Author Archive | Brian Walker

Ireland and the border has emerged as the current acid test. In their own interests, Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin should give Theresa May space to pass it

The current British position is admirably described by James Forsyth in the Brexit leaning, Conservative supporting Spectator. I can do no better than to quote it at length. It covers a viewpoint that cannot be dismissed by ardent Remainers like me.  Whatever the mood music, it will be taken seriously in the chancelleries of Europe. more…

Domestic political turmoil renders the Brexit negotiations even more unpredictable. This time it’s not London’s fault

Compared with some other key leaders, Theresa May’s position is  looking remarkably stable for a change  as she flies into Brussels today for what’s being billed in London as crucial meetings with EU leaders including Council president Donald  Tusk. The Westminster lobby is reporting that she’ll be taking soundings over whether a British offer of more…

Another leak against the Brits, but Theresa’s not for budging

Another leak to RTE, another bout of Irish pressure, accompanied by Irish Times columnist Stephen Collins joining a chorus of “ contempt” for British tactics and urging his government to stand firm. The (British position that the) Border issue should be dealt with in phase two of the Brexit negotiations dealing with future trade rather more…

Amnesty for security forces foreshadowed in the DUP deal

Just a footnote to yesterday’s post on the government’s floating of an amnesty for security forces. The Irish News follows up predictably enough with angry responses to what they rightly report as the adoption of the recommendation of the Commons Defence Committee report  just before the general election. The committee, which includes DUP MP Gavin more…

A plea to Gerry Adams from a Falls Road boy

In recent times we often hear the narrative that has been orchestrated so carefully by apologists for Sinn Fein – namely the huge personal risks that Adams and Mc Guinness took for peace. I do not believe that such an argument is credible. The people that really took the risks for peace down the years more…

The government need to come clean urgently on their bungled proposal for a security forces amnesty

After Sinn Fein held their meeting with Theresa May this afternoon,  Gerry Adams diverted from the apparent failure to make progress on restoring Stormont with a genuine issue: a potential amnesty from prosecution for security force members who served in the Troubles is to be floated by the British government. The Irish News carries the fullest more…

Brexit and the border is widening the gap between London and Dublin and depressing further the chances of a return to Stormont

It has started to happen. Will it continue?  Can it be reversed? The politics of Brexit  is openly dividing the UK and Irish governments and further polarising the DUP and Sinn Fein,  making a return to the Executive less likely than ever.  Predictably Brexit is increasingly becoming domesticated as the new big theme  in a more…

Gerry Adams and Robert Mugabe have something in common

How ironic that the eras of Mugabe and Adams are drawing to a close at roughly the same time. Both are men of blood. Both remained in office for unhealthily long periods of time, reflecting the essentially undemocratic nature of their political machines and their origins in armed insurgency. It now turns out that neither more…

A crunch on the border is not in Ireland’s interests

“What we want to take off the table, before we even talk about trade, is any idea that there would be a hard Border, a physical Border, or a Border resembling the past . . . Then we’d be happy to move on to phase two.” “The UK insists that the issue cannot be tackled more…

The reception for the Loughinisland documentary No Stone Unturned shows that legacy issues will stay marginalised

The low key reception given to the documentary No Stone Unturned, the film documentary on the UVF  murders  of six  randomly selected Catholics in their local Loughinisland  pub in 1994 which is currently being  given a brief screening at the Queen’s Film Theatre, is the latest example of how presumed familiarity with the underlying problems more…

Brexit is in a mess, but not irretrievably

Want to know where we really are on Brexit? In  three words, in a mess. Can we get out of it?   Possibly at the eleventh hour, 10 pm on Friday 19 March 2019, just like the Good Friday Agreement in fact. Nothing  is agreed until everything is agreed. As so often – like the Stormont more…

Real work to restore the Executive has yet to begin. For the public to make an impact, proposals and pressure from the governments are essential

As a comparative outsider I’m struck by how most commentators are obsessed with speculating about political positioning and identity narratives. This has produced numbing negativism and  despair  rather than the energy needed to approach the daunting but practical problem of trying to restore the Executive.  Being case hardened and calloused, they endlessly refine their own explanations for more…

The DUP’s £1 billion deal looks set for a second stage of direct rule

When we’re reduced to praising James Brokenback for masterly inactivity, we’ve surely found rock bottom. One tiny flicker of life  turns out to be an illusion after all.  DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson has denounced as “fake news” a  story from the new Financial Times Ireland correspondent ( and ex-Irish Times ) Arthur Beesley,  that “Theresa more…

To solve the Catalan crisis, pay homage to Britain

The Catalonian campaign for independence is a phenomenon of our times,  like the Scottish. They both claim they are ancient entities enjoying sufficient cohesion to go it alone and find their own balance between globalisation (the great big world now closer to all of us than ever) and self sufficiency ( provided it comes under more…

Latest findings on a border poll

From the British- Irish Parliamentary assembly meeting in Liverpool, as reported in the Sunday Times (£) Both Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland who tend not to vote — in either Westminster or assembly elections — would reject a united Ireland in the event of a poll, according to research presented to Irish and British more…