Sinn Fein has abandoned the idea of Irish Independence for the EU

The recent blog post of Free Church of Scotland Minister Rev David Robertson ( @theweeflea ) on his conversion from being a Pro SNP Scottish Independence supporter to a person who would now vote “No” in any second Scottish Independence referendum has triggered some fierce debate.  I could not help but see the parallel between the SNP and Sinn Fein. The SNP has exchanged the idea of Scottish Independence for the fantasy of the progressive EU How easily the above … Read more

Why did Remain lose? Because “a better organized, more passionate adversary won”.

Best, and most honest, post-mortem I’ve seen on the EU Referendum bar none from Daniel Korski, a foreign policy advisor to David Cameron: When people ask me whether I think Project Fear lost us the referendum, I answer that Project Fear did in fact win. Just not ours. Our problem is that the other side was much better at fear-mongering. Their threats — of mass immigration, Turkey’s membership, and a European army — were far scarier to the British voters … Read more

A modern fable: Goldilocks and the three Labour leaders

Nobody expected Jeremy Corbyn to win the leadership contest in 2015, I’m not sure even he expected it. Actually, nobody expected Jeremy Corbyn to even be part of the leadership contest in 2015 – he was put on the ballot, as history now tells us, to widen the discussion, to broaden the range of candidates on offer. Well that worked out well. It may however have served a purpose in the long run. “Once upon a time, there was a Parliamentary … Read more

French President Francois Hollande :”The negotiations will be conducted with the United Kingdom, not with a part of the United Kingdom”

With the UK Parliament sovereign, and Sinn Féin’s calls for a border poll dismissed as an unwelcome distraction, quite where the “very special place” Martin McGuinness thinks Northern Ireland is in isn’t entirely clear.  Nor whom he thinks he can press that “case” with in his attempt to ignore the UK-wide referendum result.  He should remember, however, that neither he nor his party, alone, speak for the Northern Ireland Executive. He should also pay very close attention to the responses the Scottish First Minister is … Read more

Theresa Villiers: “ultimately it is parliament’s decision whether we repeal the 1972 European Communities Act or whether we don’t.”

Andy’s valiant attempt at providing clarity on the role of the devolved institutions in the UK’s withdrawal from the EU doesn’t appear to have worked for some of our local representatives. The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, couldn’t have been clearer. “In the weeks and months ahead we will be working with both the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive on all these matters,” [Theresa Villiers] told BBC’s Sunday Politics show. “But ultimately it is parliament’s decision whether we … Read more

Another of Brexit’s big losers: the opinion polls

In the maelstrom of comment following Leave’s victory in the referendum there have been many groups blamed, criticised etc. Amongst the greatest of the losers, however, are once again the pollsters. The pollsters have a singularly poor record in forecasting British national elections when they are remotely close. The original failure of recent times was John Major’s victory in 1992. Then the pollsters all claimed Kinnock would win. During the Blair years the pollsters did better but that was as … Read more

Ditching Corbyn now: probably the daftest political idea in the world

As I write Labour politicians are defecting from the shadow cabinet at a rate faster than people left the Titanic. That analogy is flawed as it seems most people behaved rather honourably in that bygone age (although First Class women passengers had the highest survival rate, Third Class women had a higher survival rate than First Class men). The reasons for this mass desertion are many but fundamentally they come down to Corbyn’s leadership during the referendum campaign and his … Read more

Democracy: Referendums, Petitions, and a Reality Check for Leavers and Remainers Alike

2.5 million people have now signed a petition calling for a second referendum. I won’t be signing it. It’s pathetic. We had the highest turnout in an election for 24 years on Thursday. I think collectively we’ve made a bad decision. But it’s the decision we made. You know what, in democracy, you win some and you lose some. Sometimes the decisions are momentous. There we go. Grow up and get over it. Where were those 2.5 million people when … Read more

Taoiseach on Border Poll: “There are much more serious issues to deal with in the immediate terms and that is where our focus is.”

Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, was, rightly, quick to dismiss Sinn Féin’s attempted distraction predictably opportunistic call for a border poll following the EU referendum result.  Here’s what she told Radio Ulster listeners “The Good Friday Agreement sets out the conditions under which I am required to call for a border poll – those are when I believe that there’s a reasonable likelihood that there would be a majority for a united Ireland,” [Theresa Villiers] said. “There’s nothing to … Read more


Just the very quickest of thought experiments:  So, I’d be grateful for help in thinking this through. Namely, whether a pro-Remain party (maybe Labour under Jarvis or Chuka, or maybe a reborn Libs), or two, might find themselves with the seat balance after an Autumn snap election.  Standing, say, on a ‘Let’s Not Leave’ platform. Or, for that matter, even in the next General Election. I would imagine the three possible circumstances then are these: (1) If Article 50 hasn’t been triggered … Read more

Boris Johnson as the next Winston Churchill: not necessarily a complement

The Brexit victory has brought forward its leading light in Boris Johnson. Many now expect him to become the next Tory leader with Cameron having announced his resignation. Against that it must be said that the Tory party does not always forgive the slayer of its previous leader: Michael Heseltine never became leader; though Thatcher herself did. Boris Johnson elicits adulation amongst many of the grass roots. He is perceived despite his very posh roots as somehow a man of … Read more

Referendum result: DUP in touch with Middle England

Mick has his first thoughts on the EU referendum below. He has pointed out that although the majority of Northern Ireland voted to remain it was close: realistically most unionists voted to leave. To disgress for a moment. Prior to last year’s assembly election people suggested the DUP were beginning to lose touch with substantial parts of the unionist electorate. The victory for the UUP in South Antrim and the fairly close run win for the DUP in East Belfast … Read more

Britain will Brexit if young voters fail to turn out. It’s a real possibility.

Opinium was the most accurate online pollster at the 2015 General Election. They have just released their final poll of the referendum campaign: Leave 45%, Remain 44%, and 11% undecided. There was a swing in the polls last week, which began before the Jo Cox assassination and seems to have primarily been driven by worries about a post-Brexit economy, which spiked sharply at the time of George Osborne’s ‘punishment budget’. That has stalled and may have even gone into gentle … Read more

EU Referendum: “At the start of the campaign I was relaxed over a Brexit vote.”

Interesting piece in the Guardian from Simon Jenkins who, by his own admission, has “long been a Eurosceptic”.  Although, as he also points out, “that is not the same as being a leaver.”  For a start he is equally critical of the ‘Leave’ and the ‘Remain’ campaigns – an assessment I broadly agree with. Here’s what he has to say on the ‘Remain’ campaign When marching to the remain drum, I have been shocked at the mendacity of “project fear”. … Read more

We can already see a post-Brexit economy emerging. It’s grim.

Here’s a confusing financial press headline from today: German 10-year sovereign bond yields turn negative for first time. What does that mean in plain English: it means traders are so worried about what the UK economy would look like post-Brexit, they’re pulling their money out of the UK, and actually paying the German government to let them lend it money. Read that sentence again to realise how deep the fear is. You’ve heard the scaremongering. This is what the reality … Read more

Labour and Europe: a brief history

The recent narrowing of the polls in the EU referendum has prompted much soul searching by the Remain camp. This may all be unnecessary as exactly the same was seen in the Scottish referendum before Remain’s victory. However, for the meantime Remain is rattled. Much of their angst seems to be coming from the revelation that substantial numbers of traditional Labour supporters are going to back Brexit. This realisation has come with much complaining that Labour is being too metropolitan … Read more

Brexit and foreign doctors (parking fines and other things)

David McNarry’s latest foray into controversy has been to float – and then retract the suggestion that foreign workers (specifically a hypothetical Polish surgeon) be deported for minor crimes such as parking tickets. Although this may play well with a few it seems something of a gaffe: maybe UKIP’s leadership will not be too sorry to lose their sole NI MLA when McNarry stands down at the Assembly elections (to be fair retiring at 67 seems pretty reasonable). It also … Read more

Amazing occurrences: Sun rises in East and Boris backs Brexit

In the most surprising news since the revelation that the sun came up in the east this morning, Boris Johnson has announced that he will support Brexit. The fact that Teresa May has stayed with Cameron means that none of the serious leadership contenders would have supported Brexit had Johnson stayed with Remain. This move will no doubt make him the grass roots darling for the meantime.

Brexit from the Centre Left

The Remain camp have so successfully monopolised the centre and especially centre left ground that they have reduced the political space for Leave. In reality perfectly valid arguments for both positions (Leave / Remain) can be presented from almost anywhere on the political spectrum.

#EURef Leave campaigns at the UKIP Northern Ireland conference #UKIPNI15

UKIP NI: David McNarry challenged the DUP & UUP to come off the fence one way or the other and state their position on the EU referendum. He also called for a victims charter with a proper definition of a victim and criticised the DUP & Sinn Fein – querying what sort of devolved government hands powers back to the Tories in Westminster.