The criticism is well made that British interest in Irish positions is generally self serving and fails to recognise their independent validity. Any slight shift in this is to be welcomed. The London broadsheets have paid Sinn Fein the rare compliment of taking seriously the party’s think-in at Cavan. It’s worth noting that they have yet to broach the notion that a Brexit solution would be so much easier if Northern Ireland were to join the Republic. Quite apart from … Read more
A nuanced and at times moving medley of spoken word and song remembrance of past times, incidents and ways of living during the Troubles, gradually working up to the negotiations and the 1998 Agreement. Not so balanced to become boring, but carefully seeded with surprise and honesty in the many perspectives it opened up.
Writing in the Guardian, “former Downing Street Brexit spokesperson”, Matthew O’Toole [no relation – Ed] has some intelligent, and interesting, things to say about “the psychology of imagined identity” here, and the task facing the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, as well as the UK Prime Minister in the next phase of the Brexit negotiations. [Definitely no relation! – Ed] From the Guardian article As Bradley will discover, Brexit has unsettled one of the most intangible but … Read more
Am I on my own in becoming weary of yet another of the great and good speaking in general terms about the future of the Border? Tony Blair, addressing a European People’s Party gathering in Co Wicklow was at pains to declare his confidence in Theresa May’s sincerity over wanting a “ frictionless “border, even though by rejecting continuing membership of the single market and free movement she has made it the problem without a solution so far. “I … Read more
Yesterday Ruth Patterson attended court for her Facebook post and provided an interesting piece of optics for the television cameras. In a considered move, a variety of DUP ministers and other public representatives, including Edwin Poots, Sammy Wilson, Jonathan Bell and Guy Spence (to name a few), attended the court hearing or accompanied her to and from the court, clearly with an eye on the cameras. Other unionist glitterati in attendance included Willie Frazer and others taunting Patterson to get … Read more
When the First and deputy First Minister arrived at 10 Downing Street last month, they had to wait outside for ‘the magic door’ to open. Inadvertent no doubt, but the downgrade it implies chimes with David Cameron’s determination to signal to all parties in Northern Ireland that all messes are their messes and it is they rather than the UK government to clear it up. But as Mark Hennessy notes, there is a sense that much of the senior human … Read more
Maybe it’s because it took place in the last Millenium that our memories of that fateful day seem so quickly dated and fading so quickly. The freshest piece writing from that time is Danny Morrison’s great piece of gonzo journalism: Then, at 7.10 am Mitchell McLaughlin arrives to read out a short statement but not to answer questions. In confident tones he declares that Sinn Fein has, during negotiations, clawed back a considerable amount of ground which it believed had … Read more