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30 January 1997 Edition

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Editor's desk

The Tories of Kensington are certainly a peculiar bunch. Following their deselection of Nicholas Scott who got drunk once or ten times too often, they have selected former Tory Minister Alan Clark who Richard Ingrams of the Observer considers ``bonkers''. I couldn't agree more.

Clark's views on Ireland include this: ``I am confirmed in my opinion that it is hopeless here. All we can do is arm the Orangemen - to the teeth - and get out. This would give also the not slight advantage that, at a stroke, Infantry `overstretch' is eliminated.''

On the General Belgrano: ``So what does it matter where and when it was hit? We could have sunk it if it had been tied up on the quayside in a neutral port and everyone would still have been delighted.''

And on Ian Gow, who was opposed to the negotiations leading to the Hillsborough Treaty in 1985: ``He is peevish, and fussed about Ireland. I said, don't. Ireland is a ghastly subject. Intractable. Insoluble. For centuries it has blighted English domestic politics, wrecked the careers of good men.

``Ian said the pressure to concede everything to Dublin (and thus expose the decent loyalists in Ulster to the full force of IRA terrorism) is coming from the Foreign Office, who are themselves reacting to pressure from Washington.''

 
Gerry Adams may well have a secret friend in his struggle to restart the peace process. A French cartoonist shows him aided by that intrepid little Belgian Tintin and the sturdy Captain Haddock. The cunning Dr Joe and his shadowy Loyalist allies have no chance.

 
My old friend Danny Morrison was certainly making headlines this week. The London Times praised his defiance, The Independent described him as heroic and tenacious and the Guardian lauded him for refusing to give up.

It has nothing to do with the hours spent writing longhand at his kitchen table as our ``boyish'' (according to the Sunday Tribune) hero sweats over his latest novel.

No, this Danny Morrison is the New Zealand bowler who is the worst batsman in Test history but who stuck it out for nearly three hours to defy England.

 
The Guardian had a story this week about two of ``Britain's greatest saints'', one of whom, it says, was St Columba from ``Londonderry, Co Donegal''. From moving statues to moving saints.

 
The ghost of Big Jim Larkin will surely be near to Liberty Hall today (Thursday) as ICTU delegates gather to vote on the Partnership 2000 agreement with government and employers. 30 January marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Larkin who would no doubt remind workers that in this plan `inclusion' means more crumbs from the table for the poor, employment means more make-work schemes and low-paid drudgery, and competitiveness means pay restraint and unrestrained profits for bosses.

Any signs of Big Jim spinning in his grave?


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
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