Tag Archives | NI Executive

Conservative manifesto very warm on the Union, cool and correct to the Republic, no mention of special status in ” a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement”

TORY LAUNCH: Here I concentrate on those matters of specific interest to Northern Ireland. Remember that while manifestos tend to be mainly broad brush, they convey a sense of direction. The rhetoric of this one is modern British Unionist, as would be expected with the Union under threat but it avoids Rule Britannia jingoism.

The soft Theresa is no more forthcoming than the hard Theresa

So there is a hard Theresa and a soft Theresa. The hard Theresa has been subject to some searching assessment today. First, Janan Ganesh in the FT (£), on her claim that Brussels bureaucrats were interfering in the British general election by leaking a derogatory account of her dinner with EU Commission president Junker.  To more…

Out of respect to the voters, the governments and parties must spell out in detail where they stand on the Assembly by next week. Otherwise the election is an insult to democracy.

Although only one of 13 MPs  to deny Theresa May the green light for calling a Westminster general election, Mark Durkan MP surely got it right for  Northern Ireland.    I was not asking for an election last week or the week before; I was arguing that any move to an election in the near more…

Scappaticci and McGuinness

Operation Kenova and The Spy in the IRA…

John Ware’s BBC Panorama investigation on Freddie Scappaticci, The Spy in the IRA, is available online, with an accompanying article on the BBC website.  Ed Moloney has some relevant posts on his blog on the programme, including criticism of the initial response by processors in the media to Liam Clarke’s scoop when he broke the story in more…

Left to themselves, the parties won’t agree. The time has come for the governments to bring forward solutions which involve the people directly

Observed from London, the political atmosphere at home is surreal.  The volume of comment on the talks is in inverse proportion to hard information. Expectations of agreement by Good Friday are so low that  the local media can barely be roused from torpor. Emergency action for feeding the Stormont cats occupied more space in the more…

Identity politics is the enemy of good government. Can they be reconciled?

Banging on so much about culture and identity politics is like debating the Resurrection with a famine victim, at best a momentary distraction, at worst an insult. In politics and too much comment,  political rhetoric is easy  macho stuff.  It produces a quick high and the tunnel vision born of  long-term self-satisfaction, while the practical more…

The Assembly crisis is costing £300 million a year in Health alone

The Belfast Telegraph has an exclusive on the depth of the health crisis. It shows the real world  gap between the obsessive zero sum game that dominates politics and the practical need for regional government  of some sort. If the RHI scandal broke the Executive, will the long-term health scandal remake it? Northern Ireland’s health more…

At last! The British and Irish governments have produced an agreed plan to put to the Assembly parties from Monday 3 April

Not before time, a detailed talks plan agreed between the two governments has been presented to the Assembly parties and will form the basis of talks over a 10 day period beginning tomorrow.  Brian Rowan, former security correspondent and Assembly candidate, has got sight of it and has summarised it in EamonnMallie.com   As I’ve been more…

The political parties should not deceive themselves that the lessons from demographic change are simple and obvious

“ The morning after the Brexit vote, the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party said that “the constitutional question has been reopened, and we now have people who were content in Northern Ireland thinking again about a united Ireland” Has  this development become  the new driver of politics or is it  still in the background? At 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…

Breaking… Brokenshire gambles with high risk threat of a new election, cutting through opening party maneouvres

  New “James Brokenshire warns parties must agree or face second snap election” Oh well done James,  you’ve decide to open with the joker, He’s decided to match  Sinn Fein’s bottom line with one of his own – incidentally going against the advice of his predecessor Theresa Villiers  who called  for an extension of the more…

Playacting will be hard to distinguish from authenticity in the early phases of the negotiations

The three regional papers have had a great few months. With so much to feed off, that comes as no surprise. I hope it boosts their circulations permanently. They deserve credit  for editorially keeping their heads, the nationalist Irish News, unionist Newsletter and let’s- be- sensible unionist- with a-look across -the -divide Belfast Telegraph.  Remarkably more…

Skids under Arlene?

Will she be gone by tonight? Temporarily or permanently? No one better  than historian Eamonn Phoenix to put it into context. The resulting loss of a Unionist majority at Stormont for the first time has shocked Unionism to its core. The political and, especially, the psychological implications of this as the centenary of Partition approaches more…