Parity of esteem: A unionist perspective

I have been a supporter of the Good Friday Agreement since its inception. I believe many of the mechanisms contained therein are sensible and necessary to manage the divided society we live in, and I accepted the principle of consent as a reasonable compromise in pursuit of a peaceful and democratic society. Nonetheless, while I have been a fierce advocate of the Agreement, I certainly won’t dismiss every criticism levelled at it. Mandatory coalition, for example, has led to a …

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On Jonathan Powell – a vision is needed for talking to terrorists

I haven’t yet managed to read Jonathan Powell’s new book: Talking to Terrorists: How to End Armed Conflicts”,  but potted  versions like this one in Prospect magazine  delivers his thesis with his usual crispness. “In democracies we cannot kill all the terrorists, so we will have to talk to them at some stage! And just in case you think  he has been seduced by his own experience, he anticipates  the obvious criticism. I am not suggesting that there is a Northern …

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“His beauty was his ability for silence. He sat there and waited them out…”

Best review of transplanted Dubliner Colum McCann’s new novel Transatlantic, in which, amongst other things, he channels George Mitchell: There’s a moment in the book when the Good Friday Agreement has just been signed in Belfast, and Mitchell, who earlier compared himself to a terrorist willing to wait in a wet ditch all night (“It’s the tenacity of the fanatic that he wants to pitch himself against. There is, he knows, something akin to his own form of violence in …

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