My attention was spread thin over the week and please comment below if I’ve missed anything major…
The talks to form a new assembly in the North collapsed early last week. There had been major optimism this time last week that an agreement would be reached. I have written my take on it here so I won’t dwell on it. An agreement over the next while which still included an Irish Language Act would be a major boost for Sinn Fein as it appears the DUP are quite happy to fall back on their position as kingmaker in Westminster.
Project Ireland 2040 was launched on Friday in Sligo with much ado and has been heavily pushed by Govt. Time will tell whether this is met with scepticism or appreciation by the electorate.
The week finished very strongly for Fine Gael with two polls from Millward Brown and Behaviour and Attitudes/Sunday Times putting them on 36%, with an 8% and 11% lead over Fianna Fail respectively.
Unfortunately, there was another major shooting in the US. This time seventeen people were killed at a high school in Florida on Wednesday. The political system and gun culture means it will be quite difficult for things to really change in the short term but hopefully one day, America will also ban guns to a similar extant as many of its peers.
On Sunday, it emerged that former Trump aide, Robert Gates, has agreed to plead guilty and is willing to testify against Trump’s previous campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Robert Mueller’s web is widening, much to the chagrin of Trump but so far he seems pretty safe legally…
Boris Johnson stole the headlines earlier in the week with a speech on Brexit aimed at people who still believe remaining in the EU is possible. The most scathing criticism may have come from within his own party via Anna Soubry, the pro-European Conservative MP;
'I'm afraid to say that Boris has confirmed my very worst fears about him. I don't think he's a very good Foreign Secretary…….'It was actually a pitiful speech and I think a lot of people found it really rather embarrassing.'
Boris’ star has really waned in his current role and it does seem as if his time as a potential future Prime Minister has almost come to a close, my political punt on him back in September remains my worst one to date….
Theresa May did make a speech about future security co-operation in Munich but it was a more niche speech that hasn’t altered moved the needle on her overall Brexit performance.
Jacob Zuma resigned as President of South Africa on Wednesday, drawing a close to almost a decade of rule. Unfortunately, in the last few years corruption scandals cast a long shadow over the seventy-five-year old’s legacy and rule. It remains to be seen what direction South Africa will now move in…