Robinson calls on Unionists to prepare for a potential border poll

The News Letter has a new columnist, former First Minister, Peter Robinson. In his first column for the paper he writes about a border poll and why unionism should be ready for one. He writes; Advocating for the Union should be the routine duty of those who cherish our link with Great Britain, but beyond the routine lies a much greater task in preparing for the predictable showdown. I know there are border poll deniers who think such a referendum …

Read more…Robinson calls on Unionists to prepare for a potential border poll

Read more

Micheál Martin offers a hand to shift us from “post conflict island” to “a shared home place”…

Here’s a simple question. What was Dublin’s northern policy before Micheál doubled its budget from €500,000,000 to €1 billion <strike>pa</strike> over the next five years? I asked a unionist friend that question earlier today, after I’d sent on a copy of his speech launching the Shared Island Unit. His reply, “nothing”. Harsh, but hardly unfair. The original sum was not nothing, but, what was it for? How had policy changed after Fianna Fáil left in 2011? It’s hard to see …

Read more…Micheál Martin offers a hand to shift us from “post conflict island” to “a shared home place”…

Read more

Department of Health release evidence bank for COVID 19 decisions

The Department of Health have released some of the evidence bank showing how they have made some of the decisions around lockdowns. You can read it here and it’s important to note that other aspects of it have not been released. There was a good debate about this on todays first hour of Talkback which is worth listening to. Some of the evidence bases that caught my eye were; Second Lockdown I cite these as the first one has gotten …

Read more…Department of Health release evidence bank for COVID 19 decisions

Read more

#TheReset: NI’s opportunity lies in attracting new people as well as new jobs

Today I spoke with my old friend and Lagan College alumnus Shane Greer, who now owns and publishes Campaigns and Elections Magazine and lives and works in Washington DC about whether in order for Northern Ireland to get a good reset we need to think more globally, not to mention bigly. The main impetus for the start of the discussion was his recent Reset essay on what he sees as a live opportunity to exploit the new home working arrangements …

Read more…#TheReset: NI’s opportunity lies in attracting new people as well as new jobs

Read more

It’s strictly dancing up to the Brexit deadline. Meanwhile “the border in the Irish Sea” takes shape in Northern Ireland

Archbishops’ letter image. FT  The  off- on- off again  dance around the final stages of Brexit negotiations is taking place against  a mounting clamour of confusion and anger over the crazy politics  including the real implications of the threatened No Deal, about which the UK government postures so insouciantly. UK in a Changing Europe think tank says their modelling with the LSE of the impact of a no-deal Brexit suggests the total cost to the UK economy over the longer …

Read more…It’s strictly dancing up to the Brexit deadline. Meanwhile “the border in the Irish Sea” takes shape in Northern Ireland

Read more

As we face into another winter with Covid, it is best to expect (and be prepared for) the worst…

I’ve been doing a lot of radio commentary on Stephen Nolan’s show since the onset of the Covid crisis. I often take quite a conservative line when it comes to criticising the government. Although there often are serious issues inside the Executive, the fact is we are ALL facing a crisis of epic proportions. As Evans and Stevens say in their excellent briefing from earlier in the year, “a good rubric for decision making is to expect the worst.” This …

Read more…As we face into another winter with Covid, it is best to expect (and be prepared for) the worst…

Read more

Covid border measures look like rehearsals for the breakup of the Union

Photo:The Scotsman Only in corridors of power in London has the latest opinion poll on support for Scottish independence registered a modicum of shock to disturb the  prevailing confusion. The analysis of the results by Sir John Curtice contains only one small note  of comfort for the Union cause. A new poll from Ipsos MORI for STV has suggested that 58% now say that they would vote Yes in another independence referendum. Just 42% state that they would vote No, and thereby …

Read more…Covid border measures look like rehearsals for the breakup of the Union

Read more

It looks like a deal but what sort of deal? And it’ll go down to the wire

The idea of  extended deadlines right  down to a supposed last minute  will hardly surprise anybody in Northern Ireland. We’ve lived with them for a generation. Taking a tour round comment on the Brexit cliffhanger, the prospects for a deal are  looking good. British predictions of  going to the wire for  a decision by the big beasts of Merkel and Macron look like being fulfilled. But that doesn’t mean an optimal deal for British interests. From Peston The odds of …

Read more…It looks like a deal but what sort of deal? And it’ll go down to the wire

Read more

Can Martin’s coalition show what purposeful bridge building can offer the island?

I see Jay has beaten me to the punch on today’s announcement in the Republic’s budget of a Shared Island fund. I generally agree with his headline that north-south cooperation finally has a budget, but I would also point out it has a lot of bases to cover. However, the point is to use this money to foster new investment and development opportunities on a North/South basis. And the Belfast Agreement (more observed in the breach than followed) is to …

Read more…Can Martin’s coalition show what purposeful bridge building can offer the island?

Read more

Church as ‘doing life with all kinds of people’: Review of ‘On the Brühl’

On the Brühl, a documentary short profiling the work of Carrickfergus native Rev Barry Sloan in the German city of Chemnitz, has won the best short film documentary at the 2020 Burbank International Film Festival. The film is framed by images of far-right anti-immigrant protests in Chemnitz in 2018. Between the scenes of police in riot gear, On the Brühl juxtaposes those violent events with the warm, welcoming community-based meeting hub, ‘Inspire’, that Sloan helped establish in the city in …

Read more…Church as ‘doing life with all kinds of people’: Review of ‘On the Brühl’

Read more