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6 February 1997 Edition

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The Daily Telegraph is the favourite paper of the Tory cabinet so it's not surprising that the British government has resolutely ignored calls for a new inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday. On Monday all the British broadsheets carried reports of the massive march in Derry complete with striking photographs of the portraits of those killed. And how did the Daily Telegraph cover it? They didn't. Nothing. Not a column inch. As far as they were concerned, it didn't happen. Which, when you think about it, is pretty much the attitude of the Tory cabinet towards Bloody Sunday.

 
Perhaps more surprising, though I'm not so sure, is the Guardian's editorial arguing against a new Bloody Sunday inquiry. Couched in nice liberal language it told us to forget the past and anyway, no-one would tell the truth at a new inquiry.

Then on Tuesday Guardian reporter Vivek Chaudhary wrote about the ``intimidating, pro-Republican stance'' in the students union at Queen's in Belfast. He wrote it after speaking to various shades of unionists and, of course, no republicans. So what we had were students incensed at ``a hunger strike exhibition'' and reference to a ``chill factor'' caused in part by the union refusing to withdraw membership from students ``convicted of terrorist offences''. Johnathon Taylor, son of Ulster Unionist John Taylor, is quoted calling for the Republican Society to be banned.

Whatever happened to University being a forum for all political opinions? And whatever happened to the liberal ethos of the Guardian?

 
I have been thinking about the revelation in Hello! magazine by Lady Scott that her husband's heavy drinking - you may remember that Nicholas Scott was deselected as a Tory candidate because of his fondness for the juice - began when he was a Minister at the NIO. The posh papers have put it down to the hectic round of social engagements and tough negotiations conducted with a large glass of Scotch. Enough to drive anyone to drink, what?

But I have a different explanation. You see poor old Nick has always said he reached his lowest point on the day that 38 republican prisoners slipped from his care in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh. He was the Minister in charge at the time. I have no doubt that when he was given that devastating news he simply reached for the nearest bottle of the hard stuff. And hasn't stopped since.

 
As you know, only the very best poetry makes it onto these pages. And one that has made it through the rigorous tests is this little verse by Jack Mitchel. It's called Priorities:

Crossing the street
she was hit by the bullet
meant for the soldier beyond.
Seven years of suffering
before they could remove the bullet
from her shoulder.
Would it not be simpler
to remove the soldier?

 
Bad joke of the week:

Why did the chicken cross the Garvaghy Road?

Because of his feather and his four feathers.

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