Monthly Archives: March 2017

After the Stormont election: the way forward

by John McAnulty

The common assertion arising from the latest election in the North of Ireland is that Sinn Fein now has the upper hand. That reform of the local settlement is now inevitable and Gerry Adams has gone so far as to assert that a united Ireland is now back on the agenda.

However the loss of the overall unionist majority is largely a profound psychological shock rather than a practical issue. The seats are:

DUP SF  SDLP  UUP ALLIANCE OTHER
(inc 2 Green, 1PBP) 
28  27  12  10 8 5

 

So The DUP remains the largest party and would nominate the first minister. The loss of the overall majority relies on the dubious idea that Alliance is not a unionist party – they have in the past designated themselves as unionist to save the assembly and until recently fulfilled a role as lynch pin for the sectarian setup by holding the justice ministry position.

In addition in the coming negotiations Sinn Fein will be facing the British government. They themselves have complained that the pro-unionist positions of the British secretary, James Brokenshire, should make him unsuitable as chair.  They will also be appealing to a Dublin government hostile to Sinn Fein that acts as an agent of reaction in both parts of the Island. 

The settlement in Ireland is not designed to lead to a united Ireland and the issue depends entirely on gaining permission from Britain to hold a vote restricted to the six-county area – permission that will not be forthcoming.  Read the rest of this entry

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Rich and poor in Belfast and the six counties

From the latest Northern Ireland Peace Monitoring Report (#4) (with thanks to Liam O’Ruairc):

•In terms of being endowed with multi-millionaires, Belfast is proportionally banking way above its weight with 35.8 multi-millionaires per 100,000 population, third only to oil-rich Aberdeen (53.0) and London (51.6). Yet as a region, NI has the highest proportion of households with no savings accounts and the highest proportion of households deriving income from disability benefit.

•The “Wallace Park” council ward in Lisburn is the least deprived ward in NI. Whiterock in Belfast is the most deprived. Of the top 20 least-deprived wards, four have switched between the 2001 census and the most recent 2011 census from being majority Protestant to being majority Catholic: “that the four new areas are all in Peter Robinson’s Castlereagh constituency is evidence of a remarkable Read the rest of this entry

What’s happening with blog?

I haven’t been doing much on the blog for some weeks. . .

This is partly because of work on Redline blog and partly the interruptions of life in general.  I was away for ten days and tied up with other stuff and then I had a lot of other things to catch up with when I got back home.

I’m currently transcribing some more more Fintan Lalor stuff to go on the blog and then I just have to do some proofing and correcting on Constance Markievicz’s 1923 pamphlet What Irish Republicans Stand For and I’ll get that up.  It would have gone up long ago except I have a print out that I made of it back in the late 1980s and when me and a friend were typing it up I noticed that several lines were missing at the bottom of a number of pages.  I have had to wait several years to be able to get hold of those lines, but I’ve been able to find and fix them.

Then I have a substantial little body of books I need to review.  It is now several years since most of these books were actually published!!!  However, the stuff I tend to read is material that doesn’t date, so the reviews would still be highly relevant.

I’m still very keen to get other people writing for this site.

Also, Redline would love to run a piece on the anti-water charges campaign and its recent sweeping victory.  But everyone I ask is so busy with actual campaigning, no-one has time.  If anyone who reads this blog fancies taking it on, that would be great.

Email redlinemarxists@gmail.com

Redline is a totally independent site, it’s not aligned with any political organisation or tendency.  So there should be no complications in anyone writing for it.