Before it’s too late, here’s a quick look back over some of the more notable posts from 2007:
January saw the Green Ribbon picking up on some 1970s state papers with a contemporary resonance for the debate about Scottish independence. Another official file from the period highlighted the significance of Scotland’s Trident base for Ireland.
In February, the Government responded to the Downing Street petition against proposed changes to the Freedom of Information Act with a robust defence of the planned legislation. Better news on this score would come after Gordon Brown arrived at No 10. That month also saw my still sadly unfinished series on US covert action in Britain, a subject I would return to later in the year.
In March, The Green Ribbon asked if the sell-off on the Shanghai stock market was a counter-intuitive sign of Asia’s emerging financial strength. Gordon Brown’s announcement of a tax review for Northern Ireland was also covered.
The fertiliser bomb trial in May prompted calls for a public inquiry into MI5, a problematic demand in the wake of the Inquiries Act. In a historic Scottish Parliament election, the SNP emerged as the largest party by a hair’s breadth. Bertie Ahern returned to power after an Irish general election which prompted the essay: Can all-Ireland politics catch up with the all-Ireland economy.
June saw the first of several pieces for OurKingdom, focussing on the emerging alliance between Ian Paisley and Alex Salmond. The Green Ribbon also got hold of some Iraq intelligence briefings by Aegis Defence Services. The month ended with a report from Islington where the local Labour Party hosted a meeting on Northern Ireland that heard from all four Stormont parties.
In July the Pat Finucane Centre published the British Army’s analysis of operations in Northern Ireland. Martin Scorsese’s film The Departed prompted some reflections on the use of informers in policing.
Border tensions between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in August led the Green Ribbon to examine the role of Heritage Oil.
September brought the start of a three-part series at Spinwatch on the Godson approach to Political Warfare, which warned that journalism influenced by a covert action approach is likely to include ‘unverifiable claims that should be treated with caution.’ A second piece looked at neoconservative opposition to back-channel negotiations from Ireland to the Middle East. OurKingdom pieces covered the prospects for fiscal devolution in Scotland, Fianna Fail’s moves to organise in Northern Ireland, and at the impact of a Westminster general election that of course ultimately didn’t happen.
In October, the concluding part of my Spinwatch series looked at the Information Research Department, while an OurKingdom post examined the progress of the new Stormont administration. The controversy over Blackwater mercenaries in Iraq inspired an Antiwar.com piece on Three Centuries of Corporate Warriors.
November brought another Antiwar.com story, on the rival military contractors looking to cash in on the Blackwater Scandal. Britain’s e-borders programme raised questions for the Irish Government. The fiftieth anniversary of Edentubber was the occasion from some thoughts on the border campaign.
December saw Fianna Fail registering as a political party in the North, and Sir David Varney rejecting calls for a corporation tax cut there. Newsnight sparked controversy when it failed to verify Policy Exchange’s claims about extermist literature in Mosques. The year ended with revelations about back-channels to the Taliban.
So much for 2007. Here’s wishing everyone all the best for 2008.