Author Archive | Brian Walker

Anglicans take the plunge for women bishops

I didn’t think they had in them. The Church of England synod has actually voted in favour of appointing women bishops. But the very Anglican compromise devised by the senior hierarchy to prevent a split, the appointment of male super bishops for the thousands who can’t stomach women in episcopal authority failed. A pity, I more…

Ruth Kelly on the wrack

Limavady-born Ruth Kelly the Transport Secretary, a devout Catholic, has been put under the cosh from one quarter for being excused from voting in the final stages of the Human Fertilsation and Embryology Bill in its final stages beginning in the Commons today. Free votes allow Labour MPs to opt out from supporting the measure more…

Knife crime a  bigger threat than terrorism

Knife crime a bigger threat than terrorism

The murder of Ben Kinsella has thrust knife crime to the top of the agenda. The irony that the 16 year old had actually written to Gordon Brown about the epidemic of stabbings and other youth crime makes his murder all the more poignant. Ben leaves behind him a family void that will never be more…

Labour meltdown in Scotland part 2

The signs are that the commentators are hedging their bets just a little over the stakes in the Glasgow East by-election. They’re probably waiting for a rash of opinion polls on the impact of Labour’s preferred candidate refusing the increasingly high fence. In the Scottish steeple chase, is the former champion rider Gordon Brown about more…

McGuinness in Iraq – latest

Picking up on Turgon’s post on Martin McGuinness’s peace mission to Iraq, I see the BBC are rating it highly in the newsmaking stakes. They’ve sent Paul Adams a news correspondent to follow in his footsteps. For the Today programme, Wood interviewed the DFM last night for broadcast just after his plane touched down this more…

BADGER CULLING- ULSTER VIEW WINS

In a very busy news day, it’s interesting to note that the decision not to cull badgers in NI is the one that has prevailed for England. And this in spite of advice to cull from the last Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government. If you relish controversies, this is the mother and father more…

NHS at 60. What about NI?

Update. Credit where it’s due. BBC News tonight published a comparison of the four health services – and NI comes out quite well. You’d think the Executive would make more of it. I’m glad to see some signs of life in Dundonald House about the Health Service, after all the fanfares in England that greeted more…

“MPs keep snouts in the trough”

UPDATE. Nigel Dodds “disappointed by MP’s expenses vote”- DUP statement. So why did none of the NI MPs turn up and vote, then? ( see below the fold) Inevitably, it was the Mail which struck the classic headline. In a sensational Commons move, Gordon Brown suffered another devastating blow when 33 of his ministers voted more…

Big U Turn in Green Policies

Talk about the good driving out the best… The shift to biofuels is now found to be responsible for a 75% rise in world food prices, says World Bank. The hope that biofuels might be a magic bullet to reduce dependency on oil has long been dashed. But the scale of biofuels’ responsibility for soaring more…

The Irish Language, a story of non-communication

The running sore of Irish language policy needs attention on its merits. Across the party divide, it seems to be arousing more bad feeling than any other single subject. Policing and Justice may be devolved sooner than the language policy is settled. Gerry Adams put it at the top of his recent speech in London. more…

I’m the only man alive who didn’t notice Gemma..

OK I admit it. Sexism and ageism or whatever. Being the right age, I knew all about Belfast’s own crooning idol Ronnie Carroll as one of 25 standing against David Davis in his by-election bid to wake up Britain to a slow erosion of civil rights under Labour. I’ve since woken up to the fact more…

Sammy Wilson flays Woodward

It’s that man again. A fiery Sammy Wilson let rip against an unctuous Shaun Woodward at an NI Select Committee hearing this afternoon with a host of grudges – over pressure to devolve Justice and Policing, funding Irish language programmes, “gifting” MoD sites, treading on the Executive’s prerogatives and “one-sided behaviour” generally. “You wouldn’t treat more…

Andy Murray – uncouth anti-British Scot or new National Icon?

Slugger doesn’t go big on tennis I know, but maybe it’s worth having a quick knock-up of comment on the day of Andy Murray’s mammoth battle with Nadal. We’re told the Wimbledon strawberry bashers have taken him to their hearts at last, after his turn-round win over Gasquet on Monday, also watched until dusk by more…

Age of Consent to be lowered, despite Assembly opposition

“You want the Union, you’ve got the Union even for sex – at least until you can agree to decide these matters for yourselves” That was the message the House of Lords and Westminster as a whole is sending back to Stormont on the vexed question of lowering the age of sexual consent in Northern more…

Wot – no better quality Health Service for NI?

As far as I can make out, not a cheep from the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Dept, ( see recent press releases), in response to the big new drive for a higher quality health service in England unveiled yesterday. For instance, one big aim is to speed the validation of new drugs and more…

The Conservatives want to reopen the devolution settlement

Update. I add a demolition of the Clarke scheme from the Unit I work with below the fold. The Conservative veteran Ken Clarke has come up with an ingenious scheme for containing English resentment at the bad deal the British majority are getting out of devolution, as Tories see it anyway. This involves the lesser more…