Dean Godson

Lord Godson is Director of Policy Exchange. He is a member of the House of Lords Sub-Committee on the Windsor Framework. He is author of ‘Himself Alone: David Trimble and the Ordeal of Unionism’ (2004)

The rise and fall of Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar, who resigned yesterday, has certainly earned his place in the history of Anglo-Irish relations as one of the most consequential taoiseachs of all time. His role in Anglo-Irish relations was defined by Brexit, and Ireland’s remarkable role in shaping its outcome. The marked contrast with John Bruton – a previous Fine Gael taoiseach of the

The Met have allowed pro-Palestine protestors to run riot in Westminster

The Metropolitan Police is more frightened of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign than the Palestine Solidarity Campaign is of the Metropolitan Police. This is the central fact of life in the public order debate today – and does much to explain the context of Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s decision to break with long established Parliamentary convention in order

The post-Brexit crisis in Northern Ireland is finally over

Rishi Sunak, with almost daily input from Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the Democratic Unionist Party leader, has just delivered a deal on the Windsor Framework that is notably pro-Unionist. He has managed to do so in the face of EU intransigence, an unhelpful White House, the ‘resistible rise’ of Sinn Fein in the Republic of Ireland, hard-line

Ireland’s security freeloading is a threat to the West

Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Downing Street Declaration – one of the key building blocks of the Northern Irish peace process which led to the Belfast Agreement of 1998. That accord, forged between prime minister John Major and the taoiseach Albert Reynolds, is widely held to be a masterpiece of calculated ambiguity. In a memorable turn of phrase,

Biden can no longer afford to indulge Irish nationalism

For the British government, the Biden visit to Belfast posed one major exam question: would the pageantry of a pan-nationalist juggernaut rolling into town, led by the most tribally Irish-American President of all time, make it appreciably harder for the DUP to accept the Windsor Framework and so to re-establish the Stormont Executive as the

Why Prevent failed – and how to fix it

William Shawcross’s long-awaited review of Prevent – the Government’s counter-radicalisation programme – is one of the boldest official documents of recent times. As such, it constitutes a radical reappraisal of a key state policy which has gone seriously off-piste and is in urgent need of rebalancing. Much of the critique of Prevent has historically come

Why David Trimble mattered

David Trimble, who died yesterday afternoon at the age of 77, played a seminal role in forging the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 – becoming the first leader of Northern Ireland’s unionists to share power with Irish republicans. Trimble and John Hume of the SDLP, the then leader of northern constitutional nationalism, duly received the Nobel

Why is Corbyn cosying up to Northern Ireland’s unionists?

How serious are Jeremy Corbyn and the Corbynites about winning power? Deadly serious, if the remarkable tactical flexibility he displayed on his first official visit to Belfast as leader of the Labour Party is anything to go by. Corbyn took care to genuflect not just to nationalist idols such as Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and

A new Unionism could be the answer to Tory prayers

With four years until the next general election, British politics is in a bloody stalemate. The main parties are stuck at 40 per cent in the polls, reflected in the inconclusive local elections this month. The possibility of a 1997-style landslide has faded and even over-confident strategists (on both left and right) have learnt the

The meaning of Sean O’Callaghan

Sean O’Callaghan, one of the most important defectors from the Provisional IRA , successfully evaded the republican movement in death as in life – by dying yesterday of natural causes. Much will written in the obituaries tomorrow about the amazing details of O’Callaghan’s journey  – from the precocious, murderous,  republican  ‘boy soldier’ of the 1970s

We are not ready for an escalation of violence in Ulster

Dean Godson says that this week’s murders have yielded impressive displays of cross-party unity. But they also draw attention to Northern Ireland’s vulnerability to terrorist attack, and the risks that were always inherent in the dismantling of the Province’s security structure ‘After they die, they will be forgotten, just as the policemen and soldiers who

Paying the price of peace

Jonathan Powell was the most durable of Tony Blair’s inner circle — and, in the affairs of Northern Ireland, much the most influential. Jonathan Powell was the most durable of Tony Blair’s inner circle — and, in the affairs of Northern Ireland, much the most influential. He remained in post long after the other Blairites

‘They know the extent of our reach’

John Grieve, the long-time head of the Metropolitan Police’s Anti-Terrorist Squad, observed shortly after the conviction of the IRA men who bombed South Quay in 1996: ‘It’s great — but every time we have one of these long trials, we give the men of violence a free masterclass on how we go about protecting the

A tribute to Ulster’s A.J.P. Taylor

Northern Ireland may not be the most sectarian place in the world, but it is surely among the most begrudging. Ulstermen often resent their compatriots’ successes. Yet every now and again, the Province surprises. It did so last week — when it was announced that Paul Bew, the Professor of Politics at Queen’s University Belfast,

Rifkind could be deselected

Is Kensington and Chelsea, that jewel in the crown of Conservative parliamentary seats, becoming the Bermuda Triangle of Tory politics? Thanks to the little-noticed workings of the Boundary Commission, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former foreign secretary, could soon find himself in a battle royal to remain in the Commons. The local precedents are not good

Terror camps in the Lake District

Colin Cramphorn, the chief constable of West Yorkshire, occupies one of the two hottest seats in British policing today. Since it emerged that all four British suicide bombers of 7 July came from his patch, he has scarcely drawn breath. Cramphorn’s only relaxation in that fevered week came after his surgeon — who has been

Will Dublin turn on Gerry Adams?

Dublin Is Sinn Fein/IRA becoming the Hezbollah of Ireland — a state within a state? Just a matter of weeks ago, such a thought would have been dismissed by mainstream opinion here as a product of the fevered imagination of Conor Cruise O’Brien, the South’s most celebrated anti-republican. After all, Gerry Adams was the most

Labour’s forgotten army

If Slim’s 14th was the ‘Forgotten Army’ of the second world war, then the trade union Right and its sponsored MPs are surely the ‘Forgotten Army’ of Labour’s civil war of the 1970s and 1980s. They were ‘old Labour’, but not in the sense which the term has taken on in recent years to mean