AP 3 - 2022 - 200-2

25 September 1997 Edition

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Editor's desk

In a little-reported development last week, the Ulster Unionists let it be known that they had secured eleven confidence-building measures in advance of talks. Many were silly (Mo Mowlam will now attend the Forum more regularly), some were porkies (pretending that the governments expect decommissioning during talks) and one was deeply ironic. Number 6 is: ``Arising from the different circumstances in Northern Ireland, the new Gun Legislation in Great Britain will not be extended to Northern Ireland.''

In other words, everyone will disarm except Unionists who, because `Northern Ireland' is different from `Great Britain', will be allowed to keep their weapons. Just one more little contradiction for modern Unionism.

 


Another irony surrounds Eason's refusal to carry a pamphlet by UK Unionist Bob McCartney. Eason's say it is a party political publication, which is a bit of a lame excuse for banning it, if you ask me, though not surprising given Eason's track record in this sort of thing. Their target is more usually republicans, so the irony is that the foreword of MacCartney's pamphlet is written by that old upholder of censorship, Conor Cruise O'Brien. It is sweet music to those who savour hypocrisy to hear the Cruiser now squealing about himself being censored.

 


An ad from the Independent on Sunday has been brought to my attention. It's for ``The World Leaders in Personalised Pictures''. The company is called Chuckies and the ad begins: ``Enter the exploding market of personalised pictures...''

 


Spare a thought for Sinn Féin's Sean Crowe who doesn't often venture outside his South West Dublin heartland. Last week he took a trip to the negotiations at Stormont as part of the Sinn Féin delegation. Afterwards he drove home, heading out of Belfast along the M1. He drove and drove until, he says, he saw a sign for Aughnacloy. That, as everyone knows is like heading for Spain via Denmark. Next time he is going to let the train take the strain.

 


Derry nationalists are rightly famed for their imaginative wall murals which depict their community's years of resistance. Now Loyalists in the city's Waterside have come up with a mural which perfectly captures their sick brand of politics. It depicts a skeletal figure representing the UFF leaping through dead bodies in the Bogside. The mural, inspired apparently by the cover of an Iron Maiden album has above it the inscription: ``The must be no retirement with our backs to the wall, and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end.

``We determine the guilty. We decide the punishment.''

Sad really.

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