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We don’t have much to go on when it comes to predicting the forthcoming election. The polling is volatile and there’s no reliable data on how many people don’t know who they will vote for or remain undecided. We look at the three relevant battles; in unionism, in nationalism, and the fight for the so called middle ground. There’s a lot of talk abou…
 
Cherryvalley will be eating M&S baked beans on toast this Christmas as this one retailer lays bare their shelves in an honest announcement of the reduced Christmas lines for NI shoppers this year. Every indication is that the 'grace periods', currently preventing already challenging restraints on goods from GB to NI becoming brutal, will be extende…
 
While we know there is a Judicial Review of the Protocol in our courts, the key points on which the Protocol is being challenged haven't had much airtime. Efforts by Jim Allister to explain on the BBC Northern Ireland Nolan Show were interrupted (frequently) by the host shouting "but Brexit". With his legal hat on, we give Jim time to set out the l…
 
Has the DUP leadership contest been precipitated by policy, politics, or a simpler clash of personalities? Hard to say, and more difficult to see how the DUP comes out the other side with a stable leadership. Not that Unionist voters are going to have a massive choice in 2022 - devil you know, or the devil or the deep blue sea. The accusation of po…
 
The UK Budget this past week gave small comfort to small businesses in excluding many from the proposed corporation tax increases. In Northern Ireland that was indeed small comfort to many small businesses. They are doubly troubled. Burdened by the NI Protocol and supply issues that impact directly on competitiveness within the UK internal market, …
 
The pattern of bold policy announcements followed by a failure to deliver seems to be the dominant feature of 2020. Perhaps the recent UK/EU trade agreement will be an exception as it seems to be, for now) - once the NI Protocol as 'best of both worlds' is explained. That can't be said for the New Decade heralded by the resurrection of Stormont tha…
 
The question is not whether or not there is a trade Agreement between the UK and EU in the first week of December. Rather it is a question of preparedness for either scenario. This episode looks at the monumental scale of unpreparedness, by just about everyone - it isn't just the UK Govt struggling with the reality of it all. There has been some ge…
 
There seems to be a common thread around Governments' pronouncements around Brexit and COVID19 that creates uncertainty and confusion; and that is the ambiguous nature of much of the messaging. We are asked to believe what Government tells us, but find it hard to do so where what we are being told could be interpreted this way or that, and words ar…
 
Four topics in this episode. First mixed messaging of Covid in NI, then the botched messaging on exams. Required messaging for the Union, particularly heading into the Centenary events around 2021 and the creation of Northern Ireland. Restoring a message based on evidence and reasoned debate rather enabling nationalist slogans to become received tr…
 
A small change planned for how decisions are made by Northern Ireland Ministers might be a big thing. Meanwhile the big changes needed on fundamental services that underpin any economy are not getting the focused attention needed because, look, here's a cycling strategy to get you on your bike or, there, a Boris bridge. Sometimes we forget that for…
 
There is a new Government in the Republic of Ireland, which may bring a new approach. Damage caused by Fine Gael's aggressive attitude to North/South and East/West relations may be ameliorated by the more thoughtful Micheal Martin of Fianna Fail. The performance of Sinn Fein in Belfast this past weekend has shown how unsuited they are to any coalit…
 
Rather than proposals we now have 'approaches', on the Northern Ireland Protocol as part of the UK leaving the EU, and on Legacy from Secretary of State Brandon Lewis. These 'approaches' are long on ambition, short on detail. This episode looks at issues of concern in the UK Government Approach to the Protocol, and then on the current Sinn Fein his…
 
A brief gap while every day was Covid-19, a short recap on the need for accelerated Health reform. As if that were not a big enough challenge, money is being spent by the Stormont Executive while there is still no basic budget this financial year (none since 2016!), no programme for Government, and therefore no baseline to understand scale or impac…
 
RHI has exposed weaknesses in the entire Stormont infrastructure, which were already known and ignored in favour of 'Keeping the show on the road'. Despite knowing what needed to be reformed, for 20 years, the current Health Service ought to be so much better - and isn't. We rightly praise our frontline health workers for selfless dedication. Perha…
 
New Decade (barely) and we're questioning public sector competence around MOT services. The previous decade started with public disquiet around Northern Ireland's water services. In between, RHI and the rest. Meanwhile, almost 20% of current MLAs are 'co-opted'; Party appointees, serving Party first? New Approach? We don't seem to be able to start …
 
Endless "reports' on Health reform produce little critical or cultural change in frontline delivery of services. And who pays for pay? Little confidence that an Executive would have the will (or ability) to undertake difficult decisions. Why Sinn Fein might need an Assembly far more than any other Party. Finally, Boris's plans for trade arrangement…
 
At the end of the podcast we remark on how quiet the current election has been. The media gets quite self-important when challenged to tell us more than the obvious. What's behind the headline is often not the copy beneath, which leaves the reader or listener/viewer dissatisfied and wanting more. This episode is a conversation on the current state …
 
Political Parties are on manoeuvres, heading into an election. In Northern Ireland local Parties all try to beat (up on) the DUP as a means of making themselves relevant, not actually offering anything new, positive or coherent. While across the UK the outcome of the election might offer a Conservative Government that rushes the Boris version of Br…
 
@3000Versts and @thedissenter take on politics and stuff in Northern Ireland, and elsewhere. Unionist perspective of course, but hopefully a bit wider and worldly view . Episode one very much a trial (total experiment), with an unarticulated word or two here and there. Inevitably, topics are 'Backstop or go' and 'David Cameron, hero or villain?'. O…
 
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