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25 September 1997 Edition

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Posturing and hypocrisy

The Unionists were patently hypocritical in attempting to indict Sinn Féin over alleged links to the IRA, while at the same time forming an alliance with parties openly linked to the UVF and UDA. The depth of that hypocrisy was underscored when the Sinn Féin participants greeted a delegation at Stormont of people whose relatives have been assassinated by these two organisations.

Sinn Féin has had twenty of its members murdered by loyalist death squads with collusion from the Crown Forces but Sinn Féin has rightly said that the most important thing is to move into real talks which can bring lasting peace.

It is regrettable that David Trimble chose to engage in theatrics as an alternative to providing political leadership for the unionist community.

But what is of more concern is the unionist attitude to idea of negotiations themselves.

David Trimble has indicated that he will adopt an á la carte approach to the talks, indicating that his party will boycott meetings involving Sinn Féin. He says that he can ``pick and choose'' who he talks to. This does not sound like a man who is ready to seriously grapple with the issues which stand in the way of lasting peace.

Nothing but the same old story



Fortunately or unfortunately television soap operas are the most popular aspects of mass culture. When the most popular of those soap operas portrays Irish people in the way that Eastenders did this week, it rightly creates outrage. It also shows that the racist image of Ireland popularised by Punch magazine in the last century is still alive and well in Britain. This is important because Britain still occupies part of Ireland. There is not a benign relationship between Ireland and Britain. Racism perpetuates British occupation.

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