Just before meeting @3000Versts to record our second podcast effort, the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party announced he was leaving his role in due course. We consider whether the UUP has any driving sense of purpose.
On lack of purpose we turned to the subject of the Rabble Alliance in Westminster, all powered up and nowhere to go?
We’re at the end of national Party Conference season and there has been one big issue, barely mentioned in the news reports or election pitches, though certainly prominent at the fringe of Conservative Party Conference.
Together with @3000Versts a new podcast has been created, PoliticalOD because the world needs another podcast (?) and there is always room for a Unionist voice – though we’ll range out of Northern Ireland with a wider and more worldly perspective from time to time. We’ll be local, thinking global.
What else would the first effort be about except “backstop or go”, and whether from the extensive preview of the story of David Cameron by David Cameron enables us to make a determination as to whether he is political ‘Hero or Villain’.
Still ‘experimental’. Think a word or two isn’t quite what was intended here and there – lesson one, no spellcheck. Plus we deliberately aimed at a ‘short’ podcast, 15-20 minutes; almost.
Have a listen. The podcast will also be tweeted out @3000Versts and @thedissenter. Let us know what you think, or join the conversation. Civil discourse only, or Mr Block will intervene.
Recent days has seen analysis of the recent Local Elections in Northern Ireland almost exclusively in outlined in terms of percentages. Statistical summaries. These focused on percentage shares of the vote, and the number of seats gained/lost by the parties.
The general view is that this was an election where the centre ‘broke through’. This was the ‘Other’ face of Northern Ireland politics.
Looking at the numbers and that isn’t quite the whole story. Read more… »
Enough of Brexit. Avoid thinking about the UK participating in European Elections towards the end of May – might or might not happen.
What do we know with certainty? Only thing we know for certain in UK politics at this moment is that there will be Local Elections, to be held on 2 May, for 270 local councils and six directly elected Mayors in England, and the 11 local councils in Northern Ireland.
It is highly likely national politics will dominate commentary on the local elections in England, particularly on the results and what they will be believed to mean (in the Brexit context, no doubt). Read more… »
“Let’s get some perspective on that 0.001% risk to the EU single market collapsing in chaos.”
A while back, in January, on the Clare Byrne show a guest who was ex Irish Military made a not often heard point on the Irish Border that so obsesses the EU and virtually every commentator on Brexit.
His point, that there are three types of border. Read more… »
The electorate seems ungrateful. Political leaders embracing the mainstream political presumptions of the later part of the 20th Century seem less sure of themselves beyond the set-piece photo-ops.
Trump has been a shock to the American system, but a shock that was some time in coming and not altogether impossible even if a little unexpected. Everyone could see it, few believed it. Brexit too, in the UK.
Read more… »
It was with a complete lack of irony that Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson MEP supported remaining because the EU brought peace to Europe. This was said at a panel event in Coleraine during the 2016 Referendum on EU membership. Seriously.
What did the murderous gang of thugs, the IRA, do for peace in Europe?
Sadly, one example among many.
And it could have been more.
Read more… »
There’s been a Brexit post planned for ages, but things seem to change and each piece in time seems no longer relevant. So . . . time for a recap and quick look at where we are, which might seem not that much further on . . .
There are a sequence of events that create a mystery in the whole Brexit process to date, and is important to solve going forward. In January 2017 the Lancaster House speech set out what sort of trade and wider relationships the UK might have with the EU and the world.
Read more… »
The outcry over the attendance of Jamie Bryson at the House of Commons Northern Ireland Select Committee (NIAC) misses the point. This is a hearing as part of the Committee’s look at “Devolution and democracy in Northern Ireland – dealing with the deficit.” in Northern Ireland.
The NIAC look at “dealing with the deficit” in Northern Ireland has most probably been considered timely given the seemingly on-going impasse in discussions through 2017 (and into 2018) towards restoring devolution: or not, as at present. Presumptive or with great foresight, the Review now seems of greater interest in looking forward – notwithstanding the attendance of Mr Bryson and the subsequent Alliance Party hissy fit in that regard.
Read more… »
Over on This Union Graham Gudgin makes the case that there is room for a sensible outcome from UK/EU negotiations, including agreement arrangements with respect to the Irish border.
That is not the place where Leo Varadkar and his Government seem to be right now.
In this week’s Spectator, James Forsyth calls out the dangerous gamble that is the Irish Government’s most recent position, within a wider and clear-headed report of where the UK / EU negotiations stand at present.
Read more… »