Author Archive | Brian Walker

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…

If Theresa May is so hopeless, why is she dominant?

The  buzz from Twitter is not only deafening about  the account of the Junker-May dinner posted by David. Reaction to her two Sunday political interviews on the Marr and Peston shows  is just as scathing. Marr politely put it to her straight away that the mantra of  “ strong and stable government “ might be more…

On Enda’s fondness for the precedent of German reunification, be careful of what you wish for

 The Irish government are entitled to congratulate themselves on their achievement in persuading the EU 26 to declare that if the North joined the Republic the new state would automatically inherit the Republic’s membership. Dublin hastens to add that this incorporates the  consent principle enshrined in the GFA and they are opposed to an early more…

Westminster’s reply to the SNP’s case for remaining in the single market was taken seriously after all. So why did May allow Sturgeon to claim she’d been ignored?

Here’s a strange thing. There we were, led to believe  that Theresa May had dismissed almost with  contempt Nicola Sturgeon’s  carefully  considered case for the UK, or at least Scotland,  to remain within the single market. It turns out it wasn’t like that at all. We know that because the Scottish Government itself has just more…

The EU summit’s declaration on a united Ireland exposes British isolation

EU prepares for post-Brexit united Ireland membership Summit endorsement would raise fears over fragmentation of UK The Financial Times  is getting  excited about today’s  EU summit endorsing special treatment for Ireland  in the Brexit negotiations and raises “ fears for the fragmentation of the UK “ The Irish Times political editor Stephen Collins is equally more…

Amnesty for soldiers and police officers appears imminent after the election. And the effect on prospects for restoring the Assembly?

The government appear to be on the brink of taking the legacy of the Troubles out of the hands of the Assembly. The only  question remains if they would entertain an agreed counter proposal from the Assembly parties . You can work out for yourself  the prospects of that The Times (£) are reporting that more…

Advance on abortion law reform and the treatment of women generally is now inevitable in the Republic. But will it go the whole way?

For readers catching up, the Times (£) has a good pull together on the prospects of seismic change to the Republic’s abortion law. In a series of votes over the weekend, the citizens’ assembly, set up to consider the issue, recommended that abortion should be available up to 12 weeks after conception “with no restriction more…

The saving grace of electoral pacts is that they’re short lived. There’s a longer and bigger game to play afterwards

One sign of changed times is leading commentators  such as  Alex Kane Tom Kelly and Newton Emerson ranging across newspapers that not so long ago  would have stuck to simple uncomplicated messages for  well  understood and stable readerships. Times have indeed changed for us all. From my remote position in London however, Alex and Tom more…

Colum Eastwood has offered to turn Brexit into an opportunity for the local parties. But the two governments must solve their underlying differences first

It would be easy to dismiss SDLP leader Colum Eastwood’s bid to create an “anti-Brexit axis” as a fig leaf for an SDLP survival strategy in the Westminster general election.  On the analysis, you pays your money and you takes your choice between Chris Donnelly and Daithi McKay here in Slugger.   In contrast, Arlene Foster more…

The story of François Fillon’s suits tells you why the French establishment may be facing the guillotine

Assuming you are a conservative minded Catholic would you vote for this man as your natural champion? With only a week before the first round of voting, the revelation by the investigative website Mediapart will further embarrass the conservative candidate, who lost his place as frontrunner in opinion polls after being placed under investigation for more…

Out of respect to the voters, the governments and parties must spell out in detail where they stand on the Assembly by next week. Otherwise the election is an insult to democracy.

Although only one of 13 MPs  to deny Theresa May the green light for calling a Westminster general election, Mark Durkan MP surely got it right for  Northern Ireland.    I was not asking for an election last week or the week before; I was arguing that any move to an election in the near more…

Left to themselves, the parties won’t agree. The time has come for the governments to bring forward solutions which involve the people directly

Observed from London, the political atmosphere at home is surreal.  The volume of comment on the talks is in inverse proportion to hard information. Expectations of agreement by Good Friday are so low that  the local media can barely be roused from torpor. Emergency action for feeding the Stormont cats occupied more space in the more…

Bertie’s separate agenda should include warming Theresa May’s ear about the Human Rights Act

Following in Bertie Ahern footsteps what should the  two governments negotiate about bilaterally as the Brexit talks proceed? In the Irish Times Noel Whelan argues that “ Ireland and UK must renegotiate Belfast Agreement” The EU has been described as a cornerstone of the Belfast Agreement. This is more than just constitutional flannel. The agreement more…