Unionism would have a better future if it rediscovered its heritage in standing up for human rights

Recent developments have seen the emergence of two groups which are gaining traction and receiving a positive response on social media – We Make NI and Uniting UK. Uniting UK commits to ‘uniting NI in a better union.’ We Make NI, less avowedly pro-Union is described as ‘a platform to celebrate NI and debate our shared future in an inclusive, imaginative and positive way.’ Thus far the platform has featured the diversity of those who live in and  for whom …

Read more…Unionism would have a better future if it rediscovered its heritage in standing up for human rights

That DUP ‘Doff Your Cap’ Ethos: Time is Running Short…

As a close witness of the DUP’s surreal days in control of Ballymena’s council chamber in and around the 1990s, the recent conduct of Gregory Campbell has a very distinct echo of the way those DUP councillors spoke about those who didn’t look (or think) as they did. It was summed up perfectly back then by a Nationalist friend in Ballymena who wasn’t the only person to explain that, partly as a result of DUP councillors’ actions, he felt “tolerated in my own …

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Northern Ireland, the Protocol and our bumpy ride on the vagaries of market regulations…

It’s been a mad few weeks. As Taoiseach Micheál Martin has noted in an interview with the BBC’s Fergal Keane yesterday, that ramping up has not just come from within unionism… “I worry about the post-Brexit noise from EU member states towards Britain and vice versa. I would tell one or two of them that they need to cool it, dial it down. “This isn’t an ongoing battle between the UK and some of the bigger beasts of Europe. Let’s move away …

Read more…Northern Ireland, the Protocol and our bumpy ride on the vagaries of market regulations…

“As explained in detail to Sinn Féin and previously…”

News that the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland is to canvass all households this summer, for the first time since 2013 and a year later than planned, in order to update the electoral register  – unlike the rest of the UK which has an annual canvass process – has the Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast, Paul Maskey, reaching for a page from the Donald Trump electioneering playbook.   From the BBC report The canvass is legally required by the UK …

Read more…“As explained in detail to Sinn Féin and previously…”

Arlene must tell us if she agrees with Peter Robinson’s option of Assembly withdrawal to fight the protocol

Peter Robinson under arrest at Clontibret 1986 Arlene Foster has all but declared the DUP’s lack of confidence in the UK government’s efforts to renegotiate the protocol. From the sidelines her predecessor Peter Robinson is  tempting her to contemplate doing something more dramatic about it than protest. With his acute ear he has picked up the drumbeats not only from the DUP core but from the loyalist undergrowth. Cannily  attempting to insure against taking the blame for another “flegs” debacle, …

Read more…Arlene must tell us if she agrees with Peter Robinson’s option of Assembly withdrawal to fight the protocol

Moderate Irish Nationalism is talking at Unionists, not with Unionists, and that will set us all back.

Philip Wilson is a Belfast-based writer who is involved in Northern Irish politics. He has a Master’s in Politics from King’s College London When Irish Nationalists like Simon Coveney and Matthew O’Toole suggest that Brexit, and not the protocol, is the problem, they deny Unionists their full place in the United Kingdom and implicitly dilute the vote of Unionists as full citizens of the UK. In no sense can this be interpreted as in the spirit of the Belfast/Good Friday …

Read more…Moderate Irish Nationalism is talking at Unionists, not with Unionists, and that will set us all back.

How innovation has changed the scale and the shape of NI’s Covid 19 problem…

My old mate, The Dissenter has shared some interesting figures from NISRA. If you look at the drop in the number of inpatients (those most gravely ill) in the older cohorts and heading downwards below the more stable November average… Following yesterday's look at proportional decline of inpatients (marked in #>80), to reiterate point, it seems that once all >50 and clinically vulnerable vaccinated inpatient # likely to decline to 'norm' of inpatients respiratory difficulties. #enoughisenough pic.twitter.com/XtrI3kQV27 — Sapere Aude …

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How do we improve our towns and villages?

One of the (many) disappointing realisations that came to pass during the Time of Covid is just how many people don’t like being in their own home for too long. The place where they’ve chosen to live (or at least settled into). The place where they raise their families or invite their friends round. As such, people all over Europe were almost literally running for the hills (or forests or cottages or seaside houses) in order to get away from …

Read more…How do we improve our towns and villages?

AE22: Targets for the main parties next year

It is 15 months away, but lockdown boredom and messing around with numbers, he is the lay of the land going into the next Assembly Election. Alliance The happiest people looking at this are the Alliance Party, gains to be seen across Northern Ireland and on numbers, none of their 8 seats are under threat. Around 10 target seats are there for them, with varying degrees of effort required. The low hanging fruit are places like North Belfast and South …

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We are where we are, not where we would like to be…

Many of the comments on my post yesterday were along the lines of ‘if we never had partition then X’ or ‘if we had a United Ireland then Y’. These are all valid viewpoints but they reminded me of the apocryphal story of the man who stops a local farmer and asks for directions. When he tells the farmer where he wants to go the farmer replies: ‘If I were going there I would not start from here’. In life, …

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“We need to understand why the Minister for Agriculture decided that the PSNI did not have ‘a full understanding of the risk’”

Glad to see Mathew O’Toole take up this important question on the extremely odd (and largely unexplained) decision by Ed Poots to declare the PSNI unfit to judge the security of officials in Larne… …there is a clear disconnect between the security assessment of the threat against Port workers undertaken by the PSNI and the decisions taken by the Agriculture Minister and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. “It is important that the public understands the reasons for those decisions, …

Read more…“We need to understand why the Minister for Agriculture decided that the PSNI did not have ‘a full understanding of the risk’”

“The need to keep taking cases to court to obtain what I am entitled to is another form of torture.”

Well, there’s a lot going on at the moment, but how important any of it actually is will have to come out in the wash. As we saw before Christmas the Executive Office (OFMdFM as was) has already been found in breach of the law… The actions of the Executive Office in deliberately refusing to designate a Department and thus stymieing the implementation of the scheme in order to pressurise the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to make a …

Read more…“The need to keep taking cases to court to obtain what I am entitled to is another form of torture.”

Whether as part of the UK or a United Ireland, we all need Northern Ireland to work…

There is a standard view amongst many republicans that Northern Ireland is a failed state. With every new scandal or government failure, they take a perverse delight in pointing out the flaws as if to say ‘see we told you it does not work!’. They believe that the more Northern Ireland is unworkable and ungovernable, the closer we get to a United Ireland. The problem with this strategy is that it’s a bit like the cartoon where the Wile E …

Read more…Whether as part of the UK or a United Ireland, we all need Northern Ireland to work…

The future cannot be solely about the NI Protocol, so be the unionist you need to be…

Without any obvious sense of irony, Ian Paisley Junior MP, having managed to unashamedly associate theIRA with Catholicism a few days before, sought to corral Prime Minister Boris Johnston with the inference that, if he is a unionist, then he is not the type of unionist which Unionism needs. It begs the question: what does it need? Unionists and those who identify as pro-union need to address this beyond groaning and grandstanding. At the moment evidence abounds as to what …

Read more…The future cannot be solely about the NI Protocol, so be the unionist you need to be…

The UUP have no idea what their message is…

It’s almost bizarre to think that at one point the Ulster Unionist Party ruled the roost in Northern Ireland, indeed up until relatively recently they were the largest Unionist party on the island. But the days of an Ulster Unionist First Minister, with MPs in Westminster and domination over local Government are long gone. With a succession of party leaders, splits, defections and bloody noses at the polls I have often wondered what the future is for the UUP in …

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Steve Aiken reverses “Vote Mike, get Colum”

The UUP Leader, Steve Aiken sat down with Brendan Hughes from Belfast Live recently to discuss a range of political issues. If you are interested in the full exchange, you can watch it here. One thing that caught my eye was this part of the interview where Aiken signals a shift away from the approach of his predecessor, Mike Nesbitt, whom readers will remember said he would give his second preference to the SDLP. However, the current leader, Steve Aiken …

Read more…Steve Aiken reverses “Vote Mike, get Colum”

Leading constitutional expert backs DUP objections to the Protocol

Prof Vernon Bogdanor   Let us is suspend for a moment blaming the DUP for helping to saddle us with customs forms and phytosanitary checks at Belfast and Larne. Let us praise the SDLP and Alliance for looking for the bright side, at the  competitive  advantage NI business can enjoy NI to EU and GB if only the checks  GB to NI are drastically reduced. Mitigation may yet be the name of the game. But now a thunderbolt has been hurled …

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Unionism’s Approach To The NI Protocol Is Disappointing But Not Surprising…

I’m not going to pretend to understand the legal minutiae of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Article 16, or the ins and outs of the Brexit agreement struck between the UK and the EU, but what I do understand is the reaction from mainstream Unionism, and that’s what I’m going to talk about.  Before I get into it I just want to put out there that I voted Remain, my husband voted Leave. I live in a working class, predominantly Protestant …

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PSNI blunder into PR disaster of their own making…

You really do wonder what the police were thinking yesterday when they blundered their way into a private commemoration of the 29th anniversary of 1992 Sean Graham bookmakers atrocity. As well as disturbing the event they decided to go even further and arrest one of the victims. Such gross insensitivity you could not make up. Coming just days after the police stood idle and watched dozens of UVF men parading in East Belfast, the police have opened themselves up to …

Read more…PSNI blunder into PR disaster of their own making…