April, 2018

Arlene’s culture and Michel Barnier

So. Arlene Foster is annoyed. She says the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, doesn’t understand unionist culture. Does that include the flag-burning bonfires and kick-the-pope bands, I wonder? Because searching for culture in either of those two knuckle-dragging performances would be like looking for a May altar in Sandy Row. But Arlene elaborates on […]

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The Cheshire Cat called Commonwealth

The British Empire is a bit like the Cheshire cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland: over the years it has faded until all you’re left with is a bland smile. First we had the British Empire red in tooth and claw, sailing across the globe in search of countries to plunder, taking in of […]

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Does being opposed to abortion make you right-wing?

  I was on my way to do a spot of shopping this morning when an item on the car radio snagged my attention.  Sean O’Rourke’s Today programme on RTÉ Radio 1 was playing and O’Rourke  was talking to a couple of Gaelic footballers, one from Antrim and one from Donegal. They were discussing whether […]

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The unhappy DUP and the perils of plug-pulling

It really does get wearisome talking about Brexit, doesn’t it? It’s as if all the other things happening in the world – Trump, North Korea, the conviction of Bill Cosby – weren’t happening. But like dealing yet again with a time-consuming teenager, we have to keep returning to it. The latest from the DUP has […]

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Diane Dodds v petulance and bully boys

Here’s what the UK and the EU agreed last December regarding the British border in Ireland:  They agreed that there would be no hard border in Ireland and that they would uphold the Good Friday Agreement. They remained unclear how an open border would be possible, but agreed that in the absence of a later […]

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Even John and Bertie can see what’s coming

You want the optimistic view of the future? OK. In a year from now, the present state of the border – the British border, not the Irish border, as Martina Anderson MEP pointed out the other day – will be maintained. People and goods will flow without a hint of turbulence between north and south. […]

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Two early warnings about Brexit and us

  It’s just 8.30 am as I write, and already I’ve stumbled over two statements by important people about Brexit and Ireland. The first was Kenneth Clarke, the Tory MP and open Remainer. He was on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, and he was listing the reasons for Britain staying in the customs union. He […]

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Abortion: nine questions that baffle me

A civil war is about to break out in Ireland. Over the next five weeks, people will be swearing at their TV sets, sometimes swearing at each other, shouting insults, waving placards. We will show every sign of being adults who haven’t managed to grow up. I’m talking, of course, about abortion. Or more strictly, […]

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Rugby and rape: enough already

Know what? I’m fed up hearing about Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding. They were tried for rape and whatever you may think, the jury found them innocent. You may not like what you heard about the sexual attitudes of these two rugger chappies, you may not like the two rugger chappies themselves, but legally they […]

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