Blogging the British-Irish Council

This week’s round of British-Irish and North-South diplomacy has prompted some interesting commentary around the blogosphere.

Over at Slugger, Mick Fealty has a useful taster of Frank Millar’s thoughts on Monday’s British-Irish Council meeting:

Yet while the SNP leader offers Mr Brown a non-confrontational approach
in the interest of delivering prosperity for the Scottish people, Mr
Salmond also provides the DUP with an opportunity to shape an
“islands-wide” approach to co-operation on a wide range of issues. Some
observers tend to see this as a “Celtic” ganging-up against
Westminster. Its real potential, however, might be in enabling
unionists to counter an exclusively North-South focus which republicans
hoped would presage further constitutional change. (Slugger O’Toole)

Worldbystorm offers an insightful piece on Tuesday’s North-South Ministerial Council in Armagh:

Smiles and lots of photos of the happy interlocuters. And yet, if the
former hinterlands of Derry and Belfast can be reconnected across the
border through improved infrastructural links that alone is a
significant step forward. That the RoI is investing significant funds
in the North is a further step, that an Ian Paisley led Executive
accepts this is…intriguing. (Cedar Lounge Revolution)

Splintered Sunrise offers a more sceptical take on the week’s events:

It does sort of encapsulate the federal nature of our New
Dispensation, doesn’t it? Both sides have to have an intergovernmental
summit of their own, to make them feel nice and warm. (Splintered Sunrise)

The SNP’s Davie Hutchison makes an important point about the British-Irish Council:

at the BIC meeting there is no direct
English representation – as there is for Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland as they all have devolved bodies. Sections of the London
commentariat have been quick up until now to have a dig at Brown for
being a Scottish MP presiding over England. It is surprising then that
today’s London based press carried little reference to the BIC meeting
at all. (North to Leith)

I raise the same issue in a slightly mischeivous piece over at OurKingdom:

In 1976, Sinn Fein voted to
endorse the idea of a Celtic League embracing Ireland, Scotland and
Wales, but excluding England.

Given the line up at the British-Irish Council, and the lack of any
specific representation for England, a facetious observer might wonder
whether that vision has been realised. (OurKingdom)



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