Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pushing the British-Irish Council onto the next step

I was wondering why the meeting of the British-Irish Council in Cardiff had attracted so little attention in Northern Ireland, after all Peter Robinson was pretty pro-active in putting in a pitch for the "organisation's" (is it actually formal enough to be labelled an organisation?) new secretariat building to be situated in Ulster.Then I read about the exchange of funnies between him and Marty and guessed it would probably not have been the best of times to unleash all that bonhomie amongst the footsoldiers back home.

But back to that Secretariat. I'm most definitely in favour of the concept of the British-Irish Council, but at the minute, apart from it being merely another forum for Salmond to blast his latest invective at Westminster, I can't really see that many tangible concrete results or even proposals arising from it that would justify such a building.

So, bearing in mind how well everyone seems to be getting along with each other, why aren't the Unionist parties (and not just ones from Northern Ireland) pushing for the kind of the supra-national legislative powers for the BIC that would justify such a capital outlay?


Timothy Belmont said...

To be honest, I haven't been scrutinizing the affairs of the BI Council much.
Does anyone know what has been achieved by it since its inception? What sort of agenda does it pursue?


Wyrdtimes said...

Only one nation missing then eh?

As usual.

Fakey said...

Don't we have the EU as the preferred, erm, Supra-National, pooled-sovereignty entity between Ireland and the UK?

Incidentally, you're forgetting the make up of the BIC between to States (IRL & UK), and the devolved entities of one of those states constituent nations (NI, WA, SC), never was it meant to be some 'Federation'.

The BIC is a nice little concept, gives Unionism that misty eyed 'British Isles' feel but ultimately it's a hollow symbol, nice on paper but with no real practical role to play beyond the symbolic - why because ultimately the Irish and British Governments as the sovereign entities entertain it as part of the GFA.

Always good to talk and cooperate on joint areas of interest, but before Neo-Unionism gets all wistful and dewy eyed at a Federation of the Isles concept, it comes down to it Brussels is the only game in town.

O'Neill said...


I think Fakey's given you your answer, at the minute it's basically a talking shop. However......there are one or two things not covered by Brussels which could be managed by an all-islands' body and simply because that wasn't the future decreed for it by the pan-nationalist front, it doesn't mean that we necessarily have to fall in line with.