Andrew McQuillan

Andrew McQuillan writes about politics and unionism across the UK. He is Scottish and has lived and studied in Belfast for several years.

Are Sinn Fein heading for an election triumph?

Bankrupt councils, the imminent collapse of Thames Water, prison overcrowding and a row with unions over public sector pay are some of the unwelcome prospects facing Keir Starmer if he wins the election. Sue Gray, the Labour leader’s chief of staff, has compiled a so-called ‘shit list’ of such things which could derail any potential

What happened to the Glasgow I love?

The perception of Glasgow still held by outsiders – that it’s all tenement blocks and stabbings, that the only food on offer is gussied up cholesterol and that its football divide is less about sport and more a continuation of the thirty years’ war – has always inspired resistance from those who know the city.

Varadkar’s true achievement was screwing over the Brits

The departure of Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach yesterday should really be marked by Irish nationalists with elaborate memorials and tributes in Dublin, on a par with those for the founders of the Irish state. This smooth-talking politician achieved more in one dinner than so-called freedom fighters did over 20 years  Despite the ignominious manner of

The DUP can’t blame Reform for dividing unionists

While Michelle O’Neill and Emma Pengelly, the First and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, were in Washington last week for their annual St Patrick’s Day pat on the head from the Biden administration, a more subversive gathering was taking place in Kells, a small village in Country Antrim.  Traditional Unionist Voice, the party fronted

Sinn Fein’s rise to power is nothing to celebrate

The resumption of devolution in Northern Ireland – scheduled for tomorrow after the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) reached a deal with the UK Government earlier this week – marks a big moment: for the first time in the history of Northern Ireland, there will be a nationalist First Minister. Sinn Fein, a party still viewed

Ireland is falling out of love with Sinn Fein

Is the Sinn Fein star starting to wane? Support for the party has hit its lowest level for four years according to a poll for the influential Business Post newspaper. While Sinn Fein still remains the most popular party in the Republic, it has dropped seven points since October 2023. Sinn Fein can only be all things to all

Agreeing to power-sharing now could ruin the DUP

Once upon a time, a young unionist politician marched out of a talks process. Recalling the incident later, he said: ‘I asked myself the question, could I walk out of here and go down to my constituency, the people of Lisburn, look them in the eye and say this is a good deal. I could not

South Africa has no right to lecture Israel

As South Africa presented its case accusing Israel of genocide to the International Court of Justice, the presence of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in and around the Hague court gave a flavour of the calibre of those willing this case on. It was predictable that the South African government’s championing of this cause would

Families of IRA terrorists shouldn’t get compensation

In the period between Christmas and New Year archives in both Belfast and Dublin are opened and documents are declassified. This regularly reveals some of the creative thinking which has been expended on the Northern Ireland problem over the years.  Suggestions have included staging an Old Firm duel between Rangers and Celtic in Belfast prior

The tension simmering beneath the Dublin riots

The situation in Dublin yesterday – in which five people were injured in a knife attack in the heart of the city, resulting in a riot and violent clashes with the police – was to the untrained eye reminiscent of Belfast from days gone by. Speculation about the nationality of the attacker fuelled the scenes

Suella Braverman has a point about Northern Ireland

Suella Braverman’s description of pro-Palestinian protests as being ‘disturbingly reminiscent of Ulster’ has given the Province’s political class yet another reason – not that they need one – to chunter on at length.  The professionally po-faced, from SDLP leader Colum Eastwood to Stephen Farry of the Alliance Party, dutifully trod the path to X/ Twitter, or

Sinn Fein’s troubling ‘solidarity’ with Palestinians

Black Mountain, which looms above West Belfast, acts as a blank canvas for Irish republicans to plaster their thoughts across. Over the years, banners covering a range of subjects, from Irish unity to Brexit, have been draped across it. In recent days, a Palestinian flag was placed there by a group styling itself Gael Force Art, claiming

Northern Ireland’s police service is weak and inept

The data breach at the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which has seen the personal details of all serving officers and just under 2,500 civilian staff accidentally released as part of a response to a Freedom of Information request, is the sort of grotesque, IT foul-up normally reserved for the realms of satire like The Thick

Is Sinn Fein really on the march?

In the visceral two horse race which is Northern Irish politics, it is the green horse which is out in front after last Thursday’s local council elections.  Sinn Fein, as at Stormont, is now the largest party across Northern Ireland’s local authorities. A lot has changed since the 1980s, when, during the IRA’s campaign of

Will Northern Ireland ever learn to solve its own problems?

If the relationship between the UK and the United States is allegedly special, the relationship between Northern Irish politicians and the US presidency is a whole different level.  In the mythologised, Derry Girls telling of the Troubles, Bill Clinton turning on Belfast’s Christmas lights in 1995 heralded a transformative US intervention. One which allegedly managed more in

The intellectual hollowness of Scottish Labour

The implosion of the Scottish National Party has led Scottish Labour to dream again of one day returning to what it assumes is its birth right: the berth at the top of Scottish politics. Many of the banalities and buzzwords in Labour’s most recent manifesto make Humza Yousaf’s blandishments about a ‘wellbeing economy’ sound deep