For Northern Ireland and the Union, the choices after the election are all to play for

18 Nov

Peering into a crystal ball however cloudy is as irresistible for the curious voter as the compulsive gambler. Favourable predictions for the Conservatives range from an overall majority of over 100 to fewer MPs than May won in 2017 but still the largest party. Serious hopes of a Labour majority are round about nil. They are likely to need the support on some basis of minority parties, the SNP, the Lib Dems and who knows? – even the DUP. Johnson’s … Read more

The role and responsibilities of media in divided societies. Discuss.

18 Nov

The role and responsibilities of media in divided societies. Discuss. by Allan LEONARD 8 November 2019 A two-day international conference examined the role that media plays in divided societies and in creating more peaceful and stable communities. Organised by the Social Change Initiative in partnership with Conciliation Resources and the University of Edinburgh’s Political Settlements Research Programme, the event was attended by journalists from South Africa, Colombia, Myanmar, Rwanda, Turkey, the Middle East, the Balkans, Kashmir, Somalia, Syria, Nepal, and … Read more

How to halt the vexacious legal pursuit of our brave servicemen and women

11 Nov

Lord Caine has projected a plan that would allow proceedings into suspected Troubles-related offences only if certificates are issued by senior legal figures.

Considering Grace: An invitation to listen

6 Nov

Considering Grace: An invitation to listen by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News 5 November 2019 Considering Grace, by Gladys Ganiels and Jamie Yohanis, is a new book that explores how Presbyterians responded to the Troubles, through a series of narratives from 120 people who tell their stories of how they coped with trauma and tests of their faith. The book was launched with a set of readings and short presentations at Assembly Buildings, Belfast, to an audience of several … Read more

“Next Generation Unionism?”

1 Nov

As anger over Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement grows, one group of unionists has put out an “anti-betrayal act” poster. It sums up the current state of unionism. The poster portrays a baying mob with pitchforks. Apparently all unionist men dress like junior members of The Bar Library and work in an office. The language used is macho and patriarchal. There are no women on the poster, presumably because they’re all at home rolling their eyes. The poster comes at a … Read more

‘Necessity hath no law’: Anglo-Britain, the Lord Protector and the Johnson regime

28 Oct

The Johnson-Cummings disdain of Parliament echoes Oliver Cromwell’s struggles with the institution. Brendan O’Duffy (Queen Mary University of London) discusses how Cromwell’s second tenure as Lord Protector tried to establish an ‘Anglo-British’ nation that bears a resemblance to the vision espoused by hard Brexiters. In his admiring review of Graham Allison’s Destined for War, Dominic Cummings discussed the logic of […]

Whatever happened to Tory unionism?

24 Oct

When the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by Theresa May was debated in the House of Commons many Conservative MPs argued that they could not vote for an arrangement that would treat Northern Ireland differently from Great Britain. The revised deal negotiated by Boris Johnson envisages far greater divergence within the UK, yet is far more popular among Conservatives. Jack Sheldon and […]

The new Irish Protocol could lead to the indefinite jurisdiction of the EU Court of Justice within the UK

23 Oct

The infamous ‘backstop’ is gone, but the new Irish Protocol could lead to the indefinite jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union within the United Kingdom, writes Oliver Garner (British Institute of International and Comparative Law). The new Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union differs from the previous […]

The Withdrawal Agreement Bill is a victory for Ireland. But what of Britain? 

22 Oct

Should the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, as negotiated by the Johnson administration, go through it will represent an astonishing victory for Ireland, writes Conor Gearty (LSE). But what of Britain, he asks?  One of the undesirable aspects of the Brexit affair has been the way it is forcing so many of us back into the national silos from which we thought we had escaped. […]

Now and Then

21 Oct

TW: This article contains references to sexual and domestic violence. On the 24th October 2017, the UK Supreme Court considered Northern Ireland’s abortion laws. The case was taken by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. In its judgment on the 7th June 2018, the Court found that the Commission did not have standing to take the case but found, obiter, that Northern Ireland’s laws breached Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The High Court in Belfast made … Read more

Having voted down the May deal three times, here’s why I believe Boris Johnson’s deal deserves support

20 Oct

Saturday’s vote on Oliver Letwin’s amendment stopped Super Saturday dead in its tracks. We had an opportunity to move on. Parliament decided to stand still. I‘m very fond of Oliver Letwin but his amendment was misguided. It withholds Commons’ approval of the Prime Minister’s deal until further laws to leave the EU have been passed. […]

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Total Recall: Assembly Edition

20 Oct

Last week 31 MLAs including the DUP, TUV and UUP signed a petition and sent it to the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly. That petition has led to a recall of the institutions. Tomorrow, the Assembly will sit for the first time since the death of Martin McGuinness. The prospect of the Assembly meeting again has many people raising questions. Can MLAs stop the introduction same sex marriage and abortion reform? Is there any prospect of a government being … Read more

Forget comparisons to May’s deal – Boris Johnson has secured a good deal in its own right

18 Oct

The narrative amongst many who are sympathetic (or enthusiastic) about Brexit seems to be that Boris Johnson’s deal is miles better than the previous iteration delivered under Theresa May. Comparatively, Johnson’s deal trumps May’s. I agree, but let’s go a step further. This is a good deal, outright, in itself, regardless of comparison. It is […]

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It’s time to end the constitutional wrangling, back the deal and get Brexit sorted

18 Oct

In politics, every day is not just an adventure, but more than often a journey into the unknown. Every day I, like so many others, wake up and go through my quotidian ritual of checking news apps, which generally swing my mood between the ever-changing highs and lows of deal or no deal; leave or […]

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Why MPs should vote for Boris Johnson’s deal

18 Oct

MPs are to be faced with the choice of voting for Boris Johnson’s new deal with the EU, including the completely new Northern Ireland Protocol. 1. Is this a revamped May Deal? Some have suggested that Boris Johnson’s deal is simply a revamped version of Theresa May’s deal. That is emphatically not the case. The […]

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