The Lennon thing…

This story produced an extraordinary amount of journalism, and an equally extraordinary diversity of opinion. I don’t often express strong comment in the letter, but Tom Utley’s offering for Saturdy’s Daily Telegraph beats all comers for its utter vacuity Lennon is a big girl’s blouse. Tom McGurk’s normally faultless analysis is majorly undermined by two glaring inaccuracies pointed out by on-line readers at the end of the article. Amy Lawrence in the Observer quantifies the real cost of such incidents, …

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Police shortage.

Cahal Milmo on the crisis within the new police service. David Pallister in the Guardian says: “With 10% of the force on sick leave, and more than 730 injured in the past year, Mr Cramphorn said: “The cumulative effect of this is to generate levels of fatigue and tiredness which diminish the effectiveness and the quality of the officers’ contributions when they are at work. Such levels of activity cannot be sustained.””

Mining history

Brian Walker quotes Macauley with regard to the position of the loyalists of Derry: “The faults which are normally found in dominant castes have not seldom shown themselves without disguise at her festivities; and even with the expressions of pious gratitude which have resounded from her pulpits have too often been mingled words of wrath and defiance”. And he finishes: “The gerrymander was lifted long ago but its curse still lingers. Nowadays the lesson Protestant Londonderry has to teach the …

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Various letters

The letters pages in any paper often throw up insights that are not picked up by journalists. There’s an interesting reaction to Steven King’s piece in yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph from Christopher Lyttle: “Surely unionists have learnt from the past. The problem with the Sunningdale Agreement was that unionism destroyed it and then had no alternative in place. This is a mirror image of today with the DUP shouting from the rooftops about the “Dublin Agreement” but they have not told …

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Policing

Several people (unionists and nationalists) have told me that the real policing issue in Northern Ireland is that outside fully manned riot units (DMSUs), there is a huge numbers deficit following the exit of many of the old RUC force. It is beginning to make the papers now, at the end of yet another riotous summer. The Daily Telegraph editorialises. Mark Simpson highlights the emotional conflict within the nationalist community. Danny Kennedy of the UUP warns Sinn Fein that boycotting …

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Unionist backroom

Two of the current favourites to become Trimble’s successor, Messers Burnside and Donaldson, have applied for permission from the party to stand for the Assembly elections – whenever they come. On his return from the Camlough Feile Steven King calls Unionists to quit the boycott strategy and take on the Republican opposition on the merits (and de-merits) of their own arguments.

More on Lennon..

We have the first rash of post-mortems on the LVF death threat against the Northern Ireland captain. Henry Winter says: “Neil Lennon, one of life’s decent citizens, a man who lives for football, family and friends, walked away from the Northern Ireland dressing-room after receiving sectarian death threats. Few would question his sanity if he walked away from the Northern Ireland team for good.” Michael Walker sees an historic precedent, in an excellent and committed piece of writing: “…Windsor Park …

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Soccer captain in death threat

Neil Lennon withdrew from NI’s friendly game against Cyprus tonight after receiving a death threat from the LVF. The Celtic player was to take over the captaincy from Steve Lomas.

A belated thanks

To Brendan O’Neill for promoting the Slugger’s letter to his A-list of recommended sites and particularly for the co-billing with the CAIN on-line database from the University of Ulster – and a tag line of Peace facts no less! Brendan’s was one the first to make it the Slugger’s list of recommended sites. He has written a series of incisive and often witty (a quality so often missing from so much written about Northern Ireland. He has covered topics like …

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This month's bizarre headline

Sinn Fein defend DUP’s top post – John Kelly of Sinn Fein tells republicans, that they must not seek to dominate unionists. A clear signal from Sinn Fein that it will do business with the DUP after the next election. It also provides an indication that the DUP will not be as hard line in practice as its record and current rhetoric leads many of us to believe when it comes to the crunch. Eammon McCann asks if Republican violence …

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Street violence continues

The violence at the interfaces continues. There is no shortage of condemnation by unionists and ministers, but as yet there seems to be no viable resolution to whatever cause turns out to be. Des Browne on the Westminster NI team, continues his talks with various parties to find some means to end the violence. Despite a chilling warning from the INLA, John Murtagh of the IRSP, called for a non-aggression pact between the republican Bogside and loyalist Fountain areas of …

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The Blanket

This online magazine gives voice to a surprising variety of views, from Republican, Loyalists and Unionists, reflecting a often unseen, unheard dialogue between all section’s of NI society which takes place on a daily basis on the ground here. It’s worth adding to your list of favourites. Newton Emerson, reveiws a political debate at the recent Feile an Phobail in West Belfast. Ciaran Irvine castigates Bertie Ahern, suggesting that the damage done to the South’s economic and social fabric may …

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DUP or UUP?

In the print edition of the Newsletter, Mervyn Pauley dismisses the likelihood that any deal is possible between the UUP and the DUP: “…their mutual feelings of loathing, rooted in an unseemly history of interparty feuds, personality bashing and alegations of treachery and double dealing is arguably, as Sherlock Holmes said of Watson – “the one fixed point in a changing world”. If as is widely tipped, the DUP win poll position for the Unionist side of the Assembly, Pauley …

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Youth and paramilitries

It seems clear that paramilitary influence in Loyalist and Unionist areas is spreading quickly through the use of ‘youth wings’. Even in relatively prosperous areas there is a growing presence of all three major groupings. According to Alan Murray, Ulster Youth Movement (UYM), closely associated with the UDA and the UFF, is using loans to attract new members.

Sectarianism

Billy Hutchinson talks to the Boston Herald about the varieties of sectarianism, from North Belfast to North Belfast.

Trimble again…

Despite a degree of ‘ham’ rhetoric, Eoghan Harris hits several nails squarely on the head in an ‘open letter‘ to David Trimble. He offer three points for Trimble (and all unionists) to consider: Firstly, get out and sell the agreement. “…people respond badly to pessimistic politicians. Unionist leaders do not seem to understand that if a political leader wants to be bleak, he should be bleak in a positive way. That means Unionist moderates should be selling the Good Friday …

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De Klerk speaks at Glencree Summer School

I am just back from a weekend spent at the Glencree Summer School, where a variety of speakers gave presentations to a mixed audience from both sides of the Ulster community, the Republic and the UK. The keynote address was given by the ex-President of South Africa, FW de Klerk. Though it was clear from the discussion that followed his initial address that there were few direct parallels between the circumstances in the two situations, a number of interesting points …

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Nationalisms

Roderick Dunbar asks, “where have all the socialists gone?”, while Newton Emmerson rejoices in the tag of the middle class, declaring loudly that the class war is over! Billy Mitchell argues that the substance of British citizenship is more important than symbols. “It is not something that can be plucked from the heart as a plaque is torn from a wall or a flag from a flagpole. In spite of Sinn Fein’s outward show of euphoria, and the despondency that …

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Friday, August 16, 2002

James Murray Brown in the FT talks to John White, former spokesman for the now disbanded UDP, and close associate of Johnny Adair. In the course of his interview he says: “We understood that in a divided society there had to be compromise in the negotiations. But it’s anathema to think we can’t fly our national flag on public buildings. It’s anathema to see that republicans and nationalists are opposing loyalist parades in many parts of the province.” Murray Brown …

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Other unionist voices

With David Trimble on holiday, the local papers seem to be giving more space to other Unionist voices. On the front of today’s Irish News is Trevor Ringland, founding member of Unionist pressure group Re-Union, who said last night that though party colleagues were angered by the ongoing attacks at interface areas, it was essential that they condemned the “wrongs of both sides”. He went on, “if we want to advance the benefits of living in a British society then …

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