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20 years on from the Good Friday Agreement, Lord Bew – Emeritus Professor of Irish Politics, Queen’s University Belfast – finds the accord in relatively good health. Despite concerns generated by the UK’s decision to leave the EU, cross-party support for the Agreement has increased and there are signs that the DUP & Sinn Fein are gearing up to try to restore power sharing.
More Police and Crime Commissioners take over fire and rescue services – good news for frontline services
Policy Exchange’s Director of Research & Strategy Rupert Oldham-Reid welcomes the announcement that 3 more PCCs are taking over local fire & rescue services. He argues that this policy – which came from Policy Exchange – is good for taxpayers, local people and strengthens democracy.
Reflecting on the Foreign Secretary’s speech at Policy Exchange last week, Director of Research and Strategy Rupert Oldham-Reid summarises the speech.
On Sunday, Germany will go to the polls to elect the nineteenth Bundestag. Rebecca Lowe — Convenor of Policy Exchange’s Research Group on Political Thought, and Judicial Power Project Fellow — reflects on the campaign and the possible outcomes.
Former leading Irish Ambassador Ray Bassett — now Policy Exchange’s Senior Fellow for EU Affairs — examines the state of play in Brexit negotiations so far. Dr. Bassett notes that little progress has been made on key three issues that are holding up the negotiations – reciprocal rights of EU and UK citizens, the Brexit Divorce Bill and the Irish border. However, he suggests that there is less unanimity in the EU27 position than appears on surface and that the new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, may dissent from the official EU position on the need to establish a customs border. Ultimately, as negotiations continue, the power of decision will shift from Brussels to Berlin, suggesting that pragmatism and self-interest may prevail, with a good trading relationship prioritised over the desire to punish the UK for leaving.
Rebecca Lowe Coulson — Policy Exchange’s State and Society Research Fellow — reflects on the way in which the escalating rate of VC pay seems neatly emblematic of the pressing questions the Higher Education sector is facing. Policy Exchange is currently undertaking work on this topic, with a report due out in the autumn to coincide with the start of the new academic year.
Dr Graham Gudgin – Policy Exchange’s Chief Economic Adviser, former Director of the Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre, and Special Advisor to the Northern Ireland First Minister from 1998-2002 – examines the deal signed this week between the Conservative Government and the DUP, and argues that Scottish nationalist criticism of extra spending in Northern Ireland is hypocritical and misplaced.
John Blake — Policy Exchange’s Head of Education and Social Reform, a self-proclaimed Corbynsceptic – considers the remarkable success of Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 general election, exploring the ingredients which made up Jeremy’s “marvellous medicine”.
Dr Austen Morgan, a barrister in London and Belfast, one of the UUP’s talks team for the Belfast Agreement and author of The Belfast Agreement: a practical legal analysis, explains why Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was wrong when he told the Prime Minister that any agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) would be in breach of the Good Friday Agreement.
Jeffrey Dudgeon – co-founder of the gay rights movement in Northern Ireland and author of ‘Roger Casement:The Black Diaries’ — sits on Belfast City Council with the DUP. As a long time political and cultural opponent of their approach, he finds them to be surprisingly flexible in practice on gay rights and other social issues. Policy Exchange Director Dean Godson, author of Himself Alone: David Trimble and the Ordeal of Unionism, writes for the Sunday Times on the wider issues round the Conservative Party’s relations with the DUP.