Building a New Consensus

GARY KENT recalls how some on the British left challenged orthodox thinking and pioneered an alternative approach to Northern Ireland that helped lay the political groundwork for the Good Friday Agreement....

Constitutional Conundrums

Labour must deliver on the promises made to Scotland argues HARRY BARNES but difficult and complex constitutional puzzles remain. Labour’s response to the result of the Scottish referendum and to the promise of further devolved powers to Scotland must first of all be to press to deliver what has been promised. Yet we also...

Sticks in Time

The Lost Revolution: the story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party, is a riveting tale, but it underplays their influence on the British Labour movement, says Gary Kent. The Troubles have produced a vast library but this is the first major history of an overlooked but influential movement: the Official IRA and...

Wise words on the Irish question

Words are weapons and can also save lives. It’s possible the wise words of a young Danish sociologist could have saved hundreds of lives in Northern Ireland if they had been heeded. Gary Kent explains why This slim but weighty pamphlet was published by the Independent Labour Party in 1972 and in that year’s...

Telling the troubled truth?

The idea of a truth process in Northern Ireland is gaining credibility. But it’s not without its problems, as GARY KENT reports. The Irish republican leader Gerry Adams is the latest politician to raise the possibility of a truth commission in Northern Ireland, after a generation of conflict still known euphemistically as “the Troubles”....

Impassable impasse?

As the Northern Ireland peace process lurches into another crisis, PAUL DIXON asks, what next? When the IRA announced its ceasefire in September 1994 it was always difficult to see what kind of agreement could be reached between loyalists and republicans. The propaganda war and real (physical) war between unionists and nationalists over the years...

For Queen and country … and socialism

When BARRY WINTER went to Belfast to meet the movers and shakers of the new politics, it was the working class unionists who made the strongest impression. Traditionally, the left has shown great sympathy for the nationalist/Catholic, working-class population of Northern Ireland, and with good reason. Their history of poverty, poor housing, unemployment and...

Republicans and the choreography of peace

The Good Friday Agreement has been described as “Sunningdale for slow learners”, reports PAUL DIXON. So how have the Republican leaders managed to sell it to their supporters? The peace process is back on track but still precariously balanced. The Good Friday Agreement is far from safe and probably won’t be for the next...

A time of peace?

As power-sharing devolution emerges in Northern Ireland, PAUL DIXON wonders how long the political peace will last. On 8 May 2007 devolution was restored to Northern Ireland as Ian Paisley of the Democratic Unionist Party and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein were sworn in as First and Deputy First Minister. The lion has lain...

Peter Hain: time to go?

The new secretary of state for Northern Ireland is a bad thing for the peace process, says Paul Dixon. Is it conspiracy or blunder? Peter Hain is the most partisan secretary of state for Northern Ireland ever appointed. He has a documented record of activism in the movement for British withdrawal from Northern Ireland...