“during the Derry visit, Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson were nowhere to be seen, surely mindful of their upcoming trade mission to China.”

According to an Irish News report today …OFMDFM has refuted any suggestion that the Stormont leaders snubbed the Dalai Lama when he visited Derry last month. A spokesperson for OFMDFM said the ministers were unable to attend “due to prior diary commitments”. Which is fine…  After all, “diary pressures” was the same excuse Tony Blair gave in 2004 when he was accused of snubbing the Tibetan leader – although they had already met in 1999 in a “spiritual capacity”.  And it appears …

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“There are sometimes occasions when frank disagreements arise between states…”

After meeting with the Finucane family to discuss the UK government’s decision “to conduct an independent review to produce a full public account of any state involvement in the murder”, rather than open an inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act, UTV reports Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore’s comments Speaking after a meeting with the Finucane family on Monday afternoon he said: “There are sometimes occasions when frank disagreements arise between states. “This is one on this occasion.” …… Mr …

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“So stick to the day job, archbishop, I’d say”

Before spending too much time contemplating the political musings of the supernaturalist archbishop [or, indeed, those of the publicity-hungry former Prime Minister – Ed], read Michael White’s post. Rowan Williams is guest-editing this week’s New Statesman (will he do for the Spectator next week? Don’t be silly) and used the occasion to gain exclusive access into the political views of – yes – himself ! Williams thinks the coalition lacks a democratic mandate for its radical package of austerity measures …

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Attacking Blair only steers political reform into a cul-de-sac

 Robin Wilson’s dismissal      ( link repaired)  of Tony Blair’s handling of the peace process is misconceived. It’s not clear what his precise objections are. For Robin the form of power sharing which was adopted only institutionalised sectarianism. Can we really heap all that on Blair’s head? In one vital respect the prophets of doom were wrong. The system did not collapse when the  “extremes ” became the majority in each bloc. With all its faults, Model 2 looks more stable …

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Tony Blair: “We were absolutely open with people.”

It’s worth noting Tony Blair’s response to Reg Empey’s claim that “We now know that the foundation of St Andrews was built on lie after lie.” Here’s what Tony Blair told the Irish Times “That’s absolute nonsense,” he retorts. “One of the things I have done in the book is that I have tried to be honest. Now what people actually sometimes say is that we want a honest politician. “They say ‘hey, you are not a saint. That’s not …

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Exclusive Interview with Tony Blair

Interview with Tony Blair – Dublin Sept 3 ‘010. 0n publication of his autobiography ‘A Journey.” EM. Why did you write Peter Robinson out of history? He only gets two passing references in a tome of this size? TB. “When he got two references, that’s pretty good I would say.” EM: He’s our Prime Minister. Is that all you think of him? TB. “It’s not what I think of him. I think he is fantastic but it’s a book about …

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Tony Blair: “I took horrendous chances in what I was telling each the other had agreed to…”

From Mick’s linked chapter on Northern Ireland in Tony Blair’s memoirs [pdf file] Such tactical manoeuvres were the warp and woof of the Northern Ireland peace process. Again at the last minute, after the negotiation over the St Andrews declaration of October 2006, up popped the issue of what oath would be sworn by those taking office in the reconstructed Assembly and Executive. All manner of permutations were gone through to find a mutually acceptable formula. Naturally the DUP wanted …

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Tony Blair on Northern Ireland…

Tony Blair’s book has a site where you can download the text from the net… The section on Northern Ireland is here (thanks to Kate for the heads up)… He outlines ten principles he used in developing his policy in Northern Ireland (hint: the process was the policy)… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across …

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Blair speech: Completion

This may be the sound bite that outlasts the rest when the time and the place of this speech are long forgotten. Blair calls for decisive action: It’s time for acts of completion. We will do our best to carry on implementing the Agreement in any event. But, should real change occur, we can implement the rest of the Agreement, including on normalisation, in its entirety and not in stages but together. And we are prepared to do what is …

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Blair speech: The benefits

The focus changes to the political and economic benefits the Agreement has brought: “…there is still violence, but at a far, far reduced rate – in 1972, 470 people died. This year, so far, ten. Ten too many, but let us recognise the progress made. The transformation in the economy has been enormous: unemployment at its lowest since 1975; long-term unemployment, down 65 per cent since the Agreement; manufacturing up 15 per cent, uniquely in the UK. New jobs, new …

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Adams on Blair’s vision…

In an interview with Andrew Cawthorne, Gerry Adams praises Tony Blair’s vision: The strategic vision, I think, which marked Tony Blair’s involvement in this process some years ago and which was part of bringing about the Good Friday agreement, part of all of the changes which have flowed, has not been reflected in the actions of his Secretary of State over the last 18 months. In the more immediate term, John Reid has announced the formation of an action group …

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