COVID-19 in Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Introduction The overall HMG response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been flatfooted, slow and confusing. Mixed messages have been given as in Fig. 1. This video from Joe.uk shows total inconsistency from PM Johnson. This mixed messaging has the potential of being disastrous. According to Sonia Sodha: Media experts despair at Boris Johnson’s coronavirus campaign…. Read more

Will the UK go Rogue on Northern Ireland?

Introduction As we have left the EU, the “trivial” task of negotiating the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) is done. It is now a legally binding international treaty, including the Irish Protocol. We now move onto the far more complex future relationship talks. It always seemed impossible that the talks could be concluded successfully within the 10-month… Read more

The Irish General Election

Introduction There will be an Irish General Election on Saturday 8th Feb. Given the “one way mirror” down the Irish sea, where the Irish can see Britain clearly, but not vice versa, here is a brief guide. As an example of the one-way mirror, one of the UK’s best-paid and supposedly informed journalists tweeted this… Read more

A Fond Farewell to the UK from an EU27 Citizen? Part III – politics, history and greatness

Introduction In part I, I discussed origins and in part II of this series three obvious differences between the UK and Ireland, which ultimately made Brexit more likely. The next three took longer to process: Political Culture and Structures Empire, WWII and Fake History Big vs. Small Country Syndrome First: Politically Ireland had a very… Read more

A Fond Farewell to the UK from an EU27 citizen? – part II (Education, Industry and Media)

Introduction In Part I, I discussed origins, but three cultural and historical differences struck me fairly immediately when I came to work in England in 1981. First, many scientists I met seemed to have little knowledge of the humanities. Correspondingly, knowledge of science seemed lacking among non-scientists. I was hardly the first to notice. C.P…. Read more

A fond Farewell to the UK from an EU27 Citizen? – part I Origins

Introduction As regular readers of the Blog will have noticed, I am both Irish and a scientist. As such, I often have a different view on things to the average Brit. My University College Dublin (UCD) contemporary, Fintan O’Toole’s analysis of England in his acclaimed book Heroic Failure has been said to deliver a few… Read more

NI GE19 (7) Predictions

Prediction is the surest way of making an idiot of oneself, but it is fun nevertheless. The predictions will be made impartially but from a Remain viewpoint. Thus, the best-case scenario is for a Remain candidate to win and the worst-case, a Leave candidate. Alliance and SDLP candidates count as a point each, SF 0.5… Read more

Why Devolved Government doesn’t work when someone else pays the bills. – A Guest Post by Rogue One

 I decided to write this article after reading Sam McBride’s excellent, articulate and comprehensive book Burned covering the RHI scandal.  What interests me most about the book isn’t so much the RHI scandal itself, but what it reveals about the inner workings (or more accurately the dysfunction) at the heart of the system of devolved… Read more