A border poll yields pride of place to good government at Stormont. Will the parties get the message?

18 Feb

We’re told it’s the most thorough survey of political attitudes in years                      (what, more than the NI Life and Times surveys?). It shows the graph has tilted over a just a little more in favour of united Ireland, confirming that those who Don’t Know or declined to answer – an  odd description of the middle ground – hold the balance.  I’m caught between concern about growing tension as the day … Read more

In the brave new world outside the EU, the DUP have no survival strategy for the Union

1 Feb

The quivering projection of Big Ben onto the facade of Downing St accompanied by its tinny recorded chimes while the Brexit deliverer skulked inside, said it all. Boris Johnson did not want to be visibly identified with the big moment in case it all goes pear shaped.  In former times retreats on such a scale were the result of war. That’s about best thing that can be said about Brexit; the worst is that it’s heading for a bigger reverse, … Read more

#BrexitDay-Nothing but damage

31 Jan

In Jan Carson’s The Fire Starters, there is a quote: “There is never enough silence to contain all our talking…….we continue to believe that across the sea, Europe (and also the world) is holding its breath for the next chapter in our sad story. The world is not waiting.” More than anywhere else in the UK, Brexit shifted the ground beneath Northern Ireland. It threw us down on different sides, sides that were also the battle lines that came before. … Read more

We have a piece of paper… it looks like a Stormont deal, tbc

10 Jan

Have we got a deal that the DUP and Sinn Fein sign up to or not? By Thursday midnight, it wasn’t clear. Will all parties turn up to the reconvened Assembly? By the time you read this we should know. In the meantime we have – a document .. But Arlene Foster’s verdict looks favourable.. “On balance we believe there is a basis upon which the Assembly and Executive can re-established in a fair and balanced way… This is not … Read more

Looking forward to an early end to the Stormont deadlock. Christmas cheer, or only a Christmas truce?

23 Dec

How will the parties as they say “reflect”  on their stance towards Assembly restoration during the Christmas lull? Will it be peace on earth, good will to all or only a Christmas truce? The finger of fate is pointed at the DUP.  Will their resentment spill over into resistance? How dare the secretary of state break precedent and single them out for blame just because all the other parties seem to have supported a deal? Even that is the wrong … Read more

If one last heave after Xmas fails, the people should vote to dismantle the mutual DUP/ Sinn veto

20 Dec

The Newsletter editorial is full of alarm and self pity. Its  vehemence is slightly surprising as the paper has been no critical supporter of the DUP. It has been highlighting  their weaknesses throughout. So it  cannot  be greeted just  by schadenfreude.  It needs a considered answer.    For three years, no Conservative and Unionist (as they sometimes style themselves) minister or prime minister has uttered a word of criticism of Sinn Fein. Think about that. The crisis in the NHS … Read more

Where did it all go wrong for the DUP?

18 Dec

Last Thursday’s general election was certainly a shock to the system for the DUP, and Unionists in general, with not a single Unionist party gaining any seats. The DUP lost the formerly safe seat of North Belfast to Sinn Fein’s John Finucane and Emma Little-Pengelly lost South Belfast to the SDLP’s Claire Hanna. It’s not hard to paint a picture that Unionism had a terrible night, even if the Ulster Unionists benefitted from a modest boost of nearly ten thousand … Read more

As Unionism across Northern Ireland licks its collective wounds, what next?

17 Dec

As Unionism across Northern Ireland licks its collective wounds after a devastating Westminster election, I wanted to focus on two crucial battlegrounds where political Unionism acted in an unacceptable manner, namely North Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone (FST). Both battles were on paper, good old-fashioned knockdown and drag-out fights involving a single Unionist candidate against the might of the old foe – Sinn Fein. Unionism approached both campaigns in a very different manner but the outcome was the same … Read more

What could the surge of centre ground parties mean for a possible 2020 Assembly election?

15 Dec

The results of the 2019 general election have confirmed that the electoral map of Northern Ireland has been redrawn. The Alliance Party broke out of its traditional electoral stronghold in and around Belfast to make strong gains across Northern Ireland, polling 16.8% to come third in the popular vote behind the DUP (30.6%) and Sinn Féin (22.8%). With possible fresh Assembly elections coming in 2020, the rise of centre ground in Northern Ireland politics is likely to lead to potentially … Read more

Northern Ireland #GE2019 results roundup

13 Dec

With the results of the 2019 general election in, it is clear that the results of the local and European elections earlier this year were no fluke and the surge of the centre ground in Northern Ireland politics looks here to stay. The chart above shows how the parties performed in terms of vote share at this election, compared with all Northern Ireland elections over the course of the decade. The total unionist vote being at 43% is the “new … Read more

This is no narrow nationalist victory. It is a demand to make power sharing work

13 Dec

DUP 8 seats (-2), 30.6% (-5.4%) SF 7 seats (nc), 22.8% (-6.6%) Alliance 1 seat (+1), 16.8% (+8.9%) SDLP 2 seats (+2), 14.9% (+3.2%) UUP 11.7% (+1.4%) Let’s say it clear.  This is a great result for Northern Ireland. It’s simplistic to call it a victory of nationalism over unionism. It shows that voters on both sides of the divide are capable of breaking out of the monolithic duopoly.  The DUP and SF have been punished for Stormont deadlock and … Read more

With the best will in the world, you can’t know what you’re voting for today

12 Dec

Let’s begin at (your) home. After all the mystery and muttering about tactics after the election, do you know which main party the DUP would support in government? I don’t. But Nigel Dodds sounds as if he’s nuzzling up to the Tories again with or without an overall majority     There is no doubt that if we reach a tariff-free trade deal with the European Union, that will eliminate the need for most if not all customs checks..I sincerely hope … Read more

Election Battlegrounds 12) Northern Ireland

11 Dec

The DUP try to hold their position in the face of pro-Remain pacts whilst Sinn Féin try to unseat their leader and the smaller parties fight to regain Westminster representation.

On border checks the evidence from his own government mounts but Boris keeps brazening out the denial

9 Dec

It’s more than depressing when the prime minister keeps brazening out denials about checks between GB and NI. He actually contradicts himself between “ no checks” and  “the only checks” within a couple of sentences below. When asked on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday whether there would be checks, in light of the leaked Treasury document, Johnson replied: “No, absolutely not… The deal we’ve done with the EU is a brilliant deal and it allows us to do all … Read more

Back to Stormont soon and Johnson’s deal could work, say DUP and Sinn Fein. Dreams coming true or fake news?

7 Dec

Is there an election on? DUP And Sinn Fein leaders are sounding optimistic notes to tempt waverers into the polling stations. Both party leaderships are also forecasting a return to Stormont any day now – without troubling us with the details of a deal.  Here we also have the astounding phenomenon of Nigel Dodds and Mary Lou McDonald both speaking in favour of Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement – a worse deal that Theresa May’s and which they were condemning only … Read more

What to look out for next week

6 Dec

It’s nearly all over as Northern Ireland faces its third general election in just four years. As we get ready to head back to the polls, I thought it would be useful to pull together some things for you to look out for For the UK wide picture as soon as it hits 10pm the main networks BBC, ITV and SKY News will publish the results of their exit poll, be cautious about other polls out there! The main exit … Read more

The backtop is back in business after Johnson’s denial is nakedly exposed

6 Dec

It’s not actually  news that there will “be a border down the Irish Sea” if Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement is passed. But if the document Jeremy Corbyn has been waving this morning is an authentic Treasury paper, it shows that Johnson is lying or at best or in denial.   He will surely be pressed to explain himself in tonight’s BBC debate with Jeremy Corbyn.  Taken at face value it means Johnson will denounce his own withdrawal agreement as soon as … Read more

How might the EU react to the possible outcomes of the general election?

29 Nov

The upcoming general election may well turn out to be a de facto second referendum on Brexit. Here is an overview of the different scenarios that are possible and how the EU is likely to position itself in each case: The first scenario, which is taken by most as the base case, is for the […]

The post How might the EU react to the possible outcomes of the general election? appeared first on BrexitCentral.

Losing Belfast City – the Unionist retreat?

22 Nov

Losing the City of Belfast at the forthcoming election will do massive psychological damage to unionism. After the calamity of RHI, many in my family happily told of how they would not be exercising their vote at the Assembly election held after Martin McGuinness’ dramatic resignation in 2016 and especially in the second election called the next year. When the tally had come through in the 2017 election it was like a punch in the gut to some in the … Read more