The White Paper and Two Tribes

The White Paper The long awaited Brexit White Paper was released yesterday. I had a few hours and started reading. I am used to reading complex documents, for example PhD theses. Some years ago I had the pleasure of being external examiner for two PhD theses at Durham and University College Dublin within a few… Read more

Conservatives for Irish Unification

Boris Johnson, rather unwisely, I thought, included the expression the “end of the dream” in his resignation letter, (a resignation which, Caroline Lucas suggested, would enable him to spend more time with his photographer). So, amid all the bluster and buffoonery Boris Johnson has dreams? I suspect they were largely of becoming Prime Minister, but… Read more

Brexit and the State of the Unions between England, Scotland and NI

Introduction Two major opinion polls have been published this week, the Scottish Independence and Brexit chapter from the British Social Attitudes survey (20 June) and Lord Ashcroft’s Poll on Brexit, the Border and the Union (19th June). These give a good insight as to current public opinion, with the usual caveats that no poll should… Read more

A More Definitive guide to the DUP

It is general knowledge that there are two broad groups in Northern Ireland, the Protestant /Unionist /Loyalist (PUL) community and the Catholic /Nationalist /Republican (CNR) community. Historically  the PUL community has been the majority and the CNR community the minority, but they are now getting very close to par. Nationalists tend to see themselves as… Read more

Reuniting with our friends in the North?

Seventies Dublin was comparatively peaceful, but my Halcyon days at University College Dublin (UCD) from ’73-’81 were more or less book-ended by  events. Before the start of the period (’72) there was the burning of the British Embassy in response to the Bloody Sunday Massacre and in my first undergrad year I cycled past one… Read more

On Ypres and Poppies

I was fortunate to be able to take part in the Great peace run and walk in Ypres recently. I have no relatives who fought in the first world war, they thought it a war between Imperial powers, but I thought it was immensely valuable for my 13 year old son in particular to take… Read more

Will Sabre Rattling towards Ireland Work?

Things are not going well with the Brexit negotiations – and the Irish Border in particular is looking intractable. Are the Irish being unreasonable and will the sabre rattling of the ultra-Brexiteers towards Ireland go mainstream and prove effective? From Tudor times right through until the 1970s the relationship between England and Ireland has often… Read more