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3 April 1997 Edition

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John Major, a Unionist candidate

The Conservative Party manifesto, which was launched on Wednesday, was rightly described by Gerry Adams as ``a unionist charter which reveals why the peace process collapsed under John Major''.

This was confirmed when John Major later said he believed the Six Counties would always remain ``part of the United Kingdom''.

Here, without any fudging, was the British government rubbishing the assertion that they are neutral in Ireland. Far from having no selfish interest here, they are actively supporting the union.

That comes as no surprise to anyone who gives these things even a moment's thought. Throughout the course of the peace process, John Major worked hand in glove with the Unionists to thwart all-party talks. Like a true Unionist, he fears change to the status quo in the Six Counties. The most obvious sign of that was the presence of John Major's murderous gunmen on the streets of Coalisland last week.

John Major may fear change but change there will be. The desire for a new political arrangement is palpable. This election will allow that desire to be expressed at the ballot box. And what is clear is that a vote for Sinn Féin is the only guarantee of change. A vote for Sinn Féin is the only way to send a signal to the next British government that they must abandon the ways of the past and move towards inclusive dialogue as a means of resolving this conflict.

A vote for Sinn Féin will signal the failure of Major's unionist agenda. It will signal that policies of repression and exclusion have failed to dampen demands for freedom and justice.

Massive Easter turnout

The increased presence at Easter commemorations last Sunday is a sign of the confidence and vigour in the republican struggle. Most commemorations throughout the country saw their highest turnout for many years.

That confidence and vigour is being transferred to election campaigns. There is a realisation that we are facing an historical moment. Now is the time to put out the call to all republicans to support the election effort. Everyone has their part to play.

An Phoblacht
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