentary  “Brexit and Northern Ireland” on the EPC discussion paper( see below) the  legal academic Chris McCrudden  asserts the primacy  of the Brexit question and laments the  “ tone deafness” of the UK government to  Northern Ireland’s interests. But while he rightly sees the need to set priorities in the interparty talks, he doesn’t more…

On Brexit, the Irish are caught between two opposing forces, but at least they’re showing more invention and concern about the North than the British and northerners themselves

The ritual opening shots in the Brexit campaign must leave the Republic feeling caught in a trap in a dialogue of the deaf between two opposing forces. So much, so sadly predictable, in spite of all the warm words- although the crudeness of the exchanges is perhaps surprising. It’s pretty clear that the Irish government more…