Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland minus Peter Robinson

Peter Hain  |  11 January 2016

Northern Ireland minus Peter Robinson, who steps down as first minister today, will inevitably be different. Having helped negotiate the historic settlement that brought bitter old enemies to share government together in 2007, it was always clear to me that Peter Robinson was the crucial unionist navigator. It would not – indeed could not – have …

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Equality for all

Stephen Twigg MP  |  29 October 2015

We must not forget the equalities legislation passed under the Labour government, writes Stephen Twigg One of the finest achievements of the last Labour government was comprehensive legislation to tackle discrimination, promote equality and protect human rights. However, after September 11 the world became more challenging and the focus shifted markedly from liberty to security. …

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How New Labour built one nation

Giles Radice  |  18 July 2014

Labour needs to remember its considerable achievements in power, believes Giles Radice When on the morning of 12 May 1994 the tragic news broke of John Smith’s death, it became almost immediately obvious that the charismatic shadow home secretary, Tony Blair, then only 41, would become his successor. Under Blair’s leadership, the Labour party went …

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Back to the brink

Peter Hain  |  9 June 2014

Securing redress and justice for victims of the Troubles Labour’s 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and the historic 2007 settlement which established devolved government with old enemies sharing power, has now delivered seven years of peace and stability nobody imagined possible amid the terror and mayhem of the Troubles. Yet ‘the past’ continues to haunt Northern …

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A genuinely historic visit

Matthew Doyle  |  11 April 2014

The word ‘historic’ is overused but this week’s first state visit to Britain by an Irish president qualifies for that adjective and marks another step forward in the previously troubled relationship between the two islands. The visit coincided with the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that Michael D Higgins said in his address to …

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Maoist Tories and the BBC licence fee

John McTernan  |  28 March 2014

It’s been welfare week. The ‘benefits cap’ was a sideshow. George Osborne really needs to get better at politics. The key to tricking your opponents is not to smirk at the same time. If you want Labour to become unpopular on welfare then don’t erect a large sign saying ‘Political Trap ahead, Tee Hee.’ Yes, …

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Labour must make up its mind on decentralisation

Patrick Diamond  |  13 March 2014

The recent report by Labour’s local government innovation taskforce articulates an eloquent case for decentralising the delivery of public services in England. Labour’s policy review coordinator, Jon Cruddas, deserves credit in pushing this agenda of radical devolution given the party’s preference historically for centralised and mechanical methods of social reform – a tendency as strong …

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The case for a federal Britain

George Foulkes  |  6 February 2014

This month’s rather unexpected political debate over the causes of the first world war (unexpected, because I never previously thought of the conduct of Kaiser Wilhelm as a ‘wedge issue’, nor did I expect to hear Cambridge historian Richard Evans call Michael Gove a donkey) gave politicians a chance to talk about history. It’s an …

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The Irish Diaries 1994-2003

Peter Hain  |  17 December 2013

In the small pantheon of memorable political diaries – Dick Crossman and Alan Clark, more recently Chris Mullin – Alastair Campbell’s gripping chronicles from the cockpit of Tony Blair’s leadership are at the very top. During his seven years’ service, nobody was more intimately placed in this cockpit – and, of course, he is a …

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New radicals

Finn McGoldrick  |  9 August 2013

When I tell people that I am an officer in the National Union of Students, nine times out of 10 they roll their eyes. The normal response is usually that student politics is about a bunch of political wannabes playing politics, arguing over nothing and that it’s a waste of time. For some, student politics …

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