Author Archive | Brian Walker

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…

May’s and Corbyn’s descent to bickering over the response to jihadist terrorism shows their mutual mediocrity

Theresa May  is under pressure  even in her supposed area of expertise. The attacks on her for “police cuts” are election chaff. Her real defence  that cuts  that seemed sensible in 2010 are less so in the light of recent events doesn’t work in the climax of an election campaign, and Jeremy Corbyn’s call on her more…

Why is Colum Eastwood pulling his punches on a border poll?

There is no point in denying the appeal of a united Ireland within the EU, even if the threat of a hard border turns out to be exaggerated for its malign effects on trade, integrated agriculture and ease of movement and Theresa May’s team returns from Brussels in triumph. It transcends narrow nationalism and reflects more…

Brokenshire’s line on a border poll won’t do. Straight after next week’s election, it will be incumbent to spell out terms and conditions for holding a unity referendum. And Dublin cannot be left out

In their manifesto,  the SDLP have now joined Sinn Fein in calling for a unity referendum, albeit on slightly different terms. Both are linking it to Brexit. If the combined nationalist share of the vote next week reaches 40+% which is highly manageable, can a unity referendum or border poll, reasonably be denied?  If not, what more…

The English, with an identity problem to die for

As a little Bank Holiday sidebar, I nick part of Libby Purves’ meditation on Identity in the Times (£) today which laments a lack of the English variety and compares it mournfully  with the rosiest possible version of the Irish kind.  Being English, she actually thinks north and south are much the same – imagine! more…

They will have to shed cherished illusions about how to deal with jihadist terrorism. We were different, but we know the feeling

Since the Manchester atrocity a lifetime ago on Monday night, we can hear echoes of the Troubles every day.   The elevation of suicide into martyrdom is a common theme but very differently enacted and  very differently received; passively- aggressively by  hunger strike  thirty five  years ago  and bitterly dividing opinion to this day: aggressively only more…

We should envy the people of Manchester their sense of solidarity, but defiance in the face of killers is not enough

British reaction to the Manchester atrocity has not yet reached the level of reproaching the authorities for “ the one that got away.” But it soon will, if the reaction to 7/7 is followed. MI5’s investigation into Crevice threw up 55 individuals associated with the plotters. MI5 said it would have liked to have pursued more…

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…