Labour has a six-point lead against a weak minority government propped up by extremists – we just need another election 

The first poll after the General Election has put Labour ahead by six points, while Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn were tied on ‘who would make the best prime minister’. Survation, who along with YouGov were one of the closest pollsters to predicting the result, had Labour on 45% (+5), Conservatives on 39% (-3), Lib Dems on 7% (-) with UKIP on 3% (+1). The fieldwork was completed on Saturday. YouGov’s poll on who would make best Prime Minister had May on 39% (-4), with Corbyn also on 39% (+7), with the fieldwork done on Friday and Saturday.

Corbyn – having been widely-expected by the commentariat to fall below 200 seats on Thursday – is now in a position of having achieved an astonishing against-all-odds result, and now leading May by six points in the polls – a result that would give Labour a clear majority were there to be another election.  Continue reading

Belfast, riots and class: a tale of two cities

Belfast riots 2013The arrival of Swedish students to my Northern Ireland school was cheerfully described as an ‘exchange’ trip. But the closest we ever got to Stockholm was a jaunt down the road to IKEA. No – the icily beautiful Swedes would breeze into our lives, ruffle everyone’s feathers by saying our blazers and ties were “like something out of Hogwarts”, astound everyone with their ability to wear H&M in the cool, European way one is meant to, and then breeze back out again.

They were there, nominally, to quiz us about the ‘situation’ in Northern Ireland. They did this with heavy frowns bothering their Scandinavian faces, as though they worried that being on anything less than the verge of tears would be interpreted as flippancy.

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A border poll – let the people decide

Who would have believed it? Sinn Féin holds a conference in Dublin on Saturday and calls for a border poll in the next term of the Assembly and Oireachtas, and by Tuesday the DUP are supporting it! Of course Arlene Foster backs the idea because she’s convinced that it will deliver the answer she wants. According to the DUP Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment it’s ‘fantasy politics’. Peter Robinson thought I was ‘on medication’ when I did an interview last week arguing for such a poll. Continue reading

I’m up for a sensible debate on British and Irish identities

The last few weeks have been bad weeks for the political process, bad weeks for the peace process and bad weeks for the vast majority of people who are absolutely wedded to building a new society on this island.

I have listened very carefully to the various reasons being put forward by those involved in the protests and in the violence. None of them can excuse what has been happening on our streets. We also must be careful not to overstate the numbers involved. Those who have been involved in attacks on the police, attacks on people’s homes and businesses and attacks on political parties have been a small number. Continue reading