Why Sinn Féin should retire Tiocfaidh ár lá…

This week marks the 39th anniversary of Bobby Sands death, the first and most infamous of the ten IRA men who perished in the 1981 hunger strike. These fatal protests were a dramatic inflexion point in the Troubles with immense consequences – both accelerating the brutal violence and, through the election of Sands as a British MP, sowing the seeds for Sinn Féin’s successful entry into politics. The events sharply divide opinions, now as then, but whatever your view, most …

Read more…Why Sinn Féin should retire Tiocfaidh ár lá…

With Paywall in Place, has the Tele Lost its Welly?

Ten years ago, the Belfast Telegraph received a prestigious UK Award for Digital News Service of the Year. This was followed by multiple awards for website of the year, huge growth in on-line readers, and a new platform for digital debate that attracted thousands of comments. But with the installation of a new paywall on 19 May, are these achievements now at risk? Will the free and open voice of liberal unionism be silenced to all save a minority of …

Read more…With Paywall in Place, has the Tele Lost its Welly?

A debate on our constitutional future is not just the Border. It’s about re-imagining the State…

In 2018 Unionist Commentator Alex Kane travelled to Dublin to speak at a conference on Irish Unity. His message to the nationalist audience? Discussing a United Ireland was not a topic on which Unionism would engage. Kane has a keen mind and I am sure the irony of his message was not lost. But he subsequently went on to say that trying to persuade him about the merits of a United Ireland was futile, while the premise of talks based …

Read more…A debate on our constitutional future is not just the Border. It’s about re-imagining the State…

Northern Ireland is Caught in a Low-Level Equilibrium Trap…

In the 1950’s US economist Richard Nelson, who later became an advisor to President Kennedy, asked why underdeveloped economies failed to improve. His answer, published in 1956, was the low- level equilibrium trap. The theory suggests that poor countries, with low wages and profits, can’t afford to invest so growth is slow. As the economy gradually expands average wealth per person improves. However marginal increases in prosperity also increase population. As more people come onto the labour force the average …

Read more…Northern Ireland is Caught in a Low-Level Equilibrium Trap…

Complacent Assumptions vs Political Reality: a border poll is not inevitable…

Following the vote for Brexit in 2016, a persistent media drumbeat has highlighted the enhanced likelihood of a future border poll – a referendum for a United Ireland. Many Irish nationalists, noting the changing demographics and loss of Unionism’s political majority, have already priced it in. But is this assumption complacent, and if it does happen what are the consequences? The key to unlocking a border poll is the view of the people who live in Northern Ireland (the Republic …

Read more…Complacent Assumptions vs Political Reality: a border poll is not inevitable…

“No Change” is not an option…

Brexit, changing demographics, the rise of Sinn Fein, and even Coronavirus have all given significant impetus into the argument for a United Ireland. However, the majority of people who live in Northern Ireland want to maintain the status quo, and even on current trends that is unlikely to change anytime soon. But what does “no change” actually mean? The border debate tends to focus on what a United Ireland would look like, which obscures the debate of where we are …

Read more…“No Change” is not an option…