Frost’s resignation dissolves fudging over the Protocol and faces Johnson with the stark choice. And Liz Truss the party favourite will make it.

The social libertarian reasons David Frost has given for quitting the government such as the “direction of travel” on Covid restrictions and increased taxes are hardly the whole story.  For if he thought he looked like winning in the Protocol negotiations he would surely not have quit. His letter to Johnson smacks of the same disingenuousness as his Protocol reports – a hard line written in the language of sweet reasonableness.  Frost knows very well he has set Johnson a …

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Johnson and Frost can afford another turn of the screw before retreat. The rachet is in their hands

Using the old mantra of Michel Barnier, the clock is ticking on the Protocol negotiations. Even so, picking up from Mick’s references to Irish Times commentator Ronan McCrea, it isn’t obvious to me why at this point  the EU should “play hardball.”  Granted that he fears the damage done in a lengthy arbitration period under the terms of the withdrawal agreement. ..during the lengthy period during which all of these procedures were being worked through, the EU would be faced …

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Boris has 99 problems…

Not sure what magic Cassette Boy uses to create these videos, but they sure are very funny. Warning contains swearing. For those not into HipHop 99 Problems is a song by Jay Z. Boris Johnston delivers his keynote speech today at the Conservative Party Conference. There is talk he will raise the minimum wage which would be welcomed by low earners. New! Cassetteboy vs Boris Johnson 2021 #cpc21 pic.twitter.com/klsNSi0wir — Cassetteboy (@Cassetteboy) October 6, 2021 If this is a bit …

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Now is the winter of our discontent…

tree, snow, winter

Wow, things are looking bleak for poor old Blighty. Energy prices through the roof, bins not being emptied, food shortages, petrol shortages, staff shortages, [insert just about everything] shortages. Unsurprisingly when you tell people not to panic-buy they automatically go out and panic buy. Personally, I have taken matters into my own hands and I have 1000 litres of petrol stored in old plastic milk jugs in the shed. They are next to the pile of illegal fireworks I picked …

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Hain accuses Johnson, Cameron, May of NI ‘neglect’ – and Foster for ‘lapdog’ tendency

Boris Johnson, Theresa May and David Cameron must accept part of the responsibility for the continuing “gridlock” of politics in Northern Ireland, through their failure to engage in the political process here, argues former Labour secretary of state Peter Hain. He also allocates blame to Conservative secretaries of state, with the exception of Julian Smith.  Hain says that prime ministers must recognise that their role includes strong engagement with the Northern Ireland parties, in order to keep political progress on track. “You …

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“He did not read the protocol, he has not read the bill, he does not know his stuff”…

As Labour leader, Ed Miliband’s awkward geekiness never found favour with the English voters but he has grown in stature over the years. His Reasons to be cheerful podcast is an entertaining and informative listen. In his day job role as MP and shadow Minister, he gave Boris quite the evisceration over his handling of NI Protocol. It makes for an entertaining watch. @Ed_Miliband Destroying @BorisJohnson with ease. ?‍☠️pic.twitter.com/1VVzyPlyTN — The Churchill Project (@WinstonCProject) July 21, 2021 But all this …

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Sturgeon is not as invincible as she projects. The Union has begun to fight back

The FT reports that the £ reached a new high level “as prospects for a new early  referendum on Scottish independence dimmed.”  This might strike you as very odd after panic hit the  London media  at the news of the inevitable SNP victory on Friday. Just as weird was the desperate consolation sought in the fact that the SNP failed to win an absolute majority by a single vote. I just don’t get that; they’re home and dry with the support of the Greens. The falling short is purely token. Clearly the markets dislike the uncertainty likely to be created by another Indyref campaign. The shock of first reactions in London means that Westminster realises at last that they may have a problem in Scotland. Do Johnson and the Tories care?  The same question occurs as for Northern Ireland. He is secure beyond his wildest dreams  or  rather  the nightmare of even a week ago when he seemed drowning in a tide of petty scandal.  Great Britain ( certainly not NI),  is now  looking split under three different convincing  mandates, Labour in Wales, the SNP in Scotland and the Tories  in England , all mutually exclusive.

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Republican anger over plans to spend £3m on Centenary Birthday card for every home in Northern Ireland…

Plans by Boris Johnson to send a card to every home in Northern Ireland to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of its foundation have met with an angry response from Nationalists and Republicans. It is thought Boris Johnson came up with the idea as a way to remind us of our importance to the Union. The front of the card features a portrait of the Queen with a massive Union Jack backdrop. The back of the card contains a personal message …

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Boris Johnson has refused Arlene Foster on the protocol. Both governments and the EU should now get off their high horses and fix it.

Time was when prime ministers visited somewhere they used it as the backdrop to make a substantial speech about where they stood on the policy or move things along.  Think back to Tony Blair’s “acts of completion”.  Can you imagine Boris Johnson submitting himself to questions about his post Brexit and pro Union strategies?  Nowadays it’s enough for Johnson to turn up for a box ticking exercise, high viz vested or in a white coat, elbows bumping, for a few …

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No mention of the fantasy Irish Sea link in Johnson’s plan to link up the UK. Is he quietly ditching it already?

The BBC is reporting that a feasibility study is being made into Boris Johnson’s crackpot scheme of a bridge or tunnel over the Irish Sea (with ample space for customs clearing stations no doubt).  But intriguingly   the prime minister makes no mention of it in an article he’s written for the Daily Telegraph announcing a new UK wide  transport strategy “ to strengthen the very sinews of the UK.” Very odd that he makes no mention of his current pet …

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Boris Johnson, you would (almost) feel sorry for him…

No matter how bad your day is going, it is likely to be better than that of our glorious leader, Boris Johnson. You can imagine him waking up every day with a groan, and wondering what disaster will befall him today. “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” as Billy Shakespeare put it. With UK Covid-19 deaths reaching the grim milestone of 100,000, Boris was forced to make an apology of sorts: The U.K. has become the first country …

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Boris says to prepare for a no deal Brexit….

From Sky News: Boris Johnson says it’s time to “get ready” for the prospect of no free trade deal with the EU on 1 January. The prime minister claimed Brussels had “abandoned” the ambition but insisted “we always knew there would be change” next year once the tradition period ends “whatever type of relationship we had”. Speaking from Downing Street after an EU summit both sides said was the deadline for hammering out a trade deal, Mr Johnson said it …

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Churchillian flourishes signal desperation from this ‘unexceptional’ Tory Government…

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has been hard on all aspects of society, not least of all the UK Government’s approval ratings as it has lurched from one crisis to another, many a product of its own making. Then, during the Prime Minister’s address on Tuesday, viewers saw Boris Johnson attempt to emulate Churchill when he said, “Never before in our history has our collective destiny and our collective health depended so completely on our individual behaviour.” Although his address …

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Boris Johnson has thrown everything up in the air. The EU has to bring them down to earth

The roller coaster continues. In its story today the Times slips in unattributably Johnson’s terms for a deal. The right of government  to subsidise company development  is the Trojan horse  that has emerged as the biggest obstacle to a deal because it continues to apply to GB as  well as NI,  leaving a remnant of  EU regulation at the heart of the UK that the sovereignty zealots find intolerable.  On this apparently esoteric topic depends much of the future character …

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It would be a mistake for Unionists to seek terms for Irish unity now. There’s a bigger future to discuss

The time, therefore, has finally come for unionists, particularly those in Northern Ireland, to consider the terms on which they could tolerate, if not accept, a united Ireland… On the eve of Northern Ireland’s centenary next May, Unionism needs to form an assembly of its own to answer that question. So what should unionism demand in exchange for its tolerance of unification? First, let’s acknowledge that unionism holds a pretty decent hand should it care to play it: the knowledge …

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The New Deal was about more than a phrase, Boris. Michael Gove knows it and is bidding to be the government’s man of substance

Photo: The Guardian We knew in advance where Boris Johnson got “Rooseveltian” from. The inspiration came from Michael Gove, his friend and sometime rival who pre-announced Boris’s “bonanza”  and gave him a sort of intellectual alibi in his Ditchley lecture last week.  Johnson has the spectre of 3 million unemployed hanging over him and has had to think of something quick. Other than  borrowing  the phrase,  he baulks at a New Deal. He warms up the old Tory manifesto, throws …

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Slugger TV – the devolved nations fightback episode

This month, in episode 38, Slugger O’Toole’s deputy editor David McCann talks to Irish News journalist Allison Morris and Andersontown News columnist Andrée Murphy about the performance of the Northern Ireland Executive, the legacy of different devolved government strategies to ease the COVID-19 lockdown, and the Irish Government’s lack of cross-border consultation about their plans. Edited by Alan Meban and also broadcast (as a slightly shorter 30 minute edit) on Belfast’s community TV channel NvTv tonight at 20:35.

Would you prefer faster roads or faster broadband?

How are you getting on with the great work from home experiment? I have worked from home for most of my career so it is nothing new for me but I realise it will be a novelty for most of you. Your experience will vary greatly depending on if you have young kids or not. With our 4-year-old, I find it is next to impossible to get any work done while homeschooling and childminding. Whatever teachers get paid they should …

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The Sunday Times puts the boot into Boris Johnson’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic…

I am sure Boris was feeling bad enough recovering from COVID-19, opening yesterdays Sunday Times I am sure did nothing to lift his mood. Coronavirus: 38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster was the headline and just to reinforce the point the subheading hammered home the main accusations – ‘Boris Johnson skipped five Cobra meetings on the virus, calls to order protective gear were ignored and scientists’ warnings fell on deaf ears. Failings in February may have cost thousands of …

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Boris Johnson sacks NI Secretary Julian Smith…

As predicted Boris Johnson has sacked Julian Smith in his reshuffle. Serving the people of Northern Ireland has been the biggest privilege. I am extremely grateful to @BorisJohnson for giving me the chance to serve this amazing part of our country. The warmth & support from people across NI has been incredible. Thank you so much. — Julian Smith MP (@JulianSmithUK) February 13, 2020 A very risky move from Boris Johnson in removing a Secretary of State who was not …

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