Region Archives: England

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A centrist alternative to the UK Labour Party?

It’s worth reading this first… …being an equidistant centre party is good for winning votes and terrible at winning seats. That’s three questions anyone wanting to set up a new centre party has to answer, just as a preliminary: What does your proposed party stand for? How are you going to build an actual party, more…

Battle for Britain and Scotland

Is London’s Anglo centric unionism fundamentally at odds with unionism in the devolved territories?

If you read nothing else this week, try this fascinating insight from Richard Wynne Jones, director of the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University (where I’ll be speaking in few weeks), into what may turn out to be one of the key drivers in pushing the United Kingdom apart: English nationalism is a curious concoction, combining a rather unlikely sense more…

Gordon Brown storms in with a “third option” for Scotland and the UK. The ideal compromise, or too much, too late?

  Churn over Theresa May’s flat refusal to allow Indy ref 2 continues unabated. The reality of identity politics is proving a lot more complicated than the dream. The big move today is Gordon Brown’s “third option” of a federalising UK  of which more in a moment. But first a verdict on yesterday. May was more…

Gerry Adams ups the ante on Unity, just as it comes under fresh critical examination

 Gerry Adams knows  exactly  how to deploy  sweet reasonableness as a weapon and end up  with a perfect circle of  obstruction. He had had several “businesslike, friendly engagements” with DUP leader Arlene Foster since the talks began, and he had “no reason to doubt” she was innocent of accusations over the “cash for ash” Renewable more…

Theresa May’s fightback to support the Union through Brexit is only work in progress. The Irish are creating a benign vision of a United Ireland. Do the British want to match it?

The imminence of triggering Article 50 has at last woken up the British government to the reality of the threat to the Union. In a reported forthcoming tour of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to explain a negotiating  position that has seemed to ignore them,  propping up support for her “beloved Union” has become  Theresa more…

Broadband UK - Martin Rowson

The Pipe Will Never Be Fat Enough: Four Reforms To Deliver Competitive Broadband

When the government recently pledged ‘gold standard full fibre’ broadband, a collective cheer went up. For a short while, until we reflected upon the fate of most such announcements, the realities of stuttering broadband, and the prospect of dealing with one of the big providers. The history of this industry says the ‘gold standard’ will more…

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For UK Labour to lose the Copeland by-election would be historic…

Given how fixed things appear to be in Northern Irish politics, here’s an extraordinary piece of research from Matt Singh on what the precedents might be for Labour to lose the Copeland seat as a mid term opposition party: Maybe it won’t happen then? They’ve won other by-elections they were expected to be run close more…

Tony Blair has made the case for a rethink on Brexit and Northern Ireland will need a new financial deal. Is anybody listening?

Hurtling at us like a comet but unnoticed by the local worthies is the prospect for repatriating powers direct from Brussels to Stormont, Holyrood and Cardiff Bay. Among them are powers over agriculture and energy, which in Ireland are linked or integrated north and south. How they’ll be divvied up is  hasn’t  even been examined. more…

flannery

Is the Catholic Church Losing the Irish People? Reflections on Tony Flannery & the Church of England

On Sunday, Redemptorist priest Fr Tony Flannery celebrated mass publicly for the first time in five years, defying a Vatican ban on public ministry dating from 2012. Fr Flannery is being disciplined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for expressing views contrary to official church teachings on matters like clerical celibacy and more…

Brexit is coming

Winter is coming, so is Brexit

In a previous life, I served for two years as a member of the EU’s Committee of the Regions, a small EU institution that looks at European legislation from the point of view of local and regional government. As a member of Fine Gael, I sat on this body in the European People’s Party (EPP), more…

Goldsmith’s Gamble Fails

A penny for Zac Goldsmith’s thoughts today! The now former MP for Richmond Park in Southwest London, resigned from his seat and from the Conservative Party to force a by-election in the constituency, to show his opposition to the Government’s plan to expand Heathrow. In the by-election held yesterday, Goldsmith was beaten by Lib Dem Sarah more…