Month: October 2011

One for all.


The News Letter is attempting to stimulate debate around what legislation might be usefully presented at Stormont, with a series of articles entitled ‘Laws We Need’.

By way of background, there has been some debate recently about the fact that months after the Assembly election there is still no agreed programme for government at Stormont; which would set out what the Executive would be focussing on over the next four years. Nor is there any sign of a definitive and substantial plan for Cohesion, Integration & Sharing; which would in itself go some way to shaping future Government programmes.

By contrast, the Scottish Executive has set out proposals for 16 pieces of legislation – everything from creating a single Scottish police force to a law tackling sectarianism, introducing minimum pricing for alcohol and an attempt to breathe new life into farming. A programme 2011-2012: just ONE YEAR! Read more… »

Conservative by any name.


It was hard enough to achieve Conservative Party organisation in Northern Ireland in the first instance, back in the 1980s. Central office was hostile, and much of the Party leadership at best reluctant to become involved in the region. On the ground it might have seemed mad to set up Conservative branches in Northern Ireland at the end of 10 years of Thatcher Government and in the wake of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. There was also an Ulster Unionist Party which was dominant within the unionist electorate and, despite the recent history, remained on friendly terms with Conservatives generally at senior levels and in Parliament. Read more… »