Bruce Arnold

Critic of Public Affairs, writing about art, theatre, music and politics

Cameron has entered uncharted waters but move may yet pay off

Britain, in World War Two, the worst global conflict there has ever been, did more for Europe than any other country. Many brave Irish men and women took part in that. Britain saved the rubble-filled charnel-house to which central Europe had been reduced from an unthinkable fate and then handed it over to what became the Treaty of Rome signatories to make it whole again.

The key foundation countries did make it whole again with great dedication and a 50-year success story that has since suffered strain, confusion and loss of direction, leading to a series of crises that are far from over. Read More...

The EU is changing and we must face up to the real issues at hand

At a meeting in Cork last week, Declan Ganley addressed student members of three political societies: the Europa Society, the International Relations Society and the Fianna Fail Society. His speech focused on this democratisation of Europe and covered his checkered involvement in Irish politics during the two Lisbon Treaty campaigns. He developed a theory of democracy for Europe beginning with the people, the opposite of democratic gestures from those who have undermined democracy by concentrating power at the top.

It was a rousing event and ended with a student examination of Mr Ganley's intentions between now and the European elections in 2014. He concluded by countering this with a question of his own to his student audience. "If this happened and I came back, who in this room would be willing to get involved?" Read More...

Britain could teach us a thing or two in butting heads with Brussels

The determination to keep our feet on the ground during our six-month presidency of the EU is welcome. We are a small country supposedly on a path to recovery and, if our leaders are correct, we are heading towards solutions – mainly concerned with economic stability and growth and with the creation of jobs. There was a touch of George Orwell's '1984' in the rosy picture given recently by the Taoiseach as well as Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore and the Minister of State for European Affairs,Lucinda Creighton.

They were putting recovery in the forefront of their confident forecasts. This might create new confidence, a focus on trade and the promise that "we become the first country in the eurozone to exit an EU-IMF programme". Ireland a success story so soon again? Ms Creighton stressed the modesty of our presidency. Everyone applauded. The Methodist choir sang 'An Irish Blessing' and we went away to get ourselves ready. Read More...